These New Puritans - Hidden

Heralded as a masterpiece upon its release in 2005, Liars' Drum's Not Dead often finds itself in a laundry list of esoteric influences for any number of young pretenders to namecheck in interviews and to replicate on record - but in These New Puritans' Hidden, we may have found the rightful heir. Forever dogged by unfavourable comparisons to The Fall, These New Puritans have (almost entirely) ditched the guitars, and created the album we never knew they had in them. Pounding, thrumming and pulsing from beginning to end (save for some beautifully sedate arrangements from a brass and woodwind ensemble), Hidden employs bass and percussion like indigenous drums of war, striking fear into the heart of man. On Where Corals Lie, Jack Barnett's alternately welcoming and menacing articulation (somewhere between Gang of Four’s Jon King and Medúlla-period Björk) reinforces the album's ambitious dichotomy of ideas that, unlike the underwhelming debut, does not suffer from lack of focus.


review - Fuck Buttons

Arriving hot on the heels of last year’s gloriously hypnotic skull-rattling debut Street Horrrsing, the quick turnaround of Fuck Buttons’ second album is not to be mistaken for a lack of musical development. In fact, just a moment's exposure to the auricular irrigation of opener Surf Solar will prove how far the duo have come in just 18 months.
But rather than totally doing away with the familiar Buttons template of build, tension, and explode, Andrew Hung and Benjamin Power are tearing it up and rewriting - colouring outside the lines to paint wildly vivid futurist noise that makes the debut look about as forward-thinking as a 17th century civil war reenactment.
The distinctive 4/4 house pulse which kicks off the aforementioned "Surf Solar" at first seems reminiscent to Street Horrrsing highlight "Bright Tomorrow", but once it starts to bounce and stutter it takes on a sonance all its own, one that can only be described as if Black Dice and Underworld had been commissioned to collaborate on a song to shake the foundations of the Tate Modern's turbine hall. So compelling is it, that the ten minute duration seems to pass by in half of that, and it begs for repeat listens.
You'd think the following cuts had a tough act to follow up, but "Surf Solar"'s raw sunlight is quickly eclipsed by the aptly-named "Olympians". The track's omnipresent drum loop grips the listener quickly and mingles with effervescent church organ drones, before it blasts off at the seven minute mark and never comes back down. "Olympians" is the perfect crystallization of Tarot Sport’s progressive next-wave dance sound - everything segues perfectly like a great DJ set, but one that can be enjoyed with headphones at home or in dark confines of the club.
The album's producer is Andrew Weatherall, who, if you don't know by name, you will know by his decorated CV with Primal Scream and Two Lone Swordsmen. His influence looms beautifully over these seven tracks, and in a way that's completely in keeping with Fuck Buttons' aesthetic - no doubt the result of spending their formative years listening to Vanishing Point and Tiny Reminders.
It's an utterly refreshing sound, one that's destined for crossover success - if not now, then surely retroactively. If the unseen alien race in 2001: A Space Odyssey had been thoughtful enough to equip the monoliths with MP3 players, Tarot Sport would've been the album preloaded with it. Forget Thus Spoke Zarathustra, this is the kind of next generation noise to inspire early man to use tools, go bipedal, and conquer space. In a (somewhat paradoxical) word: divine.

mp3: Fuck Buttons - "Olympians"


