Have you ever listened to an album for the first time and just stared in disbelief for several minutes afterwards? It’s not like you hated it, but it just baffled you so much that you were completely unable to assemble any kind of opinion on it whatsoever: precisely what the f*** just assaulted my ears?
1. Thinking Plague – Decline and Fall
Amusingly mistitled ‘Decline and Fail’ at Amazon, Decline and Fall was the eagerly-awaited (at least by me) follow up to A History of Madness after nearly a decade of absence. Although they’ve always been on the quirky side, Thinking Plague used to be generally quite accessible. While I wouldn’t rule out suddenly deciding that Decline and Fall is my favourite album of 2013, right now it sounds an awful lot like the band-members turned up at the studio and just all started playing the first thing that came into their heads without reference to any kind of musical sense. The made-up-on-the-spot feel to the lyrics doesn’t help, either.
Youtube comment: “a fan for the last 10 years, i can say this : it requires a few listenings, but it gets better each time ! after a difficult start with it, i wonder if this may not be their best recording yet...”
2. The Bastards of Fate – Who’s A Fuzzy Buddy
I can listen to Huge Magic and almost think of it as a regular pop song, but there’s a kind of cumulative headf***ery when you try to make it through a whole album. There have been many moments when I seriously question whether I’m actually enjoying the experience, but I think on balance I probably really like it. (May I have a lie down now?)
3. Chewing With Gusto – Vol 1
“Chewing With Gusto is the joint project of two most diverse and distant musical entities sharing the same spirit, Chewing Magnetic Tape and Gusto Extermination Fluid. Chewing With Gusto Vol 1 combines CMT’s raw and fuzzy blend of experimentalism, psychedelia and pop music with GEF’s lush electronic treatments. GEF’s dark ambient experimental music is as deliberate and painstakingly assembled as CMT’s music is loose and instinctive.”
Phew. It’s a good job they explained all that, because I’m buggered if I could describe it beyond “I feel stoned just listening to it”. (OK, so the example track is uncharacteristically straightforward.) It’s definitely filed on the “like” side, but … what is it?
4. Paul McCartney and that “Nirvana reunion”
It’s just the whole squick-inducing smugness of it all, from Dave Grohl’s rawk posturing to Krist Novoselic’s lime green trousers – and what is that thing McCartney’s playing? While the song itself isn’t entirely awful, the whole thing smacks of the Rock Episode of The X-Factor where some Brit School brat covers something by Queen and starts throwing Dio-style horn-shapes.
5. Glee – Gangnam Style
Proof positive that the world is, indeed, ending. How do you even f*** up a gift of a song like that? The worst thing is that I’m somehow riveted to the spot, unable to turn away from this macabre spectacle. Oh well, world, it was nice knowing you.