Listening Notes, Ultra-Brief (pt. 3)


PICKS

Battles, Gloss Drop

Boy, could these guys teach their fellow NYC noise freaks Gang Gang Dance a thing or two about good art rock. For one thing, it involves distortion. And pummeling grooves. Preferably all at once. [see below]

Moby, Destroyed

His fame now faded, and no longer faking any relationship with “dance,” our hero adds his voice to a few songs here and there, leaves the heavy lifting to various female friends, and scratches his 70s electronic itch. Still has an ear for hooks – and a weakness for grandeur. 


NEAR PICKS

Lady Gaga, Born This Way

In the end, too wearying for all but marathon runners, with one anthem too many and nary a rest stop in sight. Also, her supposedly forward-looking politics may date sooner than she or her enthusiasts suspect. But pretty smart and pretty funny for the biggest superstar currently inhabiting our planet. 

Hauschka, Salon Des Amateurs

Far more varied than one might suspect from the ninth full-length release of an artist dedicated to the prepared piano. With kit drummers from the rock realm lending a hand, this takes off some from mere minimalism. But it remains a bit earthbound.

BOMBS

Gang Gang Dance, Eye Contact

Boy, could these guys learn a thing or two about good art rock from their fellow NYC noise freaks Battles. For one thing, it involves distortion. And pummeling grooves. Preferably all at once. [see above]

Owl City, All Things Bright And Beautiful

At first you think he’s got to be kidding – that this fluffy take on The Postal Service’s lighter moments must be some kind of sick joke. Then you notice how singer Adam Young chirpily enunciates lines like “I stood under the waterfall kiwi-pineapple parasol,” and figure maybe he’s just working through some personal issues. The worst thing to come out of Minnesota since Michele Bachmann.