2)Chris Thile, Not All Who Wander Are Lost: Jugdish's favorite album. Anyone else here even hear it? Were you all too busy listening to that Phil Keaggy album that Robert Grazer said was HIS favorite? It came out in 2001, when Thile (a mandolin virtuoso) was only 19 or 20 years old, which I didn't know when I heard it, but he was already a veteran of the music industry, because he was in Nickel Creek (who I'd heard OF, but hadn't heard.) This is...well, progressive folk? Progressive bluegrass? Virtuoso instrumental compositions based around mandolin, violin and banjo. Most of what I learned about the album came from Amazon customer reviews--few actual online review sites covered this album. It's all really well played and totally mature and professional, but I guess it's not really my thing, so my opinion's totally irrelevant, though I did remember "Bridal Veil Falls" and there was one big rediscovery, "Sinai To Canaan-Part 1," which begins with these eerie "climbing" arpeggios.
3)Deep Purple, Deep Purple in Rock: I was famously disappointed by this back in 2008 when I listened to it on Myspace and got thoroughly trashed by everyone at this board, who adored it, and looking around at the WRC reviews, I'm guessing they all still do. I always did love "Child In Time" all the way through, but it's a prog-rock piece based on an eerie build-up through softer balladry through heavy guitar rock. Everything else here is pounding and/or fast rock & roll, and...I dunno. I just find these guys' style lacking in color. I get why Jon Lord is so important, but his playing style isn't anything I go nuts for, and he uses that annoying popping organ tone that Emerson loved so much. Kinda ditto for Blackmore. I will grudgingly admit that "Speed King," "Flight Of The Rat" and "Hard Lovin' Man" sort of got to me with their energy this time around, and I don't *hate* the album, I just don't particularly *like* it that much. That squealing pedal noise Lord makes ruins "Living Wreck," I really don't get what is so great about "Bloodsucker" at all (loved by all reviews!) and, oh, you're gonna HATE me for this one--I think that the riff from "Into The Fire" was better done by (God help me) the Red Hot Chili Peppers on "Mellowship Slinky In B Major." But yeah, as the reviews said--if you don't love this, Deep Purple Mark II is NOT FOR YOU so I guess they AREN'T. (I listened to Made In Japan just for the hell of it, and didn't get much out of that either, so yeah.) I do kinda want to hear Mark I though!
Elvis Costello, King Of America: I did recall a couple songs from Elvis' usual pile of too-many-songs after all these years--"Brilliant Mistake" and "American Without Tears," two reasonable criticisms of this country with pleasant melodies. The title is a reference to the general rootsy styles Elvis pilfers for this album (which isn't the first time he tried that, but nobody seems to like that country album he put out in 1981.) Since he was going for "rootsiness," the resulting sound is the best thing the album has going for it--Elvis was doing a remarkable job of avoiding the dreadful drum machines and synths that ruined so many other veterans' albums from 1986 (only Nick Cave was doing better, it seems.) But the songs themselves....I'm sorry, only a third of them work for me at all. Aside from the two classics I mentioned, there's "Little Places," the cover of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," and...I don't know what else! They're totally mature, well-produced and tastefully arranged, featuring all sorts of thoughtful adult lyrical concerns, and yet they're mostly just so boring and forgettable to me. It's a respectable album, but I couldn't give it a good rating to save my life. I never tried a Costello album past this one, so if one of you'd like to correct me, go ahead, but I'm not REALLY interested in hearing him do Burt Bacharach or cabaret jazz or whatever else he's been trying since he turned 30.
Primus, Frizzle Fry: I didn't remember a single song from this the first time around, and it's been probably 12 or 13 years. This was their first proper studio album and Primus "had it" from the beginning, talentwise: they knew how to jam, and all three members, not just Les Claypool, could play like motherf*ckers with twice their age and experience. But where was the songwriting?!? Whenever Primus wants to stomp and pound and get metallic, we get songs that would be done better as "Sgt. Baker" or "Here Come The Bastards" on the next album, and when Primus wants to jam, we get professional-sounding stuff that nonetheless pales in comparison to, say, "Tommy The Cat." So these analogies dredge up the only memory I have of my original listen, which is that I probably said this plays like a warmup for a better album, which is Sailing The Seas Of Cheese. And I'd have to say that again. There's also the matter of the band's quirky "redneck"/"demented kiddie song" humor, which hasn't aged very well either. The only songs I really come close to caring about here are "Too Many Puppies" and the Residents cover "Hey Skinny/Constantinople" which is really a bonus track, and if I really wanted to be nice, I'd pick "Pudding Time" to keep too, but in all honesty, I don't think I'll ever listen to this album ever again.