album: High Violet

January 5, 2011

The National. High Violet. 4AD CAD 3X03CD, 2010. (on CD)

My first impression was that it’s pleasant but bland, but every time I’ve listened to it it’s grown on me a bit more. It’s understated and confident, with a strangely quiet, laid-back feeling for a band that’s making a lot of noise. Reminds me of Arcade Fire, late Bowie, and a little bit of Depeche Mode.

8/10 (Great).


album: The Very Best of Little Richard

January 4, 2011

Little Richard. The Very Best of Little Richard. Specialty SPCD-30748, 2008. (on CD)

Excellent compilation.  It has all his classics, and none of the later “come back” crap that always seems to plague compilations of older artists.

9/10 (One of my favorites).


album: Good Things

December 26, 2010

Aloe Blacc. Good Things. Stones Throw STH2245, 2010. (on CD)

A great soul singer, singing songs that sound like classics, in an ode to 1970s Motown. It’s not a throwback like Sharon Jones, though; it has a modern sound, drawing from various pop styles from the past 50 years – everything from classic rock to hip hop. Most of it isn’t as good as the (relatively) famous song, “I Need a Dollar,” but there’s not a single bad track on the album.

7/10 (Good).


album: Queen’s Greatest Hits I & II

December 26, 2010

Queen. Greatest Hits I & II. Hollywood Records HR-62042-2, 1994. (on CD)

Some great songs, lots of terrible songs, and very little in between.

6/10 (Okay).


album: Revenge

December 6, 2010

Bill Cosby. Revenge. Warner Bros W1691, 1967. (on vinyl, second-hand)

Similar in style to My Brother Russell, but not as good. It’s all very entertaining and fun to listen to, but I didn’t actually laugh much.

7/10 (Good).


album: What’s New Pussycat?

December 3, 2010

Tom Jones. What’s New Pussycat? Parrot PAS 71006, 1965. (on vinyl, from a thrift store)

A jumbled collection of both old-school r&b and the Bacharachian pop songs Jones is known for. The couple of tracks that are pure r&b are surprisingly good. The famous songs are crap, but at least have his iconic personality going for them. Much of the album is the worst of both worlds.

6/10 (Okay)


album: The Muppet Show 2

November 26, 2010

The Muppets. The Muppet Show 2. Arista AB 4192, 1978. (on vinyl, second-hand)

The second album of songs and skits from The Muppet Show. It has a nice balance of silliness and earnestness, including some (relatively week) original material and (uncredited) guest performers.

9/10 (One of my favorites).