Saturday, May 21, 2011

What I Listened To April 29 - May 5, 2011

1. Low - C'mon (Sub Pop)

2. Eastern Conference Champions - Speak-Ahh (RockHampton Records)

3. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)

4. Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys (Polydor)

5. Calexico - Garden Ruin (Quarterstick Records)

6. Paulie Pesh - Shining Stars EP (self release)

7. Paul Simon - So Beautiful Or So What (Concord Music Group)

8. DeVotchKa - 100 Lovers (ANTI)

9. The Lonely Wild - Dead End EP (self Release)

10. Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow (RCA)

C'mon by Low is still obsessing me and I still play if continuously, even after three weeks. I just can't get enough of it. Serious competition was provided by the terrific new CD from Eastern Conference Champions, Speak-Ahh, making it's second appearance on the list, which jumped up to almost knock off Low. Balancing their high-energy output with thoughtful, introspective songs has created an album of surprising variety.

Fleet Foxes released their long-awaited new album on May 3 and Helplessness Blues fulfilled all the early promise this band has shown. Strong songwriting continues to be a hallmark of Fleet Foxes, and it's matched by a superb production from the Sub Pop label. I only had this record for three days, and it still landed in third place as I try to burn it into my brain before their show at the Hollywood Palladium on the 7th. Elbow drops to fourth position, while Calexico's Garden Ruin album from 2006 warmed me up for their Cinco de Mayo show at Echoplex.

Paulie Pesh, Paul Simon, DeVotchKa and The Lonely Wild are all bands and musicians I've seen recently and each one has a good album to go with it. The Paul Simon album, So Beautiful Or So What, really is a remarkable achievement in that it's so startling and vibrant and alive. As Bronson said to me recently, there have been an amazing number of great albums released this year...and it's not even June.

Going backwards, I bought a new CD of Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane. Actually the 2003 pressing, but I never had it before. I'd been living with the Gold CD that RCA issued in the early '90s and finally it wouldn't play anymore. To complete the history, I should say this was my favorite rock and roll album of all time for a long time, fuck The Beatles, fuck Bob Dylan...this was IT for me. O.K., maybe I've mellowed a bit since then, but this is just brilliant music and has it even stood the test of time, in spite of it's primitive sound. I burned my way through three copies on vinyl during the sixties, seventies and eighties, so this is the fifth copy of this I've owned!


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