Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Sonic Parthenon Playlist: Early 2011, Vol. 1

The first installment of this year's series of playlists is accompanied of course this year by the development of the Sonic Parthenon Show over at Thor Radio. And much of this two-volume set was hear on the March 20th episode of that program so you can hear more details there on a lot of these songs. The year has once again begun singles-heavy (only two or three LP's merit any mention) but that may change. The next few months will witness an unbelievable array of full-length albums worth thinking about - and two are getting a taste in this list as well.

Arms Akimbo - "Skins Have More Hair Than Brains"
This is NOT Elvis Costello as much as it sounds like it is. It is most certainly inspired by Declan's early work and it is all the better for it.

Charles Bradly - "The World (Is Going Up In Flames)"
Another chapter in the Daptones story, another saga of a lost voice discovered anew for the world to hear in all that glorious soul. BUTTAH!

Exene Cervenka - "Already in Love"
Her Most Humble Highness of the Country Beatnik Hardcore Punks is rolling along with a new solo record that features this deceptively soft-spoken heart-felt pop song. Maybe it's a surprise, maybe it isn't. The X gang have always excelled at being able to mix it up.

Cowboy Junkies - "See You Around"
Go figure - the Canadian crew are still going strong, and covering Vic Chesnutt. This Soul-drenched dirge harkens back to the glory days of Muscle Shoals.

David Wax Museum - "Yes, Maria, Yes"
In the line of bands like DeVotchKa comes this eclectic ensemble with a sparkling song that goes well with Mexican food.

Deerhoof - "Super Duper Rescue Heads!"
If bear is the animal most overused in Indie band naming in the last decade, then Deer is running a healthy second. I don't think that has anything to do with the fact that few of the deer bands interest me - though Deer Tick sounds good. This is the first time Deerhoof has struck my fancy.

The Decemberists - The King is Dead
Hey the Decemberists are back! After going way deep into prog territory with their last opera, Colin and company have scaled it back, going in the other direction - IT'S A POP RECORD! "Down by the River" is one for the ages - up there with the best of the Boss and Neil and the band most cited in the write-ups on this record, R.E.M.

Gang of Four - "You'll Never Pay for the Farm"
Another seminal band back in the mix, the politically studious Gang of Four occasionally try to break through with something for the actual masses they sing for.

Girls - "Heartbreaker"
I hated this band name and hated their first single to get them buzz with their stupid NSFW video. But then came this song, a perfectly executed pop number. Now I can't hate them and anyone who knows Pennypacker knows he hates it when he can't hate something anymore.

Grouplove - "Don't Say Oh Well"
I'm still a little sketchy on this band's origins - I've read items about being a supergroup and being from Crete and I don't know what. I'm pretty sure it's just a band from LA. But a good band.

The Hold Steady - "Just Saying"
Oh look at this, it's the Hold Steady. Their contribution to the Dilemma soundtrack is an original one (if they're going to partake in this, they may as well make the most of it). And it's another tight one, definitely in the direction of the classic rock that people who would actually buy the soundtrack would care to hear.

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