Jump to content
DVDVR Message Board
Sign in to follow this  
Lamp, broken circa 1988

IF YOU SHOW ME YOUR ALBUM OF THE YEAR I WILL LISTEN TO IT

Recommended Posts

12 minutes ago, Casey said:

Tell me more, because if this is true then it’s going to break my heart because I really do love Kurt Vile just as much as I do Courtney Barnett.

also that entire album is waaaay better in a live setting. But I’m glad you didn’t hate it! Nowhere near as good as her last album, though.

leased Baby's Arms to Bank of America and then acted like a real dickhead about it like "I gotta pay the carpenter on my house so whatever."

EDIT: Misremembered the quote, it was "sorry [Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus]. i did it to be like the carpenters.and to buy my daughter high end diapers. and to pay back my publishing advance. and because i never cared about that sorta thing. whoops,i even have a bank of america account.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well! Now I'm gonna get the chance to bust a few of these out over the next like two weeks. EDIT: This also seems like a good time to remind people that if they want to listen to my AOTY and write about/dunk on it in here, that's totally fine. Repay me with scorn if you must. The album is "In A Poem Unlimited" by US Girls.

  1. "You Won't Get What You Want" by Daughters
  2. "Vile Luxury" by Imperial Triumphant
  3. "II: Sojourn" by Wytch Hazel
  4. "Tell Me How You Really Feel" by Courtney Barnett
  5. "Creation" by The Daysleepers.
  6. "The Sciences" by Sleep
  7. "Ruby" by Macy Gray

I have never heard of The Daysleepers. Their cover art reminds me of a really specific indie game. The hoard of genre tags at the bottom there basically translate to “as much pedalboard as band.” This is not a judgment. My pedalboard for the thing I’m working on is somewhere around 13. It’s just an approach. They seem to lean on Space Rock a lot, and I don’t know what that would necessarily imply. It makes me think of like Spiritualized, but that’s because they literally have a record called “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space.” So I guess let’s learn what a space rock is!

 

Ok so Spiritualized might not be that far off. This is hitting me at the right time because I’ve been listening to- and making- a lot of guitar stuff in the last few weeks. I’m not able to make out the lyrics, which frankly might be an advantage given my struggles with rock lyricism. “well who is a rock band making stuff with good lyrics” you might ask. “i dunno, pretty much just protomartyr” I might reply. Rock has stagnated so much in style that I find all people aspiring to be good lyricists have fled to other genres like R&B or folk. Which is fine. Oh this song’s done. That was okay!

Oh man if it’s all gonna be this speed this might be rough for me. This sounds like a punk band in the movie Drive. I can see the purple lit fog already and the people swaying left to right with mona lisa smiles already. My sympathy towards big chords is really helping here, because this is an album of basically huge chords where the only tonal development is that the chords get bigger. I bet they like Lou Reed. This song’s like two chords but if you have good enough chords, you can make a run at that. It’s at this point that I realize their genre description also says “shoegaze/dream pop,” which, sure.

Lol ok well it’s faster but it’s going back in time. The description calls this a “Spacey, upbeat new wave cut” and it’s not wrong. I am not the biggest new wave fan in the world. It’s structurally sound and I don’t particularly enjoy it but it’s not because it’s doing anything wrong. I just don’t find it interesting.

This is the only song on the album that is not assigned a genre in that big description below the record so I’m generally curious. Turns out it’s basically a Stone Roses song. That’s fine by me, I like the Stone Roses too. I’m having a hard time latching onto anything here. It’s like nice, but to no perceivable end. This is, of course, a thing I ask from music and not a thing musicians have any obligation to provide. The audience just wants songs they like. I could see how someone could like these songs.

I had to go back and put this one on again because the first time it just like totally passed through one ear and out the other. I believe this is when the “heavenly vocal textures” are coming in. I have just noticed this person shares the same last name as the lead singer and I am choosing to not draw any additional conclusions there. I fuckin’ did it again where like I stopped paying attention for a second and the song ended, so I’m not gonna go back a third time.

I’m not sure I understand what’s Space about this. Like, sound doesn’t travel in space so reverb doesn’t make an awful lot of sense. Synthesizers do because you need technology to be alive in space. They’re doing a lot of tone coloring stuff but it’s not like reflective of space. In fairness the only song I can think of that’s about space that sounds like space is a Scott Walker song and that’s not an achievable standard for 99.99% of songwriters, so there’s that.

This is the other New Wave Banger on here, they say. It’s accurate. This record is causing me to think that if you liked this, you’d REALLY be into A Sunny Day In Glasgow. They’re this same kind of tonal fog style of production, with a healthy amount of pop stuff in there instead of these vague dustings of rock structure.

