Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend Music Roundup (Better Late Than Never Edition)

I have no excuse for missing the Roundup yesterday...well, I do have one but that would spoil tomorrow's post and it really is kind of a lame excuse, so I'll keep it to myself for now. I've been so engaged in the book I've been writing that I haven't had much mental energy to commit to listening of new music. But I'm on the mend. The last couple of days have seen me swim away from old CD stacks and into the bottomless abyss of sounds. So this week is once again a bit of revisited albums and a few new ones just to keep it fun. I promise next weekend to have a wealth of new stuff and perhaps a handful of insightful thoughts. Or perhaps not. Enjoy.

Dead Confederate - Wrecking Ball: This was one of my favorite albums of 2008. It's definitely in that 'descendants of Neil Young' vibe the same way Nirvana was by the end of their recording career. Their second album, Sugar, which came out last year was one of the biggest disappointments for me and I worried about the band's future. Then last week I got a sampler from their label in the mail and it included a cover of Neil Young's "On the Beach" which totally blew me away. I've since been listening to this album all over again and loving it just as much as before. Truly great stuff. Below is a link to watch them playing "On the Beach" on a beach.

Yeasayer - End Blood: Released on Record Store Day, these two songs feel like the logical conclusion to last year's Odd Blood. That album was a reinvention of '80s new wave. Just like the bands from that era moved on to heavier synth, so do these two new songs. In the same way, they also feel closer to the band's 2007 album All Hour Cymbals. So far, one of the best Record Store originals I've heard for this year.

Beady Eye - Four Letter Word: The second single from Beady Eye was released way back in January and has been in steady rotation ever since. In honor of their first gig in NYC this week, figured it was a good time to review it. Though not the best A-Side from the album (That goes to The Roller), this has the best B-Side of the singles so far. "The World Outside My Room" is great revival song who's mod vibe got to me for one reason or other. Just a great tune.

The Vines - Future Primitive: It's been almost ten years since this Australian band's debut Highly Evolved came out. Three albums and a lot of strangeness later, not much has changed. Future Primitive sounds very much like it was made by the band that made their other albums. That's not to say they are stale or that they always sound the same. They a few different sounds, but those sounds never change and they use all of them on each album. The structure of the album feels the same and therefore it's very hard to tell any of them apart. And like the others, when I cut it down to around six songs, it makes a pretty great EP. Some good songs. Some not. "Autumn Shade 4" is great as usual, always the best track on the album. (There's an Autumn Shade on every album...illustrating my point exactly.)

The Rural Alberta Advantage - Departing: Released in March, this the Toronto indie band's second album, following 2008's wonderful Hometowns. I really like the way this band captures the howl of the plains in an unexpected way. It isn't haunting the way in which that feeling is usually captured, instead it kind of kicks and fights against it. This reminds me a bit of a modern Eleventh Dream Day's Praire School Freakout.

Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean: I reviewed this album a few months ago after it came out and gave it quite a mixed review. I immediately knew there were some songs on here that were brilliant and among his best (Rabbits Will Run, Your Fake Name...) but I wasn't feeling the others. After months of listening to my three favorite songs that made it onto iPod and loving them, I dug the album back out and have been listening to the whole thing pretty much every day this past week. The songs I wasn't sure about still aren't as good as the ones I was, but they are certainly better than I first gave them credit for. If this keeps up, this might end up on my year end list. Another lesson in why albums need more than one chance.

Timber Timbre - Timber Timbre: Contemporary folk from Toronto, Timber Timbre is a singer songwriter that reminds me of lot of things (Sea Wolf, A.A. Bondy, Elvis Perkins, etc), but he is also distinct in many ways. It's a very spiritual sort of album, but preaching what I want to hear. There's an eerie Leonard Cohen feel to his lyrics with a folky Nick Cave soundtrack. If that sounds like a good mix, it's because it is.

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