Saturday, July 15, 2017

Weekend Music Roundup

The weekend has decided to show its face again and thankfully decided to wash away the insane heat that had lingered most of this past week. This week's Roundup features albums that I first listened to a few weeks ago. This list consists entirely of bands and artists that I've followed for years, but don't worry, there are plenty of new discoveries lined up for the upcoming weeks. Mostly rock and folk on here, with the inclusion of some soul. There's a couple of new releases that I'd been waiting for, and a bunch of older things that I'm catching up on. Enjoy.

Ride - Weather Diaries: The British shoegaze band's return after 21 years apart is pretty much a triumph. I was looking forward to this album with a little bit of reservation, but it completely lived up to the hype and is their best album since '94s Carnival of Light. As with their later albums, this is more BritPop than shoegaze and their songwriting abilities have only grown over time. It never falls back on nostalgia, which was my issue with Slowdive's return a few months ago. Definitely worth checking out. 

Black Lips - Satan's Graffiti or God's Art?: While listening to the eighth album from the Atlanta garage rockers, I kept thinking of the Spacemen 3 album "Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To" because that's what this album sounds like. Over the past few albums, they've moved farther into the psychedelic garage sound and this sees them straight up living there. The album took me a few songs to get into, but it really picks up on the second half, reminding a bit of The Growlers. "Rebel Intuition," "We Know," "Losers Lament," "In My Mind There's a Dream," and the fun "Wayne" were my personal favorites.

Brett Anderson - Wilderness: Originally released in 2008, this was the second solo album from the Suede frontman, and has recently been re-released in a deluxe edition. Upon it's release nearly a decade ago, I ignored this album because the album he'd released a year prior was not good. It's the only album of his I never gave a chance, until now. I regret passing on it back then because this record is quite good, and possibly the best of his four solo albums. It's mellower than Suede, more personal, and quite beautiful.

Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant: The 1970 debut from the UK prog rock band is truly a giant. This is heavier than their later work, with blistering guitar work and pounding drums in fits and starts, blended with quieter moments and longer exploratory noodling. "Nothing at All" is a blockbuster track and this is certainly an album for fans of the genre, or even just early '70s heavy groove rock. 

Isaac Hayes - Don't Let Go: Released in '79, this shows the deep voiced soul singer's disco side. That's not to say it abandons his soul roots, rather it infuses it with the popular sound of the day and the combination works well. This was a $1 bin find at one of the local shops and is easily worth that price. "Fever," "Someone Who Will Take the Place of You," and the title track are standouts.

Red House Painters - Red House Painters: The legendary slowcore band released two self-titled albums in 1993, this being the second one. Back in college, this band was on heavy rotation, and Mark's current band Sun Kil Moon is still on heavy rotation. So when I found a copy of this on vinyl the other weekend, I was quite excited. This is the band's peak, a perfect collection of well-crafted emotional tracks that is great for lazy Sunday mornings. "New Jersey," "Blindfold" and the cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "I Am a Rock" are standouts.

The Strumbellas - Hope: The third album from the Toronto indie folk rock band came out last year, and though I've heard many of the songs played heavily on the independent radio station around here since its release last year, I didn't check out the entire album until recently. This band falls into the recent folk rock wave of bands like The Lumineers and Avett Brothers. It's a sound I'm totally okay with and thoroughly enjoy listening to, but one that I never quite feel passionately about. Lots of great songs on here, including "Shovels and Dirt," "David," "Spirits," and "Wild Sun." Definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of the genre. 

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