In another universe, this band is making the sickest planetarium laser shows in the world. Maybe that’s why it’s called space rock, because it makes the most sense at space museums. The only one of those I saw was some U2 compilation of hits when I was like 9 or 10. I do not have a lot of positive things to say about U2, but I’m pretty much always gonna remember the crazy laser elevator effect thing playing during Mysterious Ways. This band could do that probably. I have so little else to say about the structure of this. It’s very antiquated but in a way where it’s harmless, you know? Like the rock revivalism thing bugs me because it’s refracted through awful awful people like Jack White. No one’s out there trying to be Jason Pierce But Terrible, so it’s still a comfortable space to try things out in. I just don’t care for it.

I was going to yell “ending ballad” but before I do that I have to acknowledge that’s a weird thing to say about a band who’s got half an album at this speed. However, it’s obvious from their approach to taking instruments out and quieting the drums that's what they are going for, so Take It Away, Mr. Ending Ballad. 😖

- - -
Remember that thing I said about Courtney Barnett, where I was like “this did nothing for me, but I could see how this album can mean a lot to someone having a specific year?” Okay so what if it was just the stuff before the comma? I mean, it’s by no means terrible but it’s purposefully impenetrable in service of The Same Tonal Profile For An Hour. It’s as much Pandora Station as Record. If that’s your thing, cool, but I don’t see the same thing in it.

I really struggle with like where to put it on the list. Both Sleep and The Daysleepers (LOL) have the same kind of problem where the record is one tone for the whole length of it. On one hand, Sleep’s got lyrics that are easy to understand that are the worst goddamn thing in the world, but it also has that really good ending track that I still remember pretty well. On the other hand, this record didn’t offend me at any point, but to use the space metaphor as articulately as they seem to, it’s gonna be shoved out of my brain’s airlock minutes after I post this. I guess Sleep’s lyrics are gonna keep it below, but it’s close.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers. I’ve been a Daysleepers fan since their first, and this comeback album hit me in the same feels as when MBV came out. I also like that it’s short. “This Dark Universe,” “Creation” and “The Monolith” all flow together like a 3-part suite. 

I think I ultimately ranked it #3 on my list of favorite albums of the year, behind Holy Fawn and CHRCH. But you had a lot of metal on the list already. 

I’ll take a look at US Girls. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I listened to U.S. Girls - In a Poem Unlimited.

Spoiler

It sucks. 

a little interesting with the instrumentation here, but that voice.  Is that Kristin Chenoweth?  Megan Mullaly?  with a little of that Lea Michelle try-hard over annunciation?  Am I listening to Glee?  She doens't sing natural.  It's really affected.  Like she's trying to have an accent she doesn't have.  Does this song have a chorus? 

Ooh sleazy saxophone.  still that voice.  Still sucks.  Is there a chorus? everything sounds the same except for the sleazy sax. 

I don't even remember anything about this third song. 

This is my favorite song on the album.  it's 25 seconds long and just a sample of a dying woman saying "Why Do I Lose My Voice When I Have Something to Say."

sampled strings and drum machine.  voice is still a joke. I'm embarrassed to listen to this with the window down. 

Is she rapping on this song?  What the actual fuck.  My son is making fun of me for listening to this.  He's 8. 

I don't think I'm going to make it five more tracks.

I don't even know how to describe this one.  these high notes are killing me.  I can't get past her voice.  it's grating and over affected.

starts with a record scratch.  If she starts rapping again I'm going to cry in this Walmart parking lot.  I'm skipping.

I'm liking how this one starts.  then she starts singing.  Still no choruses.

pointless interlude. always love padding out the album with pointless interlude.  I remember there was a Secrets of the Sky album that literally had more interlude tracks than actual, you know, track tracks.  I think at one point there was like, three interlude tracks in a row. 

This last song is still terrible.  It's more upbeat and there's more guitar instead of her singing, but it's still so terribly uninteresting.  Maybe her lyrics are really important and I'm missing something in translation, but I doubt it and not really interested enough to find out.

I have no idea how this could be anyone's favorites.  In this genre alone there's albums by Boygenius, Soccer Mommy, Emma Ruth Rundle, Marissa Nadler and Courtney Barnett that lap this one and don't feature a ridiculous voice.  It's not even pleasant enough for background music. 

