Saturday, June 18, 2016

Weekend Music Roundup

The last week of Spring has ended, and bringing with it the heat of summer. I can't stand the heat of summer, but I certainly like the explosion of music that happens every time this year. This was a week that featured some new releases from artists that I've been following for some time, as well as an anticipated bootleg that I'd been looking forward to. There are a few vinyl discoveries that I made recently. All in all, not a bad way to say goodbye to the season. Next week should feature a few more new releases, so stay tuned. Enjoy.

AC/ DC - Axl or Bust: In addition to fronting a re-united GNR, Axl has recently become the lead singer for AC/DC to help the band fulfill their tour obligations in the wake of Brian Johnson's necessary departure. I've always been of the mindset that AC/DC died with Bon Scott, not being a fan of Brian Johnson, so hearing their songs sung by my favorite singer was a welcome surprise. It's like getting a brand-new GNR double album of covers and that's a wonderful thing. Purists will object, but GNR fans will rejoice.

Scorpion Child - Acid Roulette: The Austin rock band's second album was released this week and it's quite good. It's a throwback to '80s metal, at least vocally, while the riffs feel very modern stoner metal. It reminds a bit of Ozzy or early Soundgarden, which is nice, though not particularly innovative. "Winter Side of Deranged," "Tower Grove," "Moon Tension," and the title track are standout tracks.

NRBQ - Scraps: I picked up the Miami boogie blues band's third album on vinyl a few weeks back and saved it for a while, but once I started listening to it, I couldn't really stop. Rooted in blues, this album transcends the genre and feels closer to Grateful Dead than any other band of the time that I can think of. Released in 1972, this album still holds a lot in common with '60s rock, but also has that shift into laid back '70s feel. I always thought this was a '90s band, having never heard of them before that era until I heard some of their early stuff on the radio recently. Certainly a band I will check out more of.

Psychic Ills - Inner Journey: Channeling their inner Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Brooklyn neo-psych band returns with their first album in three years, and third consecutive solid record. A laid back vibe gives the whole thing a feeling of Cali psych as they explore similar territory that BJM has been navigating recently. The result is one the albums that I anticipate listening to quite a bit this summer on lazy days, assuming I have any lazy days. "Another Change," "Mixed Up Mind" and "All Alone" are among my favorite tracks.

Jimmie Spheeris - Isle of View: The debut album from L.A. singer songwriter was released in 1971 and is one the early folk pop albums to feature a sound that would later be made famous by the likes of John Denver. However, Spheeris isn't nearly as poppy. This bridges the gap between bands like The Incredible String Band and the later world of Cat Stevens. Not a perfect record, but quite a good folk album and one that you don't seem around very often. Definitely worth checking out if you are into folk of that time period.

Curren$y - The Legend of Harvard Blue: Sometimes there's a reason to continue investing in an artist that shows promise. Starting a few years back, I began to listen to Curren$y (aka Spitta Andretti) and knew that one day the New Orleans rapper would do something that I truly loved. Of the many albums I've heard in his prolific output, I usually find them to be uneven, with flashes of raw talent that never quite come together into a whole. This mixtape finally does and it had me memorized from start to finish. He puts a unique spin on old way of rhyming and it's a pleasure to hear.

Wye Oak - Tween: This is the fifth album from the Baltimore based indie pop band. It has deep roots in '80s soft rock, but filtered through current dream pop tones. I enjoyed this album, not as much I enjoy their debut, but still it was entertaining. There were definitely moments where it sort of missed the mark, and others where I found myself easily distracted. "Too Right," "On Luxury," and "No Dreaming" were my favorites. 

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