Friday, August 8, 2008

The Listening Party

What I’ve been shoving into my ear hole lately:

Beck - Modern Guilt

I don’t know how these things happen, but somebody proclaims this Beck album “his best work in awhile” and everyone beats it into the ground like a Rosie O’Donnell fat joke. Yeah, it’s a pretty good album, but it’s no worse and no better than any of his recent work. It sells short Guero and The Information which were great albums and fine examples of the great tunes Beck continues to turn out.

Modern Guilt has a great tone that does sound different than his last two offerings, but I have two complaints: it delves into an almost Radiohead style noodling (which, if you know me, is not cool) at times, and it’s produced by DangerMouse. I don’t know how DangerMouse got so huge. His Beatles/Jay Z mash up was fairly revolutionary, but ultimately not very good. And don’t get me started on Gnarls Barkley. That shit sucks and I can’t understand how it got so huge. DangerMouse is known as a producer, but if his idea of “producing” is overdriving everything so it sounds distorted, then he’s the hack I believe him to be.

Over rated producers aside, Modern Guilt is a pretty good record, but really that’s what I expect from Beck. He never went anywhere, so be very wary of any “return to form” reviews you come across.

Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell

I loved TPC’s first EP (haven’t heard the second one) so I was happy that this full length grew on me immediately. If TPC sounded like they had been listening to a lot of Interpol when they created the sound on the first EP, they certainly have been listening to countrymen Arcade Fire for Elephant Shell.

That’s a good thing by the way. You’ll hear various influences in TPC’s music but it never clouds or saturates the sound they’ve made for themselves. Poppy and dark all at once, Elephant Shell (and anything else by these Canucks) is well worth hearing.


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