Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Album Of The Week: The Orb- Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld

I suddenly got the bug to check out all the electronic music I've been neglecting all these years, so the other night I was asking a friend his opinion of various artists. Somehow this developed into me realizing two things: 1) the big, popular singles by electronic bands are kind of boring 2) a lot of electronic music sounds terribly dated now. Ironically, since I don't keep up with electronic music, you'd think I wouldn't feel this way. Yet here we are. This is the danger of being on the cutting edge of a new musical genre: sooner or later you're no longer the edge, and are just the dull center of a lumpen metallic mass.

Still, there are those who lead the way and their music still holds up years later. In The Orb's case, well, they don't have nearly the cache that they did in the early to mid 90s, thanks to a mostly spotty career after Orbus Terrarum. Yet I think the reason they aren't quite as interesting today is that their offspring have overtaken them. The Orb almost singlehandedly defined the ambient techno genre with Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, but compared to modern day masters like Boards Of Canada they seem like a quaint reminder of days gone by.

That said, Adventures has several things going for it that help it remain brilliant even by today's standards. The first is the album's sense of scope. By creating a pseudo-concept album that departs Earth for the distant stars, The Orb make a great case for sprawling song lengths, not to mention eerie or mesmerizing vocal samples and psychedelic synthesizer washes. Secondly, the album also borrows from dub, which helps to, every so often, bring the proceedings back down to earth with throbbing basslines and clattering percussion. This and the long song lengths are why I think latter day Orb albums are mediocre, coming off as oddly generic and constraining themselves to pop song lengths when previous Orb masterpieces had personality in spades and hazily stretched to the horizon. Lastly, the album manages to be memorable despite featuring no real melodic hooks or "songs."

While I like U.F.Orb and Orbus Terrarum, their song lengths become more of a liability than an asset because everything bleeds together. Most of Adventures is similarly continuous, but thanks to the unique samples and 'feel' of each track, it remains more distinct throughout. From the trance inducing opener 'Little Fluffy Clouds' to the lengthy film soundtrack-like ambiance of 'Spanish Castles In Space' to the dub reggae excursion 'Into The Fourth Dimension', the album manages to do something that Boards Of Canada also excel at: sounding the same but always changing. There's an indefinable flow, sweep, and sense of scale to Adventures, yet even if any random 30 seconds from any song may sound nothing like 30 seconds of another, they all work together to produce one incredible, well, adventure. From a reductionist standpoint, all Boards Of Canada and The Orb albums are effectively the same thing for an hour or more, but the details and the small or wide variations are the key. Moreover, many of the song titles of Adventures reference classic psychedelic touchstones and sci-fi tropes, helping give the album another added bit of flavor and personality.

Unless you're really into electronic music these days, it's easy for Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld to be overlooked. Which is a shame, because not only is its influence on a lot of music that came out since its 1991 release incalculable, but it still holds up today as a brilliant journey through nascent ambient techno, dub, unexpected samples and effects, and trance inducing psychedelic textures. Highly recommended.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Video: Sufjan Stevens- For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti

Well, I'm going to see Sufjan tomorrow night, and there don't seem to be any official videos for his stuff. Though this performance piece is pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yo La Tengo- Popular Songs

Upon first listen, Popular Songs seems to pick up where Yo La Tengo left off three years ago: making another strong album in the vein of their essential I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. Styles will shift from song to song--dream-pop ballads, 60s soul/pop pastiches, organ driven garage rock, lengthy noise jam workouts--and yet the quality of the songs will remain high, while the whole album holds together as one great work. But the more I listened to Popular Songs, I began to wonder why it wasn't quite capturing my heart. Subsequent listens brought diminishing returns. What was wrong here??

