Someone actually asked me to post about new music I've been listening to! Here goes.
Natural Snow Buildings: Shadow Kingdom
There’s been a lot of hype about this record among nerds who never see the daylight & download their mother’s milk from mediafire, but unlike most blognerd heroes this not only holds up, it's extraordinary, one of the most involving & visceral listening experiences I've had recently. It's an absolutely astounding double cd set of glistening, expanding, mind-shattering drones that then abruptly drop into the most direct, lofi britfolk sounding sounds of hollowness & ice. In the same way that Nadja songs continually redefine & expand themselves from within, this music is a plasmic state of musical matter. A beautiful, beautiful album that was out of print the moment it was recorded, pretty much.
Ancestors: demo cassette 1
Raw, thrashy black metal in the vein of Bone Awl, but so three-chord in its approach, like Void or Minor Threat, that it’s immediately arresting. Wild snarling vocals that careen around the songs like drunken tweakers who just crashed your party.
PS Eliot: The Bike Wreck
Straight up cutesy punky indie rock with one of the worst band names ever, but I find this incredibly compelling. Reminds me of when I liked this band in NoVA called The Others: they weren’t all that good, but there was something undeniably love-inducing about them. PS Eliot (ugh, change your name!) are so spirited & heartfelt & energetic that it makes me want to shout along with all their songs.
Austere: To Lay Lie Old Ashes
Huge, continental black metal with pillowy, fuzzy guitars. When I listen to this I feel like I just woke up on a boat & I have no idea where we’re going & there’s no one else on board. I pretty sure there is no way the story is going to end well.
Solo Andata: s/t
Dreamscapes of plucked strings & reverberations. Borderline Windham Hill in its acoustic alchemy, but that’s all right. I’m old enough to accept that can I love new age music. I bought Vangelis' Opera Savauge on vinyl a few weeks back. The way they almost build internal rhythms to their drones leaves me yearning in a way that is intensely emotion & unique to this music.
Fabolous: Loso’s Way
There’s something about Fabolous’ street swagger that I’ve never found to be anything other than an act. Like he’s probably a really nice young guy who puts his thug gear on when he goes on stage. While that might seem like I’m calling him a poseur, it’s really that there’s something personal about his performance of the g-cliches. Every new Fabolous record requires.
Lucero: 1372 Overton Park
Country-punk dude rock goes straight up southern boogie. This is emo for guys who’d rather drink their emotions away. The first time I played this, I felt like I knew every one of these songs already. But in the best way possible.
Kronos Quartet: Mugam Sayagi: Music of Franghiz Ali-Zaden
I saw them a few weeks ago play a piece from this record & it’s been my morning train music since then. Searching & undefined, this music occasionally slips into a groove of traditional music or contemporary classical, but for the most part is a kind of journey between the two & the liminal spaces are the most exciting.
I feel like the Kronos is such a musical institution by now, like Yo Yo Ma or Jay Z, that even though they sometimes play 'difficult' music that there is nothing very offensive about them. I was surprised to note that there were a lot of seats empty after the intermission that had been full. Now that could mean anything, boredom, pressing beerpong engagements, but I know for a fact that the couple directly ahead of J & me kept making WTF faces at each other during the first half & did not stick around for the second. Not that pissing off the audience is a goal unto itself, but it's nice to see that they still have an edge to them.
Ramses III: I Could Not Love You More
Steel guitar is a form of landscape painting. And these guys aren’t even from the American southwest, but from England. So that proves it.
Hudson Mohawke: Butter
Surprisingly, or maybe not considering the 90s revival seems in full force in so many avenues of indie music, this reminds me most of Future Sound of London, the kind of gauzey, introspective elements of that bands hallucinatory house experience come through in this album, more so than the current crop of weirdo electronics that get name-checked along with the Mohawke. I can not believe I like a band whose name is a Hudson Hawk reference. I officially have no inner resources.
Califone: All My Friends are Funeral Singers
Perfect. Nothing surprising. Just perfect. Califone have created their own sub-genre unto themselves & they continue to prove that it’s exactly what is needed.
Mariah Carey: Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel
The Dream production! Pretty much the best thing going in pop music right now. I've never been a Mariah Carey fan, unlike other pop stars she was just always too much of a plastic smile, but this album is immaculate. Almost every track has me in its clutches.