The Slush Pile, or getting reviews done

I can’t help it. Anything that I buy or download is potential content for this site.

Sometimes, I’ll listen to something with no intention to review it, only to like it so much I want to talk about it. Other times, I’ll listen to something with every intention to review it, only to end up feeling ambivalent about it. It’s easy to hate an album or to love an album. Merely liking? Merely not hating? Much, much, much harder.

So that’s where this GTD thing comes in — I combed through a few past entries to come up with one big list of music I’ve consumed over the past few months, about which I haven’t written much. I hope having everything on one screen gives me a better sense of how to prioritize.

Do I have anything to say about those Felix Mendelssohn chamber works I downloaded? Is there anything else to say about the Replacements’ Let It Be? Do I want to subject myself to another spin of Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimist, knowing full well Department of Eagles’ In Ear Park is way better?

Maybe GTD will help. And for the first order of business, let’s take out the trash.

ART-SCHOOL, 14souls

I can’t say I ever really got on the ART-SCHOOL bandwagon, and LOVE/HATE is such a masterpiece that it interferes with any piety I may wish to develop for the band. Or perhaps the chemistry of that LOVE/HATE line-up just overshadows what has come since. Most likely I just didn’t really care after PARADISE LOST.

Aterciopelados, El Dorado

I just wanted to sate my curiosity of the album that produced both "Florecita Rockera" and "Bolero Falaz". It’s a far cry from Caribe Atómico, which would fool me into thinking this band is all about the trip-hop.

avengers in sci-fi, SCIENCE ROCK

These guys were really good live, and it’s the duo’s SXSW showcase that got me interested in them. Their music can get a bit manic, and SCIENCE ROCK, while appealing to anyone who thinks POLYSICS is remotely good, was a bit too manic for my frame of mind at the moment. It’s not a bad album, but it’s just not what I was interested in listening to.

BoA, BoA

I just remember this album being compressed-to-hell loud.

Department of Eagles, The Cold Nose

Very, very different from In Ear Park, but not similar enough for me to care.

Do As Infinity, ETERNAL FLAME

At first, I was glad Do As Infinity broke up in 2005, because the band’s sound really did feel like it ran its course. Then I didn’t really like how Van Tomiko’s solo career was turning out, and I missed Do As Infinity. I think maybe something a bit more than a three-year break would have done this album good. Three years is a blink of an eye compared to the gestation period for albums by, say, Sade, Enya or Kate Bush.

Gabriel Prokofiev, String Quartet No. 1

The idea of remixing an original work of modern classical music is interesting. The work itself, not so much.

Gloria Cheng, Piano Music of Salonen, Stucky and Lutoslawski

Kronos Quartet recorded Witold Lutoslawski’s String Quartet, and it was a magnificent performance of a seemingly unpredictable work. The piano pieces on Cheng’s Grammy-nominated album were so lyrical, I didn’t think they were Lutoslawski. Esa Pekka-Salonen, on the other hand, provided some of the thorniest pieces on the album. Did I mention how I tend to mistake Salonen for a young Val Kilmer?

Girl in a Coma, Trio B.C.

I can see why some of my friends like them. But they do not appeal to me.

Grizzly Bear, Friend EP

The covers of pre-Yellow House material pretty much tells me the only Grizzly Bear album I like is Horn of Plenty.

Hem, Twelfth Night

Despite the presence of Raúl Esparza and Audra McDonald, this soundtrack can’t help but be the incidental music it’s intended to be. I’ll wait till Hem finishes up its next studio album.

Maserati, Inventions for the New Season

Maserati toured with mono in 2009, and the band put on a great show. Unfortunately, the recordings don’t really capture the power of that show.

Morrissey, Years of Refusal

In reality, Years of Refusal was much, much better than Ringleader of the Tormentors. Much harder rocking. I’m just not enough of a Morrissey expert to put out more of an opinion.

Neutral Milk Hotel, On Avery Island

I was too enamored of In the Aeroplane, Over the Sea to give this album a fair shake.

NIRGILIS, RGB

Oh, man, does this band really suck now.

Sasagawa Miwa, miwaBLUE

Just slightly better than the full-length miwaMIRAGE, but that’s not saying much.

STRAIGHTENER, Nexus

The half of ART-SCHOOL that made LOVE/HATE feel larger than life cannot perform the same magic with STRAIGHTNER, who usually have a spotty record of churning out the hooks.

Tommy heavenly6, I KILL MY HEART

I didn’t realize this album was a brilliant green record in disguise. I wondered why the songwriting sounded limp. Okuda Shunsaku is not cut out for a life of punk-pop.

Tommy Keene, In the Late Bright

The programmatic sequence of the songs gives this album a bit of an edge over Crashing the Ether, but like avengers in sci-fi, it just wasn’t what I felt like listening to.

U2, No Line on the Horizon

U2 talked up a big game before the release of this album, grandly proclaiming it to be a game-changer on the level of Achtung Baby. Musically, I think those boasts have some credence. Strip Bono’s vocals from the music, and it sounds like a more grounded version of the ’90s electronica excess. Pop, it most certainly is not. Nor does it possess the faux earnestness of the albums from this decade. But Bono? Dude phoned it in. His performances are uninspired, and there’s not a hook in any of his melodies. I thought How to Build an Atomic Bomb was flabby. This album is worse.

unkie, too many secrets

unkie came out swinging with the Price of Fame, and they sound no less ferocious on too many secrets. But this second outing is just missing that intangible appeal that made the first album so inviting. Hooks? This album has some, but nothing about which to write home. Folks over at the Keikaku message boards questioned the wisdom of Aoki Yutaka leaving VOLA & THE ORIENTAL MACHINE. At first I defended the move, but now I’m not so sure.

Yorico, Kioku

second VERSE was Yorico’s big statement, and she hasn’t really roared like that since. Kioku is incredibly nondescript.

Comments

  • smashingtofu says:

    I actually thought, save for Nirgilis and Yorico, that most of the Japanese music you listed were actually pretty solid in my book. Art-school’s Flora was a pleasant surprise for me and from then on it was all more or less hits for me. I’m especially enamored with Unkie (I’d have to agree with the hooks more or less) and I actually thought the new Vola was a nice needed change of pace for them.
    Maybe a sign of the times?
    Well you really got me into Leo Imai though. Electric Rain is so good.

  • NemesisVex says:

    The new VOLA guitarist is not as dynamic as Aoki Yutaka, but I do like SA-KA-NA ELECTRIC DEVICE, about which I may write later.
    I think I like Van. too much to give ETERNAL FLAME a fair shake. As far as Do As Infinity albums go, ETERNAL FLAME strikes me as better than Gates of Heaven, but probably on par with Need Your Love.
    I downloaded BoA from eMusic on a lark because it tickled me to see BoA along side all the indie stuff eMusic offers. As for the rest of them, I won’t discount that those albums will have their fans, but I do feel a shift in what I prefer.

  • Kevin says:

    Yorico has really been disappointing after “second VERSE”, hasn’t she. I did buy “kioku” in the hope that it’d be semi-decent, despite “negau” being the opposite of that – and the two albums are roughly the same, no surprises.
    Anyway, since you mentioned the brilliant green, they’ve switched to Warner and will be releasing a new single, “LIKE YESTERDAY”, on 24th February. Demo preview’s up at their official myspace, open till March.