Going track by track, Popular Songs is as interesting an album as Yo La Tengo has ever made. But due to both the songs themselves and the order they were placed, the album feels uneven and poorly paced. This is most noticeable in the album's final third: the last three tracks of this 12 song work account for half of Popular Songs's run time, and they aren't exactly the most dynamic of the bunch. Other albums had long songs, true, but they weren't all lumped together and there seemed to be more development even if maybe there wasn't. 'More Stars Than There Are In Heaven' is stunning shoegazer pop, but to the casual ear, it's just the same thing over and over for more than nine minutes. 'The Fireside' reminds me of something from Animal Collective's Campfire Songs, with its slow building acoustic guitar backbone. This song is a pretty effective mood piece, but even when I've been in a patient enough mood to listen to it all the way through, there simply isn't enough going on at any one time for the song to achieve whatever goal it was trying for. Lastly there's 'And The Glitter Is Gone', which is in the line of other longform Yo La Tengo noise/rock workouts. I like this song, yet it does have the past to contend with. If you've listened to a few of their other albums, the song takes on a "going through the motions" feel. For my money, the beginning and closing tracks of I'm Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your *** do this style much better and with less time.

Still, it's good to see the band trying out new things, and the first half of the album shows Yo La Tengo putting their best pop foot forward. In fact, this is probably the most accessible chunk of music they've ever done. Some of the songs in this part of the album recall the placid, spacious beauty of And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out, while the others return to the stylistic costumes of I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. Bassist James McNew even contributes one of the album's best songs with the laidback 'I'm On My Way.' Which brings me to my next point: there's a real lack of surprising or outstanding material on the album. McNew's 'Stockholm Syndrome' was but a small part of the greatness of I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One, while I find myself struggling to recall most of Popular Songs even after my nth listen. They aren't bad songs, and maybe it's not fair to compare them to other Yo La Tengo albums, but music doesn't exist in a vacuum. To be brutally honest, there isn't a single track here that I would put on a theoretical greatest hits collection.

The word that keeps coming to mind when I listen to this album is "comfortable." This isn't a good or bad thing, but there's a distinct lack of surprise or cohesiveness to Popular Songs that detracts from my enjoyment of it. It is a solid Yo La Tengo release, one that established fans are sure to enjoy... but those of us who want something new/different can't help but feel the album is a bit underwhelming, on top of its unevenness and poor pacing. Moreover, I can't imagine anyone who's new to Yo La Tengo really getting into this album, largely because Popular Songs is so alienating in its aforementioned pacing. It bears repeating: three of the album's 12 songs take up about half of its runtime, and they're all smashed together at the end where they don't flow at all.

Ultimately, I'm not sure even a re-arranged tracklisting would improve the album. This batch of songs continually strikes me as good, but not great; as interesting, but not essential. Sadly, the same could be said for the album itself.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Yo La Tengo- And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out

As a band mostly known for the stylistic variety of their albums (codified on the essential I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One), it was a bit of a surprise when Yo La Tengo released And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out in early 2000. The band had done incredible things with mellow/slow songs, nearly ambient instrumentals, and dream-pop on previous albums, but they were usually juxtaposed with bracing noise-pop or playful forays into other genres. Somehow it all held together as a brilliant whole, leaving one to wonder if an album mainly focused on one style would work.

The main thing to understand about And Then Nothing... is that it's an album that goes for a very consistent mood even if it actually does a lot within this framework. I'm trying to think of examples of similar works but the only thing that comes to mind is the dark, gothic, and funereal The Marble Index by Nico. You either have to be in a specific mood to want to listen to that album or you have to want to be in one. In the case of And Then Nothing..., the album has always felt perfect for lazy summer nights. I mentioned in a review of Summer Sun that a girlfriend and I used to listen to it and And Then Nothing... during the early part of our relationship at her parent's house in the country. As it so happens, this was during that particular summer, and the vibe has always persisted whenever I listen to both albums now. Writing this review during an early Fall afternoon, it's just not quite right somehow.

I'll skip to the chase: And Then Nothing... is one of my favorite albums of this decade. I would agree that I'm Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass is a more accomplished and accessible album, but just as I find myself personally preferring Sung Tongs to Animal Collective's similarly more accomplished and accessible Merriweather Post Pavilion, sometimes you have to go with your gut. And Then Nothing... is a very special and unique album, from the druggy, languid opener 'Everyday' to the lengthy closer 'Night Falls On Hoboken', which stretches to the horizon with its spacious stoned jam section. In between are songs fit for relaxing alone or cuddling with a loved one: lovely ballads ('Our Way To Fall'), organ driven pop ('Let's Save Tony Orlando's House'), and even a somehow-appropriate noise-pop energy boost ('Cherry Chapstick'). This latter song initially struck me as out of place, but it perfectly fits the atmosphere of the album and is expertly placed to keep the listener just on this side of sleep, refreshing one for the rest of the music to come.

And Then Nothing... is not for everyone due to the very specific atmosphere it creates/evokes. But those who are looking for this sort of thing will find it an incredibly effective mood piece, one that proves Yo La Tengo don't need to switch styles every few minutes to produce a classic.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Album Of The Week: Sun Kil Moon- Ghosts Of The Great Highway

Though even he has admitted that Sun Kil Moon is mostly a continuation of what he was doing in the Red House Painters, it must be interesting to be Mark Kozelek, who has helmed two underground fave bands on top of doing "solo" stuff under his own name. I'm not sure there's ever going to be a time where the man gets his due, since his work resists easy categorization and by its nature appeals to a small audience. Labels like 'slowcore' and 'sadcore' were often applied to Red House Painters, but Kozelek's work often flits between singer/songwriter acoustic poetics and full bore guitar rock. The most recent album by Sun Kil Moon, April, ostensibly chooses one of these twi styles per song.

I really love April, but Ghosts Of The Great Highway feels like a more major work because it takes more chances. Most of the songs have their own "thing", whether it's the forceful, nearly-arena rock of 'Salvador Sanchez', the way 'Last Tide' neatly segues into 'Floating' on a mellow acoustic guitar wave, or 'Si Paloma', a surprising but welcome Latin tinged instrumental. Anchoring the album is the epic 'Duk Koo Kim', which is up there with Animal Collective's 'Visiting Friends' for the best "long, trance inducing song" of this decade. Any ham fisted, stoned teenager can noodle around for ten minutes or more, but it takes true genius to hold your attention for that amount of time, and I never get restless during this song. Moreover, I think the different version of 'Salvador Sanchez' under the title 'Pancho Villa' is a neat way to end the album, giving it a cyclical feel.

If there's a weakness to Ghosts Of The Great Highway, it's that I don't find Kozelek's lyrics very consistent. Maybe that seems like a stupid statement since I just got done saying how varied the album is, but personally I don't find the boxing references compelling, even if they may be extended metaphors for something or other. I'm not saying the lyrics on Ghosts Of The Great Highway are bad, just that they sometimes seem a bit less personal and poetic than usual. Well, if Charles Bukowski had his horse racing and Hemingway had his bullfighting, I guess Kozelek can have his boxing. Still, 'Gentle Moon' strikes me as a bit cliched (and I say that as someone who's written his fair share of poems about cliched subjects), and 'Lily And Parrots' has the groaner "you are my love/I hold you above/everything and everyone."

Issues with some of the lyrics aside, Ghosts Of The Great Highway is a great album which proved that even after the Red House Painters, Kozelek had more to say and more things to try. Listening to this album and April just makes me wish he'd make another Sun Kil Moon album instead of all the solo acoustic stuff he keeps putting out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Clinic- Internal Wrangler

Sometimes my perception of a band is forever tainted by the fact that the first album I heard of their's was a lesser work. This happened to me with Sigur Ros, who's Agaetis Byrjun is reportedly a masterpiece but I unfortunately settled for () instead, an album that has a half hour of great material but is padded out to more than twice that with samey sounding stuff. I fell into this exact same trap with Clinic, reading that Internal Wrangler was great but ended up getting their Walking With Thee instead because I liked the video for the eponymous song. As it turned out, Walking With Thee was about 20 minutes of great material with 15 minutes of samey sounding stuff. History repeats itself.

Well, I've still never gone back to Sigur Ros, but I did recently finally get around to Internal Wrangler during my ongoing process of compiling a list of the best albums of this decade. And while I can see why people might've gone crazy for this album back in 2000, I'm not sure, with the remove of time and a critical lens on my side, that I would call it a masterpiece. It's one of those four stars out of five "masterpieces" that was overly praised on its releases and is in need of a critical re-evaluation. Mind you, I don't come here to bury Internal Wrangler. It's still a pretty great album with a handful of excellent songs. It's just not in the same tier as 2000 contemporaries like Kid A and The Moon & Antarctica.

