Weekly Obsessions: 4/6/2016

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explosionsinthesky-thewildernessIt’s April 6th, and as I write this the Chicago Cubs are undefeated! Sure we’re only two games into the season, but Jake Arrieta looks terrific. Tonight looks to be more of the same as the boys take on the not-that-great Diamondbacks. This, quite simply, might be the season that Northside Chicagoans have been waiting for! You know, just like 2015 and 2008 both resulted in unequivocal World Series wins. The city north of Madison Street is cautiously optimistic. South of that, you’re in Sox territory. As we all know, I refuse to acknowledge the White Sox as a professional team until 100 years have passed since the infamous 1919 “Black Sox” scandal. If you’re going to cheat, at least cheat to win, like Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds did by pumping themselves full of steroids. A team that throws a game on purpose causes a level of bile to rise in my throat that is generally reserved for genocidal mass-murderers. Seriously, Sox. In 2019 we can talk.

Fucking anyway, I also listen to music.

This week I am really enjoying the new record by Explosions in the Sky. I’m not very familiar with their output aside from their excellent soundtrack work on “Friday Night Lights,” but the group definitely seems to be at a turning point here, dotting their ambient soundscapes with a few more conventional rock trappings. The orchestral scope and attention to texture are still present, but the song lengths are a little shorter and there’s even a bit of an electronic influence on a few tracks. Lest the hardcore fans think the group has made a “more accessible record” to ensnare new fans, Explosions are still able to conjure up the dissonance and dread that makes their work so poignant. Check out “Logic of a Dream” for a really effective example. The song recalls the atmospheric rock of Sonic Youth at their “dream-poppiest.”

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As for old stuff, Deerhunter’s Halcyon Digest was released a few years ago and I am only discovering it now. Basically, after their 2015 album Fading Frontier finally made me pay attention to them, I’m now digging on what is widely considered to be their best album. As I am beginning to realize, main songwriter Bradford Cox has a lot of tools at his disposal. Personally, I enjoy the exuberant yet melancholy pop of “Memory Boy” the most. Here, check it out:

See you next week!

 

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