review - A Sunny Day in Glasgow

From rapid-boil kettles to omnipresent wireless broadband, the 21st century has proven itself to be one of instant gratification - much to the detriment of up-and-coming musicians everywhere. These days, no sooner is a debut EP or album mixed down, than it's hoovered up by the tastemakers and over-enthused bloggers - while follow-ups are chewed and spat out, left to flounder in a sea of lukewarm-at-best reviews and “Two for £10” stickers.
A Sunny Day In Glasgow were part of that indie darling set of 2007, their debut Scribble Mural Comic Journal attracting acclaim from all the right corners of the web - but all the web wants now is for the other shoe to drop. Who will be the first Tapes ‘n Tapes of 2009? Though the recording was fraught with line-up changes owing to university and a broken leg, Ashes Grammar is the most self-assured sonic statement the Philadelphia dream poppers have made yet. Sure, it’s slow to start - but once the Cocteau Twins-via-Animal Collective tribal thump of "Failure" kicks in, it doesn’t let up.
After "Close Chorus" lulls the listener into a daydream, each subsequent song serves to heighten the immersion. On "Shy", the only thing pinning the gorgeously ethereal vocals from Annie Fredrickson to the ground is the driving motorik beat. Scattered across the album’s 22 tracks are short mood pieces - which, rather than breaking the stride, act as little bookmarks for key songs, highlighting certain loops and motifs. But by far the most remarkable thing about A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s latest is that it packs the same emotional weight as genre touchstones (Deserter’s Songs, Loveless) but without the usual trappings of artistic vanity and studio excess. I wonder… is 2009 a leap year for second album syndrome?

mp3: A Sunny Day in Glasgow - "Shy"


review - HEALTH

Upon its release in January last year, the eponymous debut from L.A. noise botherers HEALTH polarised opinion. Those Crystal Castles fans who bought it in the hope of an electro-pop reappropriation of "Crimewave" were largely united in their discontent - but one man’s ungodly cacophony is another’s divine drone of tribal drumming, incorporeal chanting and wild frequencies.
Get Color’s opening gambit "In Heat" keeps up that same confrontational spirit, but only for 110 seconds. Once the industrial disco of "Die Slow" starts to throb, you’ll realise Get Color isn’t paper-thin sloganeering - it’s a declaration of intent. It’s this track’s cohesive colour (with a 'u') that informs the whole record, smuggling pop song conventions underneath caustic hits of static and pounding rhythms.
Although, on the closing "In Violet", the listener is let down gently. Sounding like a disembodied voice from Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker, Benjamin hums over a valium-spiked loop until fade-out - a rare moment of pure beauty, like watching space debris burning up on re-entry. Sublime.

mp3: HEALTH - "Death +"


review - Lovvers, Divorce @ Sneaky Pete's

some of the more astute among you (who?) may have noticed I've not posted anything in forever, but I have good reason. I've been writing a healthy amount for Scottish paper The Skinny, and that and just generally having a good time have taken up all my blogging hours. but because i just love holding court here, i'll keep posting - mainly unedited texts of reviews and interviews, MP3s, mixes, and unwarranted amounts of either hype or contempt for whoever i bloody well feel like.

Kicking things off not with a bang but an ear perforating torrent of noise, is Glasgow’s own Divorce (****). Vocalist Sinead immediately alights the stage, growling vehemently and crawling between puzzled onlookers legs - while the four remaining members onstage channel the combined spirits of Teenage Jesus and DNA. This is the kind of glorious racket Steve Albini was born to commit to tape.
Never to be outdone, Lovvers (****) pack the same healthy dose of aggression into their own set. For this tour the band have added an extra guitar into the mix, and have beefed up their wiry studio sound with a Hüsker Dü-sized reverb - the end result is a dizzy swarm of pop-punk dissonance, turning album highlights "Human Hair" and "Creepy Crawl" into charred corpses, identifiable only from their dental records. Though there is order in their chaos: the advances they’ve made since 2008 as musicians and songwriters (check out the OCD Go Go Go Girls LP for proof) are crystallised in the live setting. Where a year ago they would be clumsy and inconsistent, they are now taut and focused, without losing any of the abrasive charm.
Reception among the crowd ranges from sweaty enthusiasm to outwardly hostile, but it’s this kind of delight in being divisive that makes Divorce and Lovvers (there's a pun in there somewhere) play as fiercely as they do - and confirms them as two of the best contemporary punk bands the UK has to offer.

mp3: Divorce - "Early Christianity"
mp3: Lovvers - "I Want To (Go)"


interview - Stewart Lee

though TV schedules this year haven't been this drab since the wartime hiatus imposed on all VH frequencies in 1939, there was one programme that made it worth pointing all your furniture at the dusty box in the corner. it was Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle. probably the hardest working stand-up comedian still touring, Stewart Lee's solo television debut was an all-round success - not only from a critical and viewing figure stance, but a creative one too. those who have been keeping up with his almost 30-year career will know that none of his trademark "deadpan but angry" delivery was toned down for a mainstream audience. not only an accomplished comedian, he's also a (you might say struggling) writer and director - his most famous co-creation being the critically acclaimed but controversially "blasphemous" Jerry Springer: The Opera.
he's now back on the circuit with a show (titled If You Prefer a Milder Comedian, Please Ask for One - more on that later) that's starting tonight (August 6th) at The Stand in Edinburgh. so being in a mini-celebratory mood over more new material, i exchanged internet letters with Stew to ask about the TV shows, his novels, Richard Herring, his favourite records, and just to see if he was alright.

First of all, congratulations on a highly successful first series of Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle. On top of the viewing figures, I heard the day after it aired it was the most watched show on BBC iPlayer. Apart from Eastenders. But no one can topple Eastenders. How successful was the show, from your point of view?

Well, people watched it, it got good reviews, it worked in the way I wanted it to work, and I got paid. So, great really.

Any word on a second series?

Has the TV exposure brought about any significant changes to your personal and/or professional life?
It has given me enough money to get a mortgage on a flat / house with enough rooms for us not to have our son in with us, so that will make a huge difference to my personal life. Also, I can probably afford to carry on living in London now, so that's great. Professionally, it's too early to say. I hope more people come and see me live so I make more money, but I also hope that I'm not so popular that it compromises the degree of autonomy I have enjoyed for the last decade.

Executive producer Armando Iannucci said the "Religion" episode, originally lined up to be shown on 13th of April (Easter Monday), was rescheduled to the week after lest it offend any viewers. Is this true? If so, do you think it had anything to do with your track record on that particular subject?
I don't really know why they changed it. It don't know what the problem was. It was a shame as COMEDY really was meant to be 6 - there was a kind of theoretical through-line to the series about how and why and what stand-up is which the rescheduling sort of messed up. That said, the BBC is under attack at present from all corners and one has no wish to add to its woes.

The Comedy Vehicle show has had a bit of a laboured history, which was well documented on the 41st Best Stand Up Ever! Show, culminating in a comedic onstage (or offstage, rather) "breakdown". But how much of that breakdown was genuine frustration at the TV industry?
It was all genuine. It is a Kafkaesque nightmare. I can't believe the show got on and survived intact. Everyone did a marvellous job.

The "red button" segments with Armando Iannucci were as hilarious as the show itself, in my opinion. How did those develop? Was it just you and Armando trying to make each other laugh, or was there more to it?
Armando came in and asked me questions, which I didn't know anything about, for about 4 hrs, of which about 1 1/2 hrs was used. There was no real discussion before hand, but I had requested to be treated in quite a hostile way. I had no idea they would come out as well as they did. I am very happy.

I noticed Chris Morris was credited as a script editor for the series. Beyond the literal meaning of "editing the script", what was Morris' input on the show? What's he like to work with?
CM was very good on making sure everything in the sketches made sense. His input, for example, on the Samuel Beckett one, made it accessible to all rather than wank. He talked through the themes of all the episodes with me at length, and tried to help me focus on the ideas. He was very good and very inspiring to listen to.

On the subject of Morris and Iannucci, one of your first projects with Richard Herring was writing for Radio 4's On The Hour - when the show made the jump to television in the form of The Day Today, why were you and Richard not on board for that?
We were offered a big commission to write 10 mins or so a week for the TV show, but we and our manager Jon Thoday felt we had co-created some of the characters and should have got a format share of the show. In retrospect, having been on the other end of this, we were in no way responsible for the format, though I do still find it galling that Patrick Marber somehow managed so emerge with shares in Alan Partridge, which we were the initial writers for. But then it was all down to Steve's voice, I suppose, anyway. Bridge, water etc.

