I'm sure most of you are glad the semester is over and your belly is still going through its post-Memorial digestion. As you're sitting there, letting your mom's potato salad and barbecue ribs work its way through the intestines, check out these cuts and see if they suit your fancy.
Death Cab for Cutie - ”Codes and Keys” [Atlantic]
Death Cab for Cutie. What you can say about them? Well, to me, they give me the chills. Even though they have this image of your typical laid-back indie rockers…I don’t know. I suspect vocalist Benjamin Gibbard is hiding bodies in his basement and shrunken heads in the freezer. Listening to ”Codes and Keys” brought up those same feelings, especially with the track “Door Unlocked and Opened." With an album of ominous guitar work and an atmosphere of relentless doom, it just…gives me the willies.
Flogging Molly - ”Speed of Darkness" [Thirty Tigers]
Flogging Molly will make you want to go to the pubs, drink a pint, and get into a fight with someone three times your size. But then again, the same can be said about all Celtic punk bands, which is why they’re the bee’s knees these days. ”Speed of Darkness” will be the band’s fifth album and they show no sign of slowing down. All the tracks have the same white-hot, intense energy that will compel you to do something you’ll either regret the next day or won’t remember at all.
Eddie Vedder - ”Ukulele Songs” [Monkeywrench Records]
If you’ve followed Eddie Vedder’s career, you know he’s not the one to shy away from spreading his wings. See the soundtrack for “Into the Wild” as evidence. He’s gone off onto another adventure with hopes that we’ll be brave enough to join him: Vedder playing Ukulele. Before you roll your eyes, hear me out. ”Ukulele Songs” isn’t a collection of twangy, countrified, bluegrass music but something that really explores the mind of Mr. Vedder. The single “Longing to Belong” and the premiere track “Can’t Keep” showcase that.
Vast Aire - ”2010: A street Odessy” [Fat Beats Records/Man Bites Dog Records]
If you had your ear to the streets back in 2001, then you heard the reverberations from a hip-hop duo from NYC called Cannibal Ox. When they dropped their El-P produced debut, “The Cold Vein," it was quickly considered a classic by hip-hoppers and music fans alike. Since then, Vast Aire, one-half of the group, went solo. Though “Look Ma, No Hands” had some nice cuts, it didn’t hold up to the majesty of ”Cold Vein”. However, ”2010,” with tracks like “Nomad” with its spacey video game samples and the Cappadonna guested “I Don’t Care,” has the makings of another classic.
My Morning Jacket - ”Circuital” [ATO records]
My Morning Jacket, known for performing four-hour sets has come back after a three-year hiatus to put out ”Circuital.” After hearing the songs on this album, it’s actually more laid back than their previous endeavors, if you can believe that. “Victory Dance?" Laid back. The title track “Circuital?" So cool it’s frozen in its clothes. “The Day Is Comin?" Cooler than turning your pillow around and seeing Billy Dee Williams’s face on it. Yeah, it’s that chilled. Rockin’ but chilled.