Saturday, August 15, 2015

Weekend Music Roundup

As the week draws to a close and summer rears its angry head yet again, I'm laying back and thinking about a great week of music. This week I caught up on a few new releases that I'd been looking forward to, and there are quite a few more for next week. This is also one of those weeks that crosses many genres, something that I enjoy doing it. There's far too much music out there to limit tastes to one category. Hopefully there is something here that you'll dig. Enjoy.

Kurt Vile - b'lieve i'm going down...: Two years out from the Philly songwriter's breakthrough album comes this new psychedelic folk album. This is a continuation of the sunny laid back feel he cultivated on Walkin on a Pretty Daze and even more laid back, taking a decidedly more folkish turn this time around. I have to admit that this album is pretty much blowing me away and is a sure fire consideration for the best of the year. If you haven't heard Kurt yet, this is not to be missed. If you're already a fan, than you're in for a treat.

Case Studies - This is Another Life: A friend played this record for me a few weeks back and I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I did what one has to do and I bought it. This is a solo project from the Duke half of The Dutchess and The Duke. It doesn't stray far from their folk sound, but it does take on a even slower pace, almost like Low but not full-fledged slowcore. This is a perfect weekend kind of record, relaxing and beautiful in the spirit of Leonard Cohen. Definitely worth seeking out.

Albert Hammond Jr. - Momentary Masters: It's been seven years since The Strokes guitarist's last solo album. His third solo effort came out two weeks ago and it shows an interesting progression. Moving away from the singer songwriter appeal of his debut, and building on the rock sound of his last album, this is definitely inspired by the experimental turn of the last Strokes record. There are New Order moments on here, combined post-punk indie vibe. "Caught By My Shadow," "Losing Touch" and "Coming to Getcha" are among my favorites.

Dr. Dre - Compton: It's been 15 years since the rap pioneer last released a record, in that time he's become a mogul but apparently hasn't lost his touch on the mic, or in the booth. This is one of the most interesting hip hop albums in years, featuring a whole host of ambitious tracks that musically transcend hip hop to include all sorts of genres. A wealth of guest spots from superstars keeps everything moving and entertaining. If the rumors are true and this is his last record, what a way to go out. "It's All On Me," "Loose Cannons," and "Medicine Man" are standouts.

Arzachel - Arzachel: The one and only album from the late 60's Canterbury Scene band wasn't released until 1969, over a year after the band broke up. Mixing psychedelic with softer styles, this is one of the earliest prog rock albums, and falls somewhere in between fellow Canterbury band Soft Machine and "Stand Up" era Jethro Tull. Two long songs make up side B, displaying the band's prowess to jam, while "Leg" proves they can rock heavy. A very worthwhile undiscovered gem. 

Hanoi Rocks - Bangkok Shocks Saigon Shakes Hanoi Rocks: The glam metal debut from the Finish band that helped lead the charge of L.A. glam metal in the 80's. I bought this CD in a Seattle store back in 2002 and the guy behind the counter was like yes....great album. We were probably the only two people in that city who would agree on that. But it is a great album, perhaps lacking the spark of GnR or the polish of Crüe, though it deserves a place near the top of the genre. "Don't Never Leave Me," and "Stop Cryin'" are top notch. 

Digable Planets - Blowout Comb: No review necessary for this 1994 masterpiece. Has always been one of my favorites and finally got it on vinyl. Political, intelligent and smooth. Jazzy, funky, and straight brilliant. If you don't know, better act like you do.

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