The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, "Mars, Arizona"
Damage was the last album before a hiatus, and so I kind of group it with the other albums from their initial sequence, and think of the post-hiatus records as a different thing. Two of these albums kind of stand out as different from the others, by virtue of having outside producers working extensively with the band and adding some new sounds into the mix. There have been electronics around since the days of the theremin, but on both Acme and this record, there is more variety to the sound. It's all still unmistakably the Blues Explosion, of course, with the rock and blues sounds front-and-center. But the additional texture gives the two records a new sounds. Of the two, I slightly prefer Acme, but they're both a bunch of fun.
Chance the Rapper, "Same Drugs"
Coloring Book was deservedly a huge hit when it was released, with Chance cheerfully mixing gospel and rap together to make for a joyous mix. He just goes for it! It's just a super pleasant listen. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of Stevie Wonder. I'm also amused at how sniffy some reviews were of the record when it came out, pointedly referring to it as a mixtape instead of an album, because it wasn't released on physical media, as if that could possibly matter.
Squirrel Nut Zippers, "Good Enough For Granddad"
Speaking of bands going for it! The Squirrel Nut Zippers were at their best when they were they were just letting fly with the uptempo hot jazz. The trumpet lines on this song are super catchy, the lyrics are fun, and the band is rockin'. This puts a smile on my face. Good stuff so far today! Probably going to get 12 minutes of churning, bleak metal now.
Live Human, "Elephant's Bliss"
No! Still going life-affirming here! Live Human are a trio: bass, drums, and turntable. The results fall somewhere between jazz and abstract hip-hop. What they most sound like are the DJ tracks from Jurassic 5 records. That's good! Listen to this! This is fun! Hell yeah, shuffle!
Coriky, "Say Yes"
Coriky is a new band that released their debut self-titled album this year. But, of course, that's just kind of a silly way to put it, as Coriky is really The Evens (Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina) together with Joe Lally of the Messthetics on bass. But that, of course, is also the silly way to put it. The right way is: half of Fugazi is back together! And half of Fugazi was together on the Messthetics! Joe Lally is going to pull the band back together!
Uh, Coriky - the album is really good! One of my favorites this year.