It’s been three months since I started my new job, and I think the upheaval of such a change is just starting to settle down. (Evident in the fact I’ve made a virtual avalanche of posts.)
The job is busy enough to keep me off of social media for most of the day, and I actually like the fact I’m writing on my own time. Of course, it’s usually at 3 a.m. on those nights when I conk out on the futon too early.
The backlog, however, has gotten bigger these past months. I was proud when I managed to get it under 60 hours a few months ago. It’s sky-rocketed back up to 80.
So it’s time to clear out the slush pile.
What the hell happened to Kinoshita Riki’s voice? It was kind of painful to listen to this EP.
ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, Magic Disc
If AKFG didn’t release Surf Bungaku Kamakura, I wouldn’t have been so suspicious of Magic Disc. Will it be as rushed? As it turns out, no, but it’s fairly standard as far as AKFG albums are concerned. It’s not World World World, but it’s probably slightly better than Fan Club.
Duran Duran held Warren Cuccurullo back. Chicanery can get obtusely melodic, and Cuccurullo pushes his guitar playing into some experimental realms. It’s nice to see him reconnect with his time in Frank Zappa’s band.
David Lang, the little match girl passion
I don’t think I encounter much in the way of mostly a capella post-minimalist music. Seems like most of the minimalist vocal works I encounter are accompanied by some form of instrument ensemble. I would rather hear this work live because on recording, it’s too easy to relegate in the background.
Ex-Boyfriends, Line In/Line Out
Ex-Boyfriends went the self-released route with Line In/Line Out, and the DIY sound marks a stark difference from its label-funded first two albums. The songs don’t differ much from what came before, but the compact length doesn’t mess around. These are pop songs, and three minutes (and some change) is the optimal length.
FLiP, Haha kara Umareta Hinekure no Uta
FLiP, Kanshou Chuudoku
FLiP, Dear Girls
FLiP, mulu mole
I give up. FLiP keeps releasing mini-albums faster than I can get around to reviewing them. The four they’ve recorded could have gone to one or two full-length albums, but honestly, each one sounds just slightly different enough to warrant the separate releases.
FLiP is one of the few SXSW acts in the last few years to grab my attention, and they’re a good band to follow. I just wish I could keep up with them.
But really? What’s the deal with all the mini albums?
Fujifabric, SINGLES 2004-2009
I overdid it with the Fujifabric there.
Idle Warship, Party Robot
I’m not schooled in the nuances of the mix tape, but from what little I know, Party Robot is not intended to be a finished product. And boy is it not.
How is iLL still signed to Sony Music?
Hajime Chitose, Orient
Kizuki Minami, Kana ~Itoshiki Hito yo~
The years are starting to show on Hajime Chitose’s voice, if Kizuki Minami is any indication. Both singers come from the folk tradition, Hajime the veteran to Kizuki’s novice. Both work with fairly standard pop producers, Hajime especially with the passing of Ueda Gen. In short, both on paper look interchangeable.
Kizuki’s debut album didn’t possess anything terribly memorable, and Hajime’s traditional cover album doesn’t sound very adventurous. Kizuki sounds pristine compared to the wear on Hajime’s still formidable voice. But neither album is compelling listening.
Nirvana, Bleach (20th Anniversary Edition)
I’ve come to like Bleach probably slightly more than Nevermind, but I always thought the original CD issue could use remastering. The 20th Anniversary Edition delivers, giving a significant boost to the recording without crushing it.
Sasagawa Miwa, miwaTALE
Kevin pointed out in comments that miwaTALE brings back Sasagawa Miwa’s Celtic influences. Boy does it ever. "Tabimonogatari" is the most explicit expression of that influence, if the bodhran and tin whistle are any indication. The remaining three tracks don’t really rise up from their introspection.
So Percussion and Matmos, Treasure State
After listening to this album a few times, I have to wonder — where is So Percussion?
Spangle call Lilli line, VIEW
Spangle call Lilli line has always been a chilled-out band, perhaps too chill for my taste. VIEW actually has a bit of punch and energy, not that it would stop Otsuba Kana from reigning it back in. But really — another version of "roam in octave"?
SPITZ, Sazanami CD
No, Kameda Seiji did not toughen up the band’s sound as I hoped.
Timothy Andres, Shy and Mighty
I’m not sure what I got out of this album, but I think I’d like to hear Andres do something with an ensemble like eighth blackbird or Bang on a Can All-Stars.
Tracey Thorn, Love and Its Opposites
This album is far better than her previous solo outing, putting her back in touch with the acoustic sound of Amplified Heart. This album is also emblematic of a growing tier in my music collection — albums I prefer to have on digital instead of CD. It’s an economy thing.