I will state right off the bat that I’m not an expert when it comes to electronic music. In fact, I know very little about it. I pretty much know what I hear Thom Yorke talk about in interviews. There are a few electronic bands that I’ve enjoyed over the years. Chemical Brothers are one. I remember owning a Crystal Method album, too. MSTRKRFT? Pretty cool stuff. Are Air considered an electronic band? Probably not. Boards of Canada? I LOVE Boards of Canada. Daft Punk, now there’s a band that I’ve admired from afar for years. Thanks to Spike Jonze and his video for “Da Funk” Daft Punk have stayed in my peripherals for years. Daft Punk make electronic music that has a wide enough reach to allow music fans of all ilk to step inside their world and find something to their liking. I personally listen to Discovery and Homework quite regularly when I’m running. It’s great cardio music. I often imagine some strange scenarios as I’m on the treadmill or running in the neighborhood. They almost always involve androids, futuristic battles involving robot combat, narrow escapes from large explosions, and dilapidated cities much like the one seen in Blade Runner. It’s music you can get lost in and it fuels that drive to sweat profusely.
I’d heard about this new album of theirs a while back and didn’t think much of it. Then I heard “Get Lucky” and was intrigued. Using real musicians to create an organic electronic album, reaching into the past to make a record that would’ve been playing in discos in 1976. I’m all about organic and real musicians. So I finally heard this massive record in the making. What did I think? Hmm. I’ll start with the highlights. “Giorgio by Moroder” is a very cool track with Giorgio Moroder narrating his story of how he got into the music business. There’s something very surreal about it, mainly because I thought Giorgio Moroder was Italian, yet he sounds like Werner Herzog. The music almost gets proggy toward the end with a Saga-like guitar solo. “Instant Crush” has Julian Casablancas singing like a lovelorn android over an “Eye In The Sky”-ish groove. It’s probably the best thing Casablancas has done since his 2009 solo record. “Get Lucky” is Pharrell Williams getting his ‘come on’ on. One of the tightest rhythm sections I’ve heard in a long time. Great stuff. “Motherboard” is cool and slithery. Proof that you don’t need computers to make slick instrumental music. The highlight for me is definitely “Doin’ it Right” featuring Panda Bear. This is not only my favorite track, but also the best collaboration on this album filled with many collaborations. I’d love to hear a whole album filled with Daft Punk and Panda Bear songs. Last track “Contact” ends the album on an old school note.
So, seems like there’s a lot to like about this album, right? Well, there’s six songs I really liked. Six out of a 13 song album. I guess that’s alright. I think if you’d remove that Paul Williams song some of the better moments of the other tracks might shine a little brighter for me, but Paul Williams? Really? I hear him sing and I’m instantly transported back to some random Sunday night in 1977 and on the Zenith console is some crappy variety show. To me, it’s pure cheese. The spray can kind, not feta or goat cheese. C’mon, it’s the guy that wrote The Love Boat theme song! Some may hear his collaboration “Touch” and love it. But me? It’s just brings up memories of lousy TV and even lousier music. “Fragments Of Time” with Todd Edwards is another I can do without. It’s terrible Paul McCartney and Wings trying to do disco. It’s Andrew Gold’s “Lonely Boy” mating with a muzak machine giving birth to the world’s lamest Moog. “Beyond” is so-so. It’s like Kavinsky being bored in the studio so he thought he’d take a shot at a Daft Punk cover. “Give Life Back to Music” is a decent enough way to open the record, but if you ask me “Contact” would’ve been a better choice.
Okay, so there you have it. My half-assed assessment of what’s to be one of this years most talked about albums. I’m sure I’ll be in the minortiy in my overall dislike of this record. It could be that I just don’t “get it”. That very well could be. But if I have to get Paul Williams, cheesy disco, and 70s department store music in order to dig this album then I’ll just remain uninformed, thank you very much.
5.6 out of 10
Television’s Marquee Moon. It’s an absolute classic. And as far as guitar albums go this is one of the absolute best. Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd had some of the best guitar interplay I’ve ever heard. Spidery, fluid stream-of-conscious playing. A cross between beatnik jazz- era improv and jagged punk. Not a bad song to be found.
