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.
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]
My Twitter feed has been jammed with people talking about one central topic this past week: the John Lewis Christmas Advert. Has this become a thing? Have we so lost sight of tradition through our free market capitalism that we no longer see Christmas as a magical time? A time when people come together for one single, special event which we can all share - the first airing of the Coca-Cola Christmas Advert? [read more]
New year, new me. This is going to be my year. Oh, sorry, you already claimed it? Never mind then, I'll wait until the next one comes along, and hopefully I'll be quicker off the mark. Big changes are afoot for the 405, friends, but you can rely on me to stubbornly refuse to change. Unless this is your most hated feature, in which case, I'll continue to obnoxiously fuel your hate-reading. [read more]
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! By which I mean I have no money in my bank account, the BBC are trailing festive editions of their biggest hits (just the same as normal, only, with snow), and music journalists are breathlessly compiling their year-end lists. They're jumping the gun a little bit, though - we've still go 26 days of 2012/the world as we know it yet, and there's still a surprising amount of good music being released. Look! Here's some of it! [read more]