Last 7 Days is a series here on The Metronome that uses last.fm to chronicle the artists and albums that have made up the last week’s worth of listening for one of our staff members. This week, Frank Mojica — or editorinchimp — shares the listening habits that made up his week.
Whenever I hear “Baltimore,” my mind immediately jumps to The Wire or crab cakes by word association. Well, not so much anymore. Now what comes to mind are Beach House and Lower Dens, with the latter being the dark side of dream pop. Between “Brains” and “Propagation,” Nootropics is shaping up to be one of the most compelling albums of 2012.
I still remember what I was doing when I first heard the news of Pulp’s reunion. Taking a break from a late night of salvaging an e-book as a ghost editor, I checked my Twitter feed and saw an announcement of Pulp’s reformation for the Wireless and Primavera festivals. Could it be true? Just a year prior, rumors of a reunion were everywhere, only to be later denied, so I went to the festival websites seeking confirmation, which came in the form of an old photo of the band with a caption that promised the band would play favorites from all eras.
What has always fascinated me about Pulp is how they stood out in the Britpop era. It’s this post-punk core blended with touches of Bowie, Walker, and even Branigan that has also allowed the band’s finest works to age more gracefully than typical Britpop hits that sound quite dated in 2012. In any case, Pulp is finally back together and will even be bringing their dirty brand of outsider singalongs to American audiences very soon. Everyone seems to love Different Class and His ‘N’ Hers cuts the most, but one personal favorite is underrated swansong “Sunrise.” How did Pulp close the book on a band renowned for the viciously cynical words of Jarvis Cocker? An optimistic epiphany followed by a three minute climax where guitar and choir race to out-soar the other to a new ascension. It’s a truly triumphant moment for the mis-shapes.
I cannot get enough of Visions. It’s sweet, danceable, and I just want to sing along even though I haven’t a clue what’s actually behind that lisped, other-worldly delivery. Believe the hype.
Back in September, Asobi Seksu released stellar covers of The Walkmen and The Jesus and Mary Chain on Hmm Hmm Him, a reference that classic Married with Children episode where Al Bundy struggles to discover the name of his favorite song (Arthur Alexander’s “Anna (Go to Him)”. That was six months ago, yet here they are in my top artists of the week once again. It’s been over a year since Asobi Seksu released their fourth album Fluorescence, although I still find myself listening to the band regularly. In fact, I don’t think they’ve ever been phased out of regular rotation. Whether it’s the best or worst of times, or somewhere in between, the dulcet sounds of Asobi Seksu are appropriate for any occasion. Psychedelic oceans of swirling guitar distortion? Irresistible hooks? Ethereal pop that ensnares the soul? This band is the best of all worlds.
Earlier this week I posted on Facebook that I actually preferred Fever Ray to The Knife, a revelation which generated a flood of comments from friends. Perhaps it’s those brilliantly twisted covers of “Mercy Street” and “Stranger than Kindness” that sealed the deal. Or maybe it’s because I had the good fortune of seeing Fever Ray live at Coachella, and this experience that redefined intense opened the album to me in a completely different way. Of course, as a big fan of The Knife, they are still in the top tier of my “must-see live” musical bucket list along with never-going-to-happen names like David Bowie and a Lush reunion, but I’m still listening to Fever Ray’s sole album and handful of extras more than their entire discography. Whatever the reason, the high octane nightmare fuel of Fever Ray’s spooky electronics and distorted howls tap into something both primal and personal within me and will still be haunting me 20 years from now.
Despite all the buzz, I only got around to listening to Cloud Nothings’ Attack on Memory just this week. It was the raves of my crew from last year’s Primavera that finally got me to take the time to give the album a listen. And a second listen just a couple hours later. Their aesthetic is not one that usually strikes my fancy, but Cloud Nothings are doing something special here. Get on board now because the raw, aggressive glory of Cloud Nothings makes for one of the year’s best albums.
One can never go wrong with a band that uses song titles like “Sonic Youth” and “Pop Group.” Nisennenmondai is the first band that performed at Primavera Sound last year and they’ve clearly made a lasting impression. To put it simply, they out-Battles Battles. This noise trio from Japan has been blending math rock, noise, and Krautrock into something jaw-droppingly intense and at times surprisingly danceable for a decade, and just recently embarked on a proper American tour, which I sadly missed. “Appointment” just might be a masterpiece of infectious post-punk grooves and repetition.
Modern Guilt was almost four years ago, but there’s still no new Beck album in sight. That’s okay, because Beck’s rich discography is more than enough to get me excited about his upcoming headlining performance at the Sasquatch Festival. Yet, most of these plays are from Sea Change songs. Does anyone do heartbreak better than Beck on Sea Change? If so, dare I even try it?