Weekly Obsessions: 2/22/2016

animalcollective-paintingwithGreetings, rock enthusiasts! This week I watched a lot of TV and read part of some books. But you didn’t come here to hear about that, to the extent that you’ve “arrived” anywhere in the literal sense. It’s sort of like the paradox created by driving a car: you are sitting perfectly still, yet you’re obviously moving through space. In this case, the Internet is moving around you, but you’re still sitting on your ass.

Either way, nobody wants to hear about the fancy books I’m reading, though I hope someone asks someday, even if it’s just to be polite.

The thing people do ask me is “What are you listening to?”

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Here’s a new thing and an older thing.

1. Animal Collective – Painting With (2016)

I agonized over whether to include the experimental pop group on a site devoted to rock music. By “agonized” I mean that I thought about it, and ultimately came to the realization that though Animal Collective are waaay out there in terms of rock music, they do use conventional rock chord progressions and verse/chorus structure. It’s a really good record, if you can get past the sometimes punishing and bouncy energy. It’s a little much for some people. It sometimes takes a little bit to suss out the subtle melodies and harmonies in the midst of what can so closely resembles chas. Being on drugs never hurt anything in this case.

Give it a chance, especially those of you who are bummed that the Dead finally packed it in. Having been to an Animal Collective concert, I can say that the live culture surrounding these events captures some of the same energy I’ve seen at jam band shows. Minus the patchouli. Plus a lot of acid and ecstasy.

2. Fugazi – Red Medicine (1995)

If you’re looking for a band that consistently and belligerently refuses to compromise, look no further than Fugazi. The Washington DC post-hardcore band has tackled a wide range of hot-button topics over the years, from the U.S. Supreme Court (“Dear Justice Letter”) to rape culture (“Suggestion”), all while making sure their shows remained inexpensive and open to all ages. Red Medicine is great because it sort of captures the group’s transition into a more subdued art-rock sound, relying more on thematic cohesion and texture than power. This would be explored to its logical conclusion on 2001’s terrific The Argument, but Red Medicine delivers more volume than its successor without sacrificing nuance. The band has frustratingly been on hiatus since 2002, but I’m still holding out hope for one of Fugazi’s legendary 5-dollar shows.

You may not know this, Rocknuts Reader, but all bands, on an infinite timeline, get back together. Time is cyclical, and also a flat circle. Please remember that I said this.


See you next week!

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