Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Roundup: Besieged by Details

Although I like to keep things positive on the blog, I have to admit that October has been a particularly trying month. In many facets of my life, I have a lot of people that rely heavily on me, and usually, I don’t mind being the person that plays an active role in holding things together. There are stressful and seemingly endless details with the house that need ironing out, though, and with the move coming up next month, it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. Along with that, it feels like my work responsibilities have taken more energy than usual. With all of these stressors, being “the rock” seems a little overwhelming, and I’m a little ashamed of feeling that way.

When I get overwhelmed, I tend to let go of details and just plow forward, just trying to get where I am supposed to be when I am supposed to be there. In some ways, however, life is created out of details, and very often, my disinclination to stay organized and communicate my plans comes back to get me. I may get to where I need to be, but I’m not always prepared, which makes me even more frustrated, stressed, and ashamed.

This is when I rely on people to reciprocate and help hold me together, especially in the organization department. I am fortunate to have an amazing support structure that is willing to help.  When I am feeling pressure, however, I can sometimes take support as criticism, and I react defensively, which is also unfair.

I am incredibly thankful for the people around me, especially when they are patient with my weaknesses. I only hope that I have the grace to thank them when I feel besieged.

There are still no streaming tracks available for:

The xx - Coexist: I get the feeling that The xx said everything that they are going to say on their first album. Although Coexxist is a pleasant enough listen, it seems inexplicably vacuous in many of the places where their debut was meaningful.

However, the rest of the month pretty much sounded like this:

Grizzly Bear - Shields: There are not many current bands that are able to balance accessibility and abstraction the way the Grizzly Bear does. I would stop short of calling it flawless, but it is certainly an engaging, rewarding listen on many levels.

Jellyfish - Spilt Milk: Perhaps it takes a bit more of a page from Sgt. Pepper's than Revolver, but to even be considered amongst that kind of company is a compliment. Spilt Milk was, and is, a great album that was the source of an even greater tour.

Jason Falkner - Presents Author Unknown: This is one of my favorite albums from almost any Jellyfish-related release. Its incredibly strong and idiosyncratic, and is inextricably interwoven with my experiences from around its release.

Imperial Drag: I have not listened to this old gem it in many years, and it’s held up incredibly well. It has gotten a somewhat new lease on life with me the past month.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Tarkus: I think that this coheres as an album much more effectively that ELP's debut, but it is also inconsistent. It has some of the great music, sandwiched between brief intervals of filler.

Death Grips - Money Store: I picked this album up on a bit of a whim and although it blew me away at first, I soon had some second thoughts. I woke up this morning, however, and decided that Money Store, like the work of Ministry and Rage Against the Machine were in the 90s, is equal parts ingenious and disturbing

Radiohead - Amnesiac: There was argument posed that perhaps it is unfair to hold Amnesiac to the same standard as Kid A because it was not constructed to hold together as an album. I do see the point, but since the album is my unit of consumption, I see Amnesiac as flawed compilation with some great material on it (sorry!).

Storm Corrosion - With a name like Storm Corrosion, this disc is not what I expected at all. It’s an inversion of nearly every assumption you might make about a Michael Ackerfeldt/Steven Wilson collaboration.

Seryn - This Is Where We Are: This is a serious grower. Its "Peter Gabriel meets Appalachia" ambience has insidiously wound its way into my favorites.

Änglagård - Viljans Öga: Änglagård is cinematic and technical almost to the point of absurdity. Their attention to detail and intuitive sense of melodic flow, however, fortifies Viljans Öga with a tone of serious, studied musicality.

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