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The Arsenal: 20 August 2009

August 20th, 2009 · No Comments

Three musical things that are making my world a better place:

  • Portugal. The Man  The Satanic Satanist  (CD or download)

    Portugal. The Man's The Satanic Satanist

    I’d heard brief mentions about this band from acquaintances over the last month, but never anything describing them or their music beyond the fact that they hail from Wasilla, Alaska.  Yes, that Wasilla.  Not holding that against them, when I pulled into my driveway two Sundays ago and a profile of the band came on the radio, I stayed put and enjoyed ten minutes worth of “driveway moments.”  The NPR interviewer described their sound as reminiscent of Motown, with its thunderous beats, reverb, and multi-tracked vocals.  I could hear that, but to a greater extent I hear an amalgam of current bands such as The Sleepy Jackson, The White Stripes and Of Montreal in their music.  “The Home” channels Jack White with a piercing vocal and squelchy guitar solo.

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    “The Home” (2009) by Portugal. The Man, from The Satanic Satanist

  • David Mead  Live at Eddie’s Attic 2/4/09  (download)
    Nashville troubadour David Mead has a new studio album due for release on 25 August.  To whet your appetite before you get your hands on it, he is offering a generous live album, recorded at Atlanta’s Eddie’s Attic this past February.  A good reason to investigate is its price to you: Mead is offering it in the “pay what you want” mode, or in exchange for spreading the word (a remarkably simple gesture for you in these electronic, 21st century days).  The set is basically an up-to-date career-overview, touching on every stage of his career, and featuring his pure, clear croon of a voice.

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    “Choosing Teams” (2009) by David Mead, from Live at Eddie’s Attic 2/4/09

  • The Housemartins  London 0 Hull 4  (CD or download)

    The Housemartins' London 0 Hull 4

    Whenever I hear this band, I think of my friend Benji, who I see little of in person these days, but whose mug drifts across my Facebook page every few days just to remind me that there are still happy people in Birmingham.  The Housemartins do indeed sound happy, which is probably why Benji always sang their praises.  They also swing.  Not in a ’40s post-War kind of way, though you could certainly groove physically to their music; the Housemartins swing in a cocky, strutting, distinctly British sort of way that weds a veneer of braggadocio with a laughing-to-keep-from-crying desperation.  Later in the history of the band, when they morphed into The Beautiful South, their lyrics played up that cynical quality, sounding happy while telling heavy.  This, their debut album, is a roundly more joyous spin, and richly deserved the double-CD deluxe treatment that it was just given by Universal Europe.

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    “We’re Not Deep” (1986) by The Housemartins, from London 0 Hull 4

Tags: music · The Arsenal

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