Welcome to "Nothing Not New," a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.
Title: Falling Down a Mountain
Release date: February 16, 2010
Hey, check it out, everybody: I wrote the music feature
in this week's print edition of New Times
. It's about this project, it's got a cool illustration by NT
art director Peter Storch, and it contains a challenge to you, the reader.
It's a been a week of underwhelming music -- not in terms of quality, but certainly in terms of adrenaline. I need a jolt of musical excitement. Even hearing the new Tindersticks, a band I consider capable of making excellent music and whose new record, Falling Down a Mountain, is definitely good, didn't deliver that jolt.
Maybe it's the list of new releases I'm working from. I retrieved the list from Pitchfork.com, probably the biggest tastemaker in indie rock. But, really, when you look at the bands on the PItchfork list, how much rock to do you really see? Sure, there are a handful of acts that rock: Priestess, Los Campesinos!, Soft Pack, Pierced Arrows, a couple more. But there's a lot of cuddly pop, folky singer-songwriter stuff, and electronic music on the list, some of it very good.
If you've got some suggestions for real rock 'n' roll released in 2010, let me hear 'em. Because, like I said, I need a shot of rock.
One band that does not really rock but is nothing short of excellent is Tindersticks. Coming off as a bunch of high-brow, pop-music intellectuals, Tindersticks takes a canvas of American rock-and-soul idioms and paints over it with a decidedly European and eclectic colors. And it works to great effect, from the opening track's straightened-out "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" feel to Motown-via-Oxford pop of "Harmony Around My Table" to the Stones-meets-VU swagger of "Black Smoke."
Best song: The aforementioned "Black Smoke" and "No Place So Alone," in which the singer describes a too-cool house guest as "whiskeying up my air." Great.
Deja vu: The last record you play while drunkenly picking up the house after the last guest has left your party.
I'd rather listen to: In 2010? Not much else.
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