Initial Reactions (2011): Lucinda Williams, St. Vincent, Justice

Lucinda Williams – Blessed – (ind): I don’t think I’m being lazy when I say this sounds pretty much like a new Lucinda Williams record. I loved Car Wheels (SO good), but everything I’ve heard her do since sounds like a facsimile of that record. This is no different. It’s not bad or anything; "Blessed" is a really memorable tune for all of the right reasons. So I’ll commend it for all of the Lucind-heads and move on. ("Blessed")

St. Vincent – Strange Mercy  – (ind): Suffers not so much from a lack of craftsmanship as a lack of tunefulness. Makes a strong first impression with "Chloe in the Afternoon." Otherwise, not a memorable track to be found. Falls into the same category as My Brightest Diamond, only St. Vincent dwells in post-modern abstract pop rather than neo-classicism. Yawn-fest, for the most part.

Justice – Audio, Video, Disco. – (ind): Basically Ratatat (French edition), right? Or is it the other way around? Which came first? Where am I? It all dissolves into philosophy from there. This sort of sound has a shelf-life of exactly one album. Once you’ve heard it one time, you’ve heard enough. I suppose I just prefer my IDM with the emphasis on the "I" rather than the "D,"  and that not so much for “intelligent” as “introspective.”

REACTION KEY

[!!!!!]: Enthusiastic. Frequent rotation. A buyer. Contender for year’s best.
[++]: Positive. Good stuff. Possible grower?
[ind]: Indifferent.. Underwhelmed. I don’t expect to come back to this one.
[—]: Negative. A real screw-up. Don’t even bother.

Quick Review (LP): Swim by Caribou

Caribou_Swim_cover_art_hi-res_ Caribou
Swim
Merge; 2010

My Rating: C

Best Tracks: “Leave House”, “Jamelia”

I think this is roughly IDM, emphasis on the D in this case. Well, I’ve been hearing good things about this outfit, but I’m afraid I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I don’t even think I’d enjoy having this on in the background. As “neat-sound” music I’ve heard neater this year (see The Books, Ratatat, and Lydia Burrell). This is just a sort of drone, and I’m sorry to say that the fascination with it is lost on me. At the best, it’s an average, less melodic and far less interesting re-hash of what Justice pulled off a few years ago. “Leave House” has some life to it, but otherwise I found it a snore-fest. Anyone care to help me out on this one?

Pitchfork review
Metacritic reviews