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Heavy Rotation #18

I haven't done one of these since mid-October 2011, which surprises me. Anyway, this is what I have been listening to the most over the last couple weeks...

The Afghan Whigs/Gentlemen - This came out in 1993 but I didn't start listening to the band until a few years ago. Greg Dulli sings about sex and obsession and he does it in a very witty and filthy manner. His lyrics are definitely not for everyone but I think they're great. The music is pure rock - melodic in places and punishing in others. My air guitar and air drumming skills have been getting a workout each listen. While it's yet another album I'd like to slip back to my younger self, I'm still satisfied that I can crank it up during the present.

Eels/Wonderful, Glorious - One reason I really like Spotify is that it lets me listen to albums that I'm not sure whether I want to buy or not. For whatever reason, I didn't get into End Times after loving Hombre Lobo and ended up not even picking up Tomorrow Morning. Still, I identify as an Eels fan so I gave this a shot. After one listen, I bought it. This is the Eels that I love - a mix of rock and ballads and the songs taking interesting musical turns along the way. The lyrics are strong and the melodies have quickly lodged in my head. "On the Ropes" and "True Original" are classic Eels-type songs, without sounding derivative. The album announces its presence with "Bombs Away," builds to the slow-burner of "The Turnaround" in the middle, and finishes off with the rock of the title track. I am completely into this one and back on board with Eels, even if I never quite left. You can get a taste with two great sessions here and here (links courtesy of Largehearted Boy).

Elvis Costello - I read an article somewhere on the internet that listed the 10 best EC albums (don't remember where, though), so I decided to start listening to all his albums in order. I have a lot of them - many of them the double-disc editions Rhino put out in the early 2000s - but I don't have them all. It was easier to fire them up on Spotify anyway. While I continue to love This Year's Model, Armed Forces, and Blood & Chocolate, I was also taken with Painted From Memory (his collaboration with Burt Bacharach), The River In Reverse (his collaboration with Allen Toussaint), and Momofuku (which I somehow skipped in 2008). He's one of the greats and I kinda just want to start back from the beginning again.

Podcasts - I listen to a lot of music podcasts (no surprise, I know) but I have been focusing mainly on two recently. The first is Music That Matters from KEXP. I got quite behind on it, so I've listened to four or five in the last couple weeks. They are posted weekly, so I'm still in late October, but I always find music I haven't heard and want to hear more of in every episode. The second podcast is J's Indie Rock Mayhem. He posts a new one every week as well, since his does his radio show at the same interval. I got a little behind (and still am) but J always has 2 hours of music I love or have the potential to love.

Teenage Fanclub/Songs From Northern Britain - I mentioned this album in my Mega-Post a few weeks ago but I haven't lost my taste for it in the interim. I knew four of the twelve songs from the sorta greatest hits compilation, Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds; one of those, "Planets," is my favorite "pretty pop song" of theirs (while my favorite rocker is "The Concept" from Bandwagonesque). Simple math tells you that I got to hear eight new songs and they are just as great as the previous four. This album might be the best mix of songs with harmonies and songs with crunchy guitars that they have. If you haven't investigated this album, please take the time to listen via Spotify. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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