Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now
Great new records chosen by J. Edward Keyes, editor-in-chief of eMusic.
1. Yuck, Yuck
At my heart, I'm a hopeless nostalgic, so bands like Yuck really trip my pleasure sensors. There is nothing about this band I dislike: they fuse the raggedness of prime Dinosaur Jr. with the honey-sweet harmonies of Teenage Fanclub. They manage all of this without ever sounding hopelessly retro, or sacrificing their own charming, naive identity. They sound like what they are: kids just out of their teens, making music that sounds like the music they love. The chorus of "Georgia" is Buzz Bin material, boy/girl vocals harmonizing on the heartbreaking conclusion: "Georgia, I'm still in love with you."
2. Yellow Ostrich, The Mistress
We have a program on eMusic called eMusic Selects, where we find an unsigned artist and release their first album exclusively to the site for two months. We've been lucky enough to have had some of our selects bands — Best Coast, Crystal Stilts, Rural Alberta Advantage, and a few more — go on to find great success. Yellow Ostrich is our latest Selects act, and their full-length has been on repeat for weeks. Alex Schaaf loops, stretches, layers, and manipulates his voice throughout these gorgeous, bedroom-tiny songs. It's a masterpiece in miniature.
3. Various Artists, Cartegena! Curro Fuentes & the Big Band Cumbia and Descarga Sound of Colombia, 1962 – 72
There are few better labels putting out records right now than Soundway. All of their compilations are essential — they zero in on a particular genre from a particular region of the world during a particular time period, and assemble compilations that present the cream of the crop. Their chief compiler, Miles Celeret, is like the Indiana Jones of crate-diggers, scouring the globe in search of elusive gems. Their latest comp is dedicated to Cumbia in Colombia from 1962-72 and, shocker, it's great — packed with sizzling rhythms, darting horn charts, and enough rolling bongos to fill the dancefloor at your next fifty BBQs. This one is a must.
Listen: "Arroz Con Coco"
4. Charles Bradley, No Time for Dreaming
Rumor has it that Bradley was discovered during a gig as a James Brown impersonator in Brooklyn. He brings all of Brown's passion and intensity to the music here — a hazy, note-perfect throwback to '60s R&B that recalls Donny Hathaway at his most heartbroken. Bradley's voice is a thing of wonder. Cracked and pained, it passionately documents both personal and global despair, as the Menahan Street Band — with a sense of rhythm and knack for underplaying that rivals the Funk Brothers — shakes and grooves behind him. If this album had been released in 1969, it would routinely be making All-Time Greatest lists.
Listen: "The Telephone Song"
5. Inquisition, Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm
Any doubts about this Colombian metal band's infernal nature should be extinguished by the film sample that implores, "Lucifer! Punish your enemies!" This is charred, pitch-black music, with split-second riffs that grind and spatter like a drill-press boring into the skull. If this were all velocity, it would get dull pretty quickly but, like the best metal bands, Inquisition know the virtue of a good tempo-change, and the songs stop short and downshift often, and without warning. It's like hurtling down the plummet-end of a roller coaster when someone suddenly throws a log on to the tracks.
Listen: "Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm"