Last week, Style of Sound released a ranked list of the one hundred most influential music blogs based on their c/klout. I find this list (and any comparable list) to be problematic because it reinforces the idea that you should be following the same general group of voices as everyone else instead of developing your own taste and questioning what’s being presented to you.
Welcome to the first entry of our newest column, Platter Chatter, devoted to noteworthy and exciting physical music releases.
Yesterday I bought the excellent new TacocaT album, NVM, from Sonic Boom in Ballard, Washington. I was actually planning to buy it since last week, when I first heard the album and the sun came out for the first time in Seattle since 2014.
I was pleasantly surprised by the packaging of the album, though. The liner notes are packed with notes and jokes from the band, and they made the executive decision to forego having a Side A and B in order to have a Side Gumball and Glitter, respectively.
But the vinyl itself, a vibrant bubblegum pink, added a lot to the experience. If you’re a fan of summery garage rock/pop punk (self-described “equal parts Kurt and Courtney”), head over to Hardly Art’s webstore and grab a copy of this album.
Françoise Hardy - Le temps de l’amour
I know little of the French language. In fact, the only bit that’s stuck with me is a line from a Muzzy commercial I was exposed to as a child, which I would later proudly exclaim to French speakers only to find out that I was saying “I am a little girl” the whole time.
Personal mortification aside, and onto the task at hand, I can confidently say I know even less about Françoise Hardy than I do about French. I came across a reissuing of a self-titled compilation one afternoon and found her music to be pleasant enough. From this particular reissue, I’ve selected “Le temps de l’amour”.
Compared to the rest of what I’ve heard from Hardy’s songbook, “Le temps de l’amour” is unusually modern. Her other songs are dated, like a Sinatra collection. But here, the bassline is omnipotent and the wiry guitar strums with an indignantly surf-rock ‘tude. In the first few seconds the percussion sounds warlike.
What I can gather from the title is that Hardy is addressing her love, maybe saying they are her love or she is their love, but is forceful about it. As if Hardy pulls up on a cream colored moped and nonchalantly presses you for a cigarette. She’s not asking, she’s telling. Françoise is on her worst behavio(u)r right now and she’s the only one aware of it. She’s Thelma and Louise.
Hardy is enigmatic to you. She’s reminiscing about memories you haven’t even created yet. Her voice is calm warmth. You ask her to repeat herself a few times.
There is charm to Hardy that’s elusive at first but slowly becomes more evident. She’s eye-rolling to the fact that she’s singing about love in the language of love to her love. The moment everything starts to make sense Hardy is over this bullshit. She stomps on the cigarette butt and glides away.
I know, I know another dumb list to throw on the ever-growing mound of dumb lists. I’m sorry.
But this past year I worked an office job where I was able to stream music for practically 40 hours per week, giving me ample time to explore and connect with more music than ever before. I want to share my findings, not in an unquantifiable list of “Bests,” but just what I returned to most of the time.
So, in one fell swoop, here are my favorite releases - albums, EPs, mixtapes - from this past year. Thank you for reading.