The weekend is here, and after taking most of this month off to listen to my favorites of last year, I'm back in groove. This is a list that I started late last year, with the first one being one of my favorite albums of the year in 2017. It also includes the first release of this year and some older albums that I picked up not so long ago. Hopefully there's something on here to get you grooving as well. Here's to another fantastic year of music! Enjoy.
Ruby Throat - Baby Darling Taporo: The fourth album from the UK duo featuring Katie Jane Garside (Daisy Chainsaw, Queenadreena) is another limited release in amazing packaging and their first release in five years after they moved onto a boat. It's also another stunningly beautiful album that plays like the soundtrack to a dream. They continue to create a catalog of music that seems simple on the surface, but listen closely, and it reveals incredible subtle elements that add a spookiness to the dream folk vibe, like a dark fairy tale that hides the conflict under the surface. Brilliant stuff, this.
Death and Vanilla - The Tenant: It's been three years since the Swedish neo-psych band's last album, the brilliant To Where the Wild Things Are, a favorite of mine. So needless to say, I was looking forward to this album and made it the first 2018 album that I listened to. I was slightly disappointed that it was instrumental, but that's just my personal preference. Musically, it is dreamy and eerie, and a wonderful mood piece. I enjoy it, but had been hoping for more.
Two Dark Birds - Bow: The third album from the indie folk band is another beautiful piece of down-tempo music. This is a local band based up here in the Catskills who I had the chance to meet back in 2008 when their debut came out. There's. a sadness that has infused itself into their sound over the last decade and it serves them well as it graces this tales of maturity. "Pretty Wing," "The King Of...," and "Winter Song" are standouts on this fine album.
Grand Funk - Closer to Home: The Flint rock band released three albums in their first year and half, this being the third of those. I've been kind of obsessed with this band since I picked up their self-titled album for free over the summer and when I saw this for $1, I snatched it up. Half-way through this album, I thought to myself, "How have I gone so long without the Grand Funk?" True to the Michigan tradition, this is raw and raucous and like The Stooges, pushes the boundaries of rock of the time, though unlike The Stooges, this band took off like a rocket.
Mott The Hoople - All the Young Dudes: Released in 1972, this is the glam rock band's fifth album, and features the Bowie penned title track, which is easily one the best tracks in the genre. But this album is far more than one hit wonder. This one of the landmark records of the blossoming Glam rock movement that bent psychedelic blues rock into a fantasy world of abundance and decadence. Certainly worth the price of admission.
The Holy Dark - Pretty Little Bird: This is the third album from the Portland, OR indie band, but the first as a band, previous releases being basically solo efforts. There's something about this record that reminds me of late '90s indie. It owes a lot to fellow Oregonian Elliott Smith. All in all, it's a decent enough listen that when in the right mood can be just what you're looking for. But when not in that mood, it's quite skip-able. "Guilty and Out of it," "The Worst Part," and "Backfire" are stand-out tracks for me.