Sunday, March 10, 2013

New New Acquisitions

Instead of keeping up with Alabama Shakes and A$AP Rocky and all the hot new bands, I tend to discover new (for me) music from the past.  There's so much of it.  Here are a few albums I've picked up recently by musicians who, until now, weren't represented in my record (or cd) collection and I hadn't heard much of:

The Soft Boys, Underwater Moonlight (Armageddon, original UK pressing, $10).  No, it's not an album recorded by the first test group for Viagra. This album, released in 1980, pretty much set the template for all the slightly off-kilter jangle pop of the 80s (e.g. REM, Smiths) I was listening to back in the day.

Popol Vuh, In the Garden of the Pharaohs/Aguirre (Celestial Harmonies, German reissued DMM pressing, $15).  What do you get when you combine a spacey moog synthesizer and primitive drumming?  Werner Herzog bait.  After Popol Vuh released their first few albums in the early 70s, including In the Garden of the Pharaohs, Herzog tapped this band to score a number of his films, including Aguirre the Wrath of God.  This double LP reissue combines two of their earlier albums.  It sounds stunning.  I first heard of Popol Vuh a few years ago at Amoeba, where I over-heard a record store clerk tell a fellow clerk that it's becoming really hard to find Popol Vuh on vinyl.  That's the kind of comment that sticks with a record collector.  And it turned out to be true.  While I've come across a handful of albums by other krautrock bands, this is the first one I'd seen by Popol Vuh.  Of course, I snapped it up.

Ben Folds, Songs for Silverman (Epic, 2-LP, $10).  Is Ben Folds the male Tori Amos?  Maybe.

The Dells, Love Is Blue (Cadet, original pressing, $5).  One of my record-buying excursions turned out to be a splurge on soul records.  The Dells are not exactly obscure, but this is the first album I've heard by them.  You just can't go wrong buying a soul album from the late 60s/early 70s.

Charles Earland, Black Talk! (Prestige, original pressing, $15).  I've been looking for this album ever since I read Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue, in which it's mentioned.  I suspect one of the main characters in the book, Cochise Jones, is partially based on this seminal soul jazz organ player.  Earland shows even a Beatles tune can be made to sound funky.

Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Columbia, 2-LP, $13).  How did I miss this album the first time around?  Absolutely brilliant.  Note to self:  I have to listen to less music by mopey, uptight white guys and listen to more music by soulful black women.

Scott Walker, Scott Walker 3 (Smash, white label promo original pressing, $30).  Scott Walker is a prime example of the mopey, white guy I should be listening to less.

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