Bonnie "Prince" Billy: Lie Down in the Light
Not prone to use such vocab, but this is Will Oldham's "best" album, his "masterpiece," my "album of the year." Call it the polar opposite to what's often considered his most fully-realized work, I See A Darkness, full of life and light. In making such a proclamation though, it's difficult to pinpoint just what it is about this album. He's audibly happy and in love, and for some reason, that's led to song structuring that feels perfected yet not strained. Of course, he said-she said dialogues are present, as is his ever-present naturalism.
Rather than the "first thought, best thought" in his approach in the studio, it seems like there's a place for everything here, be it a clarinet or a guitar tone right out of "Rock'n'Roll." The best example I can conjure off the top of my head occurs on "So Everyone," which seems at first like its chords are based upon Fred Neil's "The Dolphins." But whereas that song was world-weary, finding solace not in another human being but in submerging that pain in the animal kingdom, here Oldham finds his peace in his betrothed. That it's a blowjob song appropriate enough to play at a wedding reception is just the cherry on top.
A few months back, listening to a promo of the new Boris album, I kept being struck by the "rupture" inherent in its sonics. That is, until I paid enough attention to realize that it was just an edited, truncated promo. Such rupture is instead best put on display here: re-vitalizing a decade-dormant career only to riddle their telltale sound with shards of ancient synthesizers and drum pads. Or else plunking in an homage to The Jerk that endearingly --albeit wholly-- derails the album's momentum. Recurdling sour times only to leave listeners in an ice-bath. Laid flat by the appearance of "Threads" (which could totally be covered by Sunn O))) ), I kept hearing behind Beth Gibbons's mewl this hole where a man's voice could've been harmonizing. That is, until I realized the hole was in fact a man's howl. I think it clenches into that Morricone-esque yip nearer the end, but I'm always so unsure.
Erykah Badu: New Amerykah Part One
It'd be easy to say that Erykah's been getting her daily dose of Parliament/ Funkadelic, but then I thought that maybe she's just watching Spongebob with her kids and getting all those tweaked voices from there instead. But much like Bill's paternal turn in Kill Bill, Erykah also weans her kids on kung-fu matinee, too. A true pothead's album: indulgent, meandering, prone to lean and headnod, super-paranoid, silly, messy, weirdly anal retentive, knee-deep in dusty funk, apocalyptic.
Lindstrøm: Where You Go I Go Too
As I stated on the I Love Music message board, this is the Ys of Neo-Disco, every bit as expansive and endgame for its respective musical subgenre, save HP's effort is Jacuzzi-warm instead of chilly.
Blues Control: Puff
Toumani Diabaté: The Mandé Variations
Earth: The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull
Low Motion Disco: Keep It Slow
Daniele Baldelli and Marco Dionig: Cosmic Disco?! Nah...Cosmic Rock!!!