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Ear Whacks. Volume 2 Issue 2

Note: This was originally written in early January. I simply forgot to publish it. Oops. It now includes music from two bands that have stopped making new music. Add Kylesa to that list.

I’m going to start off by acknowledging that I take some time to totally digest releases. A metric that I like to apply for music is this: did I listen to it, enjoy it, AND THEN come back to revisit it? Did it stick in my head? Did the songs replay in my head during the day or night? Did the tracks make me think? That’s usually how I know not only was an album good but that I truly liked it. …and maybe other people will also like it. With that, let me share with you some things that have really stuck with me lately.

Iron Maiden’s Book of Souls. I was born in 1974. My entire life has been spent listening to and loving the music of Iron Maiden. There has never been a time in my life when I didn’t love Maiden. My hip-hop years? I still loved Maiden. My garage band years? Loved Maiden. Techno years? Maiden. Good times and bad times I’ve always been into Iron Maiden. Maybe over the years, Maiden has become less relevant. I can accept that (secretly, no, I can’t). But they still put out a good product. Book of Souls is no different. It’s simply a good rock and roll – metal if you will – record.

I’ve always enjoyed Youth Lagoon. I’ve found them intricate and at times inaccessible. Let’s also be honest with ourselves in that the first track we all heard and were drawn to was “Mute” from Wondrous Bughouse. Don’t lie to me. I will find out. I love the new Youth Lagoon, Savage Hills Ballroom. And by God, I better and so had you as they’re done making music. That’s a shame. It was a great project and the world is a better place for it.

Kylesa’s Exhausting Fire. I’d like to straight-up punch the so-called friends of mine who didn’t call / email/text / IM me and let me know how great Kylesa is. By the beard of Zeus, I won’t soon forgive this transgression! Exhausting Fire is the latest and it’s good. But I will say it’s probably not their best. In my opinion, Spiral Shadow and Time Will Fuse It’s Worth are two really solid releases. To be honest, I’m a fan of all of their work.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14. Shostakovich has always fascinated me. He was a fascinating musician but also an intriguing political figure in Stalin’s Soviet Union. Listen to the entire 14th. It’s worth your time.

Deerhunter’s Fading Frontier. I think Bradford Cox is fascinating. I also think he embodies much of what’s great about rock n’ roll. Most people have a moment when Deerhunter got them. My moment was the first time I heard the 10th and title track off of 2013’s “Monomania.” I loved every second of that track and still do. For me, that album opened up the rest of the Deerhunter catalog including the much-acclaimed Halycon Digest. When Fading Frontier was released, I was ready. Fading Frontier is much more accessible for the first-time listener. This isn’t a bad thing at all. Check it out and if you haven’t listened to all the other releases, get on it!

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