Welcome to Check Your Mode

The all-inclusive, ever-changing, and uncomfortably flexible guide to all things music in the 2010's.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Couldawouldashoulda: May 2011

Hello all and welcome to the May 2011 installment of Couldawouldashoulda, where I rattle off the five albums that just barely didn’t make the cut for my top 50 albums of 2011. You may have noticed that I neglected to make a Couldawouldashoulda for April, and this was because I had finals and put off blogging during that time. So, making up for that, here are the April Couldawouldashoulda’s described briefly using clever burger metaphors.

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light Pt. 1

Shit that burger took FOREVER to eat. Could have used more seasoning, though. Or any condiments. Or a bun for that matter. Now that I mention I, they just basically gave me a big plate of boneless ribs. Still good though.

Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise

Listen, this is good, but I’ve been to a lot of burger joints recently that have made a similar burger much better.

The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh

Are you sure I ate this burger? It looks nice on the menu, but I don’t remember eating it. I feel full though. And a little sleepy.

Toro Y Moi – Underneath the Pine

Alright, this burger is slightly more thought out than the last one they gave me, but a dry burger’s a dry burger, dude. I’ll pass.

Within Temptation – The Unforgiving

I’m liking it, but did they have to put so much cheese on it? Why does this burger have so much cheese on it?

And that’s that. Here are the Couldawouldashoulda’s for May 2011:

Big K.R.I.T. – Return of 4Eva

Original Review Here

While still great, Return of 4Eva was hardly the masterpiece I was expecting after last year’s debut, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. The album certainly shows K.R.I.T.’s craft maturing, but I don’t think that necessarily warrants him completely disavowing the wildly successful cheap thrills of his past like K.R.I.T. Wuz Here’s summer smash, “County Shit”. I wanted to hail Return of 4Eva as K.R.I.T.’s magnum opus as much as the next guy (and apparently every publication that has reviewed it), but I simply cannot bring myself to do it. It’s just an above average rap album.

Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972

Original Review Here

In which Paul attempts to parse meaning from distant piano melodies and simmering atmospherics. Tim Hecker’s seventh album is great fun if you like to watch your own house burn down; it’s fraught with haunting ambient textures and bits of cacophony are sprinkled in like walnut pieces in grandma’s famous pumpkin bread. As a listening experience, though, Ravedeath 1972 does an excellent job of conveying terror brewing just over the horizon if not the apocalyptic undertones other critics have cited. Sometimes, the album finds itself on the wrong side of my tumultuous relationship with ambient music, but it’s worth your time nonetheless.

Thursday –No Devolución

Alright well this was going to have to come out eventually. You will not find a review of Thursday’s seventh album, No Devolución, on Check Your Mode because I forgot to take notes on it and a couple other albums. I rated them but, like a moron, I completely forgot to do anything with them. So as a primer, here are the albums I have overlooked:

The Skull Defekts – Peer Amid

Magic Pie – The Suffering Joy

Panda Bear – Tomboy (probably the most notable of the three)

Sorry about that. Anyway, No Devolución shows the New Jersey sextet (?) taking a centrist approach to their post-hardcore sound. While that’s admirable, I find myself counting far too many missed opportunities on the album as a result of this compulsion for balance. When the group goes positively apeshit in the three choruses of “Past and Furious Ruins” with distorted screams and jagged riffs, it almost feels like a fever dream, because it leaves as quickly as it arrived, the group pretending it didn’t just sonically kick you in the face as they go into the soft tumble of the verses. There aren’t nearly enough moments like that on No Devolución. While it’s a great album regardless, I would suggest the group bring out the chains and whips next time around...

Sic Alps – Napa Asylum

Original Review Here

For what should have been an unremarkable lo-fi record, Napa Asylum has had legs since its late January release. The San Francisco group’s third album is just a collection of two-minute guitar pop exercises. The chorus of “Eat Happy” literally goes, “Eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat eat happy,” for example and yet it is captivating in ways that will make you feel ashamed of yourself. The album’s so simple you’d almost wish it would just go away, but it has adamantly refused, and I must say it makes a rather convincing case for itself. Alright Napa Asylum, we’re cool. Just don’t drink all my Pib, OK?

Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges

Original Review Here

Pretty elaborate title for an album that’s basically a guy wrestling with a saxophone for an hour. Pretty prophetic Laurie Anderson poetry for an album that’s namesake doesn’t speak a word. Is New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges overblown? You’d think so, but it actually earns every one of its elitist signifiers because Colin Stetson can play a bass saxophone like he’s giving birth to a heaving, enchanting demon. At least with his instrument, Colin Stetson has conceived a masterpiece that warrants all the artsy bullshit that comes with it, the placental nourishment if you will for that festering brilliance kept in Stetson’s utero for what feels like centuries. These graphic birth metaphors doing anything for ya? No matter. Get this album, because, if you don’t, you may need an epidural for the pain you’ll endure for not forgiving yourself.


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