Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Roundup: An Eye on Good Fortune

Last night we walked though the new house. The wood only started going up in the last couple of weeks, but even so, we can see the abstract decisions we have made in countless meetings and discussions become real things. When everything only existed in our heads and on paper, it seemed that our questions and concerns were unanswerable, but now we can see those plans come to fruition. That’s comforting.

Superficially, ours is one of the humbler lots in our neighborhood. Several other houses are built on hillsides with striking views, while ours is tucked in the back. When we inspected the room upstairs, however, our friends, The Best Man and The Minister, who will very soon also be our neighbors, asked us if we had noticed our view from our north facing window. In my mind, that window wasn’t going to look into much more than the side of our next-door neighbor’s house. As I came to the window, however, I immediately looked past their sideyard to see a very clear view overlooking downtown Austin.

I was not counting on having much of a view of anything. When we decided to take the upstairs option, however, we got one just by chance. That’s the kind of good fortune that has come my way recently that makes me think that I, and my family, have been living right.

A couple of selections from this month were unavailable for streaming.

Oceansize - Everyone Into Position: This was a mid-00s find that straddles progressive rock and post-grunge rock styles. On the whole, I enjoy it, but it has never seemed to have much of a shelf life in the long term.

The xx - Coexxist: On the surface, Coexxist seems to capture the subdued melodrama of The xx's stellar debut. There seems to be something missing, however, and I'm still trying to decide if more simmering is needed.

The rest adds up to a pretty varied playlist.

Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica: I consider this to be the first album I bought this year, and its also one of the best. It is, perhaps, challenging at first, but it holds up incredibly well under repeated listens.

M83 - Before the Dawn Heals Us: Some fans cite this as M83's best album, which, considering the competition, is quite a tall order. After spending some time with it, however, I think that it just might be true.

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless: This album isn't catchy or even singable, really. Still, it envelopes and washes over the listener in a very distinctive and emotional way.

Rush - Clockwork Angels - I took it out for a week. Then I put it right back in.

I started the Jellyfish project this month with both Bellybutton and Spilt Milk, and it immediately garnered attention, more so than any other post in the blog's history.  It seems like the band's cult status has built a devoted fanbase over the years that supercedes their initial low-key success.

Kill Bill vol. 1 Original Soundtrack: This unique collection of songs is infused with menace and double meaning as the backdrop to Tarantino's masterwork. It holds together by seemingly little more than the strength of the movie's distinctive narrative.

Field Music - Plumb: I always hate to take this album out when it is in rotation. Although it does work as a collection of songs, it is best considered as a unified work.

Brendan Benson - What Kind of World:  All of Benson's releases are phenomenally good power pop, and What Kind of World is no different.  I'm not sure if its my favorite Benson album overall, but it's a great listen.

Seryn - This is Where We Are: After hearing about this band from many of my Denton brethren, I was quite fortunate to have a copy sent to me by a reader. Fortunate, indeed, because I get the feeling that This is Where We Are will be a rewarding long-term listen in terms of musicianship and craft.

Charles Mingus - The Clown: While there were some pretty clear lines of transmission in jazz, Mingus' work seems to exist outside of these traditions. His romantic approach to jazz is virtually antagonistic when placed in its late 50s context.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer: ELP has a few amazing moments on their debut that predicts the apex that they would soon reach. At times, however, it seems as if they are feeling out each other's potential in public, which makes the album a bit uneven.

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