Saturday, February 3, 2018

Weekend Music Roundup

The new year is in full swing and with it comes new music, easily the best thing about time moving forward. This week I listened to a few new releases that I'd been looking forward to hearing. I also give my opinions on some older albums that I recently picked up. Seeing as it is winter, the mix here is mostly folk rock and psych rock as that is what I tend to want to hear during the cold months. Hopefully there's something here you'll want to check out as well. Enjoy.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Wrong Creatures: The San Fran indie rock band's first album in five years is a fuzzed out mix of neo-psych and garage rock. It's another fine effort from a band that has been chugging along for nearly two decades. "King of Bones," and "Carried from the Start" are my personal favorites on what is their best album in ten years and hopefully signs that they will continue on.

Belle and Sebastian - How to Solve our Human Problems (Part 1): Released at the end of last year, this is the first of a three part EP series put out by the Scottish indie band. I've followed this band since their early days and love their moody sensitive folk pop. Their last album was a splendid return to form after a few years of decline. This goes back to their more dance pop style that I don't like as much as their heartfelt tales. It's okay, but I'm hoping the next two parts get back to type of songs I prefer. 

John Lennon - Rock 'n' Roll: Back in my Lennon obsession days of the late '90s, I managed to avoid this 1975 album for whatever reason. I hadn't heard good things, it was a collection of old time rock, and just didn't appeal to me. In the twenty plus years since, I've grown to appreciate the likes of Buddy Holly and have heard many of these Lennon tracks on various bootlegs, so when I saw a pristine copy of this on vinyl for $5, I snatched it up. This is Lennon at his most laid back. He's not being serious, he's just having fun with these great songs. Nothing earth shattering here, but a really enjoyable record.

Olivia Tremor Control - John Peel Sessions: These BBC recordings date from just before their landmark Black Foliage record came out and features music from prior to that. This is one of those bands that really influenced my musical listening direction in the late '90s and I was thrilled to find a copy of this limited edition vinyl. I put it on and instantly was transported into their picture book world filled with outsider art. Absolutely wonderful stuff. 

Tyrannosaurus Rex - In the Halls of Faeire: This collection of studio outtakes from '68 and '69 reveal a the beginnings of T.Rex as the band transformed from the Incredible String Band type of freak folk band Tyrannosaurus Rex. It mixes fairytale aesthics with burgeoning electric playground of the coming Glam Era in a delightful way. "Blessed Wild Apple Girl," "Warlord of the Royal Crocodiles," and "Demon Queen" are personal favorites on this nice archival release.

Robert Ellis and Courtney Hartman - Dear John: I've been really into Robert Ellis ever since his 2013 release "The Lights From the Chemical Plant" and was excited to see this album. He's folk singer songwriter with a country twang to his voice that pairs well with Courtney's sweeter sound. These are classic Americana sounding folk songs that feel genuine and traditional. It has a '70s AM radio feel to it, especially on tracks like "Gentle on My Mind", that remind me of the songs of my childhood. A very nice record that's perfect for lazy Sunday mornings.

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