Okay, I know, shame on me for not posting AT ALL during the summer. It was a fairly chaotic one, too busy and confusing to spend much time writing for this blog. But now that the Shelleyan west wind is upon us and autumn is again stoking the creative fires (which is really autumn's point, despite or perhaps because it's the season of beautiful decay) I'm rarin' to ma-fuckin' go.
Monsieur Catalogues has done a fine job of describing the exceptional new albums from Animal Collective and Atlanta's own Black Lips. Good Bad Not Evil is possibly the most FUN album to come along since Is This It? or Elephant or Up the Bracket, and Strawberry Jam is stunning enough to hold its own alongside Panda Bear's astonishing Person Pitch. Both albums will be in my end-of-the-year Top Ten for sure. As will the Black Lips.
I'm not ready to comment on Kanye's long-awaited Graduation, but I think I'm more excited by it than Monsieur Catalogues. I figure it will contain at least SOME interesting music; I mean, it's Kanye West for God's sake.
Lately I've been spending my musical energies seeking out American indie bands from the mid and late 90's that I neglected at the time (I was busy listening to the sounds of Seattle, as well as the Clash and the Pixies). The Make-Up, Unrest, and Jonathan Fire Eater among them. Most of these bands have been neglected by the independent music press as well, pathetically enough. I want to write full pieces on the likes of Unrest and the Make-Up, but that will have to wait until I've given both bands proper and thorough listens. Right now I'm only an infatuated amateur, not familiar enough to write at any length.
On the other hand, I spent much of this summer rediscovering Fugazi, and I look forward to classics like The Argument and Repeater--hell, pretty much everything they've done--supplying my autumn with a suitably Fugazish soundtrack. Another band that I loved when I was in my late teens but have neglected quite a lot in recent years is Local H. I stopped listening to them when Here Comes the Zoo came out; I simply found the album to be a humilating, crushing letdown after the splendor of Pack Up the Cats (an album that was criminally betrayed by both the record label and the music press; it's really one of the finest rock records of the last 20 years, if you axe me). But I've been listening to that masterpiece and to the almost-as-great As Good as Dead the past few nights and loving every minute. Fall is always a good time to listen to stalwarts and favorites like Radiohead, DJ Shadow, 90's U2, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Strokes (God rest their souls), Interpol (ditto), Nick Cave, the Walkmen, the Arcade Fire, Blur, and the Auteurs. I think my fall this year will also include a lot of music I've just discovered, like Unrest and the Make-Up and Jonathan Fire Eater. I'll also be listening to rediscovered favorites like Fugazi and Local H with a renewed vigor and love.
Oh, and just for fun. I've had the damn thing stuck in my head! Autumn is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, as Keats reminds us, but it's also the season of angsty indie pop and noirish high school movies.