Listen Up 2008, pt 1

Third, Portishead

Dark, minimalist lo-fi... This album sounds like music from another time. Aged like a fine wine... This is the kind of music I wish more people were making these days. No pretension. Just art with the weight of feeling behind it. Deep and heavy with mood and not bravado and shine.

Music for a laid back evening. Part of the art is Beth Gibbons' voice. Breathy and ethereal... Almost evil — imagine hearing her as a ghost in a haunted house. The reverb and drawn out vocal melodies draw you along the lifespan of each song.

The overall tone of the album sounds old — analogue. Never really listened to Portishead, except for their popular single off the first album back in the early 90's. About ten years since their last one, and there was a whole bunch of buzz around this. So I had to pick this up, and was so glad I did...

Favorite Tracks: "Silence", "Nylon Smile", "We Carry On", "Small", "Threads" and "Machine Gun"...

This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That, Marnie Stern

Never heard of her, but all of a sudden, everyone was talking about her all over the internet. All I knew was that everyone was calling her things like a "Guitar Tapping Virtuoso".

What I heard, was Space Guitar backed by intense jungle drums. Pop sensibility with a strong sense of experimentation. Heavily processed vocals — reverb, harmony and multi-tracking. And I can't really tell what her voice is. Young and pixie-like.

The music is full of energy. Jazzy and new. I don't know if I like her "screechy" voice — staccato and manic. It gets kind of grating, but it's mixed-in sort of like just another instrument. Not really up-front, and so I can't discern the lyrics at all... But everytime I listen to this album, I like it more and more.

Favorite Tracks: "Shea Stadium", "Ruler", "The Package Is Wrapped", "Vault", "Roads? Where We're Going We Don't Need Roads" and "The Crippled Jazzer"...

My Bloody Underground, The Brian Jonestown Massacre

I already reviewed this album earlier in the year...

I listen to this, and I get the sense that this is a musical commune as band. I can envision these guys all living together in a super small house, doing drugs and playing music. Passing out, with instruments always just laying around all over the place... Lots of droning and trance drumming, it's almost like a lifestyle, not a band.

Favorite Tracks: "Infinite Wisdom Tooth/My Last Night In Bed With You", "We Are The Niggers Of The World", "Golden Frost", "Automatic Faggot For The People" and "Yeah, Yeah"...

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