Saturday, November 7, 2015

Weekend Music Roundup

Welcome to the end of the working week, a time when we traditionally reflect on music here at Saving the World One Story at a Time. As I mentioned last weekend, this is that time of year when some big albums are released, and while there is one of those on here, most of the list consists of new discoveries and a couple of recent vinyl pick-ups. A lot of low key stuff on here, low key but quality stuff. Definitely some things worth checking out if you're looking for something new. I don't know what it is, but I just love music in the Fall. Hopefully you do too. Enjoy.

Joanna Newsom - Divers: It's been five years since Joanna's landmark triple album masterpiece, "Have One on Me." It's not so surprising, actually it's probably quite wise to put distance between such an incredible work to build anticipation and avoid immediate comparisons. That said, this album picks up right where that left off. This is classic Joanna Newsom chamber folk which continues to push the genre in more progressive ways that haven't been attempted since The Incredible String Band. This easily one of the best records of the year, with "Sapokanikan," "Goose Eggs," and "Time, As a Symptom" being standouts among an album of exception songwriting. 

Language of Shapes - ThunderKryst EP: Another Bandcamp discovery, this South Korean psych folk band has released a phenomenal EP that reminds me of Ghost and early O'Death. There is a darkness to the mood, but it's not overbearing. It seeps into the songs like a secret woven into the notes. "Jaws of a Friend" and "Push Hard and Swallow" are excellent songs. Worth checking out on their site which is linked to their name here.

The Besnard Lakes - The Golden Lion: This is the newest EP from the Montreal neo-psychedelic outfit, released in anticipation of their next full length due out in 2016. This is a band that dabbles in shoegaze, dream pop, and indie rock, mixing those elements altogether to create a really interesting sound. These three songs are a folk infused indie pop, which thankfully avoid all of the current '80s synth elements that seem to infected the genre. 

The Legendary Pink Dots - Hallowe'en Special 2015: Two dark ambient tracks put out by the UK experimental psych pioneers to celebrate the recent holiday. The instrumental "Chaos Hum" feels like bits that could be extracted from Pink Floyd's "Echoes" if it had been continually playing somewhere in space for the past thirty years. "The Wall Street Spectre" is a 15 minute song, that has all the classic elements of a Legendary Pink Dots epic. There are quiet moments, chaotic moments, moments of beauty and moments of confusion. All in all, not essential to their catalog, but a worthwhile listen. 

Horisont - Odyssey: It's been two years since the last album from this Sweedish heavy psych band, and this time they are grooving to more a of a power metal kick. They feed off a late '70s - early 80's heavy metal vibe, something akin to NWOBHM and Scorpions. Musically everything clicks with the falsetto vocals to deliver a quality album. The moments where they try to be a little more prog sort of fall flat, and at there are moments when the vocals can feel a little too "Iron Eagle", but overall another solid release. "Flying," "Light My Way" and the epic title track are standouts. 

Black Spirit - Black Spirit: Released in 1978, this is the only album from this German hard rock band. The influences of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and all the other hard rock bands to come before are clearly heard in the extensive jamming on here. For a debut, the band is incredibly tight. Vocally it's a little weak, but that's obviously not the intent. The guitar and drums straight up rock, making this a worthwhile album to check out if you're looking for some classic heavy '70s.

The Balaclava - Faceless the Crustacean: Despite having on of the worst band names and album covers, this is an exceptional piece of lo-fi bliss. I listened to this recently on their Bandcamp site and was thoroughly impressed. They reminded me a lot of Dinosaur Jr. the way they blended fuzz and melody. There are also moments that resemble Kurt Vile, like on the great "Fell For It." There's definitely a lot to build on here, and certainly an album worth checking out. 

Jerry Lee Lewis - Another Place Another Time: By 1968, Jerry Lee had moved past his trailblazing days as one of the original rock n roll pioneers and had taken to playing good old honky tonk country music. His piano becomes less fiery at this stage, but no less infectious on these sad, sad songs. Considered one of his finest country albums, this is a must have for anyone who likes that old time sound. The title track and "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" are perfect examples. Certainly worth picking up if you come across a copy.

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