Lucky you, two weeks at once. Just remember to chew before swallowing:
Iron & Wine – “Around the Well”
A collection of songs spanning I&W’s three LPs, folk ranging from soft acoustic to slightly electric. Some of the early stuff ranges from listenable to not fully there (“Friends they are Jewels” falls here, still a bit sonically vacant), and much of the best material are the acoustic inbetweens, which tend to have better developed 2nd choruses; “Swans and the Swimming” sounds like it should finish “The Creek Drank the Cradle,” and much of the second album, including the gorgeous “Sinning Hands,” makes this worth the price. The only other weakness here is the odd choice of “Waitin’ for a Superman,” which doesn’t match up to the Flaming Lip’s original (“Love Vigilantes” hits the mark, though). For the price and collection here, it is an excellent deal, even if you were hoping for another full-length. Recommended.
Tori Amos – “Abnormally Attracted to Sin”
A slimmer, more seductive album that spins about in the later hours of the night. It has a lighter instrumentation, all the electric organ effects you could want, and focuses especially on Amos’ vocals; wherein lies the problem, because she’s not terribly powerful or subtle here. Generally, the whole doesn’t have a strong feeling to it, almost like you read a newspaper and discover it’s made of tissue paper. But there are some excellent standout tracks: “Not Dying Today” and “Fast Horse” both utilize her ability to craft and create good, layered pop songs. Otherwise, she doesn’t really carry the show in these mostly slower and more eletric-ballad type songs, and the album feels a bit more naked than she should feel comfortable with.
Grizzly Bear – “Vekatimest”
A truly exciting album characterized with as many twists and turns as a good park ride. It’s incredibly full, with string orchestration and a guitar bassline supporting almost Moody Blues style vocals (maybe more than just vocals, given the slightly fuller orchestration). It’s surprising and fun: goofy in bass-heavy “Two Weeks,” enthralling in the epic “Fine for Now”; think of Animal Collective’s electronic smorgasbord, but cleaner and poppier. The end result is something a bit easier to listen to and make sense of (though that’s not to detract from AC’s fantastic “Merriweather”.) Other than the unusual title, this album begs the one question: what have you to lose? Absolutely fantastic. Listen to “While you Wait for the Others.”
Sunn – “Monoliths and Dimensions”
A five-minute intro means that 1/10th of the album is spent on about 10 held notes; 10 minutes of distorted bass and creepy-like vocals later, I’m not too sure the album has even started. Overglorfied crypt-rock, with more than emo attitude than musical ability; like huffing glue, not something you try unless you’re into it. Overdone, melodramatic and not particularly thrilling. Suggested if: you’re a teenage daughter trying to tick off father with studded neck braces and black eyeliner. On second thought, just stick to the homedone piercings and backalley tattoos: it’ll hurt less.
Gravest apologies for being late again. It’s probably a good thing for me that this blog doesn’t have a real deadline or anything, though bad for you at the same time.
Most things we find ourselves grateful for were forced on a deadline: Apollo 13, commuting buses and trains, daily Dilbert strips (though Doonesbury outshines of late). I find most things awful without the rigidity of a fixed schedule, this blog included.
Meat better make it to the market, or I’ll be without delicious home-cooked burgers.
If trees shed their leaves willy-nilly, they’d be stuck freezing in the winter.
You can’t pass transportation-funding legislation without timetables, duh.
Next time you catch yourself moaning about “Jeez, I’ve got this project due next week,” or “I still have to write up that blasted report,” just consider where we’d all be without deadlines. Chaos. The world before it was born. My rambling, pathetic blog. And no House episodes every week (kind of like now, considering they finished their season). I guess I’m getting to the fact that summer syndication is pretty awful; thank god for Burn Notice and endless days of sunshine.
(Apologies also to those in the southern hemisphere: you’ve got encroaching winter, backwards-flushing toilets, and no Hugh Laurie.)