This was the week where musically I got really sick of listening to music through my iTunes. Thanks to the warmer weather, the door to my music room was left open and I dove in there early in the week and stole an armful of CDs into my office. I loaded up five discs at a time and listened to all five straight through. There was something great about keeping the vibe out my click-ability. I took a similar approach to the reviews this weekend. The albums here are the only albums I've listened to for the past two days. As you can see, I've been in a heavy '70s vibe, with a little fun and folk thrown in. Enjoy.
Okkervil River - I Am Very Far: The new album by one of my favorite bands of the last few years, this has certainly been on my highly anticipated list. However, two disappointing singles from the album over the winter kind left me feeling nervous. Thankfully, the singles were a bit of a fluke, and even those songs work much better in the context of the album. While it doesn't stray far from the folkish indie rock sound, it is certainly different from their last album, 2008's The Stand-Ins. This feels like more of a spiritual record to me. "The Valley" could be one of their best songs ever.
Baby Grandmothers - Baby Grandmothers: This heavy psychedelic Stockholm band lasted only one year, but it was long enough to record this 1967 piece of greatness. With most songs between 10 and 15 minutes, these are great instrumental freak-out gems that remind me of the Pink Fairies. This is one of the bands that would inspire the Scandavian prog movement that followed.
Bobby Bare Jr. - Daytrotter Session 2011: For nearly a decade, Nashville's Bobby Bare Jr. has been putting out great indie albums with obvious country influences. Last year, he released possibly his best album to day, A Storm - A Tree - My Mother's Head. The tracks on this session are take from that album and may just surpass the album versions. (For those of you who unfamiliar with daytrotter.com you should visit. It's a sight with hundreds of live recordings all available for free).
efterklang - Tripper: A few weeks ago I reviewed another EP by this Danish band. This is the LP that followed in 2004, the band's first full length album. Though not as developed or interesting as their later stuff, this is decent shoegazer type album. For some reason it sounds to me like it should be the soundtrack to an obscure French film. I enjoyed it, but I think I would enjoy it more if some of the distracting electronic effects were abandoned.
Buffalo - Dead Forever...: Two weeks ago, I mentioned that another album reminded me of Buffalo's 1973 album Volcanic Rock and that reminded me of Buffalo. (Volcanic Rock was actually one of the CDs in the mixes mentioned in the preface of this post.) I searched out this 1972 debut album from the Aussie hard rock band and have been digging it. It's more bluesy, more of a Led Zeppelin vibe than VR's Sabbath vibe. Definitely worthwhile.
Jethro Tull - Nightcap: This double album release includes the first disc, which is basically an aborted album from 1973 known as The Chateau D'isaster Tapes. The other disc is rarities and unreleased stuff, mostly from the '80s. My review is only of the first disc. Many of these songs would later be incorporated in some form on the band's official 1973 release A Passion Play. I've owned A Passion Play for over a decade and it's the only album of the band's early output that I can't get into. I find it sprawling and unappealing in many parts. So it's strange that I thoroughly enjoy this album. This feels more like the albums that came before. Perhaps that's why they scrapped it, afraid of doing the same thing. But when three of their first five albums rank in my top 100, I personally don't see a need for change. Some really amazing tunes on here.
Harvey Mandel - The Snake: The one time guitarist for Canned Heat, Harvey Mandel put out a ton of albums in the late '60s and early '70s. This 1972 album is his fifth, but the first I've heard. As the cover might suggest, it has a crazy vibe. This is one of those albums where heavy blues and funk mix together. It's definitely got a great groove that's perfect for the warming weather. I have few others of his in the hopper and I'm hoping their just as entertaining.
Cibo Matto - Viva! La Woman: The 1996 debut from NYC favorite Japanese hipsters is one of those impossible to hate albums. The music is having so much fun that it is infectious. This is also one of those albums that really captures NYC at a specific time. It's so alive with influences from everything that was going on in that city at the time, from hip-hop to trip-hop to indie rock. "Sugar Water" and "Birthday Cake" are stand-out tracks. (Oh, and Sean Lennon plays bass for the band).