Thursday, October 3, 2013

DAILY LISTENINGS 10 - 03 - 2013

Hey Friends,

A couple of fine releases to discuss this morning.

Yesterday, I finally got in a headphone listen to former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell's latest Southeastern , and for a first sampling, I came away quite impressed.

Like most of Isbell's solo work, Southeastern pursues a folksier path than the rousing efforts of his DBT days, and is, if anything, his most stripped-down effort yet.

Primarily acoustic, literate, lean, and chock-full of tales of hard-earned wisdom (most inspired by his recent real-life struggles to get sober, and the woman, now his wife, who helped him win that battle), I can see Southeastern emerging over time as one of my favorite singer-songwriter efforts of 2013.

Here's a sample.

Then there's Kendrick Lamar's 2012 release Good Kid, m.a.a.d. city.

I just finished my final car listen last night, and all I have to say is the critics and fans have it damn straight  This is an exceptional rap album, an easy Strong Recommend, possibly a Highest.

But unlike my other rap favorites of this still young decade (Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Big Boi's vibrant Sir Lucious Left Foot, El-P's Orwellian Cancer 4 Cure), which all wowed me with their vibrant production and ambitious musicality, Lamar wins the day the old fashioned rap way...with his words.

Aside from a few unrelated tracks (Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe, Backstreat Freestyle), the bulk of Good Kids' songs and dramatic interludes...presented with a level of introspection almost unheard of in the gangster rap genre...make up a non-linear but ultimately highly engaging, Boys In The Hood-styled tale of growing up hard in the violent streets of Compton and Lamar's eventual escape through music.

A part of me wonders if Lamar may have blown his load with this CD...will he have anything left, other than new found fame, to write about on his follow-up effort...but for now, with songs as evocative as The Art Of Peer Pressure, Sing About Me/I'm Dying Of Thirst and mega-hit Swimming Pools (Drank) there for the enjoyment, who really cares.

Here's a look at haunting second half of The Art Of Peer Pressure.

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