Before logging off though, here is a brief overview of musical meandering for the month:
Stellastarr*, Self Titled: Kind of a different sound from another NY based band, I haven’t listened to it much, but the lead voice is higher, nasally, etc. Something there is about the East Coast and singers, that Bouncing Souls sound, I’m not sure if it’s a regional dialect or just coincidence. Anyway, the guitar sounds good, it’s different, so we’ll see where it goes.
Mountain Goats, All Hail West Texas: It’s no secret that this has been one of my favorite new bands (I use this loosely, as they are new to me) of the year. The first two albums I picked up were far more traditional in terms of recording as they were recent, but apparently, John Darnielle’s early recordings were all decidedly lo-fi (as opposed to hi-fi, duh). I’ve listened to it once through, on my way back from Split Rock camping on the North Shore, and as expected, it’s really good. I think as of yet I prefer the more traditional recording as it points out the singing quality, but this kind of recording really shines for the Goats. It’s difficult to describe, but Darnielle writes in prose so simple it often belies obscurity. This is not Hemingway, it’s something else altogether. Much like I’ve studied Dylan and Oberst, I’ll parlay a more robust analysis of his writing as it becomes apparent.
Additionally, I’m going to see them with Final Fantasy (whom I hear good things about) along with a few other concerts in the next month; they are without a doubt the most exciting of all.
Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest: Yet another NY band, Grizzly Bear has had a LOT of great reviews over the last few months. I wonder if Rolling Stone often gives more credence to East Coast bands, but the praise has been widespread. I try to stay away from the hot bands initially in order to keep off the hype. I haven’t really listened to this much at all, but from what I have heard of this band, it reminds me of experimental psych pop, think modernized OK Computer, I guess. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m not huge into experimental stuff, for instance, I never really went crazy over Yeasayer, though I thought it was good enough to listen to and digest a few times. Problem is, new types of music take more time, and this certainly does require much more time.
Arctic Monkeys, Humbug: The third full length from the Indie/Garage sounding Brits, I have really high expectations. Their first album was very fast and kind of blew the doors off of 2006. It was just really high energy and well put together with a different sound and a British dialect in the vocals. I wasn’t writing about music back then, but it probably would have been my top album that year. Their follow up was different. It took me a while longer to really enjoy it, but once it hit me, it seemed more mature and valuable than their first.
Upon listening to Humbug, my first thoughts are that it’s a little bit slower, but you can hear some progression from their secondary effort. The guitars are just heavier and overall it sounds, well, confident. It’s not easy to deviate and morph your sounds, and the Monkeys seem unapologetic in distancing themselves from prior successes. I have a feeling this will be an album to listen to over the long haul.