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Ear Whacks Volume 2 Issue 3

Below is a rundown of what I've been listening to and enjoying lately. It's just a sample of the things that jump out the most.

The Jam. I was fairly young when The Jam were in their prime. Much of their music I simply missed due to my age. I re-familiarized myself with them years later when Paul Weller was releasing his solo work. Right now I’m enjoying “Sound Effects” (1980). “This is the Modern World” (1977) is mighty solid as well. Their first five albums were good which says something. Go listen and enjoy for yourself.

PJ Harvey has been so incredibly fun to watch and listen to all these years. The latest, titled “The Hope Six Demolition Project”, is another good offering in a long line of good music. The critical reviews have been mostly positive for the release and I generally agree with them. Whereas 2011’s “Let England Shake” was more focused on Britain’s place in the modern, war-on-terror world, “THSDP” addresses PJ Harvey’s vision of The United States. Is it her best? I don’t think it is. But I listened a few times and I liked it.

Radiohead. A buddy of mine described Radiohead’s latest, “A Moon Shaped Pool,” this way: “Ya know, it’s great….atmospheric; chill. I like it of course. “ It’s weird. I knew what he was saying and I knew what he felt even though I didn’t exactly agree.

Today, Radiohead and respecting Radiohead seems perfunctory. We take Radiohead for granted and just assume their level of excellence and creation is simply how it is. But it isn’t. They’re special and what they continue to produce is innovative, powerful, unique, and in some ways represents the best of artistic creation. They have set the standard and that’s why we can all say to each other, “Yeah, another great Radiohead album. Would it be any other way?”

The latest is similar to previous releases in that its sequencing allows the listener to journey from the beginning track to the last and feel like they went somewhere. The hooks are there but – and you expect this when listening - they aren’t saccharine; they make you work and wonder and wish there could be more. It’s this stark, beautiful longing and worry and amazement and tension that makes Radiohead that special band that we all love and appreciate. Perfunctory or not.

Deftones. I really didn’t get Deftones when they first appeared on the scene. I think that’s the thing with them. You get them and like them or you don’t. When someone tells me they don’t like Deftones I just move on. I get it, understand it, and I’m not going to argue. Their latest, “Gore”, is another good release. They've had many now. The first two listens of "Gore" were real struggles for my ears. But on the third, I got it. I don’t think this is a 10 / 10 album but it’s really good. Maybe 7 or 8? But again, if you aren’t a Deftones guy or girl, you’re not going to get it anyway right?

Ride. If you never experienced Ride during the early 90’s you can be forgiven. They came on the scene quickly and left in just the same way. But it was a great little run while it lasted. The LPs “Nowhere” and “Going Blank Again” are really quality shoe gaze rock efforts. In some ways, in 2016, they serve as a time capsule. But there’s a big difference between a time capsule and guilty, useless nostalgia. With both of the aforementioned albums, there’s a lot of worthy music contained within.

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