Welcome to the first weekend of the new year. I always try to get at least one release from the new year in the first Roundup and once again, I've succeeded...and once again, it's a good one. There are also a few last minute 2016 reviews, including two that made my best of list. Beyond that, there are a few older albums that I picked up with Christmas money. All in all, I'm starting the year off right. I've always believed that everything good starts with good tunes, so hopefully you will all start of 2017 feeling groovy. Enjoy.
Ryan Adams - Prisoner: The first 2017 release that I listened to and it's a good one. The rocker's 15th solo album is his first in nearly three years and his best in over a decade. His Taylor Swift cover album saw him get in touch with his 80s rock sound, a sound which he also did quite well in the singles leading up to his last album, but which failed to show on there. This is 80s rock guitar at its best. "Shiver and Shake," "Breakdown," "Doomsday," and the title track are standouts on a remarkable album.
Electric Wizard - Witchcult Today: Originally released in 2007, this was re-issued on RSD in 2010 and I finally tracked down a copy in my browsing. The British stoner metal band is among the best in the genre and I've been collecting their releases on vinyl for the the past half-decade or so. This is another gem in their catalog. Deep, dark grooves and heavy psych flair, this is another must have for fans.
John Coltrane - A Love Supreme: Along with Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, this is considered the ultimate jazz album. Though I've long been familiar with it, both digitally and on CD, I recently found a beautiful used copy on vinyl and purchased it with Christmas money. This is the golden era of jazz and a record that captures emotions in sound. A flawless album that everybody should have, even those who claim not to like jazz.
Matt Pond PA - Winter Lives: Originally from Philly, the Brooklyn based indie band's 11th album in their nearly 20 years of existence is actually the first of theirs that I own, though I have been familiar with them to some extent. This was a late entry into my best of 2016 list. It fits in with indie singer songwriter stuff like Josh Ritter and Josh Rouse, but is void of some of the cheesier moments that I often find in those two. There's something deeply honest about this record without wallowing in depressive sentiment.
Shana Falana - Here Comes the Wave: This is the fourth album from the dream pop indie artist who is a local from my parts, and another late edition to my Best of 2016 list. The local radio has been playing a few of her songs quite a lot and I received the album for Christmas and have been really into the allusion to a 90's sound that hides in the recesses of these songs. Though it's technically "dream pop" it definitely has a darker feel. Not nightmarish, but certainly upsetting dreams, like Marianne Faithfull.
Blodwyn Pig - Getting To This: Mick Abrahams, the original guitarist of Jethro Tull, left the band in '68 because he wanted the band to be more blues based. He left and formed Blodwyn Pig who released two albums in '69 and '70 that are essentially blues based Tull. The first album is fantastic, and so it this one, the second and last one for twenty five years. This is a must for fans of the '60s heavy blues.