@voyou Confusing Google by rapidly alternating between searching for recipes for larb and articles in the LA Review of Books. 22 Jul 16 Reply Retweet Favorite

The Official Chart for July 24

Doing this weekly music post thing has encouraged me to seek out more new music, which is good, but is a problem when a record comes along that requires more than a week to really get to grips with. Such a record is Róisín Murphy’s new album Take Her up to Monto, one of the strangest records I’ve heard in quite some time. That strangeness doesn’t prevent it from being very definitely a Róisín Murphy record, quite the contrary; it’s like every strange edge of her previous records but concentrated and expanded upon, until you’re left with an album which feels like the culmination of a trajectory Murphy has always been on, in which lounge and deep house finally become interchangeable. Read more↴

The Official Chart for July 17

New Britney! I was a bit wrongfooted because I assumed she’d come back with a banger, so I wasn’t sure what to make of this more downtempo track. I quite like it; actually, I like the verses and the bridge quite a lot (a new role for Britney to play: power-bottom-ney), but there’s something about the shift to a more obviously uplifting chorus that feels a bit cheap? The guest rap is garbage, obviously, and its presence is inexplicable (who on Earth thinks “I wasn’t going to listen to this Britney record, but now I know G-Eazy is going to be on it…”?). Read more↴

The Official Chart for July 10

With brides, angelic visitations, and ghosts, Bat for Lashes’s The Bride seems to be aiming at the territory of gothic romance (as does the tendency of the lyrics to use romantic commonplaces like “this heart of mine,” which is arguably appropriate, but which I found distracting). But if the gothic is always about the body, the music on The Bride suggests something else: early morning, shafts of light through curtains, and a delicacy that makes me want to use words like “transcendent” or “ethereal.” Read more↴

The Official Chart for June 26

The new Demi Lovato track is great. I hope the sadboy R&B tendency (Nick Jonas, Zayn Malik) are taking notes on how you should make moody, sexy, records.  Read more↴

The Official Chart for June 19

Since You Went to Heaven” is the standout track on Brandy Clarke’s new album, an incredibly controlled and heartbreaking narrative of personal and social collapse. “Love Can Go to Hell,” “You Can Come Over” and “Broke” are also very good, although I’m not sure they’re quite as good as the best tracks on her previous album, 12 Stories. Some of the other tracks, like the the title track “Big Day in a Small Town” and “Drinkin’ Smokin’ Cheatin'” seem unfinished, more sketches than complete songs, as they both have a structure that suggests a narrative but they lack a dramatic payoff. And one song, “Daughter,” leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. In the song, the narrator hopes that a philandering ex will some day have a daughter, in order for him to get some sense of what he’s put women through. The problem is, in the song the daughter exists purely as a prop for this revenge, with no consideration for what the daughter might be suffering at the hands of the men who repeat her father’s poor treatment of women. I don’t think the characters portrayed or performed in a song need to be morally right, and it could be worthwhile to write a song from the perspective of a woman who is so angry at how she’s been treated that she doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process of her revenge, but I don’t hear that in Clark’s performance here. Read more↴

The Official Chart for June 12

A great week for synthpop, with the release of Ladyhawke’s new album, Wild Things. The whole album is great (I mentioned “Let it Roll” a couple of weeks ago, and “Sweet Fascination” a few weeks before that; the title track is also very good), but I think my favourite track is “A Love Song“. I’m a sucker for this kind of meta song anyway, but especially when, as in this case, it interleaves the love-song cliches its referencing with awed descriptions of events that instantiate them. Another new synthpop album, Avec Sans’s debut Heartbreak Hi. I have to admit I admire the skill with which the record is made more than I love listening to it, but the title track is good, and something about the euphoric leap in the chorus of “Shiver” really gets me. The third, and to my mind least good, synthpop album I’ve been listening to this week is Tegan and Sara’s Love You to Death. There’s something about both the delivery and the songwriting that I find faintly grating, and all the more annoying because I can’t articulate what I dislike more precisely than that. But to be fair, “U-Turn” really goes for the full Stock, Aitken and Waterman sound that a lot of more tasteful recent synthpop avoids. Read more↴