My Stereo Runneth Over

Six New AlbumsFor several months my consumption of new music has been pretty tame, but this past week saw a surge in album acquisitions; there are currently about six new sets of tracks in heavy rotation on my iPod. It’s not just the buzz around the iTunes Music Store that has me playing the part of the good consumer; I’m also gearing up to make another Squat mix, which entails gathering lots of new source material.

Here’s a brief run-down of those new additions to my library:

Antipop Consortium: Arrhythmia
The Libertines: Up the Bracket
Mas Confusion
David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust
The White Stripes: Elephant
Dexy’s Midnight Runners: Too-Rye-Ay

Antipop Consortium, “Arryhthmia

A dark record, full of mind-tricks and verbal slight of hand. It’s both intelligent and listenable, which is a feat, but sometimes the smarts are too self-consciously in evidence. The best bits remind me of that feeling I’m looking for when I go back and listen to Triple H’s work with Funkstörung.

The Libertines, “Up the Bracket

As good an example as any of exactly what it feels like to listen to an over-hyped, ‘indie-minded’ major label band, probably because that’s exactly what the Libertines are. However, after several plays, I am slowly starting to hear the hints of the Jam, Kinks, Clash et. al. that the British music press claims are in there.

Various, “Mas Confusion

I bought this compilation on an impulse, based on its association with the Musik Aus Strom label. It’s quieter and more melodic than I had anticipated and though not bad, it hasn’t yet grabbed my attention. The final track, by Mr. Projectile, has a five-star title: “Less Math, More Music.”

David Bowie, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust…”

They’re going to be reissuing Bowie’s records in ‘special editions’ until the end of time. This deluxe 30th anniversary version adds a second disc of extras and an embarrassingly elaborate booklet of supplemental notes. The music is still pretty much unimpeachable, even if you probably don’t need to hear “Starman,” among others, ever again.

The White Stripes, “Elephant

This record has become a critical home run and I can kind of see why — it’s almost never less than interesting. I’m just not all that sure I’m happy to see this band grow and develop as artists, though. Some of the most mature songs on this record seem strangely unimpassioned, leaving me wondering what’s the point?

Dexy’s Midnight Runners, “Too-Rye-Ay

Step into the Way-Back machine. I always heard there was an untapped goldmine in the Dexy’s back catalog and it’s true; Rowland’s peculiar, restrained kind of belting is still stirring.