Albums of 2017

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StevieFan13
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by StevieFan13 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:25 pm

To quote Bruno Mars, that's what I like!
Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand - Sir Duke (1976)

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Jirin » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:14 pm

Vagabon - Infinite Worlds is really good. It's like the guitar mood of The National with vocals from Waxahatchee.

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Nick » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:02 am

Gas- Narkopop

Narkopop is the first studio album in 17 years by German electronic/ambient composer Wolfgang Voigt under his "Gas" moniker. I found out about this album due to all the positive reviews it had been getting, and figured I'd give it a shot.

What is immediately evident to me is that I completely lack the vocabulary necessary to give this thing the review that it deserves. Nevertheless, I shall try. Narkopop is a 78 minute long ambient instrumental album, filled with track after track of dark, pulsing electronic soundscapes that gradually build and build before dissolving back into nothingness. It's enjoyable enough background music, but I can't particularly say that it's particularly engaging. I can recognize the craftsmanship that went into these songs though, and the album glides along at a gentle pace, making those 78 minutes fly by fairly quickly.

Verdict: Good (7/10)

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Nick » Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:20 pm

Gorillaz- Humanz

Considering the sheer amount of talent that Damon Albarn possesses, it will probably be impossible for there to ever be a truly bad Gorillaz album. That being said, when viewed in the context of the rest of the virtual band's achievements, Humanz is still a comparatively weak album. That being said, the album starts off quite strong. After a brief introductory track, the album brings in its two strongest songs by far, the Vince Staples featuring "Ascension" followed by the Peven Everett featuring "Strobelite". But while there are highlights buried in the rest of the album, nothing quite matches the dizzying highs of the album's first 7 or 8 minutes.

The main culprit behind the weakness of the album is undoubtedly its use of features, especially in relation to Albarn's presence on the album. While past Gorillaz releases never shied away from their features (and in fact were often partially defined by them, because where would "Feel Good Inc." be without De La Soul or "Clint Eastwood" without Del the Funky Homosapien?), it's on Humanz where the features totally overwhelm the album, shoehorned into places where they don't feel quite right (like Popcaan, a singer who should really be used for the most exuberant of beats, on the slowed down "Saturnz Barz"). This over-reliance on features means that Albarn's own voice never gets enough time in the spotlight. The only song on the album without a features, exempting the interludes, is "Busted and Blue", a beautiful ballad that could have sounded right at home on Blur's last album. And this is on an album with 19 non-interlude tracks (well, on the deluxe edition at least. The regular edition has 14 non-interlude tracks). For comparison's sake, "Plastic Beach" had five solo Albarn songs, and that was out of 15 non-interlude tracks.

The deluxe edition of the album suffers from being overly long. Case in point, 30% of the album is on the deluxe edition, bringing the total length of Humanz from a manageable 49 minutes to an overstuffed 69 minutes. Seeing as this is only an issue with the deluxe edition though, which is the version I've listened to, this is a minor complaint, as it doesn't affect the album proper.

Humanz has all the sonic hallmarks that make the band so great. It brings forth Albarn's signature blend of hip-hop and electronica to create something that is, at least, superficially in the vein of past releases. But I can't help shake the feeling that the whole album comes off as a collection of competent Plastic Beach-era B-sides and scraps.

Verdict: Decent (6/10)

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by whuntva » Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:55 pm

Kasabian got pushed back a week, presumably to avoid competition with Gorillaz.

A bit disappointed, but the lead single was enough to win me over. Should be a step up from 48:13 at least.

Gorillaz new album is pretty good. Reminiscent of the early work.
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by madzong » Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:13 am

Definitely 'The xx' - I See You. Favourite Song off this is Replica.

I also like the Spoon, Elbow and Ryan Adams Albums.

Not sure what I think of the Gorillaz album yet...it's definitely different and on the first few listens I found it a bit 'all over the place'...but I shall persist...

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by bootsy » Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:09 am

madzong wrote:Definitely 'The xx' - I See You. Favourite Song off this is Replica.

I also like the Spoon, Elbow and Ryan Adams Albums.

Not sure what I think of the Gorillaz album yet...it's definitely different and on the first few listens I found it a bit 'all over the place'...but I shall persist...
This how I pretty much felt about it. Too many features IMO didn't help either.

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Nick » Mon May 01, 2017 9:44 pm

The year is a third of the way over and done with! A third of the way round up...

Excellent (9/10):

1. Mount Eerie- A Crow Looked at Me
2. Father John Misty- Pure Comedy

Great (8/10):

3. Kendrick Lamar- Damn
4. Sampha- Process
5. Thundercat- Drunk
6. Spoon- Hot Thoughts
7. The xx- I See You
8. David Bowie- No Plan (EP)
9. Future Islands- The Far Field

Good (7/10):

10. Sun Kil Moon- Common as Light and Love are Red Valleys of Blood
11. Priests- Nothing Feels Natural
12. Neil Cicierega- Mouth Moods
13. Gas- Narkopop
14. Dirty Projectors- Dirty Projectors
15. Foxygen- Hang
16. Jens Lekman- Life Will See You Now
17. Julia Holter- In the Same Room
18. Cloud Nothings- Life Without Sound
19. The Shins- Heartworms
20. Anohni- Paradise (EP)

Decent (6/10):

21. Gorillaz- Humanz
22. Visible Cloaks- Reassemblage
23. Real Estate- In Mind
24. Japandroids- Near to the Wild Heart of Life

Mediocre (5/10):

25. The Flaming Lips- Oczy Mlody

Bad (3/10):

26. Shamir- Hope

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by spiritualized » Fri May 05, 2017 1:51 pm

Time for an update...with all this MAA listening, hardly had any time to listen to new stuff...