The problem with the album, and Clinic in general, is that they sound like an amalgamation of various sounds/influences and never transcend these. As Pitchfork put it in a review of Funf, they draw "...from dub, surf-rock, doo-wop, psych, British jazz, girl groups, the Velvet Underground, and everything in between." I would simplify this by saying they sound like 60s rock, with organs and harmonicas showing up frequently, set to modern day head nodding beats and treble heavy production. The Velvet Underground comment rings especially true for me, since 'Earth Angel' starts out sounding a lot like 'Some Kinda Love' while 'Distortions' lyrically borrows (steals??) from 'Candy Says', with its "I'd to know completely what other's so discretely talk about" line. Meanwhile, the raucous 'C.Q.' sounds like a particularly coked up 60s garage rock band--didn't anybody tell Clinic that this sort of pastiche would be more popular in 2001, when The Strokes and White Stripes blew up??

Internal Wrangler is an enjoyable album nonetheless. In fact, I used to listen to Walking With Thee a lot despite thinking it's generally weak. So why did I listen to it so much?? To be perfectly up front with you, I didn't know why back then and I still don't know why now. But I digress. Internal Wrangler is the better of the two but it retains that same compelling, listenable quality despite my reservations about. I think it's probably just the sheer sound and the head nodding quality I wrote about earlier. After all, Clinic's singing/lyrics are only memorable on the ballads, and I've never found their melodies, in general terms, particularly catchy or interesting. There are exceptions, but once the novelty of Clinic's sound wore off, most people stop following the band. By all accounts their post-Walking albums are solid if unexceptional.

In the end, Clinic are one of those unfortunate cases where a band produces a pretty good, interesting debut album that gets overrated on release, and they never manage to make anything that's better and/or different enough. Let's set the cliche of how hipsters and music critics often lift their nose in the air, knowingly, and pronounce that a band's first album was "better", because in the case of Internal Wrangler it's not a cliche. I don't know that I'd say everyone needs some Clinic in their lives, but if you happen to feel that you do, Internal Wrangler is where it begins and ends.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Resident Evil 5

I rarely play games more than once, let alone start them over again as soon as I finish them. Yet that's exactly what I did the first time I played Resident Evil 4 on Gamecube...and all over again when it was ported to the Wii. It's easily one of my favorite games ever, and I put it up there with Super Metroid, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and the original Fallout as one of those "as close to perfect as we get in this world" games that I routinely play through every couple years. Hearing that Resident Evil 5 would continue on in its predecessor's footsteps, I tried to keep my expectations in check. And while Resident Evil 5 is still a great game, it's unfortunately a case of good news, bad news.

The good news is that RE5 plays and feels a lot like RE4. Dead Space was an interesting and solid pretender to the throne, but it didn't have enough variety or new/interesting ideas to truly light my world on fire. On first glance, RE5 might as well be a hi-def port of RE4: the controls and mechanics are largely carried over, from collecting and upgrading weapons via a "shop" to a more playable, action oriented style of gameplay than previous Resident Evil games. Moreover, RE5 looks incredible, and while the controls don't quite move forward as far as I'd like (can we please get the ability to move and shoot at the same time?!) they quickly become natural. Which is good, since the game does away with any pretense of horror and swings the pendulum even further toward the action side. In fact, you'll routinely face enemies with guns of their own and engage in (very) rudimentary 'cover' mechanics ala Gears Of War.
The bad news is that RE5 simultaneously backsteps into some clunky design mechanics and most of the new things it adds aren't very fun. For starters, RE4 had a sense of self conscious ridiculousness to it which it never felt it had to explain. The weapon merchant, the very videogame-y environments and enemies, the absurd characters and plot...it was a breath of fresh air from a series that took itself deadly serious. RE5, unfortunately, goes back to the old way of doing things, with ridiculous but self-serious characters and plot. Meanwhile, you can't manually save or access the shop anymore. And since the inventory system has gone back to the awful "a shotgun takes up as much space as a small green herb" system of pre-RE4 games, you'll frequently have to quit/save your current game in order to re-load your save so you can sell off items in the store. Call me crazy, but I preferred the admittedly somewhat tedious backtracking to get to the weapon merchant or save spots.
RE5's much vaunted addition, the co-op AI partner mechanic, works well most of the time, but I never found it especially satisfying. Most of the time it felt like cheating to hammer on the 'Help!' button when an enemy was munching on me, and my AI companion infallibly jabbed me with a shot to keep me from Game Over-ing time and again. Sometimes the AI can be slow to do things or do them in awkward ways, but by and large it works and that's better than you can say for most games. I can't comment on the online co-op s since I haven't tried it, but I assume it makes the game easier still.

