Sunday, July 13, 2014

Weekend Music Roundup

Welcome to another weekend of sound. This week was marked by new albums from artists I've been following for years, as well as a couple of pick-ups that had been missing from my catalog. There is only one band on here that was completely new to me, but as I've said over the past few months, my desire to delve into unknowns has waned with age and past experience of being utterly disappointed. But I don't think I could ever become one of those people who never takes a chance on new music. There is great music being made all of the time, and to discount it all based on a few bad apples would be foolish. Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll be able to find something new that thrills me, especially since I've caught up on a lot of cached music recently. There's a lot of psychedelic folk on here, as well as some British indie. Hopefully you'll find something to explore. Enjoy.

Morrissey - World Peach Is None of Your Business: The ex-Smiths leader released his first album in five years this month, his tenth solo album since The Smiths disbanded in 1987. In some ways it feels as though every few years he releases the same album. There isn't really any growth or movement from the last album, but fans will certainly appreciate his commitment to the things that make his music so unique. This is a solid album, but as always, I prefer Morrissey in smaller doses than the 18 tracks on here. Once again, he's bemoaning the current state of the world and the best of the bunch are truly great songs. They include "Earth is the Loneliest Planet," "Art-Hounds," and the title track.

Kamchatka - The Search Goes On: A rock band from Sweden, this is Kamchatka's fifth album and first in three years. There is a blues rock influence here, combined with elements of the old Seattle sound. You can hear the echo of Jerry Cantrell on this record, but with a much deeper '70s hard rock edge. Solid musicianship and song craft elevate this from being just another rock album. Though at times I wish it were heavier, or developed its progressive moments a little further, I enjoy this record. "Cross the Distance," "Dragons," "Thank You For Your Time," and "Tango Decadence" are stand out tracks. Worth a listen for rock fans.

The Skygreen Leopards - Family Crimes: The album that I'm most excited about this week is the eighth record from the San Fran psychedelic folk band. It's been five years since their last release, and eight since their landmark Disciples of California album. This album is reminiscent of their best work, combining the sunshine folk feel with the eerie haunting sound of fever dreams. They could be compared to other California psychedelic bands from the best, Grateful Dead and The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band come to mind, but The Skygreen Leopards have a more relaxed feel about them, as if they were a band you'd expect to hear around a campfire while the listeners sat swaying to the internal rhythms of mind expanding substances.  "It's Not Love," "Reno Wedding," "Love is a Shadow," and  on a great summer folk album.

Television Personalities - They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles: The London indie psychedelic pop band released three amazing albums in 1981-1982 that contributed to the rise of England's indie sound in the coming years. This is the third one in that debut trilogy. Their rambling style is what I've always loved about them. They have the freedom of Syd Barrett's solo records, or Velvet Underground's early work. "When Emily Cries," "Psychedelic Holiday," "Mysterious Ways," and "Games for Boys" are my favorites, but there isn't a bad track on here. Definitely the perfect pairing the their fist two records.

Joker's Daughter - May Cause Side Effects: After Domino Records released her wonderful debut in 2009 and it failed to gain wide attention, Joker's Daughter decided to self-release this 2011 follow-up. Interestingly enough, the lack of big production seems to suit her psychedelic sound just fine.  As with the debut, there is a '60s psychedelic folk feel to this album, but wisely manages to update the sound by giving it a fuller feel. "The Book that Drew Itself," "The Fool," "The Raven's Ball," and the title track are standouts.

Kaiser Chiefs - Education, Education, Education & War: Since their emergence in the second of half of the last decade, the UK indie band has always managed to remain somewhere in the middle of the British indie pack. After a three year lay-off, and the departure of their primary song-writer, they returned this March with their fifth album. I'd put off listening to this album for months. Kaiser Chiefs had always been a slightly better than average band to me, but I was pleasantly surprised by this record. Unlike their previous releases, it doesn't feel derivative, but rather as if they are finally finding their own direction. The best songs on here are among their best ever. "Roses," "Ruffians on Parade," "Misery Company," and "The Factory Gates" are among my favorites. 

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