New Plastic Ideas - week of Nov 15, 2012

Forgive me if this week’s selections come off as a bit self-indulgent, but it’s not every week that four different artists that I’ve been musically obsessed with at some point over the last decade happen to be releasing new albums.

My teenage self is swooning with the release of the self-titled debut LP from Forgetters, a.k.a. the current musical project of Blake Schwarzenbach (Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil). Way back when Jawbreaker was still active, Schwarzenbach once commented that Dear You’s followup would possibly be titled Tenth Listen, after the idea that his favourite music doesn’t reveal itself all at once (roughly paraphrased). Forgetters isn’t Jawbreaker, but some of the huge, noisy swathes of guitar on this album recall the density of Dear You’s heavier moments, so the Tenth Listen comparison strikes me as apt, except Schwarzenbach is now older and a professor of English, so there are less cloying songs about the world being an oyster and more world-weary heaviness to search through for those glimmers of romanticism he nails so well.

Smart Bar — Chicago 1985 is a new live record from Sonic Youth, which nicely documents a visceral set from the band with its then-new drummer, Steve Shelley, in tow. Lots of Bad Moon Rising and Kill Yr Idols-era material here, as well as early glimpses at some material that would be on EVOL, all run through the live-energy grinder — tracks that are ghostly and ethereal on record are immediate and bracing here. Nice!

Brooklyn experimental rock heads Oneida also have a new album out called A List of the Burning Mountains. “Rock” is a bit of a misnomer here as Oneida doesn’t really make “songs” anymore, but the two side-length pieces on Burning Mountains carry themselves with plenty of textural weight — I’d say this is closer to a drone album than anything, but with the always propulsive Kid Millions on drums, that would be inaccurate as well. As far as contemporary experimental/psych rock goes, however, albums like this one are why Oneida remain on the top of the heap, so I’m recommending this one to everybody.

My favourite yelping post-punk guitarist-turned-globe-trotting house producer, Daniel Martin-McCormick, also has a new record out this week in the form of Dream On — the second Ital LP that Planet Mu has released this year. The more dynamic, occasionally noise-braised textures explored on tracks like “Enrique” and “Despot” really help to make Dream On an engrossing listen in a way that is slightly different than the more paranoid atmospheres conjured on Hive Mind. Taken together, both albums show considerable growth and compositional poise — if Hive Mind left one wary of Martin-McCormick’s house credentials, Dream On proves he isn’t just dabbling in it. The single “Boi” is pretty obnoxious but I find myself returning to the rest of the album quite a bit, especially the fun live edit of “Deep Cut.”

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