Dad rock. Beer commercial music. These labels courtesy of Mark Kozelek, whos name has become synonymous with ‘the internet.’ Before that: there were jams. I particularly like these. Jerry Garcia would have approved.
During the bands leading up to Ben Frost at a major music festival I was asleep. Curled up like a little capybara in dreamland. The moment he took the stage I bolted awake, driven by his music to jettison my festival-mates, rush the stage and rip. This dense, choc-fulla-chaos and quietness work is a love letter to that moment and Frost’s burgeoning legacy.
I just don’t see this record reaching my ears a decade ago. It would have ended up in the cistern, backlogged in the pseudo-classical archives by a mustachioed gentleman in a pith hat. Woodfall is beautiful; it’s the most objective example of nice music, like when someone asks you “how was your vacation to Hawaii?” Well, I was on vacation. In Hawaii. Woodfall is gloriously technical like a commissioned composition yet it shimmers with a grassroots fast and loose luster. Make love to this record’s windswept tones and enharmonics.
Where have you gone oh darling young Julian? Caught in a time warp, Casablancas taps the pulse of sloshy, discordant recreation and gives us a quilt of hullabaloo that should have been The Strokes’ fourth album. The combination of mass producing and Casablancas’ ‘jesus, I’m the shit, can’t you pay attention to me please’ locution work almost too magnificently completing a brick and mortar wall of sound that only Berlin could grasp the gravity of.
We all wanted a song of the year that made us look cool to have a song of year and we got it. Operators’ ‘True’ swooped in like Angel Nephi and gave us the plates and location to find the book of boombox. But don’t discount what comes after. This EP is great, harboring a disgruntled, sonic creature that may give us all a run for our $.
Unsuspecting as per usual, Dr. Ricardo Donoso (note: our research team could not verify if he is in fact a real doctor and that is pure speculation based on the classiness of his name) begins his latest quest with an ocean coming in and out then eventually labored breathing. High minded and on the nose, yes, but Donoso submerges his compendium into a digital peril of tact and restraint. You’ll thank your lucky stars you’re at an agreeable altitude.
I want chords. And not the normal kind you learn while taking guitar lessons with the beardy guy down on Hoplessness Court. Hospitality seem to pride themselves on their commitment to diminished and negative minor sevenths. Yet the songwriting is groovy as ever. They bring into question: when does composition become so good you’ll never be a headlining band?
So aside from being a filmmaker’s filmmaker and redefining the artist paragon, Jim Jarmusch is also in a band! In this case scoring his own film and being accompanied by virtuoso lute player Jozef van Wissem. What could possibly go wrong? In this case nothing went wrong. Absolutely nothing went wrong.
For those of us who love Chris Clark, we are extending our smiles. After what might consider a gallop in the puddle, Clark kills it, obliterating our expectations with a record inspired by long walks through remote English moors. Recorded in a farmhouse, Clark uses his laptop less like a quantifying composition tool and more like a blunt instrument, building a riotous sound system for an eerie and gradual apocalypse.
What Dan Snaith does is the embodiment of cute, and while critics will thresh through their cognitive dresser drawers for another term there is none. Fortunately he does cute well, outstandingly well, commanding all his bounciest synths and knobbiest fidelities to detail. While his instrumental gauntlet may be the primary entity touching listeners’ throats let us not forget his slightly incurved oval voice, fiddling atop.
Commune begins with the strike of a meditation gong, an interesting serenity in contrast to the rest of the album which has me pleading: “is there a respectable synonym for ‘fucking awesome?’” Goat is the thesis statement to David Byrne’s 1999 essay ‘I Hate World Music,’ a furious hodgepodge of transcontinental influences that merge into a magnificent confluence. Commune is brash and punk, an integrated romp of the senses.
Though it’s conjecturally impossible to top 2010’s lo-fi breakthrough assemblage In Evening Air, Future Islands’ 2014 release Singles was their witting gambit to get recognize, reach a larger audience, and use kaleidoscopic production to land them spots on late night television. Well, it worked. Singles utilizes the classic Islands pallet but escalates it into a glittery, polished, banger bringer that took them from kitchenette sized DIY venues like Brooklyn’s Silent Barn to stages in Paris performing for thousands of fans.