If you know me in real life you probably have a good idea what my personal musical tastes trend towards. For those of you that don’t, despite all outward appearances of being a “computer geek”, I’m actually into quite a wide range of music. 50% Punk, Ska, and Rock in general, another 30% techno (trance and progressive mostly) and 20% jazz and swing make up the majority of my collection. I hardly ever dabble in country, rap or death metal, although there are a few cross over tracks I can appreciate from just about genre.
For the most part, I don’t really mention it on my blog. I’ve noted a couple instances when I’ve purchased a new CD I enjoy, but largely the discussion of music is avoided in my blogging. That’s not necessarily on purpose, but I tend to believe that each person’s musical tastes are generally unique and a deeper personal expression of who you are. So, by talking about what I like, it’s not necessarily something that would resonate with anyone but myself.
That said, again if you know me in real life, you also know that one of my greatest joys comes from sharing music I’ve found. So, personal friends and family are normally the recipients of tracks I’ve discovered.
That’s the really long and excessive way of saying, “I found new stuff, but you may not like it”. Still, I like it enough to share it anyway.
First up, the Japandroids. Rock-duo from Vancouver. They just released their sophomore album “Celebration Rock“. The entire album is definitely worth a listen, but my favorite tracks are probably “The House that Heaven Built”, “Fire’s Highway” and “Adrenaline Nightshift”. Their first album “Post-Nothing” is also worth a listen (although not nearly as strong) but the recording quality is much lower and very “garage band sounding”. There’s also a singles album containing B-sides that weren’t strong enough on their own, which are all over the place. In the end, “Celebration Rock” is incredibly strong and hopefully representative of the direction the band is headed in. Comparatively to other bands, the guitar/drums only sound is similar to the Black Keys only far more Punk Rock influenced. The band “We Were Promised Jetpacks” also comes to mind, but thankfully less indie-rock sounding.
Next up, Flatfoot 56. Celtic punk band from Chicago, their style is dead center between Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys. Want a little more “yell along with” than FM, but keep those traditional touches? Flatfood 56. On their new album “Toil”, check out “I Believe” and “The Rich, the Strong and the Poor”. Their second album “Jungle Of The Midwest Sea” is also quite solid, albeit a bit “angrier” than the new one, not that that’s a bad thing.
Completely 110% the opposite of the previous two albums I mentioned. Spektor creates an interesting mix of slow, off-tune piano, old drum loops and eerie Billie Holiday meets Fiona Apple vocals. It’s slow, it’s soft, it’s for days when it’s raining and you feel like sitting inside feeling sorry for yourself. Think Madeleine Peyroux with a beat. Hey, everyone needs a little downtime. Check out “Firewood” and “The Party” off her latest album “What We Saw From The Cheap Seats“.
Having MXPX still making albums is like knowing there’s an old friend who always wants to see you when you get back home. I honestly can’t believe it’s been 20 years I’ve been listening to MXPX. That blows my mind. Now I feel old. Damnit. “Aces Up” and “Lucky Guy” are my favorites off their newest album “Plans Within Plans”.
Latest album from Teenage BottleRocket entitled “Freak Out!” Raw, angry, loud, and awesome. A big thanks to Jason for introducing these guys to me last year. If you’re ever pissed off and need to yell at the radio, these guys do the trick. What I’ve always liked about TBR is the humor amongst the power-chords. Tracks like “NecroComicCon” and “Punk House of Horrors” illustrate that point, although “Maverick” is my favorite track off the album.
Lastly, while it might be old news to some, The City Harmonic’s “Introducing The City Harmonic” from 2010 features one of the very few Christian Rock tracks I’ve ever enjoyed: Manifesto. There’s a long story involved with why I normally only like tradition hymns and really dislike most modern “worship” songs, mostly surrounding my upbringing and my general dislike of waving my hands in the air without making some sort of fist. It’s my general contention that God has not only a sense of humor (just look at the platypus!) but also likes to rock out on occasion (Ps 98:4). These guys manage to lay some nice rock power-chords on top of genuine feelings of praise. That’s pretty hard to do.
As I said before, there’s a good chance you’re not going to like any of those. On the other hand, you might find something new to listen to. Who knows. For the record, the album art links to Amazon for easy MP3 sampling if you want to check any of it out.