Saturday, June 11, 2016

Weekend Music Roundup

The weekend has arrived and as promised, this edition of the Roundup features mostly new stuff. There are really so many new releases coming out these days that I'm fairly swamped listening to stuff that I've been waiting for. It's a situation that I don't mind being in. There's also some recent vinyl purchases that I picked up at a fair over the long weekend a few weeks back. I'm digesting them in pieces in order to keep my spending down. There's a lot of rock on here, and some folk. Most are bands that I've followed for a long time. Definitely a lot to check out. Enjoy.

The Kills - Ash & Ice: It's been five years since the Trans-Atlantic duo released their last album, time during which Alison Mossheart focused on her Dead Weather project with Jack White. The time away was good for the band. Their last album was a letdown for me, but this is a return to form. Though not as gritty and raw as their early work, it's still great rock music. It goes back and forth from blues to dance rock in nice way, and Alison sounds fantastic. "Black Tar," "Bitter Fruit," "Echo Home," and wonderful "Hum for Your Buzz" are standouts. Definitely worth checking out.

The Claypool Lennon Delirium - Monolith of Phobos: The pairing of Les Claypool and Sean Lennon is one I couldn't have imagined a few years back when Ghost of the Sabre Tooth Tiger was just beginning, but after they last two strong psychedelic releases, it makes much more sense to me. It opens with the Floyd / Sgt. Pepper inspired title track and continues the vibe, with a slight deviation into slap bass intrigue, as is to be expected with Les involved. A very interesting and consistent psychedelic album with "Breath of a Salesman," "Boomerang Baby," and the title track being standouts. 

Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses: Tull made some of my all time favorite albums in the late '60s and early '70s and remained pretty fantastic throughout the decade. Released in '78, ten years after their debut, this record is classic Tull. They are still daring and creating some of the best prog blues ever recorded. This album feels more Zeppelin than any of their other albums. Not as epic as Aqualung or Thick as a Brick, and more prog than Stand Up, this falls in line with Minstrel in the Gallery. "Acres Wild," "Journeyman," and the title track are my personal favorites.

Melvins - Basses Loaded: The sludge metal pioneers are not as young as they used to be, and not nearly as heavy as they used to be. That said, they still know how to make solid riffs and interesting grooves. This album was a bit uneven for me. At moments they were they their classic selves, and at others, well, not so much. It's never bad, just more interesting at times than others. "Captain Come Down," "Beer Hippie," "War Pussy," and the cover of the Beatles "I Want To Tell You" are among my favorites.

Robert Ellis - Robert Ellis: Two years, the Nashville based singer/songwriter released one of my favorite albums of the year. The follow-up finally came out last week and it's another country folk record featuring tales of suffering in the modern age with interesting arrangements. It hasn't struck me with quite the same force as the last album, but perhaps that's just because it's very similar, and therefore no longer feels brand-new to me. Still, this is strong record and worth checking out, just ignore the oddly weak opening track "Perfect Strangers" and pay attention to "California," "Drivin'" and "The High Road."

Blue Oyster Cult - Spectres: The New York hard rock band's fifth album from 1977 was a recent vinyl pick-up for me. I was given their '74 album Secret Treaties as a gift a few years back and loved it. While not quite as perfect as that album, this one is still pretty fantastic rock. This band never over does anything and manages to deliver. In that way, they remind me of Deep Purple. They are America's brand of '70s rock, which differs from the British giants like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. I will certainly continue to pick up their records as I come across them.

Mark Kozelek - Mark Kozelek Sings Favorites: The Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon frontman released this album of covers last month. I've been a fan of Mark's work for over two decades and was certainly interested in this. The most surprising thing about this album is the remarkable straight-forwardness of the songs. It is the most traditional music he's made in years. I love the direction he's been taking his songs in over the past few years, but this album reminded me of what a great singer he truly is. Some interesting choices on here too, ones you wouldn't expect to match his voice, but somehow do. The cover of 10cc's "I'm Not in Love" is simply brilliant.

No comments:

Post a Comment