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March 8, 2009

Musical Meanderings

Filed under: Music — Robert John Ed @ 1:20 am

In an effort to expand what can be found here in terms of content, it’s time to catalog some of the past releases I’ve picked up.   Background:  I still buy CD’s.  Religiously.  Almost every Sunday.  :-)  Well OK I usually buy in spurts but I usually spend around $50 per month on music.  A solid amount of it is really, really good.  Other times, you’ll spend $9-$15 on a new CD that really doesn’t tickle your fancy.  My fancy needs tickling.

I have a really strong feeling that most people don’t buy or listen to music the same way I do.  The radio is off limits for me as it just doesn’t offer the control and ability to learn about and hear new artists or albums consistently.  My Last.fm account chronologically tracks everything I listen to and offers a great deal about other artists.  When I’m trying to figure out what to buy, I head there and look at neighbors and get ideas for what to buy next.  Hypemachine is also a great resource.  So via Amazon, I’ll build a cart full of music (and books, good lordy I buy 3x the amount of books I have time to read…but I’ll get to them eventually).  For instance, I’ve been meaning to buy a Mountain Goats album for some time because neighbors and Last.fm recommended them.   You can also just ask neighbors where to start with new artists.  It’s a great system and it’s changed how I learn about and listen to new artists.  Anyway, here’s a quick breakdown of the good stuff:

Neutral Milk Hotel, In An Aeroplane Over the Sea: This is the first album of theirs I’ve purchased.  It’s short, 9 tracks, maybe 40 minutes, but it’s also well put together.  Two of those songs are instrumentals, which tells you that the other 7 had better be good.  They are.  The lead singer really reminds me of the Decemberists lead.  Although IMO there are some pitfalls (the bass on one or two songs sounds too loud) it’s definitely a good listen.

Neko Case, Middle Cyclone:  I haven’t had as much time to listen to this offering, but I’m already relatively sure it’s my favorite release of hers.  Fox Confessor, her last release, got a lot of good reviews and although it was pretty good, I couldn’t get into it the way I did with her live albums.  This album outshines that quickly.  It’s much more upbeat initially but really brings great songs track after track.  There are few artists that I admire as much as her, simply because there isn’t anyone else similar.  She is truly a special talent and I look forward to hearing from her in the future.

Bright Eyes, Noise Floor:  Oberst is really infiltrating my music collection like Dylan did a few years ago.  Categorize it however you like:  indie, emo, etc.  A LOT of people don’t like this band much any more it seems like, but his writing alone has made him one of my favorite musicians.  Most rarity albums don’t usually have a lot to offer me, but the singles and splits he’s done over the years are as good if not better than a lot of his full length works.  It’s impressive how much he puts out.  Not everything is great, but when he hits it, it’s gone.  More on this next.

Home, Spoon/Bright Eyes split:  This is a ridiculously good 4 song EP.  I listened to it for two weeks straight.  The first song by Bright Eyes is very, very good and offers an up tempo jump in.  But Spoon really carries this album with their two songs.  You Get Yours and Let the Distance Bring Us Together Again are both fantastic, with the latter being the best song I’ve heard all year.  SRSLY.  This thing sells for the price of a full length used on Amazon and other places.  I got it on iTunes for 99 cents a song and it actually is worth much more.  This is probably a good inlet to either band (I still haven’t purchased a Spoon full length yet, probably picking up Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga soon) for people who aren’t familiar.

Ahh..there are about five other albums I could cover here.  Instead of just doing this once a month though, I’m going to try and review more albums individually and in depth if possible.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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