I haven't been listening to any new music during the past few weeks for a number of reasons. The main reason is due to feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to digest everything. I also decided to reorganize my CD collection, and while doing so, I discovered a bunch of albums that I hadn't heard in a long time. Recently, I've been pulling some of those out and spending time reconnecting. So this week, I've chosen to share some of those albums with all of you. Enjoy.
The Cure - Standing on a Beach: I bought this CD when I was Sophomore in High School and couldn't afford to purchase the band's entire catalog. I've since acquired most of their work, and thus abandoned this Greatest Hits album. But when looking for something to listen to in the car the other day, I figured this might be perfect, and indeed it was. Chronicling the band's early work, pre-1986, it features some of their best songs. Dreamy post punk at its best.
Queenadreena - Live at the ICA: The only live record from one of my favorite bands of the last decade, born from the ashes of one of my favorite bands of the previous decade (Daisy Chainsaw). Recorded shortly after the release of their masterful The Butcher and the Butterfly album, the performance captures the explosive genius of the songs, and it's exceptionally well recorded for a live record. As always, KatieJane's in your face brilliance shines through.
Rob Zombie -Educated Horses: Recorded around the same time he was making The Devil's Rejects, this was a bit of a comeback album for the Pentagram Peter Pan. This is hillbilly metal that flat out rocks. I loved this record when it came out, but not having listened to it for a few years, I fell in love all over again. There are sinister tracks like "17 Year Locust," "Let it all Bleed Out," mixed with more digestible rock like "Death of it All," Foxy Foxy." There isn't really a bad track on here.
O'Death- Head Home: One of my favorite albums of 2006, this gem has been overshadowed in the past few years due to two spectacular follow-up records since. But this album hasn't lost any of its impact, and I've once again become obsessed. They've referred to their music as "death folk" and while that's an accurate description, there is also a spiritual quality to their songs. From "Down to Rest," to "Only Daughter," and "Jesus Look Down," this album is spectacular through and through.
Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther: The second album from the Texas folk band was another standout from 2006. One of the early bands to embrace the new indie folk movement, their songs show an incredible depth. This album has the feel of something out of time, with an eerie sound of the dark woods. Wonderful stuff and I can't wait to hear their fourth album that was just released.
Okkervil River - The Stage Names: Another Texas folk band, this 2007 album is one of their best and was a breakout album for their career. The songs read like stories, with sadness, humor, and great breadth. The album also includes one of my favorite songs of the all time, "Plus Ones" which never fails to choke me up a little bit.
Cocoon - All My Friends Died in a Plane Crash- The 2007 debut from the French indie folk duo is outright remarkable. As the title suggests, there is a sadness the lingers throughout this record and it's quite beautiful. "Vultures," "Owls," and "On My Way" are among the many outstanding tracks. Definitely one that's not to be missed.
Alamo Race Track - Black Cat Tom Brown: The second album from the Amsterdam based indie band is another favorite of mine from 2006. I bought this during the time I was working on CatKid because the cover was sort of irresistible. The album turned out to be just as irresistible. The title track opens the album with a strikingly simple folk song that hooks you right in. "The Northern Territory" is probably the best song on the album, but every song is pretty darn good.
Sun Kil Moon - Ghosts of the Great Highway: The 2003 debut album from the band risen from the ashes of Red House Painters, the influential '90's slowcore band from San Fran. In many ways it feels like a continuation, keeping the same sleeping folk feel of the previous band. This is one of those great morning or evening albums, or anytime for quiet self-reflection. I've been listening to it a lot while painting and it's been quite inspiring.
Murder by Death - Who Will Survive, and What Will be Left of Them?: The 2003 breakthrough from Indiana's gothic country band was long overdue for a fresh listen. Storytelling is at the heart of this record. From "Killbot 2000" about an elementary school massacre, to "Thee Men Hanging," the songs visit these tragic situations with horror and empathy, and the emotion the shows through is what makes this record so wonderful.