|UserNews Articles 8Band Edits + Tags 1Album Edits 35Album Ratings 272Objectivity 74%Last Active 02-16-11 12:19 amJoined 09-02-06Forum Posts 2Review Comments 993
Pretty self-explanatory, list is mostly recent listens (though not all necessarily digs, or at least not yet, per se), and then a few bonus on-deck entries:
12 Bloody Spies: B-Sides and Rarities
Finally found this used and cheap, which is what I was holding out for, since I've heard and have most of these songs already across various deluxe editions. Still, bundling this nearly two-decades'(!) worth of material reveals what's most remarkable about the set (and band at large, really), how well everything hangs together with no dramatic swings in quality--so much so that it could easily be passed off as another consistent cover-to-cover album if the listener didn't know any better. Really, my biggest gripe is more what the album isn't than what it is, since there are a handful of other songs on the deluxe version of Wonder What's Next (especially "Black Boys on Mopeds" and "(High) Visibility"--which, there alone, talk about range, right?) that, alongside an extra, compilation-exclusive track, could've turned this already-great compilation into an even better 16 Bloody Spies.
Not fully sure how I feel about this one yet. Certainly an A for ambition and intent, but I can't shake the feeling that the execution's a bit lacking, especially in the wake of a personal best like Freetown Sound. Maybe it's superficial, but I just wish there were more, y'know, hooks amid all the melismas and (admittedly impactful) spoken word snippets and drifting piano tinkles. Then again, I've only listened to it twice, so the record may reveal itself with additional spins, but right now, it's settled in good-not-great territory.
|3||Spanish Love Songs|
This, meanwhile, grabbed me right away. That's obviously not a fair comparison at all, since this and 2 hail from vastly different artists working within vastly different genres--but still, there's something to be said for the combination of immediacy and emotional heft on display here. Credit where it's due, would likely have never heard of this were it not for Sputnik's own year-end list, but damn am I glad it came to my attention, especially with no new Menzingers album announced (right...?). "Joana, in Five Acts," especially, crushes (really, the entire stretch from "Buffalo" to then is the best mid-album run this side of, well, After the Party, I guess).
We Can Live Here Forever
Another Sputnik-borne discovery, and yet another gripping one nearly from the outset. Like 3 (and, to some extent, 1), there are arguments to be made that there's not much innovation to speak of here, but hell, if you're along for the ride, what a ride it is. Example: "RE: Your Lungs" is basically "Let's Talk About Your Hair," but with an entirely different face of self-destruction in its crosshairs; truly, the lyrical dexterity woven throughout the album is what really helps elevate the edges enough that repetitive cries like "It's alright" or "We run" absolutely earn their simplicity and become anthems-in-the-making.
Like 2, likely need to sit with this one a bit longer. It's a definite step up from the pretty lackluster (and disappointingly/ironically titled) Promise Everything. But still, in spite of the band's refreshing resistance to further watering down their sound, I feel like this album is largely let down by its back-half--which is a shame, since "Disconnect" through "Stigmata" are their strongest stretch since Colourmeinkindness. Again, maybe repeated listens will pay dividends, but right now, this unfortunately feels more like a great EP than a good album.
|6||Pedro the Lion|
Been getting into this one a bit deeper lately in preparation for Bazan's newest, the recently released Phoenix. Maybe setting myself up for disappointment, since this is certainly the band's high water mark, but the good news is, regardless of what's to come, this album (entirely expectedly) holds up.
|7||Gary Clark Jr.|
The Bright Lights
Another preparation jam, and one I've in honesty neglected too long. Clark's new track is, as the kids say, fire, and it certainly lit one under me to revisit his back catalog. In what's surely a super-controversial take, I've always felt like he excels more in a live setting than studio, so it's no coincidence that this EP, being half and half, stands above his full-lengths so far (not that those are bad, by any stretch, more that they suffer by comparison). Still, if the title track is any indication, the upcoming This Land may capture some of that ineffable energy that sparks up so often on-stage. Regardless, if you're unschooled to the ways of Gary Clark, Jr., do yourself a favor and scoop up this and the effectively-titled Live, then come join me on the ground floor in March.
Next on-deck. Been too long, and will probably be an ideal beddy-byes listen, I suspect.
Also on-deck. Somehow just learned of this (thanks again, Sputnik), which is shocking, since it seems to beat the hell out of Fever-333, whose LP I haven't found the nerve to plunge into just yet. If nothing else, seems like this will make for a rewarding timesink in the interim.
|2 is a grower. Tho Freetown is my least fav blood orange.|
|Interesting. Yeah, I enjoy his whole discography, really, and can easily see this one climbing the ranks with time. It's odd, since I feel like what's, as it stands, my biggest criticism could actually be spun into a compliment, in that there's more substance than style, if that makes any sense.|
|I felt the same way on my first couple listens but then it really started coming together. And I saw him live about a month after it came out and then i was completely sold.|
|That's actually great to know--he's coming nearby about a month from now and I was on the fence about going (in some part because of the album, incidentally), but now definitely leaning towards going.|
|Definitely go. He has a full band for the majority of the set, and all the negro swan songs were highlights. Amazing show.|
|I'm actually convinced negro swan is his magnum opus at this point. I didnt spend as much time with Freetown because it seemed so similar to cupid, been meaning to go back|
|Also a lot of people talk shit about 8 but it's really good. Another big grower|
|I forgot to mention empress of opened for him and tei shi was in town so they both came on stage and performed their respective features |
|I'd encourage you to do so, Freetown-wise. I also really dug Cupid, so maybe the fact that Freetown more than anything refined an already wonderful blueprint was what moved it to my top spot. And yeah, that show sounds sick.|
Also, good to know on 8, I've definitely avoided a lot of early chatter (good and bad) to try to go in with an open mind.