Thursday, September 27, 2007

Record Reviews!

The tone of this blog has been way too serious in recent posts. I've bought some music over the past couple of months that I'd like to break down for y'all. These mini-reviews are in no order and may be the result of one or two listens.

Okkervil River put out a solid effort that I didn't get until like the fourth or fifth listen (just minutes ago, in the the car) titled Stage Names. I always laugh when I remember that Kevin of Kevin's World refers to these guys as "Bright Eyes for boys". Will Sheff pens some nifty songs about movies and the music industry that make you feel. I like music that makes me feel. I w
as a little put off at first by the record's expanded sound and slick production, but the themes in the stories Sheff tells deserve some big, dramatic sound. Like I said, this album took a few listens.

The White Stripes put out an album in Icky Thump that has also take some time. It's actually been while listening to individual tracks while my iPod shuffles that I've grown to re-appreciate the Stripes. Jack White has a lot of soul for a white guy named White. He can also write a hook like a mother-f***er.

Last week brought me two great solo efforts from front men better known for their bands' successes. Thurston Moore's Trees Outside the Academy sounds a lot like Sonic Youth's post-Washing Machine, pre-Rather Ripped material, sans the endless jam sessions, and I'm fine with that. (Although, I do like 11-minute songs with lots of feedback.) The other release was Kevin Drew (of Broken Social Scene fame) and his pseudo-solo record, Spirit If.... Pitchfork actually hit the nail on the head with this one, describing it in terms of just another BSS release with a uniquely Kevin Drew lean. It's as if BSS allowed Drew to turn up the vocals and included no instrumentals on the album. Both records demonstrate strong leaders of equally powerful bands.

Blonde Redhead's 23 was a major disappointment. I honestly haven't listened to them since 1995's La Mia Vita Violenta (which I consider to be one of the ten best most ignored records of all-time - more on that in a future post), so I didn't really know what to expect. I like the title track, but the rest of the record is a snooze, but don't take my word for it.

I still have not purchased Wilco's Sky Blue Sky. All I have to do is watch a Volkswagen commercial. I was not impressed by the samples on iTunes, but the songs have held up pretty well on the VW ads. I might have to give them a second chance, but I'm not convinced yet. Wilco didn't exactly inspire me to go buy the album at last week's show.

Even though Spoon underwhelmed me the last time they came through town, I still ordered their latest, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, in my favorite format: LP with the MP3 download. The album contains typical Britt Daniel pop brilliance and has somehow convinced me to see them when they return to COMO later this fall.

Our Love to Admire was released this summer. The album by Joy mean Interpol was their third and probably most complete release. The album doesn't have some of the great singles found on previous efforts, but this album has very little filler in comparison.

The Sea and Cake's Everybody demonstrated that age-old truism that bands just become blander as their proficiency improves. Somewhere skill and raw emotion lose a connection and bands produce boring albums, devoid of any emotion, anything real. Although the album was a snore, their live show renewed my faith in those bands from mid-nineties Chicago scene.

Well, that's all for now. Did I mention that I have Arcade Fire tickets? I'm sure I'll post about that soon. There's also that new Bushism..."childrens".

No comments: