Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Frequent Spins (2010.5)

Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
I really thought that BSS was one of those bands I would never completely get what all the rage was about, until they released this album. At just over an hour in length, it definitely has its weaker moments, but I'd say it can safely be filed under "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts," as this record falls just short of anthemic indie/art rock masterpiece. Highlights for me include album opener "World Sick," as well as "Meet Me in the Basement," and "Sweetest Kill."

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - I Learned the Hard Way
This one was recommended by a friend who I believe was trying to introduce me to something that didn't quite fit the mold of the music I usually listen to. Although she didn't come right out and say it, in a way she was calling my taste predictable, just as a high school friend did about 20 years ago when, for my birthday, he gave me a Best of Van Morrison tape as the antidote to the Neil Young, Steely Dan, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer lineup that was so prominently featured in my '77 Chevy Impala back then. Although it alternates between very catchy and kind of boring, I Learned the Hard Way certainly has more soul than just about anything else on my current playlist.

Tift Merritt - See You on the Moon
While listening to this one on streaming audio at my desk, the strong points really stood out, fooling me into thinking I loved it. After I bought it, and started listening on my iPod, its flaws were revealed, but they don't detract all that much from an effort that is currently the front-runner for best female alt-country album of the year.

Nada Surf - If I Had a Hi-Fi
The title of this covers album is a palindrome, and since the band probably does own high fidelity equipment, I can only assume it was very intentional. But, I like a good palindrome and I love good covers, although they're not always easy to come by, a fact that this record attests to. It's kind of similar to Tift Merritt's latest, not stylistically but in the fact that it has some great moments but also some real misses. The main difference is that the weaker songs on this album have to be skipped over. Well, one of them does, at least. It doesn't get any more painful than this band's rendition of "Bye Bye Beauté," a song originally done—only slightly less excrutiatingly—by French artist Coralie Clément. Their version of The Moody Blues' "Question" is quite unremarkable as well, but there are also some definite highlights, including Bill Fox's "Electrocution," The Go-Betweens' "Love Goes On" and Kate Bush's "Love and Anger."

Phosphorescent - Here's To Taking It Easy
I read one reviewer call this a better, funner version of Neil Young's Harvest. I beg to differ. I was thinking it's more along the lines of Palace Music's Viva Last Blues, although neither funner nor better than that one. Still, those are a couple of pretty nice comparison points, so this is worth checking out if your a fan of either of those artists. Or, if you've ever been a little curious about this band, because it's their best effort to date.

Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt
Normally, singers who sound way too much like Bob Dylan are just plain annoying, because...well, there's only one Dylan for a reason. But, where the debut album by Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson was intriguing but eventually wore out its welcome, this one ups the ante to legitimately frequent spin-worthy.


  1. Currently enjoying Broken Bells, Gorillaz, and Janelle Monae. Looking forward to checking out Yeasayer.

  2. Love Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings!

  3. I thought both Broken Bells and Yeasayer were pretty good, but neither blew me away. I'm looking forward to further listens to Pernice Brothers, Stars and Wolf Parade, as well as the new Sun Kil Moon.

    Yes Macee, I'm well aware of how you feel about SJ and the D-Ks, in case you don't remember that you're the friend who recommended that one.

  4. Spot on about Nada Surf (and thanks for cluing me in about the palindrome title, derr!) - I'll be happily cranking the album (with tracks 1-7 blissing me out) and then "Bye Bye Beaute" comes on and just f**** everything up . I've learned to anticipate this and now preemptively hit skip at the end of "Agony of Laffitte". Such a strong first half! Oh well, better that than mediocre all around.

  5. It's interesting that we're so agreeable, Sara. I thought maybe I was missing something on that "Bye Bye Beauté" song, but I guess not. Overall, it's a good album, but nothing more.