Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weekend Music Roundup

Another week gone by which means another round of albums to share with you all. Having finished the manuscript I've been torturing myself over for the last few months, this week gave me ample time to enjoy the sweet sounds of new albums. And by new, I mean mostly old. Though I did mix in a few new releases, which were all pretty great. There are more new releases planned for next week, after I've had time to digest them a bit. As usual, the list includes many genres and styles. Enjoy.

Ruby Throat - O'Doubt O'Stars: As regular readers know, my love of all things Katie Jane Garside knows no bounds. Ruby Throat is a side-project by the Queenadrenna/ Daisy Chainsaw front woman. For this, their third album, the release is limited to 500 hand made copies and I was lucky enough to get mine last week. This could be one of her best albums to date. Recorded while navigating the waterways north of London, the album has an isolated feel, combined with the richness of fairy tales and despair. It is absolutely beautiful and easily the best album I've heard in over a year.

Majic Ship - The Complete Authorized Recordings: In 1969, this New York band released it's only album, a psychedelic garage rock gem. In 1997, this compilation was released, including demos and unreleased tracks. As with most 'complete' releases like this, there are a lot of toss-off tracks that probably should have stayed buried, but they are more than made up for by the assaulting tracks from their debut release, including a melody cover of "Down By the River/ For What It's Worth."

The Kills - The Last Goodbye EP: The latest single off last year's Blood Pressures album is the record's most somber and beautiful track. The EP also includes three amazing covers of "Pale Blue Eyes," "One Silver Dollar," and "Crazy." I'm a total sucker covers and especially ones that take the band in a direction they are not known for. These slower more ethereal tracks serve the duo well and make this EP a must.

Captain Beefheart - Bat Chain Puller: Recorded in 1976, this was meant to be the follow-up 1974's more tame Bluejeans & Moonbeams, but was shelved due to disputes between management. Thirty-five years later, it was finally released this month. It definitely reverts back to the insanity of Lick My Decals Off and Trout Mask Replica, while still leaning more on grooves as the Captain's 70's work tends to do. "Floppy Boot Stomp" is a real gem here, but the entire album certainly belongs firmly in the catalog. His experimental approach to the blues and freestyle poetry is unparalleled.

Pinback - Information Retrieved Pt.B: This 7" was released in November as a companion to Part A, which came out as part of Record Store Day last April. These songs are the first new material from the band since 2007's phenomenal Autumn of the Seraphs. These songs don't deviate too much from that sound. They play an intelligent style of indie rock. There are harder elements mixed with great harmonies. These songs are very good, but just make me anxious for a new album.

Matching Mole - Matching Mole: Formed in 1972 after Robert Wyatt left Soft Machine (the band's name in French is a play on the words 'soft machine'), Matching Mole released this progressive fusion debut album which ranks right up there with the best of Soft Machine. It includes similar exploratory compositions and plenty of Wyatt's wonderful fragile vocals. Simply wonderful.

Tom Waits - Blue Valentine: This 1978 album really marks the end of the first part of the yowler's career and a transition into the next segment. As a result, it has some of the jazzy elements that characterize his earliest albums but also includes the dark wildness that would define his output in the 80's. It's quite fantastic. "Red Shoes by the Drugstore" is really the kind of Waits song I love, the sordid suggestive hint of society's underbelly. Even his piano ballads have that feel. This album definitely falls into the top third of his output in my opinion.

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