I was away for the better part of a few weeks, so this is about three weeks worth of in and out of town for a day or two at a time.
Cat Power – What Would the Community Think
Cheap Trick – In Color, Heaven Tonight
Picked these up a few weeks ago at Turn It Up! in Northampton. I have a bunch of early CT records now, all pretty good but none of 'em are great. I really like the production, though. Great drum sound, great mix. A couple other observations:
- The original studio version of "I Want You To Want Me" stinks. Really flacid arrangement, limp tempo, nothing like the swingin' rocker they would turn it into on Budokan. I can see why it wasn't a hit until the live version came out.
- "Surrender" has a terrific chorus, but the lyrics are absolutely baffling. If you can figure out what's going on there you're one up on me.
DJ Swamp – Never Is Now
This guy makes great battle discs, but I'm not so high on his album. Too much rapping, not enough scratching.
Eluvium – Life Through Bombardment
Grand Funk Railroad – Live Album
Believe it or not, this is a concert recording. And believe it or not, there are excessive guitar solos. There's even a track with an extended drum solo. It's just full of surprises.
It's also really early, so they're still pretty young and hungry performers, but there aren't any well-known hits on here. Solid record overall.
LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver
The best of a spotty three, as far as albums go. Murphy's a peerless singles artist, but his albums will probably always be a little inconsistent. Still, this one comes closest, and it's got the highest highs.
Lo Fidelity Allstars – Kool Roc Bass 12", Ghostmutt EP
I wonder how these guys would have turned out had they stuck around. The early singles were pretty strong, but half of them quit right after the first album came out, and, based on the results, the others probably shouldn't have bothered trying to press onward.
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say best best-of-type compilation of all time. For the casual 'Fits fan, this one's really all you need. The consistently high quality here is just phenomenal.
This is one of those bands I always read I should like and never bothered. Their hits just never really blew me away. So I picked it up recently for a few bucks and it's terrific. I was surprised at how many songs I knew from it (I didn't know any of the titles), and by how much better they sounded in context. This is one of those bands of actual musicians that got inspired by punk, rather than artsy amateurs, and their skills really take the songs to another level. Hynde sounds tough and unapproachable, so you listen from afar in awe as she mutters "Fuck off." Awesome.
Queen – A Dat At the Races, News Of the World
I think that we as a society often underestimate the awesomeness of Queen. Yes, the first five albums are excellent, but beyond that? News is best known for its two big sports anthems (if you don't know which songs I'm talking about you probably don't know who Queen is), but have you listened to "Spread Your Wing" lately? Unstoppable.
Spank Rock – YoYoYoYoYoYo
As much as I'm strongly in favour of reforming copyright law in order to accomodate sample-based artists like Girl Talk, Spank Rock are an interesting example of how more restrictive laws can actually foster creativity. The band, inspired by a Baltimore club sound that relies heavily on flagrantly illegal sampling, had a minor underground hit with "Put That Pussy On Me", which features the unauthorised accompaniment of both the Beach Boys and Snoop Dogg. While the track appeared on this album's advance copies, it's not on the official release. And instead of pop samples, the album is full of completely original and extremely phat analogue synth riffs. Would this have happened if the band were allowed to simply sample whatever they pleased? Impossible (for me) to say, but the results are nasty. Necessity, once again, the mother of invention.
Kanye West – Late Registration
The new one hits vinyl next week. Mine's already pre-ordered. Super psyched.
Hank Williams – Country & Western Classics
A three-LP box set from... Time-Life Music! And it has everything the casual Hank fan wants.
Zola Jesus – Stridulum EP, Valusia EP
We Are Skint Sampler2 EP