The weekend is upon us, a nice long weekend. This week, I focused my listening habits on discovery, choosing a few albums by bands or artists who were new to me. In a rare display of luck, most of them were eye-opening good. I love weeks like this because they expand my overall knowledge and broaden my horizons. I've found a handful of performers this week who I will most likely explore further in the future, which is always something that I find inspiring. Hopefully you will all feel the same. Enjoy.
The Souldiggers Band - III: The new album from the Russian hard rock band was released earlier this month and is a powerhouse of heavy blues based hard rock. It's no wonder that the singer is also in a band named Sex Type Thing, since this album sounds as like a legitimate follow-up to STP's second album. Being a fan of that band, this was a joy to discover. Any other fan of STP or Scott Weiland will most likely enjoy this record.
Strand of Oaks - Hard Love: Though this is the fifth album from Philly based indie singer songwriter, it was my first encounter. I can say without hesitation that it won't be my last as this is one of the best albums that I've heard so far this year. There's something incredibly honest about this record that really struck me. One song after the next really had a way of grabbing me and I was left feeling very impressed with the Timothy Showalter's talent. Highly recommended.
Katamine - In Praise of Shadows: Another new band for me on this week of new bands, this dark folk record from the Israeli band is their third album and was released last month. It's one of those quieter albums that invokes feelings somewhere between a dream and nightmare, or a pleasant nightmare, which are my favorite type of dreams. It's one of those albums that I love to listen to in the darkness of late autumn or winter. "Killer No More" is my personal favorite track.
Thievery Corporation - The Temple of I and I: For two decades, the D.C. area dub, trip hop band has been putting out interesting records that mix a variety of styles to create a unique sound. As always, the beats are great, and a slew of guest artists provide a steady flow of hip hop and soul vocals. I don't usually go for truly upbeat records, but every once in a while, it's nice to listen to music that is designed for groove than thought. Another decent addition to their catalog.
Fred Thomas - Changer: This is the newest album from the indie rocker who has been released records for over 15 years. However, this is my first encounter with his brand of lo-fi garage rock and it has me curious to look at his earlier work. I got the impression that this was a bit of a lazy album, and by that, I mean that the songs, while all good quality, seemed to lack a kind of passion that I've come to expect from albums of this type. To be sure, there were inspired moments on here, but too frequently it felt to slip away into the background.
Legendary Pink Dots - Festive: Released in very limited handmade CD format this fall as a way of funding the band's rare North American tour, this compilation pulls together the band's holiday/ seasonal selections. I listened to this on two consecutive days of driving through snowy weather and it was the perfect soundtrack for those rides. It brought me back to my High School days when so much of what I was listening to was mysterious and strange and brought me to weird places in my mind. That's the joy that I always get with the Pink Dots and why I continue to seek out new things from their never-ending catalog.