Annette Peacock was an anomaly to begin with. From the start of her career, the artist took a conceptualized approach to her music so extreme she was left marginalized on the outskirts of an otherwise thriving musical culture. It wasn’t such a bad place to be as Peacock often took stock from an observational distance, pulling from the necessary influences of popular music that would help to ground her in the public’s conscience and, yet, still allow her to indulge in the more personal explorations of her multi-layered art. One of the very first artists to experiment with the Moog, a groundbreaking piece of technology that helped to give birth to electronic music, the artist created soundscapes that were unheard of. True to her name, Peacock was an odd bird.
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I cannot stop listening to DIIV’s Oshin. At all. The album is on an endless loop at my home. My wife is about to throw out our stereo system. Either that, or she is about to throw me out. If she does the latter, I can only hope that she’ll allow me to take my DIIV record to the local Best Western. Given that she’s tired of listening to it, I’m quite sure she’ll do that.
I heard about DIIV when they made a tiny splash back in June 2012, right when Oshin was released. Despite gobbling up much of the assorted goodness that Captured Tracks, the band’s label, has released, I didn’t immediately purchase the record or listen to it online. Then, in September 2012, I went to see Wild Nothing at Washington, DC’s Rock and Roll Hotel. DIIV and Blonds opened. All three bands were great, but DIIV had me at “Past Lives”. They completed me.
Hidden Orchestra prefer to let the music speak for itself. Suffice to say, they’re an electronic jazz collective based in Edinburgh, and the follow up to their critcally acclaimed Night Moves is even less relaint on vocals. As the double A-side for their new album Archipelago indicates, however, their music is likely to leave discerning listeners speechless too. Also see the great interview Hidden Orchestra in Plain Sight.
After a period of somewhat taking Sugar for granted, the recent remastered editions of its albums have been a forceful reminder of how stunning Bob Mould’s post-Hüsker Dü band is to me. Though he lacked Grant Hart as a songwriting foil, Mould’s laser-hot focus in his Sugar work never makes me want for someone to come in and help pick up the slack. Sugar’s 1992 debut Copper Blue has always been a favorite, and ever since the deluxe edition hit it’s been receiving considerable renewed attention via my iPod.
When we previously looked at the new material coming out of Jonna Lee’s iamamiwhoami project, we found that her synth side project had evolved from experimental film whodunnit into something much more succinct, poppy, and remarkably catchy. “Goods” was the final track off of Kin, iamamiwhoami’s first official album, and it was funky, emotive, and really, really fun. We called it “The Most Inexplicable Song of the Summer Candidate You’re Ever Gonna Hear”, and even now, that statement still stands.
Yet diving deeper into Kin reveals just how well constructed and multifaceted this project is. After several listens, the whole thing begins to feel like the best Bjork album that Bjork never made: sonically daring without sacrificing song structure or emotive impact. The songs are very good and the corresponding film for the disc (feature wild choreographed numbers with a bunch of mop/Wookie creatures) is a miniature epic in its own right; but at the end of the day, there is one other track that stands out strongly from the rest.