Monday, June 28, 2010

What I'm Listening To June 18 - 24, 2010

1. Blitzen Trapper - Destroyer of the Void (Sub Pop)

2. Everest - On Approach (Vapor Records)

3. Seasons - Winter EP (self release

4. Tenlons Fort - Shelters (self release

5. Judson and Mary - In The Hands Of The Sun (self release

6. Matt Pond PA - The Dark Leaves (Altitude Records)

7. The Henry Clay People - Somewhere On the Golden Coast (TBD Records)

8. The Californian - Sea of Love EP (self release - Gold State Music)

9. The New Pornographers - Together (Matador)

10. Blitzen Trapper - Black River Killer EP (Sub Pop)

As the Blitzen Trapper concert approaches (on Tuesday, June 29 at El Rey), my obsession with their new album is turning into compulsion. I'm not proud of that, but it is what it is. I'm also composing a review (love letter) to Destroyer of the Void for Radio Free Silver Lake on Thursday, so I'm trying to absorb it into my blood stream. Just for the record: I think it's a great album. Also listening to their previous release, Black River Killer.

Seeing Everest again on Saturday night, at the KCRW Summer Nights series in Pasadena (photo above by Doug Kresse), only confirmed what I had heard two weeks ago at Amoeba. A band at the top of their game, and an album that has all the hallmarks of a classic from the late '60's or early '70's yet still manages to sound completely fresh and original.

I picked up the new EP, Winter, from Seasons at their release show last week and it's a wonderful collection of songs that really shows off their ability to write catchy ballads. There is an inescapable 'wintry' feel to the songs, as they inhabit the mid-tempo range and feature some gorgeous crooning by Nic Garcia. Even in the heat of summer, they manage to produce a record that feels like you're sitting around a fire with the snow falling outside.

Tenlons Fort have been playing around town lately and the extraordinary quality of the music has pushed this album back into my CD player. There are songs of struggle and songs of hope, and like the sound of Jack's heartfelt vocals, they are all written with passion and unashamed honesty.

Judson and Mary are new to the area, but have quickly been noticed and their self released album, In The Hands Of The Sun, is a good way to start. Be sure to read Kevin Bronson's wonderful write up and interview with them at BuzzbandsLA. Highlighting the combination of folkiness in Judson's guitar and vocals, and Mary's rootsy bluegrass fiddle playing, and backed by a fine band, they span genres from Southern folk to bluesy rock to early English folk ballads.

That Henry Clay People album is really good and has staying power, The Californian still rolls around in my brain, but Matt Pond PA slipped a bit as I was a little disappointed by his recent show. And considering it is not one of the best of their albums, I seem to keep giving The New Pornographers' Together a chance to grow on me. Still, even New Pornographer lesser efforts are better than many band's best.


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