I always get excited whenever there is a new Placebo album. They never let me down. I was bit by the Placebo bug many years ago, back when they just had a small little self titled album in 1996. I think I probably saw them on the cover of a magazine before I actually ever heard the album, but I quickly became a big fan. I loved anything British at the time, and especially anything that was a little bit dark and weird. Brian Moloko was an intriguing man. I have seen him live many, many times and read tons of interviews but still don't really have him completely figured out. But that just makes him all the more interesting. Like many of the other bands that I have stuck with over the years, I associate each of their albums with a time in my life. The albums sort of organize my life for me into more organized sections than I could create myself. The first self titled album came out before I had moved to San Francisco. It actually came out in July, which was the month before I moved to San Francisco from Santa Barbara -- so my new life actually did start with the very first Placebo album, but I didn't really get into it until after I had moved. I listened to it a lot over the years. Often I would listen to it between albums. It helped fill the void when there wasn't a new album by them. Highlights of the album would be "Bruise Pristine," "Lady of the Flowers" and "36 Degrees." But "I Know" is the song that gets me every time I listen to this album. It breaks my heart a little bit, but in a good way. This whole album can really do no wrong for me. The second album, Without You I'm Nothing, came out in 1998 after I had been in San Francisco for a couple of years. This was probably the height of my Placebo obsession, although it honestly has never ever gone away. This was the first tour I saw with them and I was hooked for life after this. I really couldn't get enough of this album. It was a dark and depressing one, but I can't tell you how many times I listened to the song "Without You I'm Nothing." It pretty much became the song I would always listen to after the end of any relationship. It always seems like a long song so you can go through a rollercoaster of emotions in just that one song. My other favorites on the album are "My Sweet Prince" and "Every Me Every You." I forever associate this album with my early years in San Francisco. I grew up a lot in these years but also experienced some heartache.
Black Market Music came out in 2000. While I did like this album when it came out, it remains my least favorite of their albums. I don't really ever find myself going back to it. This is the tour where I met them backstage, so I do have fond memories of the tour but the album just didn't stick with me. I moved to Los Angeles for the first time (not the last!) soon after this album came out. No new Placebo album came out in my first year in Los Angeles but Sleeping With Ghosts came out soon after I moved back to San Francisco once again. The album came out in 2003. I seemed to spend a lot of time by myself this first year back, and I spent many, many hours with this album. I listened to it on my walkman on my walks through the city and also spent a lot of time listening to it at home. This was another album that was great from the beginning to the end. "The Bitter End" is without a doubt my favorite on the album. It is just what a Placebo song should be. I also love "Special Needs" and "Second Sight." Placebo always manage to write a song that breaks my heart on every album. The title track "Sleeping with Ghosts" is the song that does it for me on this album. It actually physically hurts me to listen to this song. But I always go back to it. I can't stop listening to it. I will forever associate this album with my apartment in the Mission. The next album came out before I moved back to Los Angeles for the second time but I had already moved to the Polk Street house. I associate Sleeping With Ghosts with my walks from Haight St. to the Mission. The next album would be associated with my walks from Haight St. to Polk St. Meds came out in March of 2006. I was really obsessed with long walks at this point in my life and loved walking home from work. My walk through the Castro and Noe Valley led me back to the Mission from Haight St. It took about an hour. It was a bit hilly but had awesome views. I was worried I would not be able to do the same walk once I moved to Polk St. but it was just a different walk and still took about an hour. I would basically walk down Stanyan to Geary and Geary to Polk St. I made a couple variations to keep it interesting. When I think about San Francisco I think about these walks. They were really theraputic for me and just awesome. I seriously looked forward to them every day. So many albums were the soundtracks to these walks, but Meds was played quite often on my walk to Polk St. from Haight St. I wouild walk through the Richmond, Pacific Heights, Japan Town, and Nob Hill to get there. The self titled song on this album is one of the best. "Song to Say Goodbye," "Infra-Red" and "One of A Kind" are also fantastic. "Blind" is the song that breaks my heart on this album.
So I am now back in Los Angeles and have been ready for a new Placebo album. Ready for a new chapter in my life. This has for sure been a crazy couple of weeks and I have been trying to be careful what I listen to in these weeks. I can already look ahead and know that I will forever associate the albums that I have been obsessed with lately with the strange new transitional period in my life. The new Placebo album is the perfect album for this period. They are always good for breakups. Battle For the Sun just came out this week. Sometimes it takes me a couple of weeks to really get into a Placebo album. I know that some of the songs will continue to grow on me and I already am in love with a couple. The album gets really good by track 3. The title track, "For What It's Worth" and "Devil in the Details" are all really good tracks. "The Never Ending Why" is probably my favorite on the album. I do have to admit that I have not found that heartbreaking song on the album yet and I don't really think it is there. Maybe that is a good thing though-- I don't really need that right now. But Placebo have not let me down with this album. I love it already and glad that it arrived in my life this week. Can't wait to hear it live.
One of my favorites from last week is the debut album from Deastro. I highly recommend it. It is called Moondagger and has been released by Ghostly International. I have been waiting for this album all year. Every year there are a couple of albums that come out that I feel like are made especially for me. I can't even really explain what I would want them to sound like before they come out but I know they will find their way to me every year. This is one of those albums. The album is full of keyboards, as you might imagine, since keys are a constant favorite of mine. The album is one of those records that takes you away to a magical land. Hard to really explain until you listen to the album, and I know it will not make everyone feel that way, but it is just magical and fun. I know everyone is in love with Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear right now, but I would much rather listen to this Deastro album any day. The album is sort of hard to categorize. It for sure takes elements from most of my favorite genres of music. There is a new wave and shoegaze element, but it is also nothing like those genres. Just has some elements. "Greens Grays and Nordics" is maybe my favorite track on the album, but it changes every day. There is not really a bad song on here. Randolph Chabot is the man behind Deastro. I thank him for making this album. It just has a great energy to it. He is at times manic in his singing style, like he is in a race against time to get through the songs. So many of the songs seem to end soon after they have started. I do love it. You should love it to. A nice album for these gloomy days of June.
also out 6/2...
Grace Around the World by Jeff Buckley
Bachelor by Patrick Wolf
Crossing the Rubicon by The Sounds
Vol. 1 Archives by Neil Young
also out 6/9...
Black Meteoric Star by Black Meteoric Star
Man of Aran by British Sea Power
Cutting the Edge by Chicks on Speed
Rainwater Cassette Exchange by Deerhunter
Survival Strategy in a Modern World by Liechtenstein
Maladjusted Expanded by Morrissey
Half Control by Six Finger Satellite
Eternal by Sonic Youth