Friday, October 8, 2010

The albums I bought from eMusic this month: Ra Ra Riot, Belly, Aloe Blacc

I buy most of my music from eMusic, an excellent website with prices that are a tiny fraction of what you'd pay on iTunes or Amazon. You have to spend a certain number of "credits" per month (a credit is usually, though not always, equal to a track), or you lose them when the next billing cycle starts.

[UPDATE: My timing was terrible here. Very shortly after I posted this, eMusic sharply raised its prices and switched from a credit-based system to a more conventional system where each track costs the same amount of money for everyone.]

Here's what I spent my 35 credits on this month (that's about $12 — an amazing deal):

1. Ra Ra Riot - The Orchard (August 24, 2010)

I love their instrumentation: violin, cello, guitar, keyboards (sometimes), bass, drums.

Here's "Boy."

From their previous (debut) album, here's "Ghost Under Rocks":

Ra Ra Riot sticks to a fairly predictable formula. And they're great at it.

2. Belly - Star (1993)

I bought this because I listened to the song "Feed the Tree" over and over back when I put it on my list of the best grunge songs, and I had to hear the rest of the album. Not as good as the Breeders' Pod or Last Splash, but still worth having. (I make that comparison mostly because the two bands played in a similar genre around the same time, but they also had overlapping personnel: the leader of Belly, Tanya Donelly, was in the Breeders' early Pod incarnation.)

Here it is: "Feed the Tree" — good enough to embed twice!

And here's "Gepetto," which today sounds a bit quaint in its mid-'90s-ness:

3. Aloe Blacc - Good Things (September 28, 2010)

eMusic describes the album well: "Gold-standard, pitch-perfect soul formalism."

Here's "I Need a Dollar."

"Miss Fortune":

4. I had a few credits left over for this month, so I used them up on a few live songs by Regina Spektor. One of them is "The Ghost of Corporate Future," a clever but understated little song that has a wonderful humanity to it. This is one of those songs that I can't put on as background music and go do something else; it unfailingly compels me to listen straight through.

People are just people, people are just people, people are just people like you . . .