Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Non-Pop Releases: The Good, The Bad & The Boring

So between all of the Beyonce, Britney, GaGa mania, I have needed an occasional escape from all the pop and dance releases I love so very much and have turned to the recent releases in other genres, and thought I would put together a little post about it. There is of course more good than bad because I try to avoid shit music...but these are ones that the I THOUGHT would be good.

The Good

Friendly Fires - Pala
A nice, moody rock with pop hooks mixed in to make an enjoyable, if sometimes on the slightly on the boring side, listen.

The Antlers - Burst Apart
One of the better bands to create a desolate soundscape in the tradition of Radiohead, but less experimental and more emotional. It is all falsetto and depressing...and a really great listen,

Explosions in the Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
One of the longest enduring, and now most popular, instrumental bands around. With the theme of Friday Night Lights in their pocket, they went ahead and made one of their best albums in years, the highlight being Human Qualities.

Stevie Nicks - In Your Dreams
Her first solo outing in 10 years, the Fleetwood Mac legend makes a typically beautiful and warm record with her signature vocals. Definitely one of my favorites of the year so far.

The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
A great new folk duo who make music that is both fresh and relateable, and the male and female vocal melodies do wonders for the songs.

Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi - Rome Rome Rome
This one is a tad on the sleep side, but feels like a proper lullaby. It is always exciting to watch Danger Mouse show yet another side to his giant production skills, and this is nothing if not a beautiful album.

The Vines - Future Primitive
This one almost didn't make it as it is a BIT derivative of the rock sound that The Vines sprung from in the early 2000s that revisited old garage rock. But it is a good rock album, without resorting to sappiness or screaming that many rock albums do nowadays to get attention. Could do with a little bit of editing, though.

Alison Krauss & Union Station - Paper Airplanes
The Angel of country music and the female with the most Billboard awards returns to her band after a successful outing with Robert Plant in 2007, and while some of the male vocalist's songs can get a bit grating after hearing Alison's effortless soprano, it is a strong album overall for folk lovers.

The Bad

Okkervil River - I Am Very Far
One of the things that drew me to OR during the Black Sheep Boy era was that the music relied heavily on Shemp's emotive voice and strong lyrics. A few years later, the band has become a fuzzy, over-produced mess with not much to get out of it, except for being sort of annoyed with how much nothing is going on in every song.

Destroyer - I have been a fan of Dan Bejar because of his involvement in New Pornographers, and very much enjoyed his Rubies album. But this one, I consistently kept forgetting I was listening to anything, only to be annoyed with the background noise. Nothing enjoyable about this, so I promptly deleted it. I suggest you do the same if you had any funky ideas about getting this one.

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
I almost thought I liked this. I didn't turn it off or even want to. But then as I listened more, I was reminded that years and years later, Grohl can't ever seem to shake grunge undertones, and screams his way through most songs in order to show some kind of sincerity. It comes off fake and a little desperate, and I no longer felt myself scrolling to this on my iPod.

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
I don't get their appeal. The musicianship seems a little clumsy, the lyrics seem a bit scattered, and I don't personally see the talent that people are always raving about with them. I think this might be a situation where I stand alone...but I will be happy to not hear this one again.

The Boring

Death Cab for Cutie - Codes & Keys
Ben Gibbard has been singing the same melodies with the same progression and lyrics for years and years. It wasn't a problem back around the time of Transatlanticism (or even Plans) because they were at the top of their game. They had progressed from lo-fi indie darlings to mainstream rock, all the while maintaining their sensitive edge. It has gotten a bit dull for me, though. By track 5 I was yearning to move on to the next new download. I didn't stop listening to GaGa to be whined at to death. Bored bored bored

Emmylou Harris - Hard Bargain
This one almost made The Good category as there are a few SPECTACULAR songs from my favorite country legend's latest outing. But most of the songs lost their sparkle almost immediately, and when I decide to listen to the full album now, I feel bored. So here she is. Still have much love for this woman, though.

So there you have it...any recommendations?

1 comment:

  1. foster the people - torches

    totally agree about destroyer but fleet foxes :/