To make up for the lack of posts lately (even when I have a request sitting in my inbox, which’ll be coming soon), here are a few quick and brief words on some albums that are soon to be released:
Matthew Dear – Beams
I do have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Dear’s work; I can’t help but get sucked in to his deep, sexy, crooning vocals but I’ve never been too enamoured by the musical content. His recent singles, however, were definitely something I could get behind; choppy, tropical beats, weird processing and just a really infectious nature really made me excited for Beams, and it has certainly failed to disappoint.
There’s a very accessible House/Synth-Pop lilt to his music but unlike a good deal of artists from either of those genres Beams is intelligent and thoughtful in its production and lyrical content. It’s refreshing to see something so rooted in pop-music sensibilities have such a left-field take on things; it still has fat beats and an insatiable groove, but they’re clean and not obnoxious, unlike most of the music in the popular EDM scene at the moment.
Dan Deacon – America
I only downloaded America because I felt like I wasn’t keeping up with 2012 releases, but it turned out this hasn’t even been released yet, so I was a bit too eager. I’m actually really glad that I picked this up; whenever you download something labelled “Neo-Psychedelia” it’s pretty much a crap shoot in terms of what you’re going to be on the receiving end of, so I was pleasantly surprised.
Much like the country itself, America is a spacious and vast sounding album, sometimes flying over the empty expanses of bare, unexcited countryside with downtempo synth flutters, sometimes soaring over the cities accompanied by soft and obscured vocals, driven basslines and excited/uplifting electronic noise. There’s always an underlying heartbeat to this album, even when it’s crawling, but slowly and surely it builds and builds textures to euphoric climaxes. Extremely compelling and texturally fascinating.
Animal Collective – Centipede Hz
Last night, Animal Collective streamed their upcoming album, making it the first time people had heard all the finished tracks together in their logical album sense (they have all been played live prior). Now, I’ve only heard it in its entirety just the once (although I am relistening presently), and for what is probably one of the most hyped albums of the year…I can’t help but feel that it is just a little lacklustre. With every one of their albums I have found there is a maturation period where you have to listen intently several times before you can really begin to enjoy it, so I’m hopeful I can come back to this and really like it, because at the moment I’m not being overwhelmed.
It definitely sounds like a logical progression from MPP, with the tracks being arguably even less weird musically and generally a bit more palatable and accessible all round, but still retaining the same punchiness and bursts of energy that AnCo deliver. It’s not that it’s retrodden ground exactly, nor is it entirely predictable, it feels like an intelligent refinement of their sound but one that is far less raw and shocking, and to me that’s kind of the appeal. Time will tell; I can already feel it growing on me. “Applesauce” is just brilliant though, straight up.