Your last proper collaboration with Herring was the This Morning with Richard Not Judy show, broadcast live on Sunday mornings. Was that not a bizarre time to be transferring the characters you'd perfected during stand up gigs at night to? How did your comedy body clock cope?
It was very tiring and confusing. Nothing in the show had been perfected in late night stand-up gigs though, apart from some of my lines, as Rich never did stand-up then, and we didn't perform together apart from little tours.

Why did the Lee and Herring double act come to an end? Are you still good friends?
We are still friends. The double act came to an end because anything we made on TV we always lost touring, and no-one wanted to pay us to do anything else or develop anything else. To be honest, I wish we had stopped sooner, as Rich in particular is much better on his own, but it was fun. I am very proud of the 1st series of fist of fun. The rest I have mixed feelings about, especially FOF2.

The title for your latest show is If You Prefer A Milder Comedian, Please Ask For One. What's the story behind that?
It's from a Cafe Nero loyalty card. I had a run in about my Nero loyalty card. The show will be about that in part.

On a rather serious note, about comedians provoking controversy - I remember reading your article in the Glasgow Herald a while back in defence of Billy Connolly and the Ken Bigley comments. This was written in 2004, about a year or so before the protests and picketing took place outside tour venues for Jerry Springer - The Opera. Has your experience with hate campaigns and situations taken out of context affected your outlook on the Billy Connolly media storm in 2004 at all?
No. Only strengthened it.

You've developed somewhat of a reputation as being one of the hardest working stand up comedians. You've been "in the game" about 20-odd years - what is it about being a stand up that you love so much? And what do you hate about it?
I like the autonomy. You are responsible for everything creative. I hate the stress and the loneliness. I hate being looked at by people and judged.

What's been your favourite crowd/venue so far?

I dunno. The Classic, Auckland, New Zealand.

And where have you least enjoyed performing?
Acoustically - Underbelly’s Udderbelly tent. But generally, in Maidstone.

I saw you played a gig at Bom-Bane's cafe in Brighton on 25th of May. I go back and forth to Brighton from Scotland, and I've never been inside Bom-Bane's - but I know it's a tiny place with an official capacity of about 30. What drew you to performing there?
The man who's wife runs it asked me, and I didn't have a big new show ready yet.

You also have a distinguished career outside of the stand up comedy. Taking into account your theatre work, your novel, short stories and everything else, what aspect of all this are you most proud of?
JSTO at the National, the 90s Comedian stand-up set, directing Simon Munnery's Attention Scum, the Pea Green Boat CD, and the Comedy Vehicle TV show.

Is there another novel in the works?
I've done 20 000 words of one but no-one is interested. If you're on telly publishers want junk to flog in Tescos.

You published a "recommended listening" list to accompany your novel, The Perfect Fool. How important is music to you in terms of influencing your work, whether it's the writing or the stand up?
More so as the years go on. I like the single-mindedness of Dylan, The Fall, Howe Gelb and the risk-taking of free-jazz.

Are you a musician?

Not really. I played guitar and shouted in a band in the early 90s, and I was in Simon Munnery's Alan Parker's Urban Warriors, a parody of Crass type bands which once opened for The Lightning Seeds. I may sing a country song in the new stand-up show.

What are the other prime influences on your work? (Film, books, events?)
Music, books, devised theatre, some stand-ups. Not really TV or much film.

And finally, something lightweight to go out on - what are your all time top five favourite records?


2009 - so far (part 2)

the world hates me. after making a rubbish joke about swine flu last week, the fates have decreed i need to be brought down a peg or two. i've been cursed with one of the worst colds i've had in years, fucking my sinuses around with a substance so viscous it may as well be Play Doh. but, even though i've only one functioning ear, i'm soldiering on with my top twenty records of 2009 so far. picking up where we left off...

