Monday, December 21, 2015

Low - Ones and Sixes (Sub Pop, 2015)

Ones and Sixes
Sub Pop

Rating: 8 breathing snails out of 10

I've long been a total fanboy of Low, both in recorded form and live, ever since I randomly bought a used copy of "The Curtain Hits the Cast" in college...nearly twenty years ago.  I don't feel good about typing that.   I do, however, feel good about this new Low record "Ones and Sixes."  There are never any great leaps or changes in what Low does - it's always subtle, and often takes a few listens to pinpoint.  The two most noteworthy items on "Ones and Sixes" are the use of electronic drums to augment the simple drum beats that usually populate their tracks, and a strong Cocteau Twins vibe from the guitars on a few songs.  Make no mistake though, any fan of Low is going to feel right at home with this one.  As is always the case anytime they release a record, it's one of my favorites of the year. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Destroyer - Poison Season (Merge, 2015)

Poison Season

Rating: 8.5 male potency drugs out of 10

It wasn't until I read another review that I realized this latest Destroyer album, "Poison Season," carried a New York City theme throughout much of the songs.  Listen, I hardly ever pay attention to lyrics - so long as they aren't super blatantly stupid, singers can pretty much be saying whatever they want.  The thing is that musically, this album sounds very much like the late seventies in the greater New York City area - there are easy comparisons to Springsteen, Lou Reed and Bowie of that era.  Not the vocals mind you - Dan Bejar sounds nothing like those three titans, but is amazing all the same on his own terms.  The second track on the album, "Dream Lover," is instantly one of the top five best songs Destroyer has ever released - very strong praise in my opinion.  I keep waiting for the inevitable downhill slide with Bejar and Destroyer, but album after album they not only meet but surpass my expectations. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Archers of Loaf - Curse of the Loaf - Live at Cat's Cradle (ARRA, 2015)

Archers of Loaf
Curse of the Loaf - Live at Cat's Cradle

Rating: vs. the Greatest of All Time

As a self-professed superfan of the Archers of Loaf, the only thing that could possibly keep me from loving this is if the live recording was bad.  It's not.  I've seen them a good half-dozen times since their reformation, including one of the nights when this was recorded (August 19-20, 2011) if I remember correctly, and they give me that same excitement that they did when I saw them for the first time more than twenty years ago.  No, a live recording isn't quite as good as the live experience, but it's still a damn fine representation of what is so great about this band.