Sunday, November 14, 2010

Frequent Spins (2010.7)

This will likely be the final Frequent Spins of 2010, as I begin to focus my music-listening efforts on compiling my year-end list for the 15th consecutive year.

This one is a bit of a hodgepodge with the preview widgets, as my main source does not prove as reliable as usual.

Antony and The Johnsons - Swanlights
Swanlights is the second Antony album since 2005's breakthrough I Am a Bird Now. While both have been very good albums, his wistful-but-soulful chamber pop sound is starting to get to the point of saturation for me.

Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love
I've only been a true Belle & Sebastian fan for their last few albums. In fact, I came along around the time they teamed up with Trevor Horn. The former member/producer of the Buggles and Yes is no longer on board for Write About Love, but the album still picks up where The Life Pursuit left off. That is, it embodies a more poppy and upbeat sound than their earlier efforts, and that—to me—is a good thing.

Cloud Cult - Light Chasers
When I did my Fab 40 series a few years ago, narrowing the list down to 40 bands/artists was a difficult process. Initially, I had decided that all artists who had an album-of-the-year, according to my rankings, would make the list. But, then I reconsidered by cutting Ryan Adams—who did make the cut with Whiskeytown—and Brian Wilson. Cloud Cult's The Meaning of 8 was my first #1 album to follow, so in some sense, they're the 41st band on the list. While they may never release another album as good as that, their latest effort is another impressive one.

Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
Whereas my slight disappointment with Antony and The Johnsons' latest is that I want to hear something a little different, when it comes to Sufjan Stevens, I'm a little frustrated that he's strayed from his trademark sound. The Age of Adz is still a good album, but a little too schizophrenic for me, and nowhere near as brilliant as Illinoise.

The Walkmen - Lisbon
What prevents this one from being as good as 2008's You & Me is a lack of standout tracks, but otherwise this is another strong effort from these indie rockers.

Neil Young - Le Noise
I thought I'd share a few remarks that were written about Young's new songs when he played them live on his recent Twisted Road tour: "...that momentum quickly subsided when the next three songs were his less-than-inspiring new material;" " pains me to say...Neil's songwriting skills are clearly fading;" " initial impression of his forthcoming material doesn't provide me with a lot of optimism." The source of those quotes? Yours truly. I take it all back. This is a much better album than anticipated, and easily his best since 2006's Living With War.

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