Friday, April 23, 2010

Meat Puppets - Up on the Sun

One distinct sign of a good record is that it's ALWAYS better than you remember it being. This is one of those albums for me.
What always sticks out to me is the extremely beautiful guitar interplay between the bass and guitar. No song displays this virtuosity more than "Maiden's Milk," with arpeggios galore and even a whistling line over the top of it all.
Another great thing about Up on the Sun is its consistancy. Every song is fresh and builds momentum throughout the album. Songs seem to increase in energy as the album goes on.
This might be a bit of a stretch, but at times (thinking this as I'm listening to "Buckethead") this album sounds like what Gang of Four's Entertainment! would sound like if you were to take away the political and social angst and replace it with a much more carefree, fun approach.
I guess one knock on this album is that over time I've grown somewhat tired of the flat vocal approach. Meat Puppets II is actually much better in that regard, with memorable vocal lines spewn throughout. But in terms of instrumentation and how the band sounds as a whole, this takes the cake.
Great album for fans of Felt, The Feelies, and other similar bands with jangly guitars and dry vocals.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In short, I've delved head first into my Autechre binge the last couple of weeks, and through the process they've become one of my favorite groups ever. Their combination of beats and atmosphere and rhythms have taken a hold of me. I can't remember the last time I was this obsessed about any group since The Cure starting six years ago.

So far the standout to me is Untilted. It's pummeling beats grabbed me instantly. It's an assault on the brain. LP5 and Confield are runners up, the former being a mature evolution of their early period, and the latter, a clinical, carpenter-like execution of rhythms, beats, and textures. Their widely considered masterpiece, Tri Repetae, is pretty solid, but gaps in quality on that album bring it down slightly. Oversteps, their newly released album from just one month ago, is a stellar album full of atmosphere and texture. I'm still absorbing Draft about an album that's difficult to wrap your head around, but I sense brilliance lies somewhere in there. I've yet to listen to Quaristice, but with the shorter song lengths I'm excited to hear what could be considered Autechre's punk album.

Eventually I will get to hearing their first two albums, which I hear are much more ambient and simple, but gorgeous.

So, if you love Autechre, let me hear about it. If you haven't heard their stuff, give it a try and at least try something new, it's worth it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I've always been much more of a left-brained person. I'm analytical by nature, and my best subject in school was always math. And it kind of makes for an interesting music listener. I mean I love melody and harmony as much as the next guy, don't get me wrong, but I do tend to pay attention to beats more than some, and that's probably why I was a drummer instead of a guitar player.

I bring this up because I've recently discovered an excellent electronic duo (IDM, or, Intelilgent Dance Music, to be specific...what a ridiculous name for a genre, "hey look at me, I dance intelligently!") named Autechre. Why I haven't gotten into this stuff before is beyond me, but it has captivated me and taken a hold of me recently.

It's not for everyone. The music can be thought of as really cold and nonhuman. It is, after all, made strictly by a couple of humans solely on their computers, with no vocals, no nothin'. But the beats and textures and rhythms and subtle melodies are amazing to hear.

Perhaps I'll come back with a review or two of their stuff, but for now I'm just going to enjoy delving deeper into their discography.