June Music Roundup
Each month, I build a playlist of songs downloaded from emusic, newly purchased from other places, or drawn from my current music collection. At the end of the month, I review that playlist.
- Mike Doughty, Yes and Also Yes – More quality songs from Mike Doughty. We don’t see a lot of differentiating in his songwriting, though these songs have a little more instrumentation than some of the previous albums. Whereas the previous couple have been very guitar-centered, these have a lot more additional sounds. “Day By Day” has a solid enjoyable rhythm; “Russell” has a strange, weird quality that makes it almost my favorite; “Holiday” with Roseanne Cash is really solid as well; “Vegetable” has the rapid patter lyric sound that recalls Soul Coughing songs. More interesting than some of his other recent outings.
- Audioslave, Revelations – Another album from Audioslave–still good, but not much new here. There’s something about a super group that probably prevents it from moving forward too much–it’s always already nostalgic. I’ve certainly enjoyed Chris Cornell’s solo efforts more lately, but this album works well, as we’d expect. “Revelations” has a solid mix of guitar-driven melodies and interesting vocals from Chris Cornell; “Until We Fall” fulfills the ballad requirement; “Broken City” brings a little funk to the mix; “Wide Awake” is perhaps my favorite, though it doesn’t really have much of a hook.
- Lead Belly and Woodie Guthrie, The Roots of Bob Dylan (first half)- This is a gimmick album, alternating songs between Guthrie and Lead Belly. I’d already heard many of the Lead Belly songs, but of course they’re great. Of Guthrie’s songs, I like “Buffalo Skinners,” about some cowhands who go West to do work and find themselves short-changed, and “Pretty Boy Floyd,” which ponders the imbalance of energy put into catching outlaws rather than stopping unscrupulous bankers. From Lead Belly, I love the mournful “Where Did You Sleep Last Night? and his mocking, sarcastic lament about being mistreated by bosses and shopkeepers, the “Bourgeois Blues.”
- Jonathan Coulton, assorted songs – “Where Did The Lobsters Go” and “The Geek-Jock Convergence” were part of JoCo’s appearance on NPR’s “Ask Me Another.” He also released a remix of the hilariously dirty “First of May.” Best of all, a full-on new song written to accompany John Scalzi’s Redshirts, aptly titled “Redshirt.” This last is the best, with lots of funny lines and pathos.
- Nanci Griffith, assorted songs (via Cover Lay Down) – Griffith is a classic folk musician, with a soft and slow music style. Many of her songs slip too far into country for my taste. Her cover of Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Leather” is excellent; when Griffith joins the Chieftains for “Red is the Rose,” it’s darn lovely; her “I fought the Law” is okay, but it doesn’t compare to The Clash’s cover. This collection also reminded me how fucking creepy I find “The Giving Tree.” It’s even creepier when it’s sung.
- Dolly Parton, “jolene (remix)” – Dan C. sent this one my way. Awesome.
from the archive:
- John Denver, Unplugged Collection – Ugh, too saccharine. That said, roughly half of the songs are familiar singles that still delight. I enjoyed revisiting “Annie’s Song,” “Rocky Mountain High,” “Country Roads,” “Sunshine on my shoulders,” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane” just isn’t as enjoyable as several of those that have come since. I’m particularly fond of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes’ version.