The Top 4 Albums of the Week (6/23/12)

I apologize for my recent absence of late with music reviews. Between working on a story, reading more than usual, and other random happenstance, it just hasn’t been in the cards lately. But I’m back, again with some great albums that you should check out.

4. I’ll Find You in the Colours by Ninja Turtle Ninja Tiger

This album comes via a recent record review from Kevin Hellions himself. When you hear a name that begins with Ninja Turtle, you instantly become nostalgic, especially me, I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. In a way you do get that 80’s nostalgic vibe from these guys, but more so they have a closer sounding connection to bands like The Airborne Toxic Event and The Jezebels. Their instrumentation can be fun and airy, while being down to earth and serious at other times. There are some slamming dance tracks on here, like “I Put Some Whiskey on It…” and “The Way Out.” The serious tracks like “Outside the City” and “Ride” are great, sentimental treasures. The album’s message is simple: no matter how many times you get thrown down, get up!

Album Rating: Buy it on CD or Vinyl

Listening Co-efficient: Passive Listen

Essential Tracks: “The Way Back,” “I Put Some Whiskey in It…,” “Outside the City,” “Ride,” “The Way Out”

3. Shallow Bed by Dry the River

Dry the River may be one of the oddest Americana bands as they hail from the great city of London. Granted, no one ever said you had to be American to sing shaker hymns and songs about the Bible belt, but regardless, this is a band that pulls it off well. Part folk, part indie, and part pure pop, this unique blend, rough ready, still has a few kinks to work out, but otherwise Shallow Bed proves a solid release. “New Ceremony” is an instant classic, with a big booming chorus, and a message of dried up love, adding to the fitting record title. “History Book” is full of love abound surrounded in Biblical images of the Great Flood and burdens carried over long distances. “Demons” is a simple song about the demons we fight every day and the people who will help us through it all which segues into “Bible Belt.” The simple instrumentation of strings and slow played drums make it bitterly sentimental. All in all, a fantastic album.

Album Rating: Buy It on CD or Vinyl

Listening Co-efficient: Passive Listen

Essential Tracks: “New Ceremony,” “History Book,” “Demons,” “Bible Belt”

 2. Blow Your Pants Off by Jimmy Fallon

Since Late Night with Jimmy Fallon premiered, he’s proven himself to be the future of late night television. His impressions of Neil Young, Eddie Vedder, along with his ability to capture key pop culture moments at the right time are still talk among all that take part. Blow Your Pants Off is a collection of the best musical moments from the show. Tops include Jimmy’s impersonation of Neil Young, landing two tracks on the compilations (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Whip My Hair” with Bruce Springsteen.), the smash hit “Jeremy (Linsanity)” in the style of Pearl Jam, and of course “Scrambled Eggs” in the style of the Beatles’ “Yesterday” and performed with Paul McCartney. There are a ton of instant classics on here, and the only one, sadly missing, is the Neil Young & Bruce Springsteen version of “Sexy and I Know It.” Fallon proves, that the future is his. Plus, when The Roots are your backup band every band performing on Late Night is just trying to live up to that.

Album Rating: Buy It on CD or Vinyl

Listening Co-efficient: Passive Listen

Essential Tracks: “Fresh Prince,” “History of Rap,” “Scrambled Eggs”

1. The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do by Fiona Apple

On her last album, nearly seven years ago, Fiona Apple was and still is an Extraordinary Machine the only difference now is that the machine is being deconstructed before our eyes and all the parts are being put on display. While she may have the same consistency of Tool in terms of releasing albums, every one is a block buster and The Idler Wheel… continues that tradition. The tenacity in her voice is tragic, full of onslaught and heartbreak all the while subtle, and appealing. Despite her disposition, she’s still wildly attractive. “Periphery” has the most inventive use of Duct Tape ever, as it’s ripped off the role sounding vaguely reminiscent of the sample at the beginning of Pink Floyd’s “Money.” “Left Alone” is knowing that Mr. Right isn’t the one for her through self-sabotage. “Regret” is  the album’s most visceral sigh, as she bears herself, almost losing her voice on the track. This album is difficult to quantify; it’s like a train wreck and everybody’s watching and yet in the tragedy, there is heartbreak, but yet there is healing as well.

Album Rating: Buy It on CD or Vinyl

Listening Co-efficient: Active Listen

Essential Tracks: “Every Single Night,” “Valentine,” “Jonathan,” “Left Alone,” “Regret”

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