Thursday, April 05, 2007

Quarterly report

I've exhausted my backlog of show photos (unless I start digging through crates, and I don't feel quite up to that at the moment) - so here comes another edition of what I've been listening to of late. Three months into the new year, and a definite theme is beginning to evolve - namely I missed a lot of good stuff last year. Well, better late than never, I guess.

Grizzly Bear at Barrymore's, Feb. 5, 2007

I seem to be on a bit of a pop kick these days. I grabbed a copy of Peter Bjorn and John's Writer's Block at End Hits. I also finally got around to picking up a Decemberists album (I came across a used promo copy of Crane Wife). The Robyn Hitchcock comparisons are certainly justified, particularly on the title track. I bought Grizzly Bear's Yellow House at their super show two months ago and am still enjoying it to an unreasonable degree. Another band whose live show encouraged me to pick up their latest is the Besnard Lakes, Besnard Lakes is The Dark Horse really shows off frontman's Jace Lasek's voice, songwriting skills and production talents.
Animal Collective's Panda Bear got a glowing review for his solo album Person Pitch from the usual suspects for his warped take on the Beach Boys sound. It's good. Not 9.4 good, but consistently engaging.
I've also bought a few CDs from old favourites. Royal Trux is one my favourite bands, and I find myself enjoying Jennifer Herrema's new RTX album Western Xterminator as well. It's less experimental than her Trux stuff but still packs an Accelerator-sized kick with its streamlined update of L.A. hair metal. Jay Reatard's Blood Visions doesn't entertain me quite as much as his Bad Times and Reatards stuff (it leans more toward his Lost Times stuff), but has its moments.
Closer to home I got James McKenty and The Spades' new release, Let It Grow, an appealingly lean and rootsy rock album and Casey Comeau and The Centretown Wilderness Club's Taking Routes EP. I'll surprise no one by saying I like it a lot as well.
As usual I'm listening to a bunch of older stuff as well. I bought a copy of The Congos' classic Heart of the Congos at Sounds Unlikely; I'm not a huge reggae fan but Heart undoubtedly deserves all the applause thrown at it. You may recall I was lamenting the difficulty of finding a good Erkin Koray comp a while ago. But who needs a comp when Korea's World Psychedelia label is busy releasing moderately priced copies of his original albums, to wit Elektronik Turkuler, 2, and the self-titled roundup of his early sides from the Istanbul label. All three albums are amazing. Still on Turkey, Fikret Kizilok's self-titled CD is also a corker. From the same folks I also got a copy of the Mops' Psychedelic Sounds of Japan. Swell. Not so successful is San Ul Lim's 3. They wanted to be Korea's AC/DC, but fell short because they lacked the technological know-how to imitate the Australian group's raunchy sounds. It does have its charms, but isn't hugely memorable. I've also started investigating the Numero Group's soul compilations, starting with the Twinight and Bandit label roundups. The former I like a great deal, the latter is enjoyable but not as consistent to my ears.

Polytones Menomena Land of Talk Phantom Shifters Isis Jesu Sweet Janes Most Serene Republic

Also I'll take this opportunity to remind you that I'm now posting the occasional show picture on Flickr, for those who like their photos without my accompanying babble.

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