Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Currently listening to:Week of April 9,2012

It's been a busy week so this will be posted a bit late. Here is what I'm hearing this week.

To really hear an artist's work, you must look past the hit singles. The entire album is worth hearing to truly get a glimpse of it all in one body of work. Here are some of the albums I am listening to this week.

R.E.M. - New Adventures in Hi Fi (1996)

R.E.M.'s tenth studio album. This album makes an interesting direction for the band. There's a mixture of softer songs similar to 1992's Automatic for the People, while also having rocking songs similar to 1994's Monster album. What was really cool about this album is part of it was recorded in studio, while other tracks were recorded live on their Monster tour. E-bow the Letter is one of the most beautiful songs they have ever recorded, Patti Smiths helps out on vocals as well. Bittersweet Me is a great, infectious song, that along with Leave and Electrolite, make this album a classic and on definite repeat for me. Sadly, this was their last album with drummer Bill Berry, who founded the band with Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills. Here are some of my favorite songs:

E-bow the Letter:
Bittersweet Me:

Florence and the Machine - MTV Unplugged (2012)
A new release this week. Florence and the Machine recorded an Unplugged album in a synagogue in the lower East Side in New York City. The beautiful synagogue leads to some really great acoustics. They play songs form their 2 albums, Lungs and Ceremonials, along with two cover songs, Try a Little Tenderness, which was originally by Otis Redding, and Jackson, originally by June Carter and Johnny Cash. Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age join them for Jackson.What a voice on this girl! It's funny though, when she speaks she sounds so quiet and shy. I really liked most of these performances, the only drawback was the song What The Water Gave Me where she sounds slightly flat and it sounds very different than on her album. Nevertheless, a classic Unplugged performance

Try a Little Tenderness:
Cosmic Love:

Shake It Out:

a-ha - Hunting High and Low (1985)

a-ha, is the Norwegian band most famous for their song and video for Take On Me. Listen to this album and you will hear so many other great songs. It upsets me that they are regarded as a "one hit wonder" because they have sold over 50 million albums worldwide and have won numerous awards. Granted, this is mostly outside America but this is the album that started their career. After the hit Take on Me, the band released the song, The Sun Always Shines on TV, which was a major hit everywhere but the US. Catchy chorus, good lyrics, one of their best songs. Other singles included Train of Thought (inspired by Existentialist authors) and Hunting High and Low (which was famously covered by Coldplay). The band broke up in 2008,but this is their legacy and best album. A must have for any new wave fan. Here are some classics:

Hunting High and Low:
Train of Thought:
The Sun Always Shines on TV:

Foo Fighters - Medium Rare (2011)

Released shortly after their Grammy-winning album Wasting Light, Medium Rare is a collection of cover songs the Foo Fighters have released. I especially love their hard rock version of Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street, as well as Gary Numan's Down in The Park. Other artists which are covered are Prince, Husker Du,Pink Floyd, Ramones, Thin Lizzy, Wings, among others. Very nice mixture of songs and one of the best cover albums I have ever heard. Here are some of the great tracks on here;

Down In The Park (Gary Numan cover)
Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty cover)
Have A Cigar (Pink Floyd cover)

Ministry - With Sympathy (1983)

This is not the Ministry you are used to. Before they became the industrial-metal band who all know, they released some early synthpop. Al claims he was pressured to release this album and is ashamed of it. In fact, he once called it a musical "abortion". It's a shame because they are some really good songs here, especially Revenge (their first single) and I Wanted to Tell Her. Many of these songs would fit it on any John Hughes 80s soundtrack. I love Al's fake British accent on this. One of the few Ministry albums where I love every song. One of the quintessential albums of the 1980s. Historians will point to this as a prime example of great 80s music. Shame Al doesn't feel the same way. Yes, it is cheesy, but if you don't get a kick out of this, you take yourself way too seriously. Here are some of my favorites:


I Wanted To Tell Her:
Effigy (I'm Not An):

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