The Caretaker - Everywhere at the End of Time - Stage 2 (5.0)
Interesting concept (putting together really old records - think 1930s - and mixing it into a heavy atmosphere background). The delivery is not really successful and it quickly becomes forgettable

Father John Misty - Pure Comedy (7.0)
I followed with interest the discussions about Misty being a hipster or not. His album is good, irrespective of the attitude he portrays. It's reflective but not too much, as he focuses on the melodies more than a well-thinking hipster would. Not world-changing, but pleasant discovery.

Arca - Arca (6.0)
Good voice and great start to the album. I really thought this record would change my view on "art-pop", often a genre where navel-gazing artists deliver music without any direction, melodies or sense. Sadly, Arca's talent dwindles after a few songs.

Kendrick Lamar - DAMN. (7.0)
I'm a late listener of Lamar's works. Never been very impressed by his output, especially when he forays in the trap rap genre. DAMN. edges that genre and therefore will not reach the jazz-infused brilliance of his previous albums. Not bad though. EOY 17, probably not...





EOY 2017 (probably)
Run the Jewels - Run The Jewels 3
Ty Segall - Ty Segall
Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound
Loyle Carner - Yesterday's Gone
Radical Face - SunnMoonnEclippse
Moon Duo - Occult Architecture, Vol.1

Excellent / Very Good
WIlliam Basinski - A Shadow in Time
Elbow - Little Fictions
The Magnetic Fields - 50 Song Memoir
Laura Marling - Semper Femina

Deserves another spin
Kid Koala w/Emiliana Torrini - Music to Draw To : Satellite
Mark Eitzel - Hey Mr Ferryman
Jesca Hoop - Memories are Now
Tift Merrit - Stitch of the World
Ramin Djawadi - Gears of Wars 4
Holy Holy - Paint
Peter Silberman - Impermanence
Vibracathedral Orchestra - So-Called Texture
Rhiannon Giddens - Freedom Highway
Hurray for the Riff Raff - The Navigator
Fischer Z - Building Bridges
Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
Father John Misty - Pure Comedy

Meh
Arovane & Porya Hatami - Organism
The xx - I See You
Wiley - Godfather
Sampha - Process
Thinking Plague - Hoping against Hope
Thundercat - Drunk
HEALTH - DISCO3
Ryan Adams - Prisoner
Jens Lekman - Life Will See You Now
Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked at Me
The Caretaker - Everywhere at the End of Time - Stage 2
Arca - Arca

Avoid at all costs
Migos - Culture
Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayers
Dirty Projectors - Dirty Projectors


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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Jirin » Fri May 05, 2017 2:53 pm

A couple album drops today. New albums from Perfume Genius and Afghan Whigs.

New Afghan Whigs is unlike anything I've heard from them. Not sure what word to use, maybe reminds me a little of Z. Perfume Genius sounds similar to Too Bright but less hooky.

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Nick » Sun May 07, 2017 8:27 pm

At the Drive-In- in•ter a•li•a

There are a lot of signs that an album is going to be bad, some of which have nothing to do with the actual music itself. Does the new At the Drive-In album hit any of them?

1. Was the album released after a long period of inactivity? Check.

2. Is the album art lackluster? Check.

3. Is the album title something stupid? Well it's called "in•ter a•li•a" so check, check, and check.

Given that the new At the Drive-In album managed to nail every one of these it's a miracle that the album is actually somewhat listenable. The album does start off promising though, with the album's two strongest songs, "No Wolf Like the Present" and "Continuum", two of the songs here that manage to capture the raucous energy of At the Drive-In's older material. But a problem with the album soon becomes apparent, even in these songs. And that problem is Cedric Bixler-Zavala's voice. It's been a while since I last checked out anything from The Mars Volta, so I have no idea what happened here. Maybe it's the strain of being a vocalist for roughly two decades? Whatever it is, something happened to his voice, and it is not good.

Cedric Bixler-Zavala's voice was part of the reason that At the Drive-In's older material worked so well. It was powerful without being deep or guttural like other post-hardcore acts. It was instantly recognizable, and his frantic, higher pitched register screaming at me almost made some of those lyrics on Relationship of Command make sense. Sadly the voice he brings on his latest album, the band's first in 17 years, is something more akin to a whine, or as Stereogum's Chris DeVille put it...

"Cedric Bixler-Zavala often abandons his distinctive wail in favor of cringeworthy hair-metal vocals that steer ATDI into Darkness territory."

...which, if anything, is just unfair to The Darkness.

At the Drive-In go through the motions here, and produce an album without the dynamics, the hooks, or the vocals of their previous efforts. It's a listenable experience, and some songs are worth your time. But come on. You knew all of this as soon as you read the album title.

Verdict: Mediocre (5/10)

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Nick » Sun May 07, 2017 8:55 pm

Perfume Genius- No Shape

Perfume Genius (real name Mike Hadreas) returns with a new release three years after his last, 2014's Too Bright. While there's nothing on No Shape that has the bite of that album's highlight "Queen", don't let that trick you into believing that No Shape is somehow a less worthwhile album than Too Bright.

Perfume Genius can certainly craft an album that bleeds romance, and this one is no exception. It certainly helps that Hadreas has the voice to fit, giving all of these songs a lush, passionate aesthetic. That aesthetic is paired especially well with the music, bright and sparkling indie pop with lavish production and forceful instrumentation. But it's the lyrics here that really drive that sense of romanticism home, with songs devoted to a much more hopeful side of same-sex attraction when compared to the dismal disease ridden nature of the lyrics from Too Bright.

Highlights include the singles "Slip Away" and "Go Ahead".

