Playing this week – September 25

1.  Murder by Death – Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon – When they talk about Adam Turla being Johnny Cash’s bastard son, they’re not joking around.  From the get go, it was difficult for me not to hear Cash in everything that was coming through my ridiculously large (and comfy) headphones.  Do not think, though, that Murder by Death is some cheap knockoff, although their lyrics are as poetic and dark as anything Cash would have crooned about:

 

“Whether god is great, or the folly of man,
The faithful & the fools all have the same plan.
Wait for something to happen
So they don’t have to act.
Cowards & zealots running in the same pack”

 

They twist genre around like a pretzel, one minute feeling country ballad -y, the next swinging into uproarious guitars, then into a quiet instrumental with cello and piano.  This album is amazing, and I can’t imagine it not making it into my top 2012 list.

2.  Toy – Toy – There are a few moments when I love Toy (like the second half of “Dead & Gone” and Kopter), but a lot of this album felt like me waiting for those moments.  Still there’s something about this that will keep it in rotation until I decide for sure.  Everyone who’s anyone is giving this big ol’ thumbs up, but I”m not sure yet….

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Samuel Yirga – Guzo – This is an AMAZING album.  The first three tracks are a fantastic fusion of African funk and jazz, with lots of horns and beautiful singing.  And then, with “Ye Bati Koyita” he pauses with a heartbreaking blues-y piano solo that just makes me want to stop everything I’m doing and give it my full attention.  So great.  The rest of the album jumps in and out of that mode, coming alive with all kinds of loud celebrating music, and then returning to Yirga’s amazing piano.  Totally gonna be in rotation for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Kreayshawn – Somethin ‘Bout Kreay – I’d say that this was a guilty pleasure, but I’m really not guilty about his at all.  The whole album is bristling with all kinds of killer hooks, and I’ve been sitting at my desk all week bobbing my head like an idiot.  The lyrics are ridiculous, just shit you imagine some entitled mean girl at a private high school would rap about.  None the less, I’m stalking down the hallways of my work chanting “Bitch you aint no barbie, I see you work at Arby’s, number two, super-size, hurry up I’m starving.”  It’s like having a big ass bowl filled with those little snickers bars right in front of you.  Just try to exercise some restraint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Brad Mehldau – Where Do You Start – Coupled with Samuel Yirga, it’s been a really sweet week for fantastic piano.  This album is delicate and totally mesmerizing, how I wish jazz was to me all the time.  It makes me wish I could speak more technically and more intelligently about music, because it feels precise and like a lot of craftsmanship went into it and I feel like it deserves that treatment.  All I can report on is my experience of it, and it is one of those quiet jazz albums that hits all the notes that make it feel like someone’s been hearing all those prayers I’ve been sending out into the universe and sending back word that I am not alone.