New Releases with Thomas Abildgaard31 October 2012
Grizzly Bear – Shields
GrizzBear don’t disappoint. They are like the anti-Mickey Rourke of the music industry, in that they don’t inspire fear and discomfort, and vomit on your floor in the middle of the night.* Perhaps a little less accessible than pop delights such as “Two Weeks” from Veckatimest, but what Shields lacks in pop sizzle it more than makes up for in musicality and craftsmanship. Grizzly Bear almost manage the grand feat of getting me to like acoustic guitars through using them for texture, not fauxmotional whinging like everybody else. There really isn’t much to be said apart from making fun of Mickey Rourke again, but I don’t want to get any late night phone calls from Mickey’s lawyers, or woe and behold, from the big man himself. Go buy Shields — Grizzly Bear are on Warp records, but they could probably still use the money.
Dan Deacon – America
America‘s album cover is an aerial shot of Lake Placid, and the album itself begins with a sound as horrible and grating as the movie Lake Placid. From there on it gets way better, with a wash of sound that washes across your ears from start to finish like a great wash of Americans rolling and tumbling upon their collective stomachs, their giant t-shirts flapping in the air as a grand salute. In his spare time Deacon hangs around making contemporary classical music, and it shows as this is some of the most musically intricate and well composed electronic music I’ve heard—Phillip Glass filtered through distortion pedals and Mickey Rourke’s mangled face comes to mind at several points throughout the experience. I can’t say this is one to reach for while you’re kicking back with your best pipe and a glass of brandy, but it is damn good.
The XX – Coexist
There are no surprises on Coexist, The XX are just doing what they do, but perhaps doing it a little better than on their first outing. The best thing about them is that the tunes are as sparse as the remaining hairs on Jason Alexander’s head. However, much like their Scandinavian precursors, The Knife, there is an odd paradox to their sound. Richly emotional songs, played cold and distant in a wash of sound and silence that stretches out endlessly like the dead emptiness of the cosmos. Why so cold guys? Lighten up a little, and maybe we’ll feel something other than emptiness when listening to your little pop songs. I kid, I kid, it’s quite good, the beats are fantastic, and I’m sure it’ll play well in all the nice cafes and galleries, it just doesn’t hurt to have a little heart in your tin-man.
Cat Power – Sun
Chan Marshall seems to be almost pathologically mediocre. She never does anything terrible, it’s always listenable and perfectly pleasant to have chiming in the background, but when has she ever done anything worth the time to sit down and listen to? Is she some sort of clone of Peter Bjorn & John? This comes closer, but it’s still a long, long way from interesting. There are just so many people doing this kind of business already and this just isn’t as good. Consider the choice to purchase and then listen to this album the equivalent of choosing to watch According to Jim, when you have the fullSeinfeld box set. You will die, depraved, sick, sad, and alone—and when you die, Jim Belushi and Chan Marshall will be sitting there waiting for you to listen to her play shitty guitar while big Jim plays harmonica. Forever.
*Apologies to Mickey Rourke who is a talented, wonderful actor despite being a supporter of big W Bush, and obviously the victim of some lecherous and evil scientist/plastic surgeon.