Verdict: Great (8/10)

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by PlasticRam » Mon May 08, 2017 7:44 pm

New Gorillaz album is a mess IMO. I see they're trying to be hip hop, or actually their previous albums were hip hop sorta, but this new album sounds disorganized. Maybe too many ideas.

7.4/10 which translates to like 3.25 stars in my rating system.
I feel like that

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Maschine_Man » Mon May 08, 2017 7:54 pm

I'd like to give a quick shout out to Juana Molina and her intriguing new LP, as I'm pretty sure I discovered via this forum.

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Nick » Wed May 10, 2017 10:43 pm

Two great new albums I heard this week...

Slowdive- Slowdive

Slowdive, the influential shoegaze band, return with their first album in 22 years. Seeing as this one had some decent cover art and an alright name (you can rarely go wrong with the old "self-titled" standby) I was a little more optimistic about this album than I was the At the Drive-In release. Oh yeah, and there was also the fact that the pre-release singles, "Star Roving" and "Sugar for the Pill" just so happened to impress me. On the album Slowdive don't reinvent shoegaze, but they do provide a more heavy, drone-like intensity to the genre, which was largely absent from their most acclaimed release, Souvlaki. But unlike many of their imitators, Slowdive aren't just crafting noise for the sake of noise. Like the best of shoegaze acts, they're deft enough to marry that noise with a heaping helping of pop sensibilities, which is exactly what made those pre-release singles so great. The album stumbles a little in the back half, when the band forgo this marriage with the unstructured "Go Get It", but quickly find their fotting again on the 8 minute long closer "Falling Ashes". The band's vocals are also on point here as well, mixing in the male (Neil Halstead) with the female (Rachel Goswell) to add to the already lush atmosphere of the album. The only time I'm not completely sold on the vocals here is on "Sugar for the Pill", an otherwise great song, with vocals from Halstead that feel just a little flat. Regardless of these relatively minor complaints, Slowdive is an album that should inspire confidence in the power of band reunions.

Verdict: Great (8/10)

PWR BTTM- Pageant

When I first heard PWR BTTM's song "Answer My Text", one of the singles off of their latest album Pageant, described to me, I was skeptical. "So it's a song about texting and references emojis and the chorus is literally 'answer my text you dick!!' ?". But all that skepticism went out the window within the first ten seconds of actually hearing the song. By the time the song was coming to a close, two and a half minutes later, I was singing along. With "Answer My Text" PWR BTTM have tapped into pure pop rock pleasure, with giant punk rock guitars crashing down on the listener, humorous lyrics, and a massive hook. Throughout the 33 minutes and 13 songs of Pageant, PWR BTTM detail the trials and tribulations of queer love and self-acceptance, all with a well-developed sense of wit. The song "Now Now" describes the singer falling into the trap of beating himself up for beating himself up, and taking that idea to its logical extremes, going so far as to steal his own lunch money for beating himself up. But for all of the fast-paced songs with funny lyrics, PWR BTTM know when to slow the tempo down, break out the acoustic guitars, and write something especially poignant. Such is the case on "LOL", which contains the (now highly praised) lyric "when you are queer, you are always 19". PWR BTTM preach self-love and acceptance, but they're a band of humans too, humans with self-doubt and heartbreak and teenage angst well into their 20s. Listen, I'm not queer myself, and I'm no longer a teenager, but I can only imagine the positive reaction that a queer teenager would feel upon hearing a band essentially make the album version of "it'll be okay, I went through all of this too, hell I still go through all these weird feelings, but it'll be okay." The references to emojis and texting will date. The themes of self-love, heartbreak, and queerness never will.

Verdict: Great (8/10)

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by notbrianeno » Thu May 11, 2017 4:07 am

  1. Excellent (9/10)
  2. Perfume Genius | No Shape
  3. Arca | Arca
  4. Mount Eerie | A Crow Looked at Me
  5. Dirty Projectors | Dirty Projectors

    Great (8/10)
  6. Father John Misty | Pure Comedy
  7. Planning for Burial | Below the House
  8. Blanck Mass | World Eater
  9. Japandroids | Near to the Wild Heart of Life
  10. Kendrick Lamar | DAMN.
  11. Bedwetter | Volume 1: Flick Your Tongue Against Your Teeth and Describe the Present.

    Good (7/10)
  12. Laura Marling | Semper femina
  13. Pissed Jeans | Why Love Now
  14. Xiu Xiu | FORGET
  15. Gabriel Garzón-Montano | Jardín
  16. Feist| Pleasure
  17. Gas | Narkopop
  18. Spoon | Hot Thoughts
  19. Julie Byrne | Not Even Happiness
  20. Sampha | Process
  21. Future | HNDRXX
  22. Priests | Nothing Feels Natural
  23. The XX | I See You
  24. Actress | AZD
  25. The Flaming Lips | Oczy Mlody
  26. Allison Crutchfield | Tourist in This Town
  27. Angles 9 | Disappeared Behind the Sun
  28. Future | FUTURE
  29. Information Flash | Ego Murda Sound
  30. Migos | Culture
  31. Sun Kil Moon | Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood
  32. Drake | More Life

    Decent (6/10)
  33. Kelly Lee Owens | Kelly Lee Owens
  34. Mac DeMarco | This Old Dog
  35. Timber Timbre | Sincerely, Future Pollution
  36. Charli XCX | Number 1 Angel
  37. Austra | Future Politics
  38. Slowdive | Slowdive
  39. Peter Silberman | Impermanence
  40. Real Estate | In Mind
  41. Emptyset | Border
  42. Visible Cloaks | Reassemblage
  43. Wiley | Godfather
  44. Grandaddy | Last Place
  45. Pharmakon | Contact
  46. Porcelain Raft | Microclimate
  47. Brian Eno | Reflection
  48. Sinai Vessel | Brokenlegged
  49. Gorillaz | Humanz
  50. Foxygen | Hang
  51. Thundercat | Drunk
  52. Dryjacket | For Posterity
  53. Tangible Rays | Seance
  54. Flume | Skin Companion EP II
  55. Future Islands | The Far Field
  56. Uniform | Wake in Fright
  57. William Basinski | A Shadow in Time
  58. SOHN | Rennen

