I think I mentioned that I was going to be freestyling a bit over the holidays, that is, posting brief, not-very-exhaustively-considered impressions of albums I'm listening to but not reviewing, so i thought I'd start with one that's hitting lots of best-of lists and one that's not.
Swans, The Seer, leaves a bit of a bruise, per usual. It's quite long, unrelentling intense, repetitive, cathartic, pulverizing and, undoubtedly, much better live. I have yet to get through it all in one sitting, and I feel, as I usually do with Swans, that I am just not trying hard enough. Well, okay, it's a demanding listen, is it worth it? I think probably so, but I also think that life is short and getting to the point where I hear this album as a whole, in my head, without prompting is probably too much work. I'll believe those of you who say this is album of the year...that is believe that you mean it...and congratulate you on earning the right to say so. But I won't be saying it myself.
The Eyesores' Sister Death is the latest from Providence-based experimental accordionist Alec K. Redfearn, whose fascination with drones and gypsy melodies and Eastern European textures here gets a substantial injection of Krautrock, as well, as a bit of eerie folk pop from new associate Orion Rigel Domisse. As the title suggests, the album is not exactly light-hearted, but it is rather lovely and not too difficult. (You may sense, from this and the above paragraph, that I am not in the mood for difficulty lately).
Anyway, Alec's sort of an oddball favorite of mine going all the way back to my Splendid years. I interviewed him for Splendid, in fact, and though it's wildly out of date, you can read it here if you don't mind.
Here's his new ensemble, including Orion.