New music posts will come every other week from this day hence. There simply aren’t enough insults in the world to continue tackling this on a weekly basis.
Solange – A Seat At The Table
Some friends of mine were giving me a hard time on Facebook recently for not having reviewed the new Solange Knowles record. “It’s one of the best records of the year,” they said. “Where’s the Solange review?? GTFOOH!” they said. Then two things happened. First, I spent about ten minutes trying out different combinations of words until I had figured out what “GTFOOH!” means. Second, I got nervous that I was going to listen to this thing and have a strikingly negative take on it, further distancing myself from both critical and public consensus.
I needn’t have worried. This is remarkable work. Both tracks that I’ve listened to (the above “Cranes in the Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair“) are brilliantly produced, forward-thinking R&B. The arrangements are interesting and the performances are fabulous. The songs are poetically constructed and far more substantial than average “pop” fare. It is wonderful stuff and I am forced to admit that my friends are smarter than me. I will listen to the rest of this album.
Green Day – Revolution Radio
Never in the history of music have a group of mushier, squishier little faux-rebels made so much of a career out of pretending to represent opposition to the status-quo while simultaneously fondling the genitals of the establishment. The only revolution that these guys can credibly claim to support is going to get the tires on their expensive cars rotated. Only a teenager would fall for this garbage.
Sum 41 – 13 Voices
I don’t like this music any more than I’ve ever liked this band’s music, but I think that writing about having almost killed yourself with alcohol seems a lot punker than being a millionaire pretending to be a revolutionary. This is still just kind of ready-made punk from a can, though. Also, just because you’re writing about killing yourself with alcohol doesn’t mean that you’re writing about it well. This is pretty lame, hackneyed stuff.
I want to see this guy and the Green Day guy get into a fist fight and then reconcile and then spoon each other to sleep.
Is that weird?
Goat – Requiem
From what I can understand, this is psychedelic world-music Slipknot. I mean, it doesn’t sound like Slipknot. But look at them. Also, this track is kind of creepy and thoroughly amazing. You could probably do some rituals to it, but I’m more likely just to listen to it while I’m doing the dishes or something. I do dishes on peyote, btw.
Barry Gibb – In The Now
This is Barry Gibb’s best work since a few years ago when somebody on the internet claimed that he was dead and we were all like “holy smokes, this is the best death hoax since the Jeff Goldblum death hoax! Great job, Barry Gibb!” Gibb’s version of being “in the now” is apparently singing low-energy soft-disco in the same weird voice he’s always used. Surely there’s an audience for this and surely they love beards. It’s terrible, though.
Julia Jacklin – Don’t Let The Kids Win
Julia Jacklin appears to be making a statement about how scary and weird it is to get older. Being that she’s in her mid-20s, my first response to this was “Fuck you, Julia Jacklin. You aren’t old enough to be complaining about getting old.” Then I realized that when I was that age, that was also all that I thought about and all that I wrote about – much less artfully than Ms. Jacklin does, I might add. So I’ll force myself to get over my initial eyerolling and take a sincere look at this.
Jacklin traffics in a singer-songwriter vein very reminiscent of the niche that Angel Olsen has carved out for herself. The songs are pleasant and warm examples of neo-classic folk pop, delivered with an Emmy Lou Harris lilt. The songwriting is a little bit more reverent than Olsen’s, but is nonetheless cleverly constructed and well performed. If this kind of thing is up your alley (and it is, in fact, up mine), Don’t Let The Kids Win has the potential to be a winner for you. I’m going to give it a little more attention.
Kings of Leon – Walls
Kings of Leon exist to me as this band that got huge without me knowing about them and then suddenly disappearing without me caring. Now they’re back. Okay.
My only real memory of this band is playing their hit “Use Somebody” on like three or four different rhythm video games. I didn’t love the song, but it was fine.
“Use Somebody” is Beethoven’s 9th fucking symphony compared to whatever is going on here. This endless slog is unwritten and poorly written. It’s as if someone realized that they had a major label contract to fulfill, so they threw two chords together and ripped a page out of the middle of an old notebook of rejected lyrics and decided to mumble those for a while. Terrible job, King Leon.
Mono – Requiem For Hell
This is pretty great, terrifying stuff. This video is amazing. For fans of noisy instrumental post-rock scariness. A+.
Produced by Steve Albini, even.
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
Apparently DEP is breaking up following this album’s tour cycle. I’m fairly confident that I can acknowledge this band’s importance while simultaneously expressing incredulity at the stellar reviews that this record is receiving. It honestly just sounds like the same horseshit they’ve been hawking for the last 15 years. They’ve managed to remain one of those bands that critics love and (like Mastodon) have become enshrined as Gods of Metal while releasing material of debatable importance and quality. Makes sense that the DEP singer would hook up with Mastodon members to create a terrible metal/pop super-group.
If you’re a fan of Dillinger, you’ll probably be into this record. They certainly remain a talented group putting together challenging material, and if they make good on their promises to break-up, they’ll leave behind a legacy of some significance. I’m sure that their future projects will be along the lines of Metallica’s Load, and it is probably better that the DEP name not be attached to them.