October 30, 2010

halloween is for suckers... and other treats

Last Halloween I posted a list of albums that celebrate the dark spirit of a holiday I don't much care for. It turned out to be a weirdly successful way of attracting hits. Apparently Massive Attack's Mezzanine has a lot of fans. I'm glad I could help.

I'm not a huge fan of Halloween, mostly for reasons having to do with my own laziness, but I can at least appreciate the spirit of a holiday that revels in the shadows. Perhaps if I still had my parents around to help me with my costume, Halloween parties wouldn't be prefaced by so much dread. I haven't had a decent costume in years. Perhaps this year will be different.

While I'm figuring out what to wear here's what I'll be listening to:

The Smiths - The Smiths
Since moving, it seems I've rediscovered this album and, while I've always held The Queen is Dead in highest regard, the Smith's debut keeps getting better each time I put it on. It may not have "Bigmouth Strikes Again" or "There is a Light that Never Goes Out" but The Smiths more than makes up for it. Instead we have the immature swagger of "This Charming Man," the narcissistic apathy of "Still Ill," and that infectious harmonica line in the erotic "Hand in Glove." Morrisey flaunts himself but its his awareness of audacity that his persona so compelling. It's the final song that gets me though. "Suffer Little Children," which is reportedly about Manchester's notorious Moors murders, is as haunting as anything in the Smiths' catalogue.

Future Islands - In Evening Air (Thrill Jockey)
Imagine a frontman as charismatic and weird as the Pixies' Frank Black backed by a band as dark and industrial as Joy Division. Combine that with upbeat electro-pop and you have some idea of Future Islands' sound. Released this summer, In Evening Air is at once unsettling and danceable, crass and cryptic.

Warpaint - The Fool (Rough Trade)
Released this past week, Warpaint's debut rocks hard but delicately. Unfortunately it's already getting a slew of erroneously mediocre reviews. On The Fool layers of disenchanted vocals (to my mind, reminiscent of Cat Power) are set against a heavily grunge-inspired background. The result sounds like it could have been crafted in the early 90s, but I'm always happy to hear someone using tremolo guitar settings.

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