Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekend Music Roundup

As every music collector knows, yesterday was Record Store Day. This year I made the pilgrimage to Poughkeepsie to finally visit Darkside, a store I've been meaning to check out for well over a year. After going through their great selection of reasonably price vinyl, I walked away quite happy. Though I did manage to listen to three of the six records I bought yesterday, only one is included in this week's list. That's because I have seven new releases here that I wanted to share while they were current. And if you missed Record Store Day, you should go out next weekend and snatch up some of these top flight records. Enjoy.

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Mind Control: As long time readers are aware, I absolutely love this heavy psych band out of London. Their last album was my favorite of 2011 and now this is poised to become one of my favorites for this year. While it lacks the manic frenzy of Blood Lust, it makes up for it with heavier droning riffs that harken back to Black Sabbath, yet keeps the relentless guitar and haunting vocals of a ghost hidden in the music. The opening two songs "Mt. Abraxas" and "Mind Crawler" set the tone from the beginning and it never really lets up.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mosquito: After four years of silence, NYC's trend setters finally return with a new album and it's leaps and bounds better than 2009's disappointing It's Blitz. They don't make the mistake of trying to return to their early 2000's sound, instead they wisely chose to take steps forward, presenting a softer side while steering clear of ever being boring. There are some weaker tracks, I'm talking to you "Mosquito", but all in all a very solid record. Nice to see them back in the game. "Sacrilege" "Subway" and "Wedding Song" are stand out tracks for me.

Cold War Kids - Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: With their first two albums, this Long Beach indie band won me over with their unique blend of genre bending pop rock. However, their last album, 2011's Mine is Yours failed to connect with me, so I was a little nervous for this album released earlier this month. But I'm happy to report that it's definitely a comeback album, capturing the magic of Robbers & Cowards and Loyalty to Loyalty. This band is what Arcade Fire would sound like if raised on the beaches of California. "Lost that Easy," "Loner Phase," "Jailbirds" and "Tuxedos" are amazing.

Bloodgroup - Tracing Echoes: The third album from the Icelandic electronic group is a bit of a throwback to the trip-hop heyday of the mid-to-late 90's. It resembles the darker edge of Tricky's Pre Millennium Tension album, and Massive Attack's Mezzanine, creating a spooky soundscape of haunting noise and vocals. But at times, it can also feel as soft as The Xx and as beautiful as Scala. A really surprising album that I've enjoyed quite a bit.

Iron & Wine - Ghost on Ghost: The folk rocker's first album since 2011's fantastic Kiss Each Other Clean is a bit of a return to earlier efforts. It's a little more straight forward in its arrangements, but that doesn't make them any less enjoyable. Sam Bean's voice is as clear and wonderful as ever, rambling on like a slow moving creek in the summer. This is the kind of album that if you've ever enjoyed any of his other records, there is no way you won't enjoy this one too. "Low Light Buddy of Mine," "Grace for Saints and Ramblers," "Lover's Revolution," and "Winter Prayers" are among my favorites.

Dead Ghosts - Can't Get No: Released in February, this is the Vancouver garage rock band's second album, and as you might be able to tell by the cover image, it was released on cassette, the new standard for indie cred. What we have here is one of the best garage rock, lo-fi albums in years. Very reminiscent of early Black Lips albums, this is 30 minutes of fuzzy riff rock n roll. Absolutely awesome stuff.

Murder By Death - As You Wish: Kickstarter Covers: An interesting release from the Indiana based gothic country band responsible for some of my favorite albums of the last decade. As the title suggests, it's an album of covers. Now I might not be the best person to review this given that I'm a sucker for covers, and even more so for cover albums. They do what they are supposed to with the genre, picking unexpected songs, like INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart" along with ones that you'd expect them to do a great job on like Elliott Smith's "Needle in the Hay" and Tom Waits' "New Coat of Paint." A few minor missteps, but overall a very good album.

Adam & The Ants - Antmusic EP: For the last month or so, I've been on a big Adam Ant kick and needless to say when I came across this 1980 gem at the vinyl store yesterday for $5, I knew it had to be part of my Record Store Day purchase. It was the first thing I listened to when I got home and it's crazy good. Released after their first album, it's actually recordings from before. More punk rock than new wave, but punk with the creepings of new wave. There is so much energy and weirdness, delivered with excellence. Only one pressing was ever made of this, so it's also a very nice collectors item, worth much more than I paid for it. "Kick" and "Friends", the opening and closing tracks respectively, are dynamite.

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