tapping incessantly

Here's where I get to pretend my musical tastes and opinions mean something, and is also a place for me to practice my writing chops. Feedback more than welcome.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I made a mix tonight without planning anything at all. It turned out ok aside from a few minor fuck ups. It's wild how much musical terrain this mix traverses, I've yet to listen to it myself to figure out if it works.


I've decided to resuscitate this old blog out of it's retirement because I'm afraid my postings on facebook are too numerous/annoying for my friends and while I love my Tumblr, I'd like to post more varied and detailed entries.

Fingers crossed on me actually committing to keeping this going..

Friday, December 23, 2005

2005 was an intense year for music. That might come as a token statement that precedes any end of year list, but who cares. In the past few years I have been schooling myself with the help of others and assorted resources, becoming more and more compulsively obsessed with hearing new music that makes my cranium tingle with joy or causes goosebumps to form on my arms. I have tried hard over the past few weeks to assemble a list that covers every single album that has ellicited these reactions, and here is the first part of this list.

Black Mountain - Black Mountain (Scratch/Jagjaguwar)
The album that single handedly made me understand Led Zeppelin, which, believe you me is no small feat. This year I had a chance to see Black Mountain which unfortunately didn't happen, but prior to the show I started really listening to this album a lot. Stephen McBean, shockingly of the less likable Jerk with a Bomb, and co-horts are responsible for making these tripped out stoner rock jams cool again. There is no denying song like Modern Music, or the epic Druganaut, no matter how derivative anyone can argue the sound might be.

Adult. - Gimme Trouble (Thrill Jockey)
I have the most intense love for Adult., mostly because of their daring and distinct esthetic and attention to aggrevation. This third album is less dancey than it's predacessors, but more angsty and spazzy. The addition of Sam Consiglio on guitar (of Tamion 12 inch fame, another of Ersatz's roaster) seemed to let Adult. get more musical and deeper than they were capable of before. Nicola introduced depth to her vocals a la post-punk flavour, while searing bass and guitar float over spazzy synths. Definitely not for everyone's tastes, but certain for me.

Antony and the Johnsons - I am a bird now (Secretly Canadian)
There was no one person who could convince me Cabaret-style music and performances could ever be good... This winter while in Toronto I made it a goal to seek out this album shortly after it's release. By this time, the hype machine had started to roll, as Pitchfork proclaimed it a keeper. When I first heard Antony's insanely distinctive voice (an amalgamation of Billie Holiday and Boy George to my ears) I did not know how to react. The guy at the record store scorned "His voice is fucking annoying." I agreed and walked out. My mind changed that evening while walking around alone and still hearing Antony singing about wanting someone to take care of him when he dies.  The album certain doesn't read like a sunshine story - the lyrics speak of that desperate feeling to be loved and cared for forever; of feeling less womanly after breast amputation; and of abusive relationships. Or at least that's what it reads to me. Painfully beautiful.

Broadcast - Tender Buttons (Warp)
In the summer this album was leaked to the many grubby hands of listeners keen to pick up this album before release date online (a trend which has reached stupid proportions). When this happens though, it does give one time to evaulate just how much longevity an album has. Tender Buttons is quite a departure from the lush kind of sounds that Broadcast have been known for. The once five-piece, now a trio, broke their own rules by making an album so simple that it many it feels as though there is a single web of notes playing over..  It's no secret that these guys know their shit about music. The invisible Jukebox from an issue of the Wire this fall perhaps the best I have ever read. As Popmatters confirmed, I am not the only one feeling this album's simplicity.

The Chap – Horse (Lo Recordings)
Perhaps the best discovery of 2005 was The Chap. This 4-piece perfectly amalgamate that kind of elementary electronic experimentation with experienced snooty rock (read: what laymen call “indie rock”). Quirky and charming, there is no denying smarmy, sarcastic lyrics and cute melodies dreamed up under the influence of a presumably marijuana induced state.

Electrelane – Axes (Beggars/Too Pure)
The women of Electrelane are fascinating. Their first album, Rocket to the Moon, arrived to me via cassette as a direct of them being opening acts for Le Tigre some years ago. Since then the Birmingham group have been seemingly adopted by Steve Albini, who openly touts the band as being tops, and gotten more and more interesting. The Power Out, their sophomore effort, made too many missteps to be an enjoyable album the whole way through, but Axes more than redeemed them. Klezmer rock out “Eight Steps” is perhaps the album’s most interesting piece, sounding like a factory that collapses and rises again, the banjo pluck of “I Keep Losing Heart” highlights just what multi-instrumentalists they are (furthermore that they are eclectic and varied in their production), and the lyrics of “Two for Joy” swoon and crush. It’s this great variance of styles that make this perhaps the most interesting of the albums I loved this year. Absolutely amazing.

