Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weekend Music Roundup

As promised, the Roundup returns back to it's regularly scheduled programming this week. The cusp of summer has arrived here in the hills, bringing with it the buzzing of bees and swarms of pollen that swells in the humidity. The only redemption we have from this horrible season is the sweet sounds of music that seem to glide easily through the warm air. The albums this week, though I've been listening to them for weeks, will most likely have a shelf life through the summer. Quite a range, hopefully you'll find something you enjoy.

Daughter - The Wild Youth EP: The London based art folk band released two EPs in 2011, before releasing their debut album earlier this year. This is the second of the two EPs and it's four songs of beautiful brilliance. From the heartbreaking opening track "Home," this release sinks into you and doesn't leave. Sure, there are lots of other bands that sound like this, First Aid Kit and Smoke Fairies come to mind, but there is something special about these songs that makes them stand-out in my opinion. This is one of those records that sounds super in the morning and is well worth checking out.

Adam and the Ants - Kings of the Wild Frontier: Released in 1980, this is the new wave Godfather's second album with the Ants. As followers are sure to notice by now, I've been on a huge Adam Ant kick over the past few months and am ready to declare him a musical genius. This album is simply fantastic, incorporating all the quirkiness of early new wave infused with leftover elements from their punk roots. "Antmusic," "Ants Invasion," "Killer in the Home," and "Feed Me to the Lions," are stand out tracks, though to be honest there aren't really any bad tracks on here.

Johnossi - Transitions: Released last month, this is the Stockholm indie rock band's fourth album, and easily their best since 2005's phenomenal self-titled debut. It's been three years since their last album, and the time off was well worth the wait. After the brilliant promise on their debut, the band slowly wilted into a somewhat generic indie rock band, but with Transitions they return to form, living up to the potential shown eight years ago. In many ways, this sounds like the true follow-up, at least to my ears. The edge has returned to the songwriting, giving it a polished garage rock feel that the Scandinavians do so well. "Bear/Bull," "Seventeen," and "Tell the World" are stand out tracks.

Kadavar - Abra Kadavar: The second album from Berlin's heavy psyche rock band is nearly enough to propel them to legendary status in my mind. Following up on last year's fantastic self-titled debut, the band continues to pound out perfect metal grooves. They wisely combine the appeal of stoner metal with the boom of Black Sabbath. Just like their last album, this one seems destined to make my best of the year list. Along with bands like The Sword and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats we are experiencing a comeback of psychedelic metal, and for that, I'm thankful.

Bowerbirds - Lost Souls EP: It's hard to believe this contemporary folk band has been around nearly a decade, having released three solid albums since 2006. This EP, released in February, is the follow up to last year's The Clearing. At five tracks, this is a nice little album featuring their typical scaled back sound and interesting arrangements. Another great morning album, and like most of their work, it seems more suited for grey skies than sunshine. "Brave World" is the real stand out track for me.

Pagoda - Rebirth: After six years of silence, Micheal Pitt's band finally returns with a new album. There were a lot people who hated on their 2007 self-titled album, but I was not one of them. In fact, I still listen to it quite frequently. There was a poetry to the lyrics on that album that fit well with the Seattle inspired music. They were written off as Nirvana imitators, but that wasn't really fair. They took the 'grunge' sound into new territory. This album explores even deeper, but in its exploration, abandons almost any traditional song structure. Perhaps trying to break away from the labels thrown on the band, they've stretched themselves. There were moments on their fist album that felt like a shaman quest, "Death to Birth" certainly did. This album feels even more like a trip into the spirit world, encountering moments of calm like in "Blood Crosses," and moments of terror like "Drop D." This album is interesting, certainly not for everyone, and certainly an album one must be in the mood for. Even then, however, there are songs that I admit, I'm just not that into.

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