January Album Reviews

Absolutely Love & Adore:

Matt Costa “Unfamiliar Faces” – Quirky (his videos crack me up!) and fun. Melodic and rhythmic (which seems…obvious, but they’re not always both there!) and goofy and sweet. Really can’t stop listening to it. Particularly “Mr. Pitiful” and “Miss Magnolia”, both of which make me bounce around like a goofball.

Liam Finn “I’ll Be Lightning” – A month ago, I liked this but I didn’t love it. All I could think about was his dad. But then it kept coming up on shuffle and I kept thinking “Wow, I love his voice” and then I started listening to the album again, and then again, and… Yeah, I’m pretty much loving it. I love the chorus of “Second Chance” and “Energy Spent” is a lot of fun. I do think it runs out of gas a little, the last three songs just kinda of shuffle off for me. But it’s a 14-song album which is crazy in the first place!

Ben Gibbard and Andrew Kenny “Home, Vol. 5”I’m so late to the party on this one, but I really love these songs. Lowkey but lush in their own way.

Tracy Johnson “Dreams in Cold Weather” – Fun, girlie pop. Sassy, emotionally edgie lyrics. Perhaps Alanis-reminiscent to some. (Makes me think of Merrill Bainbridge, myself.) Lovin’ it!

Random Singles:

  • “Brown” and “Anemones” Half Acre Day
  • “In a Little While” (live, San Jose Arena, 4/20/01) U2 (old, yes. beautiful, yes.)
  • “Gimme Some Truth” (cover) Rogue Wave
  • “Number One” Miss Fairchild
  • “Thing About Trouble” Doug Burr (sounds like Ryan Adams)
  • “If It’s the Beaches” Avett Brothers (SWOOON)
  • “You Cross My Path” The Charlatans (UK)
  • “The Faraway Sound of Cars” Reichenback Falls

Other Albums I Liked:

  • Reichenback Falls “Ravens & Chimes” – Michelle, are you listening to this? I think you’d like it. A little Polyphonic Spree-feelin’. And some of it is so strongly Arcade Fire-reminiscent that they fool my ear (particularly “This Is Where We Are”, “Saint Jude in the Village Voice” and “General Lafayette! You Are Not Alone!”).

  • Cat Power “Jukebox” – I like this a lot…but not as much as I like her originals. I love a well-timed cover, but I get a little bored when they’re the entire album. Don’t you?

  • moe “Sticks and Stones” – Straight up rock’n’roll. Feels (and sometimes sounds) like old Rolling Stones, with a touch of the Southern/gothic rock thrown in. “Darkness” is awesome and I love the rhymin of “Cathedral.”

  • Chris Bell “I Am the Cosmos” – Very old but new to me.

  • Kathryn Williams “Relations” – Soft and folky. Pretty. Not sure I’ll ever listen to it that much though.

  • Rilo Kiley “Under the Blacklight” – I’d purposely avoided this one (long story, or maybe not so long). But it’s quite nice, some good songs.

Not really for me / but maybe for you!:

M.I.A. “Kala” – I just don’t get it. Didn’t get into it at Lollapalooza, don’t get into it at home with the album either. I may not be worldly enough. 🙂

Patrick Wolf “The Magic Position” – I really like the first two songs. But the rest just doesn’t grab me.

Okkervil River “Golden Opportunities (mixtape)” – Download available on their site. I like their albums a lot (both “Black Sheep Boy” and “The Stage Names”) but this is (more) rough and ragged and I just don’t really find myself listening to it. Not representative of this band, to my mind.

Shamefully have either not listened to at all, or not all the way through, or so few times that I can’t legitimately offer an opinion:

  • Lucinda Black Bear ” ‘Capo My Heart’ and Other Bear Songs” – just can’t seem to get around to this one. Soon?
  • Good Shoes “Think Before You Speak” – Listened once. Thought it was punky! And fun! But haven’t managed to listen again.