Category: Albums of 2011

Elvis Costello & The Imposters “The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#699 in the Series) is Elvis Costello & The Imposters, The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook There isn’t any way I could be looked to to provide an unbiased review of an Elvis Costello album, that’s impossible for me to do. A fellow who can have a career such as his for so long, reinventing (or rather exploring) his genres and styles, combining those with phenomenal lyricism and musicianship, and topping it all off with a charming personality like Elvis has….well, there just isn’t much not for me to like. But thankfully this isn’t technically a “review” site, rather a place to get to know an album and hear one person’s opinion...

Kick The Cat “Scramble”

    Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#695 in the Series) is Kick the Cat, Scramble This was a new find for me when I saw them live at Reggie’s Rock Bar on the near south side of Chicago (where they have one of the coolest record stores around with tons of rare vinyl), They were opening up for a band called District 97 who was having a guest appearance by singer John Wetton, ex of King Crimson, Asia, etc. who was in town for the UK reunion show (I saw it, great). So I did not know what to expect from the opening act and it was an extremely pleasant surprise and they turned out to be...

Kurt Vile “Smoke Ring For My Halo”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#656 in the Series) is Kurt Vile, Smoke Ring For My Halo Isn’t it fantastic when you can watch and listen to an artist grow, mature, and improve with each new album release? It’s as if we were all present at the birth, first day of school, graduation, and wedding, looking on with tearful pride as if they were our own offspring. Kurt Vile’s fourth release Smoke Ring For My Halo sees the Philadelphia native move further away from his lo-fi beginnings, include a generous sprinkling of folk-tinged dissatisfaction, and dive head-first into no-holds-barred self-reflection. Touring band the Violators continue to lend welcome support on this reflective and melancholy album, adding body...

The Bottle Rockets “Not So Loud: An Acoustic Evening with The Bottle Rockets”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#597 in the Series) is The Bottle Rockets – Not So Loud: An Acoustic Evening with The Bottle Rockets (Bloodshot Records) As a life-long music fan, one of the things that truly excites me is discovering an act that while they may be very new to my sometimes ignorant ears, they have in reality been around quite a long time and have a body of work sometimes spanning a decade or more for me to devour.  Now don’t get me wrong I had Heard of The Bottle Rockets before and was fully aware that many people considered them to be one of the forefathers of the Americana and Alternative Country movements, but...

Album Sales up 3% in 2011. Industry Shows First Increase Since 2004.

Posted 04 Jan 2012 in Albums of 2011, Music + TV News

  For the first time since 2004, album sales showed an increase in 2011 according to a report by Yahoo.com. This is great news to whatever is left of the music industry. The numbers were up 3%. Last year, 458 million albums were sold, this according to the piece. How did they help land on that number?  Besides the Nielson SoundScan numbers, they are also using a formula where ten downloaded singles from providers such as iTunes and Amazon music now are considered as one sold album. The leader of the pack was Adele’s “21” which rang up 5.8 million units. It also spawned interest in her previous album “19” which added 868,000 sales to the yearly total. Michael...

“Cool Album of the Day” Favorite Albums of 2011

  One of the things that many music websites do this time of year is publish what they call “The Best Albums of year..blah blah blah.” All I have to say is, if you claim your list is a best of, then you better have heard every album that was released. I read a ton of these lists and I know for sure, these people are deciding on what is a best of and they haven’t come close to doing enough homework. Yes, we’re putting out a list as well. But we’re calling it our “Favorite Albums of 2011. I know darn well that I didn’t hear nearly enough to think that I what I have to say is...

My Morning Jacket “Circuital”

Posted 08 Dec 2011 in 10s, Albums of 2011, Albums of the 10s, Rock + Roll

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#573 in the Series) is My Morning Jacket, Circuital A Review of Circuital ….With a Slight History and Very Public Secret Crush Thrown in. When I first heard of My Morning Jacket, their genre was described as “Southern Rock”, which instantly made me turn my head and say bleh. Then, shortly thereafter,  WXRT in Chicago played a song from their 2001 Release, At Dawn. (Bermuda Highway). I remember being in the car, pausing, thinking, then saying to myself. “Who the hell was that?” You see, that was long before I could look anything up in the car, , and I certainly didn’t have the internet at my fingertips, otherwise known as the Pre-...

Iron and Wine “Kiss Each Other Clean”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#571 in the Series) is Iron and Wine, Kiss Each Other Clean (Warner Brothers US, 4AD Worldwide) Sam Beam is a chap who may have sneaked under your radar (he did mine for a while), mainly because Iron & Wine is not the type of band to receive mass airplay on radio or T.V.  What they are about, fortunately for us, is crafting superb albums full of beautiful, heartfelt songs. First some details. Iron & Wine is one of those bands that isn’t really a band at all. It’s basically one man, Sam Beam, who writes and sings and plays on everything. It’s pretty much Sam and whoever he chooses to work with...

The Black Keys “El Camino”

Posted 05 Dec 2011 in 10s, Albums of 2011, Albums of the 10s, Rob Henry

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#570 in the Series) is The Back Keys, El Camino (Nonesuch Records) I’m actually fairly new to The Black Keys. I only recently took a closer look at them when I picked up their last release, Brothers. I listened to it, but my thinking was along the lines of “OK, this is just the latest in a long line of hot, new bands, that everyone is supposed to like” that I’m going to listen to it once and then never play it again. I know enough about The Black Keys that even Brothers was seen by some of their early fans as a sellout and that they were not staying true to...

Lydia Loveless, “Indestructible Machine”

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#567 in the Series) is Lydia Loveless, Indestructible Machine – NEW MUSIC REVIEW (Bloodshot Records) The first thing that hits you between the eyes when you look at the CD cover from the new release by Lydia Loveless, Indestructible Machine, is a mostly black and white female Huck Finn anti Norman Rockwell looking drawing of Lydia swigging from a gas can.   The second thing you see when you turn the cover over is a picture of the diminutive songstress smoking a cigarette next to two empty bottles and a well-played guitar. If by taking these two images into your own internal data base your resulting output delivers an alt-country version of country...

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