HEALTH::Disco2

It’s been 42 days since it’s release and I’ve only just realised that I’d missed the boat (once again) on what, for me, is the most anticipated album of the year. It’s now been 43 days and I’ve had the chance to give HEALTH’s HEALTH::Disco 2 a proper listen.

First impressions: Fudging hell.

HEALTH have managed to do it again. They have this whole band lark completely sussed, and in three simple steps.

Step 1: Release an album that’s so messy and unconventional, yet so planned and so painstakingly orchestrated that the music world can’t help but take notice.

Step 2: Gather all your super-cool-up-and-coming-producer friends and get them to remix the album.

Step 3: Repeat.

Simple, eh? Well definitely. That is if you’re friends with genre defining bands and producers like Crystal Castles, who were virtually unknown before they remixed your song. Ok, so maybe it’s not as simple as I made out, but what has really helped HEALTH is the fact that they have maintained relations with the bands that were responsible for the truly amazing HEALTH//DISCO (Lets face it, anything with Crystal Castles on it is going to sell, particularly after the masterpiece that was (II)). Alongside remixes from a lot of new faces (Small Black, Salem, Tobacco, Javelin to name just a few), who promise to be the next Pictureplane, CFCF, and (if they’re lucky) Crystal Castles, this album looks set to follow in the footsteps of it’s predecessor; unique, innovative and essential.

HEALTH::Disco2 opens with a new song; USA Boys, which, pretty much goes against the whole purpose of a remix album. Having said this, USA Boys works. It’s reminiscent of Glitter Pills off HEALTH’s first album, with its glitch-hop beat and overly distorted synths, a recurring theme of HEALTH::Disco2.

USA Boys is followed by a CFCF remix of Before Tigers and guess what. It’s 80s a fuck. No surprise there then.

Come to think of it, there’s very little surprising about this album; we all knew it was going to be good, we all knew it would feature the likes of CFCF and Pictureplane and we all knew it would be pretty genre busting. The only real surprise is how much darker this album is compared to HEALTH//DISCO.

While HEALTH//DISCO had more 80s synths, bleeps and glitches than the Thompson Twins making sweet, sweet love to a Sega Master System, HEALTH::Disco2 begins with shoegazey, dream poppy, glitch-hop, but evolves into something much, much darker, with Crystal Castles’ remix of Eat Flesh acting as a catalyst, resulting in the second half feeling like a big grey cloud of glitchy, danceable goodness. Perhaps the only exception to this much darker half comes in the form of Pictureplanes remix of Die Slow, which pretty much conforms to the experimental, tropical house that you’d expect from Pictureplane. HEALTH::Disco2 ends on Blindoldfreak’s beautifully epic remix of Before Tigers, which is a truly amazing end to the album.

Overall, there’s not much you can fault this album for. It has everything that you’d expect from a HEALTH remix album, alongside a few little surprises. It lives up to the hype and expectation, but only just falls short of topping its older sibling. I seriously recommend downloading this album, and if you don’t already own HEALTH//DISCO, then get on that too.

Feeling.

This song has induced the weirdest feeling. A feeling I’ve not felt since the first time I heard Motion Picture Soundtrack. I don’t know if it’s a good feeling or a bad feeling. It’s the feeling of a knot in my stomach, but it’s so happy at the same time. I can’t even explain it without sounding like an emotion moron that needs to man the fuck up. It’s like something truly awful has happened yet for good reasons. Like the biggest greyest cloud with the biggest silver lining in the world. I hope you understand what I mean by this.

Peace out dood and doodettes x

Yoni Wolf…

… is an absolute genius.

One of my favourite lyricists covering a song by one of my favourite bands. It’s quite a coincidence how I found this video. It’s not very interesting but I’ll bore you with all the painful details because it’s not very often I write a blog post and this is my second one of the day.

Basically I made a massive Pavement playlist for my friend who’d never heard of them before. This is crazy, because everyone should know Pavement and these days everyone does know Pavement. NME, yes, NME even did a CD called Gold Soundz a few months back (I’d like to point out that I only know this because my mother still thinks that NME is a valid source of ‘new music’ and insists on buying it every week. I’m too cool for NME these days. I read Pitchfork and look moody in pictures on nights because I’m so arty and that trololololooo).

Anyway, back to this really pointless story (I did say I’d bore you with all the painful details), the next day, i.e. today, I was having a little debate with a different friend about Why? and which was a better song out of The Hollows and Fatalist Palmistry. Obviously Fatalist Palmistry wins.

Skip forward like an hour and I’m back on my Pavement playlist on Youtube listening to Shoot The Singer (1 sick verse), when I notice in the related videos that Yoni Wolf (the singer of Why?) had covered it.

