Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Now Downloading: New Releases 10.11.11 - Crooked Fingers, Ryan Adams

Sketch of Crooked Fingers' Eric Bachman by Greg Betza, used in the Breaks in the Armor cover.
There's still not the cornucopia of releases like a couple weeks past, but with a few high profile releases, it's not a bad week to have ears. The latest from both Crooked Fingers and Ryan Adams have in common a stepping away from their craft (for very different reasons) and coming back strong with releases that harken back to their debuts from the early part of this century. Elsewhere, there's the latest from Bjork, Swell Season's Marketa Irglova, Andrew Bird doing a soundtrack, Mayer Hawthorne, Joe Henry, The Rifles, Peter Gabriel, a split single with Deerhoof, and Jeff Tweedy's sons The Raccoonists. Other releases of note include William Shatner, Future Islands, Erasure, Casiokids and more.

Playlist: New Releases 10.11.11

Crooked Fingers - Breaks in the Armor
Stream / Purchase [mp3]

Crooked Fingers - Breaks in the Armor
Back in August of 2009, it looked to most that Crooked Fingers might be done and that the long awaited Archers of Loaf reunion had little chance of ever happening. At that time, frontman Eric Bachmann, had lost the urge to make music and left for Thailand to teach English. While the new career seems to have been an utter failure, from the depths of his despair Bachmann did some soul searching (and a lot of drinking) in Taipei, and the result of that is the sixth long-player for Crooked Fingers, Breaks in the Armor -- marking a return to the booze-soaked first couple releases (Crooked Fingers, Bring on the Snakes). While BitA doesn't quite equal the highs of those earlier releases, there's something about Bachmann lyrically looking back to his younger days. The songs on this album were written before the Archers of Loaf reunion, and it might have been the therapeutic look back that helped bring Bachmann around to reuniting his old band, making BitA an important release.

Album Stream via Spin
Free Download: "Typhoon" [mp3]

Ryan Adams - Ashes and Fire
Stream / Purchase [mp3]

Ryan Adams - Ashes and Fire
Having released some 14 albums in 11 years, it was understandable for Ryan Adams to want to take a bit of time to himself. In 2009, the prolific singer got married (to actress/singer Mandy Moore) and contracted Ménièr's Disease, which, among other things, cripples the ear like tinnitus. During his hiatus, Adams managed to release several albums of songs already recorded, so hardly anyone noticed he was gone. Turns out, time off with the new old lady and recovering from a messed up ear are good inspiration for songwriting. Ashes and Fire returns Adams to his Heartbreaker days, for the most part. While it's not exactly a Hearbreaker II -- as many seem to want to call it -- it is certainly the closest Adams has come to it. The album is flanked by two songs that are of the best Adams ever written: Opener "Dry Rain" and closing number "I Love You But I Don’t Know What to Say." In between, though, it's hard not to lose track of which somber tune is which, as their is a kind of monotone feel to it. It can make you downright sleepy, but hang with it and the nuance of the melancholy ballads will give you several shades of blue to work with.

Free AOL Album Stream

More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Bjork - Biophilia
Marketa Irglova - Anar
Andrew Bird - Norman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) / Free AOL Album Stream
Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do
Joe Henry - Reverie
The Rifles - Freedom Run
Peter Gabriel - New Blood
Deerhoof / The Raccoonists - Behold a Raccoon in the Darkness
Future Islands - On the Water / Free AOL Album Stream / "Balance" [mp3]
Erasure - Tomorrow's World / Free AOL Album Stream
Casiokids - Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen / Free AOL Album Stream
William Shatner - Seeking Major Tom
TW Walsh - Songs of Pain and Leisure / "Make It Rhyme" [mp3]
Johnny Cash - Bootleg 3: Live Around the World / Free AOL Album Stream
John Wesley Harding - The Sound Of His Own Voice
I Am the Avalance - Beauty Queen Sister
Matthew Herbert - Beauty Queen Sister / Free AOL Album StreamElectric Six - Heartbeats and Brainwaves
Jeffrey Lewis - A Turn In The Dream-Songs / "Cult Boyfriend" [mp3]
Ben Lee - Deeper Into Dream / Free AOL Album Stream
Rocket From the Tombs - Barfly / Free AOL Album Stream

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