Sunday, January 24, 2016

Weekend Music Roundup

The new year is starting to get its groove going, and with it comes the first real batch of 2016 albums that I've been eager to hear. I also spent much of the week getting reacquainted with some albums from the past that I recently graduated to vinyl from their previous CD incarnations. I try not to upgrade too much, preferring instead to buy something different from an artist than re-buying something, but sometimes it just happens. A lot of mellow stuff this week, nice wintry stuff. Hopefully there's something here that you will want to check out, otherwise, tune in next week for more of my ramblings. Enjoy.

Jesu / Sun Kil Moon - Jesu / Sun Kil Moon: This collaboration album out this month features the legendary indie songwriter, Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon) and his band with the UK based drone shoegaze band Jesu. The incorporation of their music to his continued observations of life, which began with Benji a few years back, is a great mix and brings new life to a style that Sun Kil Moon has done wonderfully on their previous two albums. As with those records, this is not for everyone. As was the reaction to those records, the reaction to this one will probably be a love/hate one. I'm on the side of love.

Bonnie Prince Billy - Pond Scum: Just released is this collection of BBC recordings from around the time when Will started going by the Bonnie Prince moniker. It includes stellar versions of classics like "Death to Everyone" and "Arise Therefore". There are also some nice lesser known songs which is refreshing. This could have easily been a sort of rehash of favorite songs, but it's more than that. The intimate setting also brings out different elements in each song, making this one that fans should probably check out. 

The Arcs - The Arcs vs. The Inventors Vol. 1: This Record Store Day EP released back in November features Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) and Richard Swift's blues rock band matched up with Dr. John for six tracks. This is the first in a series of collaborations that the band is planning to do with their heroes. These tracks are more experimental than the band's debut, which makes it a little more intriguing. It almost has an electronic sensibility to its psychedelic blues tone. "Virginia Slim" and "Janitor" are my favorite tracks.

Ralph McTell - Not Till Tomorrow: This 1972 album captures the UK folk singer in the peak of his career. A contemporary folk singer whose style was born out of '60s Dylan and Pete Seeger, but with a British perspective ala Donovan and Fairport Convention. This is traditional acoustic folk music that feels a bit like James Taylor, if a little less radio friendly. An altogether nice album, worth checking out if your a fan of the genre and looking for a something a little deeper than the classics.

Dead Meadow - Warble Womb: It's been three years since this release, and it remains the latest from the D.C. psych rock band. I've had this since it came out, and have certainly reviewed it here before, but I recently got it on vinyl and listened to it again for the first time in well over a year. When it came out, I thought it lacked some of the heaviness of their previous albums, but upon rehearing it, I don't think it lacks anything, just evolved into a different groove. Completely immersive and certainly a must for fans of the psychedelic stoner vibe.

Captain Beefheart - Bluejeans & Moonbeams: Another one from the vault, another CD purchase that has been converted into LP and getting new life in the rotation. In many ways this can be considered the last Beefheart album, or more appropriately, the end of the first act. After a run of '60s experimental blues art, he and his Magical Band switched gears for this 1974 release. More psychedelic soft rock than blues, this is like the aborted birth of what would become The Eagles and other such soft rock legends. It stays just weird enough to remain special and fantastic.

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