Is it weird for a band’s so-called “comeback album” to be your favorite thing they’ve ever done? This is a question I find odd, because I don’t think it’s something I’ve ever been forced to seriously consider. I mean, yes, there have been albums by returning long-dormant bands that have been quite good in the past (Sleater-Kinney’s recent album comes to mind). But really the only example that’s coming to mind is when Superchunk came back in 2010 with Majesty Shredding, which I’m not entirely sure is my favorite Superchunk album, but might be my favorite Superchunk album.
Though to be fair, the only Slowdive album I’d heard previous to their 2017 release is their most acclaimed album, 1993’s Slouvaki, which is an album I like, though maybe I’ve never been enough of a hardcore shoegaze fan for it to really stick with me. Which is why it’s surprising that I’ve been digging this self-titled comeback album from Slowdive, their first in 22 years. But I think the reason why has to do with it transcending being a mere comeback album, because like any great late-career rock album, it dares to look not just backwards, but forward as well.
Well, not forwards per se (this isn’t future rock), but it certainly looks at the present. Meaning Slowdive sound quite contemporary here, with some amazingly atmospheric production and a scope that’s wide, but never loses sight of sharp songwriting. I suppose the easy modern band to compare this album to is Beach House. Though you can’t really accuse Slowdive of ripping off Beach House when I’m sure they (or at least their contemporaries) had a sizable influence on this younger band. But whatever the case is… much like Beach House, I have a hard time effectively writing about music of this sort, since it appeals more to a kind of sensuousness that’s hard to put into words. So I’ll just say it’s a very pretty album that shows a band sounding better than they ever have, even if you’re not a big enough Slowdive fan for that to mean anything.
Favorite Tracks: “Star Roving”, “Go Get It”, “Falling Ashes”
Soundgarden – Superunknown (1994)
I know, it’s clearly not Tuesday, but I figure at least the proper acronym will still be in place if I do a Classic Album Thursday. Because if I’m being honest, I’d feel a little phony doing a full-on eulogy for Chris Cornell, who passed away earlier today in perhaps the most heartbreaking way for a grunge superstar to pass away – suicide. No, this would ring a bit false because I’ve never quite loved Soundgarden. But I don’t think you have to love Soundgarden to enjoy Superunknown, because it’s arguably the best album the grunge era ever produced, and displays in mind-blowing fashion why Chris Cornell was perhaps the most gifted rock singer of that era. Continue reading
The New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions
The New Pornographers are a good band.
This is probably as close to an irrefutable a fact as– ah shit. I already did this intro for my Spoon review. But, basically I’d say the same principals that guide how a longtime indie rock fan like myself processes a new Spoon album is about the same as how I process a new New Pornographers album. Continue reading
Aimee Mann – Mental Illness
I know, I know. I should probably be writing about the new Kendrick album instead of a month old Aimee Mann album. Oh, see what I did there? This album isn’t even a month old yet and feels way older. In fact, it’s not even three weeks old (our culture is screwed btw). But either way, these past couple weeks, Mental Illness has been a great “early morning” album for me, as it makes no attempt to hide its melancholy, but for that reason is a nice warm-up for whatever anxiety each day may bring. Continue reading
Going into its final season, there seemed to be a lot of thinkpieces characterizing Girls as the show that launched a million thinkpieces (if you can wrap your mind around that). That said, I really didn’t do a ton of writing about Girls on this blog (apart from a season 3 review) despite being a fairly unabashed fan of it from nearly the beginning. And maybe it’s that unabashed fandom that oddly enough deterred me from writing about it. Continue reading
Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Navigator
I’m a little hesitant to say it, but Hurray For The Riff Raff’s The Navigator might be the first album to come out of 2017 that I truly love. Granted, at first I was hesitant to give this album even a listen, due to a number of factors that now seem trivial. First of all, the sort of gimmicky name behind this project led by Alynda Segarra (which I’d never listened to). Then the fact that Segarra’s songs have been described as roots rock or Americana, which can’t help but remind me of all the Mumford wannabe’s of the early ’10s. While that kind of music usually can’t help but feel overly quaint or archaic, especially when we’re being forced to live so much in the here and now these days. Continue reading
Craig Finn – We All Want The Same Things
Here’s the thing. I have a number of albums piled up that I’ve been enjoying, and I thought about just doing a long music catch-up post, in which I just do a bunch of short, uninvolved reviews, since apparently that’s perfectly acceptable now. Which of course comes from streaming being the norm now, and the fact that album’s that are more than a month old feel like relics of the distant past. Continue reading