    Mediocre (5/10)
  59. Ty Segall | Ty Segall
  60. Cloud Nothings | Life Without Sound
  61. Vagabon | Infinite Worlds
  62. The Necks | Unfold
  63. Ariel Pink & Weyes Blood | Myths 002 EP
  64. ANOHNI | Paradise EP
  65. Jens Lekman | Life Will See You Now
  66. Ryan Adams | Prisoner
  67. Ulver | The Assassination of Julius Caesar
  68. Bonobo | Migration

    Poor (4/10)
  69. Big Sean | I Decided
  70. Cashmere Cat | 9
  71. Lupe Fiasco | DROGAS Light
  72. Neil Cicierega | Mouth Moods
  73. Depeche Mode | Spirit
Last edited by notbrianeno on Thu May 11, 2017 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Current AOTY 2019: Lana Del Rey | Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Current SOTY 2019: Weyes Blood | "Movies"

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by letmeintomyzone » Thu May 11, 2017 5:44 am

notbrianeno wrote:
  1. Poor (4/10)
  2. Neil Cicierega | Mouth Moods
This still makes me upset.

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Jirin » Thu May 11, 2017 11:42 pm

spiritualized wrote: EOY 2017 (probably)
Moon Duo - Occult Architecture, Vol.1
Great recommendation.

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by prosecutorgodot » Fri May 12, 2017 4:43 am

First reaction to Paramore's After Laughter:
I don't even recognize this band anymore! Four years ago, I thought the self-titled was a big change in sound, but Paramore, with this fifth album, is a new band. I think it largely has to do with Taylor York taking the reins of the band.
Differences in sound: Everything is twinkling now! There are twinkling keyboards, the guitars are light and fluffy, there are weird string touches. This is completely different from the chugga-chugga from before! The thing that is driving me crazy right now is, what other band sounds like this? Like I'm very sure there is one, but I can't name it. The only bands that come to mind are Haim and Fleetwood Mac.
The angst is gone, too. Hayley is like totally sanded down smooth, and I'm not even necessarily talking about the vocals. The things she's saying are not as hard-edged. It's hard for me to put into words. There also seems to be a little more double-vocaling.
Hayley is also saying/phrasing/accenting things differently.
The production choices are also completely different.
People kept talking about Tame Impala's influence, but I totally disagree, this sounds nothing like Tame Impala.

I don't think you guys understand how shocked I am. My mouth was hanging wide open for the first five songs. I feel like my prior knowledge of the band doesn't prepare me for analyzing this new album.
I can't say this is a bad change of sound... yet. I'm seeing the music community at large warm up to Paramore with the past couple singles, so I think music snobs will weirdly say this is Paramore's best record. Me personally, I have to wait a bit to adjust to this new band before evaluating its quality.
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by StevieFan13 » Fri May 12, 2017 4:55 am

prosecutorgodot wrote:First reaction to Paramore's After Laughter:
I don't even recognize this band anymore! Four years ago, I thought the self-titled was a big change in sound, but Paramore, with this fifth album, is a new band. I think it largely has to do with Taylor York taking the reins of the band.
Differences in sound: Everything is twinkling now! There are twinkling keyboards, the guitars are light and fluffy, there are weird string touches. This is completely different from the chugga-chugga from before! The thing that is driving me crazy right now is, what other band sounds like this? Like I'm very sure there is one, but I can't name it. The only bands that come to mind are Haim and Fleetwood Mac.
The angst is gone, too. Hayley is like totally sanded down smooth, and I'm not even necessarily talking about the vocals. The things she's saying are not as hard-edged. It's hard for me to put into words. There also seems to be a little more double-vocaling.
Hayley is also saying/phrasing/accenting things differently.
The production choices are also completely different.
People kept talking about Tame Impala's influence, but I totally disagree, this sounds nothing like Tame Impala.

I don't think you guys understand how shocked I am. My mouth was hanging wide open for the first five songs. I feel like my prior knowledge of the band doesn't prepare me for analyzing this new album.
I can't say this is a bad change of sound... yet. I'm seeing the music community at large warm up to Paramore with the past couple singles, so I think music snobs will weirdly say this is Paramore's best record. Me personally, I have to wait a bit to adjust to this new band before evaluating its quality.
I've been digging the new sound a lot. To me, they're still great, they're just great in a different way than before. In fact, that's also an apt way to describe the aforementioned Fleetwood Mac - the proggy '60s band is very different from the '70s pop-rock band, but they're both great in their own way. Or Kendrick now: DAMN. is a different direction than Butterfly, but music critics jumped on the bandwagon no questions asked because he still has better rhymes than anyone else in the game. So, Paramore are still a great rock band, just a very different rock band.
Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand - Sir Duke (1976)

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by spiritualized » Fri May 12, 2017 7:10 am

Jirin wrote:
spiritualized wrote: EOY 2017 (probably)
Moon Duo - Occult Architecture, Vol.1
Great recommendation.
Thanks Jirin, very pleased you like it. Very Krautrock, which is one of my favorite genres.

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Nick » Fri May 12, 2017 4:37 pm

I gave the PWR BTTM a very positive review. It's a solid album. But there are some serious allegations against the band now, allegations that a member of the band is a "sexual predator". There's no hard proof either way, and with the false accusations against people like Freddie Gibbs and Conor Oberst still fresh in mind, I think it's alright to be a little skeptical. But at the same time, if these allegations are true, that's certainly very, very disturbing.

