After last week's explosion of unforeseen treasures, the last several days were largely consumed with spending more quality time with those albums while collecting a few new interesting pieces to play. A handful of new releases, along with a few missing links in the collection, make up the selections for this Roundup. Most of these were curiosity acquisitions. A nice mixture of heavy rock and soft psychedelic. I didn't want invest in anything too epic as I was still absorbing the ones from the previous week. However, there are a couple of essential records on here, and quite a few curios. Dig in, go exploring, and find something interesting. Enjoy.
Rob Zombie - Spookshow International Live: The bonafide Hollywood Fast Talking Devil Man just released this blistering live album, showcasing his phenomenal 2013 album, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor along with other popular White Zombie and solo tunes from the past. Usually I'm not a big fan of live recordings, unless the performance is either intimate or stunningly professional. I've seen several Rob Zombie live videos online before and knew that he fell into the second category. This album proves it, catching the energy of the live show with excellent production. A thunderous set with many highlights, including "Demon Speeding," "Demonoid Phenomenon," "Jesus Frankenstein," and "Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga."
Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield - Sing Elliot Smith: Recorded over the past three years, this album of covers by two of indie folk's unsung stars will be released this month. There seems to be no better subject matter than the songs of Elliot Smith for these two to tackle, seeing as how both artists have clearly been inspired by his music. Jessica sounds great interpreting Elliot's work, and Seth brings his own style to the vocals, but somehow his voice doesn't sound rich enough to convey the emotion of of Smith's words. With the exception of "Angeles," he comes across slightly flat. "Fond Farewell," "Between the Bars," and "Ballad of Big Nothing" are the best tracks on here.
Comet Gain - Réalistes: The Oxford indie band's 2002 album was their breakthrough record of sorts, garnering them a bit of attention seven years after their debut. Like the Zutons, they are very American sounding, channeling the fuzzy indie pop of the late '90s. It's not a surprise that they ended up on the Kill Rock Stars label, and they feel very in line with the style of their catalog. Given the year of release, it makes sense that there is a garage rock vibe that runs throughout. This is a solid record, one that was probably overlooked by most. It reminds me a bit of Gliss's "Love the Virgins" with a nice blend of fuzz and rock. "My Defiance," "The Kids at the Club" and the title track are real standouts.
Enforcer - From Beyond: Released this past week is the fourth album from the Swedish speed metal band. Their previous output has been quite strong, reviving 80's speed metal in a wonderful way. This record continues that push, and for the first time, it feels as though they aren't just authenticating the past, but also adding something to the genre. Easily their most definitive album to date. The production is superb, making it perfect for blasting and just getting your rocks off. Another fantastic metal album for fans of old school NWOBHM or sunset glam metal. "Destroyer," "Undying Evil," "One With Fire," and "Below the Slumber" are standout tracks.
Skygreen Leopards - I Dreamt She Rode on a Pink Gazelle: The 2001 debut from the San Fran psychedelic folk band has long been a missing piece in my collection, but I finally got the chance to listen to it this week. Not surprisingly, this debut is more free form and ethereal than their later releases. It's floats in the atmosphere like a beautiful campfire dream. This is the kind of music that washes over the listener and only penetrates if one dedicates their full attention. It makes for a wonderful naptime listen, or a headphone listen while flying in a aeroplane over the sea. "Peppermint Annie," "I Fell Asleep in the Sunbleached Grass," "Yellow Is Color of Bees," and "Wild Bird Songs" are my personal favorites.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Revolution Number Zero: This four song EP was released back in the fall of 2013, and given the San Fran psych band's recent resurgence, I was excited to check it out. This is one of their looser records, consisting of a lot of free floating grooves, something that they have always done well. The songs wash over you in a pleasant sunshine haze, making them perfect for lazy summer afternoons. Nothing earth shattering, or really essential here, but a nice addition for completists.