 

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

golly gosh i had no idea 😧 😧😧

I don't know how much interest you have but here's the short version: it's produced outstandingly, the construction of every song is immaculate, the lyrical content of the record is fucking incredible, and it cloaks those lyrics in pastiche and grace where most people that were That Angry At Earth would just scream them and be done with it. Like Pearly Gates (the song you skipped) fixates on a sentiment most people would sum up like "FUCK THESE CREEPS IN ENTERTAINMENT," she takes that sentiment and tells the bleakest possible extension of that, where even in the afterlife women wont be safe from assault and coercion from men in power. And it's a goddamn jam. I also don't view it as a rock record, for what it's worth.

shortest version: I've only thought two* records were perfect in my life, and this is one of them. i'd change nothing about it.

*the other is milo's "Cavalcade" which has been ruined in retrospect by featuring a rapper who turned out to be a victim-blaming groper POS, and he has a large part on one of the best songs on that record

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Lamp, broken circa 1988 said:

golly gosh i had no idea 😧 😧😧

I don't know how much interest you have but here's the short version: it's produced outstandingly, the construction of every song is immaculate, the lyrical content of the record is fucking incredible, and it cloaks those lyrics in pastiche and grace where most people that were That Angry At Earth would just scream them and be done with it. Like Pearly Gates (the song you skipped) fixates on a sentiment most people would sum up like "FUCK THESE CREEPS IN ENTERTAINMENT," she takes that sentiment and tells the bleakest possible extension of that, where even in the afterlife women wont be safe from assault and coercion from men in power. And it's a goddamn jam. I also don't view it as a rock record, for what it's worth.

shortest version: I've only thought two* records were perfect in my life, and this is one of them. i'd change nothing about it.

*the other is milo's "Cavalcade" which has been ruined in retrospect by featuring a rapper who turned out to be a victim-blaming groper POS, and he has a large part on one of the best songs on that record

Her voice sucks.

And yes, you can tell that is has been produced all to fuck and very artisanally crafted and all of that is to its extreme detriment as a try-hard socially conscious message I don’t give a single fuck about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lol well I did say “if you must.” On to the next!

By the way, quick reminder, but I write everything that appears after the list first, preambles like this second, and the list third. I do this because I know the review is very long, and you don’t have to read it. As a result sometimes you get things like this, where the list is going to show that Parquet Courts is #1 and the first chunk of writing is going to be dismissive. Observe!

  1. "Wide Awake!" by Parquet Courts
  2. "You Won't Get What You Want" by Daughters
  3. "Vile Luxury" by Imperial Triumphant
  4. "II: Sojourn" by Wytch Hazel
  5. "Tell Me How You Really Feel" by Courtney Barnett
  6. "Creation" by The Daysleepers
  7. "The Sciences" by Sleep
  8. "Ruby" by Macy Gray

I’ll be honest: I’ve deliberately avoided listening to Parquet Courts for years. I have no sense of where my aversion even is rooted in. All I know is that the vibe I had gotten from them is that “this is probably not my thing.” No one I know has ever pulled me aside and been like “you gotta check out parquet courts” or anything either so this adds up to me having zero awareness of what this actually sounds like. So, let’s get open minded!

 

So every year for the holidays, I build a long playlist to listen to because my older brother and I drive up to the Christmas Destination together. It used to be of the Cokemachineglow top 50 before they closed shop, so this year we did the RYM top 40 + some – two of those autechre records and the Kids See Ghosts thing. This was on there. I put the first song on the mix to avoid hearing some deeper cut. I didn’t have “Excessive Devo Love” figured as the band’s sound. It’s a pretty good tune! The lyrics are more pointed that it seemed like they were in that first listen. I guess I’ll blame that on Highway Noise.

It’s at this point that I’ve noticed this song was produced by Danger Mouse. It does kind of sound like that. Quick check to see if this is the whole record aaaand yes. I’m extremely into this so far, even if this song in particular is very Sleaford Mods Vs. Danger Mouse. The fact that Sleaford Mods has made a go of it with the extremely sparse thing they are is proof that there’s a way forward here. If progress in rock music is slam poetry replacing falsettos I think I can deal with that. Somewhere Saul Williams is intensley suggested I’ve suggested this like that’s not the thing he’s tried to do over and over.

Okay I am going to need to check to see if they’ve been this aggressive the whole time because like what the fuck, this is some extremely strong lyricism. The music is kind of a jam too so that helps, but I’m really getting blindsided here. In a good way. How do you get good blindsided. I guess a surprise party? Surprise, You Like This And Probably Would Have For Like Five Years, Dumb Ass. Confetti is everywhere. Orange balloons. Oh my gosh. You shouldn’t have.

So apparently they at one point said their intention with this sound is to make “a punk rock record you can put on at parties.” Four tracks in and they are very comfortably on track to have done that. This is a well constructed love song that lightens the tension of the record without slowing to a crawl or ballading excessively. Very impressive.

