CD Review – Animal Collective, Centipede Hz, Domino, 2012


Library Classification: Experimental
File Under:  A

Artist:  Animal Collective
Title:  Centipede Hz
Label:  Domino

Date(s) Recorded:  2012
Date Released:  09/04/2012
Date Received:  08/30/2012

Clean:  All
Indecent:  None

RIYL: Black Moth Super Rainbow, Menomena, of Montreal
In a nutshell: Beach Boys harmonies over choppy beats & radio static. Way more experimental than Radiohead and also more manic than depressive.
Play: 2-Today’s Supernatural, 8-Monkey Riches, 4-Applesauce, 1-Moon Jock, 11-Amanita

Comments:  Centipede Hz (Hertz) is the ninth studio album by Baltimore-based Animal Collective. It’s a departure from their last album, Merriweather Post-Pavillion (which enjoyed critical & commercial success). By contrast, Centipede Hz is a darker, weirder, and generally more experimental album. This album also sees the return of band member Deakin (Joshua Dibb), who sat out MPP.

This album was supposed to have more of a live feel to it, and borrows a lot of use of radio spots, static, and twisted frequencies. 2-Today’s Supernatural is the first single, and the easiest way in. The “Le-Le-Le-Let It Go” hook is both super-catchy, and super-glitchy, It’s probably an easy trick by now, but it works, and damn if you don’t want to go along with Avey Tare on the weird ride through the desert with a floating pair of arms and a Chinese Dragon in a dune buggy. (Oh wait, that’s the video.) 1-Moonjock is the obvious other entry point, starting the album off with a bang.

Plenty of diversions here.  4-Applesauce is a love song to mangos, star fruit, cherries, and obviously apples. However, it’s really about transcendence. “Ripe and whole, we can move outside us.” In some ways, this album is a response to the success of their last. On 8-Monkey Riches he asks “Why Am I Still Looking For A Golden Age?” which is a fair enough question when your critics and fans love you. So, what do you do? You look back to your weird roots, and find other ways to get weirder.

Album closer, 11-Amanita, looks back to imagery from older stories: vikings, bogs, sea sirens. “What are you gonna do? Go in to the forest until I can’t remember my name. I’m gonna come back and things will be different. I’m gonna bring back some stories and games.” So, the album is really about reinvention, about mining the past, and other sources to find something new, something that sounds if not futuristic, at least like the overstimulated now. -DJWB

Playlist, WSUM, 2012-09-25, 6-8am

Chromatics, Kill For Love, Italians Do It Better, 2012
Chromatics, Kill For Love, Italians Do It Better, 2012

First Hour:

  1. Your Little Hoodrat Friend by The Hold Steady from Separation Sunday [Frenchkiss]
  2. Mr. Roboto by Styx from Killroy Was Here [A&M]
  3. Head On by Pixies from Trompe Le Monde [4AD]
  4. Black Mould by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion from Meat And Bone [Mom And Pop]
  5. Chico The American by Field Report from Field Report [Partisan]
  6. Chico’s Barnyard by The Mighty Imperials from Thunder Chicken [Daptone]
  7. Chico (f. Ann Margaret) by Lee Hazlewood from The LHI Years [Light In The Attic / LHI]
  8. Creme Brulee by Sonic Youth from Dirty [Geffen]
  9. Autumn Sweater by Yo La Tengo from I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One [Matador]
  10. Ashes by Superjesus from Sumo [Warner Australia]
  11. My Love Is Real by Divine Fits from A Thing Called Divine Fits [Merge]
  12. Do It With A Rockstar by Amanda Palmerf. Grand Theft Orches from Theater Is Evil [8 ft records]
  13. If I Can’t Change Your Mind by Sugar from Copper Blue [Ryko]
  14. Birds Of Paradise by Chromatics from Kill For Love [Italians Do It Better]

Second Hour:

  1. I’ll Be Allright by Passion Pit from Gossamer [Frenchkiss]
  2. Never Leave by Zulu Winter from Language [Arts & Crafts]
  3. I Can Change by LCD Soundsystem from I Can Change [DFA]
  4. Like A Pen by The Knife from Silent Shout [Mute]
  5. Belispeak by Purity Ring from Shrines [4AD]
  6. Bodyrock by Moby from Play [v2]
  7. Lusitania (feat. St. Vincent) by Andrew Bird from Break It Yourself [Bella Union]
  8. Collector by Here We Go Magic from Pigeons [Secretly Canadian]
  9. Gun Has No Trigger by Dirty Projectors from Swing Lo Magellan [Domino]
  10. Cats And Dogs by The Head And The Heart from The Head And The Heart [Sub Pop]
  11. Love And Hate by Blitzen Trapper from Destroyer Of The Void [Sub Pop]
  12. Death by Ty Segall Band from Slaughterhouse [In The Red]
  13. Lupine Dominus by Thee Oh Sees from Putrifiers II [In The Red]

Upcoming Shows (in Madison, unless otherwise noted):

Review – Menomena, Moms, Barsuk Records, 2012

Menomena, Moms, Barsuk, 2012

Classification: Rock
File Under: M

Artist: Menomena
Title: Moms
Label: Barsuk

Recorded: 2012
Date Released: 09/18/2012
Date Received: 09/10/2012

Clean: All
Indecent: None
Play: 1-Plumage, 8-Tantalus, 3-Pique, 4-Boton, 5-Heavy Is As Heavy Does, 9-Don’t Mess With Latexas

RIYL–Morphine (sax solos), of Montreal (art school rock), Neutral Milk Hotel (bodily imagery-bones & teeth)

Their fifth album and first without Brent Knopf, who really balanced out the band with a kindness. Sure, there are still plenty of airy piano lines, but the whole album is waaay more sexual, almost uncomfortably so. Album opener “Plumage” begins “Animal. I’m just an animal. Looking for another animal.” It continues on like an episode of Nature on the mating habits of the Pacific Northwestern Male Hipster.

Boton (4) is a somewhere between a twisted Hail Mary prayer and an airing of grievances. “I Wish I didn’t have to rob a grave to hold you near…. I wish that codependence could sustain us thru the years. I wish that wrecking fantasies could pass for a career.” It’s sad, funny, dark, but kind of sweet all at the same time.

To be sure, this is an album of longing. On Heavy Is As Heavy Does (5), “Among six billion people, I want the ones who never wanted me.” But maybe the standout track is Tantalus (8) a retelling of the Greek myth. Tantalus was cursed to stand in a pool of water under a fruit tree for all eternity. Whenever he bent to drink, the water would recede. Whenever he reached to grab the fruit, it would extend away from him.

In a nutshell: still plenty of drum loops, ripping saxophone, disfunctional relationships, existentialism, dark humor, and clever wordplay.

Playlist, WSUM, 2012-09-18, 6-8am

The Jesus And Mary Chain, Honey's Dead, Plain Recordings
The Jesus And Mary Chain, Honey’s Dead, Plain Recordings

Bonus Tracks:

  • All Fake Everything by Regurgitator from Super Happy Fun Times [Valve]
  • I’ve Seen Footage by Death Grips from The Money Store [Vice]
  • Geezers Need Excitement by The Streets from Original Pirate Material [Vice/Atlantic]

First Hour:

  1. The Killing Moon by Echo And The Bunnymen from Ocean Rain [Sire]
  2. The Killing Type (Radio Edit) by Amanda Palmer feat. Grand Theft Orches from Theater Is Evil [8 ft records]
  3. Kill For Love by Chromatics from Kill For Love [Italians Do It Better]
  4. Leaving Tomorrow by A Place To Bury Strangers from Worship [Dead Oceans]
  5. Reverence by The Jesus And Mary Chain from Honey’s Dead [Plain Recordings]
  6. Wish You Dead by Curve from Doppelganger [Anxious]
  7. How Blue Can You Get? by B. B. King from Live At The BBC [Geffen]
  8. Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand by Primitive Radio Gods from Rocket [Columbia]
  9. Low by Cracker from Kerosene Hat [Virgin]
  10. Alone Together by Beachwood Sparks from The Tarnished Gold [Sub Pop]
  11. What Gets You Alone by Divine Fits from A Thing Called Divine Fits [Merge]
  12. Go It Alone by Beck from Guero [Interscope]
  13. Casiotone Nation by Soul Coughing from Ruby Vroom [Warner]

Second Hour:

  1. It’s Not My Fault by Discovery from Discovery [XL]
  2. Default by Django Django from Django Django [Ribbon Music]
  3. Default by Atoms For Peace from Default (single) [XL]
  4. Pitchman by Count This Penny from Pitchman [Self-Released / Bandcamp]
  5. Kids On The Run by The Tallest Man On Earth from The Wild Hunt [Dead Oceans]
  6. Nightingales by The Walkmen from Heaven [Fat Possum]
  7. Revolving by 2:54 from 2:54 [Fat Possum]
  8. Cherokee by Cat Power from Sun [Matador]
  9. Chained by The XX from Coexist [XL]
  10. Today’s Supernatural by Animal Collective from Centipede Hz [Domino]
  11. Plumage by Menomena from Moms (Radio Edit) [Barsuk]
  12. Fingers Never Bleed by Yeasayer from Fragrant World [Secretly Canadian]
  13. Goin’ Down by The Sugar Stems from Sweet Sounds Of The Sugar Stems [Bachelor]

Upcoming Shows (in Madison, unless otherwise noted):

Review – Pet Shop Boys, Elysium, EMI/Astralwerks, 2012

Pet Shop Boys, Elysium, EMI/Astralwerks
Pet Shop Boys, Elysium, EMI/Astralwerks

Classification: Electronic
File Under: P

Artist: Pet Shop Boys
Title: Elysium
Label: EMI/Astralwerks

Recorded: 2012
Date Released: 09/05/2012
Date Received: 09/07/2012

Clean: All
Indecent: None
Play: 3-Winner, 1-Leaving, 4-Your Early Stuff, 7-Ego Music
RIYL: Junior Boys

Comments: I’m honestly trying to remember the last Pet Shop Boys album that I thought was essential, or that I really loved. Maybe it was Alternative, their B-Sides from the 90s. Maybe it was Bilingual. But it was sometime in the mid-90s that my love affair with their discography broke off. I still respected them as artists, but I just didn’t want to listen anymore. Kind of like U2 about the time Atomic Bomb came out.

So, giant step back. The Pet Shop Boys have been doing this for 31 years. They’ve sold 100 million albums. They played the freaking Olympics. Their 80s catalogue is pretty amazing, and probably earns them the right to put out whatever they want, or at least enough royalties to put out whatever they want.

Plenty of reflection on getting older: 12-Requiem in denim and leopardskin, 11-Everything means something, 10-Memory of the future. They look back on early success in 4-Your early stuff, maybe directly back to “Left to my own devices.” 7-Ego music, genuinely confuses me. I can’t decide if Neil is completely earnest here, laughing at us, or trying to make a parody of Flight Of The Conchords’ version of them (Inner City Pressure). A parody of a parody wouldn’t be beyond him. It’s probably all three, and more.

At the end of the day, PSB will probably leave the club bangers to a younger set, but this is music for the morning after, as you nurse your Monaco hangover and ask yourself if it was worth it.


Review – Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra, Theater Is Evil, 8 Foot Records, 2012


Classification: Pop / Rock
File Under: P

Artist: Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra
Title: Theater Is Evil
Label: 8 Foot Records

Recorded: 2012
Date Released: 09/11/2012
Date Received: 08/07/2012

Clean: 1, 4-14
Indecent: 2, 3, 15
Play: 4-Do it with a rockstar, 5-Want it back, 9-Lost, 13-Melody Dean
RIYL: St. Vincent, Regina Spektor, Dresden Dolls (obvs), Cabaret

Comments: You can’t just put out records or singles anymore. To make it in the music industry today, you have have give fans videos, contests, assurances via social media that you love them, exclusive content, and most of all reasons to buy your music instead of steal it. In that sense, Amanda Fucking Palmer continues to give the people what they want. This album (her second solo LP) is a culmination of relentless touring, side projects (Evelyn Evelyn) and ruling Twitter along with her husband, Neil Gaiman.

But how does it sound?

It sounds pretty great, actually. It skews poppier than her work with the Dolls, or her last album “Who Killed Amanda Palmer.” There’s still nods towards cabaret, high drama, and plenty of naked emotional confessions. Her latest videos feature plenty of actual nudity: “Want It Back” and “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” (not on this album), which shows just how much she’s willing to do to put herself out there, or at least try to get your attention.

It’s not hard to see some of the songs as modified love letters or unspoken conversations with Neil: 4-Do It With A Rockstar, 6-Grown Man Cry. 12-Massachusetts Avenue is a nice tribute to her address / Boston / whatever passes for home these days. For me, the emotional poles of the album are 9-Lost and 5-Want It Back, which center about what’s lost and what’s never really left you. There’s plenty of high drama, but I get the feeling that there’s even more raw stuff left on the cutting room floor. Who’s to say it won’t end up on the internet, or part of the next project? One thing’s for sure, after all the expectations and build up, AFP’s fans still want more. -DJWB

Playlist, WSUM, 2012-09-11, 6-8am

Conrad Plymouth, S/T, Ten Atoms
Conrad Plymouth, S/T, Ten Atoms

First Hour:

  1. I Am Not Waiting Anymore by Field Report from Field Report [Partisan]
  2. Cry Like A Ghost by Passion Pit from Gossamer [Frenchkiss/Columbia]
  3. Slivia by Miike Snow from Miike Snow [Downtown]
  4. Sylvie by Saint Etienne from Good Humour [Creation/Sub Pop]
  5. Star Of The Age by Shearwater from Animal Joy [Sub Pop]
  6. Dog Door by Sparklehorse from It’s A Wonderful Life [Capitol]
  7. Big In Japan by Tom Waits from Mule Variations [Anti]
  8. Roll Up Your Sleeves by Count This Penny from Pitchman [Self-Released / Bandcamp]
  9. Nature’s Light by Beachwood Sparks from The Tarnished Gold [Sub Pop]
  10. In The Year Of The Get You Alone by Field Report from Field Report [Partisan]
  11. Help The Aged by Pulp from This Is Hardcore [Island/Polygram]

Second Hour:

  1. Eurotrash Girl by Cracker from Kerosene Hat [Virgin]
  2. Milkshake ‘N Honey by Sleater-Kinney from All Hands On The Bad One [Kill Rock Stars]
  3. Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money) by Pet Shop Boys from Please [Parlophone]
  4. Bonnie And Clyde by Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot from Comic Strip [Island / Mercury]
  5. Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)? by Peter Starstedt from Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)? [World Pacific]
  6. Space Oddity by David Bowie from Singles [Ryko]
  7. Non Photo-Blue by Pinback from Summer In Abbadon [Touch And Go]
  8. Would That Not Be Nice by Divine Fits from A Thing Called Divine Fits [Merge]
  9. Offspring Are Blank by Dirty Projectors from Swing Lo Magellan [Domino]
  10. Lofticries by Purity Ring from Shrines [4AD]
  11. Into The Black by Chromatics from Kill For Love [Italians Do It Better]
  12. Fergus Falls by Conrad Plymouth from Conrad Plymouth [Ten Atoms]

Upcoming Shows (in Madison, unless otherwise noted):