Maserati – “Pyramid Of The Sun”
Pyramid Of The Sun

While it’s not actually the opening track (there’s a sort of atmospheric synth intro, “Who Can Find The Beast?”), it has all the characteristics of an opening track — and a damned good one, too. In fact, for the first minute and a half, it’s one of the strongest opening tracks I’ve heard in a long time (the alternate take, “Pyramid Of The Moon,” is more raw but missing that fantastic call-and-response). Their form of spacey instrumental rock is shown off to good effect, but then they kind of lost track of it and twiddle when they should have whaled. Still a great album, though, especially the last two tracks. (temporary residence)

Growing – “Fancy Period”
Color Wheel

A departure from Growing’s usual deafening soundscapes, “Fancy Period” contains more movements than some of their entire albums… which isn’t saying much, but still. It’s a beautiful and hypnotic 12 minutes.


Matmos – “Regicide”
The Civil War

Sonically disorientating and endlessly varied, The opening track of The Civil War is the whole album in miniature. Baffling instrumentation, punchy beats, and unforgiving noise crossed with delicate harmony, and that playful weirdness that seems to permeate every track Matmos has ever made. Must-listen.


Tarentel – “Bump Past, Cut Through Windows”
We Move Through Weather

When this album came out, I couldn’t bear to listen to it because it was so different from their previous work. Noise collage, tape loops, all kinds of weird stuff — a stark contrast to the lean, extended post-rock fantasies of From Bone To Satellite. But years later, after giving it a few more listens, it started to come together, particularly the last four tracks. They never arrive at the tension levels of even the opening notes of, say, “Ursa Major, Ursa Minor,” but they have a mysterious power entirely new and entirely different from Tarentel original flavor. (insound)


Denali – “Nullaby”
The Instinct

This whole album plays like a tribute to the lead singer’s incredible pipes. She has a voice like a clarion, clear without being shrill, and with a really lovely control over vibrato that gives every high note an excellent wavering coda. The songwriting isn’t stellar, but the arrangements are quite good, the playing is solid, and of course this chick’s voice is something else. (insound)


Cat Power – “Good Woman”
You Are Free

I originally thought “Free” was the best track off this classic album, but I’ve since changed my mind to the much more beautiful and traditional “Good Woman.” This is the kind of song that lives forever – it feels as if it might have been written at any time in the last hundred years. (insound)


The Delgados – “All You Need Is Hate”

Satire? Or is there more truth here than we’d like to believe? Either way, it’s a great song, the standout from an interesting but grossly overproduced album.


DJ Food – “The Riff”

This fun album comes via Ninja Tune, a label I listened to almost exclusively for a few months. DJ Food is a talented sound collage artist, and while this track isn’t really the most representative, it is one of the more original-sounding. Very fun, very frenetic. (Ninja Tune)


Rachel’s – “The Mysterious Disappearance Of Louis Leprince”

Another track from the only Rachel’s record I’ve really ever listened to. This is the other standout from this album, the one that was playing when I decided I must have this record. I wasn’t familiar with post-rock, modern chamber music, or really anything at all when I heard it, so it struck me as completely original then, and while it’s lost some of its mystery to more mysterious artists, it’s notable in my life as one of the songs that got me listening to lots and lots of other things.

Growing – “In The Shadow Of The Mountain”
His Return

Growing’s monolithic soundscapes aren’t for everyone, but for those who can handle them, they’re transportive. There’s little that can be said by way of description. Their songs are less like songs, and more like little worlds you inhabit for ten or fifteen minutes at a time.