Hey Rock n' Roll Fans, couple of administrative points first.
You may have noticed a drop off in the pace of reviews. My apologies...but January/February is when I hunker down and assemble my best of the previous year mixes...and much of my attention as of late has been focused there.
In preparation for the St. Patty's Day unveiling of my Best of 2010 mixes, I've also been scrambling to get up posts for all my previous year collections since I started building them in 2004.
In addition to the 2009 collection, I now also have the smaller 2004 and 2005 collections up, which you can access at your leisure by selecting the FAVORITE SONGS AND ANNUAL MIX COLLECTIONS list on the page menu just to your right.
Secondly, I hope to have a decent review of the 2011 Coachella line up out soon, but can say my initial impressions were so-so.
Fest line-up doesn't seem to have as clear an identity to me this year, feels off balance (2011's Friday's undercard is insanely overstuffed, Sunday's is the weakest I have ever seen), and I'm personally one who feels any year Goldenvoice fails to get a couple of the still active big time representatives of the 60s and 70s on the bill is a serious lost opportunity with time running so short for most of those artists (was really hoping for Stones/Neil Young). It still kills me that they failed to bring in Love before Arthur Lee passed away.
Despite all this, I've learned through my years of attending that the lineup on paper never ends up in sync with the quality of the experience one has...anticipated acts disappoint, unknown acts blow you away, and there are just tons of intangibles at play. 2008's poster was by far the least impressive when first released, but because so many of the acts I did see crushed their sets, it remains head and shoulders the best year I have ever attended. If I were to make one prediction, it's that Sunday night, with my guess of Duran Duran at 6ish on mainstage, leading into the National at sunset at the Outdoor, then into PJ Harvey, Strokes, and Kanye West in succession to close the mainstage, will prove to be the festival's most celebrated stretch of music after all is said and done.
Finally, a bunch of first impressions on some 2010 releases
Sigh No More - Mumford & Sons: Energetic, very mainstream feeling folk. The Cave and Little Lion Man are fun tracks, but rest felt rather generic on first listen.
Astro Coast - Surfer Blood: Very disappointed with this, for a punk-pop release that's focused on hooks, these hooks have no bite...oh the irony for an album with a great white shark on it's cover. I'm sure I'll come to like it touch better with repeated listens, but if I had to go off my initial impression this is a not recommended at present. Fast Jabroni only cut on this album truly doing it for me right now.
The Drums - More eighties vein than Astro Coast but oddly similar in some way, like it much better...this feels like it will end up being a low ranking solid or high ranking mild recommend.
Sometimes The Blues Is A Passing Bird (EP) - The Tallest Man On Earth: Five more tracks from the fabulous solo artist, who most like to compare to pre-electric Dylan. Don't get it before you grab his 2010 full length The Wild Hunt, but a solid addition for big time fans.
Becoming A Jackal - Villagers: Brit pop and trad folk intersect in this Irish artists release. Liked this one quite a bit on first pass, and loved the little throwaway The Pact (I'll Be You're Fever).
Forget - Twin Shadow: Some are calling this newcomer the "black Morrissey" and that description feels pretty apt. Didn't like this one as much as I though I would based on reviews...not as dynamic as I had hoped, but a couple of tracks cut through strong.
My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky - Swans: A comeback album of sorts, first Swans release in eleven years. Will be far too "industrial," dark, and experimental for many, but I was all over this one on first listen. Can see this ending up as worse than a very high ranking solid for 2010, and quite possibly a strong recommend.
Public Strain - Women: Another prickly, atonal album that will be very difficult for many, but that I was totally digging. Very primitive no-fi, almost early Velvet Undergroundish at times, unique...unlike anything else out there right now on the no-fi side of the spectrum.
Strange Weather, Isn't It - !!!: Not as immediately accessible as Myth Takes, but found myself enjoying it almost as much...opening two and closing two tracks make very strong bookends...sags a bit in the middle.