Monday, April 16, 2018

Weekend Music Roundup

Another weekend has come and that means more music ramblings from yours truly. This week I'm talking a look at some recently archival releases, as well as a few new ones, and some relatively recent vinyl purchases. A couple of these were real surprises for me, while others were things I'd been looking forward to hearing for a while. All rock here, a few on the psychedelic pop side of rock. Definitely some albums here that you might not have heard of and I strongly suggest checking them out. Enjoy.

Skyway Man - Seen Comin' From a Mighty Eye: This is the debut from an indie band out of Nashville, led by James Wallace. Released just over a year ago, I got to see James perform this record recently to a intimate crowd of 75-100 people. I wrote about that show in the post titled "The Sounds We See." This is a brilliant record has the honesty of modern day Paul Simon and the psychedelic sophistication of early Hawkwind and the creativity of an Aeroplane Over the Sea. If you see this record, or see the band playing anywhere, by all means, treat yourself to the experience.

Elton John - 17-11-70: Considered one of the finest live albums of all time, this was a hole in my Sir Elton catalog, a hole that I filled when I found a good copy for $2 at the local shop. This was a radio concert featuring songs from the second album, as well as a Rolling Stones and a Beatles cover. This was a great evening listen, and "Take Me to the Pilot" was fantastic, as was "Burn Down the Mission." I can't believe I ignored this artist for so long.

MGMT - Little Dark Age: Ten years after their fantastic debut, the Brooklyn psychedelic pop is back with their fourth album and first in five years. This is easily their best since the first one, in my opinion. It seems in the past few years they've rediscovered some passion and honesty in their songwriting. There was a tendency on the previous two records for them to sound as though they were bored, but here they've found a way to successfully use electropop techniques in a way that manages not to sound like revived '80s or uninspired. "One Thing Left to Try," "When You're Small," "Me and Michael," and the title track are my personal favorites on this rebound record.

Television Personalities - Beautiful Despair: This shelved album was recorded in 1990 but just got released, though many songs appeared on their '92 album "Closer to God". This definitely maintains the feel of their early '80s work, a sort of post-punk, psychedelic pop sound. Granted that was sound that was quickly fading in favor at the time this was recorded, and the appetite was certainly gone for it come '92. Thankfully, interest in this kind of music has returned and I feel this band was really influential on the sound of late '90s eclectic indie artists. This would fit right at home with Elephant 6 albums from twenty years ago.

Simply Saucer - Cyborgs Revisited: Though recorded in '74-'75, this proto-punk album wouldn't be released until 1989. It has recently been re-released with expanded tracks, which allowed me to discover it. Though hailing from the outskirts of Toronto, this band's sound comes from near and far. They are strange and exciting mixture of The Stooges and Rolling Stones that sounds as fresh and original as Television's "Marquee Moon". I also love the Roky Erickson horror movie vibe about cybogs that plays through songs like "Dance the Mutation," "Illegal Bodies," and "Here Come the Cyborgs." A wonderful re-release.

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