A little bit late, but here's a quick rundown of every new-to-me album I picked up in April, in the order I acquired them.
Low: Drums and Guns
Continuing the rehabilitation of my opinion of Low's output of the last ten years, I've come to the realization that, in fact, the band has never made a bad album. My bad for ever assuming that they had. Unfortunately when Drums and Guns originally came out the only songs I heard from it were "Pretty People," "Breaker," and "Hatchet"; I didn't particularly like the first and third of those tracks, and the video for the second kinda annoyed me. Since I'd already (mistakenly!) written them off after The Great Destroyer, it was easy to pass this over. Forgive me for my errors! Though it's not my favorite album by Low, it's still quite good, and it stands apart from the rest of their output for its anger and dread. It's final third in particular is really magical.
Rene Hell: The Terminal Symphony
Hell is another entrant in the quickly filling "nu-kosmiche" genre of Krautrock-influenced synth/ambient (see also Oneohtrixpoint Never, Emeralds, and Arp, among others). The Terminal Symphony is Hell's second full length and is quite good. Like Arp's The Soft Wave (my favorite album of last year), it does a good job of mixing textures, melodies, and dynamics, making something that is easy to get lost in but providing enough hooks to climb your way out.
- Rene Hell: Lighthouse Marvel
Harmonia: Musik von Harmonia
Speaking of, here are the two biggest culprits inspiring the wave of acts like Rene Hell et al. I own and love other albums by both of these groups (well, technically it's the same group in both cases—Harmonia is just Cluster+Michael Rother), and have been meaning to get these albums for at least a year. After watching the excellent BBC documentary about Krautrock, I was inspired to download both posthaste. I've been listening to both ever since, often one after the other, to the point that I don't totally know where one ends and the other begins. They're both excellent.
Caetano Veloso & Gal Costa: Domingo
I had no idea this record even existed until I happened across a link to it earlier this month. Apparently the album was made prior to either Veloso or Costa's solo debuts; it's basically a samba record not too far off from the sound of, say, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Elis Regina's Tom & Elis (one of my favorite records of all time). This isn't as good as that, but then again that's a pretty high bar. This is still quite nice.
- Caetano Veloso & Gal Costa: Coração Vagabundo
I promise everything I said about Low above is true, but nevertheless—like I said yesterday—C'mon is their best album in ten years, and is so far in the running for my favorite album of the year.