More essential reviews by James….
THE WAR ON DRUGS – Lost In The Dream
Philly band finally makes their masterpiece, following two excellent LPs and an EP. Fans of Kurt Vile should know that Vile was a founding member of The War On Drugs, and fans of Vile’s woozy, unhurried jams will find much to enjoy here. But if Vile mines that unique territory where Tom Petty and Tom Verlaine intersect, The War On Drugs owes a greater debt to 80s Dylan (specifically the stuff with Mark Knopfler on guitar) and disco-era Rod Stewart (think “Young Turks”), while presenting the whole thing through a spacey, languid fuzz that recalls those other 80s heavyweights, like Spacemen 3 and Galaxie 500. Truly, one of the more mesmerizing and accomplished albums of the year. Pitchfork gave it their elusive Best New Music rating, and this is one album we think is actually worthy of the hype.
BLACK LIPS – Underneath The Rainbows
“Guys, I like the Black Lips, but is this the only album we’re going to play in the store?” This was the question posed to us by CD Central owner / team captain Steve B after about the hundredth play of Underneath The Rainbows here at the store. Underneath The Rainbows features songs co-written with fellow Georgians Bradford Cox (Deerhunter) and Brett Hinds (Mastodon) and features some production from Patrick Carney (Black Keys) but luckily for us, it’s the same old Black Lips – raunchy, raw, and boasting more hooks than a tacklebox. Seems these dudes can’t really make a bad record, and this is our fave since 2007’s Good Bad Not Evil.
RICHARD BUCKNER – Bloomed
Long overdue reissue of Buckner’s first album, recorded way back in 1994, and recorded in Texas with Lloyd Maines (trivia: Natalie from the Dixie Chicks’ dad!). Fans of the No Depression era of alt country should file this one next to their Uncle Tupelo and Jayhawks LPs – way different from Buckner’s later (and equally awesome) records of loops, inscrutable poetry and general acoustic weirdness; Bloomed is more traditional (almost exclusively acoustic, with dobros, fiddle, etc), and should appeal more to fans of Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Steve Earle‘s more pensive fare. Bloomed also features some of Buckner’s most riveting and flat-out beautiful material, and comes with an entire second CD of bonus stuff. Some of us think Buckner is among the finest living songwriters–listen to Bloomed and hear why.