Recently Purchased (yet not neccesarily released) Music
1) Nada Surf - Let Go (2002): I started hearing this album while hanging out with a friend of mine. I bought it this weekend and It's quickly become one of my favorite albums.
You probably remember Nada Surf as singing the mid-nineties grunge song "Popular" (it was on the radio back in '96 or so). Let me tell you: that song was the worst song that could have been chosen to be a single.
This album, released in 2002, is misically and lyrically a far better work. Lots of songs about growing up in the 70's, being sad, being in love, etc. Kind of sounds like Wilco (before they got boring) in some ways, but something else entirely in others. Definately worth the $6 I paid to buy it used.
2) The Magnetic Fields - i (2004): Interesting indie-pop record I bought upon it's release in early May. The Mags are generally known for being an indie synth-pop band, however as the liner notes to this album state, theree were "no synths" on this album. Writer/Musician/Vocalist Stephen Merritt's (Johnny) Cash-like Croon resonates on this album whose 14 tracks all start with the letter "i." The music on this album ranges from folk to jazz to 80s dance pop. Ecclectic, and beautiful.
3) Paul Westerberg - Stereo (2002): Westerberg used to be the lead singer of the Replacements, one of the 80's seminal Post-Punk bands. Westerberg's solo career started off pretty exciteing but then slowly his albums became worse. His live performances, however, stayed strong and basically, that's what "Stereo" is. It's Paul, recording new songs in his basement and playing most of the instruments himself. "Stereo" is low key (I cna't think of a real "rocker" right now), but that's what hte bonus disc - "Mono" - is for.
Under the pseudonym "Granpaboy", Westerberg added a bonus disc to Stereo filled with low-fi rock songs a la The Replacements. I found this disc for $8 thinking it was missing the bonus disc. I was excited to find I was wrong.
the most dissapointing release of the first 6 months of 2004...
Kasey Chambers - Wayward Angel (due out June 29th, 2004): I'll freely admit to not hearing this entire album. However, Kasey's website - www.kaseychambers.com - is offering 60+ second clips of all the tracks off the album and that's all I needed...
Gone is the rock and honky-tonk from The Captain and Barricades and Brickwalls. In fact, instead of focusing on her strengths as a performer, this album focuses primarily on her weaknesses. Her "If i was/had/could do/could be something, I would do something else" songwriting is prominant in nearly every track, and it's as trite as ever. The over-production that was slightly evident on songs such as "Not Pretty Enough" and "If I Were You" has gotten out of control, creating an awful mix of Norah Jones and the Dixie Chicks (even the pictures of Chambers on her website have her looking like Jones.)
Also, not to be an asshole, but I always kind of thought her voice bugged me at some points on The Captain and Barricades, now I find it's annoying the hell out of me even more.
The only worthwhile tracks that I could find on this album were the first track "Pony" which she was performing in concert on her last tour and "Guilty as Sin" which brings back some of the rock sounds her father adds with his guitar. However, this track comes too little late as the 12th out of 14 tracks.
While this album is a splendid mix of pop and country, and it will probalby get Kasey played on top 40 country stations, this sin't the way her fans wanted it to happen.