Saturday, September 19, 2015

Weekend Music Roundup

Here we are once again, in the weekend world of music days past. This was another great week in the world of my musical experience, including a rare 5 Star album, the first since May. I also encountered a few almost 5 Star records, and few far lesser ones, but when you add it all up, I come out ahead. There's a couple of live albums on here, a few good folk, and one dynamite heavy rock. A great way to welcome in the changing on the season. Hopefully you'll find something here to search out. Enjoy.

Uncle Acid - The Night Creeper: It's been two years since the Cambridge heavy psych band released their last album, and given that they have been one my absolute favorite bands of the past several years, that is two years too long. Thankfully their return is glorious! From the opening notes, I knew I was going to love this record. It felt like one of those rare records that I'd been searching for since I started listening to music. The heavy sound, accompanied by Ozzy-esque vocals, create a record that I can't stop listening to. "Pusher Man," "Melody Lane," "Waiting for Blood," "Inside," and the title track, and basically every other song on here, are pure brilliance. Easily one of the best albums of the year. 

Simon Joyner - Out Into the Snow: I recently picked up the Omaha singer songwriter's 2009 album at a vinyl sale over Labor Day, and haven't really been able to stop listening to it. Though I've been a fan for years, and have many of his albums, this one immediately grabbed me in a different way than the others before. It feels darker, though his lo-fi Midwestern sound has never been especially cheerful. The second half of this record is near perfection, beginning with the epic "Last Evening on Earth."
Mad Season - Sonic Evolution: Twenty years ago, the Seattle super group, led by the late Layne Staley and including members of Screaming Trees and Pearl Jam, released their only album which remains a monstrously under appreciated rock record. To celebrate the album, the remaining members of the band put on a show back in January to benefit the Seattle Symphony, joined by said symphony and other Seattle icons including Chris Cornell and Duff Mckagan. I've never been a huge fan of symphonic rock albums, so that is one feature that unsurprisingly one element that I didn't quite love. Also, Layne's voice is impossible to replicate. A nice tribute, but not much else.

Natural Snow Buildings - Terror's Horns: The French psychedelic drone folk band released two albums this month (The previous one was reviewed two weeks ago and wrongly had this cover attached, but has since been corrected). Like The Ladder, this is another dark folk album, but with more lyrics. They manage to create a level of distrust and fear hidden in the music that keeps the listener uneasy. The band continues to make music that nobody has ever made before, and continue to explore the limits of the drone folk genre.
Ralph Stanely - Down Where the River Bends: I recently picked up this 1978 album on vinyl at a yard sale. Ralph, best known for singing "O'Death" on the O' Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, has an unmistakable voice that reaches deep into the soul. This bluegrass country album is a fine example of his vastly forgotten catalog. Sometimes you just need that old timey sound, and nobody does it better than Ralph. While not essential, still a nice addition to my collection.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Live in No Particular Order: This is the first live record from the L.A. folk collective and it's pretty spectacular. Though I've always enjoyed their studio albums, this is a band who truly seem to come alive in a live setting. Their energy is and engagement make the songs richer, and the the free form makes the musicianship better. They remind more of a band like Neutral Milk Hotel on these recordings, chosen from a period of the last five years, so granted, it only includes the best of the best. This becomes available on vinyl in October and I hope to be picking up a copy as soon as I can.

John Lennon - The Complete Lost Lennon Tapes Volume 7: Another in my ongoing process of going through this unbelievably rich bootleg collection. I happened upon this at exactly the right time as I'm currently going through my newest Lennon phase, something the seems to happen about every two years. This edition is quite good, featuring songs from his earliest solo album and some from his last, with a whole lot in between. The versions of "Mother," "I Found Out," "Beautiful Boy" and "Nobody Told Me" are highlights.

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