There's so much new music out there! And so much old music too! Sometimes bands that made a lot of old music do this thing where they make new music too! Like, sure, Lil' Yachty has a new album out. But it's 20-tracks long and no one's really got time for that. Spotify is wack.
Wavves: You're Welcome (Ghost Ramp)
This guy, let's call him douchy hair-cut, he's the editor of the music desk at this college rag I'm occasionally, dripping some of my '90s alt-rock sage wisdom onto when I feel like it. Some art student, probably thinks every guy who's ever held a guitar or a camera is a Da Vinci-level piece of work, yada yada. Anyway, kind of guy who wants you to think he's so chill, until you ask if you can hob some CMJ coverage from him (remember when that was a thing?). Anyway, douchy hair-cut, so chill-he-can't-possibly-have-bad-vibes-about-anything, had one rule: only he could review the new Wavves album. Nathan Williams was up to number V back then and douchy hair-cut had some thoughts he just had to drop. Douchy hair-cut got Williams, how his songs straddled the line between being "a sticky, catchy hit or a lethargic, forgettable affair." He had observations, too; V, for instance, possessed the "youngest feel of any Wavves album since King of the Beach" and also was, for some reason, "their most truthful record in years." The hell any of this means is beyond me.
Well, Williams is back. You're Welcome, Williams' six album as/with Wavves, isn't coming with any of the Grand Theft Auto-placement, features with Big Boi from OutKast, or even any P4k banner ads. The choice is deliberate and not. "They didn't understand what I was trying to do," Williams told DIY w/r/t his decision to abscond with the whole major label thing, "Who over there would even fucking know what to do with a guy like me?" Then again, people abruptly stopping giving a shit about the band sometime in the midst of time after King of the Beach and when he broke up with that Best Coast chick. Speaking of which: while Bethany Cosentino is off touring with the newly hip Paramore while Williams just finished swinging a few dates with what's left of Blink-182 and The Naked and Famous. Yeah, that band.
Wavves are back.
But the sound. Was is also truthful? A title like You're Welcome suggests cockiness from the man once famous for singing about how much he hates himself. "I got enemies, a million enemies," he chants over wonky indie pop synths, "But baby, and I'm feeling fine." Is he though? Now that nobody cares, is Nathan Williams finally a happy camper? "Paradise is lost/Now i just pray to live long." Fair enough. Most of the album is pretty crap but a few vintage noise-pop numbers ("Daisy," "Hollowed Out") sparkle in the midst. Midway through, I close my eyes and listen to this terrible interlude or carnival sample that pops on somewhere in the album. Somewhere in the world, douchy hair-cut is calling it "experimental" and "breaking out of his sound." Not really, though.
!!!: Shake the Shudder (Warp)
Some people think LCD Soundsystem are the shit. More in-depth sophisticates of the New York dance-punk scene will tell you bands like The Rapture or the totally-forgotton dinos called The Faint were where the real hot flows were happening. There was also, like, this one band called The Bravery who mercifully passed away when their frontman hoofed it to LA and their drummer went off to tour with Weezer. True acolytes of the really deep shit will, however, remember !!!, the band who was blasting uncool mayors of New York City before it was cool.
But what do you know, !!! have released no less than three full-length whole thangs in the years since James Murphy declared that all dancing in fashionable clothing was dead. By the time the latest of these, Shake the Shudder, was spun out on Warp last week (didya even know they were on Warp?), they've grown full-on disco balls. Donna Summers ain't no ironic DJ name no more, boys: "Dancing is the Best Revenge" and long-suffering frontman Nic Offer knows it. Offer started out, it bears reminding, in an mid-90s instrumentalist clanging unit that released albums on experimental Chicago labels, not sharing real and musical real estate with Hudson Mohawke.
So, Shake the Shudder brings us the sweet disco stuff of '78 and not the noise of '79. Hell, on "Dancing..." we hear his bratty snarl sung uptempo and the credits tell us he's made a whole feminine alter-ego for himself. Elsewhere, fellow band member Rafael Cohen brings his daughter to samba in the background. Now imagine if James Murp. dumped the misanthrope 'tude and just tried to have fun.
Andrew Karpan has a doctorate in musical criticism from the University of Upman. You can find out so much more by following him on Twitter, already.