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Tuesday, July 01, 2003  
Album of the Year


Wrecking Ball Gillian Welch
“Just a little dead head” – Gerry? Or an unborn / bound / expired / imprisoned mind? Till now. Oh Gillian. This is release; by anyone else’s standard’s it is tame and lightweight. By yours it is anarchy and chaos. The acolytes of dead rulebooks squawk and balk and say this is blasphemy at those drums, organs, electric guitar. Gillian I love you.

Me And Giuliani Down By The School Yard (A True Story) !!!
Radio 4 had the aesthetic down pretty much but
oh no they didn’t do this. The bass is on the floor, crawling and grabbing, the guitar is less a postpunk scratch and fire than a synaesthetic implement. Nine minutes! “People always ask me / what’s so fucking great about dancing? / how the fuck should I know?” Less “Fools Gold” than fools told.

Maps Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The album moves from sexual/sensual tension and liberation and release into territory more driven by strung-out emotional tension in the second half. “Maps” is the highpoint. Karen O simply runs out of words and reverts to a low primal moan; even when she can find them they are hideously, beautifully inarticulate words – “wait; they don’t love you like I love you…” They work.

Snake Audio Bullys
They are not bullies; they are soft lads, mummy’s boys. He makes Skinner sound like Glenn Campbell and as such I can’t get through the album. The Specials? Maybe. This stares you down, thinks your jacket is shit, spills beer on your trainers. Fuck you.

Plainfield Bed
This stuff is manna to me. And what’s more it’s French. Pointilist guitars, electric and acoustic, drift above sparse piano, the voice fades (as it should; I am not familiar enough to love it’s double-tracked whaft yet), stand-up bass, scarce drums. Mark Hollis wanted Laughing Stock and Spirit Of Eden to achieve “absolute intensity and absolute calm”. So often followers choose absolute calm.

Uprock And Invigorate Prefuse 73
Ok Simon, so I was hasty and obnoxious. I’m 24 and you’re 40. I don’t have time to delineate everything. This is still good. Headphone hiphop. More stand-up bass, is that? Empty, for sure, but who’s bothered about content anymore?

Kid You’ll Move Mountains Manitoba
So the album is almost overkill, overexposed, a burnt negative, the colours too bright and lurid to take in every day – it’s still magnificent. Start Breaking My Heart gets better every day too. This goes nowhere; I don’t care for plot. Details, details everywhere, a stream of conscious given beats and flutes and glitch and momentum.

Where I End And You Begin Radiohead
Thom back at Glastonbury after how long? Last time I was unfussed. Spiritualized and Orbital were melding my mind. Thom is dancing this year, twitching and pirouetting like a crippled ballet-child, dancing like I dance when I’m taking the piss. Hail To The Thief may just be their best record. “I will eat you alive…” You wont, but thanks for trying.

7/01/2003 04:43:00 pm


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005