Some new albums that don’t exactly contain new content, so I’m reviewing them in bulk.
Artist: St. Vincent
Release Date: October 12, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Slow Disco,” “Los Ageless,”
Thoughts: A release of Masseduction with everything stripped away except Annie Clarke’s voice and a piano, making her sound more like a chanteuse. I think I like this version better, although I didn’t really like the original much at all.
Album: My Way
Artist: Willie Nelson
Release Date: September 14, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Summer Wind,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “One for My Baby (And One More For the Road,” “What is This Thing Called Love?,” and “My Way”
Thoughts: Willie Nelson sings swinging standards in the style of Frank Sinatra. What’s not to like?
Album: Piano and a Microphone 1983
Release Date: September 21, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “17 Days,” “Cold Coffee & Cocaine,” and “Why the Butterflies”
Thoughts: The first posthumous release from Prince’s music vaults is a glimpse of an artist at work. Just Prince tooling around on a piano, working on several songs, and being amazingly talented.
Got a backlog of albums from recent months, so here’s a collection of quick reviews.
Artist: Ólafur Arnalds
Release Date: 24 August 2018
Favorite Tracks: “re:member,” “undir,” and “ekki hugsa”
Thoughts: Piano-based ambient music, reminiscent of Sigur Ros. Very soothing.
Release Date: 24 August 2018
Favorite Tracks: “If You Really Love Nothing” and “The Rover”
Thoughts: I’ve liked Interpol’s previous recordings, and this is an acceptable addition to their oeuvre. But it feels a bit redundant and uninspired
Album: Negro Swan
Artist: Blood Orange
Release Date: August 24, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Charcoal Baby,” “Holy Will,” “Daenham Dream,” and “Out of Your League”
Thoughts: Dev Hynes fourth album recording as Blood Orange is smooooooooooth. The music is chill, but the lyrics examine depression and anxiety through an intersectional lens of political consciousness.
Album: The Now Now
Release Date: June 29, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Humility (feat. George Benson),” “Hollywood,”
Thoughts: Damon Albarn’s second band – a “virtual band” at that – is now a veteran band of 20 years. It features a stripped-down sound with fewer guest artists and I think it benefits from that even as it falls a bit short of Gorillaz best work.
Release Date: 24 November 2017
Favorite Tracks: “Arisen My Senses,” “Blissing Me,” “The Gate,” and “Tabula Rasa”
Thoughts: The latest release from Björk is a dense aural soundscape with the singer’s notable voice layered over musical instruments, electronic noises, and sound effects. The first three songs are the strongest, with the rest of the album hard to differentiate, although I do like “Tabula Rasa” simply for the novelty of hearing Björk swearing like a sailor. The down tempo nature of the music combined with bird and whale calls makes it all feel like an elaborate nature sounds relaxation tape. I miss how Björk would incorporate upbeat melodies and dance rhythms into her earlier recordings. Nevertheless, if you like Björk, this is more of Björk being Björk, and than can never be a bad thing.
“minipops 67 [120.2]” is the lead track off of Syro, the first Aphex Twin studio album in 13 years. It also is my song of the week.
Fennesz is electronic artist Christian Fennesz of Vienna, Austria. “The Liar” is a track that is a pure aural attack that affects some other senses as well. I learned about it through NPR’s All Songs Considered.
What’s buzzing in your ears this week? Let me know in the comments.
The electronic duo from London, Mount Kimbie, create a sonorous world on their track “Made to Stray.”
KEXP describes the song as follows:
“Made To Stray” is a twisting and turning five minutes of electronic music that thrives on restlessness as it whirrs through. After three-and-a-half minutes of subtly tense buildup, the duo’s vocals show up, but low in the mix, as if they were pieces of the machine rather than the lead component. When they hit the titular refrain clearly in the song’s intro, they’re gone as fast as they came, onto another path.
What is your song of the week? Let me know in the comments!