Thursday, September 24, 2009

What I've been listening to this week

AU - Versions
I know next to nothing about these guys. I actually got their CD in the mail unsolicited. Sadly for Portland's AU, other albums I've gotten in the mail unsolicited include the new Marcy Playground and something called Karnivool who are apparently "the hottest hard progressive rock band in Australia." So it's kind of a miracle that I even bothered to listen to AU. But I saw they were coming to Ann Arbor with WHY? and I wanted to listen to it just to have another reason not to go to that show. I want to see WHY? but I do not want to see them at the Blind Pig where I'll be jammed in with Birkenstock-clad college kids with no sense of personal space. So if I hated AU, I could add it to the list of reasons why I should miss WHY?. Despite my brilliant plan, I really like this record. It's at times reminiscent of an Antony fronted Grizzly Bear, and though it sometimes delves into Animal Collective or Dodos territory, it doesnt feel like a blatant rip off. I also hear they are totally great live. Now I have to seriously consider braving the Blind Pig on October 4th. Damn it.

Music Go Music - Expressions
Besides Stephin Merritt and John McCain, it's not often that you hear anybody unabashedly point to ABBA as a favorite or an influence. As many records as ABBA has sold around the world, I've yet to personally meet somebody who has a serious passion for the band. ABBA is like raisins: some people like them, some people hate them, but even the most ardent raisin fans never really lose their minds over how much they LOVE raisins. If there's a plate of cookies that contains chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, the chocolate chip will go first every single time. Yes, there will be that one person who chooses oatmeal raisin over chocolate chip, but let's face it - they're not really big cookie fans anyway. Music Go Music love ABBA (maybe raisins too - I can't confirm or deny that at this point) and, using Sweden's greatest export as a foundation, have smartly harvest an array of late 70's staple sounds on Expressions: Heart, Donna Summer, 10cc, Olivia Newton John... basically all things that are patently uncool to today's youth. Which is probably the exact reason why today's youth will love this record.

Jon Snodgrass - Visitor's Band
I first heard Jon Snodgrass a few months ago when my girlfriend bought a split record he did with Cory Branan. She counts Mr. Branan among her many boyfriends (along with Langhorne Slim, the Avett Brothers and Lucero), but it was the Jon Snodgrass songs that I liked the best on the record. Despite that fact, I probably wouldn't have gotten around to actually listening to his latest album if it wasn't for his record label. Suburban Home Records recently celebrated their 14th anniversary, and to thank the label's fans and supporters, they offered any record from their catalog for free download. I loved this idea, and took the opportunity to get Visitor's Band. And now Mr. Snodgrass has one more fan. Congratulations on your anniversary AND on your brilliant idea, Suburban Home!

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