Weekly Obsessions: 8/2/2017

Ahoy there, rock fans! I’d like to welcome myself back, as I am recently coming away from a month-long hiatus during which I worked on other writing projects (a fascinating collection of essays entitled “None of Your Goddamn Business”) and just generally lived my life. Of course, I still listened to music. I just didn’t write about it. Consequently I have no shortage of idiotic future story ideas for you to mindlessly scroll over in search of any mention of a band or artist you know.

“Hey! Todd Rundgren died! Huh.” *

This week, I’ve been really digging the album Powerplant by L.A. folk-punk band Girlpool. I love the breathy vocals, dreamy atmosphere, and well-earned hooks. There’s a definite tip of the hat toward twee, almost childish anti-folk artists like Kimya Dawson (particularly in “Corner Store”), but it’s all bathed in a hypnotic, more adult drone reminiscent of the best shoegazers of the late 80’s-early 90’s. At first listen, it’s easy to write off the songs on Powerplant as being a little too “same-y,” but upon subsequent plays the nuances of each song begin to manifest themselves. Though the vibe on this record may not vary from track to track, the songwriting of principal band members Cleo Tucker  and Harmony Tividad shines through again and again, stopping things from becoming formulaic and boring.

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“Kiss and Burn” and the title track are other highlights.

As for something old, I listened to Neil Young‘s much-maligned 1982 album Trans in the hope that it would be as laughably bad as I had always heard. Imagine my surprise when I ended up really liking it. It’s actually no surprise, as it turns out. I’m a huge fan of both Young and kraut-rock, and Young was very influenced by the 70’s work of seminal German band Kraftwerk. It’s a far cry from After the Gold Rush, but I think Trans serves as a pretty compelling argument that Neil Young cannot produce a bad album, no matter how misguided the project seems to be. You have to respect the man for doing exactly what he wanted, despite the fact that literally nobody (particularly his record label) was asking for it.

Hey! See you next time! Keep rocking! Or don’t. I don’t care if you live or die, to be honest.

Happy Week!





*Note: Todd Rundgren is still alive.

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