If you’re not familiar with Marquee Moon, you should be.
Happy Mothers Day to my mom, and hers.
This is the third Mothers Day since my grandma died. Each passing year it gets a little easier for my mom(and the rest of us). But as she told me just the other day, after my oldest daughter’s spring band concert, she feels like something is missing in her and she’ll never get it back. “Like a phantom limb, sort of?”. “Yes”, she said.
It’s those moments when my kids say or do something extraordinarily funny or ridiculous that Ruthie’s absence is noticed most for me. Cause those ridiculous and funny moments were where she shined. She was funny without having to try. She just was. And my mom is the same.
I sat on my mom’s couch yesterday after my oldest’s 13th birthday bowling party and I looked at my mom and I saw my grandma. The way she sat in the chair. The lines in her face. And the expression of both interest and a certain distance. Like she was thinking of something else -or someone else- as I told her about 13 year old girls adhering marshmallows to their faces with blue frosting in a crowded bowling alley.
She was probably thinking about Ruthie. Just like me.
Friday night’s spin is Beaches ‘She Beats’. I heard this the other day and loved it, so I had my local brick n’ mortar order it in on vinyl. Sounds great.
Beaches is an all woman(I say woman as they don’t look like a bunch school girls, they look like women)band out of Melbourne. Great mix of psych and indie rock with some krautrock thrown in for good measure. They even get NEUs Michael Rother to play guitar on a couple tracks. Bottom line: these ladies can rock. It’s going well with my Sam Adams Blueberry Hill Lager.
Enjoy your weekend, folks.
For some reason, this one seemed like a good album to throw on this evening.
After all these years I’m amazed at how modern it still sounds. The Bowie-isms mixed with the early industrial grind that Reznor turned into something completely unique and blasphemous. It’s a tasty little ear bit that I’ve only come to truly appreciate nearly 20 years after it landed. And making my own music I can appreciate Reznor’s ear even more.
My Built to Spill love fest culminated in me getting a hold of my local record store and having them order me Keep It Like A Secret and You In Reverse on vinyl. It’s been the right way to cap off the week of despair.
It’s not all that bad. Time to take stock, count my blessings and all that jazz. With a hearty beer in hand and Doug Martsch and his jangly Strat coming through the speakers I’m ready for the weekend…and another beer.
Seemed for some time that it just wasn’t cool to like(heaven forbid love) the Doors. Well, cat’s out of the bag…I f*****g love the Doors.
My parents made the Doors an integral part of my short pants years. So many times as a youngster I can remember going to the basement and a haze was in the air, folks playing pool, cans of Strohs sitting about and the sound of ” Cars Hiss By My Window” filling the cool, smokey billiard cave. As I got older my brother(6 years older than me) fell hard for the Lizard King. He even resembled him for a time.
I’ve always had a soft spot for these L.A. poet blues pushers. All proficient, even prodigious at their instruments. But it’s that psychedelic blues mixed with Morrison’s Greek mythology and fatalist Nietzsche worshipping that kept me around. Theatrical, melodramatic, over-the-top, and self important. What more do you want in a Lizard King?
Self-titled belongs to a friend that is allowing me to keep it at Casa de Hubner while he ponders getting a new turntable. L.A. Woman? That would be the very same record that spun in that hazy basement, amongst cans of Strohs and pool cues.
Today called for some Sufjan. I think I can say with confidence that Sufjan is one of my favorite artists. The guy isn’t afraid to get batshit crazy. His last two albums are two of my favorite records in the last few years. The Age of Adz was one of the most strangest and wonderful records I have ever heard. It’s like a savant’s version of electronic music. Look inside that android’s chest and you’ll find a beating heart.
And All Delighted People EP??? It’s a 60 minute EP. Only Sufjan can do that. The 10 minute “Djohariah” is stunning. It’s like a alternate reality Crazy Horse jam.
So that’s what’s going on here.