Saturday, July 23, 2011

In Heavy Rotation: Was "In the Changer"

It's been a while since I have written about whatever it is that I have been listening to. I used to call this "in the changer," and now I really do not have a clever name for it. "In Heavy Rotation" is what I'm going to roll with now, at least until the next time, when I forget this name.

By the way, even though all of my music does end up on my iTunes, I still actually buy most of my music (though not all) on cd if only for the dual virtues of permanence (I always want a hard copy of music and documents -- call me paranoid) and sound quality. The actual sound of downloads kind of sucks. Plus, while I have satellite radio, I have to move the little gizmo from house to car and so except for long trips I use my cd player in my car to listen to new cds. So I still do actually listen to a large percentage of music in that dead tree format.

Arctic Monkeys -- Suck it and See: So, the group almost always referred to at some point in any review or feature as "Sheffield lads" has produced their most mature album yet, which they obscure with their most juvenile album title to date. In addition to building on their own growing body of work it seems that Arctic Monkeys must have holed themselves up in a room and listened to a lot of Kiss at some point, because there are a couple of songs here that seem to be aiming directly for denizens of Detroit Rock City (see "Brick by Brick" in particular). Ok, so maybe maturing upward to Kiss is a sign of incrementalism rather than evolution, but just how much evolution do we want in most of our rock music anyway? Grade: B

Beastie Boys -- Hot Sauce Committee Part Two: This is a good Beastie Boys album. They manage to build on what they have done in the past without repeating themselves. Their delivery is as good as ever, maybe better. I have enjoyed listening to it. So why do I get the sneaking suspicion that other than when a song appears on random shuffle I will never listen to this album in its entirety again? B

Best Coast -- Crazy For You: This is excellent indie pop music redolent of girl groups and sunsets over California surf and Phil Spector's Wall of Sound and chewy, confectionary goodness. In a just world, this is what mainstream radio would sound like. In this world, we get Lady GaGa and I don't listen to mainstream radio. A-

Broken Bells -- Meyrin Fields EP: This is the second production from Danger Mouse (nee Brian Burton) and James Mercer, the songwriter, lead singer and guitarist for the Shins (I really want them to release a new Shins album, by the way). It's an ep, so it only consists of four songs, all building on Broken Bells' eponymous lp. It's just as good but too short. Have I mentioned how much I hope the Shins put out a new album? A-

David Byrne & Brian Eno -- Everything That Happens Will Happen Today: New wave gets mature? Postpunk reflects on its post-postpunk years? Brian Eno helps Talking Heads lead singer find a sport coat that fits? Grownups on parade? Whatever it is, I hope I age this well. A-

Cut Copy -- Zonoscope: A little dance-y, a little trance-y, a little indie rock. And probably a little emo because I really don't know what the fuck emo is and yet everything these days is emo because 20 year olds apparently always think they invented bringing emotion to music. And I swear they stole some riffs from Fleetwood Mac, which is a pretty good source to steal from if you can get away with it. B


Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Haven't downloaded all of Hot Sauce yet but Too Many Rappers and Say It rock. I guess it shows how unaffiliated a fan I am if the only tracks I managed to get my digital digits on were the ones that rocked my socks off from that YouTube video with Elijah Wood, Seth Rogen and that guy from Pineapple Express. Oh well. Still like the old stuff and revived my playlist with the freezone mix of Root Down - Too bad the only version of it was censored. Awwww fuck! lol.

wv: ureech. There are many ways to interpret that one I guess.

dcat said...

C4BDH --
I still think of the album as an important concept for music, but I wonder how downloading has totally changed the way many people, especially those from a pre-album (I include cd's in the old man catchall term "album") will absorb and think of music. I know that I listened to that Beasties album in its totality, as an album, in the order the Beasties arranged it. In fact I'm embarrassed to say I had to go back and check out the specific songs you mentioned, because as I listened I did not absorb all of the song titles because I simply listened to the album in its original order. Indeed, even cd's ruined my capacity to know the name of every song on an album -- back in the era of cassette tapes I learned titles because you looked at each side as you flipped it.

I'm old.