I’m having less and less to say about this as I’m just enjoying it. It’s just totally refreshing. Which is probably not the reaction they’re going for. No one who makes political art hopes to preach to the choir.

This is just fucking immaculately made, holy shit. It would be so easy to just go for “LOL THE SOUTH” jokes with a song called Freebird II (or it’s original title, “Credits For A Film About the Vietnam War”) but they aimed so much higher with their revulsion and it’s beautiful to see. And the lyrics of this are SO GOOD. The bridge is a power with verse that I’m covetous of.  This album is very good.

THIS ALBUM IS VERY GOOD. So like for this whole process, I try to write as the songs are happening so I can be like more upfront with how I’m feeling about it. This is the second straight song where I’ve listened to it, gone “WOW,” and had to stop and play it again to actually write about it.

Alright this one’s losing me a bit. It’s not like poorly made, and I get the need to have a change of pace, but I’m just not feeling it. I guess it’s the ballad adjacency? But they still have the decency to make it instrumentally dense and not like isolating part of the band in detention while these piano chords happen. Ah well.

Okay lets get Talking Heads in here. That’s fine. You’ve earned it. Over a long enough timeline, every rock band tries to be Talking Heads at least once. This is definitely in the upper boundary of those attempts. It’s fine. This song and the last one kind of feel like they’re from different records. Happens to everyone.

And now, back to the show! This is good and it’s feeling like they’re trying to build steam back up from where they were. Oh shit this song and the next one are like three minutes combined. More art should confront homelessness ok moving on

Okay so I’m starting to suspect that the reason that Side B is more inside is purposeful. It’s like the whole Success Kills Activists problem acted out for the sake of the record. “Lying to ourselves everyday becomes incredibly easy,” is a pretty good tipoff.

I identify with the song “Death Will Bring Change” very much. That’s all I really want to say about it.

I was really, really nervous about Mr. Ending Ballad showing up, but then the guitar started in. I am relieved. I mean it’s adjacent but at the same time holy SHIT I wish I was this good at lyrics. This is a goddamn amazing closing song for this whole record. It feels like some poisoned end credits song.

- - -
WOW.

So here’s why this is going above Daughters- I am fully willing to admit that my love of that Daughters album is completely partisan. I loved Daughters before it, and even if the album underdelivered I probably would have put it first anyways. It happens to have totally delivered, at least to me. Regardless, I acknowledge this dissonance and I’m going to give Parquet Courts the benefit of the doubt and place it first to spite my own bias. It just happens to also be Very, Very Good.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Obligatory Business Announcement: Since the end of the year is on monday, I’m gonna go ahead and say that the signups for this close on Friday. So if anyone else wants to suggest a thing for this, you’ve got a week. Thanks to everyone who’s already signed up!

  1. "Wide Awake!" by Parquet Courts
  2. "You Won't Get What You Want" by Daughters
  3. "Vile Luxury" by Imperial Triumphant
  4. "Dirty Computer" by Janelle Monae
  5. "II: Sojourn" by Wytch Hazel
  6. "Tell Me How You Really Feel" by Courtney Barnett
  7. "Creation" by The Daysleepers
  8. "The Sciences" by Sleep
  9. "Ruby" by Macy Gray

My older brother put me onto Janelle Monae. She’s like one of his favorite artists at this point, and I’ve never like not gotten why. She’s very talented. I’ll also say that I was suspicious as fuck of this record after that Yoga song that came out last year, which felt kind of hollow and also caused me to learn who Jidenna is and I’m still unhappy about that.

It also came out with the whole movie thing, and I’m not the biggest fan of that way of doing things that way. It feels like it undersells the importance of the music in favor of the spectacle. But hey, all that really adds up to is “I shouldn’t make movies about my albums,” so I wont. However, I did doublecheck with a friend that’s already seen it and they say there’s songs on the record that aren’t in the movie, so I’m going to do this based off the record.

I went over this a bunch of times last year, but I love when a record just Gets Going. No prolonged intro song, just like “HEY WE NEED TO TALK, IT’S YOUR BEST FRIEND AN ALBUM AND I GOT STUFF TO SAY.” This is definitely a low tempo Janelle Monae song. I bet live the outro is better.

I’m really not sure how much I’m gonna have to say about this! Like the whole thing with Janelle Monae’s style is that it’s a seamless mixture of the American canon, which is a lane that a lot of musicians now deliberately try their best to avoid. At the same time, there’s something too deliberate in it that occasionally gives it a drama kid “I Am Everything” vibe. It’s flawless songwriting because the plan is flawless songwriting. I have this same kind of disconnect with things like J Pop.

