In the few years of doing the Roundup, this week might be a first. All the albums on this week's list were given to me by friends. Typically there are a lot of albums given to me by friends. I have several musical soul siblings who I routinely swap with, but I don't think I've ever made an entire week of albums consisting only of given music. There's quite a spectrum of tastes on here, but all are pretty amazing. Enjoy.
Tim Buckley - Lorca: I've been on a huge Tim Buckley kick lately. With each album I hear, I'm even more in awe of his talent and the range of emotion and mood in his records. This 1970 album is his fifth, released only four years after his debut. So far it's the darkest of all of his records I've heard, which really makes it stand out for me. I've been listening to it pretty much every day this week and it continues to blow me away. Truly brilliant.
Electrelane - The Power Out: This 2004 album is the experimental indie band's second album, but the only one I've heard of their four. Their sound is certainly unique and very different from other British bands of the era, or even of today. There is a spooky element to the songs, but also an excitement as each song seems to pick up, evolving into stellar expanses with a good rhythm behind them. With each listen, the album grows more intense. I can't wait to hear their other work.
Black Lace - Get It While It's Hot: Visiting the dANIMAL last week, he'd put aside some metal records he'd gotten for me, knowing how I like the metal. Despite the horrible cover, I decided to give this one a shot, mainly because the one band member is wearing a Clockwork Orange shirt in the photo on the back. It was surprisingly not a bad record. It came out in 1985 and the UK band plays straight forward New Wave of British Heavy Metal, obviously inspired by Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. The songs rock hard enough, even if they aren't at all original.
Bob Dylan & George Harrison - Session at Columbia Studio: This bootleg consists of a session from 1970 where the two legends got together and jammed on a series of covers and some Dylan songs. Dylan signing "Yesterday" is a revelation. The cover of "Cupid" is also amazing. A really great relaxed set where they are just having fun. Wonderful pick-up if you find it.
Aimee Mann - Smilers: After seeing Aimee Mann play several weeks back, I've been listening to her albums relentlessly. This 2008 album is her latest to date, but I'd never picked it up, mostly because her previous album, The Forgotten Arm, never really stuck with me. But I'd been wanting to hear this one for weeks now and finally did. I'm happy to say it ranks right up there with her best work from the early part of the decade. She has such a knack for storytelling in her songs and for writing sunny California melodies to lift her tales of desperation. Another great record, can't wait for her new one later this year.
Hidur Gudnadottir - Without Sinking: Released in 2009, this is the Icelandic musician's debut. It's an instrumental, neo-folk ambient album that makes great use of dramatic arrangements to recreate the swirling howl of the arctic north. I always find albums like this to be nice soundscapes to listen to as I write. Both moody and beautiful.
Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost: The San Fran band's second album, which came out last fall, is one of those records that really grew on me. On first listen, I thought it was okay. After the third listen, I was addicted. It's a low-key indie rock record with so many different angles that it remains compelling throughout. "Just a Song" is completely brilliant.