This week's list already looks more interesting to me than did last week's. That's a good sign. I still don't see too many "must haves" but there is one album that comes awfully close to it and a few that have piqued my interest to the point I just might have to investigate. Let's get started:
I rarely find opening acts interesting, but there are occasional exceptions and Howling Bells was one of them. My wife and I saw Coldplay, Snow Patrol, and Howling Bells in Nashville last month. We're Coldplay fans. We like Snow Patrol (my wife likes them more than I do, but we enjoy them). I knew nothing of Howling Bells. We expected little and were prepared to endure and over the course of their 30-minute set we found ourselves being drawn in. At the end of their set, I rose to my feet. I liked what I heard. I made a mental note to research them. That's when I learned their sophomore record Radio Wars has been available in Europe for some time, but until now there had been no U.S. distributor. Enter Nettwerk. I'm having one of these.
Before leaving the stage, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin encouraged everyone in the audience to go download "Nightingale," which is on this record. I generally despise digital music so I resisted, waiting for an opportunity like this.
...in which we find our dashing, handsome, sophisticated, erudite hero admitting he had no idea who the hell this band was. Sorry, we're joining this conversation already in progress. Owl City made last week's iTunes Chart Watch by getting enough pre-orders of Ocean Eyes to make it to #2 on the iTunes Album Charts. This might be one of those times when downloading a single track wouldn't be a bad idea. I'd like to see if there is fire to go with this smoke.
Midlife: A Beginner's Guide to Blur
Blur has reunited with semi-exiled guitarist Graham Coxon and the band is re-introducing themselves to the world — and in particular American audiences — with a new compilation. Midlife is a two-CD set aimed at giving the unfamiliar or the casual a Cliff's Notes edition of the band's history. Actually, they already gave the abbreviated version with their single disc The Best of Blur. This gives a little wider taste and sample. It even has something for some of the more devoted in the form of a track that went out of print some time ago.