Monday, December 7, 2009

Cymbal #29:: Some Recent Notable Albums

You try and look for it and it slips away. You turn your head and no pattern forms. . Songs flow past you like waves in the shallows. Their choruses remain as feelings, looping around in your head. When you look at the wall, they come back without a context. The year is coming to an end and everyone but me will be able to tell you what it was about. Next year, by the way, is easy. It's a World Cup year, fool.

So, what did I come across that stayed in my head this year?

Bear in Heaven - Ultimate Satisfaction - 2009

I've been playing this album (Beast Rest Forth Mouth) end-to-end while driving around. I remembered where I had felt this same warm physiological wash, the sensuous sound of things dissolving in milk. I went back to My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. We all want to be lost, we all want to feel new and strange in this world. Is this not why we travel? Listening to Loveless or Beast Rest Forth Mouth is not travel in the sense that going to Vietnam would be travel. It's travel in the sense of spelunking, of rappelling into darkness and feeling bats rush between you and the womb like walls of the earth.

Converge - Cruel Bloom - 2009

Or you could travel vicariously, by stepping into a storybook, seeing a world of some one else's visions, painted with someone else's colours. In Axe to Fall, Converge have the the best metal album I've heard of this year. Pedal to the metal, balls to the wall, but still not repetitive.

Noah and The Whale - Stranger - 2009

Thanks for the recommendation, Dev! The First Days of Spring is a post-breakup blues album, a trip to the poles of emotion, the journey of healing. I feel odd admitting it, but men do have feelings. Some of them are a lot like this. OK, enough.

Pearl Jam - Got Some - 2009

Backspacer really rocks. I could listen to Pearl Jam do this every three years till the year I die, clutching my copy of Ten and trying not to look embarrassed at how much I love it. I keep waiting for it to stale, for the formula to grow old and sour. It would be comfortable to listen to Ten and see how much less there is to it than I thought when I was fifteen, but it doesn't happen. Backspacer takes me right back to that level of comfort.

Sometimes, you're not going to be surprised, but you could really get used to being at home.