New albums this week: Arctic Monkeys, Old Crow Medicine Show

I still buy CDs. Not that I actually play them – they get ripped to my hard drive and put on a shelf never to be touched again – but because I never got comfortable with stealing music and I don’t like paying for DRM-restricted tracks. (I’m excited about Amazon’s new DRM-free MP3 store but have a lingering desire to own my own hardcopy backup even if it costs a little more. Maybe I’ll get over it).

Anyway, I was getting bored of my workout music and wanted some fresh tracks so I dug through the DJ recommendations at the world’s best radio station (KEXP, for the uninitiated) and picked a couple of albums that I’d heard often on the station and liked. They’re pretty different, but after a couple of listens each they’re holding up well:

Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
I resisted these guys for a while due to the massive hype cloud that surrounded them (especially in the UK), but now that it’s died down some I figured I could pick it up without being labeled a hopeless fad follower. Not sure if “lad rock” is a category, but this is super-catchy, ska-inflected English rock. Great workout music.

Old Crow Medicine Show, O.C.M.S.
On a completely different theme, I love old school old-time music and had been suspicious of these guys as revivalist imitators vs. the “real thing”. I shouldn’t have held off so long. Their musical chops are very real, and they tackle both traditional styles and more contemporary themes with obvious pleasure. Not such a good workout album, but terrific listening.