10. The Sight Below - Glider
Seattle, WA native The Sight Below's debut LP washes over you the first time you listen to it. the primary instrument being guitar filtered through delay pedal doesn't do much to hang on to yr brain, and it's only when it goes through second plays and third plays, that the whole record starts to make itself noticed. it's a delayed reaction of an album - the post-rock-on-valium guitar colludes with the the persistent 4/4 pulse (the latter lifted straight out of Gas' songbook, if he has one) that almost has an urgency to it, all adding to the ultimately relaxing slow release effect these songs have on yr senses. following in the footsteps of the new school atmospheric ambient artists like Deaf Center and Belong, Glider is a welcoming, dizzy swarm of sound - keeping all the secrets to itself until it knows you well enough to tell them.

9. Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career
returning in April with the best album of their (maudlin) career, Camera Obscura ditched all remaining traces of comparisons to Belle & Sebastian to fully embrace their triumphantly bookish chamber-pop side. some old trappings still remain, but ones that the band have expanded upon and hold up far better to repeat listens - Phil Spector, Leonard Cohen, The Beach Boys.
the first thing you'll notice on the opening one-two punch of "French Navy" and "The Sweetest Thing" is not only Tracyanne Campbell's inconcievably improved voice, but the sweeping string arrangments dominating the bridges and choruses. written by Björn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn and John), they're thoroughly indebted to the genius of Scott Walker, and are a delight for the ears of anyone who thought that We Love Life was Pulp's best album (i.e. me). Camera Obscura were a band i had all but written off after the thin-blooded flops of Underachievers... and Let's Get Out... - and i've never been more glad to be proved wrong.

8. Alva Noto - Xerrox Vol. 2
minimalist composers and sound artists are not musicians that i pretend to know anything about - my familiarity with them is superficial at best. my appreciation for artists like Aphex Twin, Sonic Youth and Fennesz has led to me being recommended the works of Steve Reich and Ryuichi Sakamoto, but it never gets much deeper than that. the vast back catologue of these people has always warned off the casual listener, and as such i've always found it a bit impenetrable.
but then along comes Germany's Carsten Nicolai, with his second instalment in the Xerrox series. Sampling from external sources like Stephen O'Malley and Michael Nyman, he's sonically bridging that gap between the innovative techno and the avant-garde composers they owe to by reworking these human motifs into a cushioned symphony of telephonic noise - he gives electricity such a personality that you won't be sure if the background popping and hissing is being made by a fax machine or a campfire. Xerrox Vol. 2 seems to unvravel and reveal itself more with each repeated listen, and i can only imagine it moving up in my estimations by the year's end.

7. Kurt Vile - Constant Hitmaker/God Is Saying This to You
being a member of one the band that produced one my very favourite LPs of last year (that's The War on Drugs' Wagonwheel Blues), Vile was pretty much a shoo-in for '09 from the moment i heard his gliding country guitar again on the killer opener "Freeway". these two albums bear much the same boy scout badges that The War on Drugs do - Dylan-style vocal inflections, an almost unhealthy obsession with Springsteen, and a predilection to making noise that veers between Devendra Banhart's acoustic wisdom and a My Bloody Valentine sized racket. but he's not done yet - Matador have picked him up and plan to give his third record (named Childish Prodigy) the commercial release treatment in autumn, so expect to see the man recieving more rave reviews from me before the year's through.
when placed alongside the Lotus Plaza and Sore Eros debuts (the latter described as "cosmic country" in part 1 - coincidentally, there's a track on God... named "Beach on the Moon"), these albums make a strong case for dream pop as a genre in rude and beautiful health in 2009.

