Saturday, December 3, 2016

Weekend Music Roundup

Another weekend has arrived, one of the last of the year. It's that time of year where I'm in a phase of listening to remaining albums released in the past 12 months as I begin to think about my favorite albums of the year. This list is made up solely of some of those albums. Next week will most likely be the last Roundup before my final list of favorites. There's some quality records on here, probably none that will end on the best of list, but many worth checking out anyway. Hopefully there's something on here that you will want to include on your lists. Enjoy.

Thee Oh Sees - An Odd Entrances: A decade after their first release, the San Fran psychedelic band continues to churn out music at a fast clip. Sometimes that works against them as often times their records feel unfocused. That's not the case here. With their second album of 2016, released a few weeks ago, the band sounds more focused than ever and put forth one of the best works in their expansive catalog. They were able to hone on the groove that makes them so appealing and the result is a wonderful piece of psychedelic bliss. "The Poem," "At the End, On the Stairs," and "Unwrap the Fiend" are standouts.

Mick Flannery - I Own You: This is the fifth album from the Irish singer songwriter, released this year. This is pretty standard folk rock and a quality album even if it's nothing very groundbreaking. The exception to that statement is the title track which opens the album. It's is laced with a darkness that makes it striking. I found myself wishing the entire album had a similar sound. Definitely check out the title track.

M. Craft - Blood Moon: The third album from the Australian born singer songwriter is his first in seven years. This is one of those very quiet, very soft singer songwriter albums that only feel right to listen to during the sunrise. That is exactly when I did listen to this, in the car as dawn fought it's way into the sky. This isn't the kind of album that will leave a dramatic impression on you, but if you allow it, it's beauty will wash over you in a pleasing way. "Chemical Trails," "Afterglow," and the title track are my personal favorites.

Trembling Bells and Bonnie Prince Billy - Bonnie Bells of Oxford: This collaboration between the Glasgow folk band the Will Oldham was originally released in 2013 and has recently been re-released. This live album has a lot of presence. It's a bit of throwback to late '60s and early '70s British folk rock bands such as Fairport Convention and The Pentangle. While not a must-have, it's a nice addition to the wide universe of Oldham's music. "So Everyone" and "Husband/ Riding" are essential tracks from this solid record.

Harvey Mandel - Snake Pit: The blues rock guitarists who made some killer albums in the '70s returns with another instrumental piece of instrumental fusion. Though I have hard a time listening to an album of guitar work, Mandel is one of the exceptions. He is very diverse and when he gets into a groove, it's a pleasure to listen to. "Jackhammer" and "Buckaroo" are standouts for me.

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