Staff Picks: Music
The Smith Westerns are a very young band from Chicago, having only released two albums, the first record coming when the members were in high school. Their sophomore effort Dye It Blonde is a catchy tour de force of power pop that has elicited comparisons to some historical heavy weights like George Harrison and T. Rex. I also hear a little bit of Oasis and Suede echoing from these well-crafted songs. There are plenty of hooks and infectious melodies to keep you humming the entire way through this album, full of hand claps, jangly guitar riffs and complimentary synthesizers. Stand out tracks include: Weekend, Still New, All Die Young, and Only One.
Dye it Blonde
Swedish songsmith Jens Lekman writes with an oddball flare yet pens some of contemporary music’s most bubbly and accessible songs. Lekman’s English delivery springs from a rich baritone that echoes the work of Stephin Merritt and Jonathan Richman, both of whom, Lekman borrows from liberally when constructing his use of deadpan phrasing and droll tales about life’s follies and love’s pitfalls. The songs draw their influence from a wide range of sources including early 70’s soul, strings-laden baroque pop, and Mexican folk music while tossing in the occasional sample. His 2007 release Night Falls Over Kortedala is truly an internationally inspired work fused together in such a way as to be seamlessly perfect. Fans of Magnetic Fields, Belle and Sebastian, 70’s Motown and The Modern Lovers will enjoy Lekman’s sunny gems.
Night Falls Over Kortedala
Having a difficult time in getting through the doldrums of a long winter? Tired of the salt on your car and the perpetually gray skies? Well, kick yourself out of your gloomy ennui with some music that will evoke the summertime sun and lakeside vistas waiting just around the corner. Here are some great albums known for taking your mind to a warmer, mental climate.
Sunflower/Surfs Up by The Beach Boys
Crazy for You by Best Coast
Exodus by Bob Marley
Creedence Clearwater Revival by CCR
#1 Record/Radio City by Big Star
King of the Beach by Wavves
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain by Pavement
Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road by Lucinda Williams
The Original by The Ventures
Rainy Day Music by The Jayhawks
Sun Flower; Surf's Up