Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Canon is Growing

I think it's time to discuss some of the interesting music I've found during my following month at the station. I always seem to come across great music here, whether I mean to or not. These bands and albums aren't anything obscure that I've uncovered (some are outright classics, in fact) but they're new to me.

DJ Shadow, "Endtroducing"

A classic piece of electronic music cobbled together out of samples from so many genres it's mind-boggling. Snatches of familiar music will appear occasionally, but these are rare and though there is no "organic" music on the record it is still a completely original composition. Pure genius.

Kings of Leon, "Because of the Times"

I first heard this band a few years back, while still in college. I don't remember being impressed by their first album. However, the opening track of their second one ("Knocked Up") was enough to convert me. Spooky, disjointed and beautiful. Their first album makes sense to me now with this as an entry point. One of my new favorite bands.

Guided By Voices, "Under the Bushes, Under the Stars"

This band has long been a favorite, with "Bee Thousand" in pretty regular rotation within the disco of my mind. However, their catalog has always been a tad daunting for me and I've been picking up their albums slowly. This album is a little slicker than their earlier stuff. It's a mixed blessing. On one hand, the songs stretch out and songwriting is given a chance to shine. One the other had the album lacks the sloppy charm of "Bee Thousand" or "Alien Lanes" and it all starts to sound the same after awhile. Still, a solid album by a solid band and a good entry point for neophytes.

Thievery Corporation, "The Cosmic Game"

I've never been much into any of the variations of electronica, but I've always had an interest. Every now and then I find an entry point that gets me a little closer to understanding it. This is one of those points. A near-perfect synthesis of world beats, horns, politics and house techno, the album is the duo at their peak. Not their best album, and it has a few weak points, but they're working at a level far above the majority of their field.

That's enough for tonight. I'm sure I'll have more next time.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Burnin' the Midnight Oil

I'm required to play a certain amount of "rotation" during the show. These are the newish albums that the station gets as promos. Playing them insures that we keep getting more of them, so every two-hour show plays eight rotation tracks. Generally takes half an hour. I plow through them first thing, since I hate trying to sequence them into the rest of the show. It's a good way to listen to new music and see if you like something or not by inflicting it on anyone listening.

This evening my rotation included the new My Morning Jacket (decent enough album, but certainly a drop off from their last few), a track off the new Colin Meloy live album, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes covering "The Boxer" and a few other oddities. The station doesn't get everything, but they certainly have enough to keep me interested.

Been burning through the electronica section, grabbed up a bunch of out-of-print Meat Beat Manifesto. Free music is a powerful addiction. It's all that really has me up at 3 AM doing this. Starting to feel burnt out already though, and it's only been a few weeks.