As the holiday weekend comes to a close, it's time to be thankful for some good music. In the spirit of that, this list represents a wide range of interests, from prog to freak folk to hip-hop. These are mostly albums that were culled from my raid of my own wishlist a few weeks back. Most are older, yet there are a few new releases mixed in for those who only care about music made in the present. Either way, there should be something for everyone. Enjoy.
Matching Mole - Little Red Record: After leaving Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt founded Matching Mole in 1971. The next year, they released two records. The first was the self-titled album that I reviewed earlier this year. Little Red Record was the second. Both albums are heavy on prog experimentalism, though the first feels slightly more cohesive than this one. There are moments of brilliance scattered throughout this ambling record, but sadly there are moments where it can grow a bit tiring. The radicalism of its politics makes it unique and definitely worthy of a listen or two. "Righteous Rhumba" is a stand out track here.
The Rain Parade - Emergency Third Rail Power Trip: Released in 1983, this is the LA band's celebrated debut. It's almost impossible to imagine, at least for me, that this album isn't British. It has all the hallmarks of a sound that would go on to be defined by The Smiths and later The Stone Roses and Ride, the jangle guitar, the ethereal voices, and intelligent craftsmanship. This is a fantastic record, one that should probably get more attention than it does. They went on to record two more albums in the 80's, and David Roback went on to form Mazzy Star.
Brunning Hall Sunflower Blues Band - I Wish You Would: Formed after Peter Green left the original Fleetwood Mac lineup, this British blues band recorded four albums from 1968-1970. This is a compilation of two of them. Like all of Peter Green's work, this follows the standard British blues formula, but as with any blues, it's the emotion the players put into it that really makes or breaks the record. This is all very solid stuff, with a few gems that stand out, such as "Bad Luck." Not essential, but definitely worth checking out for fans of the genre.
Jordaan Mason - One Day The Horses Will Have Their Revenge: This the 2005 debut from the singer songwriter who I first discovered on Fanfare for Neutral Milk Hotel series. It's no surprise that he'd be on there as his work derives directly from the experimental lo-fi folk rock of Jeff Mangum. He sings in a similar swirling style accompanied by bare acoustic guitar. However, he doesn't ever sound like an imitator. His writing is poetic and voice is full of expression. This album is a borderline masterpiece of the genre, along with his 2009 album Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head, that one with backing band The Horse Museum. If you're a fan of lo-fi singer songwriters, Jordaan Mason is a must.
Tame Impala - Lonerism: It's been two years since this Australian band burst onto the indie psychedelic scene with 2010's Innerspeaker, but if this follow-up, released last month, is any indication, the time off was well spent. This album is much more polished than the last. Musically, it soars with layers of sounds that are pulled together by melody of the singer's voice. There is something in their songs that reminds me of The Flaming Lips or Stardeath and White Dwarfs. A very solid rock record.
Buffalo Killers - Dig. Sow. Love. Grow: On their fourth album, this Cincinnati revival band continues their quest to bring back the vibe of 70's classic rock. They succeed amazingly well. Any listener unaware that this was an album released in 2012 would assume it was some country rock gem from 1974 that they just couldn't place. Their authenticity has always been the thing that attracted me to this band back in 2006 when their debut was released. This album is very strong, though by its nature, it's not very original. Perfect for fans of classic rock who feel nothing good has been recorded since.
Chadd Downing - PMFL: These two releases are interesting to compare. The first is a mix tape released by the Trenton rapper and the second is the same album mixed by Slim K. It's not really a mix, but rather a "slowdown" of the album, meaning it's the same exact material in a slower speed. The original album is straight hip-hop with decent beats on most tracks. Chadd Downing has a nice flow and definite skills. On the second, it sounds meaner. Some of the songs work much better in the slow versions, and when it works, the beats really kick. Other tracks, it just sounds like a song being played at the wrong speed. I recommend both, just pick and choose tracks from each. Both are available for free download at datpiff.com.