Albums I Bought Today

Here are a few things I bought today at Amoeba Records on Haight Street (San Francisco):

Spank Rock & Benny Blanco
Bangers & Cash
Price: $4.98
Yes, I know a lot of the tracks were available for free on Spank Rock's myspace about a month ago, but I'm not much of an economist. "Shake That" and "Loose" were fun 2 Live Crew interpretations and damn, it's only $4.98 for better audio and hot cover artwork. All 5 tracks are ridiculously trashy, and it'll keep me running (and giggling) at the gym.

Kanye West
Can't Tell Me Nothing
Price: $5.98
This is Kanye's pre-Graduation mix tape. He raps over "Young Folks" and "The Eraser" (Thom Yorke's song that I talked about last week), babbles about porn, Rolling Stone and politics. There's also Kid Sister's "Pro Nails," which I really love. It's a very engaging listen. He has another official mix tape that was released last week. You can get it free at Kanye Talk.

We Got It For Cheap Vol. 2
Price: $5.98
This came out a few years ago, but I was inspired to pick it up today since Hell Hath No Fury still gets played regularly. They put a really excellent live show in September, and definitely value and acknowledge their fans more than any artist I've seen live in a while. I'm looking forward to putting this on.

Devendra Banhart
Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
Price: $13.98
I'm still an avid folk music listener. I wasn't totally looking forward to a new release by Devendra, mostly because his albums are very long and take time to digest (time that I was saving for a later date). Still, I will always buy anything he releases, mostly because he's charming, a great musician and unlike any other artist around right now. Oddly enough, I was reminded of him when I saw his Annie Leibovitz photo in this month's Vanity Fair. It was either this album, or the Jens Lekman's Night Falls Over Kortedala, but I decided I could wait on the Lekman album.


Sea Change

I was one of the millions of people that downloaded Radiohead's In Rainbows last Wednesday. I paid around $7 for it with the reasoning that I'd probably buy a copy with artwork when it gets a physical release.

The first thing I did was burn it on a CD and play it in my stereo. The first few songs were very familiar from the Berkeley Greek Theater gig I saw in 2006.

It's not necessarily a rock or electronic album. It feels more like a cozy winter album and reminded me of Beck's Sea Change (also a Nigel Godrich production). It's calmer and complicated, with few abrasive moments.
The band is even more emotive than usual -- can you imagine? An acoustic set of this album would be perfect.

My favorite songs are "15 Step," "Nude," "All I Need" and especially "Reckoner." What a beautiful song. Thom Yorke's falsetto vocals are amazing. The percussion is eerily distant and everything comes together so beautifully with the guitars and strings. Since Joy Division saturation is in full effect, it feels like "Decades."

"House of Cards" is also fantastic. I think the band borrows the melody of The Jam's "That's Entertainment" for the intro and end of the song. It caught me by surprise.

I think it's a great record, but it's definitely a grower. As of this moment, Hail To The Thief is still my favorite Radiohead album, mostly because of "Scatterbrain."

In Rainbows makes Thom Yorke's The Eraser sound like an electro pop record, which I never really thought about. I liked it when it came out, but I was underwhelmed. Strangely enough, the melodies for "Harrowdown Hill" and "The Eraser" have been stuck in my head all week, and I've been replaying them regularly.

I didn't want to get into their business model of suggesting a price for the music, since few people have been talking about the actual music. But overall, I think it's an admirable idea. It can work for a band this big, with a higher ratio of good output over mediocre shit. It won't work for the indie nobodies.