First off, thanks for all the book recommendations that have come pouring in via comments and e-mails this week. I stopped by my local bookstore today and picked up three titles today: “Under The Volcano” by Malcolm Lowry, “At Swim-Two-Birds” by Flann O’Brien and “The Violent Bear It Away” by Flannery O’Connor. For those of you who have more book recommendations, please do not hesitate to share them, as I’ve got 3.5 of sobriety ahead of me before running the Vegas marathon and I intend to spend a lot of time inside reading.
Did any of you notice that the new Emeralds record, “Just To Feel Anything” got a non-Pitchfork-approved 5.9 rating earlier this week? HA! Oh, Pitchfork…you’re still so good at making bad decisions about music. Really? You compared Emeralds to “mid-period Cure?” Hoo boy. The new Emeralds record is great. I think it’ll be near the top of my list of the best records of 2012. The first two cuts on the record, “Before Your Eyes” and “Adrenochrome” (isn’t that the stuff Hunter S. Thompson describes in “Fear And Loathing…” as being derived from a living person’s adrenal gland?) are brilliant. It combines the trio’s classic psychedelia with the harder synth sounds of [John Elliott' side project] Mist’s “House.”
Speaking of electronic-centric records, there’s a fucking Techno (I know…I KNOW) record I’ve been listening to a lot lately. Andy Stott’s “Luxury Problems” really impressed me. I first read about him on the Aquarius Records new arrivals list when “Passed Me By” was pressed on vinyl last year. Combine his rich production techniques with an opera-trained singer and the result is something unique, startling and fantastic.
The high schooler/college kid in me freaked out at the announcement of a new Godspeed You! Black Emperor record last month. Called “‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!” the idea was that it contained two compositions the band was working on when they went on hiatus in 2003, and two six-minute drones. Known to fans as “Albanian” and “Gamelan,” the fleshed-out album versions of “Mladic” and “We Drift Like Worried Fire” are both solid entries into the Godspeed canon. I preferred some of the earlier recordings of “Albanian”/”Mladic” whatever-you-want-to-call-it, but I still really enjoy the version that appears on the new record. Even better than that, the studio version of “Gamelan” / “We Drive Like Worried Fire” whatever-you-want-to-call-it sounds amazing. My Godspeed hunger satiated, I can rest happy for a while. A year, maybe. Then I’ll crave new Godspeed.
Another record I learned about (kind of!) via the Aquarius Records new arrivals list is by a Finnish band called Mr. Peter Hayden. I haven’t received their new one (called “Born A Trip”) yet, but I’ve been digging on “Faster Than Speed” lately. The first track starts with a slow drone but it builds over the course of thirty-plus minutes. It’s amazing, and this is literally the only time you’ll ever hear me describe a piece of music that features a saxophone as “amazing.” Hell, even Julian Cope’s Head Heritage got behind Mr. Peter Hayden (love that band name), saying the “gargantuan music…emerges from the depths with all the monotonous subtlety of Tony Conrad, LaMonte Young, even Parson Sound…” I’M SOLD.
Emeralds – Adrenochrome [MP3]