Let’s make your music collection more awesome, shall we?
Every now and then, I like to suggest a few albums — some new, some old, some really, really old — that you probably don’t have, but should. Simple, huh? Now go buy these records:
WILLIE NELSON, “Yesterday’s Wine”: “You do know why you’re here?” a voice from on high asks Willie. “Yes, there is great confusion on Earth,” he responds, and this beautiful, delicately spun album is his way of trying to make sense of it all. An overlooked meditation on God, death and the trials of an imperfect man in an imperfect world, this spare, uplifting LP first established Nelson as one of country music’s most searching, contemplative songwriters.
Backed only by touches of fiddle and pedal steel, this budding maverick with the papier-mache voice and the cast iron heart takes the sting out of love and loss by winking at mortality like some former flame.
THE GOSSIP, “The Movement”: Gossip frontwoman Beth Ditto sings like she’s being chased by some dude with a pickax, her voice so powerful, it’s as if she swallowed a bullhorn. She infuses her band’s gritty, threadbare garage stomp with so much hair-raising soul hellfire, it’s as if this disc was made of gooseflesh. Alive with hand-clapping, hip swingin’ Southern blues exorcisms, “The Movement” could make a grapefruit cut a rug.
HATE ETERNAL, “Fury and Flames”: It seriously feels like your house is taking on mortar fire when this boulder-heavy bad boy spins. This bunch comes with some of the densest, most concussive jams ever meted out, driven by haunting, atmospheric guitar leads and mind-boggling drumming that sounds as if an army of Satanic octopi was manning the kit. It’s like putting your ears through boot camp.
MIRWAIS, “Production”: The cover of “Production” depicts Mirwais with his skin pulled back to reveal digital innards, a synthesis of the organic and the synthetic that the French have long explored — see Air, Daft Punk and famed experimental film “Ballet Mecanique.” Here, this worldly beatsmith/producer delivers a dissertation on disco science, crafting both elegant and overheated electronica that blends malleable beats and vocodered vocals with stuttering acoustic guitars and whispered come ons. Sexy and seductive, this disc will catalyze more heavy breathing than a track meet.
THIN LIZZY, “Live and Dangerous”: Live albums are like pet rocks and swallowed tongues: They generally don’t add a lot to the conversation. But this double LP is an exception. From wild-eyed to wistful, sweaty to sentimental in an instant, “Dangerous” captures one of hard rock’s most dynamic bands in their true element. The guitars double as blowtorches, Phil Lynott hits on your girlfriend and the only thing missing is the scent of 10,000 Bics in the air.
Jason Bracelin’s “Sounding Off” column appears on Tuesdays. Contact him at 383-0476 or e-mail him at jbracelin@ reviewjournal.com.