Saturday, June 17, 2017

Weekend Music Roundup

It's Saturday and so it is once again time to take a look at that most sacred of arts, music. This week, I take a look a few new releases that I'd been looking forward to, and some older releases that I recently was gifted on vinyl. There's only one band represented that I hadn't heard before, and it was a pleasant surprise. There were also some disappointments, but such is the way of a music junkie. Hopefully there will be something that perks your curiosity. Enjoy. 

Ryan Adams - Prisoner B-Sides: This full length album of songs that didn't make it onto one of the best records of the year so far, is in itself one of the best records of the year so far. While Prisoner is an ode to '80s rock, this album has a bit more of an early '90s indie feel, albeit with ghosts of '80s rock thrown in. There really isn't a weak song on here and I'm sure glad that Ryan has been feeling super creative and sharing it with us all. 

The Rolling Stones - 12x5: Despite being a huge Stones fan, this is an album that I never acquired back in the day when amassing my Stones CD collection. To be honest, I was somewhat put off by the title, never fully comprehending it (until now: twelve songs by five guys...AH!). Anyway, found this in a $1 bin in decent shape and couldn't pass it up. It's early in their career, before they hit it big, and features a lot of early rock type stuff. Super solid record, but that kind of goes without saying. 

The Afghan Whigs - In Spades: The '90s alternative rock band made its return three years ago, following a 16 year hiatus. Now, three years later, they've released the second album in their second phase of existence, which doesn't sound very different from their first phase. Listening to this, I was reminded of what I've always enjoyed about this band, their rough sound which they make sound compelling and beautiful, and what has always bothered me, their tendency to be a little boring. "Arabian Heights," "Copernicus," and "The Spell" were standouts for me on this solidly okay album.

Smith - Minus-Plus: This L.A. band released two albums, their debut in '69 and this one a year later. This is a unique blend of soul and folk that is very catchy and reminds me of a serious version of The Brady Kids, and I mean that in the most complimentary way. It grabs you from the opening track, "You Don't Love Me" and then alternates between soul and L.A. style folk rock throughout. All in all, an very enjoyable discovery for me.

David Bowie - Station to Station: I bought this album, or thought I bought this album, nearly twenty years ago for $1 on St. Mark's place along with a few others. It was only after I go home that I discovered a copy of "ChangesOneBowie" in the sleeve. Not that ChangesOneBowie isn't worth having, but I'm not big on hits compilations. This weekend, I got a free copy of this, with the real record inside and it's like a mission fulfilled. This album marks the beginning of the Thin White Duke era and is some of Bowie's most mature offerings.

Wale - Shine: There was a time, about a decade ago, when the D.C. rapper was the most promising underground artist around. Mix-Tape after Mix-Tape, Wale brought it! His skills were undeniable, his lyrics were tight, and his flow was inspiring. We are now five studio albums into his record deal, and all of that promise seems to have been misspent. I went into this hoping it would be the album where he finally delivered. It's not. This is basically unlistenable. The cover is the best part, everything on the inside is trite shite.

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