Sunday, November 16, 2014

Weekend Music Roundup

As I promised last week, this list is chock full of new sounds that span many genres. In addition there are a few unearthed albums thrown in. I'm in the process of reorganizing my music collection, a labor intensive task, but one I thoroughly enjoy because it forces me to sort through shelves of music that typically I only skim over. So as part of the process, I've been pulling out things that strike me for their long absence from my ears, coupled with a past attachment. I decided to upload a bunch of those onto my computer, putting them at my fingertips for easy listening. As I go through those, some of them will make their way onto the Roundup in the coming weeks. There's a few here, and more to come, sprinkled in with some noteworthy new releases. Enjoy.

Pink Floyd - The Endless River: It's been 20 years since their last release, and now comes what will most likely be their swan song, these 18 tracks comprised mostly of pre-Division Bell outtakes. This is an ambient type album, sort of long goodbye to a career that produced some of the greatest records of all time. This is little more than an mood piece, but it's quite a good one. It was never going to be the Atom Heart Mother, but as a instrumental album, which this is with the exception of "Louder Than Words," I can't say that I didn't enjoy it. It's very calm and peaceful, as the cover art would suggest. This is a grande closure to their career, and feels like a fitting way to wind things down. Probably only for dedicated fans, but certainly worthwhile. It's also a noble homage to the late Richard Wright and his many influences on the The Pink Floyd sound.

Goat - Commune: The Swedish heavy psych band followed up their impressive 2012 debut with this release back in September. The interesting thing about Goat is the abundance of influences that finds a way into their music. There's a lot of World Music and Far East elements that are deftly mixed with rock to create something entirely new. In some ways it's the perfection of what Cornershop tried and failed to do in the 90's. I really enjoyed the debut, having recently just rediscovered it, but I think this album is actually better. "The Light Within," "Goatchild," and "Gathering of Ancient Tribes" are my favorites. Definitely worth checking out.

The Growlers - Chinese Fountain: The Long Beach psychedelic garage band released their sixth album back in September and it's become a hit on the college charts. I first started listening to this band several weeks before this album came out, and after my initial encounter, I'm not at all surprised that this album is taking off. They have an effortlessly feel to their music, yet it never sounds dull or lazy. There's definitely laid back Cali vibe that works great, completely unpretentious, much like a West Coast version of Kurt Vile. "Magnificent Sadness," "Big Toe," "Rare Hearts," and "Love Test," are standouts on an album without any bad songs.
Temples - Sun Structures: After two EPs, the psychedelic UK band released a full length debut of interstellar sonics earlier this year. Their sound is expansive, creating huge spaces within the music. There's also a good deal of prog rock influence that adds to the mood, especially in songs like "Shelter Song." In a way it reminds me of Tame Impala but with less focus on melodic hooks, choosing to explore the wide breadth of the soundscape instead. It's funny pairing this with the new Pink Floyd album, because in some ways this feels more like old Floyd than Floyd has sounded since before "Dark Side of the Moon." It has the experimental flair that Pink Floyd's "The Man and The Journey" incorporates. I really enjoyed this record. Quite an impressive debut and a band I look forward to following.

Jenny Lewis - Voyager: It had been six years since the former Rilo Kiley singer released a new album before this one came out back in the summer. It's the follow up to 2008's "Acid Tongue" which had been a comeback of sorts following the horrible last Rilo Kiley record the year before. This time around, she's tuned into the current wave of indie pop, bringing her own blend of California sunshine to an updated Stevie Nicks' Fleetwood Mac vibe. There's an AM radio feel to many of the songs that I find enjoyable, though at times it tends to be a little too poppy for my tastes. "Just One of the Guys," "The New You," and "Late Bloomer" are standout tracks on an album which should please fans and win over new ones.

Bauhaus - The Singles 1981-1983: The short lived Goth post punk band didn't leave a wealth of music from their prime, but they still managed to make a huge impact. This is a CD that I've owned for years but hadn't listened to in probably ten of them. These tracks fall into the band's transition away from the heavy goth sound of their earliest days and into a more glam rock style that echos Bowie, a fantastic cover of "Ziggy Stardust" cements their love of the Thin White Duke. I've always loved this collection, so glad that I found it again. "Lagartija Nick" and "She's in Parties" are outstanding tracks, along with the aforementioned cover.

The Birthday Massacre - Hide and Seek: This is the Toronto based rock band's fifth album which came out back in 2012. It's one of those records that has been sitting around for a long time waiting for me to give it a listen. I was initially attracted to it because of the cover art, something that in the past has steered me to many wonderful albums. This is one of those difficult to define rock albums because the mild industrial music elements are balanced with pop ballad vocals. It's a very 2000's kind of sound. It reminds a bit of Gossip though it's certainly setting out with different intentions. While there is nothing to really dislike about this album, there also isn't anything to love about it. I found it simply existing in the background, and sort of forgettable. My favorite tracks are "The Long Way Home," "Need," and "In This Moment."

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