Dang but there's a whole lot of cool new discs coming out this week!
Birdie Busch Penny Arcade It's a little strange having someone you often see down at your local farmers market show up on music blogs from all over the place, but local girl Birdie Busch's sophomore album certainly deserves the national attention. On Penny Arcade she's got a stronger voice singing in front of a much more complex sound than she did on her first album.
Birdie Busch - "Mystical" [mp3]
Erin McKeown Lafayette Remember last January, when I wrote about how great a show McKeown put on? No, of course you don't. But thanks to this new disc, now you can hear for yourself just how good she is live. The disc covers her entire young-but-already-much-varied musical career.
Iron & Wine The Shepherd's Dog Sam Beam - who pretty much is Iron & Wine - started out making the lowest of lo-fi music but he's always seemed willing to expand his reach by working with other artists, like the disc he made with Calexico a little while back for example. Calexico shows up on The Shephard's Dog and helps make it the least lo-fi-est of Beam's albums so far, and the best since his debut.
José González In Our Nature The quiet vocals and guitar strumming that make up the backbone of González's sound always pulls me into his music way more than something so seemingly uncomplicated has any right doing. More of the same on the new disc, which is streaming this week at MSN.
Matt Pond PA Last Light You have to admire a band that mixes rock with some old-time (as in late-80's/early 90's) pop and does it well, without resorting to the goofy hipster irony of bands like Weezer. But something about Last Light just isn't clicking with me. Musically it sounds perfect and the songs sound catchy, but it's just not catching with me. Maybe I need to listen to it a few more times. It's streaming this week over at AOL's Spinner.
Joni Mitchell Shine For the longest time, I hated Joni Mitchell. Hated. Would not listen to her at all. All because of "Little Yellow Taxi." Then I heard Blue and I completely forgave her for that one annoying song (though I'll never forgive her for letting the Counting Crows cover it). "Taxi" shows up on Joni's new disc, made over a bit and sounding somewhat more tolerable. Luckily, the rest of the album sounds closer to Blue (no, not as good as Blue, but I doubt anything she - or anybody - puts out will ever be that great again.) It's streaming at MSN.
Nellie McKay Obligatory Villagers Nellie McKay is that girl from college who looked all sweet and innocent until you talked to her and found out she had a mouth like a sailor and was as funny as hell. (I'm speaking theoretically, of course, since no girls at my college would dare speak to me). Villagers sounds great, is funny as hell, and should not be played in front of your children. Samples are at her website.
Sea Wolf Leaves in the River The late, great Elliot Smith used to get compared to the even later, even greater Nick Drake, and it would drive me crazy. Smith was good, but he was no Nick Drake. Now here comes Sea Wolf (mostly made up of Alex Brown Church) out of L.A. with their dreamy pop and they're being compared to both Smith and Drake. I still think the Drake comparison is a bit too much, but Church does remind me a lot of Smith's more upbeat stuff. His new disc is streaming this week over at Spinner, and the first single from it, "You're a Wolf" is one of my favorite songs of the year so far.
Steve Earle Washington Square Serenade On his last few albums, Earle has moved away from his biggest strength - his storytelling - and started making Songs With Important Messages For All To Hear (his last studio disc was titled The Revolution Starts Now, for Christ's sake). I've only listened to the new disc a couple times so far, but if the storytelling has returned I'm not hearing it yet - especially on the first single, the Indigo Girl-ish (and I mean that in a bad way) "City of Immigrants." Try and guess what that one's about. I'm sure I'll give the disc more listens, but this ain't Guitartown, that's for sure.
This week's list:
- IRON & WINE The Shepherd's Dog
- BIRDIE BUSCH Penny Arcade
- THE A-SIDES Silver Storms
- JOSE GONZALEZ In Our Nature
- JONI MITCHELL Shine
- NELLIE MCKAY Obligatory Villagers
- JOSH RITTER The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
- SEA WOLF Leaves in the River
- MATT POND PA Last Light
- ERIN MCKEOWN Lafayette
- JULIE DOIRON Woke Myself Up
- LYLE LOVETT It's Not Big It's Large
- MARK KNOPFLER Kill to Get Crimson
- JOE HENRY Civilians
- SPOON Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
- WILCO Sky Blue Sky
- THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS Challengers
- RILO KILEY Under the Blacklight
- JOSH ROUSE Country Mouse City House
- STEVE EARLE Washington Square Serenade
- TEGAN AND SARA The Con
- THE GO! TEAM Proof of Youth
- THE NATIONAL Boxer
- FEIST The Reminder
- GOLDRUSH The Heart is the Place
- ROSIE THOMAS These Friends of Mine
- RYAN ADAMS Easy Tiger
- KELLY WILLIS Translated from Love
- GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS Ongiara
- THE SHINS Wincing the Night Away
Dropping off the list this week:
- MICHELLE SHOCKED To Heaven U Ride
- NICK LOWE At My Age
- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN Live in Dublin
- TEDDY THOMPSON Up Front and Down Low
- KIM RICHEY Chinese Boxes
- PETER BJORN AND JOHN Writer's Block
- THE POLYPHONIC SPREE The Fragile Army
- THE WHITE STRIPES Icky Thump
- MY MORNING JACKET Okonokos