Friday, February 24, 2012

February Roundup: Its Clobberin' Time!

Photo Credit: Kate Wurtzel
Sorry if the playlist seems a little short this time around, but its not without good reason.  For one, I've been "stuck" on several of these albums, and in a good way.  I have not been very eager to take them out of the player, which has cut down on my variety.  February is usually a busy and stressful month for the band director, though, and with professional conferences and UIL contest preparation, this kind of deep listening in the car has been cathartic, to say the least.  

Also, because of the Year in Rush project ( for which I have gotten very positive feedback - thanks!), the single song In the End from Fly by Night actually represents three albums.  These are listed at the end of the roundup.

Finally, a few of the albums I have been spinning this month are not available for streaming through Grooveshark, so they can't be represented on the widget.  The first couple of these are independent releases that could benefit from some extra exposure, so I urge you to check them out further.  I'll list them up front.

Tito Carrillo - Opening Statement: Tito was a friend of mine in high school that has made a good name for himself as a session trumpet player. This solo jazz debut from him is quite impressive.

Pop Campaign - Kraut Popping: This is a slick and well-crafted collection of complex, beat-driven electronica that straddles the past and the present. It would be great to see them break into the club scene with Kraut Popping.

Wilco - The Whole Love: After rediscovering Yankee Hotel Foxtrot last year, and seeing generally positive reviews of The Whole Love, it seemed worth a spin. To be honest, I'm still not quite sure what to think - it may take some simmering.

Now, moving on...

Field Music - Plumb: Relatively few bands have expanded on the Beatles' nonstandard excursions. On Plumb, Field Music takes the second side of Abbey Road as a starting point for a fascinating stream-of-consiousness pop exploration, heavy on the musicality.

Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact: The swirling, electronic psychedelia of Eye Contact still holds me in its thrall. There is a surprising amount of depth and thought put into this album.

The Roots - Undun: For almost two years now, I have been on the lookout for a new hip hop album to blow me out of the water. With its irresistible hooks and heady concepts, I think that Undun is the one to do it.

Steven Wilson - Grace for Drowning: Wilson continually confounds my expectations with his top-notch songwriting, production, and arranging skills. Not many people should maintain a solo career, but Wilson has my vote.

 Kraftwerk - Autobahn: This album predates Rush's debut by a year, but maintains a relatively contemporary sound throughout. Kraftwerk was later repurposed in hip-hop samples, which provided them with a name in dance music, but here their explorations are more ethereal and contemplative.

The Flaming Lips - Embryonic: Probably one of the few albums that holds my attention for an entire CD length. With 18 tracks, the Lips somehow avoid filler while simultaneously throwing in more noise and exploration than ever before.

And the Rush sub-Roundup:

Rush: If, after reading the post on this album, you are a bit confounded by the Who comparison, check out the Live at Leeds album. Then thank me.

Fly By Night: I think that a case can be made for considering Fly by Night as Rush's true debut album. It's relationship to the rest of their catalog is much clearer.

Caress of Steel: If you consider Fly by Night as Rush's debut, then Caress of Steel is their sophomore slump. This album is infamous for nearly ending Rush's career, and although it is not the worst entry in their catalog, it is probably their least cohesive.


  1. TITO! Love you mentioned him on here. I can remember watching him play in a sound proof room and teasing him because I could tell how high of a note he was playing by how deep his dimples were. He was one of those, like you, who knew what he wanted to do and went out there and did it. I have massive respect for both of you for living the dream. Lots of love!

  2. Thanks! I regret not being able to stream him here, though. I'd love to give him as much exposure as possible. The disc really is very good.

  3. (I keep thinking about)A New Thing by Field Music kinda reminds me of Adrian Belew. And I just added most of this to my Amazon WishList to be purchased at a sooner rather than later date.

  4. You'll love "Plumb." Seriously, its nothing short of phenomenal.