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Heavy Rotation #20

Here is this month's rundown of the music I've listened to most often...

Earlimart/Mentor Tormentor - I listened to this album a lot when it came out in 2007 but since I had to reconstruct my iTunes 3 years ago, I've pretty much just heard it when songs would pop up in shuffle. Not sure what led me back to it now but the soaring melodies and sharp guitar and pretty piano work all add up to a collection of songs that gets stuck in your head. Sometimes that's all you need.

Jay Gonzalez/Mess of Happiness - Jay plays the keys in Drive-By Truckers but this album does not sound like that band at all. Instead, it is a prime chunk of power pop. I was turned on to the record by the track "Turning Me On," which is about thanking someone for turning them on to a song - yes, I realize it's a bit meta but it's the truth. I love how the song opens out after the lyrics come to a close, how it packs different moods into 2:43; the video is also fun. I also love the guitar crunch of opener "Punch of Love" and how the soaring melody of "I Urge You" gets lodged in my head. This record reminds me a bit of Jon Brion's one and only album, Meaningless, which, if that doesn't mean much to you, is a very good thing. I urge you to give this one a spin (and the Jon Brion while you're at it).

Spoon/Gimme Fiction - I've been listening to quite a bit of Spoon lately but this album has received multiple spins. I love the sound of Spoon, how all these seemingly simple elements in the song operate to make a whole that isn't over-fussed or overproduced but is just right for what the song needs. "The Beast And Dragon Adored" surges, "The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine" slithers, and "I Turn My Camera On" makes you shake your ass...and those are just the first three songs. This was also the album that brought me to Spoon, so I love it even more.

Telekinesis/Dormarion - I've been waiting for this album ever since it was announced. I'm a big fan of the first two albums and figured that wouldn't change with the third. I was right. Michael Benjamin Lerner is a drummer and records these albums mostly as a one man band (this one was produced by Jim Eno, who is part of Spoon and responsible for that band's sound). The music here is firmly in power pop territory, though there are some new wrinkles this time around, like the haunted synths of "Ghosts and Creatures" and the simple acoustics of "Symphony." Also, I love "Lean On Me" because it's my kind of pop song. There's something to be said for well-crafted music that's in your wheelhouse.

The Wrens/Meadowlands - I'd forgotten about this record until John Richards of KEXP played "Everyone Choose Sides" while I was listening over spring break. Since then, I've been falling further behind than usual on my podcast listening because I've been blasting this record in the car over and over again. The songs here are full of passion and yearning and bitterness and ringing guitars and loud guitars and quiet moments and vocals that are buried in the mix and sing-along melodies and and and. If you've never heard this album, go over to Spotify and give it a try. Start with "Everyone Choose Sides" or "She Sends Kisses" or "Happy" or better yet, start at the beginning and just listen. If you do, let me know what you think.

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