Final Fantasy – Has a Good Home (Blocks)
I remember when I was a teenager delving more and more into underground music that existed well below the radar of MuchMusic (outside of the Wedge, that is). It was always the Americans or the British that got me riled up. If it weren’t Pavement, it was Belle and Sebastian. I made conscious efforts to seek out Canadian acts/groups who I could get behind, but outside of a few songs here and there, there was never much for me. Recent years have changed this. Final Fantasy, the work of Owen Pallett, is the kind mixture of indie pop songwriting and strings that might remind some of Stephen Merritt, but it’s got a lot more than most comparisons suggest. Strings are really amazing when done properly, but it seems that most people just don’t do strings right in the context of a modern song. One listen to “..Has a Good Home” will convince any naysayer otherwise. The poppy single (presumably dedicating to his Arcade Fire friends) “This is the Dream of Win and Regine” is so cute and catchy that it should have been a hit in an ideal world. The heartbreaking “Chronicles of Sarnia” was the 3rd most played song on my ipod this year, and I have quite a taste for sappy, sad songs.

Die Monitr Batss – Girls of War (Troubleman Unlimited)
Whenever I read any press about these guys, all anyone can say is that they are really derivative jarring, angular post-punk while in the next review probably giving some piece of shit album that sounds like EVERYTHING else a glowing review. Well fuck that, I love the batss. This album is really fun to listen to cause it does rock out and yes it has a bit of skronky saxy and post-punky feel that has been done, but so has everything else. Plus, it’s simple and seems to be semi-polical in the right ways, although I don’t want to infere anything. Plus, Bryce is a total fucking snob and made fun of my t-shirt. I really like him a lot.

Cocorosie – Noah’s Arc (Touch and Go)
The Cassady sisters left their guitars in the closet (mostly) for this album, making it sound a little less blues than their debut. For some reason, the granola girls that “like” Cocorosie don’t really want this album. They want “La Maison de mon Reve” on their way to the PLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYED out Joanna Newsom. It’s really interesting that people feel this way cause of the absence of guitar and inclusion of the vocal beatbox stylings of Spleen, and farm animal noises from those See-n-Say Fisher Price wheel coupled with harp, which makes me fucking sway and bop EVERY fucking time I turn this album on. Super fucking quirky and barebones, but also very enchanting and got more going on than most people feel. The song with Antony we can do without, but hearing these ladies sing about falling in love with bad men and street boys almost makes me forgive the comments one of them made concerning the Kill Whitey parties earlier this year, which resulted in me being in a lengthy email discussion with the author of the article from Brainwashed calling shit on which ever one of the ladies commented that these parties provided a safer environment for women to dance to hip-hop. Sometimes it’s better to give people the benefit of the doubt, I am willing to do so with regards to this and say that this album is fucking gold, but not for everyone.

Ghislain Poirier – Breakupdown (Chocolate Industries)
This Montreal hip-hop producer’s got an insanely awesome production style that is somewhere between Prefuse 73 and beaty IDM. One listen to his debut for Push Button Objects’ Chocolate Industries will convince anyone into new sounds. I spent all of xmas so far trying to perfect the French rhymes of Rivere de Diamants, which must sound absolutely terrible to my poor family, but at least I get the “Bounce le Gros” part right. This is the hip-hop album that redeemed my interest in a genre I haven’t felt into in for sometime now.

Modeselektor – Hello Mom (BPitch Contol)
German’s totally got a fucking lock down on spazzy techno. The amount of fucking hype around Ellen Allien and cohorts is merited. Indeed, it was Allien’s awesome “My Parade” mix of last year that turned me on to Modeselektor’s Rave Anthem, which was probably among the most played song for me last year. The almost self-aware cheesiness of their mountainous builds and beats, coupled with an occasional MC doesn’t necessary translate to anything on the dance floor, but it’s pretty fun to bop to. “Kill Bill vol. 4” shows that these guys are totally taking the piss, but in the process making something that might be even classified as post-techno. Guests TTC appear on “Dancing Box”, but they are thankfully cut and pasted to shit cause I am sick of people going on about TTC. Yes. Post-techno.

Polmo Polpo – Kiss Me Again and Again
Known for his minimal dubbish electro that sounds like a fucking rave about 400 feet below sea or something, this remake of the awesome Dinosaur original is the best tribute to AR ever. The repetitive 21+ jam out sees Perri move through song slowly, adding and subtracting melodies so smoothly it’s barely noticeable. I had the chance to see him just perform this song and it was total pure bliss for me. I stood all trance like watching him channel one of the greatest disco tracks I have ever heard through all of his piles of gear and gently swaying and bopping my head wishing I was on some crazy drugs to make it even better.