There’s no order or theme or whatever to my reviews. Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately.
Spoon Hot Thoughts
It’s no secret that Spoon is one of my favorite bands of the past ten years, but not onlyin the way that they always express what I’m feeling or the context that I’m in but also in their consistency and their ability to deliver entire albums set to different moods or different tonal changes.
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga was their breakout pop album in 2007 with only one of their songs, “Ghost of You Lingers,” eluding to a past album life, while the rest were of a more upbeat poppy tune. “The Underdog” was one of the few refreshing indie hits that was played over and over at my retail job, but even a good Spoon hit gets tiring after awhile. “Ghost of You Lingers” and “Black Like Me” were more of their noise pop symphony songs that made them good, as in 2001’s Girls Can Tell. Too many nights driving down the I5 corridor to the moody and sonically-aware Girls Can Tell, and I don’t think they’d ever come out with an album better than that. But they know it. And that’s ok. Every album since has its own flavor, its own vibe.
Hot Thoughts is the best of both worlds, the über poppy and the melodramatic, but this time each song has both dynamics mixed in and the dynamic edges of both sides encompassed by the intricate narrative lyrics and Britt Daniel’s iconic voice that we’ve come to love in Spoon. “Hot Thoughts” is the exploding hit on the album and it plays first and “WhisperI’lllistentohear” follows their usual formula of a mellow existential song as the second song, but don’t stop right there. “Can I Sit Next To You” and “Shotgun” are the songs you want to add to your party mix. Yeah, sure, “I Ain’t The One” was the exploding hit (as featured on Shameless) and it is objectively good but subjectively it came out out about 10 years too late for me.
The New Pornographers Whiteout Conditions
In my rather young and millennial pink opinion, this is TNP’s best album. It’s got that OOMPH that screams WE’RE A POWERGROUP AND WE’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE. They’re raucous and loud, and every line is poetry that will leave you thinking of new impressions at every listen. Neko Case and the boys perfectly harmonize each other once again. I think Whiteout Conditions is a good album for someone who have never listened to TNP before, or for someone who maybe only gave their sister’s burnt copy of Electric Version a listen less than 10 times. Best songs: “Whiteout Conditions” and “Colosseums.”
Resistance Radio: The Man In The High Castle
I’ve never seen the show, The Man In The High Castle, nor have I read the Philip Dick novel, but this compilation album produced by Danger Mouse works by itself. The vintage electronica musikanten radio on the album cover is a clue that the songs will transport you to postwar 1940s (and if the war went a very different way). There are some very familiar cover songs (“Can’t Help Falling In Love” and “House of the Rising Sun,” for instance) that were remade to emulate the dystopian era. The one that I have on repeat is “Nature Boy” by Andrew VanWyngarden covering the late and great jazz singer, Nat King Cole. It’s a mystery to me why it echos “Tuyos,” the Narcos theme song by Brazilian singer-songwriter, Rodrigo Amarante. I’d love to consult a a music composer or at least a Spanish translator to uncover exactly why these songs sound so similar, or maybe a simpler conclusion is that Amarante is putting a Latin spin to Nat King. Either way, it sounds fantastic!
Current obsession/next up to review:
Charly Bliss’s Guppy, which is still marinating