Music / January / 2011

In keeping with my New Years resolution, here's the albums I've picked up since my last post:

  • Black Keys' Rubber Factory - A very solid album, rarely do I find myself skipping a track when this comes up on a shuffle. This band knows what they want to do, retro- blues rock, and they do it well. Given my recent purchases, it is refreshing sometimes to hear a low-fi rock album without a sample, loop, or synthesizer.
  • Vampire Weekend's Vampire Weekend and Contra - Put simply, I love both of these albums. They're collections of short, smartly arranged up-tempo songs. Take the Pixies, replace the outsider angst with hipster urbanity and the punk guitars with layered synth, and you have Vampire Weekend. My current favorite band.
  • Joe Cocker's With a Little Help From My Friends - I think listening to the Black Keys got me on a retro kick, manifesting itself in Cocker's 1969 album. I felt foolish about 2 seconds after I downloaded the album, seeing as I could probably pick it up for a dollar at any used music store. But, the album is great--there's some deep tracks here I'd never heard before and really enjoy (like "Sandpaper Cadillac"). So, go ahead Joe, enjoy the royalty and have a glass on me.
  • The Brew's At Showcase Live (June 16th 2010) - This band came recommended by an ex-student; I downloaded a freebie off of Internet Archive (I pledge to buy an album at some point in the future, karma people). After 4 or 5 listens, I'm pretty sure I'd like the studio material better. The live stuff gets a bit jammy/Phishy for my tastes, although I'm going to tag any band that plays 3 minute solos with a Paul Reed Smith as Phishy. After effects of going to Clark University.
  • Arctic Monkey's Humbug - I bought this album with a sinking feeling in my stomach. Their last album, Favorite Worst Nightmare, was one of my favorites from grad school. After a quick preview, I pretty much knew this one wouldn't live up. The liner notes highlight how the Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Josh Homme produced the album--and it shows. Arctic Monkey's frenetic energy is subdued with a QotSA kind of deep pump. It doesn't work quite as well for me, but I've only listened to the album once. We'll see.

Alright, so that's what I picked up this month, along with a few old Kanye singles. The National, Arcade Fire, and Deerhunter all remain on my radar. I'm thinking of picking up Kanye's latest album next week. Pitchfork gave it a perfect 10.0, and for those that don't know Pitchfork, that's about as likely as snow in Florida.

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