Darren's Bizzare Listening Schedule II
The continuing saga where I share my indie insights and strange listening compulsions
This is the second installment of Darren’s bizarre listening schedule, where he takes us on a tour of how a compulsive person listens to music. More detail can be found in the first segment, along with more assorted album commentary. Below are the highlight album, daily listens, and the random assortment of what he’s listened to in the past couple weeks.
Highlight Album: Foals – Antidotes (2008): Antidotes is the debut album by Foals, which have shot into indie prominence with 2010’s Total Life Forever and 2013’sHoly Fire. However, Antidotes shows Foals in full “math rock” mode. I’m not going to get into any debates about time signature here, but I personally think the album belongs in the genre for its syncopation (irregular note stresses) and general ‘choppy’ and ‘technical’ sound. It also goes into dance-punk (secretly my favorite genre), and is great at subtly putting horns and synthesizers into the tracks. The vocals are also significantly different than Foals’ later albums, with singer Yannis Philippakis using his full-on Oxford accent instead of his baritone croon. The lyrics make pretty much no sense, yet still have emotional depth from the tone in which they are sung instead of what is being said. If I had a “10 Favorite Albums of All Time” list, this would be on it.
Recommended for: Math rock fans that aren’t purists about the genre, dance-punk fans, people that enjoy thick British accents in their vocals, indie rock fans.
Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA’s Desert Origins (2004): I got this album on a CD buying spree in mid-December and I was still working my way through it until last week because the album is 49 tracks long. This compilation includes the entirety of the excellent Pavement album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain along with some interesting demos of the tracks from this album and Wowee Zowee. As far as the B-sides go though, they’re a real mixed bag in quality, as is usually the case.
Recommended for: Pavement die-hards.
Derek and the Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970): In case you were wondering, this didn’t get my “highlight album” because I feel like everyone has heard this, or at least the song “Layla.” I truthfully have a fairly modest collection of classic rock on my computer, and a lot of it only gets an annual listen because I’m rarely in the mood to spontaneously listen to it. That said, this album is my favorite Eric Clapton project (although I enjoy Cream’s hits a lot too) and I never groan when it comes time to listen to it. Anyway, you probably don’t need an indie snob to tell you that this album is timeless and legendary and all that.
Recommended for: Pretty much all rock music fans.
The Black Keys – Rubber Factory (2004): While we’re on blues rock,Rubber Factory is the third album by the Black Keys represents one of their greatest moments bridging blues and garage rock. The album has the fast-paced hits like “10 A.M Automatic” along with slower tracks like the country-esque ballad “The Lengths.” Dan Auerbach still sings the blues, albeit in a more comprehensible voice than in its predecessor Thickfreakness. All around, this is my second favorite Black Keys album behind their debut The Big Come Up, and I’d say is potentially the most representative of their general sound.
Recommended for: Fans of the Black Keys that got on the bandwagon with Brothers and El Camino, fans of the Black Keys that were into the Black Keys before this point and like to hold it over peoples’ heads, White Stripes fans, The Dead Weather fans, blues rock fans, garage rock fans
Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself (2012):When I first started writing reviews for Review to be Named, I planned on writing one for this album. However, I never could figure out what to say about it. It’s not bad at all, but there weren’t too many moments that stuck out to me at the time. Two years later I’ve warmed up to the album a bit, and finally have the reviewing capacity to say it’s a good orchestral-oriented indie rock album. It’s kind of like …And The Mysterious Production of Eggs but sadder. There. I’ve finally finished that review.
Recommended for: Fans of Owen Pallett, fans of Arcade Fire, fans of St. Vincent (she sings on the standout track “Lusitania”), fans of other assorted mellow indie-singer songwriters (see: M. Ward, Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens), baroque pop fans.
Sigur Rós - Ágætis Byrjun (1999): Yes, I discussed Sigur Rós last time, because sometimes my listening schedule causes me to listen to a band’s entire discography at once. And you thought the schedule couldn’t get more compulsive. Regardless, Ágætis Byrjun is tied with Takk… as my favorite Sigur Rós album, and comes first in the “album names I have to copy and paste” contest. It pretty much sets the stage for the Sigur Rós everyone knows and loves, with full orchestra accompaniments (“Starálfur”), heavier songs (“Ný batterí”), and the band singing in their made-up language “Hopelandic” (“Olsen Olsen”) all being featured on the album. This is the first Sigur Rós album I got after hearing all the hype, and it managed to draw me right in.
Recommended for: Mogwai Fans, Explosions in the Sky fans, Godspeed You! Black Emperor fans, fans of post-rock, people who like mellow music that’s good to do quiet work to, Icelandic fanboys.
Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into (2008): I first heard of this band when they opened for Bloc Party in 2008, and I have to say that they’re one of the more memorable openers I saw because they really riled the crowd up. Does It Offend You, Yeah? play a kind of electronic music typically labeled “new rave” because of their tendency to blast high-pitched synthesizers and attract fluorescent-clad dorks. A lot of the album is really great high-energy dance music, sometimes sounding like a livelier Daft Punk (“Doomed Now”) or just conventional indie rock (“Dawn of the Dead”). Sure it languishes on the slower songs and isn’t exactly a “profound” album, but songs like “With A Heavy Heart (I Regret To Inform You)” never fail to get me pumped up. Also, yes, the band name and album title are obnoxiously long.
Recommended for: Klaxons fans, Hadouken! fans, Crystal Castles fans, fans of the few other bands called “new rave,” people throwing a party