Thursday, September 29, 2011

September Roundup: Feeling Centered in the Storm?

I have a newborn baby and a demanding job of my own, and this month I am learning to navigate the push and pull of the new gravitational forces in this constellation.  The baby cries a lot, but she’s really cute.  My students can’t remember their locker combinations, but they are enthusiastic and work hard.  These various ebbs and flows can work their magic on my own centeredness at any given moment in my day.  In any case, my personal music agenda seems to surround these experiences.  Looking back, taking a moment to write about them seems to freeze these moments, for better or worse.

So you’ll excuse me if I continue with the major players from the month of August.  You know the drill.

The Rolling Stones - Goat's Head Soup: This has been sitting on my shelf for, I kid you not, eighteen years, and just this month I got around to listening to it.  The good news - it may actually make a Stones fan out of me after all.

No Knife - Riot for Romance: Looking back, I feel like my post for this album was a little two-dimensional.  Beyond No Knife's indignant intellectualism, there is still a lot to musically listen to and appreciate on Riot for Romance.

the tUnE yArDs - W H O K I L L:  I'm still trying to decide if I like this band as much as I respect them.  Signs, as they say, point to "yes."

Opeth - Heritage: Everything you have heard about the new Opeth album is true.  Its got totally clean vocals and an intentional detuned nod to Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, Caress of Steel-era Rush, and a pantheon of other 70s psudeo-prog giants.

Gamelan of Central Java Vol.12 - Pangkur One: An extremely well-produced example of contemporary Javanese gamelan.  Perhaps not for the beginner, but still a pristine recording.  (Note: the recording in the playlist is the same ensemble, but from another disc in the series)

Esben and the Witch - Violet Cries:  Sort of like if Sinead O'Connor hooked up with some druidic cult and got all shoegazy. I would be very, very surprised if there were no subliminal messages floating around in all of the wailing echoes that pervade this album. 

Skysaw - Great Civilizations:  With "Tonight, Tonight" as a starting point, ex-Smashing Pumpkins drummer creates a new band with its own Jethro Tullish leanings.  Proggishly melodic hooks abound, but so do a few troubling musical choices.

Teaching Music for Performance in Beginning Band pt. 1 Disc 1: Yeah, I gotta start picking out contest music for the year, so a certain part of my diet has to contain the Grade 1 literature.  This is often a little grueling, but the investment pays off in the Spring when I find some pieces that I can tolerate for three months but that are also appropriate for my group.

Deerhoof - Deerhoof vs. Evil: Even though I have grown to really love this album, I think that the thing that makes Deerhoof so cool for some people is the thing that prevents them from being a personal favorite.  I really like the catchiness of the "ditties" and riffs that they use as building blocks for their songs, but the end result is so jagged and disparate that it is often difficult to gain your bearings in the bigger picture.

Oh, yeah, and it finally rained this month.  It seems that the drought has sapped the average Texan's ability to drive in the rain.  Most just pulled over on the side of the road, dumbfounded.


  1. I think Goat's Head Soup is the ONLY Stones record I haven't heard. Need to remedy that. No Mother's Milk or Exile on Main St. Jeff?

    Haven't listened to the new Opeth yet but they are playing at the Granada in a couple of weeks. Apparently, their entire setlist is comprised of clean vocal songs. Not sure how I feel about that.

  2. *Edit, Sticky Fingers