Saturday, September 05, 2009

Frequent Spins (2009.6)

The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away
My introduction to the Fiery Furnaces was 2004's Blueberry Boat, and I quickly fell in love with its quirky, frenetic, and sometimes pompous, eccentricity. Several unremarkable albums later, I'm sucked back in by the Friedberger siblings once again. I'm Going Away is easily their most straightforward album to date. Don't get me wrong, there are some weird moments here, but songs like "The End is Near," "Staring at the Steeple," "Keep Me in the Dark" and "Lost at Sea" show that this band has some serious pop sensibilities.

Joe Pernice - It Feels So Good When I Stop
Not surprisingly, this one has been in heavy rotation of late. Of course, you can read a little of what I had to say about it in my August 29 post.

Levon Helm - Electric Dirt
The follow up to Dirt Farmer, an album that graced my Best Music of 2007 list, is Helm's second impressive effort following his successful battle with throat cancer. Whereas its predecessor was a collection of mostly old folk and country standards, Electric Dirt combines elements of gospel, blues and soul, including a few originals with some carefully chosen covers. Highlights include the Grateful Dead's "Tennessee Jed," Muddy Waters' "Stuff You Gotta Watch," and Randy Newman's "Kingfish."

Modest Mouse - No One's First, and You're Next
A small collection of songs from the We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank and Good News for People Who Love Bad News sessions, this EP clocks in at just under 35 minutes, but is just essential as either of their past two albums. Particularly on the album-opening and single-worthy "Satellite Skin," the melodic banjo-laden country twang of "Autumn Beds," and the sonic weirdness of "King Rat," these songs hardly sound like leftovers.

Patterson Hood - Murdering Oscar (and Other Love Songs)
Just as I'm partial to Spencer Krug over Dan Boeckner in Wolf Parade, I prefer the songs of Patterson Hood over those of Mike Cooley in the Drive-By Truckers. So, you would think I'd prefer an entire album of his songs to a shared effort with Cooley in the DBTs. But, of course, I don't. Murdering Oscar is a very good album, and well represents Hood's ability to write compelling Southern country-rock narratives, but it falls a little short of the brilliance of his main band's recent efforts.

Son Volt - American Central Dust
Son Volt seems to have grown progressively mellower since their 2005 comeback album, Okemah and the Melody of Riot. Jay Farrar has never been too adept at re-inventing himself, but he certainly keeps trying, albeit in baby steps. American Central Dust hasn't been all that well-received by the critics, but there are some real bright moments here, particularly on the album opening "Dynamite," the plaintive "Cocaine and Ashes," and the mid-tempo rockers "No Turning Back" and "Jukebox of Steel."

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