This has been one of those weeks where I raided my never ending wishlist for albums that have been on there for years in some cases. With some good fortune, I was able to track down some of the more obscure records that have eluded me in the past. They date from the 60's, 80's, 90's, 00's and range from garage rock to freak folk, and for the most part, are all pretty much awesome. I've always believed there's something to be said for anticipation when it comes to books and music. I suppose that's how the people who circle dates on their calendar to mark new releases feel, but I prefer the unknowing as to when you will encounter the next thing to inspire you. Enjoy.
The Deep - Psychedelic Moods: This 1966 album is the only record this Philly band ever put out and it was one of those holy grail lost albums, until it was finally re-released in 2010. It's phenomenally ahead of its time and sounds like a garage version of early Jefferson Airplane material. It also bears a resemblance to the beautiful weirdness of The United States of America, but everything is tuned slightly heavier. This is definitely an album I should've never left to sit on my wish list for years.
Jordaan Mason - Make Blankets Your Yard: I've been a big fan of Jordaan Mason from the very first moment upon hearing his "Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head" album back in 2009, recorded as collective known as Jordaan Mason and The Horse Museum. It was only after that I discovered he'd recorded four solo albums before that, and later, upon listening to the fan contributed A Fanfare for Neutral Milk Hotel that he had a song on there, which is fitting given the clear influence Jeff Mangum has on his songwriting. This is Jordaan's second album, released in 2005, the same year as his first, "One Day the Horses Will Have Their Revenge." It opens with the wonderful "Snow," one of the his best songs that I've heard so far. The album continues on in a lo-fi acoustic style, something akin to a campfire concert of beautiful surrealist tales. This is the perfect album for a cloudy morning. I truly love it. Definitely a songwriter that deserves more attention than he's ever gotten.
Echo and The Bunnymen - Crocodiles: Back in High School, I had one of this Liverpool band's albums, 1990's indie pop Reverberation, the band's first album without founding singer Ian McCulloch. I didn't care for it at all, sold it, and wrote off the band. That is until recently. After a mention of this album, their1980 debut, in the Spacemen 3 book that I reviewed last week, I decided to check it out. This album is pretty fantastic. It's a post punk album that reminds me of The Cure's early work, but with a more psychedelic rock edge to it. It also reminds me of Television's Marquee Moon. It's pretty fantastic stuff, "Pride" and "Rescue" are two of the more outstanding tracks on an album without any glaring weak spots.
Mountain - Nantucket Sleighride: A few months ago I picked Mountain's first album, 1970's "Climbing" and was pretty blown away. So when I came across this 1971 album last weekend for a few bucks on vinyl, I had to pick it up. Though not as heavy or fresh sounding as its predecessor, this is still a great hard rock album from the early days of the genre. The two albums together make a nice set, and I'd certainly recommend them to any fan of Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath.
The White Stripes - Nine Miles From The White City: Released earlier this month as a fan club special, this double album is a live recording of a concert from Chicago in 2003. The setlist includes many live rarities, including my personal favorite "Candy Cane Children." This is the sound of a band at its height. They were riding the wave of success off of White Blood Cells and being propelled to super stardom with the release of Elephant. The show is electric and really does a great job of capturing the manic energy of their live shows. In my opinion, their best live album to date.
Discount - Half Fiction: Though from the late '90s, I first heard of this band two years ago. It's Allison Mosshart's pre The Kills band. At that time, I listened to the third and final album "Crash Diagnostic" and wasn't very enthused about it. This album was released the year before that one, in 1999, and it's pretty by-the-numbers 90's alternative rock. There's nothing particularly awful about it, but nothing to love about it either. An okay listen for anyone interested in the roots of The Kills or Dead Weather, but sometimes artists move on for a reason, and sometimes bands are forgotten for good reason too.
The Skygreen Leopards - The Story of the Green Lamb & The Jerusalem Priestess: One of my favorite bands of the last decade, this San Fran based psychedelic folk band released their first albums on the small Jeweled Antler label. This is their second album, which came out in 2002, and is pretty hard to come by. More of a freak folk record than their more current albums, this is a rambling mess of sunshine groove folk, but a mess that is wonderful to get lost in. What it lacks in structure, it makes us for in spontaneity. They would go on to improve from here, but this is still a great record, one that deserves to be plucked from obscurity.