This is one of those weeks I've been looking forward to, with a whole slew of records that I've been waiting to hear. As with anything in life, some were disappointments while others exceeded expectations. It was a mostly rock infused list, with lots of bands that have been favorites for quite some time. There's a good chance at least one or more of these will end up on my year end favorites. So if you have time, check some of them out. Enjoy.
Kadavar - Berlin: The third album from my favorite German stoner metal band was released last week and it's another stellar effort. There is no turning away from their heavy nature, mixing elements of Black Sabbath with more Judas Priest inspired elements. The riffs are fantastic on here. "Filthy Illusion," "The Old Man," and the 80's infused "Into the Night" are classic tunes.
Noah Gundersen - Carry the Ghost: The follow up to one of my favorite albums of last year, this is the second album from the Seattle singer songwriter. Once again he proves himself to be one of the best young folk songwriters of the last few years. On this album, he seems to channel the beautiful sadness of Ryan Adams, coloring each song with his own brand of sorrow. "Slow Dancer," "Show Me the Light," "Jealous Love," and "Empty From the Start."
The Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies: Though the Kinks have always been my third favorite of the '60s British invasion bands, right up there with the Beatles and The Stones, I never really got into their '70s catalog. I took a chance on this 1971 release on a whim, and I was thoroughly surprised by how much I loved it. It is fused with country elements, in the style of Exile on Main Street and they do it extremely well. "Complicate Life," "Uncle Son" "Holloway Jail" and the title track are fantastic.
Low - Ones and Sixes: It's rare these days for a band out there to be so original and consistent that you could never confuse them for anyone else. The slowcore legends from Minnesota have been one of those bands over their 20 year career and their 13th album is another masterpiece. There are always small differences from album to album, and on this one they actually manage to successfully infuse some metal-esque elements in slowcore and the results are quite brilliant. "The Innocents" is one of the best songs they've ever done.
The Fratellis - Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied: The fourth record from the Glasgow pub rock band is a bit of a revelation. The last record, a reunion of sorts, felt a little bit like a band trying to figure out if they were still relevant. It appears that now they know they are. Easily their most solid release since their debut, there are moments on here that are truly Lennon-esque. There really isn't a skip song on here and the bonus acoustic tracks are stellar. Definitely one to pick up and perhaps one that will show up on my end of the year list.
The Sword - High Country: The Austin based stoner metal band's fifth album has been nearly three years in the making, and during that time, the band apparently wanted to experiment with their sound. Unlike their previous efforts which were very heavy, this one has a mellower vibe through most of it. They seem inspired by a Led Zeppelin, going for a more hard blues rock feel, but somehow it doesn't quite work. Toward the end of the second half it does get some of its mojo back. "Mist & Shadow," "The Dreamthieves," and "The Bees of Spring" are my favorites.