Female Fantasy Records
Free Drugs is filled with lo-fi garage rock riffs, hilarious song titles such as “Psychedelic Tits” and “I’m On Drugs,” as well as unwavering energy. Austin-natives Harlem come out swinging with the bouncy hand-claps of “Witchgreens,” followed by the catchy surf rock of “Caroline,” and the brash “South Of France.” Halfway through they get all school-boy crush with the entirely earnest “Beautiful & Very Smart”; so sincere it is almost hard to listen to. They lose steam by the end with the directionless “Hundred Dollar A Night Man.” If you enjoy the Black Lips you will be entertained – but don’t expect the second coming of The Sonics.
Buena Vista Social Club
Buena Vista Social Club Live at Carnegie Hall
For those who really follow a specific band, you can’t help but fantasize about their perfect live setlist before you see them in concert. Although it’s hard to understand a word that comes out of BVSC, this album epitomizes that perfect setlist. Not only are the acoustics absolutely incredible at Carnegie Hall, but they open with “Chan Chan.” Their Cuban perfection really doesn’t hit home until you hear or see them live. The syncopation that comes out of the Cuban percussion, the constant multiple harmonies and their overall groove make this album a must-listen. It’s like a greatest hits record, just 10 times greater.
Changing of the Seasons
This album is absolutely haunting in the same way that listening to an Elliott Smith record will never be the same. Brun’s mesmerizing voice along with a copious amount of ghoulish strings, captivate the listeners right from the first track. Songs like “Raise My Head” and “The Puzzle,” seem like they would fit perfectly on your iTunes bedtime playlist, but you simply can’t fall asleep to these songs. They don’t let you leave. Her vocals also shift drastically throughout listening. Brun starts will calm, relaxed melodies and swings into a scat style of hip-hop. It’s a fascinating album to listen to that makes you wonder about what other tunes are coming out of Scandinavia.