Hey you. It’s been awhile. Unfortunately, until I have a schedule that is remotely consistent, it’s difficult for me to update with a whole lot of consistency. This will change – but until I graduate, it’s one of the hurdles I have to deal with.
To hold you for now, this post is an over-view of some of the newer things I’ve been enjoying for the past 2-3 weeks, because it seems like lately, more than usual, I’ve been getting asked the ever so important question of what I’ve been listening to.
A few weeks ago, I transcribed an interview with these gentlemen for RS. I was intrigued when they said that they were really working for more of a soul/r&b sound than a rap one, and was determined to hear anything I could. I was not let down. I’m sure plenty of you have heard the single, “Crazy” (download), but I can’t really post any of the other tracks since St. Elsewhere is not released yet (May 9th!). This is the first time I’ve wanted to run out and buy an album the day it comes out in quite awhile.
I tend to like my music to be relatively simple. Not a lot of fancy shit, just straight-forward. That said, I tend to like my music to be interesting and different. There aren’t a lot of albums that I can listen to all the way through without getting bored – I’m definitely a playlist/mix CD kind of person. Above all things, Destroyer’s latest, Destroyer’s Rubies, is definitely interesting. It strikes me as the kind of music that, normally, I wouldn’t be remotely attracted to, but for some reason, I find this album absolutely charming. There’s something in songs like “A Dangerous Woman Up To A Point” (download) and “European Oils” (download) that is so likeable, even though there’s also something kind of ridiculous and even over-the-top about the music. Perhaps that’s what makes it so refreshing.
Firstly, I have to come clean and say that I’ve been waiting for an album from Rainer Maria for quite some time, so my love for Catastrophe Keeps Us Together may be a bit biased. I found out about them when Long Knives Drawn came out, and have long since played it repeatedly, never getting sick of it, but still wanting more. They certainly delivered with Catastrophe. For some reason this is hard to explain in detail, but their latest effort keeps all the things I really liked about Long Knives Drawn and improves on the only things that could’ve been better. While the tone is still very emotional and intense, which is something they’ve always done well (“Life Of Leisure” (download), “Already Lost” (download)), they break it up — not only with the occasional slower-paced ballad like they did with LKD, but also with a surprisingly poppy number, “Clear And True” (download). Is this a sign of where they may head in the future? Oh, the possibilities…
The Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips are one of those bands that I’ve always liked, but never flipped out over or listened to more than occasionally. A handful of people in the RS office were really raving about their latest, At War With The Mystics, but I assumed it was pretty much like every other Flaming Lips endeavor I’d heard and didn’t bother hunting it down. One of my highly excellent fellow interns sent the album to me, so out of curiosity I listened to it. I was pleasantly surprised. Could it be that after all these years the Flaming Lips have finally matured their sound? Usually I find that when bands refine their sound I’m less interested, but in this case it’s the opposite. My jaw dropped when I heard 7 minute songs that weren’t completely ridiculous and actually held my attention, such as “The Sound Of Failure / It’s So Dark… Is It Always This Dark??” (download). They certainly haven’t lost any ounce of creativity, experimentation, or their signature sound, but it seems like they’ve refined it, somehow — “Haven’t Got A Clue” (download). It’s still not the kind of thing I’d listen to every day, but I definitely have a feeling I’ll pull this out more than once every six months or so.
A while back, You Ain’t No Picasso posted a new song, “Louisiana” (download), from the Walkmen’s upcoming album, A Hundred Miles Off. He wasn’t really into it, but I pretty much fell for it instantly. There’s something almost Bob Dylan-esque about his voice in the beginning, and the whole sound is so different from the bands they tend to get grouped in with, like Interpol, Franz Ferdinand or even the Arcade Fire. I love every second of it. Not only did just this one song get me ridiculously excited for their album, it made me go back and hunt down more stuff from their catalog.
I tend to ferociously avoid hype bands. It’s not that I’m one of those jerks who doesn’t want to like bands that everyone else does (as you should see plenty of evidence of throughout this blog), it’s just that I tend to genuinely not like them, anyhow. So many of the bands that have gotten hype in the past two years or so, and most especially in the past couple months, regardless of whether the hype is mainstream (Arctic Monkeys) or indie based (Tapes n’ Tapes), have not struck my fancy to the point where I understand or agree with the hype.
It is this reason that was the driving force behind my hesitance to listen to Voxtrot, because they’ve been THE mp3 blogger hype band for at least the past 3 months, if not longer. The first song I heard by them was “Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives” (download), which didn’t blow my socks off at first, but I thought was pleasant enough. Then I heard “Soft & Warm” (download), which, again, didn’t seem so amazing, but I liked it. I’m still not entirely convinced of all the hype around the band, but the songs really have grown on me and I’ve found myself listening to them repeatedly. I don’t think there’s anything all that different or unique about what they’re doing, but they’re writing music that I’m enjoying (as are plenty of other people), and in this case, maybe that’s enough.
I’ll really be trying to get this thing rolling more, but I’m finding that most of my courses this semester are ridiculously bottom heavy, and there’s always the internship… things at the internship are well – right now the office is gearing up for the 1,000th issue / party. We spend a lot of time transcribing interviews about past covers / articles. The other day I transcribed an interview with Kanye West. He talked about furniture, ’cause he’s decorating a new house and apparently has a huge love for architecture and interior design. With any luck, I’ll have some delicious things to report over the course of the next few weeks. I may even get into the 1,000th issue party, if I’m lucky (so wish me luck).