I’ve had this rotation of new albums I discovered, that have been occupying much of my day-dreaming & late-night thinking time… It’s not that the songs are stuck in my head, but I can’t help myself from obsessing over our current timestamp in the world of music, in this modern world, with a far enough leap out of the 20th century and a comfortably far enough start into the 21st! Let’s take a look at where we, what is happening, and where we might be going…
Instead of trying to tackle the subject in one massive post, I’ve decided to break it up into several parts, each one about a particular album that was released (since 2008).
I wasn’t impressed by anyone’s end-of-the-year music lists, and I couldn’t even come up with one for myself. I could write you a rather powerful list of music that I happened to un-earth from the musical history books, but it’s not quite the same story for the releases of this year. It’s not that we are in an awkward period, so much as we are just getting things out of our system. It’s come to a point where any musical effect, sound, instrument, publication, or distribution can be easily obtained by the magic of laptop computing and wireless communication. Everyone is just having a field day, letting the music pour out, doing exactly what they want and how they want to do it. Any sound can be achieved — it’s not a matter of being a “guitar player” or a “song-writer” anymore — these are things of the past. Anyone can have any sound.
So, by saying that anything can be achieved, virtually without limitation, I am saying there is a certain excellence of execution happening in music. I think we’ve really hit a stride here in the past several years, that was much, much different than the few years even before that. We’re getting it all out of our system. Ideas come to us, and without much difficulty you can get them out of your head without much sacrifice. We’re flying through genres and mixing and matching however we feel like and it sounds brilliant! Right now, it’s our natural tendency to make music that sounds like the past, but really fucking good sounding, with a little modern twist for the sake of time. The formulas have been out there for decades, but not until recently was there a new element in the equation: digital technology.
Long gone are the days of four-piece bands having to come up with a gimmick to set them apart from sounding like every other four guys with guitars and drums in matching suits. The platform of music is such a vast plateau of expression now — shit! you don’t even gotta have a face anymore. Just go to the huge magical tree of music history, pluck off the pieces you like, and use them however you wish. It will be paradoxically old and new at the same time… but, soon enough, we are going to wear ourself out, and one of us will stumble upon a new musical path, without any history, and without any foot steps… it will be the new sound.
Now, considering all things said, let’s take a look at the first album up for review.
My Bloody Underground by The Brian Jonestown Massacre
“Bring Me the Head of Paul McCartney On Heather Mill’s
Wooden Peg (Dropping Bombs on the White House)”
The Onion AV Club says,
“‘Nevertheless,’ [from Tepid Peppermint Wonderland] is a swirling pop nugget from 2001 that could have materialized intact from 1966, nudges up against 1995‘s dense, shoegazing “Evergreen.” The juxtaposition eventually feels like part of the scheme, though, since every song shares one element: [Anton] Newcombe’s undeniable ear for a pop song, no matter how it’s dressed up. A gift that allows him to not only get away with musical murder, but to make it seem like a good idea, Newcombe’s natural songwriting slope sends him barreling headfirst into places that modesty and lack of pretentiousness prevent others from going. He has no filter, but even the messes that emerge, like the ridiculous, faux-accented “All Around You (Intro),” feel strangely right.”
“[Anton] Newcombe’s key talent is his ability to take music from the past and project it as music for the future. Despite the fact that his quick mouth and serious ego might persuade you otherwise, he’s not a god or a superhero (too bad, because “Osmosisman” has a nice ring to it), but there’s no arguing that he has a supernatural ability to soak up his record collection and project his favorite elements spot-on, filtered as a unique vision. The first couple songs feel a lot like the Brian Jonestown Massacre we’ve grown to know, love, and fear, with the expected psychedelic ’60s Stones/Kicks throwbacks, charmingly slopped up with a junkyard of instruments and the occasional out of tune guitar. As the album picks up, things get truly warped and a new angle is introduced when ’80s shoegazer aspects and ’70s Krautrock are thrown into the mix.”