30Apr2014 1845: In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Jester
Say goodbye to April already! It seems like only yesterday I was marveling over how not-terrible April 1st was on the Internet. I don't want to jinx our newfound maturity or anything, but I think we can all still appreciate a good prank that involves a ton or two of oatmeal.
Get on the dance floor and march in place! [Joywave - Tongues] puts down a drum cadence that caused flashbacks to high school marching band, and then slathers on the synths and "boop-boop" vocal samples that caused flashbacks to high school pop radio. I hear rumblings that electro dance pop is making a comeback on radios, and that there are still radios. Maybe it'll be the radio I remember, flush with Gina Gs and Jellyheads and other G sounds.
[SOHN - Artifice] is the style of white-guy crooning pop, where a stubbly man that can't quite reach a falsetto waxes poetic about a woman or women. Again, I feel like this was an early 90s style of pop, before the rise of boy bands shunted the solo dude to the easy listening stations.
23Apr2014 1800: A Molar Panic
We're in full-on diet panic time in America again, a war against Gluten, a coordinated effort that I haven't seen since the days of Atkins. While I am still blissfully allergy-free and omnivorous, I am paying attention this time. Atkins, for all its marketing, got labelled as the "all-bacon" diet and resulted in some truly heinous workarounds for old foods -- heavens forfend anybody give things up. But nobody in the world managed to make a tastier steak just for Atkins. This time around, gluten panic has resulted in some products that actually taste different. Rejoice! I no longer have to lick buns or eat substandard chicken to get my sesame fix.
Is it too early to declare a Summer Jam? Because today on Monty's Behind the Curve I'm going to preempt a couple of free singles for the free EP [Lil Dicky - So Hard]. Specifically, I'm going to point out the rap song that finally speaks directly to me:
I guess there's other music too but who cares? Any song would be a comedown, but [Cataldo - Slow the Time] does his best to be peppy and welcoming with his little indie tune. And this is the purest example of "indie" that I've heard in a while; not "indie rock", not "indie 80s revival", just the mild not-exactly-folk that I first began to notice in the early 2000s. A nasal lonely voice that pilots an ever-increasing amalgamated band that consists of all his stoner friends working through whatever horn they played in high school.
[Erik Hassle - Pathetic] tries really hard to sound like Prince and mostly succeeds, even to the point of falsetto, but why the hell would I keep a second Prince in my collection? Nobody cares about second princes except in very narrow circumstannises.
16Apr2014 2000: No Wiser
Made it to age thirty-three! It's only recently that I've acknowledged even the existence of my birthday; I long considered April 15th the day that evil thaws out. But by age 30 nobody can tell you how to celebrate a day, or even that you should, and I've settled into a low-grade acceptance. In the US the miasma hanging over that date is of course Tax Day, but you know what else? Tax Day only matters if you're a slacker. You get your W2s by February, people, handle that shit.
Far more important than my continual aging, April 15th was also super-patch day in Guild Wars 2. For the first time in a long time there is absolutely no new content to partake of, but the patch sands off some of the rough edges in the design and makes it easier to play Pretty Princess Dress-Me-Up. It my sound like I'm scoffing, but the presence of an in-game checklist showing me all the armor skins I don't have will drive the next few months of obsessive collecting. And that's entertainment!
[Nothing - Bent Nail] paints you a soundscape of mopey dudes and reverb. If you're looking for an echo chamber of all the 90s rock you sort of remember, I recommend you listen to nothing.
[The Hotelier - The Scope of All of This Rebuilding] is duo-dude light punk resembling The Ataris, except it's even milder. I didn't know that was possible, and it's entirely likely that this sound is no longer even "screamo". Is there a genre named "diet high school"?
FUNK INTENSIFIES. I don't know if the Motown revival is still going on, but [St. Paul & The Broken Bones - Half the City] wants in on that action. You know guys, it may be time for a Blues Brothers 2025. Who's with me?
I guess Motown never stopped. It's just that occasionally I get bombarded with reminders like [Lake Street Dive - You Go Down Smooth]. The title had me worried this might be butt rock with thinly-veiled sex metaphors, but no! It's a jazzy lady singing about drinking that is probably a thickly-veiled sex metaphor!
09Apr2014 2000: No Rain, No Cry
I did not, and at this point probably never will, finish Dark Souls. I respect what the game is doing, I respect that it exists, but I will respect it from a safe minimum distance. I will, however, jump on the Dark Souls 2 bandwagon. And after the unconscionable shitshow that was the Dark Souls PC port, I was delighted to see that From Software got its act together this time. Soooooon, I will be completely lost and frustrated all over again! And this time I won't have four years of forum threads to assist me!
Spoilers, [The War on Drugs - Under the Pressure] is the most normal, average song this week. And at close to nine minutes, you know we're going to be hard up for tunes. This guy with just a hint of Bob Dylan inflection mumbles over the mellowest of 80s love-rock tunes. There's a perfectly serviceable three-minute song in here, something suitable for that Top Gun sequel Hollywood is threatening us with, but it's like they released a 25-year reunion tour live concert extended jam as their introductory single.
[Eagulls - Tough Luck] pulls off an 8.7 double-indie routine, mashing up two bird names like that. Forgoing the obvious Modest Mouse or Band of Horses or Bat for Lashes or Trampled by Turtles route, these guys looked back to The Clash. They looked back to The Clash through a long, long tunnel. Everybody should buy their self-titled all-caps album so they can afford to buy real microphones. If I can't attend an actual punk show in an actual basement, I'd rather my music didn't sound like it was performed in somebody's basement.
An unexplained initialism can only mean annoying rap. As annoying rap goes, [Chimurenga Renaissance - The B.A.D. Is So Good] isn't all that...terrible. And it got me to look up the word "chimurenga," which promises to be a pretty good wiki hole.
[Perfect Pussy - Interference Fits] is out of control and so thick. What is with the sudden drop in audio quality this month? Perfect Pussy, Eagulls, Temples...previous generations rebelled against gender inequality and foreign wars, this generation is rebelling against digital audio reproduction? Listen to Mr Cranky Old Guy, calling the youngling music noise. Ending with a full minute of feedback was a bold choice or something. Maybe they forgot they left the 8-track running?
02Apr2014 1935: Such Car. So Speed.
I hope you all survived Internet Unusability Day yesterday. I didn't even bother messing with the color scheme on the site this year, and oddly my Internet wasn't that ruined. It seems like fake news has fallen out of favor all of the suddens, leaving behind a few gag products and Guild Wars 2 bobbleheads. That's a holiday I can live with.
In what is apparently, perversely, NOT an April 1st prank: Dogecoin sponsors a NASCAR driver. Reddit should check its router seals, the Internet is leaking again. My favorite part of this story is probably the everything. Just...man. A giant derpy Shiba Inu running in an oval for hours and hours.
[Angel Olsen - Hi-Five] is grungy country, except country abandoned this sound in favor of classic rock so maybe this is folk, except folk abandoned this sound in favor of rock organs, so maybe this is indie?
[Tycho - Awake] is the fifteen-second intro to a Flock of Seagulls song streched out over three minutes. It's not chill enough to be ambient, it's not hype enough to be danceable; not sure why Tycho would put all these synths in one place and then middle-road an instrumental like this. Sounds like spec work for a K-car commercial.
Google should check their router seals. The title of [LE1F - Wut] leads me to believe their Internet is leaking...and then suddenly Pikachu. This song sounds eerily like Thrift Shop, which I don't even have to link at this point, and apparently there's some hard feelings about that.