I haven't written much over the last few months. I'm just busy and writing isn't really my primary hobby. But I don't like neglecting my blog for long periods of time, especially since I have much to say about music. So, here's some recent thoughts:
The new Gonjasufi album is awesome. It's pretty much the Madvillainy of 2010. I make this comparison mostly because the album has a bunch (20) of short songs and it's innovative for the hip-hop genre. I definitely think it belongs in that genre, because of the sampling, but certainly some tracks take more of an IDM/electronic slant. Gonjasufi is certainly not a rapper, he sings in several styles, soul, blues, etc., but the rap and rhyming never comes up (it would be interesting if it did). Genres aside, it's such an interesting record and I love listening to it. It's just ridiculous how many good songs are on it, especially since they're short and abundant. Immediately, I latched on to the songs "Sheep" and "Duets," among others. I'm not much of lyrics reader, but I really like was GS has to say. It's simple life lessons, expressed perfectly emotively. I really can't praise the album enough.
My most recent purchase has been the album Lux by Alex Smoke. I've never heard of this guy until this year, but when I did, I was intrigued. It's pretty much techno, with some IDM. There's really interesting vocal manipulations on a few songs, like "Platitudes" and "Lux+," where the words fade away and the sound is all that matters. They're so interesting that I wish there was more of them on the album, but alas, there are not. It's still a fantastic techno album, being both heady and danceable, listenable, yet movement-suscitating. It's exactly the kind of balance that I like for this genre. On a side note, an acquaintance remarked to me the other day that techno was too repetitive, an argument that I seem to hear a lot from detractors. I disagree, though, in that it's no more repetitive than any other genre, but the repetition may be more noticeable since techno often lacks vocals (certainly contrary to rock music). Though I concede that techno may be considered more repetitive also because the song structures rely heavily on a repetition-and-variation pattern. So maybe that's what irks some? Not me. Getting back to this album, I haven't really examined the song structures, but it doesn't sound "too repetitive" to me. More listens are required.
Now I could just go on and on about the new Joanna Newsom masterpiece, Have One On Me, but it's pretty much been critiqued to death by now. Suffice it to say, it's great, it's different from Ys, it has a lot of songs, it's going to be considered on of the best albums of the year undoubtedly. My fave song right now is "Soft As Chalk," and it can all be summed up in one word: lawlessness. I kind of miss the harp, since it seems to me that piano dominates the instrumental part of the album (haven't actually counted the songs), but if I want to hear more harp-ing, then I'll just put on Ys because it's still a classic.
Some other favorite songs right now are: "Super Coming" by the Boredoms (it's bizarre and amazing), "Arms Against Atrophy" by Titus Andronicus (the new album is outrageously brillant, but this song can't make it's way out of my head, I even know the lyrics!), "A Larger Silence" by Ludicra (why did Decibel only give The Tenant a 7?? It's outstanding, 8 at least! I need to pick up their old albums and I hope they tour some more this summer) and "The Creeper" by Pelican (their last album was WAY underrated and "The Creeper" is one of many highlights)
I recently revisited the album Background Music by Give Up The Ghost/American Nightmare/American Nothing/etc. and it is truly a hardcore classic of the last decade. The passion is there, the lyrics are far more interesting than most hardcore bands, and the clean production gives it a freshness and bite that most bands just don't have. I remember this band being divisive when they were still together and it makes sense to me, but I'm on the "for" side. It's nice when punk rock isn't just preachiness and fuzz guitars (not always a bad thing, admittedly); it's a good change of pace.