Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekend Music Roundup

This time of the year is always slow when it comes to new releases, which thankfully gives me time to catch up on some albums from the year that I hadn't yet had the chance to listen to. As the year winds down, I like to make sure I hear all of the music that I think might end up on my year-end favorites. It's never possible to get them all in before the calendar turns over, but I try my best. This week I have a few 2014 records that I've wanted to check out for a while. There a nice mix of heavy stuff, hip hop and of course, psychedelic tunes. Hopefully you'll find something that will make your year. Enjoy.

The Oscillation - From Tomorrow: A few months ago, the London psychedelic space rock band released their third record. Like a sonic journey through a future wasteland, this Spacemen 3 sounding record combines the elements of drone and shoegaze with the psychedelic edge of Hawkwind. Being a new band for me, this was the record that really blew me away this week. It's a relentless album that manages to keep up the intensity throughout and never veers into boring or slow. There's an exciting danger that lurks under the surface, something reminds me of early Rapture. Definitely worth checking out. I know I'll be checking out their previous albums. "All You Want To Be," "Corridor," "No Place To Go," and "Chrome Cat" are among my favorites.

Kadavar - Live In Antwerp: For the last two years in a row this Berlin based stoner metal band have released two albums, both of which have ended up on my best of the year list. Without an album of new material, they released this stellar live record over the summer. When a live record sounds as tight as the studio albums, you know a band is in perfect groove. The setlist covers songs from both of their albums and includes a previously unreleased song. A perfect gift for fans of the band or fans of the genre, and a nice way to get the best of both albums in one set if that's your thing.

Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2: The second album from the hip hop tag team of El-P and Killer Mike is already showing up on best of the year lists and I figured it was time to pay attention. I've been a fan of El-P's work for years, he's one of the consciousness rappers that also has a great hardcore flow, and his sound pairs well with Killer Mike's style...and both go with the extremely interesting and fresh sounding beats throughout this album. I disagree with some of what I've read because I don't see this as a revolutionary album, but it's still a very exciting return of hardcore hip hop that incorporates a lot of the newer trends of the genre. "Jeopardy," "Lie, Cheat, Steal" "All Due Respect," and "Angel Duster" are my favorites. 

Archie Bronson Outfit - Wild Crush: The fourth album from the UK indie rock band came out this past spring, and what I really like about it is the growth it shows from their previous solid albums. This one evolves their garage rock sound into a psychedelic blues kind of album that feels exciting. I think they benefit from taking time between albums. They've only released four in ten years, which seems to allow them to develop. A lot of late '60s throwback sound on here, but in a positive way. "Cluster Up and Hover," "Love to Pin You Down," and "We Are Floating" are standout tracks.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre - +- EP: The San Fran psychedelic band continues their resurgence, following up their brilliant LP from earlier in the year with this brilliant EP. Ever since Matt Hollywood and other original members rejoined the band several years ago, they are once again living up to that potential they showed in the early '90s to become the greatest psychedelic band of their generation. These four songs have a classic BJTM fuzzy bliss sound. "Heat," "Leave It Along," and "Reconstruction" are among their best songs ever in my opinion. Fantastic stuff.

Jean Grae - Gotham Down Deluxe: For the past decade, the Brooklyn rapper has been one of the best MCs around, sadly flying under the radar. The compilation released last year collects a bunch of EPs into one album. Jean's flow is as spectacular as ever on these songs, and the interludes, unlike on many hip hop albums, are actually funny and poignant. She's intelligent and displays deep insights on life that rank right up there with other top conscious hip hop. "Before the Summer Broke," "Kill Screen" and "BITS" are my personal favorites.

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