New Order’s best album since Brotherhood (1986). That’s all there is to say, really.
Release Date: March 29, 2011
I realize in retrospect that my last post, although it made perfect sense to me, may have been slightly confusing without some context.
It was in fact a record review of sorts of the album Rolling Blackouts by Brighton, UK band The Go! Team. However, I’m a little tired of/uninterested in writing traditional record reviews (see A Change in Focus), so instead I opted for a sort of extreme-reader-response criticism/fan fiction type of record review. I hope to do more such non-traditional record reviews in the future because they are a lot more fun for me than regular record reviews. Besides, you can find good regular reviews all over the place, so why do I need to bother with them, too?
I also would like to state for the record that Rolling Blackouts isn’t anything like my favorite album of 2011 or anything; it’s just a record I had a quick desire to write about in this method. I hope to add more “reviews” to the site, including those written about albums that actually are my most favorites, but we know I have a poor track record of providing steady content and publishing all the things I intend to publish. So, I still have to add this disclaimer about Rolling Blackouts in case I never getting around to posting about any other albums and in their absence it appears as if it is my ultimate all-time-favorite album because it’s the only one I’ve written and published about.
That is all. Thank you for your time. We now return to our regular Froz-T-Freez programming, still in progress.
A crew of high school cheerleaders find a vintage 1980s boombox underneath the bleachers, with a mixtape of old-school hip-hop auspiciously cued up in the deck. When one brave girl presses play, hoping it might be just what they need for their new routine, they are mystically transformed into The Go! Team, which is something like Charlie’s Angels and the A-Team put together, but even cooler; they vow to use their newfound powers to become great MCs and also save the school from lameness. To achieve their aims they join forces with the ‘60s pop-loving sophisticates of the rival school’s marching band, and together they conspire to hijack the big football game mid-play-mid-field with a guerrilla marching cheer block party. It was the best Homecoming ever, and also the best episode of Glee that I’ve never seen. Bethany “Best Coast” Consentino and Satomi “Deerhoof” Matsuzaki guest star.
The Go! Team
Released: January 31, 2011
In the late eighties, a succession of lemon vehicles and financial problems led my family to procure from my uncle a run-down, rust orange 1975 Chevrolet Impala out of desperation. Un-affectionately referred to as Big Red, the “boat” was somewhat of an ugly embarrassment, and its exhaust production was so profuse that I don’t doubt that it could have single-handedly instigated our growing global warming crisis. Still, it got us around just fine, and I now remember it with more fondness than any other car my family had during my childhood.
Seemingly exclusive to the period of the Impala, my dad tuned in to a 70s/80s soft rock station on a constant basis. This incessant radio listening and genre choice is one that I have never witnessed my dad repeat in any other car or at any other time in his life; it is as if the Impala itself demanded its own soundtrack, reliving its faded glory days back in the summer of ’75 with songs like “Jackie Blue” and “Summer Breeze” still blowing through its speakers. Big Red has now long since met the junkyard, but my secret fondness for large American sedans, the color of rust, and, most of all, the music of Seals & Crofts, Hall & Oates, Christopher Cross, and many other fine artists still remains. Judging from his band’s first full-length effort for label 4AD, Ariel Pink must have a similar fossil fuel-consuming dinosaur in his past. Fully inhaling the carcinogenic particulate cloud of bygone pop eras, Pink has constructed a masterpiece of yacht rock, synth pop, TV show theme songs, and much, much more.
I wish I had that ‘75 Impala today, so that I could pop in a cassette of Before Today and drive around town listening to these would-have-been-on-the-Time-Life-compilation classics. Big Red would have let these tracks breeze through its speakers with nary a backfire. “Round And Round” is more than a great sing-along; it pulls out all the compositional stops with pre-choruses, bridges, and breakdowns all over the place. Meanwhile, “Can’t Hear My Eyes” is the soft grooving #1 hit that Hall & Oates forgot to write. The impeccable vintage production work is lovingly crafted just for my Impala’s speakers, while the at times cartoonish vocal parts that burst out at random times imply that Pink shares with many of us that same complex love-hate relationship with this pop detritus to which he pays homage. Some sort of ironic wink exists with every song on the album. One example is “Fright Night (Nevermore),” in which Pink sings his own line “Knock knock on the door three times! Baby, knock knock on the door!” like it’s an irritating jingle he can’t get out of his head. Most undercutting is the final track, which, while sounding like a murky, authentic reproduction of early British post-punk, proclaims somewhat cynically the anti-punk, anti-idealist declaration that “Revolution’s a lie.” Pink’s songs do bring back that pleasant summer breeze of years past, but they bring with it the embarrassing exhaust, the rust, the broken door handles, and the guilt of a pop culture environmental catastrophe.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
Released: June 8, 2010
Nothing fancy here, just my favorite albums of 2010, in alphabetical order by album title.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Before Today
Vampire Weekend: Contra
No Age: Everything in Between
Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest
Beach House: Teen Dream
Sufjan Stevens: The Age of Adz
Warpaint: The Fool
LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening
Woods: At Echo Lake
Abe Vigoda: Crush
Patty Griffin: Downtown Church
Wolf Parade: Expo 86
Broken Social Scene: Forgiveness Rock Record
Local Natives: Gorilla Manor
Laura Veirs: July Flame
Yeasayer: Odd Blood
Here We Go Magic: Pigeons
Arcade Fire: The Suburbs
Horse Feathers: Thistled Spring
Sleigh Bells: Treats
Of course I am always looking for more music and there is a lot of stuff from this year I haven’t heard yet, so suggestions are welcome. Right now I’m checking out a lot of left-field electronic/hip-hop instrumental stuff like Flying Lotus, Baths, Forest Swords, etc. Check back in a couple of days and I may be on to mainstream country again. You just never know. As you can see from above, though, indie rock still seems to be my home.