Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What I'm Listening To August 27 - September 2, 2010

1. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (Merge Records) fourth week at # 1

2. Film School - Fission (Hi-Speed Soul)

3. Jorma Kaukonen - Quah (Grunt Records/RCA)

4. Pavement - Quarantine the Past (Matador Records)

5. Eels - Tomorrow Morning (E Works)

6. Radars To the Sky - Supra / Infra (self release)

7. Autolux - Transit Transit (TBD Records)

8. Helen Stellar - If The Stars Could Speak, They Would Have Your Voice... (self release)

9. Darker My Love - Alive As You Are (Dangerbird Records)

10. Luna Is Honey - Copy Cats EP (self release)

The new CD by Film School, Fissions, surged onto the list, landing at number two. I bought it the day it came out (8/31) and after playing it once, I didn't know whether I thought it was as good as Hideout. It was during the second playing I realized I was wrong, and the songs had incredible hooks that got right under my skin. By the third and fourth listen, I was addicted.

This was the week my tickets to both nights of Arcade Fire at the Shrine Auditorium arrived in the mail. I did the same thing when they played two nights at the Greek Theatre three years ago and went both nights. You see, I hold this band solely responsible for my rock and roll resurrection in 2005, since it was their music video of "Rebellion" that first caught my attention. I knew then that the era of seeing them at places like Spaceland and The Troubadour were long gone, so I decided to make up for it by seeing them every single time they play L.A. and so far I've made good on that. Consequently, I'm still playing The Suburbs to death.

Jorma Kaukonen's Quah is an album I loved when it came out in 1974 when I was 24, and finding it on disk at Amoeba brought back a flood of memories. This was released right around the time the Jefferson Airplane were pretty much breaking up and morphing into Jefferson Starship (and spare me your put downs of Jefferson Starship, unless you've heard Blows Against the Empire, Sunfighter and Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun...AND their concerts were amazing too.) This is a sweet, sometimes sad and refective, collection of beautiful guitar-driven folk songs by the former Jefferson Airplane guitar player, about moving on after a great change. It's absolutely amazing how contemporary and relevant is sounds today, and how comfortably it fits in with all the other albums I'm listening to. Jorma Kaukonen remains a guitar genius and occasionally plays locally at McCabe's and still tours with Hot Tuna, the other Airplane offshoot.

Pavement's Quarantine the Past is still revealing new surprises with each listening. The Eels latest album, Tomorrow Morning, is just out and it reveals an E much more at peace with the world with a collection of word-driven compositions that are catharcic and uplifting. Filled with beautiful orchestral flourishes reminicent of Blinking Lights And Other Revelations.

Another new entry is the surprising and wonderful new CD by Radars To the Sky. Superbly produced it show off the many sides of this band, highlighted by Andrew Spitzer's witty and literate repartee lyrics. It's their first full length and is just the recording their many fans have been waiting for. Kind of like what Spells did for The Happy Hollows.

Autolux is a keeper and I'm just warming up for their show on the 18th at El Rey. Darker My Love's Alive As You Are is a slow grower, but just won't stop popping back into my head, Helen Stellar are never far from my thoughts, and I'm enjoying the little home-grown EP by Luna Is Honey called Copy Cats.


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