15 feb 2016
- Earth Wind & Fire – Better late than never? “Boogie Wonderland” was one of the first 45s I ever bought, but I never dug deeper. Making up for lost time.
- The Astounds – Dunno ’bout you, but I’m relieved the long year-and-a-half with nothing new from Dean Edward Wells is over. In the days when he recorded as The Capstan Shafts, I used to think the key to inveigling someone into the cult was to find the one track that showed off Wells’ sardonic wit and effortlessly buoyant melodies, but also had all the instruments more-or-less in-time and on-key. Eventually I realized that was pointless – to love Wells’ music, you have to love the sloppy chaos. Wells’ latest manifestation, The Astounds, is more chaotic than most, not least because it’s among the most ambitious arrangement-wise — some of these tunes have at least 3 guitar parts, keys, and multiple vocal tracks in addition to in-need-of-tuning drums and in-need-of-new-strings bass. Reprises a coupla tunes from the now-vanished Sun Hoax project, but there’s plenty of new tunes waiting to invade your brain.
- Game Theory – this week digging into the bonus tracks for the “Lolita Nation” reissue. Thoughts TK.
- Eva Salina – NPR’s “Weekend Edition” did a story on Salina’s album featuring the works of Šaban Bajramović several weeks ago, and I’ve been impatient to hear it since. It’s finally moved from “forthcoming” to “released” status. I don’t know a thing about Šaban Bajramović but will have to educate myself. Lots of different textures to the arrangements — the electric guitars always especially perk up my ears, but this is well executed front-to-back.
- Burnt Palms – Exactly the sort of thing you expect me to like, and I do. I actually thought I’d cued up the new Dressy Bessy before this, so my initial reaction, when I thought I was listening to a different band entirely, was along the lines of, “wow, the vocals have never sounded so confident and I dig that darker guitar tone.” I get a bit of a Primitives vibe from this too.
- Ohio Players – I think I never listened much to these folks because of those album covers. A touch too much!
- Dressy Bessy – kinda covered this above? As usual, some solidly catchy tunes. Also as usual, mostly doesn’t quite click for me, and I’m never quite sure why.
- Rihanna – yeah, you know, the world does not need takes on “ANTI” from the likes of me.
- Badparker – These dudes make the sort of yelpy, jarring indie rock that I generally enjoy quite a bit, and I had their record in my shopping cart, and then I realized they had a song called “Nice Hooters.” And it’s not an objectifying sorta song — it starts with a frank line of suicidal ideation — but it also doesn’t seem to be explicitly about challenging objectification or expectations of it or whatever. And it really made me question whether I wanted to support this band financially (especially given recent experiences with bands that I later learned things about that made me wish I hadn’t supported them). YMMV.
- Sia – You know what I mean if I say “Grey’s Anatomy” music, right? Often kinda breathy female vocalists, singing songs that bluntly express emotion in the way the show’s characters perennially struggle to do. Generally not autotuned unto death, often a bit chilly, but danceable, even it’s a sorta sad sway dance. I’m pretty susceptible to this in general, and sometimes it intersects with artists I fully embrace, like Metric. I was introduced to Sia not via “Grey’s Anatomy” but via “Six Feet Under,” but “Breathe Me” sounded like quintessential Grey’s Fodder (and Sia’s music has featured there as well). Nothing on the new This Is Acting grabbed me as immediately, but it certainly struck me as well put together, and I’ll spin it some more.
Tags: 2016 · weekly top