Saturday, July 30, 2016

Weekend Music Roundup

It was another oppressively hot week in the Hudson Valley and I barely survived. But with the help of some anticipated records, I managed to get through it. It was a good week for listening, with one of my favorite artists putting out a new record and some great discoveries from the past, as well as some contemporary curiosities. I love checking out things I've never heard before and going in blind without any notion of what it is I'm going to encounter. Enjoy.

Ryley Walker - Golden Sings That Have Been Sung: After releasing one of my favorite albums of last year, this is easily one of the most anticipated records of the year for me. The Chicago singer songwriter has quickly become one of my favorites. This album, like last year's Primrose Green, is a child of Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, more foreboding but just as beautiful. "Funny Thing She Said," "Sullen Mind," and "The Roundabout" were stand out tracks for me. Easily one to consider for the best of the year list.

Dinosaur Jr. - Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not: The great Boston indie outfit returns with their first album in four years. Following a string of great records since reforming last decade, the trio continues the streak with this record, which revisits the lo-fi groove of their heyday. Two Lou Barlow songs wisely break up the track list, giving a pause from J. Mascis' signature style. Most certainly deserves a place on the shelf alongside their best.

Reagan Cats - Sand Man: The new release from the Baltimore indie band reminded me a bit of some of the lesser known Elephant 6 bands in the mid-to-late '90s, not the experimental ones, but the lo-fi rock outfits like Ladybug Transistor and The Minders. These four songs have a simple honesty that makes them appealing. There's nothing showy, something that feels like a throwback to the indie scene in the '90s. Worth checking out their Bandcamp site.

Misfits - Evilive: This live EP was released back in 1997, but features material from the original lineup in their raw glory. I recently picked this up on vinyl in the midst of our sweltering heatwave. The aggression featured in this performance matched the weather and reminded me of what made these lo-fi demons one of the best American punk bands of all time. I was a little nervous that the recording quality wouldn't be great, but it's actually just right for the music.

Agnes Strange - Strange Flavour: This is the only album ever released by the 70's UK hard rock band. It came out in 1975, and is definitely of that time, though it actually feels as though it would have been mega huge had it come out a few years prior. This is blues infused hard rock with psych elements, varying from song to song. Quite good and a shame it isn't more widely known. "Failure," "Highway Blues," "Loved One," and "Children of the Absurd" are stand outs.

Gay Witch Abortion - Two Rats and a Pimp: Released last year, this is the latest EP from the Minneapolis noise rock band. Only four songs, but four intense post-punk songs. There is something Jesus Lizard about this band, something that makes them sound like a disturbing nightmare, but a nightmare you don't mind rocking out to. Full throttle noise that sounds like '90s punk, there's not much of that around these days, so it was nice to hear. "Red Max" and "Less Free" were the better half of the EP in my opinion. 

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