Albums I “discovered” in the last month

Here is just an overview of my recent listening habits, in the guise of a few rushed opinions on some of the albums I have obtained in legal-honestly-completely-100%-legal ways. Firstly this is because at the moment I don’t feel completely sure of where this blog is going, and also because I’ve got into some pretty good albums in the last few weeks, so maybe I could do with sharing them. This might be a regular thing. If so, watch out for 14th November, where I will update y’all on what will then be the previous month, but is at the moment the coming month.

*Temporal-Grammatics fail*

I warn you these following views are very much hurried and probably will evolve into new views with further listens but I’m writing this post now, and I’ll post my current judgement, rather than an anticipation of future judgements.

Frightened Rabbit – Midnight Organ Fight

Frightened Rabbit are a new band to me, all I knew is that they were Scottish and critically well-regarded. They craft alternately merry and lovelorn music is coupled with the sort of intelligent, realistic wording that seem talior-made to compel me. The singer, who sounds like The Proclaimers if they lapsed into adolescent self-loathing. Its all very standard, basic indie-pop, but it comes together impressively and entertainingly. Somehow it sounds simultaneously like a lot of other bands, but better than these bands. It doesn’t actually draw on folk, but fans of folk would no doubt enjoy it, maybe because of the joyfully playful self-deprecation of the vocals as they contradict the rising instrumentation. The opening track “The Modern Leper” is a great place to start, compressing all that follows it into a single 4 minute lament of beautiful disgust.

The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

I already knew that The Flaming Lips were somehow too distant from me for me to enjoy them. In a sense I am proud of my linear, blinkered taste (certain people like certain styles, what’s so wrong with that?) but I don’t like to completely ignore styles just because I didn’t enjoy whatever limited material of that style I’ve heard. And yet somehow this album gives me nothing. Yes, there are certain interesting hooks and there’s intelligence in the structuring of both the whole album and individual tracks, however, they don’t interest me enough to re-listen to them nor to be able to properly describe their quality. It’s a jumble of ideas that doesn’t connect with me, and it seems to be self-willingly removed from the listener. There’s a story in there somewhere, but it’s too hidden to matter.

Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

Highly anticipated (by at least one person) debut folk album which manages to work both on the basis of single tracks and as a whole. I am already certain that I will give many repeat listens to the bleak and brooding “Thistle and Weeds” and the highly-charged “Little Lion Man”. You could easily call it part of the wave of post-Fleet Foxes bands that deal in seasonal moods and harmonial bluegrass, but I really think this album is more intelligent, borrows from more complex sources, and in many ways is imbued with far more emotion than the average record of this style. The music is very crisp and doesn’t at all get repetitive, the vocals are passionate throughout and the songs are disimilar enough to keep the album interesting all the way through to the end.

The Avalanches – Since I Left You

Yes, I have already reviews this, kind of, in a previous post, but here it is again. Interesting ideas, just not enough of them, and to often a single piece of material is extended beyond its capacity, extended outtros blend into not just the next track, but all the way through it and into the next track, single static styles are held for too long. But the moods are sustained well, the techincal achievements are impossible to ignore and certain tracks, “Frontier Psychiatrist” especially, and just too damn addictive and inventive to ignore. The over-reliance on beats is noticeable, but the skill at applying them into the surrounding layers of music is admirable, and improves the album as a whole.

Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antractica

For me, this is something of a “wow” record. The album takes in a lot of grand themes, by the end of “3rd Planet”, the stunning, shimmering opening track, the Earth has been born and then destroyed. The album contains a lot of overly cerebral rock that defines all my favourite virtues in the genre I so callously refer to as “indie”. The guitars are there in a way that has an impact without them ever being particularly forceful on the mind. Lots of ideas are thrown around, fast tracks and slow tracks intermingle, rise and fall, and the album goes on the sort of evolving journey that would befit a concept album, but avoids the limitations that the plot of one would create. So many aspects work, the short folksy interlude of “Wild Packs Of Family Dogs”, the jovial repitition in “I Came As A Rat”, the dirty, pulp anger that vibrates throughout “Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes”. There is skill and deftness in quantity, and applied in exactly the way I want from music.

Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People

Yes, another album I’ve already sort of mentioned before. “Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl” is a soothing, slowly-expanding glory, “Lover’s Spit” has melancholy scrawled over it in thick black ink but the sincerity of the words and the accompanying melodies create a mood that worms its way around the listeners brain way after the song itself has finished. Tracks are constructed by slowly adding layers around a singly droning hook and rising to clever climaxes. The drumming is dominant and yet do not dullen the impact of the light, soothing strings. The instrumentation is balanced impeccably to maintain a gorgeously soft and colourful sound.

Wilco – Wilco (The Album)

The closest to pop Wilco have been, the instruments do not lie in the forefront, and the tracks do not rely on interludes as much, but the vocals are competent enough to keep the album interesting. More listens probably necessary, as the songs on their own are far too light and uncomplicated (not necessarily a bad thing) to get too excited about.

I think I might go back to making lists. I really do prefer noting the quality of albums by ranks as opposed to words, even though I do have a love for words. I guess all the good words and phrases have already been used up, and I’m just trying to replicate the best writers in the sort of beautifully derivative way that has become so standard amongst amateur-music lovers that I am now, in fact, derivative of them*.

I’ll be back next time with my favourite opening tracks of all time. These will not come with descirptions or reviews, but instead with links to their page because, dammit, I refuse to stop advertising that excellent site.

*This clearly makes me meta-derivitive, or, for those of you skilled in maths, I = d2x/dt2, where I is equal to me, t is equal to time and x is equal to original writing.


About Alex Pavitt
I work in the field of emotion. My tools are instinctual feelings and my laptop is the medium between my brain and the outside world. I deconstruct and rebuild. I imagine. I steal other people's lyrics because somtimes, my own words aren't enough. I spend all of my time somewhere inside my head. I worship Douglas Adams, and in the back of my mind I am always painfully aware that I will never be as good as him or, for that matter, anybody else.

2 Responses to Albums I “discovered” in the last month

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