Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Quick Hits From Recent Albums

I've been listening to a ton of music at work recently, so I thought I'd post my thoughts about them here.  For the most part, it's only a sentence or two, as they're my quick, initial thoughts on the album.  At some point, I'll plan on writing more about some of these albums.  But, seeing as how I don't post too much, I wouldn't bet on it.

Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Amazing.  Simply outstanding.  A little 80s at times, but an amazing (and amazingly textured) album.  Were it not for Lykke Li, this would be the runaway frontrunner for Album of the Year.

Favorite track: "Holocene"
Rating: 5/5

Seeker Lover Keeper - Seeker Lover Keeper
This is the new band from Australians Sally Seltmann, Sarah Blasko, and Holly Throsby.  I love Sally Seltmann, so I thought I'd check out this album.  I like it.  It's nice, pleasant folk music, with fantastic harmonies.  I don't love it, but it's a nice little album.

Favorite track: "Even Though I'm a Woman"
Rating: 3.5/5

The Violet Burning - The Story of Our Lives
Three discs worth of new music.  It's quite a lot of music to get through, but there isn't a bad song on the album, and there's something to be said for that.  It reminded me of what I love about them.  Well worth the $25 (for the record, that $25 gets you the mp3 download, and a pdf scan of the artwork).

Favorite track: "Lights Out"
Rating: 3.5/5

Kerosene Halo - Kerosene Halo
An acoustic album from two artists I used to be in absolute love with: Derri Daugherty (from The Choir) and Mike Roe (from the 77’s).  It’s a collection of some new songs and some covers (including a Tom Waits cover).  I like it.  Pleasant.  But I feel like they could’ve made it more interesting.

Favorite track: "Bad Sense of Direction" 
Rating: 3/5

Handsome Furs - Sound Kapital
Good, upbeat, synth-based rock.  Not too much different from their previous album, but a good way to inject some energy into a Monday morning.

Favorite track: "Serve the People"
Rating: 3.5/5

William Fitzsimmons - Gold in the Shadow
I like it, but I don't love it.  It's a little more produced than his previous albums.  I love his more stripped-down stuff, so I was happy to have purchased the deluxe version (with acoustic demos) of this album.  It's not his best album, but I still really like it.  It's a good, heartfelt folk album.  But do yourself a favor and buy the deluxe version to get the demos...it's well worth it.

Favorite track: "Fade and Then Return"
Rating: 3.5/5

Gemma Hayes - Let it Break
I've never listened to her before.  I really like her.  Her voice reminds me quite a bit of Abra Moore...and I love Abra Moore.  It's a good, solid album, with a couple tracks that really jumped out to me as amazing.

Favorite track: "All I Need" 
Rating: 4/5

Jessica Lea Mayfield - Tell Me
I listened to this album because it was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.  I expected somethign in that same vein.  I was mistaken.  She tends to lean more towards country than blues.  She has a unique (if a little old-fashioned) sound.  I really dig it.

Favorite track: "Sometimes at Night"
Rating: 4/5

Over the Rhine - The Long Surrender
I used to love this band.  They started to get a little predictable, and their last album (The Trumpet Child) was awful, and had one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard (“If a Song Could Be President”).  They turned it around a little on this new album.  Nothing special, though.  It’s pleasant enough, but there’s not much to it.   Still, it's a nice little folk-pop album.

Favorite track: "Rave On"
Rating: 2.5/5

Nicole Scherzinger - Killer Love
As far as radio-dance-pop goes, it's pretty forgettable.  It's not bad, but there's not much to separate her from the legions of other stuff along these lines.  She's nowhere close to being in the same league as Katy Perry.

Favorite track: Nothing really jumped out at me
Rating: 2/5

Matt Valentine - What I Became
I started listening to this, and lost interest about three tracks in.  If I remember correctly, it sounded like some sort of experimental folk.  Some extremely uninteresting experimental folk.  I may give this another shot, but, from what I heard, I'm not a big fan.

Favorite track: Don't have one
Rating: .5/5

The Bear Coat - Adding Mass
This is the band of Jason Parks from Up & In: The Baseball Prospectus Podcast.  It's an interesting listen.  At it's heart, it's a folk album, dressed up with some pretty impressive atmospherics.  An enjoyable listen.

Favorite track: "Harry"
Rating: 3/5

Gillian Welch - The Harrow & The Harvest
About time.  Finally, after 8 albums, Gillian released a new album.  It's more of the same...old-style, stripped-down folk music.  And I love it.  It's not her best album, but it's still fantastic, and there are a number of amazing songs on it.

Favorite track: "Hard Times"
Rating: 4.5/5

Viva Voce - The Future Will Destroy You
They've really settled into a nice niche of making good pop/rock.  This feels like a really great summer album.

Favorite track: "Plastic Radio"
Rating: 3/5

The Rosebuds - Loud Planes Fly Low
A good pop album.  I liked it throughout the entire album, and there were a handful of moments that made me think, "What was really amazing."

Favorite track: "Waiting For You"
Rating: 4/5

Various Artists - Rave On Buddy Holly
A tribute album to Buddy Holly, featuring an impressive list of artists.  Some were fantastic (She & Him, Jenny O, The Black Keys, My Morning Jacket, Florence + The Machine, Modest, Mouse), and a couple were downright confusing...and probably pretty terrible (sadly, these included Lou Reed & Paul McCartney).  Overall, it was an enjoyable listen, if a little uneven.

Favorite track: "I'm Gonna Love You Too" - Jenny O.
Rating: 3/5

Miles Kane - The Colour of the Trap
He was a member of The Last Shadow Puppets, so I thought I would like this one.  Meh.  It was decent.  It all kind of sounded the same to me.  I was pretty disappointed by it.

Favorite Track: "The Colour of the Trap"
Rating: 2/5

Toro Y Moi - Underneath the Pine
Kinda cool.  Electronic poppy stuff, with odd traces of funk from time to time.  Not sure I love it, but I liked it pretty well.  A good morning album.

Favorite track: "New Beat"
Rating: 3/5

Haroula Rose - These Open Roads
A nice little folk album.  I loved the first track, but nothing else really jumped out at me.  It seemed nice enough, but it wasn't really anything special.

Favorite track: "Brand New Start"
Rating: 2.5/5

Matt Bauer - The Jessamine County Book of the Living
I loved his last album, so I was looking forward to this one (plus, I lived a good chunk of my life in Jessamine County, so that's pretty cool).  More of the same, really...darkish, haunting folk with bluegrass leanings.  Good songwriting, too.  

Favorite track: "Blacklight Horses"
Rating: 4/5

Woods - Sun & Shade
I don't get it.  They make fairly innocuous summery/dreamy pop, with nods to The Beach Boys (which is usually something I love), but it's not quite grabbing me.  I feel like they're doing the same thing as Beach House, but not nearly as well.  Maybe it will get better with repeated listens, but, after one listen, I wasn't impressed.

Favorite track: "Who Do I Think I Am"
Rating: 1.5/5

Sondre Lerche - Sondre Lerche
I'm normally a fan of his sugary-sweet pop, but nothing jumped out at me from this album.  It sounded nice, but not particularly interesting.

Favorite track: Nothing jumped out at me
Rating: 2/5

No comments: