Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2018-03-16
Born Ruffians: Uncle, Duke and the Chief (Yep Roc, 2018) Cheeky boy-os grow up, concoct tunes to match ("Forget Me," "Fade to Black") *
Car Seat Headrest: Twin Fantasy (Matador, 2018) In case you haven't been keeping score, this is a re-recording of what Will Toledo fans consider his Bandcamp masterpiece: an associative suite or bunch of 10 songs ranging in length from 1:30 to 16:11 that circle around his teenage crush on a guy who could be a fond memory or an educational fabrication. At 71:41, the new version is 11 instrumental minutes longer; at 25, its creator is a phlegmier, more masculine singer who's clearly not a teen anymore. But he now leads a band capable of rendering his quest in a hi-fi that illuminates both its seriousness and its sense of play. Young admirers reminded of their own existential confusions have every right to feel poignant about them. But so do observers pleased to be merely touched. My favorite track is the shortest, which goes, in its entirety: "Stop smoking, we love you/And we don't want you to die." A-
Ezra Furman: Transangelic Exodus (Bella Union, 2018) The frenetic escape saga "Suck the Blood From My Wound" sets an emotional pace the album can't possibly sustain, but an underlying metaphor provides all the momentum it needs--the angel Furman is on the run with has had serious wing surgery and the authorities mean to get him for it. So in picaresque desperation Furman and/or his half-tinfoil lover/confederate hide out in a beach house and spend a sleepless night in an Arkansas trailer park, recite a prayer in Hebrew and steal a dress from Goodwill. Furman remains vulnerable yet indomitable throughout, indulging an appetite for life that respects both its sanctity and its friability. Think of him as an alternate version of your better self. A-
Walter Martin: Reminisce Bar & Grill (Ile Flottante, 2018) More pretty good indie-rock songs about a satisfying enough indie-rock life ("Too Cold to Waterski," "I Went Alone on a Solo Australian Tour") *
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