Cover of Rebirth Brass Band
"What goes around comes back around." - Rebirth Brass Band, What Goes Around Comes Around
This is the first year of my life since I was a wee kid that I can say I haven't been obsessed with "what's new" in music. I've acquired very little new music by comparison to the last few years and have spent a much greater amount of time either shoring up my library with music from my youth or classic records I should own or simply listening to old favorites. My last.fm charts for the last six months will tell you that old friends like Foreign Exchange, Kanye West, Erykah Badu and The Roots have been sharing time with some of last year's faves like Drake and The Black Keys.
Only Adele's 21 has cracked the top 10, placing her the top, and, honestly, I think that has more to do with the power of "Rolling in The Deep" and all it's remixes and reimaginings than the album as a whole. I really like it but it's not even my tops for the first half of the year.
That honor goes to Rebirth Brass Band's Rebirth of New Orleans. Y'all know I'm already partial to N'awlins and, especially this year, what with the magic of #nerdwedding11 but this is a party on disc. I always think it's hard for bands that are best heard live to convey that magic in the studio but Rebirth does a great job of doing that on this album. The songs are both timeless and of this moment, reflective of NOLA right now. In the same way that Treme conveys the meandering madness of that little part of Louisiana so does this album. And, as is the usual sign of a great album, any time Rebirth comes up on shuffle, I'm compelled to hear the whole collection as it was intended.
I've already talked about Adele so the other's of note this year are James Blake's self-titled debut and Wick-It The Instigator's mashup, The Brothers of Chico Dusty. Blake's sound is haunting like favorites of previous years, Burial and Antony and the Johnsons, but it's that melding of deep mature vocals with these lush electronic sounds that gives that album some heft that lingers long after I've finished listening. I just played the album loudly over the past weekend and found all new layers to get lost in.
The Brothers of Chico Dusty is a mash-up of two of the more interesting albums of last year and it works perfectly. I like it most because it brings me back to Brothers which I think is pretty close to a perfect album and elevates Big Boi's Chico Dusty which I didn't love nearly as much as others did.
And that's about it. When preparing to write this post, I realized I'm probably underlistening to The Go Team!'s latest and I just got Hot Sauce Committee which is interesting but didn't immediately knock my socks off. I do like TV on The Radio's Nine Types of Light but haven't listened to it enough to include it here.
It'll be interesting to see how the rest of the year plays out.