Browsing All Posts published on »December, 2014«

Review Of The Year 2014: 20 Albums

December 20, 2014

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My views on end-of-year roundups in general are quite aggressive, and can be read at greater length in the introduction to last year’s selection, here. Suffice it to say that I think anyone claiming to know which are the best few albums released in any given year is seriously delusional; my selection is simply some of the records I liked the most out of those I happened to come across. These records are all seriously good, but there were over a hundred other albums that could equally well have made it onto my list; my advice is, yes, investigate these records, but more importantly, go hunting for …

Bitter Fruit – It Gets Worse (noise rock)

December 14, 2014

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This bunch of raucous, abrasive noise-mongers from Oakland CA specifically describe their music as ‘queer death rock’. That raises a couple of issues as a genre label. The first is that given that the sound of this record is something that makes sense in an established set of musical practices, what is it about the sound that makes it specifically queer? I’m not talking about the lyrics here, which are delivered with the kind of approach that makes recourse to a lyric sheet a prerequisite for any form of judgement or analysis, but about the stylistic and textural qualities of the recorded sound, and I have to say …

Regal Worm – Neither Use Nor Ornament (avant-prog)

December 6, 2014

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‘A small collection of big suites’ is the sub-title applied to this ‘mini-album’; I can’t concur with either characterisation. Taken as a single work in several movements (it’s really two long suites with three short pieces as an entr’acte) this would be, at forty-six minutes, a respectable length for a Classical symphony. In other words, it’s quite short for a prog-rock album, but it’s a pretty substantial work; its predecessor, Use And Ornament, is about fifteen minutes longer, and I guess that the language by which this record is being promoted suggests we should expect a substantially longer release in the …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

December 1, 2014

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Idiom, style and musical history are important to all of the releases in this roundup, but to none more than to Gorgeous. To Ben Walker the question of style is one to be asked in respect of every song, in the same way as key and tempo, and one that should be answered with the same technical accuracy. There is a very sophisticated and erudite use of idiom at the centre of his creative practice, and his songs are crafted in thorough, rigorous detail, but they are nevertheless expressive rather than rhetorical. There is a refusal of any attempt to ‘persuade’ the listener, letting each song sink or …