Forget About It
I get the feeling January and February are the same for music releases as they are for cinema: leftover junk, forgettable nonsense, occasionally an unappreciated gem. Having already gone through about forty-something new releases, these are the first two I’ve gotten really excited about. Haven’t touched last year’s cache much, but I might soon if the stuff I continually wade through doesn’t shore up some more worthy material. Plenty of decent stuff, sure, though I imagine most of it will wind up in the ever-forthcoming deluge of Honorable Mentions.
FOUR TET – 0181 (free Soundcloud mixtape): Never underestimate the power of headphones. Having heard Kieran Hebden’s latest compilation of leftovers—composed from 1997-2001—on Soundcloud playing through a pair of questionable speakers, I found it preferable to 2012’s Pink yet far inferior to Rounds: ‘songs’ rhythmic and lyrical, less harsh than the former but not as pretty as the latter. A day or two later on the couch with ears plugged in I found the key. Rather than sanding down the edges of marathon-length Pink-like compositions, Hebden patches a mixtape gathered from Rounds rough drafts and editing room floor fragments, stitching together a thirty-eight-minute continuous stream of smooth electro-grooves and chilled-out trip-hop potpourri, chockfull of human glitches instead of mechanical ones, the distinguishing mark of a man who sees computers as extensions of the body instead of externals to be reeled in. A MINUS
PARQUET COURTS – Light Up Gold (Dull Tools/What’s Your Rupture): Don’t be fooled by their stoned slacker façade. If anything, Austin Brown and Andrew Savage are punks who toke hard as a means of coping with a life measured by coffee breaks and coins rolled for laundry money. But despite existential mantras like “This thickness is just enough to wade through,” they decry listless youth by highlighting the too common banalities that allow it to exist: the sex and drugs paychecks afford, a celebrated life after death for those who accomplished nil. And their political attitudes bend both ways—castrating the careers in combat (the only careers available) by one hand and pushing off faux-ideologues with the other: “Around here we praise a dollar you fuckin’ hippie… Socrates died in the fuckin’ gutter!” Even if they “didn’t come here to dream or teach the world things,” they do; successfully circumventing everlasting despair, it’s the mantra “Keep going” that gets stuck in their heads. For guys who smoke as much as they claim, it’s a miracle they remembered that much. A MINUS