What Am I Listening To? – April 2014

2014_StPaulandtheBrokenBones_HalftheCitySt. Paul & the Broken Bones – Half the City
A recommendation from a friend. “Heard an interview with these guys on the radio. Nerdy guys singing soul music. The lead guy was a pastor for a while, among other things. Apparently they were very fun to watch at SXSW.” So far I haven’t heard any indication of the “nerdy” part, nor do I know how to evaluate “soul music” in any meaningful way that a devotee of the genre would, but I’ll keep an open mind.

2014_KatieHerzig_WalkingThroughWallsKatie Herzig – Walk Through Walls
Katie has done it again! I expected a return to more acoustic music after the colorful sonic adventures of The Waking Sleep, but instead she’s upped the ante with her most electronic – and perhaps her most compellingly human – album to date.

2014_SleepingatLast_AtlasOceansEPSleeping at Last – Atlas: Oceans EP
The all-instrumental Oceans completes a musical suite that began during the Yearbook days. While nothing here sounds radically out-of-bounds for Sleeping at Last, it is nice to hear two of my favorite tracks from that earlier collection reprised along with three more in a similar vein, each attempting to capture the “personality” of our planet’s vast seas.

2014_TheReignofKindo_PlayThe Reign of Kindo – Play
The group’s second collection of “chiptunes” is an almost note-for-note remake of last year’s Play with Fire. Much like This Is Also What Happens before it, it’s fun to hear lively, jazzy rock songs reimagined in such an unlikely musical style, but the novelty gets old when you listen to it all the way through. Despite that, I still hold out hope that one day they’ll go back and record an album called Rhythm, Chord & MIDI.

2014_BandofSkulls_HimalayanBand of Skulls – Himalayan
Folks who enjoyed the more spacious, bluesy approach on their past records might cry “sellout” at the more dense, radio-friendly sound, but Himalayan has enough variety to hit the sweet spot for me. With very few exceptions, the trio spends this entire record kicking ass at high altitude.

2014_JarsofClay_InlandiaJars of Clay – Inlandia
The remix collection for last year’s excellent album Inland. I’m… not really feeling it. JT Daly of Paper Route gave “Loneliness & Alcohol” a pretty drastic overhaul, and I kinda like that one, but the rest of it ranges from “meh” to “What were they thinking?!”

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