Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The National "Boxer" (2007)

While The Boxer's followup got the greater hype, IMHO this is the pinnacle of their sound.  Indeed it is one of the best albums of the decade.  And why does no one ever refer to The National as Dad Rock?

Paul Weller "Illumination" (2002)

The next time someone asks for a definition of Dad Rock, just play this album.  It's not that there are glaring flaws with it.  Rather, it simply takes no risks and as a result tends to be a bit boring.

Great Lake Swimmers "Lost Channels" (2009)

Sometimes a record can do everything right and still not really get the job done.  That's sort of the problem here.  Lost Channels does everything that you could ask of it, but it's just not that memorable.  There's a fault in the songwriting somewhere....

Steve Wynn "Crossing Dragon Bridge" (2008)

This one is solidly in the ranks of records I just don't get.  Allmusic says that it's Wynn's "masterpiece".  A friend raved about it so much that I just had to check it out.  Keep in mind that my favorite Wynn songs were with the Dream Syndicate.  And this stuff just doesn't have that bite.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Devendra Banhart "Nino Rojo" (2004)

This is unexpectedly wonderful.  Coming from a place of childlike playfulness, Banhart gives us acoustic gems that are fun and hilarious. Here his affectations feel like play rather than cheap guile.

My Morning Jacket "It Still Moves" (2003)

This is probably their best album.  They begin to show some of the pop melodies that would later come to dominate while still clinging to their classic rock roots.  Sure there's still some reliance on production chicanery (reverb, anyone?) but that at least does cover their musical limitations.

Sometymes Why "Your Heart is a Glorious Machine" (2009)

Simply put, this is an allstar band of women from progressive bluegrass bands playing music that sounds more like indie rock than folk music.  While excellent technically, I seem to be unable to really connect.