Saturday, August 22, 2015

Weekend Music Roundup

As I suffered through the sweltering days of this past week, I felt the need for some solid rock to get me through. Some of that came in the form of CDs that had been plucked out of the stacks for much needed and long overdue re-listens. Others came from the slew of new releases that I've been picking from over the past several weeks. Yet even more came from a treasure chest of Lennon bootlegs that I discovered. Most of the new releases this week come from bands that I hadn't paid attention to in quite some time and it was interesting to see where the course of their music has taken them. Others were anticipated releases, and there was even one that I'd never heard of and simply took a chance on. Most were quite good, but to be honest it was one of those weeks where I felt everything could have been slightly better. However, not to fear, because next week is going to be a slew of new albums that I've been desperately looking forward to. Enjoy.

Langhorne Slim - The Spirit Moves: Following up 2012's amazing "The Way We Move" LP is no easy task and it took three years for Slim and his band The Law to put together this satisfying Americana record. It's always a challenge to follow a near perfect release, a struggle to capture the magic once more. Feeding off the same honesty and energy of the last album, this one manages to hold its own, acting as a sibling to the last record, if not quite a companion. "Airplane," "Changes," "Put it Together" and "Strongman" are personal favorites.

Thee Oh Sees - Mutilator Defeated: Over the past ten years, the San Fran psychedelic lo-fi band has been releasing albums at a steady clip. This newest addition is on the verge of fantastic. It's the mind expanding psych album that I'd hoped Tame Impala's new record would've been. Moving beyond the garage elements of their past records, this is a richer sound that goes in many spacey directions while never loosing the garage edge. "Web," "Withered Hand," "Sticky Hulks," and "Palace Doctor" are standout tracks on what is perhaps their best album to date.

Crocodiles - Boys: The new album from the San Diego lo-fi indie band is their fifth in just six years. Leaning to the psychedelic side, this reminds me a bit of early Dandy Warhols with its catchy hooks and playfulness. Slightly more poppy than their Cali contemporaries like Thee Oh Sees, Sic Alps, and The Growlers, yet they satisfy the same primal psych rock need. Definitely a pleasant surprise this week. I went for it based on the cover and was not disappointed. "Crybaby Demon," "Foolin' Around," and "Blue" are standout tracks.

Eleventh Dream Day - Works for Tomorrow: It's been 27 years since the Lexington band released their groundbreaking debut Prairie School Freakout and have now quietly become one of the elder statesman of indie rock. A nice guitar heavy album with a driving rhythm, reminds a bit of Bevis Frond but in a distinctly middle America sort of way. There's a bit of Thurston Moore, again in a distinctly middle America sort of way. "Snowblind," "Vanishing Point," "The Unkowing," and the title track are songs worth checking out.

John Lennon - The Lost Lennon Tapes Volume 1 & 2: I recently acquired the first twenty some volumes in this bootleg series of rare Lennon outtakes, demos and rare versions of songs (minus a few missing ones). Needless to say, I'm super excited to go through them. This week I heard the first two volumes and there is lots of amazing stuff on here. There are early versions of songs that would later become something else, as well as strange little pieces that, even when incomplete, show what an amazing talent he was. Personally I love demo versions and unpolished recordings. Some real standouts on these volumes are "How Do You Sleep," "Surprise Surprise," "God Save Oz," "Make Love Not War," "Peggy Sue," and "Watching the Wheels."

The D4 - 6Twenty: Released in 2001, this is the debut album from the short-lived New Zealand garage rock band. Another in the series of re-listens, this is a CD I've owned for over a decade and one that never connected to me at the time it came out. It's definitely better than I remembered. Kind of a classic garage sound with hints to The Ramones. Perhaps it's the distance between the time it was released and the current lack of garage rock, compared to the abundance back then, that has softened my opinion. Nothing earth shattering here, but a pretty bang up rock sound that is enjoyable. "Get Loose," "Come On!," "Ladies Man" and "Invader Ace" are standout tracks.

Aqueduct - Wild Knights: The Tulsa indie bands first album in eight years was released last month. It's their fourth album and picks up sort of where the the last two left off. This hearkens back to 90's indie, in the vein of Built to Spill and the like. It's not particularly original or unique, but it's a decent album, especially the opening track which reminds me of a more upbeat Beta Band song. I just wish there was something more to make them stand out.

The Delta 72 - OOO: The '90s Philly blues rock band's third and final album was released in 2000 and is yet another one I've pulled from the vaults. Clearly inspired by Exile on Main Street era Stones, this is a blistering blues rock record that Mick and Keith might have done had they grown up on the Philly streets. One of those sadly unheard records that should've been bigger than it was. "Are You Ready," "Just Another Let Down," "3 Day Packet Plan" are killer tunes. Also a good number of instrumental soul fueled tracks on here like "Hip Coat" and "Ten Lbs." Definitely one to check out.

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