Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Music Roundup

It was full-on summer in my neck of the woods for a good part of this week. I had to bunker down in the basement for a day to avoid the swelter. As a result, my musical tastes took a drastic switch this week. As I've mentioned many times before, the weather greatly affects the music I listen to. Summer for me is a time of guitars played angrily and that's pretty well represented on this week's list. Some old and some new, but together they got me through the heat wave. Then the weather broke and I spent yesterday listening the Natural Snow Buildings seven-hour masterpiece Daughter of Darkness. But that's another story completely. Enjoy.

Black Lips - Arabia Mountain: For nearly a decade, the Atlanta group has been putting out album after album of their lo-fi garage rock. There's always been a bit of unevenness with this band, but that's to be expected given their seemingly carefree attitude toward the process. That said, I feel that with this album and 2009's 200 Million Thousand, the releases have grown more solid. There's no surprises on this one. It's the same brand of fuzzed out little numbers, but it's good. "You Keep On Running" is one of their best songs yet.

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues: It's been three years since this Seattle indie folk band's debut brought mainstream attention to the growing folk movement. But the thing Fleet Foxes added to the genre was this choral-like spiritual sound. That continues on this album. In fact, this album deviates very little from the debut. In a way it's odd that three years hasn't changed anything. On the other hand, songs this carefully constructed take time. A very good album, even if it doesn't feel all that fresh.

Joshua - Opens Your Mind: The only album of early '70s Heavy Psych band is a decent addition to the genre. It's pretty standard duel guitar hard rock, but there are definite moments of freak out joy. The song "The Fist" is pretty fantastic. Worth checking out if you played all your early heavy rock to death and are looking for some new sounds to fill the air.

Goblin Cock - Come With Me if you Want to Live: Given the name and the band's ridiculous album covers, it would be easy to assume Goblin Cock were some awful joke. However, the truth is, this is a side project from some members of Pinback and actually quite good. It takes the Pinback sound and adds a level of stoner metal to it. It falls somewhere between heavy metal and indie rock, which probably won't please fans of either. But if you're a fan of both, the combination is kind of nice.

The Lollipop Shoppe - Just Colour: A few weeks ago I was listening The Seeds (a late '60s garage rock band from California) and in the CD were pictures of their old concert posters with The Lollipop Shoppe as an opening band. A day later, I came across this, the band's only album from 1968. Like The Seeds, this album is pretty groundbreaking. It's easy to see the influence this band had on the development of heavier psych and early punk. The songs are fiery and fantastic. This is rare gem that deserves more recognition.

Angelica - The End of a Beautiful Career: Despite the title, this 2000 album is the debut from the UK girl rock band and was the start of a promising career that ended soon afterward. I had been searching for this album for a few years after reading great things. I finally got a copy for Christmas and was slightly disappointed. It's not bad, but it's basically a riot grrl album, several years past the genre's prime. It's a solid okay.

Electric Wizard - Come My Fanatics: Regular readers of the Roundup are familiar with my seemingly endless praise of this dynamic UK stoner metal band. This 1997 album (the band's second) was released three years prior to their masterpiece Dopethrone. Like that album, this one is heavy with a capital H. "Son of Nothing" and "Return to the Son of Nothingness" are epic.
America - America: The 1971 debut album from the UK folk rock band features the band's best known song "Horse with No Name" which despite having heard it sixteen million times in my life, still pleases. But there is more to the album than that. Certainly the band is doing their best Neil Young impression on the songs, but they do it well. There are a handful of sub par tracks, but there are also a handful of stand outs. All in all, a nice '70s folk rock album.

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