Normally I feel that we should separate the art from the artist. Chuck Berry filming women using the bathroom without their knowledge has zero bearing on whether or not "Maybellene" is an awesome song or not. But with PWR BTTM, so much of their appeal was the fact that their music was a conduit for messages of inclusion and safety for queer people. If these allegations are true, then the message of their music was made under totally fraudulent premises.

Art is not made in a vacuum, and as such it would be disingenuous to analyze it in a vacuum. So how do you all feel about this? If these allegations are true, would that impact your view of the quality of the music?

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Nick » Fri May 12, 2017 6:03 pm

Arca- Arca

Arca is a Venezuelan producer who I've mainly had experience with courtesy of his work on Björk's excellent latest album, Vulnicura. On his third album, a self-titled LP, Arca crafts a sound unlike any other I've heard this year, for better and for worse. The sound of Arca is that of dark, pulsating electronica, coupled with the producer's, spacey dream-like falsetto. Arca sings in his native Spanish on this album, so I cannot comment on the lyrics here. But the tone of his singing is very forlorn, very romantic at times, almost the sound of unrequited love or heartbreak. It's a very interesting pairing with the texture of the instruments here, and the juxtaposition of his "light" vocals with the "darkness" of the music is certainly satisfying. This is the makeup of the bulk of the songs here, with the notable exception of a song called "Whip" which is a minute and a half of unrelenting whip cracks, just in case you're into that sort of thing.

Where Arca begins to lose me though is when the songs fail to congeal in a way that keeps my interest fully sustained. The aesthetic here is undoubtedly lovely, but there's a dearth of moments that really grab me. The structure of these songs is a bit to loose for me to fall in love with them. While the beauty present in these songs shows a great deal of promise, it'll take a greater commitment to song-craft for Arca to really win me over.

But perhaps I'm missing the album's point.

Verdict: Good (7/10)

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by notbrianeno » Fri May 12, 2017 6:14 pm

Nick wrote:I gave the PWR BTTM a very positive review. It's a solid album. But there are some serious allegations against the band now, allegations that a member of the band is a "sexual predator". There's no hard proof either way, and with the false accusations against people like Freddie Gibbs and Conor Oberst still fresh in mind, I think it's alright to be a little skeptical. But at the same time, if these allegations are true, that's certainly very, very disturbing.

Normally I feel that we should separate the art from the artist. Chuck Berry filming women using the bathroom without their knowledge has zero bearing on whether or not "Maybellene" is an awesome song or not. But with PWR BTTM, so much of their appeal was the fact that their music was a conduit for messages of inclusion and safety for queer people. If these allegations are true, then the message of their music was made under totally fraudulent premises.

Art is not made in a vacuum, and as such it would be disingenuous to analyze it in a vacuum. So how do you all feel about this? If these allegations are true, would that impact your view of the quality of the music?


Agreed, and unlike the Michael Gira situation, where lots of people stepped forward to say the accusations were false and Larkin Grimm was disturbed, there's a ton of people coming out to accuse Ben from PWR BTTM of assault. Many of the victims have even said they were hesitant to come forward because they didn't want to tear down a rising queer icon.

Events like this are what turns me off of the DIY punk/leftist politics scene: individuals act as if they are perfect arbiters of social justice and progress, while being complicit or engaging in shitty acts like this.

Thankfully we have Arca and Perfume Genius who are (in my opinion) far better queer role models and musicians than the woke twitter-warriors in PWR BTTM
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by StevieFan13 » Fri May 12, 2017 9:10 pm

I just never dug PWR BTTM so now I have even less motivation to seek out their music. Unless the music is from a movement I find abhorrent, I just judge based on sonic quality. So, if I don't like it and it turns out the guy's an asshole, I'm not bothering with it.
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by StevieFan13 » Fri May 12, 2017 9:10 pm

I mean, I'm a feminist and I don't like Le Tigre much at all.
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Harold » Sat May 13, 2017 6:01 pm

Nick wrote:Art is not made in a vacuum, and as such it would be disingenuous to analyze it in a vacuum. So how do you all feel about this? If these allegations are true, would that impact your view of the quality of the music?
Polyvinyl has officially dropped the band, and is actually pulling the album from distribution (and offering refunds). Festival gigs and other shows have been canceled, and the band's management has fired them as well.

I can't remember any other artist rising so meteorically (just last week Noisey ran a feature story anointing them "America's Next Great Rock and Roll Band") and then nosediving so catastrophically, so quickly.

Ironically, given the ecstatic reviews for the album, it's probably going to debut really high on Mega-Critic on Monday. Eliding it from the list would purely be a judgment call, but it might be prudent in this case (especially since the album, although still available online for now, might for all intents and purposes cease to exist).

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by StevieFan13 » Sat May 13, 2017 9:39 pm

There was actually an article about them today in the New York Times that they likely couldn't pull before press time. It's a shame that what was once a big moment for genderqueer representation in music has turned into such a debacle.
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Jirin » Sun May 14, 2017 2:28 am

I'm for separating art from artists, though I guess I wouldn't want to give money to the artist now. I still want to hear it. Like, if I heard tomorrow that Paul McCartney was a murderer it wouldn't make me stop listening to the Beatles any more than the allegations against Roman Polanski make me want to stop watching Chinatown.

