The New Decay

for those who love myusik

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

At the Mid-Point

Before I get started, I have to ask, what in the world is going on in our fair city? Two weeks ago it was the Albert that announced it was closing its doors (after 20 years), and now today I wake up and read that the Collective has been sold and is turning into a frickin' AMERICAN APPAREL!!!! How dumb is that? I understand that venues don't last forever (although I was beginning to think the Albert would), but to lose two of our best venues in the city in two weeks is ridiculous. Not to mention one is turning into a big-name chain store that masks itself as having some form of indie-cred. Anyways, sad to see both venues go, but am still excited to see what replaces them (so long as it's not the Zoo).

Anyways, it's July which is as good a time as any to do a mid-point review of the year in music thus far. All I can say is that it has been a decent year so far for music. Nothing earth-shattering has happened yet. No new movements have emerged (with the exception of maybe in metal), but this hasn't stopped familiar faces from returning with excellent releases. It's definitely looking to be a mirror image of 2005 and 2006, but here's hoping for something better to come in the second half of the year.

That said, three albums have really stuck out for me thus far. They are three albums by artists that I have enjoyed in the past, that have now created works that focus on such things as textures, repetition and seek to haunt you as you go about your daily business. In no particular order they are;

Panda Bear - Person Pitch

The best thing to come from the Paw-Tracks collective since Sung Tongs (and at times it even surpasses its predecessor). Noah Lennox is at his finest with his latest solo album, allowing for more percussion and repetition than his previous effort. From the album cover all the way down this is a very enjoyable record to experience.

Frog Eyes - Tears for the Valedictorian

If you've read my blog once you probably know just how much I love this band, so I don't think I need to say much about this one. 'Bushels' in particular is a masterpiece and possible edges out Panda Bear's 'Bros' as best song of the year so far.

The Good the Bad and the Queen - The Good the Bad and the Queen

I remember someone saying once 'with the whole Blur verses Oasis thing I always sided with Pulp.' Well with Damon Albarn's new project The Good The Bad and the Queen he kind of blows that comparison apart, creating one of the more encaptivating albums of the year. This totally caught me off guard as I've never been the hugest Blur fan. They've always been that band that I'll listen to once every few years and that should be enough. This is a much darker, more complex and more interesting Albarn than we have had in the past, as he has created a song cycle that will gently lure you in rather than pound you over the head (ala 'Song 2'). In fact, I would go so far as to say that this album is so different from Blur that the comparisons should stop at 'A new project from Blur's Damon Albarn.' Altogether a enjoyable listen that I will most definitely keep coming back to in the future.

Other albums I've enjoyed this year so far;
Himalayan Bear - Himalayan Bear Attacks the Brilliant Air
The Sea and Cake - Everybody
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum
Julie Doiron - Woke Myself Up
Sun O))) - Oracle
The Bad Plus - Prog
Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond
The Focus Group - We are All Pans People
Fujiya and Miyagi - Transpent Things
Great Lake Swimmers - Ongiara
Von Sudenfed - Tromatic Reflextions
San Serac - Professional

Looking forward to:
John Vanderslice - Emerald City
Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Animal Collective
Cadence Weapon

Favorite Shows:
1.) Vijay Iyer - The Exchange Arts Center

2.) Final Fantasy - Folkfest

3.) Toumani Diabate and Bela Fleck - Folkfest

4.) Dinosaur Jr. - Garrick Theater

5.) Himalayan Bear and Frog Eyes - The Collective (R.I.P.)