I have been REALLY digging the new Nick Zammuto album, Anchor. (Clip here, and you can find the rest of the tracks with notes on his blog.) I bounced off his first one, the self-titled record — it seemed kind of indulgent and dorky, and after streaming it three or four times I just couldn't get into it. My hope was that it was just him offgassing now that he didn't have de Jong to push against, and once he got some of the pent-up absurdism out of his system he'd find a new resistant force to orient himself by and put out something interesting. Well: yes. This is really good.
And it is definitely not The Books. But a lot of it explores some familiar emotional ground, dark and weird. The Books would go to those places sometimes, but they'd often pull back and get some ironic distance, to keep it from becoming The Thing The Whole Album Is About.
And then there's that track that sounds eerily like Devo.
The other record that's been surprising/delighting me is Kilo Kish's Across EP. (Here's a clip.) She put out a mixtape called K+ a year or two back, and I thought it was really provocative — bits I was SUPER INTO mixed with bits that were like WHAT. Lots of both sonic and emotional dissonance. So anyway, I recently rediscovered how much I like "Better" and "Creepwave," and I looked around to see what else she'd done. This one came out earlier this year, and it sounds quite different and very good. Moody and lush.
Oh, ALSO it's been awesome concert city for the last month or so. The Kills, Sondre Lerche, Sza, The New Pornographers, Of Montreal, Zoe Keating, La Roux, and then later I've got tickets for Shovels and Rope, and Slowdive + Low. (Did I ever tell you about the time I ended up at a Low show by accident? Seeing them again will be neat.)