I'm looking for more new music these days. Things seem so up in the air, like you can't tell where things are heading. And a number of albums have disappointed me. I only liked maybe 3 songs from Daft Punk's Human After All (after loving Discovery), the Chemical Brothers' Push The Button wasn't bad, but didn't do anything new either; it was a bit predictable. The Prodigy's Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned I heard last year in Edinburgh and it almost put me to sleep. Moby's Hotel was a real disappointment, nothing there made much of an impression and I just ended up missing all the soul stuff. I see why everyone harps on about The Bravery but I still found myself wanting more. The new Weezer, Make Believe, also didn't set my pants on fire. M83's Before The Dawn Heals Us was a surprise, but misleading. People said Air but really they're more My Bloody Valentine. Not bad, but not what I'm looking for, I guess. Queens of the Stone Age turned in a good album, Lullabies To Paralyze. But so far the only thing I've been replaying often is Bloc Party's Silent Alarm. I am glad to announce my second great album of the year so far: Beck's Guero, which is a return to a more lively, party sound, less Midnite Vultures and more of Odelay. I think it's a good move that all his albums sound so different from the one that came before it.
Neva and I watched the Bjork performance at the Royal Opera House the other night (fucking fantastic; brought me to tears several times) and I ended up listening to Post and Vespertine again as a result. Maybe that's what I'm looking for now; at the time I heard those albums the music seemed strange and exciting and unconventional, but Bjork's voice was the anchor. And it's nice that years later those albums still play great. I should dig up Medulla again. So maybe that mix of strange and new but with something still human and-- I don't know-- organic, or natural, to it.
I really hope the new Hot Hot Heat is great. You can listen to some of the songs off of Elevator at their website. And I can't wait for the Pedicab album to be released. I don't think it surprised anyone that they got signed so quickly, but I have to admit it was a bit unexpected to hear they played at Absinth.
I was listening to Zbigniew Preisner's score for Rouge the other day and was amazed to realize that he's such a strong influence on the Final Fantasy soundtracks of Nobuo Uematsu I enjoyed in high school. A day or two later and I found myself listening to the soundtrack of Final Fantasy 6 just to make sure (was also pleasantly surprised to find I still remembered Uematsu's name right).
Joey Comeau makes an interesting observation.
Speaking of ipods, I was thinking again of finally getting one, what with the price drops. The shuffle's no good to me without an LCD display (which is why it's a shuffle, people tell me, but when you can have 16 CDs and are looking for THAT ONE SONG you're fucked). But looking up some of the competition on the web, I found that some of the Archos stuff now has video (and others are practically ipod/pdas), and storage up to 100 GB. Still expensive, though. And the recent news of Apple's battery supplier being able to triple the battery life told me that I should wait a while yet. Especially since phone companies are going to try to get into the game too. Ah, well. By the time I could afford it anyway it already would have been a couple of months. I also wonder when customizability will enter the fray.
It will also be very interesting to watch the success of Sony's PSP upon its release next week. Since it can play video and music, display photos, and of course, play games, I wonder if it's going to put more things into motion.
One of the reasons I wanted an mp3 player was to listen to longer stuff like podcasts. Most of the music I've been getting into lately I was introduced to through internet radio shows and mp3/music blogs. I listen to these while I'm working but wish I could take it with me while traveling. It would also allow for the convenience of listening to international radio, maybe some of the BBC and/or NPR stuff. Trinka sent me a link to this radio documentary, Chasing Love by Miguel Macias, and it's quite interesting (only an hour). I didn't even know there were radio documentaries. It's a 3-year-project of this graduate student (I think), where he edited interviews with lots of people about love while researching the history of romantic love and how it ties into other aspects of society like economics, psychology, culture, etc. It reminded me of Waking Life. It was an eye-opener for me (metaphorically speaking) because I didn't know you could do this sort of thing with radio. Looking around the Transom website, you'll find that there are radio zines, a beautiful, brilliant idea if there was one. Just the fact that these things exist can get me excited. I listen to the occasional radio play (the Neil Gaiman adaptations, mostly) and have the Alan Moore performance pieces, but still, it's lovely that radio (or any media, really) can still surprise you.