@@@ Anna von Hausswolff: All Thoughts Fly (Southern Lord, 2020) I’m a big Southern Lord fan and urge other folks to check out their releases. This is a 12 minute banger and it opens up Bach-y and church-y but 12 minute bangers can take you on a journey for sure and who knows where it might go. It looks like they’re going for that lucrative ambient listening neighborhood as this continues along a solo instrumental/processed path. I like it all right, as ambient music it’s cool without blowing my mind. Unlike other Southern Lord releases there’s a certain conservatism to the aesthetic here. It’s a lot of arpeggios and tremolo like effects and I guess I was hoping for more. It’s nice background music to doom scroll during a pandemic but I like to be challenged by my ambient music. Around 8 minutes in we get to a crescendo and it’s cool.
@@@ A Certain Ration: Always In Love (Mute, 2020) Slotted as alternative, I’m a bit surprised to see this out on Mute. It’s electro pop that is both sickly sweet and sonically flaccid. Intimate vocals, some electro garnish, white boy janky guitar and frat rock drumming, oh lord I wish this heavily influenced by ’80s biscuit dropping was buried alongside Ronald Reagan. I guess I’m the freak here as I don’t know how this superficially emotive track works for people, it has so little substance it’s a tad scary.
@@@ Sufjan Stevens: The Ascension (Asthmatic Kitty, 2020) This record by an indie darling has been getting pushed in various spots on the interwebz. I’ve never really cottoned to Stevens and what I’m hearing in the 14th track and title track to the record doesn’t change my feeling. It’s a pretty massive slice of indie New Age electro biscuitry with overwrought production. I love emo punk and I love it for the contrast of extreme confesssion over the storm of fully unhinged punk rock . He’s denounced his own selfishness but in a pretty self absorbed manner, blech. Prophesies, pantomimes and sonically beautiful. I think this sort of introspection is not aligned to with real life when painful shit is encountered and acknowledged it’s not a gorgeous soundscape, it’s draining and very difficult. Oh I protest this on the ground of fostering illusion and setting back the idea of real inward acceptance. Blech, boo hiss.
@@@ The Ocean: Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic/Cenozoic (Metal Blade, 2020) A record epic in scope spanning the life and periods of our planet. I will be checking out the opening track Triassic — it opens with some strat-y sound guitar strums and a tad of flute. The rhythm section appears and it’s a jaunty heavy rock opening but I do anticipate a classic metal explosion right around the corner. I like the bass player and his/her tone — grizzy and melodic for a metal player. Oooh, pressure is building and the giant metal sphincter is about to open up and spill! Right at 3 minutes the shit hits the listeners’ ears and then back to the gentler verse. The production is manicured as neatly as hair in porn flix. It’s a chill/explode, chill/explode pattern they’re working and it’s a classic though they’re stretching it with these long song lengths. I wish the sounds here weren’t so tightly controlled but a lot of folks find that exciting, the super trimmed and polished thing. I like some of these repeating guitar melodies, they’re spice shit up.
YTD recordings listened to: 760
Good music, not list worthy: 412
Not good music: 323
Honorable Mentions: 5
Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica, Hailu Mergia, Pokey LaFarge, Nico Gomez, Nohe and Sus Santos, Tiny Bit of Giant’s Blood, Pole, Naeem, Mekons, Santrofi, DJ Nigga Fox, Flor do Toloache, Alexander Hawkins/Tomeka Reid, Shy One, Protomartyr, Nnamdi, Ekiti Sound, Awa Fall, 25,000 Kittens, Anjimile, Superfonicos