Saturday, May 21, 2016

Weekend Music Roundup

I know I've been saying it for a while now, but this week I finally got around to listening to new releases from old favorites that I'd been looking forward to.  It was a lucky break that none of them disappointed, and thus contributed to what is shaping up to be yet another great year in music (the 67th consecutive year in a row). I also have a few vinyl pick-ups from the past weekend. Who know that stores still took trade in on CDs? Well, I did, and traded a stack of CDs that I had on vinyl for some shiny new wax. All in all, a good week of listening. Enjoy.

Richard Ashcroft - These People: One of the most anticipated albums of the year for me has been the new solo record from The Verve frontman. This is his first solo album in ten years, and in many ways it's a return to form. It's more in tune with his early solo efforts and abandons the adult-contempo/ soul vibe of the previous two albums. There's a lot to love on here and very little hate. I have to admit that some of the songs weren't really my cup of tea, but even when they weren't, I could get into them. The great songs though are great. They include "Black Lines," "They Don't Own Me," "This is How it Feels," and "Out of My Body."

Holly Miranda - Party Trick: After the success of her self-titled second solo record last year, this new EP was released, though it's not exactly new. It is an abridged EP of a self-released album of covers put out in 2012. As always, Holly's voice and mellow style bring something beautiful to every choice on here. Worth picking up even if only for "Love Came Here." Another great release from one of my favorite singer songwriters.

The Jayhawks - Paging Mr. Proust: The legendary alt country band's first album in five years is a true return to their 90's glory sound. It opens with two wonderful songs and from there just keeps going. While it stands alongside their classic albums, it's not simply a revisit of their Americana Elton John vibe, this delves deeper in midwest psychedelic ala Wilco or even Flaming Lips, especially on the amazing track "Ace." There isn't a bad song on here. I just love it when an album surprises you in such a positive way. 

Jess and the Ancient Ones - Second Psychedelic Coming (The Aquarius Tapes): The second album from the Finnish heavy psych band came out at the end of last year and is the follow up to their 2012 debut. It's refreshing to hear a female lead vocal in this genre, something that is still rare in rock after decades and decades. Her voice is Grace Slick like, making this sound like a heavier Jefferson Starship. There's a real '70s hard rock vibe to this record which is enjoyable, if not terribly original. Definitely worth checking out if you like the genre. 

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III: This is a band that I go through phases with, but currently I'm really into them again and have been for about a year. I never had this 1970 classic before, but picked up a vinyl copy last weekend. This blues rock at it's finest. It's easily their most blues influenced record and hearing it not, I can hear it's influence on bands like White Stripes, especially on tracks like "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" and "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper." Then there's the amazing "Since I've Been Loving You" that blows me away. Fantastic stuff.

M - New York-London-Paris-Munich: Best known of the synth-pop hit "Pop Muzik" that is the first song on this, their 1979 debut album. I found this for $1 and it's quite good. Along with Gary Numan's Pleasure Principle album, released the same year, this is the beginnings of New Wave and a classic of the genre. I've been into New Wave a lot these days, finding it very fun and reminiscent of music from my early elementary school years. Definitely worth a dollar. 

Mötley Crüe - Theatre of Pain: Two years after their glam rock landmark Shout At The Devil the L.A. band released this album in 1985. On their third album, we see them moving away from glam and into pure hard rock. I had this on cassette when it came out, and later on CD as part of the Music to Crash Your Car To box set. It's never been quite as good the as the two albums that came before it, but I still picked it up on vinyl last weekend as part of a CD trade-in. There's lots of quality tunes on here, in addition to "Home, Sweet, Home," especially "Louder than Hell" and "City Boy Blues."

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