I’m going to take off my music critic pants and put a music fan stocking over my head for a moment to talk about some albums that I’ve really been listening to a lot lately. Some are new releases, others are older than your mom (I’m anticipating your mom had you when she was about 14 and you’re roughly the same age now). If I love them, you should too, because I’m really awesome.
Band of Horses – Cease To Begin (2007)
I’m really digging this one, their second album, for its rootsy base and emotional gravitas. I really liked their first one as well, but I think as songwriters they have grown on this one, and put out a fall disc to be reckoned with.
Jens Lekman – Night Falls over Kortedala (2007)
I’ve always liked Lekman’s baroque pop style, with is low-voiced, deadpan delivery, and his always changing instrumentation, that fits halfway between the Modern Lovers and Scott Walker. What I didn’t like was that his first North American-released record, Oh You’re So Silent Jens, was a collection of singles and EPs that ran over an hour, and got very tiresome towards the end. This one is a far more appropriate 12 songs in forty-odd minutes, and being more concise means it’s far more listenable and enjoyable.
Besnard Lakes – Are The Dark Horse (2007)
This one came out in February, and back then I really didn’t feel for it. More recently, I picked it up on vinyl and let it play as I took a nap. It was there that I really dug its textured orchestral pop tones and spacy vocals. Equally trippy and mesmerizing, I find something exciting about it each time I listen.
Bert Jansch – The Black Swan (2006)
After getting into some of his older stuff via a compilation, I checked out his most recent record, and was not disappointed. Always a better guitarist than singer, Jansch knows how to let his guitar do most of the talking; he is quickly becoming my favourite acoustic guitar player, and this record is further proof that he hasn’t lost anything that he had when he got started.
Scott Walker – Scott 4 (1971)
Probably the album I’ve listened to the most this year, this is a reclusive performer at his early creative peak (he would later reinvent himself even more vastly on 2006’s The Drift). Walker took what he loved about the Baroque songs he became known for singing, like English versions of Jacques Brel songs, and put his own spin on them. The result is an entirely original record that blends pop, rock, and jazz in a way that makes the album very enticing and a highlight of Walker’s early career.
Explosions In The Sky – The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place (2004)
EITS keep it pretty simple. Jangly, echoey guitars and pulsating drums make for oddly compelling instrumental music that makes for perfect late evening music.
I’m listening to more, but I grow bored with this. Ask me later.