Saturday, June 29, 2013

Heading Home

After one of the busiest months of my life, I'll be leaving back to the States on July first.

Contract is finished.  Goal has been achieved.

I'd say it's really nice to be at this point . . . but it isn't, not yet.  Not till I have my bags completely packed and loaded onto the plane, where I can buckle myself into my seat and realize that there is truly nothing left to do except watch movies until I arrive in Chicago.

I miss good pizza.  I miss Mexican food.

I already know how Quincy finishes, yet I still have 11 chapters to go.  I'll be working on that on the plane and after I arrive, when I should have tons of free time.

Quincy has been a real learning experience.  It's difficult to sustain Quincy's brand of insanity for 50 mini chapters.  Despite the lulls, I hope you've enjoyed it.

I hope there are good flights on the plane.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

May Music

Downloaded a bunch of albums in May.  I just haven't had time to mention them here.  So I figured I'd do a speed round version, thus shortening even further an album-capsule concept that was already ridiculously short to begin with.  If you don't mind, I don't.  This blog is turning out to be an excellent way for me to keep track of new music.

Mikal Cronin



Solid album by a guy who reminds me of a number of different dudes--Matthew Sweet especially.  Retro sound to it.  Standouts are "Turn Away" and "Peace of Mind."  Excellent sounding guitar, with the slightest hint of Beach Boys melodies.  It's the kind of album that invites multiple replays.  The biggest weakness seems to be Cronin's singing on some of 
the slower songs.

*     *     *

The National

Trouble Will Find Me


If you love the National, like I do, then you'll be happy to hear that they haven't done a lot to change their musical formula, inspired in equal parts by Leonard Cohen and the Tindersticks.  Trouble Will Find Me continues the band's excellent four-album streak of truly excellent music, from Alligator to Boxer to High Violet.  No active band captures disillusionment and world weariness like this one, especially when it is carried by the darkly humorous baritone of Matt Berninger.

*     *     *




Deerhunter moves in a new direction with this album, with rougher production and harder rocking songs, each song a nod to a different influence.  It'll strike the listener as off putting and a bit scatter shot on the first few listens, so it's not likely to gain a lot of new fans.  But the album is solid.  If you already like Deerhunter, then throw away any expectations you might have of dreampop fed by looping guitars.  The band has moved in a new direction--actually a dozen new directions, all at once.

*     *     *


Silence Yourself


This is the most exciting, hardest rocking female band since Sleater Kinney.  Others might be inclined to call them a female Joy Division.  It's been a long time since I've heard such a forceful, assured first album.  Lots of fun.

*     *     *

Patty Griffin

American Kid


Good contemporary folk album.  If you like Lucinda Williams or Nancy Griffith, you'll like this one.  It's not an album that I'll play very often, because it's not one of my favorite styles, but it's beautiful Americana.

*     *     *

Daft Punk

Random Access Memories


Unless you've been stuck in prison, you've probably heard "Get Lucky" a few hundred times by now.  My favorite track from the album is "Lose Yourself to Dance."  This is nothing short of an awesome tribute to disco.  One of the best albums of the year. Even if you hate disco, you'll probably like it.

*     *     *

John Grant

Pale Green Ghosts


Funniest yet saddest album I've heard so far this year.  I offer as evidence these lyrics from "GMF" (linked below): "Half of the time I think I'm in some movie / I play the underdog of course / I wonder who they'll get to play me, maybe / They could dig up Richard Burton's corpse."  These lines are soon followed by the chorus, in which Grant calls himself "the greatest motherfucker / That you're ever gonna meet."  In other parts, he sings about contracting HIV.  So it's a real rollercoaster.  Grant's got an incredible voice.  The only thing the album suffers from is sameness.

*     *     *

Vampire Weekend

Modern Vampires of the City


Vampire Weekend takes a mellower turn with this one, an album which the band calls an end to a trilogy starting with Vampire Weekend and continuing with Contra.  This album has some excellent moments, in particular the end of "Hannah Hunt," the geeky funk of "Diane Young," and the gemlike "Step."

