Saturday, January 16, 2016

Weekend Music Roundup

It's hard for this week in music to be about anything but the passing of Ziggy Stardust. All week long, social media was flooded with people posting their favorite songs, and the radio was spinning classics that hadn't been in rotation for many years. But not only did David Bowie leave us this week, he also left us with his best album in years. While his death certainly made me remember all the music of his that I've loved through the years, and all the memories that come with it, it also made me think of all the legends that we will be losing in the coming years. Time is the great equalizer I suppose. But I refuse to get caught up in the sadness of it, because the music lives on, and plays that's what I chose to go with. Hopefully there's something on here that will create new memories for us all. Enjoy.

David Bowie - ★: I'd been looking forward to listening to this album this week, especially after really digging the lead single "Lazarus" and after celebrating Bowie's birthday last Friday. And then came the shocking news of his passing this week and the album took on a new meaning. An album that is already obsessed with the afterlife, this is just like Bowie, to record a soundtrack to his death that is artistic and beautiful, and daring. Each moody song is a mixture of art rock, jazz, and electro that comes together in an extraordinary way. A truly wonderful parting gift to the world. 

Legendary Pink Dots - All the King's Men: The neo-psychedelic 2002 companion album to All the King's Horses continues my obsession with the band. This double vinyl was a Christmas present, and it's far mellower than some of their other stuff, though no less fascinating. This is a band that sounds like nobody else, presenting stories that belong to alternate dreamlike worlds. A combination of William Burroughs' tales from Interzone and Syd Barrett's medicated beauty, this another wonderfully transportive record. I'm convinced this band cannot make a bad album.

The Besnard Lakes - A Coliseum Complex Museum: The Montreal psychedelic indie band's first full album in three years is their most complete and compelling to date. Having followed them for years, they've always had flashes of brilliance on each solid album that came before this one, but this one is pretty fantastic from beginning to end. They manage to perfectly combine dream pop with neo-psych in a way that is moody and entertaining. "Tungsten 4: The Refugee," "Necronomicon," "Nightingale" and the "The Bray Road Beast" are standout tracks.  

Twink - Think Pink: The 1970 debut album from one time member of the Pretty Things, Pink Fairies, and Tomorrow is one of the great lost psychedelic albums from the era, often overshadowed by Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, yet no less impressive. This is his only solo album from the era and it's a great blend of experimental and traditional fairy tale inspired psych rock. There are two strands of psych, those that look to space, and those that look to the stories of the past. This falls into the latter and does a great job of it. "10,000 Words in a Cardboard Box," "Tiptoe on the Highest Hill," and "The Sparrow is a Sign" are essential songs.

Closer - An Electric Moment: Released last year, this is the first album that I've heard from the Glasgow band, though they've been making records for well over a decade. This is quintessential late 90's early '00s emo rock. It mixes hardcore, indie, metal into easily digestible tracks, none of which really stuck with me. It reminded me of Brand New but not nearly as compelling. Worth checking out if you're into the genre, otherwise I'd pass on it.

Howlong Wolf - Where Do We Go From Here?: The debut album from the former Admiral James T. front man David Langhard and others was released last April and is another fantastic Buddy Holly inspired project filled with one catchy song after the other. Like few other songwriters, David Langhard is able to capture that Beatles formula, but infuses it with elements of indie and even country. It's the kind of album that is familiar in many ways, sounding like a blend of dozens of bands, all of them good, yet at the same time, sounding completely their own. There's a great cover of Donavon's "Catch the Wind." 

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