Saturday, April 28, 2018

Weekend Music Roundup

The weekend is here and it is the weekend after Record Store Day. That means, this week will serve as a bit of recount of purchases made last weekend. But I'm also including a few new releases that I'd been looking forward to just to keep everything up to date. This is a list of rock and folk and folk rock. Some great stuff worthy of checking out. Enjoy.

Manic Street Preachers - Resistance is Futile: The kings of Cardiff have returned once again with another album, four years since their last effort. For more than 25 years, this band has been putting out records that have made them legendary in their native UK while yet they remain obscure in the US. They've been on of my favorite bands for over 15 years. This album falls short of their best records, but is not disappointing. It follows the vibe of the past couple of albums, a sort of torch bearer for conscious rock music. The deluxe edition features a bonus disc of demo versions of the album, which I admit to preferring. Somehow the production has a way of shading the honesty of their work which always shines through on scaled down versions.  

Son Volt - Live at the Bottom Line: Recorded in 1996, only a year after the band's formation stemming from the split of Uncle Tupelo into Wilco and Son Volt, this show was released as a double vinyl on Record Store Day in 2016. This past RSD, the local shop put all past RSD releases on deep discount and given my recent interest in this band, I picked this up. It's an amazing show and a great recording. One of the best alt country bands and this captures them in all their glory.
Okkervil River - In the Rainbow Rain: The Austin band's 10th album comes sixteen years after their debut. Their early career was marked by amazing indie folk records, but over the past few records their sound has evolved into indie folk pop. This album goes a little further in the pop sound and the change didn't appeal to me personally. "The Dream and the Light," and "Don't Move Back to L.A." are standouts on an album that feels weaker than it should be. 

Dave Van Ronk - Live at Sir George Williams University: This is the one and only official Record Store Day release that I picked up this year. I've been really into Dave's brand of '60s blues folk for quite some time and was excited to see this album get a proper re-release, having not been available since the '90s. The recording quality is not the best, but Dave's presences is so powerful that it overshadows the poor production. The cover of "Mack the Knife" is unbelievable.

Electric Elephants - In the Great Dark Between the Stars: The debut album from this Danish band was released last year and it's an impressive piece of noise rock. A semi-concept album as far as I can tell, the songs center around space travel and androids. This reminds of Royal Blood in the subtle aggressive nature of the songs, and a little of the most recent At the Drive In. It also has the kind of rawness that Death From Above 1979 has. This is a great debut that shows a lot of promise. "Machines & Blood," "Interstellar Fusion," and "Above Us All" are my personal favorites. 

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