For my first post on this blog, I shall share with you five or six record albums I enjoyed listening to, which were released over the course of the previous calender year. The first I will speak of is this:
NEPTUNE - PATTERNS
Junkyard, almost industrial, punky loudness. Beeps, buzzes, distorted basses made out of oil drums and and guitars made from VCRs and chairs and shit. And it's really catchy. I don't have much to say except that if you like visceral, groovy, insanity, you will probably enjoy this.
ERASE ERRATA - NIGHTLIFE
This is different than the other Erase Errata albums, but still good. I really like their second album, but I don't like this one as much. I have never been able to articulate what exactly it is about this album that's so different, aside from the obvious lack of Sarah Jaffe playing guitar. It seems goofier maybe, less rigid and spastic, and smoother. However, what I really liked about Other Animals was the rigidity and bizarreness.
CASIOTONE FOR THE
PAINFULLY ALONE - ETIQUETTE
This is wonderful. The only other CFTPA I know is Twinkle Echo, which I think I prefer, but I still really enjoy this record. Particularly "I Love Creedence" and "Scattered Pearls", but every song on the album is excellently crafted descriptions of entering adulthood, separating from your childhood and the difficulty of being on that cusp. Specific topics include: Family, friends, failed maybe-romance, and hopeless sympathy. And at the end of the record, Ashworth and co. interpret my favorite Parenthetical Girls song. So good.
LILYS - EVERYTHING WRONG IS IMAGINARY
I'm not entirely sure how the title/cover concept is to be taken. I always thought it was a positive "nothing's really ever wrong, everything's cool" kind of thing, but now I'm thinking it's a cynical reference to the Chinese press/propaganda. Whatever that's about, the record itself is no work of cynicism. The record is overflowing with enthusiasm for everything, for people to see, for things to do, and for places to go. And it's a wonderful departure from the calm reserve of the last Lilys record, Precollection. Everything Wrong Is Imaginary runs the gamut from the ineffable cheer of earlier Lilys songs like "Ginger" and "Dandy" and shoegazey guitar weirdness on songs like "Black Carpet Magic" and "With Candy", electronic grooves on "A Diana's Diana" and "Where the Night Goes", and even touching on his krautrock affinity with the title track, though melded with his more obvious love of Sixties' mod guitar riffs.
And despite the fact that I've spent that entire paragraph detailing how this sounds like the best parts of every other Lilys records, I must also insist that there are qualities on this record you won't find anywhere else in the catalog. This is a great album, but it's also a great Lilys album.
Parenthetical Girls - Safe As Houses
This is it. Easily my favorite new album from what I suppose is my favorite new band. And the jump in quality and sophistication from their first record to this is incredible. I'm not even sure how to explain how much has changed. The lyrics are more focused, the album works as a coherent whole, and they manage to sound uniquely parenthetical. The lyrics throughout the record suggest a keen interest in perspectives on sexual identity, the effect of the birth and death of children, and the nature of relationships within the family. Themes of loss and love are predominant on the record, and the lyrics are beautifully articulate and well-written. The music on the album is equally as strong, each song is carefully and gracefully composed and arranged. Acoustic instruments such as violins and xylophones meet electric guitars and synthesizers, with some horns and weird percussion thrown in for good measure. The writing and performance on this album makes this record an indisputable classic.