Summer looks like it has actually arrived, which means were almost half way through the year (really?), which also means it’s not too crazy to say we may have some of the best albums of the year in stock this week. You can’t say that before March, too early, and the Christmas ones are always that little bit late, truth be told. Gang Gang Dance, Oneida and Dustin O’Halloran all making the grade this week, those three being amongst a raft of quality releases across all genres you wish to think of.
Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact (4AD)
One could say Gang Gang Dance made the crossover from weirdo indie ensemble to indie darlings with 2008’s album Saint Dymphna. Much like Animal Collective’s effort of early 2009, they didn’t appear to have shown any irreverence to their oddball mix and mash of styles but it just seemed to work this time. They even enlisted grime (at the time) MC Tinchy Stryder, who has gone up in the popularity stakes quite a bit since then. Albert is a big fan.
Anyway, back to Gang Gang, now with a foothold they have possibly pared down the oddness, but it still retains more ingredients than any other band manages in a career. Some of you may be familiar with Glass Jar, the album preceding single that was on repeat in the shop for the past few weeks, an 11-minute epic that winds its way from synth workout to full on modern funk via Lizzi Bougatsos’ vocals.
There is even some calypso drums in there. It might sound like a bigger mess than you can imagine but if you are familiar with Gang Gang then you know that they will make it work. They do. It’s amazing. I’d buy it for just that. ‘Mindkilla’ is their new ‘House Jam’ or ‘First Communion’.
More of the same from Gang Gang Dance but saying that, they do it like no one else.
Dustin O’Hallloran – Lumiere (Fat Cat)
Dustin O’Halloran lands on a major label produced by two major crushes of this ‘ere staff, Johann Jojansson (soon to be Cork visitor) and Adam Wiltzie (past visitor to Cork). Those names alone should give a pretty obvious indication of where this album goes, but also should tell you of the quality of O’Halloran’s effort.
Perhaps it was Johansson and Wiltzie that initiated the move from solo piano to string accompaniments for O’Halloran, but it is theses flourishes that life it above easily ignored background music to contemporary composition of a remarkably high standard.
Oneida – Absolute II (Jagjaguwar)
Absolute II is the final piece in Oneida’s ‘Thank Your Parents’ triptych of releases, begun in 2008 with Preteen Weaponry and followed by 2009′s acclaimed triple disc Rated O.
The ‘Thank Your Parents’ triptych, totaling around 200 minutes, is intended to be listened to as a whole or in its component parts. That’s long. And requires you to buy two more albums, whilst we welcome this purchase plan its also safe to say that Absolute II stands alone as a superb offering from Oneida.
As I’ve written the two above review I’ve actually been listening to Gang Gang Dances’ ‘Glass Jar’ again and again. It is actually worth it for that track. Track of the year? We are open from 12 – 8 everyday ‘cept Sunday where we are found at home listening to above track