Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekend Music Roundup

Welcome once again to my weekly ramblings on the sounds invading my ears over the previous several days. This week was a mixture of catching up with albums that have sat around, delving into new purchases, and exploring some new releases by old favorites. As a result there isn't much of a commonality among the albums listed, with the exception the fact that none of the artists are unknown to me. Most of these are artists that I've followed for years, and so some of my reactions are based on a knowledge of their back catalog. I hope you won't hold that against me, the way I seemed to hold it against the albums themselves. Enjoy.

The Racontwoers - Live at Third Man Records: Recorded on Record Store Day in 2010, this revamped version of The Raconteurs led by Brendan Benson performed to celebrate the re-release of "Broken Boy Soldiers". I picked this up on vinyl and have been totally digging it. The arrangements are slightly different, and Brendan sounds incredible. Definitely a great find, glad I was able to score a copy of this. "Old Enough," "Many Shades of Black," and "Steady as She Goes" are amazing.

Tricky - Skilled Mechanics: The Bristol trip-hop legend released his 13th album this month, following 2014's wonderful Adrian Thaws. Again, he returns to the form that made his career in the mid-to-late '90s with heavy beats and ethereal female vocals mixed with his deep voiced rhymes. There's a definite eye on the club here, perhaps trying once again to rule the underground scene. This album has a nice vibe to it, though I prefer the last two records. Still worthwhile for fans to check out.

Massive Attack - Ritual Spirit: The other Bristol based trip-hop legends, and the band that launched Tricky, also returned from a six year hiatus to release this four song EP. It tries really hard to capture the sound of their glory days, and in some ways it does, all of these songs could be outtakes from Mezzanine. But that's also part of the problem because nothing about it feels new or like anything we haven't heard from them before. There's nothing wrong with this EP. If you like their other work, there's no reason you won't like this. It's just not all that exciting in my opinion. 

The Legendary Pink Dots - 10 to the Power of 9 (Volume 2): Continuing my new found devotion to this UK experimental psych band, I got this limited edition vinyl for Christmas and finally got around to giving it a spin. It's even darker than their previous work that I've heard. It's also quite minimal, especially the second side which consists of one track. A sort of post apocalyptic soundscape that illustrates the vast dust that will be left in humanity's wake. Quite compelling and entertaining as always. Their music never ceases to induce visions within my imagination, and for that, I'm grateful. 

Bill Ryder-Jones - Home Recordings May 2015: Following the release of the phenomenal album of covers recorded between 2011-2014, the Coral guitarist-turned-neo-classical-composser released this digital album last May of five new covers, including an amazing one of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Hear" and the Rolling Stones "Wild Horses." I would definitely recommend both albums. They are available on his Bandcamp site for a name your price download. 

The Zombies - R.I.P.: The lost third album from the Zombies, though recorded at the end of the '60s, stayed in the vault until 1997. The story behind this is that when the early singles from "Odessey and Oracle" didn't hit, the band split. Then "Time of the Season" became a hit. With two members already moved on, the remaining members recorded this record. It lacks the magic of their first albums, understandably, but there are still a few quality tunes on here. "Girl Help Me" and "If It Don't Work Out" are the two standouts.

John Lennon - The Complete Lost Lennon Tapes Volume 10: After a few weeks off, I once again dove into my continued exploration of the incredible bootleg series of John Lennon tapes. This week I made it up the Volume 10. Nearly half-way through the series, this volume extends throughout his '70s career, with lots of early workings of Double Fantasy tracks. His version of "I'm Losing You" on here is one of my favorites. There's a version of "Cold Turkey" that gives me chills. And yet another Buddy Holly cover, this time "Peggy Sue." Great stuff. 

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