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Nick » Sun May 14, 2017 9:32 pm

Jirin wrote:I'm for separating art from artists, though I guess I wouldn't want to give money to the artist now. I still want to hear it. Like, if I heard tomorrow that Paul McCartney was a murderer it wouldn't make me stop listening to the Beatles any more than the allegations against Roman Polanski make me want to stop watching Chinatown.
I can definitely respect this opinion, and I agree with you on the Paul McCartney murderer example, but for me at least, things are different when the music and the artist's personal life are directly at odds. If I found out that the lead singer of straight edge band Minor Threat was secretly a crack dealer, than it'd feel like the band were just lying to me through their music. Paul McCartney's secret lust for blood would have no bearing on my opinion of "Hey Jude" however.

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by StevieFan13 » Sun May 14, 2017 11:18 pm

Nick wrote:
Jirin wrote:I'm for separating art from artists, though I guess I wouldn't want to give money to the artist now. I still want to hear it. Like, if I heard tomorrow that Paul McCartney was a murderer it wouldn't make me stop listening to the Beatles any more than the allegations against Roman Polanski make me want to stop watching Chinatown.
I can definitely respect this opinion, and I agree with you on the Paul McCartney murderer example, but for me at least, things are different when the music and the artist's personal life are directly at odds. If I found out that the lead singer of straight edge band Minor Threat was secretly a crack dealer, than it'd feel like the band were just lying to me through their music. Paul McCartney's secret lust for blood would have no bearing on my opinion of "Hey Jude" however.
I guess so. Sometimes the problem is an artist being just as skeevy as their music. "Ignition (Remix)" is fantastic but it doesn't take my mind off the fact that R Kelly is a monstrous pervert. If he had kept making songs like "I Believe I Can Fly" and was just as monstrous it'd be even worse.
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Harold » Tue May 16, 2017 3:16 am

I'd like to take a moment to note my top contender for MVP of 2017 so far - Blake Mills, who produced (and plays on) three of the year's most acclaimed albums: Jesca Hoop's Memories Are Now, Laura Marling's Semper Femina, and Perfume Genius's No Shape. Three albums that are very different, but which all have meticulously constructed arrangements and frequently breathtaking soundscapes, in all cases completely at the service of each artist's distinctive personality. Mills is gradually becoming one of those individuals whose involvement in an album automatically makes me more interested.

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by notbrianeno » Tue May 16, 2017 3:59 am

Harold wrote:I'd like to take a moment to note my top contender for MVP of 2017 so far - Blake Mills, who produced (and plays on) three of the year's most acclaimed albums: Jesca Hoop's Memories Are Now, Laura Marling's Semper Femina, and Perfume Genius's No Shape. Three albums that are very different, but which all have meticulously constructed arrangements and frequently breathtaking soundscapes, in all cases completely at the service of each artist's distinctive personality. Mills is gradually becoming one of those individuals whose involvement in an album automatically makes me more interested.
I definitely have to check out Jesca Hoop now, as the production on both Semper femina and No Shape was refreshing in their careful balance of extravagance and intimacy.
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by prosecutorgodot » Tue May 16, 2017 5:30 am

prosecutorgodot wrote:First reaction to Paramore's After Laughter:
I don't even recognize this band anymore! Four years ago, I thought the self-titled was a big change in sound, but Paramore, with this fifth album, is a new band. I think it largely has to do with Taylor York taking the reins of the band.
Differences in sound: Everything is twinkling now! There are twinkling keyboards, the guitars are light and fluffy, there are weird string touches. This is completely different from the chugga-chugga from before! The thing that is driving me crazy right now is, what other band sounds like this? Like I'm very sure there is one, but I can't name it. The only bands that come to mind are Haim and Fleetwood Mac.
The angst is gone, too. Hayley is like totally sanded down smooth, and I'm not even necessarily talking about the vocals. The things she's saying are not as hard-edged. It's hard for me to put into words. There also seems to be a little more double-vocaling.
Hayley is also saying/phrasing/accenting things differently.
The production choices are also completely different.
People kept talking about Tame Impala's influence, but I totally disagree, this sounds nothing like Tame Impala.

I don't think you guys understand how shocked I am. My mouth was hanging wide open for the first five songs. I feel like my prior knowledge of the band doesn't prepare me for analyzing this new album.
I can't say this is a bad change of sound... yet. I'm seeing the music community at large warm up to Paramore with the past couple singles, so I think music snobs will weirdly say this is Paramore's best record. Me personally, I have to wait a bit to adjust to this new band before evaluating its quality.
Well, I figured out what other artists I was thinking of: Paul Simon and Vampire Weekend. In fact, I'm going to define this album's sound as New-wave-Paul-Simon-pop-punk.
And my final conclusion on the album is that it might be Paramore's weakest album, battling the debut AWKIF for that dishonorable spot. I'm giving it a strong 6 to a light 7.
Now, this is not me hating on bands that try something new. I am very glad that Paramore are experimenting, and Taylor might be that dormant star that is just starting to shine, which before was hidden behind Hayley's blinding light.
First, the positives. Paramore continues its foray into pop, and I like it. "Rose-Colored Boy" is fantastic. While the New Wave-isms on the album are not original, the band does the sound justice. The lyrics are very honest and dark, especially considering what Hayley has been going through for 7 years now. Hayley has never sounded so depressed. She says in interviews she now experiences bouts of anxiety that she never had before. This makes me very worried for her well-being.
But that leads into the negatives. Hayley's depressed voice means her emotions don't shine through the vocals like they do on every other Paramore album. I read the lyrics and I feel what she's saying, but I can't get that from just listening. This shows a weakness in recording in the studio, but it would probably sounda lot better live. Another issue is that Hayley's raw emo/punk vocals clash with Taylor's sweet, gentle instrumentals. They really don't marry well together. There isn't a single song that works completely where this combination appears, except maaaybe "Hard Times" can be considered such. This is probably the single biggest killer of the album. The final negative is that the second half of the album is not as strong as the first half.
While this album was a disappointing experiment, I have hope and interest in the next album. If Taylor keeps flexing his songwriting chops, maybe the band will figure out how to fit Hayley's vocals in.
Again, my score is 6.5/10.
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by PlasticRam » Tue May 16, 2017 5:49 am

