Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Four Short Records I Love Extremely Much

I often hear that the millennial generation doesn't listen to whole albums. Apparently the advent of iPods and lolcats has shortened our attention spans and – look, a plushie Cthulhu!!

Or maybe it's because records these days are just too long, ever since CDs expanded the possible length of an album well beyond the 45 minutes afforded by vinyl. Like, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a great, great record, but it's 68 and a half minutes long! Who has that kind of time?

Luckily, there are some very excellent records out there seemingly designed specifically for the ears of the easily-bored millennial. None of the following albums last as much as 40 minutes, start to finish, but they are all super great and brilliant.

Felt – Forever Breathes the Lonely Word (1986) [32 minutes]
Okay, obviously this record was not designed specifically for millennial ears, because it is all old and stuff, but it is so FRICKIN' AMAZING that I couldn't leave it off the list. Just – I don't care if you never do anything else I tell you; go listen to this record. If you're not in love within the first 30 seconds of “Rain of Crystal Spires”, you're beyond all help.

Scotland Yard Gospel Choir – Scotland Yard Gospel Choir (2007) [26 minutes]
You know those times when you sort of imprint on a record, and you get a little obsessed and you just want to inhale every moment of it? It happened to me when I was sixteen with Orange Juice's You Can't Hide Your Love Forever (44 minutes with bonus tracks, so it doesn't make this list, but you should definitely listen to it); and it happened when I was twenty with Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. Bonus hipster points for being a self-titled second album.
Stand-out tracks: Everything You Paid For”, “Aspidistra

Soda Fountain Rag – It's Rag Time! (2008) [30 minutes]
Fair warning: this record is super-twee. The label's called yesboyicecream, for God's sake. But if twee's your thing (and, let's face it, looking at the list so far it's very obviously mine), I defy you to listen to Soda Fountain Rag without a huge goofy grin all over your face. The songs are catchy, very adorable, and – especially “Army of Silent Kids”, “Escalator”, and “Oh Brother!” – apparently about my life.
Stand-out tracks: Don't Kill The Clowns” (live – not great sound quality, but you can still tell how terrific the song is), “Go!

Tim Kasher - “The Game of Monogamy” (2010) [39 minutes]
On paper, this is everything I would hate: straight white dude makes an entire album of navel-gazing about his divorce, like he's the first person ever to go through that. But this self-confessedly solipsistic little offering is, well, really really good. (See? Proof that I don't hate straight white dudes. Just boring straight white dudes.)
Stand-out tracks: No Fireworks”, “Cold Love


  1. Being old, I like to listen to albums -- at least albums that were created as actual works. But I agree about CD length. A filled-up CD is not only quite long; it's also unlikely that a band can create a coherent work that can be sustained over that amount of time. 30-45 minutes seems to work better.

    I'll give you my new favourite discovery: Veronica Falls.

  2. Ooh, good call! I loved the Veronica Falls album :)