By: Andrew McNallyColumnist
Lesbian Poetry - Batman Smells Grade: A- I told myself I wouldn’t review any Christmas music, but I couldn’t pass up an Xmas treat from Lesbian Poetry. Iowa’s wickedly lo-fi singer-songwriter blends classics like “White Christmas” and “Feliz Navidad” with new songs like “Eggnog and Beer” and a two part track called “I Didn’t Get You Anything For Christmas.” The original lyrics bounce between heavy and humorous, ending in a very intentionally jumbled and ever so brief album. The album is rarely more than vocals and acoustic guitar, like an early Mountain Goats, if John Darnielle ever gave a second thought to Christmas. Find it on Bandcamp!
If You Like: Mountain Goats, Andrew Jackson Jihad
Scott Walkers- Bish Bosch Grade: B Scott Walker doesn’t want to play by the rules. The avant-garde singer got his start blending Sinatra and Lou Reed before the latter was even recording. And he’s only gotten weirder. “Bish Bosch” features his almost vampire-ish baritone voice telling winding stories. Nearly every track, including a 21-minute odyssey, is a compilation of vignettes with Walker singing a line or two before the instrumentation completely changes. “Bish Bosch” is an incredibly inaccessible album, one not for the casual listener. Its haunting nature and marathon length will leave you scratching your head. But yet, it’s gripping.
If You Like: John Cale, Nico
Memory Tapes- Grace/Confussion Grade: C The attributed founder of chill wave, Memory Tapes’ third album “Grace/Confusion” might have the most accurate album title of the year. The album is only six tracks and roughly 40 minutes, but it hits a lot of highs and lows. It has a general feel of transient and airy dance music, with occasional guitars and vocals. The eight-minute “Sheila” is the high point, as the song suddenly pushes the volume up halfway through a massive tonal shift. But much of the album falls into a confused and boring mess of easy rhythms that you’ve already heard in clubs.
If You Like: Holy Ghost!, Toro Y Moi