Sunday, January 11, 2015

Weekend Music Roundup

Welcome to the first roundup of the new year. Sadly, there is only one 2015 release on here, but it's a great one. It was a week where I decided to dig into albums that were piling up and chose to the spread out the genres quite a bit. Some of these are albums I listened to over the past two weeks with hopes that they might end up on the final list of the year, and while they didn't, a few came close. From indie to hip-hop and R&B to folk metal, there's something for everyone, so find something you might like and give it a whirl. Enjoy.

Belle and Sebastian - Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance: For the second year in a row, the first release I heard has a very good chance of ending up on another Best of List. Over the course of their first four albums in the late '90s, this Glasgow indie pop band were among my favorites, and I still love those albums. Lately I've been getting back into them and was excited to hear what their 9th album sounded like, and it was a revelation. I've been listening to this album every day. It's exactly what they do best, intelligent lyrics, catchy quirky arrangements, and some other magical quality that is hard to define. Perhaps it also has to do with the fact of that their songs about misspent, misinterpreted youth appeal to me and remind me of the kind of stories I write. Either way, this album is wonderful. "The Party Line," "Nobody's Empire," "The Cat With the Cream," and "The Everlasting Muse" are among my favorites.

Goblin Hovel - Wonders Gone Dark, Shadows Brought to Life: This is a band that has been putting out albums for the last few years on their bandcamp site. It consists of rotating members from other bands and they call themselves a studio project and declare each new release as their next performance. This is sort of a dark gothic folk album with acoustic metal elements and demonic urges. So basically, it's wonderful and was a late consideration for my best albums of the year last week. I love the darkness and the goblin growls, which have inspired my rethinking of the changes I need to make to my novel. Definitely worth checking out if any of those genres appeal to you. It's a name your price situation, so there no reason not to.

Oasis - The Unofficial Anthology: I got this bootleg over 4 years ago, back when I was listening to a new Fab Five bootleg every Tuesday for like a year. This one got lost in the shuffle when it came to reviews, but recently I pulled out the CD and put it in, and is it ever fantastic! Spanning the band's career, this collection includes rare unreleased songs, like covers of Paul Weller and The Beatles, as well as alternate versions of songs including a wonderful demo of "Songbird" and "Rag Doll" and a Noel vocal version of "Whatever" and "Sunday Morning Call" that are exceptional. Though a reunion still seems far off, there is always the music that was left behind, and there's a ton of it, so enjoy.

Damon Albarn and the Heavy Seas - Live at the de de de der...: It's only fitting that if there's an Oasis release on the Roundup that there is also a Blur related release. Back in November, Damon played two gigs at the Royal Albert Hall in London and decided to release both nights as separate double disc albums. Being the orderly person that I am, I started with the first one, November 15th, and this review is based on that outstanding performance. This is part of the same tour that I saw back in the summer, and he spans his entire career of solo work, Blur, Gorillaz, and The Good, The Bad, and The Queen. The songs are reinterpreted, making this a really exciting performance. Too many highlights to list, this is a definite must for fans.

Mapei - Hey Hey: Five years ago, the American born Swedish artist released a groundbreaking hip-hop EP before going quiet for four years until last year's breakout alternative R&B sensation "Don't Wait." This fall, she finally released her first solo LP, which opens with "Don't Wait," one of the best songs of last year. When I heard that song last year, I predicted that she could become the next Lauryn Hill and I still believe that. This album is more R&B than hip-hop, but there are moments where her MC skills shine like on "Second to None." While none of the R&B tunes quite match the brilliance of "Don't Wait" they are all still quite good, making this a solid debut and proves Mapei is an artist not afraid to take chances.

Earl Sweatshirt - EARL: Last year, I had this L.A. rapper's second album on my best of the year list and this week I finally got around to listening to his 2010 debut. Like the album that followed, Earl delivers some of the most raw rhymes around. He has a laid back Cali flow, but combines that with a distinctively East Coast imagery. The beats are more experimental than most, the kind that would never make a club hit, but which make every song an interesting journey. "Kill," "epaR," and "Stapleton" are the standout tracks on this too short album.

No comments:

Post a Comment