One Friday a month I drive all around the Baltimore area writing down gas prices for a survey company in California. You may be familiar with my work. When CNN reports that gas prices have gone up or down or whatever they usually cite the survey to which I contribute, the Lundberg Survey. So that's why I'm special. But that's not the point. I like these Fridays because, although I'm in the car for about six hours and my butt gets sore and my knees get achy because my little Corolla wasn't built for well-nourished, genetically superior Americans, I get to listen to a lot of music very loudly. I don't have these opportunities often. My commute to the lab is only 15 to 20 min. so I don't spend a lot of time in the car alone. I listen to the iPod in the lab, but I have to turn it down a bit so that I'm not too anti-social. When I'm driving with the wife and kids it has to be nice music and not too loud. I usually get two or three new albums to listen to and then I listen to a bunch of other stuff. Here's what I listened to yesterday:
Six Organs of Admittance--School of the Flower (2005)
This is the first time I had heard this album. I didn't quite absorb it all, but I'm intrigued. It's light, kind of ambient/droney folkish stuff. I checked this album out because it was on the "Listeners Also Bought" list at the iTunes Akron/Family page. Have I mentioned that I love Akron/Family? Well I do.
Another new (to me) psych-alt-freak folk type thing. Devendra Banhart (who I don't like much) plays guitar. Nice, mellow acoustic folk.
The Magnetic Fields--i (2004)
I was dozing so I had to pull over and snooze a bit while this was playing so I didn't get a good listen but what I heard I liked. It wasn't the music that made me drowsy, by the way. It was a late night and early morning.
The Flaming Lips--At War With the Mystics (2006)
Annoying. Also brilliant. Also annoying. I think I'll write a proper review of this one.
Sufjan Stevens--Greetings From Michigan (2003)
Good. Not as good as the awesome Illinois. The songs here just kind of blend together. The sound is great, though.
Neko Case--Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006)
Good stuff. Her voice is great and the music is outstanding. I think Calexico is the backing band for several of the tracks and they add quite a lot.
Beth Orton--Comfort of Strangers (2006)
Good songs. She has a compelling voice and sings expressively. The album may be a bit long. Maybe a bit bland.
Cat Power--The Greatest (2006)
Kind of ditto Beth Orton. A prettier voice, but not too much energy.
Talking Heads--77 (1977)
I needed something spunky after all the controlled niceness. 77 did the trick. "No Compassion" and "Psycho Killer" are just awesome. The rest of the album is good too. I haven't decided on a favorite early Talking Heads album, but this one rivals Fear of Music and More Songs About Buildings and Food.