Photo by Howard Forbes
That’s it guys! Done with school! Officially just some guy who still hangs around the station now! I’ll still be doing the music director thing for the rest of the summer, so I’ll still be here to guide you through our splendid additions to rotation each week. We’ve got some of my favorite releases of the year in this one so let’s get into it:
Swans have released some of the finest work of their intimidating career since Michael Gira revived the project in 2010, and To Be Kind continues this late-period marathon with yet another masterpiece of tension and release. The songs on To Be Kind vary quite a bit over the album’s 2-plus hours: there are menacing kraut-rockers, ambient ballads, swampy dirges and even flashes of topsy-turvy post-punk. It’s a testament to Gira’s creativity that at age 60 he can still produce music of this magnitude and wonder, and only makes other artists who’ve given up in their older age look worse for it.
Kikagaku Moyo has been silently tearing a hole through the fabric of the Japanese noise-rock movement, penning songs that seem like snippets of what heaven probably sounded like in the ’70s with their sitar-laden psych rock majesty. Their newest release, Forest of Lost Children, still has some of the droney Peter Walker drum-circle exercises of their previous work, but most notably sees the five-piece taking their sound in a heavier direction, even getting outright jazzy in spurts. It’s serene and unholy all at once, and makes the prospect of what these guys might do next all the more tantalizing.
William Tyler has given us a peek of where his music might be heading with the one-off EP Lost Colony, out on Merge. Consisting of three extended instrumental jams, Tyler’s casually grandiose fingerpicking style is still front and center of the songs, but he’s brought a band this time around as well, letting everyone in on the epic jam he always seems to be having. If this is indeed a preview of what’s to come, then Tyler is surely one of the most vital forces in acoustic guitar music today.
Sam Goldner is the music director at Radio 1190. Email him at email@example.com.