The Slush Pile, or shaving off a few hours in a day-long playlist

I usually have anywhere from 30 to 48 hours of music on my "audition" playlist at any time. I call it my "audition" playlist because, well, I’m auditioning albums on which I’m going to comment. When I go on a writing binge and get that list below 30 hours, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

Before my last "playlist refill", I had managed to get it down to 22 hours. It’s back up to 34 right now. Once I’m done with this entry, I hope to have it back under 30.

ACO, ACO BEST ~girl’s diary~

I love ACO, but she’s an album artist, not a compilation artist. While she’s released some engaging singles — most of them on the second disc of this collection — she’s got some duds in her past as well. ACO BEST ~girl’s diary~ could have probably been whittled down to one disc, with a cursory look at her first few pop albums.

envy, Abyssal

envy, All the Footprints You’ve Ever Left and the Fear Expecting Ahead

Temporary Residence is currently going through a major reissue campaign for envy. In addition to the release of the new EP Abyssal, the label released a compilation, Compiled Fragments, 1993-2007, and two catalog titles, A Dead Sinking Story (in stores Feb. 26) and All the Footprints You’ve Ever Left and the Fear Expecting Ahead. If I listen closely, I can probably distinguish Abyssal from All the Footprints, but I’d get my ears blown off by Fukagawa Tetsuya’s howl. If you like one of their albums, you’ll probably like the others. But I’m not in the frame of mind to sift through the subtleties of all these titles.

k.d. lang, Watershed

My playlist right now seems pretty heavy with gay artists or bands with gay members: Adam Joseph, Bob Mould, Darren Hayes, hey willpower, The Magnetic Fields. I thought maybe k.d. lang could join this list, since women are obviously underrepresented. Thing is, Watershed doesn’t really have anything to draw me away from the other albums. Sorry, katherine.

Kicell, magic hour

Kicell’s first album since leaving Speedstar doesn’t have the lush, unpredictable sound of the band’s major label work. Maybe the brothers Tsujimaru had a bigger budget? The songwriting and performances are as ethereal as ever, but the stripped down sound reveals too much of the skin and bones beneath the surface. Not really magical at all.

Tsubakiya Shijuusou, TOKYO CITY RHAPSODY

I keep wanting to find something to like about this band, and … I can’t. The Bounce hype from five years back is off the mark with this one.

And with that — and some non-Slush Pile-related housekeeping — the playlist is now down to 27 hours. Go me.