Based on a Documentary
Released way earlier this year, but not talked about a whole lot. Took a look at my record count and it’s about halfway of my total from all of 2013—and I get the feeling I won’t close that gap by a long stretch. Not that that was my plan—I set out to cover less ground. Though I didn’t think I’d be this far behind. Oh well. I’m glad to be anywhere, what with all the things life’s thrown recently.
BRADFORD COX – Teenage OST (Cinereach): Deerhunter frontman sheds his Atlas Sound alias for a super long documentary soundtrack detailing the invention and ascendancy of teenagers/youth culture. To say nothing of that doc other than I understand it focuses more on the teen’s political/cultural ‘tudes rather than as an arm of capitalist merchandising, Cox’s grooves are anti-nostalgic even on the rare occasions they nostalgically recall (the ‘50s-esque guitar jingle “Doctor October,” which sounds like adorned sampling rather than original composition). Instead, the king of overdub creates his cleanest set yet, an hour-plus of cool grooves and flowering jams. Lyricless save for the bass-propelled “Kate,” there’s still the adolescent antiestablishment vibe coursing through the veins of these 17 tracks. I wonder what this might have been had Cox saved this for his band and done the words himself. Better, probably, and punkier, too. A MINUS
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM – The Long Goodbye: Live at Madison Square Garden (Parlophone/Warner Bros.): Running over three hours, spanning twenty-eight cuts, covering twenty of thirty-four proper studio album songs, including extra non-album tunes and bits of 45:33, and split on five records, James Murphy’s electronic swansong attempts to encapsulate the band’s live energy in a way 2011’s London Sessions couldn’t. Where that was all clean feed and tight performance, demonstrating how the perfectly-polished computer kraftwerk came alive when manned by real-time human beings (and was fucking stellar, though no one seems to give a shit), this tome is a one-take free-for all for better or worse, its loose ends and frayed edges there for all to see: Keybs, bass, drums ‘n guitar take their sweet time track after track to warm up and feel the rhythm, volume is disproportionately portioned causing sound quality to suffer, deep cuts like “Tribulations” and metal-thons like “Movement” don’t hold a candle to danceaholic ditties like “Drunk Girls,” and everyone—especially Murphy—grows noticeably fatigued by the concert’s end (just listen to him move mushed-mouthed through “Losing My Edge”), and understandably so. Still, The Long Goodbye exerts incredible force and creative, spontaneous energy from a band you’d figure wasn’t predisposed to improvisatory performances despite their affinity for long slogs of techno-fuckery, and it sure as hell opens and closes on strong notes. But I can’t say the same about the extended instrumental bits that crowd the center, and just for a minute try to imagine actually sitting down and listening to this cut-for-cut for the 180+ minutes it requires. Add to that the pretty price tag of at least $120 for this cut-specifically-for-vinyl RSD release. Personally, I’d go digital and cut a good forty minutes of fluff and go for the good stuff. As Win Butler instructs Murphy when he comes onstage amid an overly-long and clumsy intro, “Shut up and play the hits.” A MINUS