What We’re Listening To – August 20, 2009

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Every week five Disc Makers employees talk about an album they’ve been listening to. We’d also love to hear what you’re listening to, so leave a comment with your album pick for the week!

Mayer Hawthorne A Strange Arrangement (2009)

Mayer HawthorneMayer Hawthorne is the alter ego of DJ turned soul singer, Andrew Cohen. A Detroit native, Cohen draws his inspiration from doo-wop, Motown and ‘60s soul.

A Strange Arrangement will garner a few headlines as it is Hawthorne’s debut LP, the songs are eminently catchy and he is responsible for all of the instrumentation. What sets Mayer apart though, is the quality of his songwriting. Each track plays like an undiscovered Holland-Dozier-Holland gem or long-forgotten golden oldie. It’s hard to believe these songs were written and recorded this year, by a 29-year-old white kid in his bedroom studio.

–Dan J., Art Director

Dan Auerbach Keep It Hid (2009)

Dan AuerbachYou like-a da Black Keys? Their front man, Dan Auerbach, breaks out with his first solo release, Keep It Hid. The album was two years in the making, with Auerbach at the helm in his home studio in Akron, OH. He did most of the playing on the tracks, from drums/percussion, to harmonies, and even the glockenspiel (family and friends also lent a hand with songwriting, singing and playing).

What really hooked me on this album was Auerbach’s versatility. Some of the tracks, like the opening “Trouble Weighs A Ton” and “When The Night Comes” show a softer side of Auerbach, void of the classic delightful distortion you’d hear from the Black Keys. Don’t expect this from the whole album though, “Heartbroken, In Disrepair,” “The Prowl,” and “Mean Monsoon” deliver a heavy hit of blues-rock and psychedelia. Another standout aspect of this album is Auerbach’s voice. It’s beyond soulful, sometimes even haunting, and seems to have developed past the sound I was used to hearing from the Black Keys. Word on the street is that his mighty beard holds the power. All joking aside, Keep It Hid has all the elements of a great album – and the more I listen, the more I like. So I say well done, Mr. Auerbach. Glad you didn’t Keep It Hid.

–Adriana F., Electronic Prepress Specialist

Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)

PhoenixPhoenix is a French pop/rock band that emerged from the same scene as bands like Air and Daft Punk. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is their fourth full-length, and I’ve been listening to it all summer. I first heard Phoenix a few years ago when the single “Everything is Everything” went mainstream, and I’ve liked them ever since. Their music is really catchy and Thomas Mars’ voice has a way of getting stuck in my head (maybe it’s the accent?). The first song on the record, “Lisztomania”, grabs you right away and makes you want to hear more. The only problem with this record is that it’s pretty short (37 minutes), but every minute is worth listening to.

–Holly W., Preflight Operator

Television Marquee Moon (1977)

TelevisionMarquee Moon is the debut album by one of the founding fathers of the New York punk scene and also happens to be my favorite album ever. 50 years from now this album will still be ahead of the times. It’s hard to describe the abstracts, like how cool the lyrics are or how well the guitars blend together, and it’s best not to over-think it. It’s just one of those rare perfect albums where every note is in the right place, no effort wasted. My favorite tracks are “Venus”, “Marquee Moon”, and “Friction.”

–Kevin P., Preflight Operator

The Ergs Upstairs/Downstairs (2007)

The ErgsThe Upstairs/Downstairs album was released a few years ago by a NJ pop-punk band that broke up well before it probably should have. Although many of the songs on the album still fit the trademark of the genre by being short and fast, on this release the Ergs decided to break away and show how they had grown musically as a group. Their songwriting seems to have matured a bit from their previous full-length and overall the sound is just tighter and more well-rounded than their other releases. The shining moments on this album would definitely be the final two tracks “Books About Miles Davis” and the 18 minute title track “Upstairs/Downstairs”.

–Tim D., Project Manager

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