Saturday, January 21, 2017

Weekend Music Roundup

Welcome to the first Roundup under the reign of our 45th President. It's dark days for many and in my experience music can be one of the few uplifting things during dark times. It's not a retreat, but a respice. With that said, here are some albums that I've been listening to over the past week and half, some are a good escape, while others are a good outlet for anger. Both seem appropriate. Hopefully all of you will find some music to help you through. Enjoy.

The Flaming Lips - Oczy Mlody: Released last week, this is the Oklahoma City neo-psych legends first proper album of new material since 2013's The Terror. This falls into the same category of that album and the prior Embryonic. It takes a page from their iconic Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by being a concept album. The concept in this one is that a drug called Oczy Mlody cause people to sleep for a month and have dreams of evil unicorns, at least that's what I read. It's hard to pick up on that after listening to it a few times. As expected, it's weird synth psych, with moments of melodic bliss, as is their best work. "Sunrise (Eyes of the Young)"  "Do Glowy" and "Listening to Frogs with Demon Eyes" are personal favorites. Overall, this is good, but not legendary.

Duff McKagan - How to be a Man: This single from the GNR bassist came out in 2015 and it's three of the best songs he's ever written. Duff, being from Seattle, was the primary punk influence in GNR, and perhaps because of that, his solo work has always been of the more interesting of the group. He writes hard rock with a nod to The Stooges and it shows here. These songs feel more Velvet Revolver than GNR. Well worth checking out for fans. 

Tim Buckley - Lady, Give Me Your Key: In the late '60s and early '70s Tim Buckley was one of the most unique singer songwriter voices in the world, a voice that was silenced by his untimely death. While his folk style is reminiscent of some of his contemporaries, there was something different about him. This archival release, issued late last year captures the unreleased demo recordings. There is a raw power to these recordings that remind me of Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen, as do his studio albums. "Sixface," "Once Upon a Time," "Pleasant Street," "Knight-Errant," and "She's Back Again" are standouts for me.

Gun - Gun: The 1968 debut album from the short-lived London heavy psych band that would break up two short years later. This is one of those hard to find, little heard, but much sought after psych albums from the genre's dawn. Steeped in blues, this is a heavy album, much heavier than contemporary records of the time and about three or four years ahead its time. Well worth checking out. The 11 minute side B freak out "Take Off" is epic.

RPWL - Plays Pink Floyd's 'The Man and The Journey': In 1969, Pink Floyd was a band trying to find its sound after Syd Barrett's departure. They played a series of concerts under the "The Man and The Journey", some of these songs would later find release on "More" and "Ummagumma" but the entire concept album was never officially released. The German prog band's decided to cover these sets on this album, and the results are fantastic.

Bad Boy - Back to Back: The second album by the Milwaukee rock band was released in 1978. Had been released eight or nine years later, it probably would be legendary. This album captures the sound that would dominate '80s hard rock. In my book, that's not a bad thing. There's some great tunes on here. For any fans of 80's hair metal, this might be one worth checking out.

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