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2024 Album-A-Day: Week 11

March 11th: Decoration Day by Drive-By Truckers

Man, they weren't kidding. That first song is about incest. This album is pretty good blues-inspired rock with some ripping guitar riffs, with my favorites being "My Sweet Annette", "Heathens", and the title track. This was also the first album of Jason Isbell's brief stint in the band, before he left to pursue his solo career in non-terrible country music. I think listening to this album will finally help me stop confusing Drive-By Truckers with Tedeschi Trucks band, which I've been doing for some time now.

March 12th: Baduizm and Mama's Gun by Erykah Badu

I'd heard these albums talked up quite a bit, and I love D'Angelo, so I decided I go with another prominent Soulquarian. Both of these albums were groovy, funky soul music that I like a lot. I might prefer Baduizm to Mama's Gun, though I'm not sure how to explain why. Some favorites on Baduizm are "On & On", "Appletree", and "Next Lifetime". On Mama's Gun, I quite liked "Didn't Cha Know", "Orange Moon", and "Bag Lady". Also, J Dilla produces one song on Mama's Gun, and I always respect Dilla.

March 13th: Whiteout Conditions by The New Pornographers

Since I liked Broken Social Scene so much, how about another Canadian indie supergroup? I'd heard a couple TNP songs before (most notably "Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile"), so I checked this one out somewhat at random. This is good, but I'm not sure if I connect with it. Maybe because it doesn't have the emotional openness I usually love in indie rock. That's not to say it's bad, of course. I especially like the title track and "We've Been Here Before". Maybe I just need to spend more time with this band.

March 14th: Armed Forces by Elvis Costello

I'd heard the first two Elvis Costello albums, so I decided to continue that with this album. The songs still have that brilliant post-punk flair to them, like "Goon Squad" and "Senior Service", I've loved "Accidents Will Happen" since I was a child, and "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding" is great no matter who sings it. I have exactly two problems with this album. The first is that "Oliver's Army", an otherwise brilliant song, uses the phrase "white n-words". I know it was a satirical thing, but Costello himself regrets writing that part. The second problem is "Sunday's Best", which sounds like circus music. Overall, even though I don't like it as much as This Year's Model, it's still Elvis Costello, and that's never a bad thing.

March 15th: Slanted & Enchanted and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain by Pavement

Finally getting into Pavement. The only songs I knew before these Ides of March were "Cut Your Hair" and "Harness Your Hopes". It's a little embarrassing that it took me this long to listen to these albums in full. This is the perfect sort of laid-back indie rock for me. The lyrics can range from sarcastic to surprisingly dense. Favorites from Slanted include "Summer Babe (Winter Version)", "In Mouth for a Desert", and "Fame Thrower". Some Crooked Rain highlights are "Silence Kid", "Gold Soundz", "5-4=Unity", and, of course, "Cut Your Hair". Now all that's left is to figure out why "Harness Your Hopes" is their most streamed song.

March 16th: Atrocity Exhibition by Danny Brown

My prior experience with Danny was limited to his feature on the Quadeca album from a few weeks ago. If I were to pitch this album to someone, I'd probably say, "Imagine if Andre 3000 made a an album produced by Trent Reznor." The beats are, without exception, industrial and dark, (see "Downward Spiral", "When It Rain", "Golddust") and the lyrics are about violence, addiction, and self-destruction. The prime example of both of these is "Ain't It Funny", which also has a horrifying music video. Also, it must be noted that with "Really Doe", he managed to get Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, and Earl Sweatshirt on the same track, which is one hell of an achievement. In case I haven't made it clear, this album is good.

March 17th: Screamadelica by Primal Scream

The grooves. The vibes. I'd seen this album cover in a lot of places long before I ever knew that this band existed, and the music lives up to that striking cover. Dance grooves, cool sample flips, psychedelic rock, jangle, house synths, Scottish caterwauling, this is a unique vibe unto itself. It's classified as Madchester, and even though they're from Glasgow, I can totally imagine that these guys were listening to the Stone Roses and American house music and dropping E. The songs are these long, sprawling vibes, equal parts atmospheric and danceable. "Don't Fight It, Feel It" and "Slip Inside This House" and "Come Together" are great examples of this. Other songs are less high energy, such as "Damaged" and "Inner Light". The centerpiece of the album is "Loaded", which is probably my favorite song on the album. I'm probably going to return to this album a few times.

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