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The Lobby | WEEKLY REPORT, 4/24/2023

Wanna see where ideas come to die hideous demises? Welcome back to the tar pit, my unnamed and unknown somehow-readers. Let’s cut the scribe diatribe and get to the fucking point.

Space Camp - Gold Star (2023, N/A)

This one was a real slog the more it progressed. It started off promising as well, with this burial ground of industrial-grade post-hardcore ready to unload a dumpster fire of sludge, synth and naysaying noise vomit out from its one-toothed mouth and into the doomed ears of its pseudo-victims. Especially the drums, too. Have you ever witnessed a slam through the eyeballs quite like that? Sweet vulgarity. Unfortunately, the vocals begin after the fact which plagues the experience for the rest of the album, only to drag you along an increasingly unimpressive inferno that is then reduced to a postering char by the time it’s all wrapped up.

The atonal studies eventually neglected still provide a good thrill, even if the human voice that desperately is grasping at the idea of not being human has something to say about it. This noisy post-hardcore curse has exhausted itself the moment it took its first breaths. It’s a god-damned shame, sham and shimmy. It ought to sober you up if you can’t stand music.

Score: 5.5/10.

Trajectory of listens past the first: neutral.

Curtis Mayfield - Curtis (1970, Curtom)

Hey, I’ve still got some catching up to do, and albums like this further motivate me to do so. Shit, this album is good at what it wants to achieve. It’s got the well-elaborated topical focuses, it’s got textures for days and percussion brilliance for a fair amount of infinities, and although the horns can be a bit sloppy in their cues, they still cannot be separated from this experience. Listen to him sing, too. I can’t expect any other singer to approach these songs as well as Mayfield could. Here’s some big moments:

  • 1) That alarm of titles that grabs the attention of whoever is near this album the moment it starts.

  • 2) Any damn time the drummer goes a little bit more insane than their cranium has the capacity for.

  • 3) That utterly beautiful switch-up in We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue, and how it twists back into its original self after such a spellbinding concoction of pure-hearted rhythm.

  • 4) Move On Up. I refuse to elaborate further.

Not much time feels wasted, and the passion in each instrument has a presence as significant as Tesla’s patents are incalculably ridiculous. Sometimes I wish the mind behind every record label had the mind that operated Curtom, which so happens to be Mayfield. There’s an urgency, melancholy, and occasional fury within this record that I wish its equally acclaimed companions obtained later on down the line.. I hope Chicago builds Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Illinois” and renames it to “Mayfield Tower” or some shit. No better place to move on up than a mile-high shard of portable concrete jungle. This remarkable little vertigo-inducing soul apparition has got a lot going for it. Don’t miss it.

Score: 7.5/10.

Trajectory of listens past the first: neutral.

Jessie Ware - What’s Your Pleasure? (2020, PMR)

I must have had a very good day. A properly dashing disco album released 40 years after the genre dug its own grave, and the album being among the best of its year? I didn’t expect things to come to this level of good, but maybe the ‘20s can somehow live up to being roaring for once. It’s utterly fluttering with details, this peacock display of disco deliriums, it’s all rife and overboard with the best synths on the market and production that’s worth as much as a generously proportioned exoplanet.

It’s got the bounce of a trampoline whose construction was led by architects from the distant future. It’ll even bounce up and down on you, just to spice things up. Yes, that’s a nod to the more sexual undertones this album has decorated itself with as if adorned by many a medallion. The drums more or less match that bounce, if not become the soul orchestrator. The bass makes for a damn good wingman at that craft too.

Just as pleasantly, it’s got the eclectic touch to it as well. So there’s gonna be multiple flavours of disco, soul and dance-pop ready to… well, let’s hope the kids ain’t around to see it. Speaking of which, the finale kicks multiple galaxies of smooth ass.

Score: 7.5/10.

Trajectory of listens past the first: positive.

Maruja - Knocknarea (2023, N/A)

Why are people spreading legs for this album? Look, we know everyone’s comparing this band to Black Country, New Road. But what we don’t see is Black Country, New Road being compared to early Long Fin Killie. And if we are to compare this to the latter, the differences would thankfully be more abundant. It’s a noticeable evolution from this sort of sound.

What it isn’t separable from is the current post-rock commonalities we seem to be witnessing. We’ve got the respectfully technical compositions that always seem to build up to something (though not in the vein of post-rock we’d already witnessed in the 2000s), the quivering and melting vocals that sound like they were recorded at least five seconds after a startlingly common mental breakdown, It even has those feelings of triumph that sound incredibly excellent in the moment. And you know what, it actually does each of those things decently. It’s the greatest 3D-printed model of what post-rock is today.

I took a listen to an earlier song by them, Rage. And it’s about as decent, but unlocks the fact that these guys have potential to hit it big.

Score: 6.5/10.

Trajectory of listens past the first: neutral.

The Drovers - Tightrope Town (1992, Taxim)

Even the greats have their stroke of “simply decent”. This album, recorded eight years after these fellas provided the logical conclusion to contemporary folk, provides all the remnants of something that used to be special, it is the white dwarf left behind. The voices remain present, but after having guided an ultramassive beast to sleep, they must tend to willing the rest of the crowd back to a slumber as well. There actually exists very little to say about this because just knowing a mere second of the careers of Kauffman and Caboor reveal that you begin thinking about everything else they did.

All the songs here are as spectacular as a blank colouring book, an empty turtle shell of guitar music from where there used to be the wisest damn turtle that was. We have all the right ingredients present, just no proper sense of making it all mesh together (let alone transforming it into previously documented magic.)

Score: 6/10.

Trajectory of listens past the first: I pray it’s positive.

Sorry for the little hiccup and drought. Just had some mental punches thrown my weary way.

  • M.


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