Here are a few more albums I am digesting.
First up the latest from former 16 Horsepower frontman, David Eugene Edwards' latest "band" Woven Hand. As usual, Mosaic is not for casual pop fans. It is gothic, dark, deeply Christian and beautifully intense. If you like Nick Cave, the Old Testament or Brimstone spewing preachers struggling with their own demons, this is for you. If you have never heard these guys, please check them out. Listen to Dirty Blue.
Next we have an album I have not yet formulated a decision regarding. Is it one of these that I will think is amazing after 20 listens, or is it just a bit too over-the-top. Sonically, Waiting for the Next End of the World by The Channels is quite interesting and the lyrics are pretty biting. If you like the post-punk/hardcore of Fugazi or Jawbox, with a pop sheen (but not radio-pop), you may like it. Here is a full on review and a sampling.
As one that mourned the loss of Sixpence none the richer and a former promoter that had the luck to bring them to my town numerous times (and build a nice rapport with the band), I was excited to see Leigh Nash with a solo CD, but knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it would be too "pop" for me. Blue on Blue is exactly as I thought, a bit lightweight and pedestrian for a Sixpence fan, but a chance to hear one of the prettiest voices in music. I will put this album on for background (which I need a few CDs like that) but probably never listen closely. My wife loves it.
I may have mentioned these guys before, but I love Dog Problems, by The Format. Not only do they have the best band website and album cover of the year, this is the kind of pop music the radio should be playing. Simultaneously reminding one of ELO, the Zombies, the Shins and Matthew Sweet, this is power pop* and its finest with great vocals, perfect melodies and funny lyrics. Listen here.
Here is potentially the biggest album of the year, TV on the Radio's Return to Cookie Mountain(I am thinking of "end of year" lists, not "best selling"), which is also in my running for best-named-album-of-the-year. Read the universal acclaim here. After 2 days, I find it much better than their first album, which is like N.T. Wright's trilogy, praised and appreciated more than it is actually consumed and enjoyed. Cookie is much more accessible without taking away any of the inventiveness of previous albums. People notice the Bowie and Living Color (why? Because they are mostly a bunch of black guys playing rock music?- c'mon) everywhere, but there is much more Peter Gabriel and Talking Heads in the "atmospheric" mix. Do yourself a favor and stretch your mind a bit. Listen here.
Well, that is enough for now. Tell me what you like and if you are enjoying any of this music or the music from a couple of posts ago.
*BTW, if you did not notice it before, among my favorite styles of music is intelligent pop, the kind with hooky choruses, big guitars, intelligent lyrics, great melody and loud. What is sometimes referred to as "power pop" is very different from the pop music on the radio, but it bears resemblance to pop music of the previous decades. As Bob Mould of the late great band Husker Du once said, perfect music is the combination of 3 things- loud, melody, intelligence. I concur.
Examples of this perfect pop include musicians as disparate on initial screening as The Cars, ELO, Nirvana (seriously), Husker Du, The Replacements, The Clash, Jellyfish, The Bay City Rollers (in hindsight only), Weezer (when they are trying) and Matthew Sweet all bowing to the altars of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, the Kinks and the Zombies.