Noteworthy Listens

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I need to to this more often, psoas not to accidentally leave anything out.

First off, best downloading service I’ve run into yet:  eMusic.  I don’t know what their pricing scheme is these days, but I got grandfathered in on a great deal early on.  Basically the way it works is you get a certain number of “downloads” (e.g. songs) each month.  They don’t carry over so you have to keep up.  The selection is not going to be as broad as iTunes, especially with the major label stuff.  But in terms of selection of smaller label music from the past 20 years of so, Emusic can’t be beaten.  Plus, it’s all DRM-free mp3 format, so you don’t have to bother with all of Apple’s AAC copyright racket.  I recommend it.

Okay, lets get to it.  Hover over the “sample track” note and you should find a hyperlink to listen to the music (wordpress wants to charge me to upload mp3s … ugh, i refuse to pay for that).  I’m going to keep the descriptions short, since listening is worth way more than my enthusiastic descriptions.  Here’s the best of what I’ve heard lately, in no particular order.

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Earth – The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull (Southern Lord, 2008 )

sample track: Rise to Glory

Repetitive, slow and sexy.  Earth played Bottletree last year and I somehow missed the show … can’t wait for their return.  Check out this great performance here on APT’s We have Signal.  Incredible.

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Sleep – Jerusalem (Music Cartel, 1999)

sample track:  Jerusalem Pt 4

Sleep made sludgy doom metal through the 90’s.  This is not the kind of music that I ever expected to enjoy, but I really have come to love this album.  “Jerusalem” is actually a slightly modified version of an earlier album “Dopesmoker”, which was rejected by the bands new big-shot label, London Records, in the mid-90’s.  Apparently Sleep took almost all of the six figures that the label fronted them, and spent it on two things:  pot and studio time (mostly the former).  What they produced was a mystical tribute to weed consumption, consisting largely of variants of the same riff for an hour.  The label was not pleased.  Eventually a smaller label released the album, this time called “Jerusalem” and broken in to 6 pieces.  Oh man, this stuff is soo soo good.  It took me a while to get into it, but once I got it, it became so enjoyable.  Slow, distorted guitars and drums.  Highly hipnotic.  Check it out–it might surprise you.  I picked up “Dopesmoker” on vinyl the other day … it was finally released in 2003.  Strangely enough, I prefer the second incarnation to the original.

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Swervedriver – Mezcal Head (A&M, 1993)

sample track:  For Seeking Heat

These guys are considered shoegaze pioneers, although I don’t really hear it in this album.  This is just great rock music.

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Dead Meadow – Feathers (Matador, 2005)

sample track:  At Her Open Door

Layered.  Pychodelic.  Melodic.  Heavy.  On recommendation from my good friend Pat over at the prison ship.  Totally delivers beginning to end.

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The New Year – The New Year (Touch and Go, 2008 )

Sample Track:  Folios

I thought about passing this album on to my grandparents because they love music and although this is “rock” music, it’s gotta be some of the most palatable, well-crafted guitar music I’ve heard in a while.  The Kadane brothers et al have done it again (their two previous albums in this outfit are also outstanding).  If you like this stuff, make sure to check out their previous band, Bedhead.  This was my favorite album of last year.

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Lil Wayne & DJ Drama – Dedication 2 Gangta Grillz

Sample Track:  This is What I Call Her

Wayne claims to be the best rapper alive … he’s definitely way up there.  Can’t say I’m too excited about his new rock album, which is supposed to drop in the next few months … the first release, “prom queen,” is undeniably bad.  But, whatever, I still support the dude.  This mix tape came out in 2006 and really showcases his skill since it lacks the requisite club-hoppers found on his major releases (see Carter III).

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Shellac – At Action Park (Touch and Go, 1994)

Sample Track:  My Black Ass

Simply the best punk-rock band out there.  This was the band’s first album, but they’ve made plenty more great music over the past 15 years.  The latest, Excellent Italian Greyhound, is effin’ brilliant and a little less abrasive than this early stuff.

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That’s all I got for now.  Any music recommendations?  Love to hear ’em…

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~ by jazzychaz on February 5, 2009.

4 Responses to “Noteworthy Listens”

  1. I have to respectfully disagree on the “awesomeness” of eMusic. It’s got “OK-ability”. I’ve subscribed for a few months now and have always had problems with their downloading software. I have to disable their one-click download feature and now have to download one at a time. Blecht. Although, I agree with you in that I really like their selection of indie labels and live show recordings. I’ve been able to get some great live stuff from my fav indie band, “What Made Milwaukee Famous.”

    (And I know Reg has been playing WMMF as of late, but I heard of ’em FIRST. Reg is just a poseur.)

  2. “had”. Geez. I hate bad grammar that isn’t on purpose.

  3. hmmm … are you on a PC? i do remember that the windows version of the software got kind of annoying. they tried to integrate a browser into it, which was completely unnecessary. the mac software is simple and to the point. works every time.

  4. Admittedly, I was. And when I tried to use the mac version of the eMusic software today on my new Mac, it was fine… and once again, you were right about why PC’s suck and Mac’s rock.

    Just FYI – my bud likes to make mix tapes with music I think you might enjoy. His website is: http://mondosalvo.tumblr.com/

    There’s about 20 free downloadable albums on that site to broaden your musical horizon. But I do like what you’ve posted above.

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