Various Artists is back. After a long revamp it is ready. Beach Sloth started out as a music blog. Though literature (of the Alt Lit kind) has a greater amount of ‘shelf space’ than previous anticipated Beach Sloth shall continue to focus on music. For clarity though Various Artists will have several sections: of the past, present, and future. Ongoing projects and hopes for new records mean that it has become more important than ever to offer some commentary, however brief.
Toro Y Moi’s ‘Anything in Return’ recently came out to the same score (7.9) as Neon Indian’s sophomore album. Has Pitchfork decided to simply lump a lot of the class of 2009 together into a collective mush? It is hard to say. What remains clear though is Toro Y Moi appears to be embracing a more ‘full-band’ sound. ‘Anything in Return’ gives off a distinct Steely Dan – Aja period kind of sound of exquisite luxury. More listens are required for this one but it appears to be promising from cursory listens.
‘Bucket of Sunbeams’ introduces the present. Shortly there will be a release from these guys, quite shortly in fact. Until such time they’ve offered a delicate mixture of vocals and electronic sounds. The mood on here is more important than anything else. What’s particularly nice is how much they restrain themselves for most of the track.
Wildarms– Unity continues in a fine Cascine tradition. At this point Cascine essentially has their taste down pat. Wildarms contributes to it with sunny melodies. Unity sounds positively inviting. Full Hearts, their other offering, confirms that their EP will do a good job in heralding in spring.
Paradise– I Love Thousands Every Summer sounds like an ideal summer track. While a good chunk of the Earth is trapped under a particularly harsh winter something warm like this is needed. The song is reminiscent of a nice beach. Even the minor guitar work is greatly appreciated. Unfortunately it lasts only for three minutes when it sounds like it could really expand into something quite lush.
Reversing Falls offers up ‘Curse this Place’ presenting a different approach from the previously mentioned bands. Here there’s a certain degree of angst going on, a nice little pop song. The song feels concise. Every moment is fully used. What sounds simple has a lot swirling around beneath the glossy sheen.
Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier ‘Esmeralda On The Lake’ is more seasonal. Dark, bleak, with neurosis on display, is quite disturbing. The mood is a terrible one, the sort of thing that drives itself into the brain. Yes it is a good track. Beach Sloth does not suggest listening to it before sleep though; it is too creepy for that.
There is the future. The future is bright. LIT on LIT #2 is an ongoing series of Alt Lit tapes from a handful of musicians, visual artists, and writers. Of particular note are the crossovers going on throughout the tape, like Aviv Cohn’s (of ‘The Widest Smiling Faces) piece, or Neon Glittery’s small little pieces. In fact the tape gets particularly epic with Gabby Gabby’s six minute long piece which sort of sucks the listener into a weird world. ‘LIT on LIT’ shows no signs of slowing down or stopping anytime soon, thank goodness.
In A Sleeping Mood has taken the concept of ‘the never-ending audio project’ to another level. Through its use of the hashtag #IASM365 it has managed to put out a sketch once a day for every day and plans on doing it throughout the entire year. First the hashtag concept is fascinating. Secondly the idea of 365 pieces averaging roughly a minute (give or take) sounds fantastic. Currently the sounds are rather dark. What would be interesting would be to see if the sound will reflect the seasons.
Biosphere closes off the present with a great mix. He’s been fairly prolific for a long while. Listening to his mix is fantastic as it shows a little glimpse of some of his inspiration. Plus as he’s been doing this for a while the pacing is quite amazing. Mixes (good mixes) are something of a lost art anyway.
Finally it is the future. For this there are three albums that appear interesting:
The Flaming Lips – The Terror: The Flaming Lips have been on a surprisingly weird kick lately even by their admittedly crazed standards. Music in Gummy Skulls, hours and hours-worth of music, and now ‘The Terror’, the Flaming Lips are keeping themselves busy. No songs have been teased out yet. News is that it will be a bleak record. Judging from the small number of tracks it may also possess a number of long tracks (or be an unusually short record).
Depeche Mode – Delta Machine: Depeche Mode do essentially the same thing over and over again. Usually bands evolve. Depeche Mode refuses to grow. Here Depeche Mode states it will sound ‘modern’. Depeche Mode has a weird concept of modern as they sound peculiarly retro-futuristic, like the sound evolves while the execution doesn’t.
Autechre – Exai: No leaks from Exai yet which is highly unusual for an Autechre record. Half the fun of any Autechre record release is the number of leaks. Every Autechre record has some completely no-name band trying to copy the style. Even with IDM in decline there remain plenty more than willing to work their hardest to fool people. At two hours it promises to be a beast of a record.
Thus ends Various Artists for the month. These future records shall be reported on as more is known. Until then enjoy!