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Friday, April 27, 2012

This week in music (Week of 4/24/2012)

New release of the week – The Great Despiser by Joe Pug

Sometime last year, I fell in love with Joe Pug's 2010 album "Messenger," so this is one of the albums I was anticipating the most in 2012. Fortunately, it seems that anticipation was well placed because the more I listen to "The Great Despiser, the more it goes from an album I like to an album I love.

If you're not familiar with Joe Pug, you can check out my previous post on him, but basically if you are at all inclined to enjoy folk-type music you should check him out. My favorite song on the new album is actually a cover by an artist named Tex Thomas. When I saw Joe Pug live he said the song was originally a postcard that Tex Thomas was writing to his brother in jail. However, before he mailed it his manager saw it and told him he should turn it into a song. Fortunately he listened (and later Joe Pug introduced more people to the song) because I cannot get enough of it, and I have a feeling it will be one of my favorite songs of the year.

Unfortunately, I can't find a studio version to share, but here is a pretty good live version. Plus once you go purchase his new album, you can just listen to it on there!

Other notable releases

The more widely publicized release is Jack White's solo album "Blunderbuss." I've never really gotten very into Jack White or his various projects (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather), but that may be partially because I haven't spent a ton of time listening to him. I enjoyed my first couple listens to "Blunderbuss," so maybe it'll grow on me even more and cause me to dive into his catalog more.

Also released this week was the self-titled album by Diamond Rugs. This is another super group of sorts featuring the lead-singer of Deer Tick. The last such project was Middle Brother, which produced my favorite album of 2011. After a couple listens to Diamond Rugs, I haven't quite jumped fully on the bandwagon (possibly because of sky high expectations), but if you enjoy raucous alt-country/indie rock songs about getting drunk and other debauchery you could do worse than this album. Here is one of their songs that actually reminds me of The Velvet Underground quite a bit:

Miscellaneous News and Notes

Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients were announced yesterday, and Bob Dylan was one of the recipients. From the press release:
One of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century, Dylan released his first album in 1962. Known for his rich and poetic lyrics, his work had considerable influence on the civil rights movement of the 1960s and has had significant impact on American culture over the past five decades. He has won 11 Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award. He was named a Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Art et des Lettres and has received a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. Dylan was awarded the 2009 National Medal of Arts. He has written more than 600 songs, and his songs have been recorded more than 3,000 times by other artists. He continues recording and touring around the world today.
I may be a bit biased because I love Dylan, but it seems like a good choice to me. "Blowing in the Wind" is one of his contributions to the civil rights movement. It's hard to find actual Dylan recordings to post. Fortunately, Sam Cooke did an amazing cover of it:

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