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neumu
Thursday, November 23, 2017 
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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

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I tried hard. I really did. I wanted to love the spasmodic slop that beady-eyed journos and tripped-out hipster club kids swoon over. I wanted to get all googly-eyed with my girlfriend while we let the rhythm hit us all the way into 2009. I wanted to learn the art of the glow stick and dazzle onlookers with my propeller-armed magnificence. I wanted to hear the music, grasp the irony, then offer a wry nod and a sly grin to the club gods. I wanted to giggle after coming to terms with my inherent New York-ness, a virtue that lets me "get it." I wanted to convulse, voluntarily, without pretension, only fun flagellation (fun being the operative and most deceiving word). And I wanted a brief Ecstasy binge, for good, moral measure. I wanted it all. But it was not to be. I remain unmoved.

Alas, I am but a measly record reviewer forced to attack dance albums with a worn set of headphones and no soul. There was no, nor will there be any, shimmying, slinking, shaking, rocking, funking or quaking. There was, however, boredom.

The production duo of Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy comprise The DFA, and their second compilation of danceable, occasionally electrifying, but mostly annoying post-dance-punk (multi-hyphens!) is a sprawling, overlong treat for people who dig this stuff. Obviously, I am not one of their acolytes. I recognize the complex, throbbing pulse that these men draw out of simple sounds and ideas. Pluck the bass with this finger! Keyboard stab right about now! Synth slides up and down! I also understand the reasonably inspired meta shrift of their music. This is not bad music, per se. But it kind of makes me want to vomit and/or go to sleep.

It's not all bad, and perhaps I've drawn my saber a bit too abruptly (my heart tells me I haven't, though). The sound is absolutely, resolutely clean. And there's some dynamic flow of musical ideas. Keyboards are whored to the point of exhaustion. The drums are crispier than a Nestle's commercial. The aim is true: Move your ass immediately. But there's very little emotional connection, and the songs languish in repetitive hell for six, seven, eight minutes at a time.

I actually preferred former DFA acolytes The Rapture, when they were scraggly indie rockers with chainsaw riffs and bad hair, as on their debut EP Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks. Which was an early DFA production, so go figure. The presence of reformed percussive giants Liquid Liquid is certainly welcome too, even if they've only got one of the compilation's 30 songs. That song, the wriggling-out-of-a-straitjacket manic drum attack "Bellhead," is predictably a masterpiece. And I like Murphy's side project LCD Soundsystem and their rambunctious slab of obnoxious funk "Yeah." But I don't like it three different times on three different mixes. That does seem symmetrical, considering this audacious document is a triple-decker, three discs, just begging to burn you out on boogie-rific disco pomp. The third disc is strictly remixes and new dubs — none of it essential listening. Other DFA bands (a title slowly morphing into its own lame genre), like the Juan Maclean, Pixeltan and J.O.Y., rock out with their metaphysical egos out; their contributions offer spindly grooves and uninteresting lyrics that, inevitably, have some shitty subtext no one really cares about.

Though I generally don't think about this kind of music, ever (I imagine thinking about it too much could damage necessary elements of your nervous system), I understand even less about the culture surrounding it. I am curious about this: Who buys this stuff? Aside from DJs and people who want to seem irrevocably hip, of course. It's the music of sardonically distant, socially dissociated city folk who love to dance and drink pink martinis. And if that's you, well, have at it.


by Sean Fennessey




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