Sam Boivin is a musician who played in various bands in New Zealand and now plays in Melbourne. Under the name Joe the Boxer, he has written for Blog on the Tracks about Irony and Vanilla Ice and Springsteen. Here are five albums he’s loving right now…
1 – J.A. Core, Gasometer: Sometimes when you are having a conversation with someone, and you will both be talking enthusiastically about things you like, and then they will say something like “Have you heard/seen/been to _____?” And you will reply something along the lines of “No. Is it any good?” And instead of going into some gushing hyperbolic praise about it, they will just look at you with a blank stare and reply “Yeah. Its good”. And the message they are giving is that they don’t really want to talk about how good it is, as doing so may somehow trivialise their own experience with it and compromise your eventual opinion – they just want you to know that they really love it, and that you should take the time to hear/see/check it out.Anyway, I think you should listen to this.
2 – High Dependency Unit, Metamathics: It’s been 40+ degrees quite a few times in Melbourne over the last month or so, and also very windy. This kind of weather in a big concrete city creates a dry sweltering heat that you can actually see, a heat that you can feel on your eyeballs. I like listening to this album on these days, as it has the same kind of apocalyptic feel as the weather.So I’m walking around in the heat and listening to this album thinking about this band, and I realise that Metamathics is the fifth HDU album that I have really loved at some time in my life (Higher, Cross Channel Multi Tap, Memento Mori and Fire Works being the others). I tried to think of another band that had five albums like this, and I couldn’t think of a single other one. Does that mean they are my favourite ever band? I guess it could.
3 – The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America: I only got onto these guys recently, but it’s probably the album I’ve listened to most in the last year. There is something addictive about them – the mixture of a straightforward, hard riffin’, meat and potatoes pub band, only with a shouty, literature obsessed, possibly fundamentalist Christian giving a monologue about fictional stories set in Middle America where the characters take various drugs, attend sermons and watch murders being committed, that is more like a novel than an album. They are both the most conventional and strangest band that I listen to.
4 – Faith No More, Angel Dust: This was one of my favourite albums from the ages 12-14. Most of my other favourite albums from this time I would not want to listen to anymore, but not this one. At fourteen, I loved it because it was awesome, but I didn’t really get what the album was actually about. Written by four men approaching or in their early thirties (Mike Patton was the youngster at 24), Angel Dust tackles all the stuff relevant to them at the time- failed expectation (Land of Sunshine, RV.); death (Caffeine, Midlife Crisis); childbirth (Everything’s Ruined) and relationship dynamics (A Small Victory). It’s a metal album that is beautiful and profound. When I listen to it now it still reminds me of being a teenager, but it’s about what life is like for people my age now. If you haven’t heard this in a while, try giving it another listen.
5 – Paul Simon, Graceland: …and dad-rock in general. There are certain artists that sounded horrible to me to in the past, but since I become a dad they are starting to sound kind of good. Robert Palmer, Huey Lewis and the News, the Bee Gees…What the hell is happening to me? Growing old sucks.