Posts Tagged ‘DFA’

One I like and one I don’t

Friday, July 11th, 2008

I recently picked up DFA’s much-heralded new album, 4th. A long long time ago, I gave Duty Free Area, their last studio album, quite the rave review. When this new one came out, it immediately started garnering very very positive comments in the usual circles, so I was pretty psyched to spin it for the first time. I did, and… I was bored out of my mind. Have my tastes really changed this much in the past eight years? I suppose it’s quite possible. I’ll be giving 4th a few more spins in the hopes that my first impression was a situational fluke, but we’ll see.

Instead, I’ve become totally enamored with Secular Works by Extra Life, which is a band led by Charlie Looker, the guitarist/keyboardist who recently left Zs. This stuff is was more accessible than his old band, though — imagine complex math-rock superimposed on early music and monophonic medieval chants, and you have a very rough idea of what this sounds like. The opening track, “Blackmail Blues,” is completely amazing and one of the coolest things I’ve heard in a long time. Listen to it at Myspace.

New DFA, other good stuff so far this year

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

So we’re almost halfway through 2008 and the message boards are abuzz over what could be the first great prog-related release of 2008, DFA’s creatively titled 4th. I haven’t heard it yet but I’m definitely excited to do so, especially after reading Mike McLatchey’s review. I thought I’d quickly comment on some 2008 releases I’ve heard so far — noting that I’ve taken a step back this year in terms of purchasing and digesting new music, so I’m not hearing all that much brand-new stuff as compared to the past couple years. Also, these are not necessarily my favorite albums of 2008, just things that I have things to say about:

  • Earth - The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull — I’ve got a review in the works; in the meantime, my review of their live show suffices. This is a great album.
  • Magenta - Metamorphosis — I like it! I will face up to the usual Ground & Sky readership who will laugh at me for enjoying such proggarific nonsense, but I can’t help it. Somehow these folks just push the right buttons for me.
  • Meshuggah - Obzen — I have a hard time with this group; the music and vocals are always bone-crushingly heavy and complex, but somehow they come off as a little to sterile for me most of the time. That said, Obzen is probably my favorite of any of theirs that I’ve heard.
  • Scorch Trio - Brolt! — Got a review coming up of this one. It’s good.
  • John Zorn - The Dreamers — Major disappointment. With that lineup (very similar to Electric Masada) I was hoping for something much more than this middle-of-the-road snoozer.
  • Bar Kokhba - Lucifer — Another mild disappointment. Their 3CD live album in the 50th Birthday series is one of my favorite recordings ever, but they seem to have lost a lot of their edge on this album. Sigh.
  • Los Dorados & Cuong Vu - Incendio — Energetic, melodic jazz with a pretty significant rock edge, a pretty inspired collaboration.
  • Portishead - Third — So far I don’t like it as much as Dummy despite lots of people saying they think this one is their best so far. Beth Gibbons’ voice seems just a little too wispy to me this time around.

Things I’m excited about that just came out or are coming out in 2008 or early 2009 (in addition to the aforementioned new DFA record):

  • Asva - What You Don’t Know is Frontier
  • Deus Ex Machina - Imparis (CD/DVD)
  • One Shot - Dark Shot (CD/DVD)
  • Mogwai - The Hawk is Howling
  • Original Silence - The Second Original Silence
  • The Thing - Now & Forever (box set)
  • Richard Pinhas & Merzbow - Keio Line
  • Univers Zero - Archives 1984/85/86 (working title)
  • Within Temptation - Black Symphony (DVD)
  • Despised Icon - Live in Montreal (DVD; not the real title)
  • Fred Frith - To Sail, To Sail

What am I missing…?