Lots of music on the playlist this January. Check it out:
- They Might Be Giants, Album Raises New and Troubling Questions – A reviewer on emusic suggested this album is mainly for real TMBG fans, as it’s a lot of remixes and weird little doodles. Kind of like Miscellaneous T. I agree with that assessment. But, I’d also say it’s highly enjoyable for those of us who are indeed real TMBG fans. The first several tracks on the album are new, and of these my favorites are the rockin’ “Fellowship of Hell,” and the bizarre “Marty Beller Mask.” For sheer audacity, I love the grating “Mountain Flowers” as well. The covers are a delightful revisit to beloved older tunes. Part of me wonders if these are just current stage arrangements of songs they play in every concert. “Mr. Me” is my favorite of the bunch. I agree with the other emusic reviewer that “tubthumping” is not really worth your time (or theirs).
- The Decemberists, Hazards of Love - Not my favorite of their albums, perhaps because it’s a concept album. You’ll encounter the usual solid Decemberists song-writing, but the rock opera feel of the album actually undercut it for me. “The Wanting Comes in Waves/ Repaid” and “The Rake’s Song” stood out the most to me, while the rest kind of ran together. I probably haven’t given this album a fair listen — it probably needs a car drive or some situation in which I can sit and pay attention to all the lyrics at once, as with A Grand Don’t Come for Free, but where The Streets had hooks in their songs that let them stand on their own, this album doesn’t really have that.
- Individual songs: Elizabeth Mitchell, “Shoo-lie-loo” – a catchy ditty that fast became the most annoying song on the playlist and takes a place near the top of the list of most annoying kids songs I own; The Okee Dokee Brothers, “Lucy and Tighty” – a love song about two completely different people, one of my favorites this month.
Other new music:
- Adele, 21 – I got Jenny this album for Christmas, so I get to listen to it too. I can see why this songstress has become so popular. Her voice is astounding, drawing on the soulful traditions of singers like Aretha Franklin and Etta James. Of course, I like the singles “Rolling in the Deep” and “Rumour Has It,” but I also really like her cover of “Lovesong” and the 60s-sounding “One and Only.”
- ATO Fall Sampler, 2011: The ATO fall sampler is EXCELLENT. There are a great mix of mild rock and some folky tunes, including these excellent tracks: “Knots” by Lisa Hannigan, a country-twang “Shanghai Cigarettes” from Caitlin Rose, “I Really Need Love” from The Bees, and “Sick Man Blues” by Bobby Long. Some of these bands will definitely be on my radar in future.
- I put in a mix my friend Nate’s dad, Peity, made for the road trip to my wedding. Lots of great stuff on there, but the best are: the jaunty, haunting “Pastures of Plenty” by Solas; the bluegrass cover of “Oh, Death” by David Lindley; and the Tom Waits favorite, “Come Up To the House.”