After a fabled career of “spazzcore” as they called it, Frodus decided to hang up their hats. But not before recording what would become their best album by about three miles.
While their other works remain (in my opinion) unlistenable, And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea is an absolute masterpiece. While there’s plenty of the raw, visceral energy that made them mainstays in the 90s DC Hardcore scene, this disc finds Frodus adding heaping helping of cerebral math rock to the quieter sections. As a result, AWWOWITS creates a disc as informed by Slint’s Spiderland as it is by Fugazi, laying the foundation for the next generation of post hardcore bands.
While there’s no shortage of ambience and prettiness in post rock, Hammock outdoes all of their contemporaries on Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow, an hour long album free of any sort of rhythm.
None. No percussion, no lead lines. One hour of nothing but spaced out chord swells. It’s a huge gamble, and it’s one that pays off.
Instead of boring, the album plays as sixty minutes of absolute serenity.
Which isn’t to say there isn’t any tension–the album starts to pick up steam as it goes on, the reverberated guitars pushing the amps to their breaking point, achieving the same affect as other instrumental outfits with half the sonic palette.
A lot can happen in ten years. For Fleetwood Mac, between 1972 and 1982, they saw at least four lineup changes, which led to the iconic pairing of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, which became the most celebrated incarnation of the band (and rightfully so). Halfway through the decade, they released Rumours, their undisputed opus, onset by the romantic tension between its bandleaders. In 1981, Stevie Nicks released her first solo record, Bella Donna. So what was next for Fleetwood Mac, five years, one album, and a solo career separated from their most iconic work?
Honestly, Mirage could be a lot worse–they avoid the ill fated synth pop of many of their contemporaries, and nothing on here is terrible (“Diane,” with its doo wop meets island pastiche is the worst it gets), but for the most part, the record is largely uninspired. The sole exception is “Gypsy,” which would fit right on Rumours (it also features one of my favorite guitar solos in all of rock history). Other than that one brilliant track, Fleetwood Mac sounds like they’re in a holding pattern. Nothing outright terrible, but a solid B- from a band who had delivered a perfect album just five years earlier.
Here’s a safe bet after a string of Swedish bargain bin picks.
I don’t need to tell you how great Elton John is.
You know how great Elton John is.
And while I don’t usually care for greatest hits compilations (my wife picked this one out, I’m pretty sure), Elton’s singles are among the brightest gems in the classic rock canon. “Your Song’s” delicate country balladeering, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’s” heartwrenching vocal leaps, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’s” raucous glam pounding, and “Rocketman’s” spacepop perfection. There’s also “Benny and the Jets,” which is practically the platonic ideal of glam rock. With only the exception of “Daniel,” every single track on here is solid gold. And what else would we expect from Sir Elton
Alright, now here’s a Stockholm secondhand record that’s actually pretty great. What I didn’t know when I picked this up is that Luiz Banfa is one of the most acclaimed samba guitarists in Brazil, and this record shows why…
Every track is fresh and light and masterfully performed. Maria Toledo shows up on a few tracks to lend her vocals, but only light Las and Dos—I don’t remember there being any real lyrics on here. But there doesn’t need to be. Luiz’s compositions speak for themselves. This is the music for your next ’60s themed party.
Here’s another secondhand Stockholm record. I bought this one (translated as “When the Fog Lifts”) because I thought the photo was cool, and because some old dude saw me pick it up and said, “oooo…Bernt Staf…” I put it on once, and couldn’t get through the poorly song, classical guitar-led first track. I didn’t think I could make it through an entire album of that…
Luckily though, I don’t have to, because the very next track introduces a funky drum beat, popping bass, and screaming organ, which lends some credence to his reputation (according to the Swedish language Wikipedia) as one of the country’s foremost prog rock musicians. If there was more of that on here, that’d be great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be the case, because the next two tracks are folk ballads (one with classical guitar, one with a piano and a Dylan impression). Then a weird honky tonk thing? I can’t finish this song.
Another bad folk track. Wait…second track starts with distorted organ, is it gonna be…nope. It’s another folk ballad. Wait, hold up…there’s the drums. Is it gonna get…well…the second side plays a lot more with dynamics than the first.
Where the songs on the first side were either ballad or rock song, almost every song on the second side starts with just classical guitar with the band coming in on the choruses, with shades of Beatles here and there. It’s an improvement, but it’s nothing I’m going to listen to again.
Ah well. Another souvenir for the shelf. I’m gonna listen to pg.lost for a palate cleanse. Now THAT is some good Swedish music.