Friday Random Ten, June 29

Jun 29 2007 Published by under Music

1. **Thinking Plague: "The Aesthete"**: Thinking Plague is just plain *odd*. They're
a hard-to-classify group. It's got vocals, but instead of the vocals being the lead,
they treat voice as just another instrument. They're often atonal, and when they're
tonal, the chords are often very dissonant. They *sound* like they're very influenced
by Robert Fripp's guitar craft, and there's a persistent rumour that their guitarist
is a crafty, but after the last time they came up in a FRT, he showed up in the
comments to say that he wasn't. They're definitely not a group that I'd recommend to
everyone, but if you've got the right kind of taste, they're really quite remarkable.
2. **The Tap Room Trio, "The Blackberry Blossom/THe Ballina Lass"**: very traditional
Irish music by a trio including my favorite traditional flutist, the great Harry
Bradley. Very simple traditional arrangements of classic Irish tunes.
3. **Tortoise, "It's All Around You"**: Tortoise is a very influential post-rock
band. Given how much I like post-rock, and how much of what I listen to is
supposedly influenced by Tortoise, I expected to really like them. I find this
to be incredibly dull - downright trite.
4. **Gentle Giant, "A Reunion"**: Progressive rock with strong madrigal influences.
GG is brilliant.
5. **Sigur Rós, "Andvari"**: Post-rock from a mellow Icelandic band. This is more like what postrock is supposed to be to me. It's very mellow and subdued, but it's got a
real depth and sophistication. Beautiful track.
6. **King Crimson, "The Howler"**: a track off of Beat, the second-album by Discipline-era KC. Very typical of the vocal tracks from that phase of KC: lots of
Fripp's tape loops setting the structure of the track; Belew doing his crooning voice.
7. **Naftule's Dream, "Something is There"**: Brilliant neo-Klezmer, for lack of a better word. Naftule's Dream is named after Naftule Brandwine, the genius of Klezmer clarinet; they're a modern band that plays stuff clearly inspired by Klezmer, but filtered
through a lens of modern jazz and some rock. There's some Ornette Coleman and Some Robert Fripp in here, mixed with the klez. Highly recommended.
8. **Sonic Youth, "Mildred Pierce"**: If you know what Sonic Youth sounds like, this
is absolutely typical of their sound. If you don't know, you should check it out.
They're strange, harsh, loud, and very, very good.
9. **Dirty Three, "Dream Evie"**: one of my favorite postrock groups, playing in the
more classically inspired vein of PR; Dirty Three is always wonderful.
10. **Mogwai, "With Portfolio"**: another favorite PR band; this one comes from the more
rock-oriented side of things

5 responses so far

  • Zed says:

    Uh, Sigur Rós are Icelandic, not Turkish.

  • What Zed said.
    I've seen Sigur Rós live twice, once in Boston and again in Lyon. They rocked both times.
    (Or do I have to say that they post-rocked? Tough linguistic choices!)

  • L.N. Hammer says:

    Having just returned from vacation in Iceland, I squawk aloud over that "Turkish." (Not that we caught Sigur Rós in concert -- they're apparently in the studio at the moment. And while the Icelandic music scene is hopping, the best group we heard was a cover band in a small northern town -- with a lead singer with the voice for truly excellent disco. No, seriously, she made it actually good.)
    ---L.

  • Mark C. Chu-Carroll says:

    My apologies for screwing up Sigur Ros's nationality. I have *no* idea where I got the idea that they were Turkish :-). I've corrected the post.

  • jayinbmore says:

    You've picked a really bad Tortoise track as an introduction (assuming that's actually the first Tortoise track you've heard). All the albums post "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" are closer to Spyro Gyra than to anything remotely resembling post-rock (in other words they're totally awful). The seminal Tortise sound is on "Tortoise" and "Millions...", both of which are well worth listening to.

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