Sunday, April 8, 2012

Weekend Music Roundup

What better way to spend the holiday than talking about music? Actually, what better way is there to spend pretty much any day? This week I was still catching up with music that has been given to me, as well as the last round of vinyl I purchased. But I've also been exploring old albums of mine in preparation of revamping my iPod for an upcoming road trip. It makes for quite an interesting list and hopefully there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Joose Keskitalo - Joose Keskitalo ja Kolmas Maailmanpalo: This 2008 album is the first I've heard from the Finish singer songwriter, but I'm sure it won't be the last. This album is absolutely beautiful. The songs are very simple, yet haunting. It's folk music with usually just an acoustic guitar to accompany the voice. Though I can't understand the language, I can sense the emotion in the songs. It's sad and desperate and uplifting at the same time.

Guided by Voices - Under the Bushes Under the Stars: Following up 1994's Bee Thousand and 1995's Alien Lanes is a near impossible feet, but the Dayton indie band has never been shy about releasing material. Robert Pollard has a seemingly unending well of songs to fetch when needed and this 1996 album is proof of that. When other songwriters might be feeling bankrupt, he churns out another 24 lo-fi gems on this record. Sure, some of it sounds repetitive but the when the formula is good, the repetition sails along easily and enjoyably.

Rush - Caress of Steel: My journey through Rush's catalog continued with their third album, and second one released in 1975. Given that it came out the same year, understandably this album differs very little from Fly By Night. However, this does feel a little heavier. Like the previous album, there are moments when Rush soars and moments where they falter. I'm greatly looking forward to the next album, the 1976 masterpiece 2112

Metallica - ...And Justice for All: The 1988 thrash metal masterpiece has been in my collection since, surprise, 1988, when it rocked 7th grade like few other albums could. I pulled this CD out recently and have been listening to it for nearly every car ride since. This is the holy grail of thrash/ speed metal and nothing has really topped it in the genre since it came out. Hearing it again, I also noticed how there are moments where it also helps invent what is now known as melodic folk metal. It is unbelievably fast and best heard extremely LOUD. Too many great songs to name here, but "One" is definitely one of my favorite songs of all time.

Judas Priest - Killing Machine (aka Hell Bent for Leather): The British metal band's fifth album, released in 1979, falls right in the heart of their blistering hey day. By this time they've perfected duel guitar attack that defined the sound of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Every song on this record rocks, from the relentless opener "Delivering the Goods" to the end of Side B, it never lets up. This was given to me on vinyl and has been in heavy rotation ever since.

Pink Floyd - Amazing Pudding in Bath 1970: Any regular reader of the Roundup knows I'm a huge fan of this Floyd era, the time between Syd's leaving and the band finding their new direction that came in '73 with Dark Side of the Moon. I have many bootlegged concerts from this period, most consist of the same set list. This one is slightly different. Included are era staples "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," "Careful with that Axe, Eugene," and "A Saucerful of Secrets," but this set also includes "Green is the Colour," a brilliant gem from the More album as well as song they introduce as "The Amazing Pudding," which would later become "Atom Heart Mother." The recording quality is a little suspect as always with these concerts, but this one holds up a little better than most and is easily one of the best from the dozen live recordings I've heard from '69-'70.

Babyshambles - Royalty Songs: This Japanese bootleg contains demos from sessions for the band's 2005 debut album Down in Albion. Produced by Mick Jones of The Clash, these versions are messier and more raw than the already messy ones on the album, but that sound has always suited this band. There are many bootleg sessions of theirs and they rank among my favorite output of the band. Pete is just entering the height of his artistic production, and sadly also the height of his drug troubles here...but the two combine to create amazing tales of modern helplessness and wandering. Truly a great addition to the all too limited Babyshambles catalog.

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