Back to a normal format this week, which means another random selection of albums. Most of these are albums I've been listening to for the past few weeks, because for most of this week, I've been listening to old albums that I hadn't listened to for a long time due to a much needed overall of CDs in my office. Because of that, this is the first time in a long time that I didn't listen to a single new album all week long. It was kind of refreshing. Luckily I had these albums just waiting for their reviews. Enjoy.
The Stands - Horse Fabulous: About a year ago, I first heard this Liverpool band's 2004 album and loved it. The other week, I finally got my hands on this 2005 follow-up, and still the band's last release to date. Like the Brooklyn band The Rosewood Thieves, this band has that sound that falls right inbetween the Beatles and their subsequent reinterpretation care of Oasis. They take the mellower acoustic Beatles feel and update it into a beautiful record. I'm still surprised this band isn't better known. Both albums are truly great.
Hot Chip - In Our Heads: I'd nearly written off London's premier indie electronic band after 2010's terrible One Life Stand, but went back for this follow-up released in June simply hoping for the magic of their first three albums. Though it still falls short of 2006's The Warning, it does come close to equaling 2008's Made in the Dark. They return to synth dance melodies that are actually catchy in a Thriller kind of way. "How Do You Do?" is a stand out track.
Bad Veins - The Mess We've Made: The Cincinnati indie rock band's 2009 self-titled debut was a pleasant surprise that felt like The Strokes in the early days. This new album, released this year is a little more by the numbers and takes less chances, though to be fair, the other album wasn't exactly dangerous. This sort of reminds me of an American Kasier Chiefs. Nothing groundbreaking, but a decent indie rock album with some decent songs.
Neil Young - "Shut Up...Or I'll Split": This is a bootleg that I've had for several years and recently have been listening to it a lot. The title comes from the opening track, which Neil stops shortly into it and addresses the crowd, telling them he's not together enough to deal with any noise, so they'd better shut up or he'll split. They do, and are rewarded with an amazing acoustic set that includes many of his best songs, some of them played for the first time.
Holograms - Holograms: Released last month, this is the debut album from the Stockholm based post-punk band. Borrowing heavily from Bauhaus, early Cure, and more recently The Horrors, they combine dark vocals with up tempo gothic rock. At moments, they really capture the best of that era, but I can't help but wish there was something new brought to it. All in all, a promising debut with hope that better things are to come.
Curren$y - Cigarette Boats: This new EP from the southern rapper is kind of awesome. The beats are laid back and trippy. The rhyme flow is a careful slow delivery, but it's never boring. Lots of clever turns of phrase, and a short 5 track set keep it fresh throughout. Definitely worth checking it out. It's available for free at datpiff.com.
Mobb Deep - White Cocaine: The Queensbridge duo released this mixtape in 2011, shortly before the official Black Cocaine release. It's a return to form after several disappointing releases. It's very raw, and pays tribute to the '90s hey day of NYC hardcore hip hop. Certainly not as dynamic as their 1995 masterpiece The Infamous, but quality hip hop for sure.