Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weekend Music Roundup

I was kind of all over the place this week with my listening, which is just how I like it. It should be noted that none of these are the records I bought on Record Store Day yesterday, those will be reviewed next weekend after I've had the chance to listen to them all. Though some of these come from last weekend's pre-Record Store Day shopping spree. Finding myself in a nearby town that I rarely visit, I stopped in the record store that I always stop in whenever I'm in New Paltz and picked up some vinyl treats. Others on this week's list include some much anticipated new releases and some just discovered albums from old favorites. Enjoy.

Roky Erickson - Oyafestivalen, Oslo 10/8/2007: This is one of the vinyl treats I picked up last weekend. A bootleg record of Roky's performance a few years ago. This was Roky's comeback tour, of which I was lucky enough to see the first show in NYC (one of the ten best concerts I've ever seen). Now, it had been years and years since Roky performed, and he was joined with his late '70s backing band The Explosives for this tour. This recording is amazing, the band sounds as haunting and dangerous as it did back in the day. Though it should be noted that this very much Cam King's album (of The Explosives). Just as when I saw the show live, Cam did the heavy lifting and it's his vocals and guitar work that come through the clearest. That doesn't detract from the album though. It's fantastic.

The Pigeon Detectives - Up, Guards and at 'Em: This is the third album from the Yorkshire UK indie rock band, and the first since 2008. Their brand of UK pub rock has always appealed to me, and with this album they really seem to have expanded their sound. Though still full of incredible guitar hooks and furious back beat, the songs on here are grander and show a maturity. I've definitely been rocking this record loudly. Good stuff.

The Kills - Blood Pressure: With Allison Mosshart busy the last few years fronting The Dead Weather, her electric garage band with Jamie Hince has been absent since 2008's Midnight Boom. Finally a fourth album has come out. And though, like Midnight Boom, it lacks the sense of danger that made their first two albums (2003's Keep On Your Mean and 2005's No Wow) spectacular, this still manages to be a very good rock album, if not a little less exciting.

The Fratellis - Ole Black 'n' Blue Eyes EP: Possibly my favorite of the UK pub rock bands to emerge in the second half of the last decade. The Fratellis knew how to pump out anthem sized songs that were catchy with their fist album and later added a late Pink Floyd style cleverness with their second album. This EP, released in 2007, before their second album in 2008, was a vinyl only release of four tracks (one rerecorded song from the debut album and three unreleased tracks that singled their move toward the second record). I had no idea this existed until I spotted it in the bin at the record store for a cool $9. It's a fantastic little record with an etching on the blank side. It's a shame this band broke up. (Thankfully The Pigeon Detectives are there to soften the blow)

Orang-Utan - Orang-Utan: The funny thing about this album is that I used to see it all of the time when I lived above Venus Records on St. Mark's Place in the late '90s. That store specialized in 70's British rock. It's too bad I didn't pick it up back then because this album is dynamite. Released in 1970, this hard rock album definitely falls into the Captain Beyond, Led Zeppelin, early Sabbath, and the Australian band Buffalo. From start to finish this album never lets up and is consistently fantastic. It was the only album the band ever made.

efterklang - Springer: This 2003 EP is the first release from the Danish post-rock band, whose 2007 EP Under Giant Trees is one of my favorite humid summer evening albums. I've recently come across a wealth of this stuff and am working my way through it. As expected with any debut, this is a little unformed, consisting of five sprawling soundscapes. It's really a slowcore kind of album that feels like the soundtrack to something never filmed. Nothing super exciting, but a good listen for when I'm writing and an awesome cover.

The Cinematic Orchestra - Man with a Movie Camera: Another case of backtracking, I love this London band's 2007 album Ma Fleur. So I was interested to hear this album, the previous album released 4 years earlier. This is a very different album than the other. It's very much a nu-jazz kind of album and as the title suggests, sounds like film score music. The compositions are very nice and the flow of the album is exceptional. The only drawback would be that if you're not in the mood, it can have the tendency to feel a little boring.

Spirogyra - Old Boot Wine: Released a year after 1971's fantastic Canterbury progressive folk masterpiece St. Radigunds, this album had a lot to live up to in my mind. For the most part, it's a fair companion to that album, however it feels a little softer. It leans closer to Fairport Convention and farther from Incredible String Band, which more than likely was a wise commercial choice, but not my personal preference. But any fan of early '70s British folk music would be amiss not have one if not both of those albums in their collection.

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