The Shins (or should I say James Mercer has) have returned to form with their latest Port Of Morrow (2012). "Simple Life" is one of those classic like "Turn A Square," "Gone For Good," or "Turn On Me." There are several standout tracks including: "September" and "For A Fool." All in all a strong album all around and probably one of the year's best.
I was a huge fan of Wire's seminal punk album Pink Flag, so I tracked down the follow up albums 154 (1978) and Chairs Missing (1979). Both of the albums have strong points and show the growth of the band, but neither lives up tot he brilliance of the debut. 154 has a droning sort of mood to it and my favorite tracks are "I Should HAve Known Better," " Map Ref. 41º N 93º W," and The 15th." I think I may like Chairs Missing more. One of my favorite bands, Luna, did a cover of "Outdoor Miner" and there are several other standout tracks like "Practice Makes Perfect," "Another The Letter," "I Am The Fly," and "Mercy," however, both albums are worthwhile.
I recently saw a film, Young At Heart, about a chorus of old people who did covers of unusual songs and I was intrigued by their cover of Sonic Youth's "Schizophrenia"-which has a great drum line throughout and is from the 1987 recording Sister. I remember my college room mates playing this one a lot as well, and I also really like "Tuff Gnarl" and "Kotton Krown."
In preparation for the Contiuum 33 1/3 book on The Rolling Stones 1978 album Some Girls. It is considered by many to be last decent Stones album, however, I have a soft spot for 1981s Tattoo You. Of course I was already familiar with hits like "Miss You" and "Shattered," but "Beast Of Burden" was always my favorite. The deluxe version has plenty of extra tracks as well.
Wong Kar Wai is an auteur who has excellent choices in music for his films, so recently I got his soundtracks for Chungking Express and Fallen Angels, when I decided I also needed the soundtrack for In The Mood For Love (2000). There are two great Nat King Cole songs, "Aquellos ojos verdes (Green Eyes), bolero for voice" and "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps (Quizas, Quizas, Quizas)." I also like his use of "Yumenji's Theme" from Seijun Suzuki's film Yumenji. There are some other traditional 60s Chinese songs that work as well as original scoring from Michale Glasso.