I love Paul Simon, but I don't like the new Paramore very much. I mean I guess I can see the Vampire Weekend comparison kinda, although I like VW very much. But After Laughter comes across as too silly, and maybe a bit fake. In my opinion. Still kinda enjoyable listen though, weak 3.5 stars.
I feel like that

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by prosecutorgodot » Tue May 16, 2017 6:14 am

PlasticRam wrote:But After Laughter comes across as too silly, and maybe a bit fake.
WHAAAAT? The lyrics are very honest. What part sounds fake?
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Nick » Tue May 16, 2017 3:53 pm

Jlin- Black Origami

Jlin is a footwork producer from scenic Gary, Indiana, and her second album, Black Origami, is an exercise in the power of drumming. Footwork as a genre takes its name from the intricate moves made by dancers on the streets of Chicago. The style of music that evolved to accompany these dances hence gained the name "footwork", and the genre, with its strong emphasis on percussion, has since been described as what drum and bass would sound like had it originated in Chicago as opposed to London.

Jlin uses each of the album's 12 tracks to provide a slightly different take on the drums. There's percussion reminiscent of IDM, of drum and bass, of marching bands. It's an innately rhythmic style of music, the kind that inspires you to get up and dance. But for all the connotations of dancing as a joyful expression of the human spirit, there's a certain darkness present here as well, as if this album was made by a college marching band from the depths of hell. On standout track "Nyakinyua Rise", a myriad of drums clang out as unintelligible, almost ritualistic, shouts glide over the song. As such, Black Origami is able to accomplish what few other albums can do. It turns the alarming into the danceable.

Verdict: 8/10 (Great)

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by PlasticRam » Tue May 16, 2017 4:22 pm

prosecutorgodot wrote:
PlasticRam wrote:But After Laughter comes across as too silly, and maybe a bit fake.
WHAAAAT? The lyrics are very honest. What part sounds fake?
Perhaps sappy is a better word. For me anyway.

I guess I thought of the word fake cos there's a song called Fake Happy. But I guess the lyrics themselves aren't fake.
I feel like that

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by StevieFan13 » Wed May 17, 2017 5:07 pm

And now this happened:
http://www.stereogum.com/1941311/pwr-bt ... ices/news/
Now I'm wondering what's going to happen to PWR BTTM in the future. Will nobody care about their work? Will the sudden elusiveness of their recorded output give them additional value? Will that elusiveness cause their reputation to go up, or will people just say good riddance?
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by BleuPanda » Wed May 17, 2017 5:22 pm

Why seek out PWR BTTM records when there are so many better power bottoms to waste your time with?

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by StevieFan13 » Wed May 17, 2017 5:51 pm

BleuPanda wrote:Why seek out PWR BTTM records when there are so many better power bottoms to waste your time with?
Couldn't have said it better myself.
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Matski » Tue May 23, 2017 12:52 pm

Nick wrote:Jlin- Black Origami

...

Verdict: 8/10 (Great)
So gutted that I waited all week to check this out on NPR. Dark Energy never quite clicked with me but on my second listen with, this was starting to. Then NPR took it down earlier than usual. The Nick Hakim record was also worth checking out. Will have to see if they're up on Spotify later...

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by notbrianeno » Tue May 23, 2017 1:00 pm

Matski wrote:
Nick wrote:Jlin- Black Origami

...

Verdict: 8/10 (Great)
So gutted that I waited all week to check this out on NPR. Dark Energy never quite clicked with me but on my second listen with, this was starting to. Then NPR took it down earlier than usual. The Nick Hakim record was also worth checking out. Will have to see if they're up on Spotify later...
I believe it's been released and is now on Spotify
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by spiritualized » Tue May 23, 2017 2:14 pm

Catch-up time, but not much to give my feeling or opinion.

The Moonlandingz - Interplanetary Class Classics (8.0)
Nice surprise from this band coming out of nowhere. Psychedelic to the hilt with a tinge of noise. I like.

DJ Quik & Problem - Rosecrans (4.0)
The West Coast hip-hop genre refuses to die a graceful death. Nothing new here, but in its style, it ain't that bad.

Gas - Narkopop (8.0)
Great ambient techno from the German prodigy - 78 mins of ether and air. Bliss.

Feist - Pleasure (5.0)
I don't dig this. Average folk-rock which does not lift spirits. "Metals" was MUCH better.

Föllakzoid & J. Spaceman - London Sessions (8.0)
Excellent collaboration with Spiritualized frontman - Space rock + Krautrock, one of this year's EOY EP

Triángulo de Amor Bizarro - Barca quemada + 3 (9.0)
These Spanish guys never cease to amaze me. I urge everyone to listen to their latest EP. Wow.

Robyn Hitchcock - Robyn Hitchcock (7.0)
Nothing new under the sun from Hitchcock, although I tend to appreciate his latest output more than in his beginnings.

Blanck Mass - World Eater(9.0)
Amazing. Crazy. Rewarding. I love it.

Sorority Noise - You're Not As _____ As You Think (8.0)
Amongst the multitude of emo-related bands, this stands out as a refined and intelligent effort. A pleasure to listen to.

Pallbearer - Heartless (7.0)
Doom metal ? Naaah. There are melodies in there, it has whiffs of Pink Floyd - definitely worth revisiting at some point.

Aimee Mann - Mental Illness (7.0)
A jump in quality in the less-than-average discography of Ms Mann. Her voice is really quite something.

