Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Gloom resisted; great music in June
I can remember few periods where such a seemingly-endless parade of new original releases, exciting reissues and creative retrospectives have been issued over such a brief span. In fact, I have not been able to keep up with the tons of tune-age being issued by artists deserving of ear time.
So rather than try to write full-length reviews of the great music I’ve been listening to over the past few weeks, I thought I would offer up some brief thoughts and encourage listeners to explore some of these discs (or downloads) on their own.
The month kicked off, conveniently enough, with the June 1 release of Wintersleep’s New Inheritors. Although I didn’t get the album until a few days ago, count me as among those impressed with the Halifax, Canada-based rock troupe. To my ears – and remember I’ve only been living with the dozen-track disc since Monday – the sound of the album recalls recent extraordinary work from Band of Horses, Arcade Fire and Dusty Rhodes & the River Band. There is a blend of celebrative rock and Americana-tinged orchestration that really is intoxicating across the album’s length. I know this is last-minute, but Wintersleep will perform at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa at 10 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, June 16.
June 8 marked the commercial release of three fantastic collections: the epic 3-disc Disintegration deluxe edition of The Cure’s 1989 masterpiece, the excellent self-titled release from Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, and shimmering power-pop release from Rooney titled Eureka. All three sets are already among my favorite commercial collections of 2010. And while I have already featured the Grace Potter disc on an episode of “Music Worth Buying,” I plan to showcase the other two sets in future episodes. And of further interest to Orange County-area readers of my blog, Rooney will headline at House of Blues Anaheim on Thursday, June 17.
Mid-way through June, the list of great releases continues to grow. June 15 saw the release of John Mellencamp’s On the Rural Route 7609. No simple retrospective, On the Rural Route 7609 includes four CDs, but comes packaged in an incredible coffee table book that is annotated by music journalist-historian Anthony DeCurtis, and includes countless photos and details about each of the 54 songs (many previously unheard) and lyrics. This is not a simple best-of collection, but rather a unique collectible that sheds a greater glimpse into one of America’s best-known singer-songwriters.
Finally, I want to quickly rewind to an album that came out in May, but I started listening to around the beginning of June. ASIA’s Omega is the creative equal of the legendary group’s excellent 2008 comeback effort “Phoenix.” The supergroup’s chops and accessible songcraft continue to impress me. And when I tell friends to seek out ASIA’s latest two albums, they inevitably ask ‘Who’s in the band?’ It is the original group: singer-bassist John Wetton, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Carl Palmer and keyboardist Geoffrey Downes. And they still rock.
June gloom? Forget about it.