Friday, July 29, 2011

July Round-Up: There Might Be Some Changes Around Here....

Heads up: August’s round-up may take on a little different form, although I’m not sure what exactly that might be.  You see, if all goes according to plan, at this time next month, I will be the father of a newborn.  I would love to be able to say that I will have time to write vivid blog posts recounting every musical detail of the experience, but realistically I will probably be sleeping in two-hour shifts and up to my elbows in diapers, at least for a little while.  So I apologize in advance if I don’t hit the end of the month as diligently as usual.

Relatedly, a lot of people have asked me “What kind of music are you going to listen to with your kid?”  My easy, and honest, answer is “Whatever I’m listening to.”  A kid could do a lot worse than get brought into a world where Yes and James Blake are on the daily regimen.  What is more interesting, however, is how my listening may be affected by the presence of a musically impressionable newborn.  I think Indian music is the solution, just to get those microtonal ragas and solkattu in there before the media gets a grip on her.  We'll see....

Here’s what went through the player this month.  As usual, if there is an available example, I tried to include it in the playlist.  This is the new 21st century mostly family-friendly mixtape, delivered right to your inbox, so set it up and check it out in the background some afternoon. 
Battles - Gloss Drop:  The first half to three quarters of Gloss Drop are really, really strong, but the focus seems to drop off at a certain point.  I’m still a Battles fan, but they just aren’t the same without Tyondai.

Mouse on the Keys - An Anxious Object:  This album has a lot more depth than the Sezzions EP, so I think it may come in and out of the player a lot in the coming months.  It also has great packaging, by the way –  totally worth getting hardcopy.

Other Lives - Tamer Animals:  A sublimely lush and well-crafted piece of contemporary symphonic psychedelia.  It’s early in Other Lives’ career, and I am wondering how they plan to proceed after such an impressive work.

Hooray for Earth - True Loves: This album has ended up sticking to my ribs in the most peculiar way.  A must for fans of New Order-esque synth-pop.

Field Music – Measure:  I really can’t say anything more about this album than check it out.  It’s quite possibly a masterpiece that, in its own way, rivals Jellyfish in their heyday (that’s right, I said it).

Yes - Fly from Here: Yes fans are fighting like rabid dogs over this one - they can be worse than superhero fanboys in their own way.  I prefer just to enjoy the movie, y'know?

James Blake – This self-titled debut is so compelling that it made the other things I was listening to sound dumb.  It’s both expressive and alienating, and certainly worth wider attention. 

Ebu Gogo – Worlds: Sort of a prog tribute to the Super Mario Brothers soundtrack.  Worlds has a lot of technique and detail, but never strays too far from its playful essence.

Fictionist - Lasting Echo:  Fictionist is a jammy pop band that came through the feed a little while back.  They are not too bad, but also have not stood out too much as of yet.

Christian Scott – AnthemI don’t think that this particular album is the 21st century’s Kind of BlueI do think, however, that Scott may have that in him at some point in the future.

Deadmau5 – 4 X 4 = 12:  It was not my intention to give 4 X 4 = 12 a bad rap in my previous post, because there are several tracks I genuinely like.  I will say the “fast forward” sometimes looks inviting, though.

Isis - Wavering RadiantThis one may have to simmer for awhile.  Although it currently has my attention, I often wonder why – still, it has its moments.

The Sword - Warp Riders:  I don’t know why I didn’t think about getting this back into play earlier this summer.  For those who like to rock, it’s a no-brainer.

Brahmah – Brahmah is a cross-cultural music ensemble comprised of UNT faculty.  I was fortunate enough to study under all of these musicians in back in the day, and this album beautifully showcases their individual mastery and collective flexibility.

Serj Tankian - Elect the Dead:  A killer hard-rock protest album from a few years ago by the lead singer of System of a Down.  This one probably needs its own retrospective-style posting someday.

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