The New Year - Snow (8.0)
Completely under the radar and unannounced, a new album from the Kadane brothers, who were responsible for one of the best slowcore band ever, Bedhead. Quintessential indie rock, it's what is not in the music which stands out the most. Not to the level of their peak, but this is darn good and a really pleasant arrival on the scene...

Perfume Genius - No Shape (6.0)
Art-pop. mmmmm. More convoluted melodies, deep/high voices, etc... etc... Perfume Genius starts well and means well, but this is sadly not sticking out by its originality. And it forgets the melodies altthough I quite like "Slip Away" - there is some grandeur in this song.




EOY 2017 (probably)
Run the Jewels - Run The Jewels 3
Ty Segall - Ty Segall
Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound
Loyle Carner - Yesterday's Gone
Radical Face - SunnMoonnEclippse (EP)
Moon Duo - Occult Architecture, Vol.1
Blanck Mass - World Eater
Triángulo de Amor Bizarro - Barca quemada + 3 (EP)

Excellent / Very Good
WIlliam Basinski - A Shadow in Time
Elbow - Little Fictions
The Magnetic Fields - 50 Song Memoir
Laura Marling - Semper Femina
The New Year - Snow
Sorority Noise - You're Not As _____ As You Think
Föllakzoid & J. Spaceman - London Sessions (EP)
Gas - Narkopop
The Moonlandingz - Interplanetary Class Classics

Deserves another spin
Kid Koala w/Emiliana Torrini - Music to Draw To : Satellite
Mark Eitzel - Hey Mr Ferryman
Jesca Hoop - Memories are Now
Tift Merrit - Stitch of the World
Ramin Djawadi - Gears of Wars 4
Holy Holy - Paint
Peter Silberman - Impermanence
Vibracathedral Orchestra - So-Called Texture
Rhiannon Giddens - Freedom Highway
Hurray for the Riff Raff - The Navigator
Fischer Z - Building Bridges
Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
Father John Misty - Pure Comedy
Aimee Mann - Mental Illness
Pallbearer - Heartless
Robyn Hitchcock - Robyn Hitchcock

Meh
Arovane & Porya Hatami - Organism
The xx - I See You
Wiley - Godfather
Sampha - Process
Thinking Plague - Hoping against Hope
Thundercat - Drunk
HEALTH - DISCO3
Ryan Adams - Prisoner
Jens Lekman - Life Will See You Now
Mount Eerie - A Crow Looked at Me
The Caretaker - Everywhere at the End of Time - Stage 2
Arca - Arca
Perfume Genius - No Shape
Feist - Pleasure

Avoid at all costs
Migos - Culture
Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayers
Dirty Projectors - Dirty Projectors
DJ Quik & Problem - Rosecrans


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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by notbrianeno » Tue May 23, 2017 4:22 pm

spiritualized wrote: Gas - Narkopop (8.0)
Great ambient techno from the German prodigy - 78 mins of ether and air.

Blanck Mass - World Eater(9.0)
Amazing. Crazy. Rewarding. I love it.
Hell has frozen over!! We agree on two albums!!
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by spiritualized » Wed May 24, 2017 6:08 am

notbrianeno wrote:
spiritualized wrote: Gas - Narkopop (8.0)
Great ambient techno from the German prodigy - 78 mins of ether and air.

Blanck Mass - World Eater(9.0)
Amazing. Crazy. Rewarding. I love it.
Hell has frozen over!! We agree on two albums!!
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Nassim » Thu May 25, 2017 9:25 pm

I will join the small chorus of praise for Blanck Mass. Thanksfully there is AM to warn me that half of Fuck Buttons released an album and that it is fantastic (though I should have seen its perfect score on the AV club too). I don't care for Minnesota / Eas Fors / Naked but the rest of the album is a fantastic mix of noise, melody and beats. Not in the Tarot Sport league, but an improvement over the already pretty great Slow Focus.
Rhesus Negative and Hive Mind will most likely make my end of year songs list.

Also enjoyed Jlin's album quite a lot, and it's nice to see that 2 of the most exciting albums of the year (that and Vagabon's) are albums by black female artists in white male dominated genres.

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Jirin » Tue May 30, 2017 1:14 am

Maybe a late response to the PWR BTTM debate. Album is still on my list to hear, haven't listened to it yet.

I agree the separation between art and artist breaks down when the artist is singing about himself or his personal relationship with another person or another group. Like, it'd make it harder to listen to Positively Fourth Street if we found out that Bob Dylan was never, in fact, shunned by the folk community after going electric.

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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by StevieFan13 » Tue May 30, 2017 1:55 am

Even then, it doesn't sound like a must-hear album. I thought what little I heard of PWR BTTM before the debacle was OK at best, and knowing the potential they had just bums me out that they didn't practice what they preach.
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Re: Albums of 2017

Post by Rob » Tue May 30, 2017 9:18 am

Jirin wrote: I agree the separation between art and artist breaks down when the artist is singing about himself or his personal relationship with another person or another group. Like, it'd make it harder to listen to Positively Fourth Street if we found out that Bob Dylan was never, in fact, shunned by the folk community after going electric.
I see what you mean, but Positively 4th Street is an odd example, as Dylan doesn't exactly name-check it's subject. He basically describes one person and it could be anyone (and you could take it about being a whole movement). The openness of many Dylan songs like this one makes them so timeless and universal, making them also more easy to remain intact even if the singer faces severe accusations. This is not the case with PWR BTTM if I'm correct (I have only heard to songs by them with half my attention).

Now if Dylan turned out to be an out-and-out racist, that would make songs like Blowin' in the Wind or The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll look very awkward.

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