Saturday, October 3, 2015

Weekend Music Roundup

This past week was one of those fine weeks where favorite bands of mine released some unexpected stuff. It's funny how the music world has changed in the last few decades. It used to be an album was hyped for months before it finally release, and now there albums, like ones on this list, that were announced one week before being released. That makes for a lot of nice surprises, though I suppose it also leads to a lot of overlooked songs. Somehow, completely unplanned, this week's selection made for a nice soundtrack to introduce Autumn. Hopefully there are some things on here you may have overlooked. Enjoy.

The Decemberists - Florasongs: Definitely the album I was most excited about this week was the surprise EP from one of my favorite bands. These five songs were recorded for their album that came out earlier this year, but were cut for time reasons. As with their last album, the band decided the songs were too good to throw away and released them on a companion EP. Musically they fit in with the sound of the last album, but perhaps don't quite fit thematically, which made them good choices to separate. As always, it's top quality, with "The Harrow and the Haunted" being my personal favorite.

Ryan Adams - 1989: Another surprise album, the singer songwriter decided to release a cover of Taylor Swift's chart topping album, done in the style of Bruce Springsteen. Not surprisingly, Adams makes these songs his own, turning feel good into heartbreak. Now, I admit to thoroughly enjoying Taylor Swift's album, so this isn't a case of indie-makes-mainstream-so-much-better. It's not better, it's just different. What it does is bring wonderful songs to a new audience in a style that they might find more appealing. "Style" and "Bad Blood" are standouts...on both albums.

The View - Ropewalk: For the decade, this Scottish indie band has been one of the most unsung outfits in the UK indie rock revival. Their fifth album came out last month and isn't likely to change that, even though it's yet another quality record. As with most of their albums, it has a way of growing on me. Their songs are always catchy, but there are subtleties that don't always jump out right away. I highly recommend giving the band a chance, any of their albums, if you don't know them. "Penny," "Under the Rug," and "House of Queue's" are standout tracks.

The Dears - Times Infinity Volume One: It's been four years since we last heard from Montreal indie band, and it's been nearly a decade since their masterpiece Gang of Losers albums. This album sees them return a little to that time, moving away from the dance influence that weakened their past release and once capturing a moody dream world reminiscent of mid-era Pink Floyd. "I Used to Pray for the Heavens to Fall," "Face of Horrors," and "To Have and To Hold" are my personal favorites. 

Old Crow Medicine Show - Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer: The Nashville old-time country band put out this EP early in the summer and it's fine example of the kind of bluegrass influenced sound they do best. Unlike so many so-called "country" acts these days, OCMS stays true to the roots, singing about hard times and causing trouble. With four songs, this is more of a single than an EP, but it's still worth checking out. The title track is great, as is "Mother Church." 

Gliss - Akustisks Dans: Shortly following the release of their fifth album in June, the L.A. shoegaze band put out this acoustic five song EP. The songs on here are rougher versions of songs that appeared on their 2013 Langsom Dans album, which was a beautiful dreampop record. I don't know if these are demos, or just alternate re-recordings, but they certainly have the honest feel of demos that I always enjoy. "Weight of Love" is fantastic. A very nice companion piece to the album.

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