At this time of year, leading up to the holidays, I'm usually re-listening to the albums from throughout the year that really captured my imagination. Also, since I'm usually occupied with thinking of gift ideas, I don't tend to look for things for myself. However, there were a few things that I did make time to listen to this week. A few of these I've been saving for some time, knowing that this drought was going to come and that I'll still want some new tunes to treat my ears. A shortened list this week, but a good one. Enjoy.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Vol 1: After hearing this UK heavy psych band's second album about a month ago, I'd been really looking forward to hearing this debut released last year. Though not quite as heavy as this year's Blood Lust, it's still pretty damned heavy. There's definitely a Sabbath meets Hawkwind vibe with these guys. Easily the best new band that I've encountered this year. Now I just have to find a way to get copies of the handmade vinyl editions.
Soft Machine - Third: The Canterbury band's third album was released in 1970 and sees them move completely away from the progressive psychedelic folk of their debut just two years before. By this album, they've moved completely into prog with each side of the album consisting of two tracks of 15-20 minutes in length. However, even in that they don't loose touch with the sound of the Canterbury Scene. This actually might be my favorite album from the era. Still not the masterpiece the debut is, but a really good album with lots of space to wander through.
Joy Division - An Ideal for Living: This four song EP was the band's first release and includes four classics: "Warsaw," "No Love Lost," "Leaders of Men," and "Failures." Though all of these songs are available elsewhere on various compilations, there is still something to be said hearing them paired and in this intended order. A fabulous EP and a sign of many brilliant things to come from one of my favorite bands of all time.
Silversun Pickups - Seasick: As the L.A. indie band continues to work on their long-awaited follow-up to 2009's Swoon, they released this 3 song EP last month. Hopefully this is a preview of what the new album will sound like, because the songs are pretty fantastic. The songs, especially the title track, have a soft sound which really suits the band. They have a tendency to be over-produced on their albums. I prefer this gentle style. Really clever and eerie songs.
Brooklyn Zu - Chamber #9, Verse 32: This is a Wu-Tang related release that came out in 2008, featuring the crew put together by ODB back in the '90s. There are some ODB verses on here, along with some amazing Wu guest appearances, most notably GZA on "Knock, Knock." Overall, it's hard to really pin this down. It's definitely aggressive, which sounds amazing on songs where the beats really click with the rhymes. But on some songs, it does feel a little unnerving. A lot of people have hated on this album, but I have to admit I enjoyed it.
Yuna - Yuna EP: A few months ago, I reviewed Yuna's new EP and raved about her voice. This debut, released in 2008 showcases her voice even better in someways. "Backpacking Around Europe" remains my favorite song of hers. You can really hear the emotion in her voice and that's why even the songs sung in Malaysian are moving. There is a longer version of this, with extra tracks and one with only four. Definitely worth the extra songs.