Music We Love – Edition 1

On a recent episode of the Hashtag Hockey Podcast, we talked about some new albums that we have been really enjoying. So, Dan decided to jot down some information about some of the bands and albums we discussed. Enjoy!

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (August 2015, Stax Records)

Two parts Rock & Roll, one part Gospel, one part Folk, topped with a healthy dose of brass and Blues is the ideal recipe for the cocktail to which we might just drink our lives away.  Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats have created an album that is joyful, honest, and just a lot of fun to listen to.  While the song “S.O.B.” may not be the truest representation of what Rateliff does (it was written as a joke), it is a great example of how this group can do no wrong.  The song is undeniably catchy, and is brilliant in the way that the central joke, “If I can’t get clean, I’m going to drink my life away,” blurs the line between absurdity and reality.  This self-titled album will keep you warm during some of the cold Winter nights ahead.  Well, maybe this and a bottle of bourbon.  Enjoy responsibly!

Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color (April 21, 2015 via ATO Records, MapleMusic Recordings and Rough Trade Records.)

After their critically acclaimed freshman effort which garnered several Grammy nominations, Alabama Shakes returned strong in 2015 with their latest release, Sound and Color.  While the album is PACKED up front with some obvious hits, “Sound and Color,” “Don’t Want to Fight,” and “Future People,” we implore you to give this album a thorough listen, and make it to some of the b and c-side tunes.  The second half of the album is like a reflection of their song “Miss You,” in which the stars align, and the band seems to change it’s collective mind, swerving into a couple of thrashing and upbeat tunes, “The Greatest” and “Shoegaze”.  When the dust finally settles on the last two tracks, we think you will be pleased.  Brittany Howard has a powerful voice, and impressive range.  “Impressive range” might also be the perfect description for this album, in terms of tempo and instrumentation.  From the futuristic, xylophone-driven melodies of “Sound and Color,” to the echoing, electric picking of “Don’t Want to Fight,” to the fuzzed-out, driving, proto-punk of “The Greatest,” Howard and crew bring the entire rainbow of colors to this effort.

Bad Bad Hats – Psychic Reader (Afternoon records)Psychic Reader

At Hashtag Hockey we have a certain weakness for Minnesotan talent, but Pyschic Reader by Bad Bad Hats is an album that needs no personal bias to enjoy.  While it’s true we fell in love when they filmed their first music video at Richfield Ice Arena, these tracks stand up on their own when wedged into playlists with more recognizable artists.   Both “Midway” and “Psychic Reader” have a haunting quality like some of Metric’s recent work.  I would put the song “Joseph” right next to any number of early Weezer tunes.  “Say Nothing” is going to sound really nice next to some of Frank Turner’s recent introspective, motivational rock.  And our feature song “Shame” would melt your face off next to Courtney Barnett’s “Pedestrian at Best”.  It’s hard to put this album into a category, for us.  Thankfully, we’ve found a FREE ALBUM DOWNLOAD so you can draw your own comparisons.

The Arcs – Yours, Dreamily (September 4, 2015)

The temptation to write this album off as just another Black Keys album is strong.  Dan Auerbach’s voice, and bluesy leanings are certainly dripping from every groove of this LP, but if you can fight the urge, there are some concrete differences that make The Arc’s “Dreamily Yours” unique.  As discussed on the podcast, new to Auerbach’s sound is the intermittent presence of Mariachi Flor de Toloache, a New York based, all-female Mariachi group.  Additionally there’s a lot of extra production happening on songs like “Everything You Do (You Do For You)” which is set to the backdrop of singing birds.  In an interview, Auerbach told a journalist that one of his goals on this album was to simply hit the studio and get weird.  This album definitely reverberates that experimental attitude, and evidently it’s the right choice for the group, because it’s reported that this album came together after less than two weeks in the studio.  Also featured in this album, and in the selected video, are some metaphorical nods to Auerbach’s real life passion for boxing.  We hope you enjoy The Arcs as much as we do!