Take Five Returns

As part of my effort to re-examine my blogging, I realized that I hadn’t blogged about music in a long time. When I started this blog, on Fridays I would try to collect some random observations about music in a post titled “Take Five.” So today, I’d like to attempt to revive that feature, with a few tweaks to the formatting and a couple of bonus bullets since it’s been so long.

Live Music

Last week, I reprised the one-two punch that prompted this blog post last fall: I saw Girlyman and Mike Viola in the same week. It was not the best show I’ve ever seen from either performer — the Mike Viola show was an early, tack-on, one-hour affair, a type of set unheard of from a musician who typically has to be peeled off the stage in the wee hours of the morning — but I enjoyed both shows a lot. For Girlyman, it was the closest I’ve ever sat to see them at Club Passim, and after last seeing them at the Somerville Theatre, it was nice to return to those intimate basement environs. While their new album, “Everything’s Easy,” did not immediately gut-punch me as their previous albums had, it has definitely grown over time. But, as with all Girlyman songs, they are best heard live.

Find of the Week

Do you like Aaron Perrino (of Dear Leader/The Sheila Divine) fame? He released a free, MP3-only covers EP earlier this week, and it’s pretty good, especially his version of Bon Iver’s “Blood Bank.”


WERS (88.9FM in Boston) continues to introduce me to amazing music. It was on WERS that I first heard Mumford & Sons‘ “Little Lion Man.” I had seen the Mumford & Sons buzz on the MP3 blogs I scan daily, but I hadn’t yet picked up the scent. When I heard “Little Lion Man,” loved it, and discovered on the WERS playlist that it was by Mumford & Sons, I quickly hit Google and began searching for MP3s. On Saturday, I went to Newbury Comics and bought the album. I highly, highly recommend. They are what NPR refers to as “overseas Americana,” folk-rock with a uniquely UK bite. Imagine if Frightened Rabbit and Great Big Sea formed a band together, you might get Mumford & Sons.

New Releases

Picked up but as of yet unlistened to: the new Broken Bells, the new Frightened Rabbit and….John Hiatt‘s greatest hits? After hearing his semi-hit “Cry Love” for the first time in an eternity (via “Arrested Development” of all shows), I then picked up his new album, “The Open Road,” via Amazon MP3 and ordered his greatest hits from my trusty source for all things archival, YourMusic. I did pass on the new Peter Gabriel covers album after some lackluster reviews (and while I loved his cover of the Magnetic Fields’ “Book of Love,” his version of Radiohead’s “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” underwhelmed). Any contrasting opinions out there?

CD Audit Project

I’ve embarked on a project to audit my CD collection. This has involved multiple stages.

  1. Finish listening to all unlistened-to CDs piled on top of the stereo
  2. Print out CD collection list as-is, scan through CD collection and make updates (e.g. some stuff I’ve purged is still included on the list
  3. Pull out CDs I want to weed from the collection
  4. Pull out CDs I am on the fence about weeding from the collection
  5. Listen to all of the CDs I am on the fence about and sort accordingly
  6. Update CD collection list with final decisions
  7. Attempt to sell weeded CDs at Newbury Comics.

I am currently about halfway through step 5, which is the toughest step. With so much new music coming in, it’s hard to sit down that old Mood Elevator album and listen through it. But I’m determined to have this done by the time I go to England at the end of the month.


Looking Back/Looking Ahead

Preliminary candidates for Album of the Year? Yeasayer‘s “Odd Blood” or the Magnetic Fields‘ “Realism.” According to my list, I’ve only bought 14 albums in 2010 so far. Looking forward to the rest of the year, especially the new National album due in May.

Second Thoughts

I might be coming around on Animal Collective. At the very least, “What Do I Want? Sky” is one of my favorite songs as of late. Also, true confessions: I’ve lately been obsessed with Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Romance.”

And apparently, that is the note on which this return of Take Five will end!


4 responses to “Take Five Returns

  1. AGREE:
    1) i have come around on animal collective – “my girls” sold me frakking hard
    2) “Odd Blood” and “Realism” are certainly ROTY candidates

    Peter Gabriel’s record is very, very strong. it is beautiful & powerful. it’s a bit one-note, but that note = pure effing awesome.

    just my $.02

    • Matt: Hmm, that’s a strong rec for the PG album. I’ve been on the fence about it, so perhaps I’ll pick it up after all…

      Andy: Ahhhh, the New Pornographers and the Hold Steady, two other sure-to-be highlights of the year coming out soon. *swoon*

  2. Thanks, Georgy. Your title has me humming an old Dave Brubeck song. But on to more contemporary sounds…

    I like “Odd Blood” a lot. More than I thought I would. I think it’s a contender for album of the year, but I’m pretty excited about some other new stuff coming out later this year (New Pornographers, MGMT, new Hold Steady and National albums, and even some old codgers, like Tom Petty and Devo). I downloaded Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’ “The Brutalist Bricks” this week and am listening to it every chance I get. I’m still absorbing it, but I like what I’m hearing — more like bombastic old-school punk. Speaking of which, I’ve been re-listening to the Clash a lot lately, too. 😉

    I still recommend Basia Bulat’s 2010 release if you haven’t heard it yet.

  3. Pingback: Take Five « Safe Digression

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