Music for Thought, Vol. 3 (Jan. 25 - Jan. 31)
One month of 2014 down - and good riddance. It’s been a frozen wasteland here in Chicago. It’s been around -40 degrees on four occasions, and there’s so much snow. It’s been the worst winter of my life, or at least for as long as I can remember.
Civilia Demo | Isaiah Rashad
Luckily, there’s been some good tunes to check out in the meantime, the most notable being Civilia Demo. It sounds like the first post-good kid, m.A.A.d. city hip-hop album, or at least a very close peer. Not necessarily in terms of quality, because I haven’t listened to it nearly enough to make some kind of grand statement like that, but certainly in terms of vibe. It’s not as tightly wound, but a lot of the sensibilities are the same. It’s also not nearly as “cinematic” - it just sounds like a kid spun that record over and over and over in his room and then put together a mixtape and told the producer, “Make it sound like THAT.” And it does! It’s an excellent little debut and it makes me really excited about the dude’s future. TDE is poised for another monster year with Schoolboy Q’s next record scheduled for later this year, and this is a big time way to kick it off.
Too True | Dum Dum Girls
This one is a little more of a disappointment. I thought Only In Dreams was a truly great album, by one of the great developing voices in indie rock. “Coming Down” especially felt like actually coming down from the high after a party, after a great first kiss, etc. But it just doesn’t seem like there is a lot to love on this album - it feels a lot slighter. Maybe repeated listens will help a bit, but for now, I’m really disappointed in this one after being really excited after seeing it was going to be released soon.
I didn’t do any of this last time, but this is a developing thing that I’m trying out, so bear with me in the early stages. It didn’t make sense to just try to write about albums when music culture is basically a barrage of singles anymore, so here’s my thoughts on a few old and a few new. A lot of this stuff really bodes well for 2014!
"Brains" by Banks
I honestly can’t remember the names of the other songs I’ve heard from Banks, which is sort of embarrassing, but I remember really liking them. I saw this one floating around the internet this past week, and got reallyexcited. It pulses and slinks around, and it sounds like what you hear in your head at 4am in at a party or something, ready to go home, nothing that happens from here is going to be good, so on and so on. It’s so much bigger than the songs I remember from this past fall.
I heard about Yumi Zouma on Gorilla vs. Bear (they’ve been posting pretty much every track on her new EP over the past week) and I think I’m buying into the hype. It’s lovely, dreamy music, evoking the music of the 70s without necessarily sounding like it’s from that decade. It sounds timeless. Definitely something I’ll be revisiting throughout the year.
"Wanderlust" by Wild Beasts
I was a sophomore in college when Wild Beasts’ first album came out, and a member of the Radiohead fan forum At Ease (but I only really contributed to the off-topic music board, i.e. non-Radiohead talk) and I remember people freaking out about it. It was an album I either didn’t like at the time or just didn’t get, but either way, I didn’t give them much thought. I checked this song out almost as an afterthought, a few months after it dropped, and I’m blown away. That coda is incredible with the building “Don’t mistake me for someone who gives a fuck.” It’s devastating, and empowering at the same time. 20-year-old me could probably never picture it, but I’m really looking forward to the new album.
"Chorus" by Holly Herndon
This is a really weird, super interesting song. It just songs like something in the midst of transforming, a contortionist escaping from a box. Too many times on repeat might have made it really hard for me to sleep and given me a headache, but it’s a song that you can get lost in over and over again.
"Passing Out Pieces" by Mac DeMarco
2 was one of my favorite albums of 2012, and this song just hypes me up so hard for the coming year. The Beatles-esque aspects of his sound really show in this song - it’s sunshine bursting through the seams. Really beautiful stuff.