This week I was caught off guard by the new U2 album. It has been a long time since I can honestly say that. This isn’t to say U2 hasn’t been good, but to say that they’ve not exactly been a band to throw curveballs in recent years. It just seems like you know what to expect with a U2 album, and they deliver exactly that. Songs of Experience is still very much a U2 record, but there’s something different about this one. The signature U2 sound is there, but they have a stronger, or more emphasized, groove to this record. It works, and I think they’ve piqued my interest more with this album than anything since Achtung Baby (1991).
Also in this edition are several local Seattle artists. Stereo Embers and Amy Denio both had new releases in the last couple weeks that are well worth checking out. I want to highlight Anacortes-based Karl Blau this time. Karl has quietly built up an impressively diverse catalog of music over the last 15 yrs or so, and his new release, Out Her Space, occupies a very different place stylistically than last year’s Introducing Karl Blau. Blau really has a good understanding of his own talents, and how to turn them toward very different goals. He seems to always meet a high standard.
Other high points for me this edition are Sufjan Stevens, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kweku Collins and Amy Denio, as well as more from the previously featured releases from Shredders and Ibeyi.
Ibeyi – I Carried This For Years
U2 – Lights of Home
Stereo Embers – It
Sufjan Stevens – The Greatest Gift
The Rural Alberta Advantage – Selfish Dreams
Karl Blau – Poor the War Away
Pierre Kwenders – Woods of Solitude
Shredders – Fly As I Dare
Charlotte Gainsbourg – Deadly Valentine
Lusine – The Lift
Amy Denio – L’Abbraccione
Django Django – In Your Beat
Kweku Collins – Lucky Ones
Saintseneca – Moon Barks at the Dog
Field Music – Count It Up
U2 – The Blackout
Curtis Harding – Till The End
Shredders – Heater Season (featuring Mike Mictlan)