Giving it a second chance

Lately, I've re-discovered a couple artists and releases that I had in my collection at one point and then got rid of for some reason. On second chance, I've found that I either didn't give them a proper shake the first time I heard them, or that my tastes simply didn't quite connect the same on the first go-around.

You have any releases/artists like this?

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Doh! Thanks Eddie! :)

Hint: read the first sentence in the FAQ again. ;)

Sorry to use this to ask but I've looked in the FAQ and scoured the site and I can't for the life of me find your email address. I'd like to send you something for possible review. Where should I write? I'm at ian at howdoesitfeel dot co dot uk - Thanks!

Xiu xiu are definitely overrated. I do like the voice and some of the songs but all in all I think they dont deserve the attention.

I guess I fell completely out of love after seeing them on the 'concerts a emporter' on La Blogoteque. They were supposedly jamming on some found objects and it was basically a 3 minute demonstration on complete lack of talent.

Oh, and I know this will sound like potentially the dullest recommendation in almostcool history, but give Headlights' 2008 album Some Racing Some Stopping album a try. I swear I like challenging and heady music, really, but there is something very BSS-y about Headlights new album that really works.

I know that's a little off topic, but I'm sure some of you have listened to it and need to give it another try. Damn it. :)

Please give Kevin Drew another shot. I bought it last year and thought it was all-right, but way too dense. But it is one of about three albums from last year that has stuck with me thru 08.

Reckon I'll have to pick up that Bird Show record - the weather here in London has taken an autumnal turn and music with a 'forest floor' feel is perfect. Cluster's amazing Sowiesoso has to be one of the great foresty albums - the two tracks in the middle 'Umleitung' and 'Zum Wohl' are two of the best electronic tracks I know.

Incidentally, on the subject of Kranky, I was surprised that the Atlas Sound album didn't get reviewed here - I guess you didn't think much of it?

I picked up John Luther Adams' Blue Veil/Red Arc and indeed it is very Melnyky. Worth checking out.

Reading comments about John Adams reminds me of John Luther Adams from Alaska.

My first attempt on his catalogue was The Far Country. I find it too weird, and creepy at times for me. But after following recommendations on this site such as Lubomyr Melnyk, I can feel something grows in my mind subtlely. Now I think his music works fine for both deep listening and sleeping.

I haven't delved too far into John Adams, but I love the Gran Pianola Music - that is a truly epic score that for some reason conjures a great American landscape in my mind. It's so lush that it occasionally borders on the cheesy for me, but I just surrender!

It'd be great to see some Adams reviewed here...

Xiu Xiu is a hard nut to crack for me. While I do appreciate experimental, somewhat difficult music and weird indie in general, there is something about the band that doesn't quite resonate with me... at least yet. Been trying to get into them a couple of times now but it's pretty frustrating not being able to 'get it'. ;)

Secret Mommy - Plays. I agreed with what you wrote about 'Mammal Class,' and I felt pushed away by a similar discord with my first spin of Plays, but when I listened to the album last weekend it soothed my mind something nasty - particularly the second half of the album. I'm going to go check out John Adams now. Cheers.

I have a lot of CD's, so it's not uncommon for me to pull out something randomly that I haven't heard in a long time. I recently listened to Jellyfish's Bellybutton album for the first time in quite a while, and I found myself enjoying it quite a bit. With the retrospect of the time since it's been released, I am newly impressed by the quality of the songwriting and the performances. A very high-quality pop album.

Thanks for the comment. I fixed that in the review.

I think I might give the Kevin Drew another shot here in the near future. I'm going to see BSS in concert in about a month and a half and I have a feeling I might fall in love with them again. :)

thanks for the weekly review! I feel the same for BSS. I was deeply addicted to BSS several years ago, but my enthusiasm drops quite quickly. I even lack the courage to pick up the BSS present series to give them a try.

By the way, I find a minor mistake in the Canning album review. Amy Millan is Stars' lead singer, but not Metric's.

Thanks for the explanation! I sort of guessed it must be a mistake, since you talk about the album trailing off in the second half. Didn't really sound like a 10. I was a little worried that you might finally have bowed to pressure to hike up your ratings a bit!

On the other hand, the thought that BSS had surpassed even themselves and come up with something to stack alongside Music for 18 Musicians, OK Computer etc certainly added a frisson of excited anticipation to my morning cornflakes!

I apologize on the rating error for the Canning album. I posted reviews really late last night and I was distracted with other things. I've corrected it down to where it was supposed to be. I can see how the rating didn't make sense, as it certainly didn't seem like a 10 from my writing (although I do still quite enjoy it).

So yeah, there you go. There are a few 10's on the site, but it isn't one of them.

Wow! I'm sort of puzzled by the 10 rating for Brendan Canning.... In six years of reading this site I don't think I've seen 10 being awarded to a brand new release. Is this really even better than You Forgot It in People? Will have to give this a listen asap....

Fennesz. I could never quite hear what was so excellent about Endless Summer originally, but recently a track came on on shuffle on my ipod and I suddenly heard a beauty in it that I'd sort of struggled with before.

