In the meantime, here's a quick roundup of the music that's been melting my brain this summer. I'm not afraid to admit that I've spent the last six months lost in a heady blend of post-punk and shoegaze revivalism. I realize this places me perilously close to a midlife crisis, and I don't care. This is what the kids are listening to these days. Who am I to argue?
Weekend - Sports (2010, Slumberland Records): This is probably my favorite album of 2012, even though it came out in 2010. (Sometimes I come late to the party.) This is one of two albums that literally saved my life this year. Buzzy guitar walls, voices lost in reverb, unnecessarily loud mid-high EQ range, postcards from 1983. It's shot through with barbed wire, but it's also one of the saddest albums I've ever heard. I'm trying to think of a reason why this shouldn't be my favorite CD of the last five years, and I can't. Listen: Monongah, WV.
M83: Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (2011, Naive Records): This is the other album that saved my life in 2012. Reeling from the stress of my last semester, I'd go down to the Mississippi River Valley, put this on, and just cry. Really. (I'm not above this.) Like Sports, there's my life before M83, and there's my life after M83. So many modern artists reach back to the 1980's for inspiration, but so few manage to both channel the spirit of the age as well as infuse their own sound to form something new. Hurry Up is just this; something you've never heard before, but feels like your favorite electric blanket from preschool. Listen: OK Pal.
The Soft Moon - The Soft Moon (2010, Captured Tracks): Anyone who loved Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire, or just about anything from 4AD's early days should check out Soft Moon's eponymous release. It's angry without being loud, subversive while being accessible, and there's lots of chorus on the bass guitar (God, I miss that). The unnerving pitch oscillations, hushed whispers and tortured synth squeals are somehow entirely reminiscent of a Ramsey Campbell novel (Hungry Moon, perhaps?), in that it sucks you in very slowly. About 15 minutes into the CD, which starts out gently enough, you realize that the hair on the back of your neck is standing on end, and -- oh, look! -- blood is seeping from the walls. It's deceptive, dark, and hauntingly beautiful. An understated gem of an album. Listen: Tiny Spiders.
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