Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Three Generations of Music Arriving at Once

I have had three new albums on my Rhapsody player the last few days. Actually, I have one new album and two albums containing music made almost 20 years ago and 30 years ago respectively.

The new album is It's Blitz from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This is the third full-length album from the YYY's, and each one has been a bit different. This one was billed by some as a dance record, which had me suspicious. It turns out though, that it is an album with a couple of dance tunes and a bunch of other stuff. That stuff includes two songs, "Skeleton" and "Hysteric," that are as pretty as anything on Show Your Bones. There is nothing as good as "Maps," but in my mind that attribute is shared by just about every other album made in the past 10 years.

The album hailing from 20 years ago is the Legacy Edition of Pearl Jam's Ten. The Legacy Edition is nice because Brendan O'Brien remixes the songs in a way that allows them to age a little better than the originals. "Ten" has never been my favorite PJ album because the songs sound like the nineties. That is partly due to their iconic status, but it also has to do with that production. Vs. and Vitalogy are better albums because they sound like they don't sound like a time or place. The remixed Ten songs still can't shake the fact that we know them and have heard them a couple of thousand times. But they do sound grittier and more like the rest of the Pearl Jam catalog. That's a good thing.

The album with the oldest stuff is Some Lyres by Lyres. Lyres are one of those bands that come along every now and again. There really is no reason why I wouldn't have listened to them before, but I have not. In some ways, a band like that is more rewarding to find than a brand new band. Some Lyres is the band's greatest hits albums of sorts. The music on it is a sixtiesish garage rock that would fit in well in a collection with some of the bluesier Rolling Stones and early Kinks and Who music. AMG tells me that the band was not from the sixties, but Boston punk rock darlings of the eighties. That makes it even more fascinating.

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