And Beirut of course - I originally dismissed this as badly recorded whiney indie music. But both albums are now absolute firm favourites. The Penalty on the second record is just superb! This is the most radical change of my mind that I can think of at the moment, but there must be lots more...

The Dead C, definitely. Have you changed your mind about Vain, Erudite & Stupid?

Last year, a friend of mine gave me a copy of Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells a Story", saying how awesome it was. I listened a few times but just couldn't get into it. The fact that it was Rod Stewart didn't help. Then one day many months later I decided to give it a final chance. It stayed on repeat for the next week. What a great album.

Yeah, Sun Ra really crept up on me too and then whew...blew me away. Now I'm one of those freakish Sun Ra collectors.
Aaron, surprised you weren't crazy about that Goldmund album. That's a record that has really grown on me these last few weeks. His sensitivity for piano tones and space reminds me of what Loren Connors does with the electric guitar.

When I was younger Sun Ra was unlistenable, but every year that goes by I fall more and more in love. Being a teenager into techno probably didn't help. On the flip side, I used to be a big Luna fan and now I have no idea why I liked them in the first place. Can't listen to Dean's voice anymore.

Hopefully you'll have a small change of heart with that Anduin record because all the songs grow on you... get under your skin. I think it's just breath taking all the way through. In my top 10 this year for sure.

Second that about the Pixies!

I bought Surfer Rosa after seeing Fight Club in 8th grade and really only listened to "Where is My Mind?" since that was the track I bought the album for. Lo and behold I listened to it about 5-6 years later and find out that the whole thing is awesome!

And to be honest, I did *not* know what the big deal was about Burial for the first year he was out there. Aaron you put distant lights on the...06-07 mix I think? I loved that mix but couldn't swallow that track; just found it confusing and confounding, especially with all the hype. But...

"it seems to come down to a sort of slow expansion of boundaries"

Exactly. Sometimes I think when we're challenged musically people will dismiss stuff and stay in a comfort zone of sorts.... I know I've thought a couple times on first listen to challenging things, RE:'s "Alms" and Shalabi Effect's "The Trial of St. Orange" come to mind, 'is this music?' That's usually a frustrating question at first, especially the first couple of times you ask it, and you wonder why you're asking it in the first place I think. But with time I've grown to appreciate that aspect immensely, and is one of my favorite qualities of music now...

And an aside: do you have an email or physical address to send stuff to? Thought one used to be on the site but can't find it now, besides the list emails of course.

I've thought about that question a fair amount, weis. It's something that I've certainly run into a lot in terms of my own musical tastes. I think it probably comes down to both of your last points (and probably a few others).

For me personally it seems to come down to a sort of slow expansion of boundaries. As I listen to more and more albums (another question I sometime try to answer is roughly how many albums I've heard in my lifetime... 9 thousand? 15 thousand?), I think much of it is simply opening my ears and mind to new sound combinations. There will always be immediate pop hooks that have me bouncing on first listen and no matter how hard I try there's still going to be a lot of stuff that just sounds like a load of wank to me, but I've had numerous occasions over the years (and even this year alone) where I've gone back to something I didn't quite enjoy the first time and have suddenly found an entire new appreciation (and sometimes even love) for. This has especially been true in the classical genre, and I'll give "The Rest Is Noise" some credit for that.

Brent S.
The Pixies. When I first started listening to music, Doolittle was an early purchase, because I liked "Here Comes Your Man" on the radio. I didn't much care for the rest of the album at the time, and at one point even had it in a pile of CDs to listen to one more time and then get rid of. Thankfully, that "one more time" I came to my senses, and it's now one of my favorite albums of all time.

tortoise's tnt. i hated it when i first bought it, but after watching them perform some of the songs live some years back i decided to give the album another shot, and i can say i'm steadily liking it more and more. it's got so much to offer for each listen.

also beck's sea change, which i had earlier dismissed as stale and boring. only upon a friend's prompting had i revisted that album, and fell in love with its richness and excellent arrangements. never looked back on that one.

I remember a friend loaning me John Coltrane's "om" back in '95 and I was offended by it. Really, I was like this is a fucking joke, right? It sounded like Bobby Brady on the drum kit and the rest was sqwonk. Well, 10 years later I put it in the player and was shocked by how amazing it was. I was embarassed that I found this to be shit at one point in my life. However, I've kept that in mind when I play some difficult music for people and they have the same reaction that I had to Om. What is it that makes us change our minds? A more trained ear? A more open-mind? Curious.

Specifically, I went back to work composed by John Adams, after re-listening to "Shaker Loops" and "Harmonium." The first time I heard his work, I thought it sounded like a slightly less-focused variation of what Steve Reich was doing, but upon further evaluation I enjoyed his explosion of styles, mingling together everything from opera to minimalism and a weird sort of southern California vibe that haunts some of his work. It's heady, amazing stuff and I'm glad I went back to it (going so far as to get his 10CD Earbox collection).

Another composer that I gave another chance to was Hermann Nitsch. The first time I heard his work it sounded like little more than an endless cacophony that simply churned my head, but after giving it another chance ("The Island" specifically), I found a real hypnotic quality to the madness. There's certainly a place for that in my collection.