Picks of the Week – Live from Beirut

I was fixing to work out before my night out, and I figured I could take some time out to put up my picks of the week.  I have some that I wanted to put on last week, but I hadn’t listened to them all the way through, now that I have –

Yeasayer – Odd Blood

I’m generally a Yeasayer fan, so I’m definitely happy with this effort.  This album just feels like a great time – you put it on and instantly you just feel generally better for no specific reason at all.  It’s a nice contrast to the heavier things one might listen to, without losing the quality, if you like genre-mash up music as a substitute.

Nas and Damian Marley – Distant Relatives

Well, Nas still has it lyrically – never a question.  But this was definitely a chance taken working with Marley, and for the most part it works well.  Now you have to sort of listen to this only partially through your rap ears, as it’s not super Timberland booted-up hip hop.  It’s more Nas in ‘constant guest appearance’ mode on a Damian Marley album….I think that is a more apt description.   As We Enter, Friends, Dispear and Land of Promises are my favorites.

Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid

Yessir.  I’m basically going to let you listen to this one.  I have no review that’s going to adequately explain how much love I have for this album.  She’s like Erykah Badu and Beyonce combined and shit….and really that’s lazy, because she’s not even that.  Or maybe if like Andre 3000 died and came back as a woman…?  I dunno.  I just don’t know how else to explain what’s going on there.  The only certainty I have is that it’s a dope ass album – one of my favorite purchases in the last few months or more.  Extremely gratifying in every way.  Love the Metropolis theme on the cover.

Reflection Eternal – Revolutions Per Minute

If you’re looking for the soulful, earthy version of R.E., it’s not happening…at least not the way it happened before.  It’s just not as organic, and at times you can feel an uneasy cohesion.  I think it’s fair to say that this will be the last one – I think they’ve squeezed all the juice out of this union.  That being said – it’s a dope album and I’m happy that it’s out.  There are some straight up heaters on there – see video.

The Black Keys – Brothers.

As a long-time Keys fan, I like that they just put stuff out so consistently.  It’s just the same dirty ass, blues rock shit that John Mayer probably beats off to in his palatial estate, whispering racial epithets to himself.  Cute video by the way – I approve this particular use of kids in a video.

Band of Horses – Infinite Arms

This is one album, of many, that Pitchfork has incorrectly rated (5.3) – the other reviews are a lot more in line with what this album really is….not as dope as the last, but still REALLY good.  I really enjoy this one.  Plus it makes me happy knowing they are from South Carolina, doing it big.  The harmonies are on point….it feels like an album your folks might have put on the record player – a nice, warm, and cohesive sound.  In some ways, it’s their coming out to the rest of the world.  This lead me to…

The National – High Violet

Another band/critical darling with an album for the masses – what I like about this, and the Horses album, is that they haven’t really broken away from what they do best.  It’s like they moved from Williamsburg to Tribeca…..but they’ve managed to stay at home, and bring you inside.  If you want to stay, you can…and it would be worthwhile if you did.  But they didn’t have to sacrifice themselves by moving.  I think all that made some sense.  Excellent album – and inching up my favorite bands ever list.

And as a throwback – although it was only a few years ago:

one of my favorite songs in recent memory – Mistaken For Strangers

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