6. The Phantom Band - Checkmate Savage
the fifty-four minutes and fifty-four seconds of Checkmate Savage, the Glasgow sextet's debut album, is pure self indulgence, in the best possible way. in a way that's so self assured and canny, they've arrived with a set of songs that sound like the work of several albums worth of file grinding and skill honing. either that or years of listening to nothing but Neu!, Can, The Beta Band, and The Doors. on key tracks like "Throwing Bones", "The Howling", and the Magic Band-via-Arcade Fire of "Burial Sounds", they have no qualms with sticking a folk'y motorik (motofolk?) arrangement on repeat until it falls aparts at the seams and all that's left is the psychedelic guitars or incredible vocal work, ranging from barbershop melodies to monk cantillations.
not only have they released one of the year's best albums, but The Phantom Band also put on the best live show i've seen all year at Glasgow's Art School. despite quite a sparse attendance, they played like they were headlining an outdoor festival stage. everything was perfectly mixed down, and they seemed to exchange a quiet telepathy that comes with constant touring - each member knowing exactly when to put down their guitar and pick up the frog block without so much as a nod from a bandmate. i forsee only great things for these six Scottish songmongers.

5. Lotus Plaza - The Floodlight Collective
the announcement of a solo effort from Deerhunter's lead guitarist Lockett Pundt was not met with rabid anticipation from me, despite the band's 2007 LP, Cryptograms, being my favourite released that year. since that album they've only gone downhill, each successive release failing to recapture that mad indulgent brilliance that made them so fascinating when all that was being played was a guitar through a loop pedal. it came as a great surprise (and joy) then, that The Floodlight Collective is actually the closest any Deerhunter member has gotten to lighting that fire.
the word "light" is important here, as that is what the album appears to have been inspired by, inside and out. from fond childhood memories to celestial eclipses, from photography to luminous pollution, this record exudes light from every corner. noise haze washes over a techno pulse on "Sunday Night", affecting vocals ride high on a Motown beat on "Quicksand", and kiwi indie-pop collides with Yo La Tengo clamor on "What Grows?". it's the auditory equivelant of a confusingly multicolour'd Franz Kline painting left out in the sun, revealing its strengths and conceding its flaws as it plays - and by the time the epiliptic outro to "A Threaded Needle" calms down, you'll want to play it from the beginning again.

4. The Field - Yesterday and Today
it was always going to be hard to top The Field's incredible 2007 LP, From Here We Go Sublime, so it's no surprise that Yesterday and Today just falls short. but only just.
Kompakt hyped up Axel Willner's second album as "more organic than its predecessor" - and they are not wrong. From Here We Go Sublime was fashioned from bits and pieces of clipped and atomised but still recognisable parts from Kate Bush, Lionel Richie and Coldplay to create whole new songs - Yesterday seems to all but abandon this process. indeed, the only sampled material here is from the Korgis' "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime", but the use of the original track title asserts that this is a proper cover rather than a chopped-up reappropriation.
he's not thrown out the old template entirely though - any occasional listener would be able to identify these as Field songs; that throbbing persistent beat and the live mixing always creating a build-up of trance anthem proportions. but the charm behind Yesterday seems to be Axel letting his natural songwriter side out to play, embracing a New Order style bassline on "Leave It", implementing full vocal takes on "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime", and even letting Battles' John Stanier bolster the percussion with his own set of skins on the title track. what remains to be seen is if he can find the perfect balance between his winning formula of minimal techno and songwriter ambitions to satisfy both his fans and himself. i have every faith in The Field.

3. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
trying their hand at everything from classic suites to Black Flag covers, David Longstreth's art rock outfit have always had a classic case of band ADHD - one that's treated with blue smarties instead of ritalin. they skip and dodge the catch-all nets of "indie" and "rock" so often with each album, it's a waste of time even trying to describe their attitude to music here. even the name "art rock" is a massive misnomer in this case, it only felt appropriate because of the bands the Projectors find themselves aligned with - Talking Heads, Battles, Grizzly Bear - part of the NYC camp of the avant-garde, creating indefinable pop for the underground masses.
but, try as they might, never before have Dirty Projectors sounded so focused and cohesive than on Bitte Orca. they still curb from a wide and ever-eclectic range of sources - Björk's vocal gymnastics, Scritti Politti's erratic post-punk, and fuse it at the spine with Nico (whose version of "These Days" is liberally borrowed from on "Two Doves") and radio friendly hip-hop like TLC and Aaliyah (which provides the foundation for standout track "Stillness Is the Move"). they're still as peculiar as ever - too peculiar for some no doubt - but they've gone some of the way to make their distinct pop character palatable to people besides themselves, with a career conquering album.

