Rock & Pop – non baby-boomer division
Mazzy Star – Seasons of Your Day (iTunes)
Mikal Cronin – MCII
Neko Case – The Worse Things Get…
The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars
Brandy Clark – 12 Stories (iTunes)
Dawes – Stories Don’t End
Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park
My Bloody Valentine – m b v
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
This year settles it for me, as far as rock and pop goes I’m no longer going to devote a heckuva lot of time to figuring out what the kids are into. I have to surrender to the verities that brought me here, songcraft, melodious harmonies, and slide guitars. Bingo: Mazzy Star hits a homerun with their triphopamericana comeback, a record soaked in tunefulness and slide and steel guitars. Mikal Cronin may have some appeal to the much younger generation but it seems to me the markers are all pegged to the late sixties, or, alternately Mott the Hoople and Queen. My Bloody Valentine strikes again and not much has changed–a very good thing except for having to read the adjective ‘gauzy’ too many times. Vampire Weekend surprised me. ‘Goth power pop’ sez I, crudely aiming my old fogey bag o’ categories; still, a terrific record.
Then there is home base, country and country rock and folk rock and nice singing and somgs set in the real world. The best singing is found on The Civil Wars, the saddest duo in the history of rock and roll. Neko Case is also dour on her best record so far. Kacey Musgraves isn’t sad, she’s mad. Brandy Clark sings like an angel. Dawes harken back to the folk rock band America, except they are much better songwriters, players, and there’s no top forty hippie radio anymore.
Just go plunk down $1.29 for Up On the Roof. You’ll be glad you did.