Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The First Quarter of 2014

I've been pretty lazy with new releases thus far in 2014. In fact, of all the presumably brilliant albums to have seen release since New Year's Day, I've only bought three. They're all good albums, mind, even if none of them feel like 'Album of the Year' material; I just feel like I should be paying closer attention to the stuff in the window of Spillers.

Still, with three months of the year already down, I thought I'd better do some kind of Q1 review. Here's what I think of the three new albums I've bought this year...

Rave Tapes by Mogwai
It's a solid album, this, although I don't feel that it's quite up there with Mogwai's best. Quite a few tracks seem not to go anywhere (e.g. Simon Ferocious, whose most interesting feature is the completely unrelated synth fanfare that introduces it); that said, songs like Blues Hour and Remurdered more than make up for that issue. The former is a particular highlight - Mogwai don't often do songs with singing in them, but when they do materialise, they are always absolute treasures, and Blues Hour is no exception:


File:The Jicks - Wig Out at Jagbags.jpg
Wig Out at Jagbags by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
This one is probably my favourite so far. I always assume that Malkmus is only capable of shambolic, pieced-together jams that don't sound particularly cohesive, but Mirror Traffic was ample evidence to the contrary and so is this. My favourite tracks are Lariat and Scattergories, both of which showcase SM's wonderful talent for messing with words. J Smoov is also very good - that lovely trombone solo was the last thing I expected to find on a Stephen Malkmus album.


Too True by Dum Dum Girls
I think I like the idea of the Dum Dum Girls more than I actually like their music. That's not to say that this album is bad (and neither are I Will Be or Only In Dreams); it just isn't the sweet, punky classic that I was hoping for. Still, the jangly treats that do exist on this disc are a great consolation prize, especially Cult of Love, Too True to Be Good, and the blissed-out closer Trouble is My Name.

So that's my year so far (not counting all the great old albums I've bought, of course). I'm going to Spillers on Saturday, so hopefully I'll have a little more to talk about for my halfway report in July. Feel free to recommend stuff in the comments - I've already got Liars and The Hold Steady earmarked for purchase this weekend.

EDIT: I've just realised that I actually bought 4 new albums in the last three months, the fourth being AGE by The Hidden Cameras. Quick review of that one, then: it's good, but not great. My favourite track is probably Doom.

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