Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Music, Music, and ... More Music

I had very little chance to listen to music during November and the 1st 1/2 of December, so the music has really piled up. Finally had a chance to do some listening, so let's clear the stack.
  • "Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action", by Franz Ferdinand. No, it's not a buddhist album. Catchy energetic rock, which I mostly put in the genre "Punk". A little too energetic for me, I'm afraid -- I'm getting old. 3 stars.
  • "The Third Eye Centre", by Belle & Sebastian. Like their last album, more adventurous, more quirky, better than their earlier stuff. 4 stars.
  • "Love In The Future", by John Legend. This would be great music to play if you were in your 20s and looking for a romantic evening with a beautiful woman -- so it's useless to me in my current state! Nice tunes, very romantic music. 3 stars.
  • "The Electric Lady", by Janelle MonĂ¡e. A sci-fi theme album, in which Janelle plays a liberated android who is a symbol of android rights. Interspersed with comments from a supportive DJ on a call-in show. Some good tunes, a very interesting effort. 4 stars.
  • "From Here To Now To You", by Jack Johnson. Easy listening, what my wife would call "dinner music". In fact, we were lunching at Captain's Quarters in Louisville and a Jack Johnson song that I recognized came on. Then a few songs later, another song I couldn't identify, that shazaam'ed as Jack Johnson as well. 3 stars.
  • "Wise Up Ghost", by Elvis Costello And The Roots. Wow, nasty, tight grooves, dripping the trademark Elvis cynicism. A great album. 4 stars.
  • Eponymous, by MGMT. Kind of electronica/dance but not quite. Some strong tracks. 3 stars.
  • "Babel", by Mumford & Sons. I've got kind of tired of this power folk -- not enough variation in the songs maybe. 3 stars.
  • "lousy with sylvianbriar", by Of Montreal. When I first started listening to The Flaming Lips, I thought that the lead singer's voice would eventually become annoying -- but it never did. I did not particularly think that the lead singer of Of Montreal's voice would become annoying -- but it kind of has. There is good variety on this album though. 3 stars.
  • "Plantation Lullabies", by Me'Shell Ndegeocello. On the recommendation of the excellent drummer Keith Halladay. Definitely fine "angry black woman" music. She's the bass player as well as the vocalist. This was her 1st album, I will probably try out more of her several others. 3 stars.
  • "Let's Be Still", by The Head And The Heart. Very lyrical tunes, but I don't like it quite as well as their prior album. 3 stars.
  • "Reflektor", by Arcade Fire. All disco, all techno, all the time. Their usual interesting instrumentation, but no standout tunes. 3 stars.
  • Eponymous, by San Fermin. Probably the best find of this lot -- from economist Paul Krugman, who posts music in his blog every Friday. Another Brooklyn band. It comes across as a symphonic work, which is confirmed by this article. The 24 YO composer has also done scores for ballet. What an outstanding 1st effort. They have a male baritone lead singer like The National, but also a female lead singer, and some backup vocals by the women from Lucius. I think this is my favorite song -- I'm going for 5 stars for it: "Oh Darling".
  • "Shields: B-Sides", by Grizzly Bear. I really liked "Shields" -- the song "Sun In Your Eyes" was my 1st new 5 star song in years. I'm guessing that that album was successful enough that they went back to the tracks that didn't make it and said, "Well, let's see what else we got". 8 tracks, with some really different stuff -- long-form disco for instance. This really reminded me of Department of Eagles 1st album vs their 2nd. The 1st album had all kinds of different, and maybe incompatible(?), stuff, like they were trying to figure out their sound. Then the 2nd album was much more cohesive. So this album was the all-over-the-place one, and "Shields" was the "we figured out what we want to sound like" one. 4 stars.
  • "Nilsson Schmilsson", by Harry Nilsson (1971). Recommended by my younger brother. It had the hits "With You", "(You Put De Lime In De)Coconut" and "Let The Good Times Roll" on it. But I really didn't like it much. I'm surprised, I loved the tunes he wrote for the movie "Popeye". 2 stars.
  • "Five Spanish Songs", by Destroyer. The album of course contains 6 tracks. I think that is a point of honor that the number of tracks in an album title cannot agree with the actual number for tracks on the album. A bit more variety in the songs that his prior album, which I liked a lot regardless. Hunh, he's out of Vancouver, not Syracuse. Worked with New Pornographers. Daniel Bejar has been performing as Destroyer since 1996 and now has a total of 11 albums out?!?!? Well, we got that going for us now! 4 stars.

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