A little of this, a little of that.
- Coldplay, Everyday Life
This is a lovely album, and it made me realize that I had become shamefully out of touch with Coldplay and their recent body of work, something I'll have to address. We've listened to this album a LOT since we picked it up for driving music on our Arizona vacation in January. 9/10.
- Chet Faker, Built On Glass
This was a holiday gift to us from Emily and Carmen, and it has quickly become my wife's favorite album of the last year. The internet calls this "electro-soul", and he definitely channels something you might have heard from Al Wilson or Barry White 50 years ago. But with the production techniques of 2020, and the eclecticism of a Down Under lad. 9/10
- Tame Impala, The Slow Rush
Kevin Parker, whose stage name is Tame Impala, is a one-man band, I believe. In the studio, he performs everything himself, laying down multiple overlays using modern electronic wizardry. I don't have any idea what his live performances are like, but the studio albums that he produces are fascinating. I have Innerspeaker and Lonerism, and now I have The Slow Rush, which I like better than the other two. 8/10
- Local Natives, Hummingbird
Although Hummingbird is the second Local Natives album, it was the fourth one I arrived at. I started with the amazing Gorilla Manor, as everyone should, but then I went on to Violet Street and Sunlit
For whatever reason (music is personal, after all), Sunlit is actually my favorite, with Gorilla Manor a close second. I'd say I like Hummingbird slightly more than I like Violet Street.
Annoyingly, the 2020 Local Natives tour dates completely conflict with long-scheduled travel plans, so I'm going to miss their shows again. Grrr!! 8/10.
- Nick Murphy, Run Fast Sleep Naked
I think that Nick Murphy has permanently dropped the "Chet Faker" stage name; at any rate, Run Fast Sleep Naked is released under his own name.
Having completely nailed a certain persona with Built On Glass, Murphy is now trying to extend and develop other aspects of his music.
This is going to take time, but I'll stick around for the ride, as his talent is undeniable. 8/10
- Best Coast, Fade Away
Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bronze record as Best Coast, and I've long wanted to explore their music. Fade Away is high energy California pop, and I really enjoy it. I'll be returning for more of Best Coast. 7/10
- James Blake, Overgrown
Overgrown was another gift from Emily and Carmen. It's definitely growing on me, listen after listen. Blake has released four albums, Overgrown was the second one. I'll certainly be listening to more of his work. 7/10
- Beatles, Abbey Road Anniversary Edition
Wow, it's been 50 years since Abbey Road came out, with its famously enigmatic cover picture of the boys striding across the Abbey Road crosswalk.
Abbey Road was late-form Beatles, just shortly before they broke up.
We got the 2CD re-issue, with CD1 being the studio release, while CD2 is a selection of alternate mixes, studio experiments, etc.
It's all lovely. It's the Beatles! 10/10
- The Grateful Dead, Ready Or Not
The last actual album that the Grateful Dead released as a group was 1989's Built to Last. But the group continued composing, recording, and playing live music up through Garcia's death in the summer of 1995, and much of that body of music has been released over time.
Ready or Not is an interesting concept; it is a selection of nine songs composed and performed by the Dead during the years from 1989 to 1995.
Many of these songs surely would have been released on studio albums, if it hadn't been that they were Done Doing That.
This is deep, mature music from the Dead, and although the production quality is challenging (these are all live recordings), it still showcases all of their greatest talents: lyrical depth, musical complexity, and the warmth and emotion which was always part of their finest moments.
During the years since, I've heard a few of these songs performed live by Dead offshoots such as Phil Lesh and Friends or Dead & Co, but it's a true treasure to hear these old and fascinating recordings.
It's 10/10, but really only for personal reasons. This certainly isn't an approachable album, it's for True Fans only.