This Week's Best Album Streams: 28th November 2012
Indian Jewelry - Peel It (Consequence of Sound)
It's the noise rock band that is neither Neon Indian nor Diamond Rings both of whom I, a card carrying (it doesn't matter that I had the cards made on a machine at an indoor market) music journalist, mistook them for. It's also the noise rock band that don't sound like any other noise rock band, or at least your (my) preconceived notion of a noise rock band. Peel It, Indian Jewelry's sixth studio album, has plenty of noise, that's for sure - it's not just swathes of feedback and drones, though, as it incorporates truly cavernous post-punk basslines on the likes of 'See Forever', lo-fi sludge rock on 'Against Nature', Animal Collective-goes-dub on 'How Long', and plenty of blown-speaker beats across its eleven tracks. And okay, most of them start with a squeal of distorted guitar, but they actually go somewhere from there.
Walter TV - Appetite (Bandcamp)
There's lo-fi, and then there's lo-fi. Walter TV are the latter. A side-project for Mac DeMarco and his band (to be perfectly honest I'm not that familiar with their front-project), Appetite is there most recent cassette-only release. No, I don't know how they get a tape onto the internet either. Feed the spools into the CD drive of their laptop? It sounds like it at times, the surf-inflected guitars and early Wavves-style vocals being battered around by the paws of cheap production. The actual songwriting doesn't suffer too badly, thankfully, giving us a collection of dreamy, hazy songs that aren't about much, but not to their detriment.
Memory Tapes - Grace/Confusion (MTV Hive)
Memory Tapes! Another name that gets confused in my head in the Katamari-like collected ball of Neon Indian, Diamond Rings, Indian Jewlery, Tapes and Tapes...their third full-length - even if it's only got six tracks - is a reasonably sprawling and multi-tentacled beast, slowly revealing itself amongst Dayve Hawk's ghostly vocals and electronica that starts of polite and considered, before developing into something loud and messy, like an increasingly inebriated guest at a dinner table who rips the classical music off the stereo and puts Daft Punk on instead. Except even better than that.
I_Am_Ampersand - Grave Goods (Clash)
Whilst his Fujiya and Miyagi band mate David Best is off swanning about with new fancy man with Omega Male, Matt Hainsby has been making music with a similarly unwieldy name and similarly idiosyncratic, very English take on the artier side of seventies music - that's everything from the syncopated rhythms of Krautrock to the weird noises of Throbbing Gristle to funky Bootsy Collins basslines - and seaside Creosote folk. Rather lovely, not unlike Gruff Rhys' more restrained solo stuff.
The Soft Walls - Soft Walls (The Quietus)
I guess it must be the time of year for albums that are created by one person (or a small group of people) in isolation that reflect the sometimes schizophrenic tastes of a eclectic music lover. That's what it says on all the displays in Tesco, anyway. The Soft Walls Cold Pumas member and Faux Discx overseer Dan Reeves, and Soft Walls was recorded over a nine-month period and incorporates sixties psychedelia, garage-y blues rock, delicate folk, found sounds and trippy experimental soundscape nonsense into a surprisingly coherent package.
Christmas Album Corner
The Eastern Sea - First Christmas (Paste)
This week I have another totally cheesy but warm and gooey - kind of like fondue, I guess - festive record for you. Save for the far-too-meta 'Christmas, Don't Be Late', First Christmas is a breezy, peppy album of old standards and new...not...standards that flow through the vein of indie rock that has the relentless, sincere energy of a puppy, and alternates between being adorable and kind of a nuisance.
If you find any good album streams this week, Tweet me @tennis_everyone. You can find all the info about my petition to be considered for Sports Personality of the Year on there, too.
What a week! By which I mean, what a week for less excellent album streams. The Strokes continue to try and sabotage each other's careers by making the most identikit music they can (this time referencing A-ha for a joke). Peace reach even further back, to psychedelic sixties garage rock, and are even more boring in the process. Depeche Mode are old. It's all a little disheartening, isn't it? [read more]
So I guess iTunes is the proprietary platform for streaming albums now? Last week it was the place to hear the new Bowie, and this week it's holding an exclusive listening party for that guy from N*Sync's comeback record (which maybe isn't quite as anticipated as The Next Day, even if they both the performer in question turned out to be pretty good actors and have both had terrible haircuts). You know Justin Timberlake owns MySpace as well, right? [read more]
So how about those Grammys, eh? Yeah I don't have an opinion on the Grammys. And neither should you – they're a institution of fossils who somehow have retained their basic auditory functions, but perfectly preserved their Jurassic musical tastes. Which is why Mumford and Sons have featured heavily in the ceremony the past couple of years. [read more]
I know what you're expecting. I can read you lot like an open book. Or maybe a hacked Kindle book. You think the top album stream I recommend you this week is The Next Day, the new David Bowie album that you can listen to in full on iTunes. But I like to confound expectations, ladies and gentleman, much like a magician, or a cruel parent who promises their child a new games console for Christmas and places a PlayStation Vita rather than... anything else, under the tree. [read more]