Saturday, June 3, 2017

Weekend Music Roundup

Another weekend is upon us, and the groovy kid image is here to remind us all that it means ramblings on my music listening habits have arrived. This week features lots of new releases from old time favorites as well as a new discovery. In other music related news, I actually went to a concert last night for the first time in ages. I saw Portugal.The Man, one of my favorites, and it was pretty spectacular. I can't wait for their new album to come in two weeks. Take the weekend to find something new to listen to and enjoy. 

Hawkwind - Into the Woods: The new album from the legendary space rock band that is still fronted by founding member Dave Brock. This is somewhere around their 1000th album in the 100th configuration of the band that was born in '69, but this is one of their most compelling since their 70's heyday. Basically no filler, this still holds the transportive style of their best work. "Magic Scenes," "Wood Nymph," "Magic Mushroom" and the title track are my personal favorites.

John Mellencamp - Sad Clowns and Hillbillies: The newest album from the former Cougar is first work of his produced after the '80s that I've listened to, and like his early work, it's strikingly honest and genuine. Older, he has Tom Waits gruff to his voice that works well with this mix of bluegrass, americana rock. "Grandview," "What Kind of Man Am I," "Damascus Road," and "Easy Target" are standouts. 

Lana Del Rey - Midnight Fantasies: This bootleg features leaked songs from recording sessions over the past few years. As with any release like there, there are songs that were understandably left unreleased, but also typical of releases of this kind, there are fantastic tracks that leave me wondering why such a song would have been left off an album. "TV in Black and White," "The Man I Love," "You Can Be the Boss" and "Back to Tha Basics" could all have been at home on either of the last two albums. Worth checking out for fans as we wait for the new album that is due out soon.

The Seventh Sons - The Turnaround: The debut album from the Chicago blues rock band was a little less psych rock than I had hoped and was much more traditional blues rock. It's my personal opinion that to play blues rock in this day and age requires that you bring something new to the sound, and this doesn't. They are true to the genre and play it well, it just doesn't grab me because we've heard this kind of rock for forty years. This is okay, and others will certainly like it more than I. "The Cave Pt. 1," "The Cave Pt. 2," and "Shaman's Whisper" were standouts for me.

Ray Davies - Americana: The Kinks frontman released his first album in seven years, and this time around he's made his attempt at Americana music. He wisely chose The Jayhawks as his backing band on here, one of the pioneers of the current Americana sound. At times, this combination works excellently, and at other times, it falls a little flat. It's one of those odd records where the songs that I like, I really like, and those that I don't, I really don't. "Rock n Roll Cowboys," "Change for Change," and "Heard that Beat Before" were my personal favorites.

The Cosmic Dead - Psych Is Dead: The newest album from the Glasgow psych band is a thorough experience in sludge psych. The band effective uses drone elements in it's heavy style during the course of these three lengthy tracks. I always enjoy this band's work, even though it tends to be music that fills the void, only to alllow the void to quickly step back in once it's over. By that I mean, there is little lasting impression. But that's the nature of drone, and I'm okay with that.

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