Album Review

Halfway Through 2013: Look At All These Killer Fucking Records I Missed

For a variety of terrible reasons, I have a hard time writing about records that didn’t get submitted to me for review. That means I come across tons of incredible shit that I don’t make time for on AGB. A lot of the records in this mid-year roundup fall into that category. Regardless of how I found out about them, all of these are 100% awesome and I’ve been playing the fuck out of each and every one of them.

Also, I have a totally bullshit & ever-shifting line that I try not to cross when writing about records that wobbles between how popular the album/band/label is and how much I love the record. This list is made up of stuff I probably would’ve reviewed if I had the time, but there’s a lot I’ve been jamming hard that was “too big” in my eyes for AGB, lots of high profile metal like Deafheaven, Altar Of Plagues, Inter Arma, The Body, etc, and then there’s stuff like William Tyler’s super bitchin Impossible Truth, which, if it didn’t come out on Merge, I most likely would’ve written it up, but then there’s some that regardless of how much press they get, I can’t help but praise the shit out of them. So those are my half-assed rules and what went through my head when making this list.

There’s a few records on here that might make it onto my year end drone list, so if you’re the gamblin type, start up a pool with your pals and maybe you can strike it rich.

Since this is a pretty big list (28 and unranked) I’ve put everything after the jump so it doesn’t clog up the front page. Here’s hoping you find some in here that you haven’t heard of yet.
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Video

Mountains – Blue Lanterns On East Oxford

New absolutely gorgeous Mountains video for “Blue Lanterns On East Oxford” shot by Koen Holtkamp himself. It starts out with some puffy sped up/slow-mo clouds, then goes to a dazzling display of abstracted water that fits the twinkling synths perfectly, then fades back to some symmetrical clouds AND OMFG IT’S MANDELBROTTT <3

Album Review

Mountains – Air Museum (Thrill Jockey, 2011)


MountainsThousand Square

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FUCK. Mountains have blown me away with every release. After thinking I would never find out anything about the band behind the brilliance of Sewn, they caught me way off guard and dropped the stunning Choral in 2009 (original authorized review deleted from Blogger, eat a dick Google) and now Air Museum takes a new approach, totally exceeding the insanely high expectations I had for it. All you need to do is take a look at my last.fm stats to prove I’m not fucking around with this record.

Mountains have ditched the electroacoustic computer processing on Air Museum, instead opting for a more analog approach and running their usual instruments (guitar, accordions, etc) through pedals and synths and shit. So this is probably their least electronic based record but easily their most electronic sounding record. It sounds SO goddamn synthy. This is their trip to outer space. They’re not there yet, but they’re en route, soaring through the mesosphere.

This is what I want to permeate every moment of my life. Every little detail on this record is pure heaven. The opening track, “January 17,” has this sound that’s so subtle, but it fucking kills me every time. For the first minute, the song is all primer, chill smoothed out organ layers paving the way for the bliss to come, and a split second before it REALLY kicks in and gets all gauzy grandeur, there’s a quick bubbly sonar blip that just floors me. It’s so perfect.

Mountains bounce back and forth between straight up drone and pulsing minimal space techno, keeping a nice balance, never cemented in their textured planar earthly past but not jumping ship for the OPN New Age. They mix it SO well, the sterile jet cabin air static on “Newsprint” breathes life into silver woven blankets, preceding one of the most amazing fucking tracks EVER, “Sequel,” with its surging synth rhythm and gut-wrenchingly glorious sprays of warm golden euphoric harmonies, layers upon layers of sun drenched buzz & twinkle, humming the tune of Platonic perfection and painting everything in absolute beauty, mesmerizing & dazzling enough that Death could arrive and you wouldn’t even notice.

I had pretty much put Choral on an untouchable pedestal, imagining Mountains would never be able to outdo themselves. However, instead of making another but better Choral, they made something different but every bit as fucking great. Mountains achieved what Belong didn’t. They broadsided me, again, and this time I really thought I was ready for it. Mountains are fucking IT, man. They’re prescient visionaries. I want them to do something, and they say, “Ok, but what you really want is this.” So they do what they want and in the process make the greatest fucking records of our generation.

Video

Eternal Tapestry – Galactic Derelict

The ever busy dudes in Eternal Tapestry put together a video for “Galactic Derelict” off their new album, Beyond the 4th Door, out in March on Thrill Jockey. Lots of noodlin & groovin heavy space psych set to straaange old sci-fi movies, the video having just as many layers as the music. The best part is when the caped space adventurer is flying through space and he checks his watch because, y’know, he’s gonna be late to Neptune.