Wow, that was a massive fucking anti climax, I just couldn’t resist another blog post that mentions how fucking awesome Pavement are. Jeez I need to stop saying ‘fucking’ in my blogs. Or else the blog police will be on my back.

Anyway, to conclude, Yoni Wolf is an absolute genius.

Peace out dooooods x

*EDIT*

I thought I’d explain why I prefer Fatalist Palmistry to The Hollows.

As much as I love The Hollows, Fatalist Palmistry reminds me of a really specific time in life. It was the first song I played when I left home. I had just moved into my university halls of residence and my Mother had just left. I put this song on, lit a cigarette, laid on my bed and cried. I’ve never been so scared, happy, excited and sad. It’s pretty lame but it’s just one of those songs that’s always going to stick with me. I love it.

Dad there’s a little phrase called too much information…

I have little to say. I’m too tired. I have no energy. But on the plus side, I’ve discovered three bands/artists that I really, really like. I’m definitely going to look into these three in more depth and then maybe I’ll be able to write something a lot more worthwhile.

Out Hud.

Joe And Will Ask?

Joanna Newsom

I saved the best ’til last. I literally cannot get enough of this song. Beautiful.

“look at something you see everyday and notice something you haven’t”…

…Is definitely the way life should be lived. I’d never heard that saying before today, but it’s definitely something I’m going to try and do.

It’s been far too long since I’ve written anything and I completely gave up on the epic task of trying to sum up a whole academic year through the medium of album reviews. I’ve been mega busy doing literally nothing over the last month, but still not had time to fit in a blog post. Writing this, I’ve kind of realised that the reason for not writing a blog post is the fact that I’ve not anything to write about.

Musically, it’s all about House for me right now. I can’t get enough of it. Fidgety House, Minimal House, Tech House, Tribal House, I love it all. Having said this, I recently discovered a band called Cymbals Eat Guitars. “Fuck me you’ve missed the boat on them” I hear you say. Well this is partially correct. I’ve had their album on my laptop for months, but I never really got into them until I heard this song:

I just love how happy it is. I love the cheery up beat melodies and clean neat guitars juxtaposed against Pavement-esque sloppy, seemingly ramdom note hitting with way too much distortion. In other words, this song has reminded me that there is a lot more to music than House.

Back to House (although more “electro/techno/disco”) music, I’m currently promoting/being general bitch for this wonderfully amazing night in Sheffield called Club Pony. If you’ve never been you need to go. I’m not saying this because I’m being paid for it and I’m not saying it because it’s going to get me 10 Pony Points (ok, partially for the Pony Points), I’m saying this because I genuinely love this night. The music, the ethos and the fucking cheap Jager.

Peace out Dood and Doodettes! x

Year 2

I finished my second year of university the Friday before last and I’ve spent the last week trying to thing of some worthwhile way of summing it up.  It’s been an odd year; I don’t really know if it’s been the best year or the worst year of my life. Academically it’s been one of the worst, and socially it’s been one of the best. I guess that’s the best way of putting it.

I’ve learnt that I shouldn’t have gone straight to university, however, I only learnt that by going to university, so I don’t regret it for one second. If I’d not have gone straight to university, I can guarantee I would be working fulltime in Wilko’s on Vicar Lane, or maybe one of the other great retail opportunities Chesterfield has to offer (Have you seen the poundland they just opened?). The only upside to this that I can think of is not being in the dire financial situation I currently find myself in.

I really enjoyed writing the Desert Island Discs blog, so I’ve decided that the best way to sum up this academic year is in terms of albums. This post is going to be a log of all the albums that have defined my year, that have defined my seemingly ever-evolving taste in music and that have generally been played to death over the last ten months.

September: Valerie and Friends – Various Artists

Before I heard Valerie and Friends, it was all about electro, and very little else. This album is definitely the reason why I got into French House and thus the catalyst for all the ‘Sick French House’ jokes that I became the butt of.

Everything about this album is so unbelievably cool. The artwork, produced by The Zonders, perfectly sums up the album: 80s as fuck – but in a ‘I’m going to drive my Ferrari Testarossa along the beach on the way to pick up my pastel suit from the drycleaner’s kind of way. Which, let’s be honest, is a lot cooler than the ‘I’m going to drive my Renault 5 along this field to work, oh no, she closed the mines and now poor little Joel is going to have live of bread and dripping.’ that we had in Britain.

October: HEALTH//DISCO – HEALTH

There was quite a natural transition from Valerie and Friends to HEALTH//DISCO, mainly due to CFCF’s remix of Triceratops, which sounds like ABC having a naughty dream about a Casiotone making love to a NES. This album had been around for a good few years, but I’d completely forgotten about it, despite being a fairly big fan of HEALTH. I don’t know what reminded me about this album or what lead me to download it, but it was one of the best things I’ve done this year.

