A brief bit of personal goings-on: My professors want me to either leave my program for an independent contract or in some way change my behavior, as they think me saying "Hey, I don't really think that what this is saying is all that interesting" after long periods made up of a whole lot of nothing is conducive to a positive learning environment. I maintain that this type of intimidating presentation of work is much more destructive, but clearly this is unbridgeable terrain. I don't know what I'll do, it was a weird conversation- these issues coming up now, two weeks in, rather than at my evaluation conference at the end of last quarter, and after I apparently did a good job facilitating seminar. I find it hard to process this conversation as taking place, but I'm sure as class becomes more awkward it will be more fully understood.
Also before I get to talking about music, I'll say I just did one of my Achewood-reading jags, which I hadn't read since mid-November. Since then it's been on fire, seemingly, totally hilarious. Start here, but open in a new window because I have opinions about music I want to regale you with.
I think that Panda Bear's Person Pitch record is going to be great. It's been coming out in drips and drabs, in the form of various singles on different labels, and what I've heard is quite good. I think I'll do the thing where I stop listening to these things as they leak and instead wait for the record's release, March 20th. I've heard enough of it to get a grasp for what it is, seemingly. It'll be the record to soundtrack my hair growing back and out, and winter turning to Spring and that then turning to Summer.
Seemingly different but in fact rather complementary is the new Boris record, Rainbow. Already out in Japan and coming out on Drag City in Spring. I only listened to Pink a little bit before deleting it from my computer. This past Christmas break, I downloaded the opening track, Farewell, off Pitchfork's top tracks list. That was my favorite track when I had the record, but it was just this drone piece, and when it ends on record it goes into crazy-rocking Japanese metal. (Japanese metal isn't like the Scandinavian crazy stuff, it's pretty likable. It's about as ridiculous as that movie Survive Style 5+, not ridiculous like blood sacrifices.) On its own it's unsatisfying. This is prettier, basically, not as loud. They're something of a drone band, but this is the drone taken away, and so this is a lot more dynamic than Pink. It's not free from rockers, but there's a lot of pretty stuff, and so those rockers stand out more, while still working as a record. It's more of a record and less just a general aesthetic.
Oh also, you might remember on my top 15 records of 2006 list that I didn't have a fifteen. Or that's how I remember it, I might be wrong. But I remember saying that if there was to be a next hip-hop record, it might be Spank Rock's YoYoYoYoYoYo, but I hadn't heard the whole thing. Now I have. I'd missed "Sweet Talk," which is the highlight.
I have been catching up on music, following all of the best-of lists calling things to my attention. I'd only heard a chunk of Girl Talk's Night Ripper, and made the declaration that Unstoppable was better. No one heard Unstoppable to know what the differences were. Basically, Unstoppable has songs, using the same samples throughout. It's a large number of samples, but they were these little self-contained units, and they were tweaked a bit more, pitchshifted to high pitches for comedic effect, and a lot of glitches added for more rhythms and individuality. Night Ripper is closer to a DJ set or a bunch of mashups. It still works well, it's still got some great moments, but the way those moments work is different.
I also hadn't heard Beach House's self-titled record, which is really nice. Two people, one male, one female, and there's an organ, and they make pretty droney dreamy pop songs. Basically, they are kind of similar to Brightblack Morning Light but better in every possible way. Including, probably, as people, because Brightblack Morning Light came off as really dumb hippies in that Arthur from a few months back.
That's the stuff that was really good. There's other things which maybe require a bit more of an investigation. (Although it turns out that Scott Walker's The Drift was about as boring as I thought it would be when I heard about in it January)