2. Fever Ray - Fever Ray
beginning with the tense, low rumble and Karin's uniquely pitch-shifted "is-it-a-boy-or-a-girl?" vocals on "If I Had a Heart", fans of The Knife will love this record from the off. not only does it keep similar musical notions intact, it reinforces The Knife's strategy of diminished identity and confused gender - and in keeping with the aesthetics, employs a cover artist whose work bears more than a passing resemblance to Black Hole author Charles Burns, the primary inspiration for incredible 2006 LP Silent Shout.
it's after that first track though, that the similarities start to taper off. personal favourite "When I Grow Up" embraces an array of previously untested ground for Andersson, like unobscured vocals, big beat breaks, and an electroclash riff that pops up quarterway through. the lightsome "Seven" could find a happy cousin in 2003 single "Pass This On", though it seems to take a more 80's tempered, Miami Vice-on-VHS spin by the time the chorus kicks in.
the overall anthemic quality to the albums "big" sound reminds one of more personal, domesticated takes on Underworld's dubnobasswithmyheadman and Kate Bush's Hounds of Love. but more importantly, even though she's talking to us about dishwasher tablets and her children, she never loses that cryptic quality that makes her and her brother's albums as special as they are.

1. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
the first hype juggernaut of 2009 to blow everyone and their parents' (with great taste in music) socks off arrived in January in the form of Baltimore-via-NYC trio/quartet's eighth album. it was written and recorded with the intention of capturing the spirit of live, "outside" music, and it pours into your ears like teenage memories of summer fun recalled in 1020p HD resolution.
nowhere is this more prevalent than on one of the singles released from the album, "Summertime Clothes". Avey Tare details a perfect twenty-four hours of sun enjoyed with a friend like only his Wayne Coyne'ish shriek can, peaking with a manic chant of "When the sun goes down we'll go out again!!" it's not all beers at the beach though, another recurring theme (most frequently indulged by Panda Bear on "My Girls" and "Daily Routine") is loving homelife with the wife and kids. but where Fever Ray's Karin Dreijer Andersson made these activities sound like paranoid witchcraft, Noah Lennox makes it sound like the most fun in the world. all these songs are carefully stitched into the beautiful patchwork of Animal Collective's best technicolour dreamcoat, the wonderful Merriweather Post Pavilion.
i've been keeping up with some of the songs collected here since 2007 (that's ages ago by AC standards), but it's still an album that's always as fresh as your latest listen - i've never anticipated an LP so greatly and been so 110% satisfied with the end results. this is a mellow, catchy, happy, beautiful summer's day of a record.
remember that Bill Hicks joke about the perfect world? everyone is legally required to smoke weed so there'd be no traffic jams, fights or wars - just everyone being friendly to one another, and Domino's trucks passing each other on the highway. well if everyone was legally required to own Merriweather Post Pavilion, there would be no need for weed.

so that's it! all that remains is to enjoy the next six months of records, which i'll no doubt be tirelessly cataloging by December so i can write a whole 'nother one of these bad boys. if you've read this far - check out the mix below, and make sure that if you dig a song you hear, support the band by going to a gig or buying a record.
1. the sight below - at first touch
2. camera obscura - my maudlin career
3. alva noto - xerrox soma
4. kurt vile - best love
5. the phantom band - folk song oblivion
6. lotus plaza - whiteout
7. the field - yesterday and today
8. dirty projectors - no intention
9. fever ray - now's the only time i know
10. animal collective - lion in a coma

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