It's odd that I think of this game as "easy" since I died a hell of a lot toward the end of the game. In my defense, that's because RE5 abuses the quick time event "hit this button now!!" stuff of RE4 (or, you know, God Of War or Shenmue) to a terrible degree. It gets to the point where you die a dozen times in a row because you didn't react with split second timing, and often the only way to finish off certain bosses is with this mechanic. Without spoiling anything, there's a fight toward the mid-to-late game that forces you to hammer the X button like we're back in the NES days with that one Track and Field game. Most annoying, though, is when these suddenly pop up during what you assume are movie cutscenes. This isn't even like Simon Says, it's just arbitrary command prompts. I don't think of this as me being bad at the game, I think of it as the game being really cheap and poorly designed. Doubly so when you fight enemies that require precision aiming in weakpoints. You could pretty much fudge your way through those in RE4, Regenerators aside, but here they're bizzarely exacting.

Speaking of Regenerators, as I said before, RE5 is not scary. It tries to be a few times but it falls flat. I don't mind this because I never found the RE games scary (jump scares are not horror in my book), yet it does cause me to wonder why so much of this game feels uninspired and personality-less. RE4 is constantly awesome throughout and never feels as long as it really is. You always wanted to keep going to see what crazy new situations you'd be in, what cool new enemies you'd fight. By contrast, RE5 feels repetitive and not particularly exciting. The last couple hours feel padded out--after all, you chase the main villain through several locales, fighting his henchmen, just as you did in RE4, but it all seems contrived and irritating here. Again, without spoiling anything major, you chase the dude halfway across Africa, a huge boat, and what looks like the Blackbird from X-Men. Yes, the game wraps up the Resident Evil storyline for good(??) but the wrapping up of all the various plot threads smacks of George Lucas-ism. That is to say, made up as it went along for so many years that when some ultimate explanation is needed, anything offered must be convoluted and stupid.
RE5 suffers from what I like to call Lesser Sequel Syndrome. All the elements of something you love are there, but certain things have changed, been added and subtracted, to make it not as good. In other words, RE5 is lacking the polish, inventiveness, and streamlined fun of RE4. Much like Dead Space, it's a great game in the RE4 mold with impressive graphics, good-but-not-outstanding sound/music, and competent controls, but it's just not as exceptional as RE4. To put it yet another way, RE4 was a 5 out of 5 game, the kind that only comes around once in awhile. RE5, then, is a 4 out of 5 game: well worth the time and money, but not transcendent and with some glaring flaws.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Video: Yo La Tengo- Here To Fall

Hey, so, Yo La Tengo has a new album and this weekend I saw an air show in Cleveland. This video is the happy coincidence between those two points.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Album Of The Week: The Strokes- Is This It?

The Strokes may have squandered their potential legacy with progressively weaker albums and far-too-soon-for-this-sort-of-thing solo albums, but I think it's safe to say that Is This It? was one of those watershed rock albums. It may not be "important" (whatever that means), it may not have ultimately changed the world (let alone changed/saved rock music), and it may have inspired as much love as it did hate (Ryan Adams supposedly recorded a covers album of it titled Is This ****? as if he himself wasn't sure)...yet during the last few months of 2001 and through most of 2002, The Strokes were everywhere, along with a wave of other bands lumped into their garage rock revival thing.

Still, Is This It? is a release that needed time. Not to determine if it was good, but to determine if it would remain good. Certain albums feel fresh and "of the moment" but don't age well, to the point where only people still hung up on that scene/movement keep trying to throw albums from it unto lists. Well, we're coming up on the eight year mark of the U.S. release of Is This It? and I have to say, as much cache as it might've held for me and a lot of people at the time, it's possibly even better now.

See, we've gotten beyond the whole garage rock revival and "saviors of rock" nonsense. The Strokes barely register on mainstream media's radar any longer so we don't have to hear about what insufferable jerks they may or may not be. No, we're left with this album and these songs in 2009, and they're still great. Now that I don't hear the music everywhere, now that the memories of the videos are fading from my mind, I can enjoy Is This It? as a pure audio experience. Thus I would argue that it's a better album now because we only have the music to go on and it's not inundating radio stations and MTV.

