Y La Bamba – November

September 29, 2010

Excellent song from an excellent lp, “Lupon,” from Y La Bamba.

Thanks to Daniel and Kevin for playing it earlier this week.

On Mice Parade‘s new album, “What it Means To Be Left-Handed,” band leader Adam Pierce is joined by a world-class supporting cast from … around the world: Africa, Japan, and elsewhere. Reflecting the diversity of the personnel, experimentation runs throughout the lp, with each track taking its own unique twists and turns.

But it all fits together surprisingly well with Pierce’s own, 1990’s-golden-age-of-indie-rock style. In fact, Pierce’s singing voice often resembles Evan Dando’s, so the album sounds much like what I’d guess the post-“Shame About Ray” Lemonheads’ records might have seemed like if Dando had traveled the world making friends, soaking up influences, and leading an at-least-somewhat healthy lifestyle instead of taking excessive amounts of drugs.

That is, “What It Means To Be Left-Handed,” is very interesting and very good. Listen to two of the best tracks, accompanied by charming videos, below.

We Love – Don’t Cross

September 24, 2010

We Love,  self-titled lp, on bpitchcontrol records.

The American Heritage Dictionary (4th ed) defines “critical mass” as

  1. The smallest mass of a fissionable material that will sustain a nuclear chain reaction at a constant level.
  2. The amount of matter needed to generate sufficient gravitational force to halt the current expansion of the universe.

Somehow, the same two ideas also seem to characterize this new album by Ghost Box Orchestra. Light but heavy. Ethereal yet substantial. Explosive yet still in equilibrium. And most definitely one of the best local albums of the year.

Cloudland Canyon – Fin Eaves

September 13, 2010

Cloudland Canyon are Kip and Kelly Uhlhorn and their various associates. The band has a myriad of influences, which reveal themselves in a number of ways. One of their first records was released on vinyl only, in Germany. A couple of their more recent releases came out on Kranky Records, and one of them features a track called “Krautwerk.” Their new full-length, Fin Eaves, is from Holy Mountain Records, home as well to Wooden Shjips, who likewise bring a machine-like Germanic groove to their otherwise heavy psych sound. Finally, Cloudland Canyon named themselves after a state park in Georgia with a big waterfall in it.

All of these elements can be found across the nine tracks on “Fin Eaves,” but here the band also makes a small nod towards accessibility, which serves the music well. It’s interesting that one of the best songs on the lp is called “Sister,” since that’s exactly what Sonic Youth did on their album of that name. A great video for another great track, “Mothlight Pt 2,” appears below.

A great essay on Don DeLillo by William Wood appears in the latest issue of The Point magazine. In brief, he likes “Americana” and “Underworld” and doesn’t really like “Point Omega.”

Although DeLillo considers himself to have reached maturity only with White Noise, Americana shows a writer having already perfected his voice at its inception. The author’s departure in Americana from traditional tropes of plot, character development and so on bears witness that the essence of traditional formal conventions was not the extrinsic form itself but the underlying pathetic dynamic they successfully sustained. Critique of this departure is therefore as irrelevant as would be a critique of modern theater on account of its virtually ubiquitous disregard for the Aristotelian unities of place, time and action.

I find the arguments equally persuasive and entertaining. The only thing I’d add, though, is to say that I think it’s a mistake to write-off any of DeLillo’s novels as lesser or minor works. “Great Jones Street” being the leading case in point. Greeted with mixed reviews when it first came out, strong echoes of “Great Jones Street” have been heard repeatedly since then, after “Infinite Jest,” Kurt Cobain’s death, and most recently in Jonathan Letham’s “Chronic City.”

I was looking for a recording or video of “Back To School,” but found this instead. Less timely, but no less great.