Another week in this quickly passing year has come to an end and with it comes more music in yet another year to be celebrated in sound. This week features a few new releases, one that is easily one of my favorites of the year. It also includes a few exceptional old finds that I have for a while but had never bothered to review. It's a good list, one of that I hope will add to your holiday wish lists. Not that there is much room left on them, if you're anything like me. Enjoy.
Jim James - Eternally Even: This is the second solo album from the leader of My Morning Jacket and it's yet another phenomenal effort to go along with the rest of catalog, both solo and with the band. This record doesn't stray too far from the band's most recent album. It's a groove heavy blend of folk rock with soul elements that grabbed me from beginning to end. Definitely a favorite of the year so far. "Hide in Plain Sight," "Same Old Lie," "We Ain't Getting Any Younger" and the title track are all fantastic.
Lou Barlow - Apocalypse Fetish: The newest EP from the Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, and Folk Implosion member was released a few weeks ago and is another lo-fi treat to add to his catalog. Only five short songs, but it's still nice to have, even if it the mood is rather depressing, which I suppose works for the current state of affairs. In fact, the title track speaks to many of those who groups who supported the instigated the disastrous course this country has taken. "Pour Reward," along with the title track, are standouts.
David Johansen - Live it Up: I found this '82 live album from the New York Dolls frontman at my local Goodwill store a few months back but hadn't gotten around to playing it until recently. It's pretty fantastic and includes a lot of unexpected covers like "Reach Out, I'll Be There" and "Build Me Up Buttercup," along with solo greats like "Funky but Chic," and New York Dolls standards "Stranded in the Jungle" and "Personality Crisis." It doesn't have any of the quality issues that some live records have and settles into a groove mighty quick. Definitely a nice find.
Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield: I've had this record for a few years, but realized the other day that I'd never reviewed it. I was listening to it recently and felt the need to correct that oversight. This is "collection" record, which is a way of saying it's a Greatest Hits, though the songs aren't really hits. It was replaced in the '90s with a box set (which I also have), but this double record is a bit easier to digest. Every classic Stills and Young track is included and listening to it, I was reminded how fantastic this band was, which is why there's no mystery as to why members found great success afterwards.
Riff Raff - Balloween: The new album from the Houston trap rapper is yet another uneven release, but somehow I don't think he puts too much emphasis on consistency. One of the great things about Riff Raff is that he just does his thing, seemingly unconcerned with critics, public opinion, or reviews. It's what gives his music style. But it's also what causes a release with so many tracks that feel like unfinished toss-offs. When he's good, he's great. Too bad there isn't more greatness on here.
The Cars - Greatest Hits: In the late '70s and early '80s, this Boston new wave band had a string of hits that are familiar to anyone who lived through that time. I recently listened to this record as part of an '80s weekend and couldn't believe that all of these songs that I knew from childhood were done by the same band. This is the soundtrack to my elementary school summers at the local pool club and it's still good music. "You Might Think," "My Best Friend's Girl," and "Drive" are my personal favorites.