[Young God; 2012]
This is what I originally intended to be the entire album review for the Swan’s latest opus The Seer. And really, this is all that needs to be said. These two words capture the overwhelming swells of sound, the enormity of the two-hour double album, and the response that anyone is apt to have to the songs on the album, whether it be “Holy fuck! This is the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard!” or “Holy fuck! What is this noise!?” With tracks that range from one minute to 32-minutes, The Seer is certainly a polarizing affair, showing the band unabashedly pursuing their ultimate vision, 30 years in the making.
It is an album of big noise, colossal environments, and heavy themes. It is violent while still being delicate. It is demoralizing while still being uplifting. It is unforgiving while still being compassionate. It is barbaric while constantly evolving. It is John Lennon’s scream therapy spread out over two straight hours of complete and utter euphoric confusion. It will make your head and heart tremble with sensory overload just as much as the wall of sound will make your window panes commence to vibrating uncontrollably. It is an auditory Smaug, filled with mirth, greed, and a vengeful spirit. It is a BEAST.
I hate Paul Ryan’s iPod. No, not Paul Ryan, although I don’t necessarily agree with his stance on women’s rights and gay rights, his association with the Tea Party, or his allegiance to Ayn Rand’s belief in rational egoism. My hatred lies solely with Ryan’s iPod. In some kind of misguided political talking point, Ryan and the Republican Party have made it a point that we all know that Mr. P90X owns an iPod (and somehow, this means he’s the young/hip counter balance to straight man Mitt Romney).
Animal Collective have had a pretty good run when it comes to the critics. All of their albums have been greeted with open-arms, regardless of how belligerent they may get. Their success reached beyond the insulated critical realm with their last album, “Meariweather Post Pavillion,” becoming a mainstream success (a label no one would have ever given to AC with their mix of overtly artistic/abrasive music). But after finally earning worldwide acceptance, filling outdoor arenas on their current tour, the band has fallen from graces within the critic’s sect with their latest album, Centipede Hz.
While some publications have printed lukewarm reviews, many have not been kind in the least. The Independent called the album “…a fatiguing experience,” NOW Magazine labeled it “…obnoxious chaos,” and Paste described it as “…dense ugliness…”. The New York Times review paints a picture where Avey Tare has taken charge, in turn destroying all of Panda Bear’s confidence, while the self-proclaimed “world’s busiest music nerd” over at The Needle Drops suggests that the return of Deakin to the band has had a negative effect on their sound.
In this episode I pay tribute to Omaha’s record store legend Dave Sinks, and check out new tracks from Cat Power, Django Django, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, and Jens Lekman. I also play a track by my friend’s comedy band Sun Babies Inc, and of course, I close off with another classic from Bob Dylan.
Check it out here (or subscribe to it on iTunes – search “BDWPS”):
Minutemen “One Reporter’s Opinion” and “History Lesson Part II”
Cat Power “Manhattan”
Django Django “Default”
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti “Mature Themes”
Jens Lekman “Every Little Hair Knows Your Name”
Sun Babies Inc. “Drunk Alphabet Song”
Bob Dylan “Talkin Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues”