Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekend Music Roundup

I finally return to reviewing some of the albums I bought on my massive west coast shopping trip this past spring. There's still a bunch more, but I'm trying to space them out to keep you all interested. These selections were bought in L.A., Portland, and Seattle. Most are records I knew before purchasing them, others were nice surprises. Another wide range of tastes, so hopefully there is something for everyone. Enjoy.

The Soft Machine - The Soft Machine: The 1968 debut album from the UK psychedelic prog band is not only one of my favorite albums, but I've actually had two separate dreams about buying this on vinyl. So when I found a first pressing in perfect condition at Amoeba in L.A., I was thrilled. Less crazy than their follow-up albums, this is a subtle and beautiful record. "A Certain Kind" and "Lullabye Letter" are two of the best songs of the era.

Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection: After 1971's Madman Across the Water, this is Elton's finest album, released a year earlier. The country blues vibe is perfect on here and Bernie's lyrics are amazing as usual. I found this for only $2 in Portland and though I had it digitally before, it was a needed addition to my early '70s Elton vinyl collection. This album is the one that first got me to rethink that period of his music, and the thanks fro that goes to Axl Rose who mentioned this as his favorite blues album on a GNR forum about six years ago. 

The Cure - Boys Don't Cry: This is the way the band's debut Three Imaginary Boys was released in the US, though it's not exactly the same. The track listing is different, making both necessary. Thanks to another steal price of $8, again in Portland, I now have both on vinyl. These are some of my favorite Cure songs, starting with the title track, "Fire in Cairo," "Killing an Arab," and "Jumping Someone Else's Train." A post-punk masterpiece.

Brenda Lee - Let Me Sing: Released in 1963 when Brenda was still just 19, this is the singer's ninth full length album. I've been a super fan of her '50s and early '60s work for years and have slowly been acquiring them on vinyl as I find them. I found this in Seattle for $3 and it's phenomenal. Her voice is amazing and she infuses these standards with emotion that's all her own. "Break it to Me, Gently" is one of my favorite songs of hers.

The Boggs - Forts: Released in 2007, this NYC indie album is criminally unknown. There's a manic energy on here that reminds me of Elephant 6 bands, but without the sunshine melodies those bands are known for. It's definitely experimental, but also easy to enjoy. I've had this for years but when I saw it on sale in Seattle, I couldn't resist. A great record. If you don't know should.

The Jim Kweskin Jug Band - Garden of Joy: In the early '60s this band pioneered the psychedelic folk sound that would later explode in San Fran...but they did it from Cambridge, Mass. This 1967 album is the band's fourth. Though not as exceptional as 1965's Jug Band Music or 1967's Relax Your Mind, this is still a solid record that fits nicely alongside the others on my shelf. I found this one in Seattle as well.

Bow Wow Wow - 12 Original Recordings: This compilation from the new wave band was put out in 1982 to cash in on their popularity. It includes songs from early EPs like Your Cassette Pet. When I'm in the mood, this band's chaotic energy is second to none. While these songs are sloppier than later efforts, it's still a decent record. Fun fact: a few months back, I had a dream I traveled back in time to discover I was actually the bass player for Bow Wow Wow, we were about to play a bar and I realized I didn't know any of the songs.

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