The Slush Pile, or failing to get things done, part the third

Part one focused on Japanese artists, part two on classical music, and now part three covers Western popular music.

I should just clear my entire backlog, because I’m not sure when I’m going to muster the energy to profess my love for Santigold, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, Shiina Ringo’s MoRA boxed set (which I never got around to purchasing, dammit), or the Replacements.

And yet, I keep that back log around because somewhere in all my sloth is an optimist who wants to get things done.

Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca

I’ve seen the name Dirty Projectors bandied about on the interwebs, and a concert with Alarm Will Sound put the band on my radar. Solange’s cover of "Stillness Is the Move" prompted me to download Bitte Orca. I like that track, and I don’t mind what Solange did with the song. I can also appreciate the band’s avant-garde writing. What I can’t abide is Dave Longreth’s falsetto. It grates.

Echo and the Bunnymen, Echo and the Bunnymen

How did the recording industry ever get the bone-headed idea that 30-second excerpts are enough to represent an album? I wasn’t inclined to download Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea because the 30-second samples didn’t do the album justice. Conversely, Echo and the Bunnymen’s self-titled album from 1987 sounded like something I could dig, having limited exposure to the Smiths and greater experience with post-punk in general. Then I downloaded the album, played it and remembered little of it. Caveat emptor.

Eluvium, Similies

Matthew Cooper attempts to sing on this album. He sounds like David Byrne after taking too many sleeping pills. It’s not an experiment I wish to hear repeated.

Kraftwerk, Computer World

Back in 1984, bands such as ABC, the Art of Noise, even Duran Duran were doing amazing things with synthesizers. I listen to Computer World and wonder, "Is that it?"

Kronos Quartet with Alim & Fargana Qasimov and Homayun Sakhi, Rainbow

Rainbow pretty much expands on what the quartet did with Floodplain. The accompanying DVD is actually far more illuminating.

My Bloody Valentine, Loveless

I can empathize with everyone who sing the platitudes of this album to heaven on high. It is quite an imaginary soundscape, and if I experienced it back in 1991, I probably would join the chorus. But I didn’t, and I’ve experienced instead the slew of bands influenced by this album. And I prefer them over this.

Sam Amidon, I See the Sign

Despite the assistance of Beth Orton, the selection of material on this album doesn’t resonate as much as All Is Well. Nico Muhly’s orchestrations take a back seat to a more electronic sound. His cover of R. Kelly’s "Relief" is nice.

Talking Heads, Talking Heads ’77

After Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, I just wanted to hear something else from the late ’70s. Don’t really have much of an opinion on this one. Remain in Light, though, is still on my checklist.

The B-52’s, The B-52’s

The first B-52’s album I encountered was Cosmic Thing, the glossy, commercially successful album that bears no resemblance to the band’s early history. The B-52’s is crude by comparison, but I can see the heart in it. I probably would have hated in 1989. I have a more holistic view of it today.

The Bad Plus joined by Wendy Lewis, For All I Care

I actually listed For All I Care as a year-end favorite, but I never got around to giving the album a full review because I really only had one thing to say: "I like it when the Bad Plus does covers." Wendy Lewis’ presence on the album may seem superfluous on paper — because the trio’s covers rock mightily amongst themselves — but she actually fit really well with the dynamic.