In roughly alphabetical order, my top albums of this year. Ranked by some hazy metric that includes how much listened to them—and how much I wanted to listen to them. Notable to me is the strong showing of old indies Slumberland and Thrill Jockey (especially the latter, with Barn Owl’s Shadowland pressing for a place). Also notable is a relative lack of EAI and the like, though I’m sure MIMEO’s Wigry (Bôłt/Monotype) would have made it if I’d had more time to devote to unpacking it. Probably more accessible listening, given my more limited time now, was the theme of this year. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ll be heading along to this on Friday night (via The Watchful Ear):
Koboku Senju poster (click for full size)
It’s not often that a gig like this comes to Oxford. I’ve seen Toshimaru Nakamura before, in Melbourne, but never seen Tetuzi Akiyama or the Norwegians, so looking forward to seeing this group play out.
Back to XOYO last night for Times New Viking, touring in support of their new record Dancer Equired. This got a less than rapturous Pitchfork review, and since the fuzz and grime has been a large part of their attraction to me, I was a little hesitant. I needn’t have worried—the live sound is as in-the-red as last time I saw them, and the performance as charmingly faux ramshackle. I say ‘faux ramshackle’ because the seamless transitions from one song to another and the altered medley-style versions of some older songs betray a well-honed, dare I say ‘tight’, live show. The last song, a twice-aborted version of ‘Fuck Her Tears’, was a genuinely ramshackle ending.
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Galaxie 500 broke up in acrimonious circumstances twenty years ago. As Dean Wareham tells it, in his gossipy and insightful memoir Black Postcards (pp. 105–6):
Damon called first. My heart skipped a beat. The moment was upon me. I said don’t buy the tickets to Japan because I was leaving the band, and this time it was real.
They weren’t so nice and understanding this time. They were furious. There were three days of angry phone calls.… They stayed angry at me for a long time.
There are surely better ways to break up a band than (almost) out of the blue by phone, while planning the next tour, but Wareham’s motivations are understandable (feeling frustrated and confined in a trio with a ‘married voting-bloc’), as is the reaction of his bandmates. Whatever the final attribution of blame, it’s pretty clear that, while they might be able to negotiate civilly enough to manage the minor industry of Galaxie 500 reissues, they’re not going to get together for a reunion. Read the rest of this entry »
Today is Record Store Day, and I headed down to Oxford’s new indie record store, the Truck Store. I picked up a few nice things while I was there.
- Best Coast, Crazy for You. I think my initial enthusiasm for the lo-fi/garage/surf revival had waned slightly by the time this came out, so I never picked it up last year. But it’s a fun record of summery pop and at a RSD ‘special price’ I was pleased to grab it. UPDATE: Hogie *loves* dancing to this song, he kicks like crazy whenever she sings the chorus!
- Bill Callahan, Apocalypse. He keeps pursuing his own idiosyncratic version of the singer-songwriter, and this new one will I’m sure be interesting again. Baby’s Breath MP3, via The Needle Drop. Read the rest of this entry »