January 18 Reviews / I need your help...

One quick note: I purchased a condenser microphone recently, so the podcasts (starting two weeks back) should sound a little bit better than they used to.

This is really silly, but I'm going to start adding an ending bumper to my podcast reviews (for identification purposes). Instead of having one simple closing statement read by myself, I thought I would go for variety and ask readers to submit recordings of themselves, giving me a choice of different recordings to use.

If you'd like to contribute, get a recording of yourself saying, "for more reviews and podcasts, please visit almostcool.org" and send it along to me (or upload it somewhere and give me a link where I can find it). If nobody sends anything along, you'll be stuck with me forever. :)

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almostcool
Yeah, the "bumpers" thing didn't happen this week. I got too busy with other things and simply didn't get them in. I'll be adding them to next week's podcasts, though, so if you want to be immortalized, get them to me by then. :)

Jon
Oh and by the way I've really been enjoying the end of the year compilation you did; very nice! I was really happy to hear "um, circles and squares" on there, as well as everything I had neglected to hear this year.

You've probably heard about them several times by now, but you should really check out A Hawk and A Hacksaw. I've only heard "Darkness at Noon" and "The Way the Wind Blows" but I've been thoroughly impressed with both (!).

Jon
Will you be taking "bumper" recordings next week as well?

I've got decent means here to get something over to you at least...

Aaron
@ Peter

I took your advice and purchased Body Riddle a couple nights ago. (I already had it on mp3). And i've been blasting it at top volume in the car this week.

Fucking amazing.

paige
Aw I'd totally attempt to record a bumper, but my mic is shitty and I won't be anywhere near a decent one until Saturday.

You should definitely use a girl voice, though!

peter
A follow up to the Clark review...I forget where I read it, but one review said buy the album, as a compressed copy will never do this album justice.

It's true: The low-end audio of this album are ridiculous, and the mp3 copy I had failed in every respect. An amazing album, sonically speaking.

almostcool
I agree that there are sometimes albums that just smack you around on first listen and then that's that. I've had releases just kill me on first listen and stay in high regard for a long time.

I've also had releases that sound flat-out stunning on first listen, then sort of lose a bit of their luster after that. It's hard to tell why, but it happens. 3 full listens usually gives me a good idea of where things are going, either way, though.

peter
Brent -
I completely understand your position. Honestly, most of the albums that I really enjoy take awhile to sink in (sometimes, years. See Secret Frequency Crew). But the albums that I mentioned in my previous post were all albums that I purchased at least a year after they were released. I think that that gave them the time to get past the hype and simply be albums in their own right (and I'm not saying that time cures all, but it at least gives a little perspective).

Finally, yes, I completely agree with your note about 'verifying' is fantastic for a site that reviews music, or anyone before they start encouraging someone else to check out an album, just in general.

Brent
Well, I still think the three-times-rule holds, even though there are still many albums that I instantly love or hate on the first listen. For some of these albums, my opinion doesn't change after three listens. But for others, well...let me just say that many of my favorite albums are ones that I didn't like, or didn't completely understand the first time through. On the other hand, how many albums do we go into with inflated expectations (whether it be a band that we already love or that is getting a lot of hype), or where the music itself initially sounds like the "coolest thing ever," but then as we listen more, the excitement fades? The point isn't that you can't know how you feel about something right away, but rather that you shouldn't necessarily broadcast your opinion of it until you've verified that your initial opinion can withstand multiple listens.

peter
I don't know if the three times rule is completely universal. It's a great indicator, but there are a few albums in my collection that I knew were gold the first time I heard them (among those being both of Qua's albums, The Appleseed Cast's "Low Level Owl" discs, Jan Jelinek's "loop-finding-jazz-records" and Tim Hecker's "Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again"). I don't feel odd about saying that either, as I still intensely love all of these albums, even when I'm not listening to them a lot. Maybe it's a confirmation, listening to them more and more, but I feel that with some albums, it just takes once to know what you've got in your hands.

Brent
Way to review Body Riddle! I'd like to think I had something to do with finally convincing you to give it a listen, as I placed it at #3 on my reader list. Though if this is true, it is only partial payment for all the great recommendations I've gotten from you over the years.

Incidentally, I have long been a champion of the at-least-three-times rule for making up your mind about an album. I suppose that makes it a universal rule...

peter
Thanks for posting the Body Riddle review. I, like you, put this one off for too long, so, I finally bought it. I know I'm not that far behind, but I've been almost purchasing that album since it came out. Thanks for finally pushing me over the edge with that last reminder that, yes, yes, I should own this.

Keep up the good work & all the best.

almostcool
At the bare minimum, I listen to everything that I end up reviewing at least three times all the way through. Some albums simply aren't quite as immediate to me, and it seems only fair to give everything a couple chances before I put words out in public about how I feel.

In large part, I tend to be a person who will listen to albums all the way through most of the time. On the final couple listens (and when I'm writing the respecitve review), I'll often jump around on a release for memories sake, but most of the time it's start to finish for me.

That said, I do enjoy shuffle on iTunes sometimes. It's like listening to a radio station where I know that I'm not going to have to hear any crap songs...

ronnie
hey aaron, a bit off topic but... how many times do you need to listen to a new release before you feel you have digested it to sufficiently make an assessment.. and in the beginning are you more of a listen all the way through guy, or rather skip around once you get the jist of a song... thank for everything!