Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Music Library: Beach House, Beastie Boys, Beasts of Bourbon, Ayler, Aereogramme, Always August, Angst, April March, Au

Plus some supersexy Catch-Up at the end!

Beach House - s/t. Breezy and slight. No dynamics at all. These songs make a nice, whispery interlude when they crop up in the shuffle, but as an album, they're dull as hell.

Beastie Boys:

  • Licensed To Ill. I haven't owned copy of this in a long, long time. A friend gave me a burn of it, but it's been edited for Wal-Mart or something. There's lots of odd gaps where the Beastie Boys are saying dirty words. Thanks, Wal-Mart, for protecting my virgin ears! Unfortunately, it's unlistenable now. Small price to pay to avoid hearing adult language.

  • Paul's Boutique. Now that's more like it.

  • Check Your Head. Always a great time. Sounds like the early 90s to these ears.

  • The In Sound From Way Out! All-instrumental Beasties. S'alright. Not great. Best if mixed in a shuffle rather than listening to it all at once. In fact, I started getting bored with the very first song.

  • Jimmy James single. A few b-sides ranging from merely-ok to godawful.

  • So What'cha Want single. Much the same as above. The different versions of the title song are okay, I guess.

  • Ill Communication. I was 22 when this came out. Is it possible that someone my age doesn't love it? I think not. Maybe it's a little long, maybe a notch too self-indulgent. I don't care.

  • Root Down EP. Ugh. That's it. All of these singles suck. They're gone tonight.

  • Hello Nasty. Not up to the high-highs of the best stuff nor the low-lows of the singles, but, y'know, it's the Beastie Boys. It's pretty good.

  • The Mix-Up. More funk instrumentals. More interesting the The In Sound, but a little wearying all at once.
Beasts of Bourbon - "Psycho." A cover of the great Leon Payne song by an Aussie alt-country band.

Plus catch-up albums! Some SST and other acquisitions. I have a few new catch-up albums to cover, mostly from two music blogs: one dedicated to never-released stateside indie rock albums from New Zealand, and one dedicated to out-of-print albums from SST. Others are from eMusic or friends. I haven't quit gotten to the kiwi-pop contingency yet, but I'll get to them before the next post.

Albert Ayler - Live In Greenwich Village: The Complete Impulse Recordings. After reading that I didn't have the whole album, a friend was kind enough to hook me up with it. Thanks! Ayler kicks all kinds of ass.

Aereogramme - Sleep and Release. I searched out a copy of this because I like the In The Fishtank album they made with Isis. It's strongly influenced by the Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins, the former a favorite and the latter very much not. There's also a distinct post-rock feel that's somewhere between Sigur Ros and Mogwai, which again: the former is a favorite and the latter very much not. Anyway, I haven't given it as much time as I should because it sometimes sounds brilliant and messy and sometimes it sounds contrived and annoying, and I don't know which way I lean on it.

Always August - Largeness With (W)holes. An SST band that also has its ups and downs. Sometimes they sound like indie rockers emulating Rahsaan Roland Kirk (an obvious inspiration) and sometimes they sound like Widespread Panic working a couple of chords into an early grave. My friend and former housemate Mike bought this - as he bought many things on the SST label back in the day - and I remember thinking how out of character this album seemed at the time. Now, they remind me a bit of contemporary fake-jazzers like Mushroom and Cul De Sac, but I definitely prefer those over this.

Angst - Lite Life, Mending Wall, and Mystery Spot. It's hard to believe that this SST band has been so overlooked. They're quite the little gem of post-punk creativity, reminiscent of the Meat Puppets but with a guitar player a bit less of a genius than Curt Kirkwood. Still, they have solid songwriting chops, a healthy mix of silliness and profundity, and a great sense of pop melodicism filtered through post-punk skronk.

April March - "Cet Air-La". Apparently a cover of a classic French pop song. I like it okay, but I like the cheesecake photo of Ms. March on the cover of her album quite a bit more.

Au - Verbs. The most half-lidded hypnogogic psychedelia outside of Animal Collective.


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