Chopin – Piano Sonata No.2 (Op. 35) (Grave – Doppio movimento)

Another beautiful, breezy, endlessly surprising piano piece. I don’t know who’s playing, but from the powerful expression I’d guess it’s Horowitz. The variability seems almost improvisational, but it rewards repeated listening with wonderful motifs. But listening too closely to Chopin is like studying butterflies.


Animal Collective – “In The Flowers”
Merriweather Post Pavilion

So the last thing I listened to from Animal Collective was Here Comes The Indian from 2003. Then I keep hearing about this album and the guys’ side projects and think well, what’s the harm in giving it a listen. Why didn’t anybody (other than practically every music blog and magazine) tell me it was this good? I’m very disappointed that I can’t walk down the street without being earpunched by the same goddamn Kesha song for a year straight, but somehow I haven’t accidentally heard a single Animal Collective song since I was in college. Crazy cover art here.


Set Fire To Flames – “Steal Compass/Drive North/Disappear”
Sings Reign Rebuilder

This is one of those albums with a story, which is well worth your looking up. It’s essentially some of the Godspeed crew locked into a house for a week or so playing with instruments and samples of street preachers. It’s a pretty raw affair, but there are lots of great moments and this track is one of the most accessible to the slow-build post-rock style coveted by Godspeed fans.


Laura Gibson – “Shadows On Parade”
Beasts Of Seasons

One part plaintive singer-songwriter, one part… well, no, she’s all plaintive. I think this is a bit like a female M. Ward, perhaps, but it’s not that simple. She has the poetic effect of Tiny Vipers, but a more varied palette of sounds, calling on other instruments, ambient noise, and even the occasional drum. It’s snuggling music, but that doesn’t mean it’s innocuous. (insound)


White Rabbits – “Percussion Gun”
It’s Frightening

While for much of this album, the band attempts unsuccessfully to hit a sort of Spoon vibe, but the guy’s voice is just too overwrought. On this first track, though, they mostly nail it. The up-front drums are tight, and the guitar is very Hail To The Thief. (insound)


Dirty Beaches – “Sweet 17”
Badlands EP

This music sounds like “you have to be there” music — kind of the way I loved seeing Les Savy Fav live but don’t really enjoy their albums. But I can imagine being in some hot, dark venue and having this guy just hit this demented surf groove for all he’s worth, and everyone in the place just going nuts, though they’ll be unable to recall why afterwards. (insound)


Lia Ices – “Daphne”
Grown Unknown

I still haven’t heard the rest of this album because I can’t get past this song. It’s like a hybrid of the best parts of Joanna Newsom, Bon Iver, and Fleetwood Mac. I’m not messing with you. It’s really, really good. Whoever produced this should get a medal. Also: I have no idea whether this is popular already or not. (insound)

Songs:Ohia – “Hold On Magnolia”
Magnolia Electric Co.

Long known for his stark, dark compositions using little more than guitar and his voice (such as Pyramid Electric Co.), Jason Molina really only made use of a full band starting with this album, which he later retconned, if you will, from a Songs:Ohia album to a Magnolia Electric Co. album. This, the last song, is also the best, and although the rest of the album is good, this one stands out in dusty, lonesome grandeur. (insound)


Disasterpeace – “Ensis”
Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar

Caution: chiptune. I decided to check this guy’s albums out after I saw he provided the interesting background music for the Fez trailer (and will score the game) – and it turns out he’s awesome. I don’t listen to a lot of chiptunes as a rule, but this and his previous album Level are just too awesome to pass up. They’ve got the slow-build and powerful instrumental payoff of post-rock and prog, all through this fantastic chiptune lens. “Ensis” follows a primer track (“Beta’s Brilliancy”) that sets up its massive seven-minute travels, which are equal parts Daft Punk and Mega Man. This is the original, pure product that winds up being cut with commercial productions and sold as pop music. I like mine unadulterated. (more info)