Filed by M. Trevor Higgins
Artist: Magnolia Electric Co.
Album: Fading Trails
Label: Secretly Canadian
In the headphones: Recorded at four different studios, this is a collection of songs that were originally intended to be five separate albums. These songs work together, painting a cohesive picture of a lonely range lit by lightning and full moons and populated with the ghost of the blues, the lonely and the devil.
Molina's voice could fill a canyon with loneliness and yearning. The album doesn't break push musically as much as one might like, but most of the time it works with Molina's voice taking the spotlight. It makes for an album well suited for gray days and empty highways.
Sounds like: A better version of Jay Farrar singing lonely, spooky, campfire songs
Rating: Four stars out of five.
Aritst: The Black Keys
Album: Magic Potion
Label: Nonesuch Records
In the headphones: The Black Keys last release, "Rubber Factory," was tremendous. It's a tough act to follow and the Keys do a decent job without branching out much. There is nothing on "Magic Potion" as catchy as "10 AM Automatic" or as surprisingly moving as "The Lengths." "Your Touch" comes close to recapturing the magic, and Dan Auerbach's wails his best on "Goodbye Babylon." The album was recorded in drummer Patrick Carney's basement and it echoes and booms on every track, but this disc doesn't have the electricity of the duo's previous efforts. That said, the group still bangs a nasty blues.
Sounds like: The blues getting a beat down in The Black Keys basement.
Rating: Three stars out of five.
E-mail M. Trevor Higgins at email@example.com