Archive for November, 2010

Quick Morning Rant: Slint “Spiderland”

November 23, 2010

Touch and Go 1991

This has been one of my favorite albums since my early high school years. It’s one of the many that I can thank Mr. Eric Melin for introducing to me. I was the really geeky kid that would come into Streetside Records and ask people about EVERYTHING, and Eric was one of the employees that took advantage of this–I guess he saw it as an opportunity to spread the glorious disease of great music onto a malleable young mind. Subsequently, he proceeded to throw this album at me, as well as albums by Pixies, The Replacements, Soul Asylum, Guided by Voices, KISS, Cheap Trick, The Jesus Lizard, and basically all the other music that came to shape my taste. But Spiderland is so different from any of those, or anything else for that matter. For one thing, all the other bands listed above are more or less canonized these days, and though Slint is almost universally revered as one of the most influential bands of all time, they can’t really be canonized because their body of work is so small. Not only that, Spiderland is their only great record. The album that precedes it, Tweez, is interesting at best. But Spiderland puts music fans in an interesting conundrum, because it’s that kind of record that completely stands out as an original. So many bands have tried to copy it, but trying to copy it completely misses the point–the band’s ethics speak for themselves (for instance, if you have a copy of Spiderland on CD, note the disclaimer on the back, reading that the album is meant to be heard on vinyl). Slint created their own little niche with this record and broke up soon after, but I don’t think they could have lasted much longer. Where was there to go after creating something like “Good Morning Captain”, one of the coolest songs in history? The mix of spoken word creepiness and breathtaking, apocalyptic instrumentation that defines this record is simply captivating. “Breadcrumb Trail”, one of the best openers of all time, has a part where the narrator sits down to have his fortune read by a fortune teller, but then abruptly asks her if she would rather ride a roller coaster. If your answer would be “Yes”, this album is for you.

Deerhunter “Halcyon Digest”

November 22, 2010

4AD 2010

In 2008, Deerhunter released not one, but two of that year’s most revered albums. Only one was scheduled for release—Microcastle. But when it leaked to the internet, singer/songwriter Bradford Cox (also of Atlas Sound) decided to release an entirely different album to be included with retail versions. This new album was called Weird Era Continued. Though both are very different records, they have seen equal amounts of celebration in the indie rock community since their release, and not just because of the quality of the music itself. It was a move made by Cox to raise incentive to actually go out to a record store and buy a record, and whether or not it worked is a moot point. The intention was well-appreciated by music lovers everywhere.

With Halcyon Digest, Cox and his crew have made their anti-internet sentiments even more clear. (more…)

Joint Review: Superchunk “Majesty Shredding” and The Posies “Blood/Candy”

November 11, 2010

Merge 2010

So far, 2010 has been a pretty stellar year for rock and roll. It started off a little hairy, with slews of cover albums and a tapering off of 2009’s polished mediocrity. But in its wake, 2010 should be remembered as the year of the comebacks that mattered. In recent years, it seems every band from Dinosaur Jr to Mission of Burma to Superdrag to Killing Joke has reunited to give things another go-round, and in most cases, the resulting new albums are a little underwhelming.

Rykodisc 2010

Fortunately, some people still understand what a comeback is supposed to mean. Ideally, a comeback should come from a band that has been around for a long time and seen a hiatus. But, it’s only a truly successful comeback album if the record is as good as or better than anything previously released in the band’s discography. Judging from these parameters, it seems that two of my favorite bands from back in my high school days—Superchunk and The Posies—have released the best comeback albums of the last decade. (more…)

Why Vinyl is Saving Music

November 3, 2010

My enabler

I’ve spent the better part of two weeks without a stereo. It’s been hell. Granted, I have the little computer speakers and a beyond-fully-loaded iTunes, but those can’t hold a candle to my RSM-90 studio monitors, brand new turntable and quickly growing vinyl collection.

Yes, I’m a vinyl nerd. I’m one of those guys. But if you were to visit Love Garden Sounds, one of 1 ½ surviving local record stores in Lawrence (there used to be 5 on Mass Street alone), you would understand my predicament. (more…)


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