For some reason, this week was a bit of a nostalgia week for me. About mid-week, I got the jones to listen Death From Above 1979 and that set off a chain reaction of listening to other favorites from summers past. Since they've all been in my possession for much longer than I've been keeping this blog, I figured it was a good time to give them some due. Likewise, some of the new things on here are old in a sense...simply different versions of sounds I've known intimately for years and years. So enjoy this bit of nourishment, a taste of what makes me tick.
Neil Young - Live in San Francisco: This 180 gram double vinyl was released in Denmark a couple of years back and I was lucky enough to pick it up on my recent trip across the pond. It's from the Live Rust concert tour (one of my favorite albums) and the track list mirrors that to an extent, but also includes some of the gems from Rust Never Sleeps as well. It's nice to hear it all in one concert, flaws and all. The pressing is amazing and the sound is incredible. I'd been wanting to get Live Rust on vinyl even though I have it on CD, but this turned out even better as it's something new. Great stuff.
The Verve - Northern Soul Demos: When I came across this bootleg recently, I was super excited. I'm a big sucker for demo versions of songs, being a fan of raw lo-fi. Combine that with one of my ten favorite albums of all time and needless to say there was a bit of drool involved. However, this is one of the rare times when I actually feel like the studio album captures the band even better. The sessions for this album were notoriously unhealthy. That's not the issue here though. The songs are just as emotionally raw as ever. The problem is simply with the poor, pitchy recording quality that gets in the way of the eternal howl that Mad Richard sends forth on the album. Interesting listen for other super fans of the album however.
Kaiser Chiefs - The Future is Medieval: The lone new album from this week's bunch is the Leeds' bands first album in three years. I've never been a huge fan of this band, always considering them to be rather second tier when it came to the current crop of Brit-rock. This album does little to change my opinion, though as with their others, it's a decent crop of indie rock. There are actually a few tracks here that stand out and show a nice progression into a new sound, something that has been lacking on all their previous albums. There is also an interesting Duran Duran vibe to a bunch of the songs that I like. That said, the album is long and a bit all over the place. There's bound to be a song or two for everyone. I suppose that's what they're going for.
The Horrors - Strange House: The 2007 debut album from London garage goth rockers made a bit of splash when it came out and I was all over the horrorshow sound. This is one of the albums that I revisited this week and if anything, I admired it more having not heard it in almost two years. If The Cure had done a horror punk album, it would sound a bit like this, or perhaps if the Misfits had done a slower synth type album. Either way, it's fantastic and original and there's not much like it if you're in the mood.
Death from Above 1979 - You're a Woman, I'm a Machine: This album pretty much dominated the summer of 2005 for me and it's done the same again this week. Recently reformed, this garage rock duo plays some of the most furious rock you'll ever hear. It's a very NYC sound, or at least it is to my ears, capturing the feel of that town's sweltering summers, even though the band is from Toronto. Perhaps that just me projecting, but they're more reminiscent of early Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Rapture than the Toronto scene. Super album. Can't wait for new material.
Pleasure Forever - Pleasure Forever: The debut album from this San Fran trio, released in 2001, was also a favorite of mine from the summer of 2005. Again, I hadn't listened to it for some time and pulled it out this week (all of these albums are on the same shelf in my collection, in case you were wondering). This is a fantastic rock album that takes a good influence from Nirvana (unlike bad influences in such bands as Bush), adds in some Nick Cave piano, and a bit of Black Sabbath rhythm into complicated song structures. It's shame they only released two albums. This band deserves more recognition.
A.R.E. Weapons - A.R.E. Weapons: This album ruled my headphones in 2004, blasting this on the hellish subway commute and feeling the burnout metal vibe of this stellar album. Fair warning, there are lot of people that absolutely despise this album. I'm not one of them. This truly captures that being trapped in NYC vibe and spitting it out at the world with A.ttitude R.aw E.nergy. There's an incredible mix of influences on here from punk to hip-hop to heavy metal. "Headbanger Face" is pure heavy delight.
Mötley Crüe - Hotter Than Hell: Going way back, Shout at the Devil has been a staple of mine since I was about 10 years old. I still own it on cassette (as well an upgrade to CD) and it still rocks. Every song on that album is a glam rock classic. This bootleg is of a concert from that tour and it's great to hear these songs live. However, I would certainly stick to the studio album. The band often played under the influence of many substances and it shows. There's some sloppy moments and again the album suffers from poor recording quality, which is problematic for songs like these that you want to crank at full volume.