Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekend Music Roundup

As I mentioned last week, there have been a wealth of albums that I've been really into of late. This week added a few more to the list. One of the things I love about weeks where I'm not actually writing a manuscript is that I have more opportunity to listen to multiple moods and genres. When I'm in the middle of a story, I tend to stick with a musical sound that fits the mood of the piece I'm writing. Since I spent this week finishing revisions and other odds and ends, I got to play a wide range of tunes and this week certainly reflects that. There are also a lot of recent releases on this list, I put them at the top to make it easier since I know the majority of the world cares mostly for what's now and what's next rather than what came before. Enjoy.

Sivert Hoyem - Long Slow Distance: The new solo album from the singer of Madrugada is his first since 2009's Moon Landing. This is easily his best solo album since his first, 2004's Ladies and Gentlemen. It's also one of his best ever records, solo or otherwise. This is closest to Madrugada's masterpiece The Nightly Disease. The mood is dark and brilliant, something akin to the soundtrack of a mild nightmare. This has quickly become one of my favorite albums of the year. Exceptional tracks include "Warm Inside," "Animal Child," "Red on Maroon," and "Blown Away." This is a must have album, period.

A.A. Bondy - Believers: This is the third solo album from the former frontman of the criminally ignored band Verbena. Since then, he's reinvented himself into a singer songwriter of folk songs that veer toward to the gothic. I find his first solo album American Hearts to be fantastic, but was a little less impressed by the follow-up. I'm happy to say this album sees a return to form. The songs are moody and wonderful and completely capture the feeling of my home, the Catskill woods in winter time, also his home these days. Highlights include the wonderful shout out to my area "Rt.28 Believers," as well as "Skull and Bones," "DRMZ," and "The Heart is Willing."

Kasabian - Velociraptor!: I've been a fan of this band since their 2004 debut and have enjoyed all of their albums since. They've evolved with each album to become a sort of neo-psychedelic version of Britpop, heavy on grooves and guitars. This is their fist album since 2009's wonderful West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. It continues the same high-energy chaos of that album, exploring Beatles moments in the middle of electronic elements. There are a couple of songs that miss the mark on this album, but overall it's a fine addition to their catalog. Highlights include "Days are Forgotten," "Man of Simple Pleasures," and "La Fee Verte."

Wilco - The Whole Love: The pioneer Chicago americana indie band is back with their first album since 2009's self-titled and it's their best since 2007's Sky Blue Sky. Every song on here is good and the album is bookended with two longer masterpieces. Incorporating strings and plenty of acoustic guitar, this album is simply beautiful and a perfect autumn pick. Stand out tracks include "Black Moon", a throwback tune to their earlier days "Dawned on Me," and "One Sunday Morning."

Clown Alley - Circus of Chaos: This 1986 album is the only album from the heavy San Fran outfit. It has pre-Seattle sound that reminds me of the early Mudhoney singles and of course The Melvins (their guitar player would later join The Melvins in 1993). The album as a whole is very uneven with some songs sounding like a lot of other '80s hardcore, but the songs that capture a manic Stooges vibe are quite good. Worth checking out if you're a fan of this kind of thrash sound.

Sic Alps - U.S. EZ: Released in 2008, this is the second album by the experimental psychedelic lo-fi San Francisco band. This album loses some of the noisy tracks that I felt plagued the first and improves its neo-Grateful Dead vibe on the rest of the tracks. Still a bit crazed, think Guided By Voices or early Flaming Lips, but shows tons of promise leading up the next album. This is one certainly worth checking out if your into lo-fi. Highlight tracks include "Gelly Roll Gum Drop," "Everywhere, There," and "Mater."

The Cool Kids - When Fish Ride Bicycles: This Chicago hip-hop duo exploded on the scene in 2008 with the dynamite track "Black Mags." Since then, they've released a few mixed tapes and now comes this full-length album which has been delayed for years. The songs here keep their trademark slow delivery and big bass beats. When it hits on songs like "Bundle" and "Rush Hour Traffic", the Cool Kids are hard to beat. However the album falters quite a bit with slowjam R&B elements and less than stellar pool side rap. A couple of great songs, but fails to live up to the promise shown a few years ago.

The Seeds - A Web of Sound: This was the find of the day a few weeks back when I went vinyl shopping. I came across an original pressing of this 1966 California garage rock classic and had to have it. This is the band at its best, short, blistering, psychedelic rock tunes and the epic 14 minute "Up In Her Room." This band is considered one of the precursors to punk and it's easy to see why. This album is a definite must have, along with the self-titled album released in the same year.

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