Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shuffling II

Right, then. It's another installment of Shuffling!!

1) The State by Destroyer: I'm beginning to wonder if I was too hard on Trouble In Dreams when I reviewed it. Subsequent visits to it have revealed an album that is perfectly fine and borderline great on its own terms. But it bears the unfortunate mark of following in the wake of Destroyer's Rubies, an album that I trust future generations will dig from their parents' iTunes libraries or whatever future people are using just as I dug Bringing It All Back Home from my parents's record collections. Anyway, this song is really damn good. I adore the moment around the 2:20 mark where the organ dies away and Dan Bejar comes back in full force. It's magical and one of those effortlessly brilliant songwriting moments that I listen to so much music for in order to experience it as often as possible.

2) Jenny by Sleater-Kinney: One of my friends (Hi, Pat) had a girlfriend named Jenny. I also had a crush on a girl in junior high and her name was Jenny. Somehow I had forgotten about that until just now. Well, anyway, Sleater-Kinney are awesome as usual. This song is almost plodding for them, with a wall of background guitar noise and those crunchy mid 90s indie rock sounding guitars that make me weep with joy. I used to worry about whether or not I like this band so much because they were women, but screw it. It doesn't matter what sex you are if you make music this good.

3) Bite Marks by Atlas Sound: Just as John Lennon's voice had a distinctive sound when ran through a reverb unit, whatever effects are always on Bradford Cox's voice make it unique and all his own. He has a very specific way of singing that's both flat/emotionless and, paradoxically, very emotive and either beautiful or painful. In another decade or so, I think critics and music fans will come to the conclusion that the stuff he's doing within Deerhunter and with his 'solo' project Atlas Sound is essential noise pop, and to this decade what My Bloody Valentine was to the late 80s and early 90s. This song has the same quality that My Bloody Valentine did, of being painfully noisy/loud while also being pretty and entrancing.

4) 61e.CR by Autechre: I remember once drunkenly telling a friend on AIM that Aphex Twin/Richard D. James would be known and appreciated throughout history like Beethoven and the Beatles are today. I think what I meant was how forward thinking and visionary his music is. That kind of thing can equally apply to Autechre, who release an album every so often that is 5 to 10 years ahead of what we're capable of appreciating. I think that their modern music works best for me when I think of it in terms of experimental beatmaking and texture creation instead of the old ambient techno/IDM thing of rhythms and melodies. Draft 7.30 only made sense to me when I thought of it as like a series of austere sonic sculptures instead of an album of songs. Songs like '61e.CR' are named like obscure computer files or viruses and sound like Autechre recorded an album of straightforward techno with block rocking beats and then remixed the whole thing to a ridiculous degree. Still, this song manages a relatively follow-able beat, like funk or hip hop made by/for the cold logic of computers.

5) Winter by The Dodos: What got The Dodos's foot in the door was releasing an album that was compared to Animal Collective circa Sung Tongs. But what kept them in my parlor as they sold me on their music were songs like this, which have a pounding primitive rhythm and incessant acoustic guitar but never sound repetitive or annoying. If Animal Collective can/have approximated organic techno music--making repetitive, highly rhythmic music with acoustic instruments and other sounds that aren't typically associated with the genre--then The Dodos picked up the thread of Sung Tongs, making music that is entirely acoustic but operates like techno would. Kind of. Well, this is still a great song and apropos given the weather in Ohio lately.

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