I made another trip to the local used CD shop, and left with a few bargains. I’m dumb to how the economic machinery of the music business works, and whether store-shopping is better for the musicians than iTunes – regardless, it’s nice to lose track of time while thumbing through the ‘G-H’ section looking for something fresh.
Foals – Antidotes //// This album is full of tight acoustic breakbeats, bright guitar melodies, and the occasional horn blast. Without relying on heavy effects, Foals creates a dreamy soundscape that’s easy to get lost in. My neighbors are going to be hearing this one at 7 a.m. for a while – sorry about that!
Broken Bells //// The brilliance of Danger Mouse was evident when he mashed up the Beatles and Jay-Z for the ‘Grey Album’, and this collaboration with the Shins’ James Mercer explores new territory – angsty pop with lush strings and soft, catchy hooks.
Arctic Monkeys – Suck it and See //// I always thought the Arctic Monkeys’ name was stupid enough to dismiss them as a band, but when a colleague with a long history of good taste recommended them, I had to find out. AM aren’t pushing any boundaries, but they take well-established rock formulas and keep them classy with clever lyrics and smooth production.
Titus Andronicus – The Monitor //// Maybe I’ve mellowed out since my teenage years but I just don’t listen to as much punk rock as I used to. When a band like Titus Andronicus records an awesome album like this, I can’t help but appreciate their sharp songwriting and explosive vocals. The list of instruments played on this album is long, making it far from a three-chord gruntfest.
(Warning: The rest of this list weren’t record store purchases. They were bought from Amazon mp3 – Yeah, this is supposed to be about keeping the music retail community alive, but its hard to ignore Amazon’s awesome sales)
Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory //// This is rock stripped bare and played powerfully. The album effortlessly slips from the catchiest two minute pop-punk I’ve heard in a decade into a brooding 8 minute screamfest that can leave your brain fizzing minutes after it’s over. Listen to ‘Stay Useless’ or ‘Fall In’ for the first time and feel ready to sing along before you even know the words.
Dr. Dog – Be the Void //// After hearing the first bluesy track, ‘Lonesome’ I was ready to check out the whole album. Traditional Americana keyboard rock that has some great hooks and a lot of charm. Corny and over the top compositions are avoided, thankfully, in the way that Blues Traveler or Counting Crows might play some of these tunes.
My Morning Jacket – Circuital //// I’ve heard singles from MMJ’s earlier albums and watched their Austin City Limits performance but never dug deep into an album. Their ghostly sound is unique and difficult to categorize. Is it possible for a band to sound like they’re not really there? Like they’re playing music made a long time ago, and the sound is just now catching our ears after passing through some invisible ethereal plane of reality.