Well the road trip is finally over, the shopping spree finally ended, and it's time to get back to sharing my thoughts on albums I've listened to over the past week or so. For the road, I had uploaded a whole mess of CDs that I hadn't listened to in years, which made for a very nice drive. But since coming home, I've mostly been listening to the records I bought on the trip. Some of them I've heard before, having them either digitally or on CD, but most of the records I bought were new to me. It's a pretty broad mix of sounds, hopefully something for everyone. Enjoy.
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger - La Carotte Bleue: The debut 2010 EP from Sean Lennon's latest project was released around the same time as the stellar LP. It contains some of the same of songs, though on the LP the songs are acoustic. The arrangements are slightly different here, and it benefits some of the songs, while others I prefer the LP version. There are also a few songs on here that don't appear on the album. A fine listen, their voices really work well together and Sean continues to grow as a songwriter.
Bill Ryder-Jones - If...: The 2011 debut LP from The Coral guitarist is mostly instrumental, but utterly lovely music. He'd done a bunch of demos that I heard over a year ago, which were brilliant and certainly prompted me to buy this. While the demos were bare home recordings in the style of a reclusive singer-songwriter, this album is much bigger in scope and production with classical music influences. A wonderful early morning album, or something to listen to while driving through the Redwoods as I did last week.
The Black Keys - Chulahoma: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough: Released in 2006, before The Black Keys became one of the saviors of rock, this EP is the two piece band at their barest and best. Consisting of six Junior Kimbrough covers, this is a fiery blues masterpiece. I've had this digitally for years, but really wanted it on vinyl. I was glad to have found it in L.A. and it was one of the first to be listened to out of the 60+ albums I brought back with me.
The Rolling Stones - Metamorphosis: This was an impulse buy, having found it in the recent arrivals bin for $8 in Portland. It's far from being a classic Stones album, it's actually more of a compilation than an LP, featuring songs from different eras and alternate takes. But it contains some my favorite Stones songs, including "Out of Time," "Jiving Sister Fanny," "Heart of Stone," and the under appreciated "Family." It's certainly a quality record with guests galore, even if the version of "Memo for Turner" is disappointing.
Nirvana - Rise and Fall: So it's started...the Nirvana bootleg vinyl buying. I guess that's not exactly true either though since I have 3 bootleg Nirvana 7" records from back in the day. But anyone that follows here regularly knows I have an extensive Nirvana bootleg collection on CD. It's primarily where my spare money went back in college. 2nd Avenue Records in Portland had a great selection of vinyl bootlegs, and I would have resisted this except the track listing was apparently made by my fan double. It contains many of my favorite rare songs, including Kurt's home demo of "Old Age" which I'd only had on mp3 before, so that was a steal. Fantastic and worth every penny.
The Kinks - Kinks-Size: I almost never see early Kinks vinyl for sale, only their 70's work, of which I'm not a fan. But their early stuff puts them as the third best British Invasion band in my opinion (just behind the Beatles and the Stones). This 1965 US release compiles some of the earliest EPs and therefore contains a stunning set list. The album is in fair condition, and for $7 there was no way I was going to leave it behind. Blistering garage/pop brilliance, including "All Day and All of the Night," "I Gotta Go Now," and "Tired of Waiting for You."
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown: For a mere $10 in Portland, I was able to acquire this 1968 masterpiece, which I nearly paid $40 for last summer. Arthur Brown is considered the first "shock rocker" often appearing on stage in insane psychedelic outfits and make up, sometimes on fire, and always on acid. But none of that would matter without the fantastic music, heavier than most anything at the time. "Fire" and "I Put a Spell on You" are the best known, but the Goblin Market inspired "Come and Buy" is just as excellent.
Violent Femmes - Children of the Revolution: This 1986 12" single features the title track, a cover of the T Rex classic. The band does a very nice job with it, sticking close to the original, but easily making it identifiable as a Violent Femmes song. The B-side includes two classic Femmes tracks, "Heartache" and "Good Feeling." The cover was certainly what attracted me to this, the Statue of Liberty overlooking the bodies of children in Vietnam, all over shadowed by the screened pistol. This is the cover of the Spain release...the US release was decidedly more tame.