- PJ Harvey – The Hope Six Demolition Project
Look, PJ Harvey is as good as any songwriter. Ever. But with her last couple of albums she has taken the personal out of her music. I get that she’s trying to branch out here, away from introspection, writing about the outside world. After her wildly overrated UK album, Let England Shake, she’s now done a travelogue of the U.S.. What does The Hope Six Demolition Project tell us? That there’s a lot of poor people in America. Thanks for letting us know, Peej. That’s really helpful.
- Camp Cope – Camp Cope
When this album got hyped and I gave them a listen, I wondered for a second why I didn’t like them. I mean, I usually like local indie-rock bands like this. Then I realised, “Ah, they sound like Something For Kate.” I hate Something For Kate.
- The Drones – Feelin Kinda Free
The Drones were the best and are my favourite Australian band from the mid-to-late naughties, but I’m beginning to find Gareth Liddiard’s whole, “I don’t give a fuck about this and I don’t give a fuck about that” shtick tiresome and juvenile. Their songs depict the world as a cold, uncaring, violent place and people, especially critics, associate that with authenticity. One review I saw said Gareth Liddiard, “tells it like it is.” But you could argue that his pessimistic viewpoint is actually quite fanciful and narrow. Is the world just a bad place? “But they recorded an album in a mill! In Tasmania!” It seems that every second song by The Drones involves somebody committing suicide. Critics swoon over that crap. Back when their songs were better, they could get away with this, but now they just sound dreary. The songs of Lisa Mitchell are more authentic than The Drones.
- Anohni – Hopelessness
I’m sorry, I just can’t stand those vocals. They’re so overblown. When people ask the question, “Is it the singer or the song?”, it may be a bit of both I guess but for me it’s more about the song and I like my singers to sing straight. Let the song speak for itself. As I said, I can’t get past those vocals, but just the song titles here (‘Drone Bomb Me’?! Really?) suggest that the socio-political content of this album is as inflated as the singing. No thanks.
- Bon Iver – 22, A Million
Remember when this guy got dumped by his girlfriend and then wrote and recorded an album in a cabin in the woods? It was a romantic and authentic narrative. Or to put it another way: a great marketing campaign. Now, for something different, he’s gone all electronic. He was bad when he accompanied that thin, high-pitched, whiny voice with folk guitar. Now, with horrible cheesy production, he’s ten times worse.
Editor’s note: put that in your pipe and smoke it!
*Simon Stockdale may not have said this.