Weekly Capsule Reviews – 10/07/2016

This week: Swans, Blood Orange, DJ Shadow, The Avalanches, Peter Bjorn and John

Swans – The Glowing Man (17/06/2016 – Young God Records/mute)

My album of the year so far. Meditative, dank, worrying, hopeful, repetitive – like life. And like life Michael Gira and rhythm display and showcase repetitive, perpetual, and vicious groove that repeats, repeats, repeats, and repeats until you want it to repeat some more. The percussion of Thor Harris alongside the “conventional” drumming battle and attempt to stave off the meditative trance in which you reside. Yet they’re never out of place. It brings the foreground to the fore (“When Will I Return?” and “The Glowing Man”). The Glowing Man sucks you into a black hole that you want to dive into, because you know you’ll come out the other side of its coagulated cacophony unscathed (“Finally, Peace”). To the abyss and back. It chews up the abyss and spits it out. That finale is a glorious addition to the compression that you spent nearly two hours listening to and enduring. More importantly it’s a great reward for your endeavours. (9/10) [Dorney’s Top Records of 2016: #2]

Blood Orange – Freetown Sound (28/06/2016 – Domino Recording Company)

We start off with feminist slam poetry – activism in the arts has to hit me in the solar plexus. This didn’t. It moves swiftly on to “Augustine”, a swirling lovelorn locution that I dug my teeth into nicely. The ’80s ring true throughout, yet early on reminded me of ’90s Boyz II Men, slightly less the corn and cheese. Bringing the disco, funk, and dance into twenty-first-century epochs might not be as suave as this, but maybe more authentic elsewhere. Like, perhaps, the 1980s. (7/10)

DJ Shadow – The Mountain Will Fall (24/06/2016 – Mass Appeal Records)

The sample purveyor has returned [still] attempting to jump out of the restrictions of Endtroducing…... This isn’t far off. The lucid intro is met head-on by Run the Jewels’ Killer Mike’s vicious bars. The introduction of Nils Frahm—who seems to be on every third album I listen to this year—is a nice addition. An addition of ambient ambivalence to the industrial hip-hop that Josh Davis is synonymous with. “The Sideshow” dips into the traditional hip-hop that we all know with traditional screechy decks to boot, which we also all know. The only problem is that The Mountain Will Fall is more organic than Endtroducing…... I’m not complaining too much, though. (7/10)

The Avalanches – Wildflower (08/07/2016 – Modular Recordings/Astralwerks/XL Recordings/EMI Group Limited)

One of the most baffling albums in the echelons of the highly-regarded this year. Sickly sweet, over-indulgence of summer, and samples which play into the hands of the hot sun as I look out the window at the rain. Maybe I should be in Australia. Oh wait, it’s winter there now, isn’t it? (5/10)

Peter Bjorn and John – Breakin’ Point (10/06/2016 – PBJ Musik AB/Warner Music Group Sweden/INGRID/Kobalt Label Services)

I haven’t heard so much Scandinavian karaoke since you-know-who. They’ve written some, or maybe just one, pop-folk classic(s). This is clean, beautifully produced, beautifully structured, and beautiful. Much like those Scandinavian you-know-whos. (4/10)


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