I did check the credits on this record before hand and saw Thundercat was gonna be on here, and that is for sure Thundercat. This song is a fucking Jam. That’s really all there is to say about it. Oh, except that I kind of hope that was a diss on Daft Punk because fuuuuuuuuuuuuck that record. It’s probably not. I’m still probably the world’s biggest Random Access Memories hater, but I can hold out hope.

An interlude happened here

She’s kind of the only person capable of doing something that sounds like Prince and isn’t like disrespectful. This song is also an intense jam. After listening to so much like dour punk (been on a big Protomartyr kick) it’s a good change of pace. I love the line “Everything is sex, except sex, which is power.” It’s a Truth that also does a good job of explaining the perspective this is all going to be coming from.

That was an EXTREMELY good transition. The song’s good too. I am like such a useless writer about this, cuz it’s just like Airtight pop music. Like even if there’s something to be changed, it makes 100% perfect sense why it is the way it is. It couldn’t exist some other way and be Janelle Monae.

This is the only song I’ve heard from this before I’ve heard the record, and it’s still super impressive for her to change her voice THIS dramatically. It barely sounds like her. It’s also a good song, but yeah her range just keeps expanding and expanding and it’s impressive.

Yeah lets just keep getting Prince as fuck! I’m here for it! This is a great song and my favorite so far. The sliding vocals in the pre-chorus is such a filthy little touch to this song that it gives it a huge amount of character.

Okay so I was warned that this was going to be the worst song on the record, and that it’s not in the movie at all, and  this is definitely the song I’ve enjoyed least so far. Pharrell’s verse is… as bad as the last bunch of Pharrell verses I’ve had so I guess I can’t be surprised that it’s like this. I’m just going to pretend I stopped the album to listen to something else.

Alright so we’re back on the record, and I’m clearly gonna need a little to get over that Pharrell song, because like I’ve internalized this is fine but I can’t focus on it too clearly. I guess this counts as the ballad? But every pop song is halfway a ballad these days so I don’t know how to differentiate.

Oh, this is how. This is definitely a ballad, but they’ve still got the decency to keep the instrumentation dense. I actually find myself relating to the themes of this one a lot too, of like being unsure of what part of your presentation might lead someone on when you want someone to just like You. Like it’s ever that easy, I guess. The bridge at the back half is a good jam.

This is also an interlude

Okay hearing a pop chrous harmonizing behind “I’m afraid” is the first thing that’s ever tempted to me to try to make pop music because that is an amazing effect. I’m saving that idea for later. So shout out to Janelle Monae for inspiring me to write. The song is fine, but is like the third straight slow tempo song so I’m hoping the outro is going to start with an explosion and feel like a shockwave, because there’s definitely call to switch it up now.

This song is building up but the intro made me so scared about the Ending Ballad chances. Turns out we’re closing on a bit more Prince. At the same song it’s most On The Nose song on the record so it’s not really hitting me like other tracks have. So it’s an alright closer all told.

- - -
Everything up until Pharrell was fantastic and joyous, and then a 45 year old man says “yellow like pee” and then rhymes “pee” with “me”, and the record never recovers. Otherwise, strongly recommended.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fun fact: I stumbled upon my probable actual album of the year on December 30th.  Next year I'm waiting until the actual cutoff before nominating something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, username said:

Fun fact: I stumbled upon my probable actual album of the year on December 30th.  Next year I'm waiting until the actual cutoff before nominating something.

I stumbled onto my 2017 album of the year a month ago.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, username said:

Fun fact: I stumbled upon my probable actual album of the year on December 30th.  Next year I'm waiting until the actual cutoff before nominating something.

lol you can change it if you want, there's still one more before yours

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, signups are now officially Closed, and there's one album left after this one. Thanks again for everyone who participates in this, I hope you enjoy reading this stuff as much as I clearly enjoy writing it.

  1. "Wide Awake!" by Parquet Courts
  2. "You Won't Get What You Want" by Daughters
  3. "Vile Luxury" by Imperial Triumphant
  4. "Dirty Computer" by Janelle Monae
  5. "II: Sojourn" by Wytch Hazel
  6. "Tell Me How You Really Feel" by Courtney Barnett
  7. "Drift" by The Men
  8. "Creation" by The Daysleepers
  9. "The Sciences" by Sleep
  10. "Ruby" by Macy Gray

Of course I know who The Men are.

I remember in 2011 coming to this board and screaming, at the top of my lungs, repeatedly, about how Leave Home was a modern classic and that if you didn’t listen to it, you did not actually like rock music and I no longer had to listen to anything you had to say. I still feel this stridently about it. All that’s changed is I just make a mental note of this failing instead of shoving people’s faces in the cataclysmic wrongness of not thinking The Men were the best rock band on the planet from 2009-2012.

When I was in high school, I played music with a friend of mine. We were in proximity and had instruments. This is how this kind of thing goes. His parents were otherworldly rich, at least to me. They built a three story castle for them and their sons to live in together forever. They fucked that up. Anyways, they left the bottom floor of this place to their musician son. The living room was decked out with an electronic drum kit, multiple amplifiers, multiple guitars, a piano, a mixer, a PA system, and more. He would repeatedly tell me he didn’t want to do anything more than be in a band. He was a decent enough rhythm guitarist when we were kids. He sang with a British accent because he listened to the Beatles that much.

I vividly remember the night that started unwinding for us. It was when we were driving somewhere. I had burned him a copy of Leave Home. We were young adults. I played it as loud as I could. It shook my nervous system the way it did every single time. At a point, he turned to me and said, “I think you just want to be in this band.” I screamed “hell yes,” and that was mostly because of my desire and not because I was trying to yell over Lotus. I also screamed “Don’t you?” He chuckled, and shook his head.

In 2012, I released my first two albums and saw The Men in Los Angeles at The Smell. They played a lot of songs from New Moon, because they had already written New Moon, because they were the fucking Men and of course they had. It was the first concert I didn’t go to with that guy in several years. He later moved out of town to get a degree in geology. He moved to Texas with his now-Wife. We drifted apart before long before that. He never recorded a song, despite having every instrument he could ever want to make his Beatles/Jack Johnson dreams come true.

The Men are very, very tightly woven into me. Not just my taste, but the reason I do anything at all. They were my platonic ideal band: a band with perfect playing of simple songs with no leaders, only songwriters who were game to play anything. The instruments turned electricity into sound, but their songs turned the sound into electricity. I am perfectly happy with being a solo musician, but every once in a while my body seizes up and demands I form a band like The Men. I’ve resisted so far.

This is all to say that I listened to Drift twice, felt sad both times I listened to it, and it became the first record by The Men I do not own or plan to own on vinyl. Let’s revisit it and see if I was just being harsh.

See, the thing is that they’ve been threatening to make their version of a Bob Dylan record for years. Back in 2012, when I hadn’t given up on pitchfork forever, I remember they would do a thing for their year end list stuff where they’d get musicians to send in their own lists, and the only thing Nick sent in was Bob Dylan’s “Desire” as album of the year. Then they started getting more roots rock-y over the next few albums, including an acoustic EP, and ended up here. You still hear that in Nick’s voice here. The song is kind of a jam, though. Extremely basic vamp, but part of the thing that is glorious about The Men is the way they strip things down like this. I remember there’s one other song on here that I feel strongly about and it’s because of the same thing.

Ballads have never been The Men’s strong suit, and that’s kind of where this album fell apart for me. I mean, track two ballad is a tough trick to pull if you’re good at ballads. (aside: Nick’s voice is EXTREMELY Dylan on this song too) The thing that helped their slow stuff work on New Moon is the part where they had Ben Greenberg (of Zs and Uniform) on bass, and his bass fills were fucking magnificent. I Saw Her Face is one of the best recorded bass performances I’m aware of. The album where he switched to guitar while Kevin Rutmanis took over on bass, Tomorrow’s Hits, featured similar problems, where the bass became very rudimentary. On the plus side, that gave us Different Days, which might be their best song.

This is the other song I remember loving on this record. It’s another very simple jam, but The Men are able to stretch that out in a way many modern rock bands completely blow at. It’s a locked groove. That’s a fucking lost art for most bands now. At least someone can still do them. Oh, uh, to explain a locked groove, it’s basically the thing that like James Brown and Iggy Pop’s bands do where they hold a phrase and can bring it down for vocals and then kick it back up to max until the singer’s ready to go again. There’s a live performance of the Stooges in Detroit. Fast forward to Down on the Street. That’s a locked rhythm. Extremely few bands even attempt them any more.

And we’re back to the Dylan stuff. I don’t know if this is coming across, but I am not earth’s biggest Bob Dylan Fan. He’s got some decent tunes, but his bands have a long, proud history of being pretty underwhelming to me. So I don’t understand what they’re seeing in this music that’s worth distancing themselves from their strengths to try and chase, but I definitely understand the need for music to chase. We’re also talking about a band who thinks Leave Home is their weakest album because they recorded it in a tossed off session and didn’t expect it to hit big like it did. So who knows.

