Sunday, July 3, 2016

Weekend Music Roundup

Welcome to the long holiday weekend, the height of summer, and one that is usually packed with music. This past week was a good one for new sounds. It was a nice mix of new and old. There were a couple of releases from bands that have only been around a few years, along with some nice finds of favorite bands, and one recent archival live release from a favorite of mine. Hopefully there is something here for you discover, when you're not lighting fireworks and celebrating America with hot dogs. Enjoy.

The Sore Losers - Skydogs: This is the third album from the Belgium hard rock band. Unlike typical bands these days, they typically take a few years between releases. I was unfamiliar with these guys before this album, and will admit being attracted by the pitch perfect heavy psych cover. This is not really heavy psych. If stoner hair metal bands came of age today, they'd sound a lot like this. From my perspective, that ain't such a bad thing. For others, it's a nightmare. Very worthwhile if that genre is one you are into.

The Beatles - Yellow Submarine: Though I have a HUGE Beatles library, believe it or not, this is one I didn't have. I recently came across a mint first issue of this album still in shrinkwrap for $4 at an antique store and snatched it up. While the B side consists of forgettable George Martin soundtrack songs, Side A is pure Fab Four gold with "Hey Bulldog" being the real treasure. It was a great buy and I'm happy to add it to my collection.

The Oscillation - Monographic: The London space rock band recently released their fourth album and it's a departure from their last effort. While they have come to be known for their lush soundscapes and Pink Floyd like sound, this is very different. This sounds more like early Christian Death to me, aggressive, moody and gothic at it's roots. There are still elements of atmospheric rock that seep through, making this an interesting listen and one worth checking out.

Sly and the Family Stone - Stand!: Released in 1969, this is a landmark album that combines soul, funk and rock in a delightful way. Sly is in top form here, and will be for several years to come. I was lucky to find a perfect vinyl copy of this one for cheap and have been grooving to it for awhile. Though I had their Greatest Hits on vinyl, it's nice to hear some of the songs that you don't hear all the time. "Everyday People," "I Want to Take You Higher," and the title track are hits, and they are fantastic.

The Myrrors - Entranced Earth: The psychedelic band from Arizona released their third album two months ago. They specialize in creating almost lyrical soundscape with minimal vocals. This is the kind of album that typically I prefer in the late fall than in the summer, and will likely return to it at that time. Pleasant enough, though not particularly striking.

The Monkees - More of the Monkees: The band's second album sees them leading up to their classic records that were to come, is still a little more pop rock than psychedelic. The were still young and a little goofy here, but always catchy. This also has some of their best songs like "I'm a Believer" and "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone." It goes nicely on the shelf with their other records. This is a band that is too often dismissed when really they were one of the greats of the time.

The White Stripes - Live at the Golden Dollar III: In the continuing wave of Fan Club releases, this live set was put out on vinyl around Christmas time. This is an early concert, recorded before the release of their debut and features songs mostly from that album, and some that would come later and still more that would never be released on any official album. The energy on here is great and really captures the sound of one the best live bands of all time.

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