HEALTH//DISCO opens with Acid Girls’ ‘Remix A’ of Triceratops, which at first sounds like the laziest remix since Skream’s version of In For The Kill. However, just when you’re about to skip track, it turns, and you’re bombarded with glitchy, fidgety, noise. The album rarely strays away from this formula of pretty sparse sounding intros, which evolve into manic assaults on the eardrums, but this is a formula that works. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

This is when things get a bit tricky. I can’t really think of a stand out album for November (or December, January and February for that matter), as this is when I pretty much stopped downloaded albums and started listening to nothing but Dubstep on Youtube. Being an absolute genius, I’ve realised that I can sort albums by date added on iTunes. So from this, I’ve worked out what my album for November is… (drum roll please)

November: Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? – Of Montreal

This seems like quite an odd choice for an album considering this was the time I stopped casually listening to Dubstep and started to become obsessed with it. However, looking back, I was pretty obsessed with this album too (like 477 plays across the whole album). The first track off Hissing Fauna that I heard (excluding the 10 seconds of Gronlandic Edit that I had heard on Girl Talk’s Feed the Animals) was the almost hypnotically repetitive The Past is a Grotesque Animal and this is definitely my favourite. Although, I’m not too big on this album anymore, which is definitely due to overplaying it, I would still say this album is genius. Hissing Fauna somehow manages to sound suspiciously like Bowie, The Bealtes and The Cure all at once, whilst still sounding distinctly like Of Montreal.

This album reminds me of me when my week consisted of staying at Bito’s house for about 4 nights in a row, then going home for the next three. As much fun as it was at the time, I’ve realised that I was just wasting life on weed. I stopped going out and I started to miss lecturers. I know I’m not the best at life, but I think this was when I was at my worst.

December: The Lay Of The Land; The Turn Of The Tide – OX.EALGE.LION.MAN

Despite being a fan their front man’s former band, Les Incompetents, I’d first heard OX.EAGLE.LION.MAN when I saw them support Lightspeed Champion in 2007. Back then OX.EAGLE.LION.MAN had no album, just Motherhood/Fatherhood and few really bad recordings on their Myspace and within a few months I’d completely forgotten about them. Somewhere between 2007 and December 2009, they’d released The Lay Of The Land; The Turn Of The Tide, an album that I’d stumbled upon when searching Spotify after finding a mix tape I’d made for my Mother, which contained the song The Drowned And The Saved. I can’t really describe this album as anything other than bleak, in the best possible sense of the word. It’s melodic yet dark, progressive, eerie and musically wonderful. I think of big black clouds when I think of this album, but again, in the best way possible.

Insufficient funds

I have a fiver in my pocket and about £3.00 in tens and twenties on my shelf. It’s got to the point where I’m waiting for my birthday cheques to clear so I can afford the train home for the summer.

Those of you who avidly read B20xS40 (Turan Hall?) will recall that I said I’d be doing weekly Spotify playlists; well that idea went to shit way before my hiatus-inducing-hissy-fit.

So now I’ve decided to get back on the playlists. Originally I said that I’d have a theme for every playlist, but I really couldn’t think of anything worthwhile so I’ve just decided to make this a playlist of what I’m really into at the moment.

I guess it’s quite a coincidence that I’m absolutely skint and I’ve been bumming the fuck out of Eddy Current Suppression Ring of late. It’s as if Insufficient Funds was made to be the opener for this playlist.

Playlist: B20xS40.2 – Insufficient Funds

Tracklist for those without Spotify:

1. Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Insufficient Funds
2. The Third Bardo – Five Years Ahead Of My Time
3. The Seeds – Pushin’ Too Hard
4 . Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Butt-House Blondies
5. Memory Cassette – Surfin’
6. Washed Out – Feel It All Around
7. CFCF – Raining Patterns

Somehow I’ve managed to get from Australian Garage to French(-Canadian) House via 60s Psychedelia in 7 songs, but I think/hope it works.

—————————–

In other news, I’ve recently found out that Echo and the Bunnymen are playing Tramlines festival this year. This means, that with their Benicassim appearance, I’ll being seeing them twice this summer.

Just when I thought that things couldn’t get any better, I’m informed that Crystal Castles and HEALTH are touring.

I saw HEALTH a while back, but I was ill so it kind of put a downer on the whole thing. I was so gutted and kind of regretted not getting involved; I spent the gig stood there tapping my foot as if it was your typical mundane local band. But no, it was HEALTH. HEALTH. As you can imagine, I’m pretty fucking happy that I’m going to see them again, especially as they rarely play outside the US.

On a slightly unrelated note, how good is Crystal Castles’ new album? Very.

Peace out x