This is probably the best of the Dylan-y sounding stuff on this record, because it keeps an atmosphere to it. It feels like an acoustic rendition of something off Devil Music, a record which is amazing at atmosphere. Of course, the next song is an actual holdout from Devil Music, but we’ll get to that in a second. Mark’s voice does this kind of sound more favors I find, because it’s cloudier and more subtle, and so this song works for me.

I dislike this song. It’s out of place on the record, and on top of that not like an excellent song of theirs, so making this the only overdriven guitar song on the record is like… it’s like when bad bands reference good bands, so you end up just thinking about the good bands and how much you wish you were listening to that instead. Only instead it’s just old Men records.

More ballad! However, the weird part about this one is that it actually kind of feels like their locked groove stuff despite being a ballad. The guitar’s just one lick, going over and over and occasionally the vocals wind in and out. It’s an interesting idea, but it doesn’t work for me this late in the record.

I had to restart this one because I hadn’t noticed it starting until it was ending. It was like total background sound. It’s Back To Back Balladry, but this time it’s Bluesy Space Rock Ballad instead of Acoustic Ballad. So it’s at least different kinds of ballads. That’s worth something. I wont claim to know what it’s about because I found it hard to pay attention on take 2 as well. It’s called Final Prayer. Maybe death?

Back to Back to Back Ballads! Take it away, Mr. Ending Ballad! Oh wait hold on before he comes out, I just figured out that these last three songs are about old age. Sleep is the degredation and descent into shutdown, Final Prayer is the dying dream, Come To Me is the arrival to heaven. Anyways, here’s Mr. Ending Ballad. 😖

- - -
I have softened on it slightly, but it is still far and away my least favorite record of theirs, but I spent a lot of time last year openly meditating on what could be broken in my mind that causes me to hate ballads with the vigor that I do, so I’m willing to just accept this as a personal loss instead of some greater statement about the work. I’ll still probably buy the next thing they put out.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/2/2019 at 12:15 AM, Lamp, broken circa 1988 said:

lol you can change it if you want, there's still one more before yours

Assuming you haven't listened to it in the past two days, I'll take you up on this and switch to Idles: Joy as an Act of Resistance.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have arrived at the end of this year’s efforts! Thanks again to everyone who participated, I really do enjoy doing this and I hope you do too. See you next Novemberish!

  1. "Wide Awake!" by Parquet Courts
  2. "You Won't Get What You Want" by Daughters
  3. "Vile Luxury" by Imperial Triumphant
  4. "Dirty Computer" by Janelle Monae
  5. "Joy as an Act of Resistance." by IDLES
  6. "II: Sojourn" by Wytch Hazel
  7. "Tell Me How You Really Feel" by Courtney Barnett
  8. "Drift" by The Men
  9. "Creation" by The Daysleepers
  10. "The Sciences" by Sleep
  11. "Ruby" by Macy Gray

Okay so remember that thing I said about Parquet Courts and the road trip with my brother? IDLES was also on there. I then later tried to listen to the record, got four tracks in, and then had to go take care of some business around the house and never got back to it. On the plus side, I dont remember tracks 3 and 4 that well so it’ll be like they’re new!

So a reason I don’t listen to a lot of post hardcore is that it is mostly bad imitations of the Jesus Lizard. Which, hey, fair enough, they had a completely amazing sound, but it’s too easy to sound like cosplay instead of a successor with that sound. The only band in the world that I’ve ever felt got close is Young Widows. IDLES is, as far as I can tell, going for a similar thing. They’re definitely better at it than several other bands who have died in this pursuit. This is a good song. I’ve listened to it many times.

Also a good song! The chorus specifically hits strong, and it needs to for what they’re going for. I’m trying to avoid doing a bunch of other band comparisons for this one because it’d be too easy, so I’ll leave it at they are good understudies. Like, everything’s in the right place, but they’re really depending on the vocalist to be the individuality of the sound. It’s working so far at least. Obligatory Sleaford Mods Reference.

I do appreciate bands that are willing to talk shit on fascist trash. Maybe this is a symptom of burnout, but I’ve been largely dissatisfied with the lack of aggression in modern music in the wake of All The Global Fascism. So they get credit for that. This song is kind of goofy rhythmically but it works.

Not a terrible fan of this one. Lyrics are all extremely on the nose, and the song is pretty rote genre study. They have the decency to play well but it’s not doing anything for me at the moment. I am not the world’s biggest “Write for Crowd Chants” fan but that’s entirely a personal hangup.