*     *     *

Eight down, eight to go.  As if this post wasn't long enough, here's the update of 2013 music so far, with new additions in bold:

The Knife--Shaking the Habitual (94/100)

Daft Punk--Random Access Memories (91/100)

Koze--Amygdala (90/100)

Savages--Silence Yourself (89/100)

Vampire Weekend--Modern Vampires of the City (89/100)

Youth Lagoon--Wondrous Bughouse (88/100)

Foxygen--We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (88/100)

My Bloody Valentine--MBV (87/100)

The National--Trouble Will Find Me (87/100)

Yo La Tengo--Fade (85/100)

Deerhunter--Monomania (85/100)

Kurt Vile--Wakin' on a Pretty Daze (84/100)

Atoms for Peace--Amok (84/100)

Devendra Banhart--Mala (83/100)

Matmos--The Marriage of True Minds (83/100)

Wooden Wand--Blood Oaths of the New Blues (83/100)

Waxahatchee--Cerulean Salt (83/100)

Rhye--Woman (82/100)

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds--Push the Sky Away (82/100)

The Haxan Cloak--Excavation (82/100)

Autechre--Exai (82/100)

Patty Griffin--American Kid (82/100)

Nosaj Thing--Home (81/100)

Grouper--The Man Who Died in His Boat (81/100)

The James Hunter Six--Minute by Minute (81/100)

John Grant--Pale Green Ghosts (81/100)

David Bowie--The Next Day (81/100)

Mogwai--Les Revenants (81/100)

Parquet Courts--Light Up Gold (80/100)

Steve Mason--Monkey Minds in the Devil's Time (80/100)

Jim James--Regions of Light and Sound of God (80/100)

Iceage--You're Nothing (79/100)

Indians--Somewhere Else (79/100)

Mountains--Centralia (78/100)

Bilal--A Love Surreal (78/100)

Local Natives--Hummingbird (78/100)

Mikal Cronin--MCII (78/100)

Autre Ne Veut--Anxiety (77/100)

Phoenix--Bankrupt! (77/100)

Ex Cops--True Hallucinations (77/100)

Toro Y Moi--Anything in Return (77/100)

Low--The Invisible Way (77/100)

No Joy--Wait to Pleasure (75/100)

Broadcast--Berberian Sound Studio (74/100)

Night Beds--Country Sleep (74/100)

Johnny Marr--The Messenger (73/100)

Josh Ritter--The Beast in Its Tracks (73/100)

Justin Timberlake--The 20/20 Experience (72/100)

The Men--New Moon (72/100)

Young Galaxy--Ultramarine (72/100)

A$AP Rocky--Long.Live.A$AP (72/100)


Foals--Holy Fire (71/100)

California X--California X (70/100)

Chvrches--Recover EP (70/100)

Bonobo--The North Borders (70/100)

Four Tet--0181 (70/100)

Suede--Bloodsport (69/100)

Phosphorescent--Muchacho (68/100)

The Flaming Lips--The Terror (68/100)

Pantha du Prince & The Bell Laboratory--Elements of Light (67/100)

Widowspeak--Almanac (67/100)

Jacco Gardner--Cabinet of Curiosities (66/100)

Frightened Rabbit--Pedestrian Verse (66/100)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs--Mosquito (65/100)

Sally Shapiro--Somewhere Else (64/100)

James Blake--Overgrown (64/100)

Suuns--Images Du Futur (64/100)

Chelsea Light Moving--Chelsea Light Moving (64/100)

Brokeback--Brokeback and the Black Rock (57/100)

Various Artists--Trance (Motion Picture Soundtrack) (56/100)

Clinic--Free Reign II (48/100)

Everything Everything--Arc (46/100)

Depeche Mode--Delta Machine (29/100)

Jamie Lindell--Jamie Lindell (16/100)

The Strokes--Comedown Machine (7/100)