Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rants and Raves From the First Half of 2012

For me, the first half of 2012 has been a stellar year for music. Unfortunately, most of my discoveries have not been in the category of new music, but a few such have grabbed me. There have been a some disappointments, too. I won't dwell on those, but there will be no Paul Weller or Brendan Benson recommendations. These favorites missed the mark this time around.

Surprisingly, I'm on the fence with the new dB's album. The classic lineup made me think I would get a return to the classic jangle of 'Stands for Decibels.' That didn't happen. There are a couple of bright spots, but when my favorite song on 'Falling Off the Sky' didn't turn out to be from either Chris Stamey or Peter Holsapple, I knew I was in trouble.

Enough with the negativity. Here are selections from seven albums I have really enjoyed. I also give high marks to the new one from the Beach Boys. I'm not kidding. It is not without a dud or two, but I would recommend 'That's Why God Made the Radio' based on the final three songs alone. The production is nearly flawless as well. Seriously, this is one of the best sounding albums I have ever heard. I would love to share a song from it with you, but I fear the band's label too much. Finally, I give an honorable mention to 'Echoes and Rhymes,' the covers album from the reunited Primitives.

Lambchop - If Not I'll Just Die (mp3) (from 'Mr. M')

Frankie Rose - Know Me (mp3) (from 'Interstellar')

Dexys - You (mp3) (from 'One Day I'm Going to Soar')

Cats on Fire - A Few Empty Waves (mp3) (from 'All Blackshirts to Me')

The Shins - Simple Song (mp3) (from 'Port of Morrow')

Allo Darlin' - Northern Lights (mp3) (from 'Europe')

Sea Lions - Grown Up (mp3) (from 'Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sea Lions But Were Afraid to Ask')

Off to the Redwoods for a few days of hiking with the family. Check back early next week. In the meantime, feel free to give me your favorites from the year so far.

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