Monday, April 03, 2006

quick recap of recent listens

Unlike recent years, I thought I was pretty up-to-date with new music released in 2005. Hell, I even had a longish list of favourites. But it seems I'm already very behind with new stuff released so far this year. I do have some favourites from whatever little I've heard so far, though:

Aardvarck - Cult Copy
The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
B. Fleischmann - The Humbucking Coil
Amber Smith - rePRINT
The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
Espers - Espers II
The Charalambides - A Vintage Burden

A Fiery Furnaces album I can get behind whole-heartedly! Bitter Tea is a surprising and gorgeously infectious pop record, more listenable than anything they've done since their impressive debut, Gallowsbird's Bark, while pushing their experimentations with varying instrumentation into a more recognisably 'pop' soundscape. 'Waiting To Know You' is a contender for song-of-the-year already. rePRINT is also essentially pop music that has been deftly mutated by producer, (ex-Cocteau Twin) Robin Guthrie, who's presence has translated into some lovely shimmering guitars, and a darker, more melancholic sound for the Hungarian band. I'm waiting for a rainy day so I can listen to this again. Cult Copy is, quite simply, the most uplifting and endlessly 'fun' techno I've heard since Vitalic's OK Cowboy from last year. Espers II is a pretty good companion album to their The Weed Tree from last year, but still doesn't approach the rapturous psychedelia of their self-titled debut. The sparse and gentle, A Vintage Burden, is the first Charalambides album I've heard and it makes a refreshing addition to the current psychedelic folk sounds. The Humbucking Coil is somemore consistently organic and downbeat electronic music. Nothing groundbreaking, but it's been kinda really nice on the two listens so far. And I'm relieved that the new Flaming Lips does not disappoint!

And two older albums recently acquired (I'd highly recommend the collection of hypnotic, pulsating ghazals that is Shahen-Shah) :

Ravi Shankar - Transmigration Macabre
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Shahen-Shah


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