Saturday, April 15, 2017

Weekend Music Roundup

It's the weekend, and being that it's spring, it's also the beginning of a wave of new releases. In the last few weeks, so many albums that I've been looking forward to have been released. Some of them are here on the Roundup this week, others will follow in the coming weeks. So look forward to a bunch of excitement. This week features some singer songwriters that I really enjoy, some indie bands that I like, and a few others. Hopefully you'll all find something to check out. Enjoy.

Aimee Mann - Mental Illness: This is the indie singer songwriter's first album in five years, and while it doesn't depart from her earlier work, it's very welcomed to my ears. This is right in line with her best albums, filled with songs of complete honesty and beauty that are never tiring or trite. "You Never Loved Me," "Stuck in the Past," "Lies of Summer," and "Good for Me" are standout tracks on a fantastic record.
The Orwells - Terrible Human Beings: The fourth album from the Illinois indie band is the follow-up to 2014's breakout album, "Disgraceland." I really enjoyed that album, but this one is definitely better. Their mixture of punk and garage influences creates an indie sound that is in short supply these days. "They Put a Body in the Bayou," "Vacation," "Hippie Soldier," and "Heavy Head" are standouts. I look forward to seeing how this band progresses through their career.

Samantha Crain - You Had Me at Goodbye: This is the Oklahoma singer songwriter's fifth album. I've been a fan of hers since I saw her in concert during her debut almost ten years ago. Her voice is one of the best around and the stories she tells are always compelling and honest. Nothing earth shattering on here, this is just good indie folk with the exception of a little bit of jazz fused in. "Red Sky, Blue Mountain," "Wise One," and "When the Roses Bloom Again" are standouts. This is another fine addition to her catalog.

Guided By Voices - August by Cake: Since the lo-fi Dayton band reformed six years ago, they've been quite prolific. This is their eighth album since 2011 and follows the band's trademark style of snippets and fragments that add up to a whole which is often brilliant. Remarkably, this is the band's first double album, which given their prolific tendency is a little surprising. Like most double albums, this one suffers a little from simply being too much...but not enough to make it any less essential for fans.

Ruby the Hatchet - Ouroboros: The 2012 debut from the Philly heavy psych band was recently re-released on vinyl and digital. Having loved their follow-up album which came out in 2015, I was glad to have the chance to get a hold of this one. While not as dangerous sounding as the followup, this is still a good rock record. It reminds me of Dead Weather whereas the newer album reminded me of Uncle Acid. "Black Tongue," "Taking Sides," "Wicked Ones," and "Good God Damn" are personal favorites. Definitely worth checking out on their Bandcamp site.

Steel Panther - Lower the Bar: The new album from the glam band formerly known as Metal Shop, Danger Kitty, and Metal Skool is their fourth under this name. It seems to be getting a lot of attention, primarily because of the revival of 80's hair metal. Given my interest in the genre, I was curious. I didn't realize that these guys don't take it seriously. There's a comedic element to it, but overall, I found it just immature and tasteless. 

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