Saturday, October 24, 2009

What I've Been Listening to Lately

Besides all of the other albums I've been reviewing... here are a few more I've been listening to lately:
  • Against Me! - Searching for a Former Clarity (2005). The Against Me! scoreboard stands at 1 up, 1 down. This was clearly another win from the start, insisting through all of the other clutter in my life and grabbing my attention. They scream intelligently, telling stories of despair, longing, loss, and addiction that ring true. Next album will be a must-buy; they are the new punks.
    CD Placement rating: Car CD Changer.
  • The Big Sleep - Son of the Tiger (2006). This is not quite as good as 2008's Sleep Forever, but it's damn impressive. Sprawling mid-to-lo tempo indie rock, with a soothing, pleasant tone that somehow drives all the way through the album. Me likee.
    CD Placement rating: Portable CD Case.

  • John Cale - Hobo Sapiens (2003). Having seen former Velvet Underground founder John Cale rocking out on Later...with Jools Holland, I went in search of the song I saw him play. I bought two albums; this is the first. He has definitely transitioned to a smoother, pop pock-ish sound on this album, which is quite a departure for him. It's quiet, but still quirky, and a great listen. He's really an underrated solo artist.
    CD Placement Rating: Portable CD Case.
  • Dropkick Murphys - The Warrior's Code (2005). Boston hardcore punk/Celtic icons, immortalized by the movie The Departed, is some people's cup of tea... not mine. This is a decent album, but at some point it all just runs together.
    CD Placement rating: Sell-back Pile 1.
  • Shelby Lynne - Love, Shelby (2001). Andrew has been pushing me towards Lynne's work; Part 1 was successful, so I decided to follow along on Part 2. She's ridiculously poppy (normally not a good thing), but in this case it really works. Lots of parental references and religious themes -- you can't help but think of Shelby at age 17, in her driveway, watching as her alcoholic father shot her mother dead, and then turned the gun on himself; the haunting cover of "Mother" makes your skin crawl. There's real depth here in all of the songs, and her voice is absolutely tremendous.
    CD Placement rating: Portable CD Case.
  • Pseudo Echo - Long Plays 83-87 (1990). Most of you have more self-respect than to admit to buying this, but apparently I have no shame. It was $2.99, I had fond fuzzy memories of their sound... sigh. What a disaster.
    CD Placement rating: Even "Funky Town" failed to hold up. Pile of Death. Sigh.
  • The Sheila Divine - New Parade (1999). Despite living in Boston for more than ten years, my first exposure to this Boston band was with Moira and Kevin... in Ohio. They've long since broken up (The Shelila Divine, not Moira and Kevin), but this album is undeniable for a few unbelievable tracks, a bunch of good ones, and a few yawners. Overall, I'm guessing it's their best album.
    CD Placement rating: Portable CD Case.
  • David Shire - The Hindenburg Original Soundtrack (1975). My friend and soundtrack junkie Brian presented me with an irresistible paradox here: a long-lost, all-time great soundtrack by one of his favorite composers, buried and virtually impossible to find. (It's easier now, although the latest release is still limited to 3,000 copies.) Soundtracks are not my thing, but Brian did not steer me wrong here. I wish I had the musical vocabulary and background to say something intelligent about this... but honestly, I don't. I can say that it was a great listen; the spoken word portions of the soundtrack really added to the overall experience. Very cool stuff.
    CD Placement rating: Portable CD Case.
- Snilch

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