Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I saw a huge spike in traffic here in the middle of last month courtesy of links from Simon Reynolds and Carl Wilson, after I'd written three consecutive posts about music. Naturally, until my last two posts, I hadn't posted about music at all since then, which no doubt means that plenty of those readers who visited at that time haven't bothered to come back often, if at all. Oh well.

In any event, I've been reading with great interest the various posts in recent weeks in the aftermath of the original EMP/Stephin Merritt brouhaha--some good stuff from Simon (here and here and most recently here) and Zoilus and uTopianTurtleTop and rebel machine and Peanut Butter Words and Ha-ha Breath... There's much to process and I've had complex responses to a lot of it--and, alas, almost no time in which to organize my thoughts about it (or much else) of late.

Until I do, then, this is just a round-up of stuff I've been listening to this year. Uncharacteristically, the wedding and attendant money and time issues being what they were, it turns out I've only bought thirteen albums released in 2006:

Belle and Sebastion - The Life Pursuit
Built To Spill - You in Reverse
The Coup - Pick a Bigger Weapon
Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
Kalas - Kalas
Liars - Drum's Not Dead
Love is All - Nine Times That Same Song
Joe McPhee - Survival Unit II with Clifford Thornton, N.Y.N.Y. 1971
Om - Conference of the Birds
Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
T.I. - King.
Tapes'n Tapes - The Loon

The outliers are Springsteen and McPhee. My wife is the Springsteen (and Seeger) fan in the house; I'm rather indifferent. That said, the cd is better than I expected it to be--more exuberant then I've heard from Springsteen in some time. The McPhee cd is an archival release by Hat Hut of a previously unreleased performance. I've listened to it once so far, and it's pretty good. McPhee is great.

So that brings us down to eleven--three metal, three rap, the rest indie rock of some kind--all of which I like just fine. If I had to pick the favorites of the bunch, I'd have to go with the three metal albums, along with Love Is All, Ghostface, and Built to Spill (the best review of which is this one at Dusted). (And, yes, I did learn about the Love Is All and Tapes n'Tapes from Pitchfork, which I do still look at more or less every day, and which some people take just a little too seriously. The Love Is All is by far the more interesting of the two, but the Tapes n'Tapes is plenty enjoyable in its own right.) Upon first seeing the title of Om's Conference of the Birds, I immediately thought of Dave Holland's classic of the same name (with Sam Rivers and Anthony Braxton--seriously, a beautiful record; if you haven't heard it, please try to), and I wondered if there was any link. A wee bit of google-work turns up the Persian poet Attar, whose masterpiece bears the same name. Shows you what I know.

Aside from these, I've been listening to a lot of reissues, esp. Can and Talking Heads (all of which sound fantastic, the Can stuff being MAJOR improvements, I think), and to some other proggy stuff, like Robert Wyatt and Henry Cow, and finally got that Eno/Bryne thing, which is about half "as cool as I expected" and half kind of meh; have been loving the Human League's Dare, which, other than "Don't You Want Me", I'd never heard a single note of prior to a couple of months ago... and have been catching up on some rap from the last few years (including the Coup's excellent Party Music, alas without the controversial cover). I spent the better part of Monday afternoon listening to several Boredoms cds (managed to get tickets to their gig in Philly the end of this month: I'm excited, my wife is more than a little afraid), pleasing the neighbors to no end I'm sure... various admixtures of prog and krautrock and post-punk (the Fall, finally, for one) have been my main focus...

I plan to get as soon as I can the new albums from Sonic Youth, Mission of Burma, Matmos, Six Organs of Admittance, Pere Ubu (unfortunately titled as it is)... that Burial record all the kids are talking about looks interesting (how wrong is it that I know almost nothing about dub? quite, I imagine... where do I begin? the various pseudo primers I've seen have only confused me more than I already was); I've never heard anything by Scott Walker, so I don't know whether I should get the new release or go for an old one first; have been curious about Isolee and Broadcast for some time... etc.

Important Clarification: listening to it on the ride home from work, I am reminded that I did not stress how much the Boris album totally kicks ass. My apologies.


Scraps said...

Regarding Scott Walker: If you do pick up one of the old albums, unless it's the last one (the amazing Tilt), it's not gonna tell you much about whether you'll like the new one.

Richard said...

Thanks for the heads up. Is there one of the pre-Tilt albums I should look out for particularly? I may just do what I did with Robert Wyatt: I bought and loved Cuckooland then went back to Schleep before finally digging into his great 70s stuff like Rock Bottom.

Scraps said...

The transition one is the early 80's album Climate of Hunter.

The four numbered albums from the late 60's -- Scott through Scott 4 -- are very good singer albums, but much more conventional than the recent stuff.

Richard said...

Thanks. I bought The Drift tonight (it was the only one at the store); I'm listening to it right now. Very interesting. His singing is very dramatic, isn't it? (I think I'd read about that somewhere before...) I'm liking it. It's certainly not much like anything else I can think of.

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