It’s hard to top the purchases I made last week, which included a used copy of Prince’s Purple Rain and the new albums by The Black Keys and Broken Bells, but this week saw a couple of good albums released.

I received of Montreal’s 12″ single The Past is a Grotesque Animal, which may be the most beautiful album I’ve ever purchased. (More on it here). This was the only vinyl purchase of the week and I bought two digital albums.

On the local front, Cloud Cult released Light Chasers on their own Earthology Records and is their eighth studio album. From the email release:

…this latest full-length draws most of it’s inspiration from the joy (and worries) of rebirth – Craig (singer/songwriter) and Connie (live painter) welcomed a healthy baby boy into their lives this past fall – after a long grieving process of the loss of their first son Kaiden. Light Chasers is a concept album that interweaves stories focused on the exploration of the mysteries of the universe, life and death. It’s a 56 minute journey with no audio breaks that explores love and loss and searches for the light at the end of the tunnel. It also lends itself beautifully into Cloud Cult’s vision that albums should be seen as a whole versus the modern trend of focusing on singles.

I love the fact they focus on the whole album experience – and it shows on this album. It’s just as good as their prior two releases and is a bit more mellow. The songs seamlessly flow together (make sure you can play it back using gapless playback!) and the track titles are perfectly named. I’ll always remember Cloud Cult as it was the first MP3 album I ever bought using Amazon’s MP3 service when it first launched. If you get a chance to see them live, don’t miss it – they combine their music with a visual artist on stage and it’s a concert experience you’ve never seen before. The album is available everywhere September 14th or you can buy it digitally now directly from Cloud Cult here.

My favorite album I bought, though, is Alejandro Escovedo’s latest, Street Songs of Love. One genre of music you’ll never find me reviewing on this blog is country music – but I love what they call “alt-country” with artists such as Ryan Adams, The Jayhawks, Wilco, Drive By Truckers, and yes, Alejandro Escovedo.

You may know him better through his progeny – his son Pete plays with Carlos Santana and his daughter is Sheila E, but Alejandro Escovedo has had a long music career that started with punk rock and is still going strong.

It was his last album, 2008’s Real Animals, that introduced me to him, and if you like that album, you will love this album. Street Songs of Love is slightly more uptempo than Real Animals and starts with a bang with the first track, Anchor. Other songs of note are Down in the Bowery, with Hunter, the lead singer from Mott the Hoople; Fall Apart With You is a wonderful ballad that will stay with you for days; Bruce Springsteen guests on Faith; and the album ends with a perfect denouement, the instrumental Fort Worth Blue.

I was ecstatic when Amazon lowered the MP3 price from $10.49 to $7.99 on Wednesday and it’s been worth every penny. You can listen to the whole album as a stream on Spinner.