It's tempting to put Is This It? up on the table and dissect it to pick out all the various bands that influenced it, but this is one of those cases where critics have to grasp for straws as a reference point. I mean, The Strokes are, finally, just a rock band. Not really garage rock or punk rock or indie rock. Sure, the Velvet Underground are a good shot, but The Strokes sound as much like The Velvet Underground as !!! sounds like Liquid Liquid: yes, there's an influence, but it's hardly a direct copy. Suffice it to say that The Strokes are a lean and mean rock band who skirt more toward punk rock and post-punk while still having *gasp* guitar solos and a classic rock sense of melody.

Admittedly, Loaded-era Velvet Underground is a decent reference point, but perhaps it's best to say that they sound like what punk rock would've sounded like if it had taken more from the aforementioned 4th Velvets album and not their first two. For instance, 'Last Nite' has simple punk rock chording and dynamics but also much more affected, purposeful vocals than normally found in classic 70s punk (people often derided the singer for sounding apathetic and off-key, but I always felt his style was more deliberate than not). And 'Barely Legal' has a seemingly simple, repetitive structure before the change-up around the 1:30 mark.

I realize there's a lot of people out there who still think of The Strokes and this album in particular as a flash in the pan. And maybe I'll be saying that very thing in the future if Is This It? ever stops sounding timeless. Regardless, even if you don't feel it belongs on "best of lists" as far as this decade goes, it was at least the best album of that garage rock revivel era. Its only other true competition for that is White Blood Cells, which I would argue is far less consistent and memorable than people give it credit for. Anyway, the White Stripes managed to remain in the public consciousness while The Strokes faded away, so I'm going to grant them this one.

Oh, and yeah, for the record: I do think it's one of the best albums of this decade.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Album Of The Week: Spoon- Kill The Moonlight

My current favorite writer is Charles Bukowski, a man who is perhaps best known for being an alcoholic and womanzier but should be known for how stripped down and yet still poignant his writing could be. In his own words: "a poet is a man who says a complex thing in a simple way." What's more, Bukowski's writing teaches you that simplicity doesn't mean "simple" in the pejorative sense of the word. His prose was sparse but certain lines strike home more than a thousand words of a more ornate author.

Kill The Moonlight has always struck me as the most curious album for Spoon to receive their best ratings on. It's a stripped down, minimalist album that makes use of as few instruments as possible at one time while still keeping Spoon's patented knack for catchy songwriting and rhythmic rock music. But like Bukowski's writing, it does a lot with very little. The punk rock of 'Jonathon Fisk' is a bit of red herring, since my memories of the album end up revolving around minimalist drum, voice, and keyboard based songs like the sublime 'Paper Tiger', the strutting 'All The Pretty Girls Go To The City' (with its brilliant wordless vocals that Britt Daniels spouts at regular intervals), and the rightfully popular 'The Way We Get By.' Rarely does a band manage to do so much with so little, and with such a short run time. It's as if every instrument, even the vocals, is used as much as a rhythm maker as it is a melody maker, from the Beatles-esque pianos to the chunky, rock solid guitar chording to the expressive but often staccato/punctuated singing. Sure, Spoon has always made use of these things, but when you spend most of the album in a room with what feels like just Britt Daniels's vocals, some drumming, and either a guitar or piano (but rarely both), it seems much more obvious and excellent.

To be honest, though, since Spoon's longest album is 43 minutes, I think Kill The Moonlight is unfairly criticized and/or praised for being their shortest and tightest album. In fact, I personally enjoy Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga the most of all their albums. But no Spoon album is as stripped down and unfettered as Kill The Moonlight. No sound, instrument, or second is wasted. While I do think other Spoon albums boast better songs, Kill The Moonlight is the single best package Spoon issued this decade and a compelling case for how less is often better than more.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Video: Sonic Youth- Sacred Trickster

I appreciate the "hand made", digital camera feel of this video. I would also marry any of the three 'paint bomber' chicks in it. I suspect it was made by the daughter of Kim and Thurston, or if not her, one of her friends. Either way, it helpfully predicts the devil may care, "let's just make something, whatever" sound of this song and the album it comes from, which is pretty damn good.