As my old computer slowly fizzled to a halt last year‚ I was technologically oppressed from completing several album reviews. Here's a few that regrettably slipped through the proverbial cracks.
Drummer - Feel Good Together
Drummer - Feel Good TogetherI wasn't trying to be the obscure‚ introverted music critic when I dubbed this album best of 2009; it honestly hasn't been out of my rotation since August. The best thing to arise from Dan Auerbach's solo stint last year was his Black Keys' partner‚ Patrick Carney‚ needing to fill a musical void. He got four other drummers from Ohioan garage bands to join him (hence the name)‚ and they somehow managed to create one of the great American rock albums of the past decade.
Combining a feel-good 70's rock vibe with modern drop-pop melodies‚ Feel Good Together feels a lot like slamming Pavement and My Morning Jacket together‚ and not just because one song totally sounds like Jim James trying to cover "Summer Babe." The opener‚ "Lottery Dust‚" is true rock-form Brobdingnagian‚ and the album only maintains its' joyous enormity throughout. If you're like me‚ your car speakers will blow as you song along with all your might to "Diamonds to Shake‚" even though you can't understand the words.
Floating Action - Floating Action
Floating ActionDepending on how you look at it‚ we're either in a return to the golden age of low-fi‚ or else we're neck-deep in its' platinum glory. Floating Action by Floating Action‚ aka Seth Kauffman with Seth Kauffman featuring Seth Kauffman‚ puts into serious question the necessity of lavish production‚ and is a total‚ modern barbeque dream. Fantastic yarns of the great‚ accepting letdown‚ driven with simple‚ heavy bass lines and old-flavor soul‚ Floating Action is the kind of music that makes you buy those four dollar sunglasses on the way to your buddy's backyard.
"50 Lashes" and "Don't Stop (Loving Me Now)" are stand-outs‚ and bring to mind the earliest Bob Marley/Bunny Wailer cuts when they brought toughness to the early 60's doo-wop sound. Released on Dr. Dog's old label‚ Park the Van‚ this album is powered by an ever-popping and warmly distant snare - my ideal for the burger-flip‚ beer-sip‚ summertime bounce.
Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers - Levitate
If you haven't decided whether you like Bruce Hornsby or not‚ this isn't the album that's going to push you over the edge either way. However‚ for the long-time casual aficionado‚ Levitate might be the album that made you wish you had been paying closer attention. Bruce has always had his own compositional voice‚ but it has always likewise mirrored the popular sound of whatever era it was written. Perhaps that's why these songs seem to stand alone so much easier than ever before. In our new realm of sub-cultured musical diversity‚ Hornsby takes cues from a vast array of modern melodic artists. "Invisible" is one of the simplest‚ and best tracks he's ever cut -- complete with a drum-machine and an undeniably catchy pop-chorus that I'm surprised MGMT hasn't tried to hijack yet. The old‚ slow ballads are still here too‚ most notably "Continents Drift." This is easily the track that Garcia would have guested on if still kicking‚ yet perhaps even more poignant is the divine solo laid down by Hornsby's nephew‚ R.S.‚ an ex-Burlingtonian who passed away in a car accident last year.
The only let-down of the album is that the Eric Clapton solo on "Space is the Place" is literally two and a half bars - kind of like having Da Vinci paint the trim in your bathroom. Not that you don't want him to do it‚ but…
David "Fuze" Fiuczynski - KiF Express
Technical mastery of the electric guitar has gotten a bad wrap lately‚ what with Joe Satriani writing such simplistic melodies that Coldplay could steal them‚ no matter if they did or not. But Dave Fiuczynski in the mean time‚ is braving new worlds. With the opener‚ "Shiraz‚" your first instinct is that you haven't heard something this intelligent and heavy since A Go Go with Scofield and MMW. Your second instinct is that KiF Express is not the falsely resented jazz-fusion that no sorority girl would ever go near; it's actually a modern world-fusion that would make that girl's head friggin' explode.
Stepping from swing to metal to Indian-music‚ KiF Express embraces the cross-genre meltdown much like Fiuczynski's old band did‚ Screaming Headless Torsos. The obvious difference being the now lack of vocals‚ but the similarity being the natural duality of the music. The same song can have en-dreaded hippies doing the chicken strut while the local jazz-major is ready to abandon his guitar in talentless shame. True‚ the honest time for this music's popularity would have been twelve years ago‚ but very few could come close to touching what this trio manifests.
Tortoise - Beacons of Ancestorship
Speaking of 1998‚ remember how when any party would reach 4 AM.‚ it seemed an unwritten law that somebody would throw on Tortoise's TNT? Revolutionary fore-fathers of organically produced‚ brainy‚ electronica‚ the nameless genre that Tortoise helped brand has taken on many forms and branched countless directions since TNT. With the latest album title more than an obvious nod to their role in the turn of the millennium's musical history‚ Beacons is the band's take on the sound that developed from other bands' take on their own initial creation. The newest is far heavier‚ and no longer the late-night fade out music it used to be. Regardless‚ it's still quite accessible to non-critical ears‚ and a natural redevelopment of post-rave repetition. A good reminder of how little work inferior‚ present-day bands put into their music. I'm looking at you‚ Ratatat.
Yim Yames - Tribute To
Yim Yames - Tribute ToSo‚ do you like the super vocal-reverb that Jim James uses in My Morning Jacket? And‚ do you like George Harrison songs? If you answered no to either of these questions‚ than this album will sound undoubtedly pretentious to you‚ and you will hate it. If‚ however‚ you really dig both those things‚ than you don't need to work hard to imagine exactly what this album sounds like. I'm never going to play this instead of All Things Must Pass‚ but I'd love to hear a couple of these songs during a James solo set.