This is just to say
I’ve gotten the new A A Bondy album, but
I’m still listening to it too much
and thinking about it too much
to write about it.
Also this is to tell you how surprised and impressed I am by the new Explosions in the Sky album. Explosions in the Sky were always pretty low on the post-rock totem poll for me because they had one gimick that stormed through their albums- songs that started quiet and built to peaks that made texas football highschoolers rush the extra 10,000 yards or something like that (actually, I’m kidding. I’ve started watching Friday Night Lights and it is great). They were inspirational, but somewhat one dimensional, because they were always a more sophisticated and touching version of a successories poster. Explosions in the Sky wrote songs that told you “You Can Do It!” They didn’t tell you much else.
Except that, now, they do. What the band has managed to do on Take Care, Take Care, Take Care is add a tangible sense of unease to their hasting, pressing, amildering songs. They’ve left the expanse, the build, the payoff, but they’ve added something which suggests doubt. In “Human Qualities” it is the twitching, never-steady drum machine pattern. In “Be Comfortable, Creature” they loop half a moment of guitar breath. It’s the same as a smudge on your contact, a missing page from a short story. In “Trembling Hands,” the band actually utilizes the human voice for the first time as far as I know, one cut up syllable, the first note of a line of a sentence, just long enough so you can tell it’s really a voice. Each of these songs have their subtle counterarguments, and those are the aspects which make these songs warrant listen after listen after listen. This has become one of my favorites of this year.
And this doesn’t relate to music, but for my job at the moment, I’m doing extensive research of non-Western poetry traditions. What would you say if I told you one of the most popular shows in the Arab world was Saudi Arabia’s Million’s Poet, American Idol, but with competing verse poets instead of ham-fisted singers. A show progressive and subversive enough to give voice to a Saudi housewife who used her time in front of 12 million television screens to rail against conservative Islamic clerics. I mean, despite all of our own personal shit which tethers us to the thermometer’s mercury, this world can be a pretty amazing place.