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The Best Week In Music, Except for the Week Before (Part 1)

September 26, 2009

Hey ya’ll, gather round, I’m going to share a little secret with you:  2009 has been a GREAT year for music.  I mean abso-freakin-lutely fantastic.  And hidden within this superb year of new music releases has been the last two weeks: possibly the best fourteen-day span in the whole year.  I can’t say enough good about the new music releases over the last little bit, but I’m dang sure going to try.  So without further ado boys and girls (and all of you in between), I give you part one of our review of the best music releases in the last fortnight.

Guy Clark, Somedays the Song Writes You

If you like classic country music and you haven’t heard Guy Clark, I’m sorry. Your country music experience hasn’t been as rich as it should have been. Clark’s been around for something like forty years and has consistently written great songs that entire time.  Listen to “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperados Waitin’ On A Train” and tell me the man isn’t one of the best songwriters in the business. Clark’s latest, recorded at the tender age of 67, is a fitting addition to his already impressive repertoire.  The songs are gritty and tough, but tender where they need to be.  I can’t say enough good things about this record, avoid it at your own risk.

Somedays The Song Writes You was released on 9/22/09 on Dualtone records.

The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, …and the horse you rode in on

This indie pop group from Chicago is neither Scottish nor a choir, but they’ve certainly release one terrific album.  In a year of outstanding pop music releases, this is one of the more intriguing pop records.  With the opening lyric “I hope you catch syphilis and die alone”, the record tells the tale of a jilted lover who’s like…really mad.  The sweet pop sound reminds me a little of The Daredevil Christopher Wright (a band we recently featured), but the subject matter is nowhere near as weighty and so the music doesn’t have the same punch.  But the Choir is quirky enough to be enjoyable and so I gotta say this is one fine release.

Note: I found out after completing this post that the Choir was hospitalized on Thursday after their tour van wrecked on the way to a show in Cincinnati.  Our best wishes go out to the band, who lost their van and equipment in addition to the injuries sustained.  If you are so inclined, check out this story form the Chicago Sun-Times, which tells of a fund set up to help the band with recovery costs.

…and the horse you rode in on was released on 9/15/09 on Bloodshot Records.

Q-Tip, Kamaal The Abstract

Q-Tip has made a career out of reinventing the rap game.  Kamaal is a reinvention of a reinvention–a legendary album that was recorded for release in 2002 then shelved by Arista records due to concerns about its commercial viability.  Now, seven years and a lot of legal wrangling later, the album is finally released and once again a major-label record company looks completely stupid (see Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and the Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse effort Dark Night of the Soul for other examples).  Even though it’s got some age on it, Kamaal is still fresh and exciting, with plenty to keep the jazz-rap fusion fans happy.  There’s a lot of jazz improvisation going on in this record from guitar to flute, so if you’re not into that kind of thing just mosey on along.  But if you are, believe me this record is a treat.

Kamaal the Abstract was released on 9/15/09 on Battery Records.

Rain Machine, Rain Machine

Please give me some of the magic pixie dust that these guys from TV on the Radio have.  They release the best album of 2008 in Dear Science, and then they turn into one of the biggest tour draws of late ’08 and 2009.  They decided to take a break from one another for a while and darned if Cornell-West favoring lead singer Kyp Malone doesn’t go and record one of the best records of 2009 under his Rain Machine moniker.  While this is definitely not a TVOTR record, it’s got enough similar features to make it accessible to anyone who loves the mothership.  This album deserves its own post and review and will likely get one someday soon, but until then just enjoy Kyp’s magical goodness.

Rain Machine was released on 9/22/09 on Anti.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the Brown Tweed Society’s Last.fm page, where you’ll find cuts from featured artists in the radio player.  But also, you can browse our music library, listen to our radio station, and keep an eye on the stuff we’re listening to, some of which never makes it onto the site.  See you Monday for part 2 of our new music love-fest!

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