The atmosphere of the intro of this one is really good. It feels urban and smothering. It’s at this point I have realized, as I am cross referencing songs with the lyrics, that I have somehow ended up with a version of this record with clean lyrics. I honest to god did not know they still did that. The song itself is weird. I think the way I’m meant to read it is like the clumsiness of affection from someone that’s bought into Masculinity but knows enough to pull themselves away from it before it kills them.

WOW that took a dark fucking turn. This is a really incredible song, which is probably a bummer for them because goddamn what a rough story. There’s a lot of pain in the performance and the sound matches the tension of it.

Lol the clean version of this record censors “Balls.” HOW DARE YOU. HOW DARE YOU SAY BALLS WHEN YOU MEAN BALLS THE NERVE. This song’s alright. The lyrics are again super on the nose, but some people need that to have something to hold onto and fight their own demons with, so I’m not like “UGH HOW DROLL.” I don’t need it, but someone does, and it’s for them. The outro is  genuinely great, though.

Alright so some of this is stuff I have definitely said to friends and had them say to me, so I can at least I identify with the song. It’s another decent song as well. I have like extremely little to say because like any changes I would make would probably cost them the audience they’re trying to get to listen.

Again, decent song, subject matter is on the nose. This album is like universally fine, which is admittedly REALLY HARD TO DO so fair play to them.

As someone who had to deal with extortion over funereal costs in the last few years, this song is definitely about a kind of soulsucker I agree with the need to destroy. I could’ve done without the harry potter shit, but, that’s me. The bridges are really energetic and fun. For a second it sounds like there’s a saxophone in there, but it’s more guitars.

I’m taking the length of this song to think of times punk bands have covered songs from other genres and I’ve liked it. I’m taking that time because this definitely doesn’t count as one. I guess Daniel Romano rewrote one of his country songs as a punk song and that was a blast, but I don’t think it counts if it’s the same songwriter responsible for both versions. Oops, out of time.

NO ENDING BALLAD! Musically, this is not anything special at the start, and the lyrics aren’t grabbing me either. However, the outro is working for me a good bit, like some machine groaning to life and crashing back down. Good idea to close with that.

- - -
Ultimately, I think this comes back to the problem I have with a lot of bands attempting to sound edgy and confrontational but using the exact same vocabulary for it. The sound becomes a signal for belonging to a scene instead of an assaultive property. IDLES is largely going for belonging, so I don’t hold it against them, but I do find myself wanting something more. It’s good outside of my own hangups. I'm putting it above Wytch Hazel because I think the messages against toxic masculinity are more important than christian stuff.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hilariously I thought to myself that IDLES was solid enough to avoid the bottom of the list but had enough things you'd be relatively cool on to keep it from the top (plus the Daughters album is legit better), so I was going "I think it could maybe slide in around the 5 spot".  I perhaps know your musical tendencies too well now.

 

(Aside: In a bit of game theory thinking I almost just left Uniform in as it probably had a higher list ceiling, but could also have easily ended up in the bottom 3. Also I legit liked it less.)

 

Thanks for doing this again, it's a fun little project to follow at the end of the year.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's extra funny about that is that like Daughters is only Barely in my own top ten of this year.

for anyone that could possibly care,

here's that top ten with brief descriptions, but the list I put together of y'all's is 100% more approachable.

  1. "In A Poem Unlimited" by US Girls (perfect)
  2. "Orpheus Vs. The Sirens" by Hermit & The Recluse (shoegaze hip hop)
  3. "Isolation" by Kali Uchis (excellent sexy funky pop i kept on repeat for months)
  4. "TA13OO" by Denzel Curry (trap as concept album, has best song of the year with "Sirens")
  5. "Titles With The Word Fountain" by Liars (raw id)
  6. "Anti-Anxiety" by Swarvy (does what it says on the tin)
  7. "Veteran" by JPEGMAFIA (internet castration tactic raps)
  8. "Redemption" by Jay Rock (rocket fuel)
  9. "budding ornothologists are weary of tired analogies" by milo (rap game scott walker)
  10. "You Wont Get What You Want" by Daughters

honorary mention to "listening to Pusha-T's Story of Adidon 20 times the night it came out"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, I finished at #7, that's not bad. How would I have ranked if I went with my other choice - Astroworld by Travis Scott? I'm pretty sure that's not your type of thing, yeah? :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, probably around the same. I bounced off it when I tried it, but Stop Trying To Be God has been heavy in the rotation just by itself, so it's possible I would've liked more of it.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

should have stuck my oar in here, I placed top 3 last year!

I'd have gone Tantabara by Tal National this year.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, sevendaughters said:

should have stuck my oar in here, I placed top 3 last year!

I went from first to worst! Next year is going to be my comeback!!

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...