The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

QUICK SPINS: Cody ChesnuTT, of Montreal

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 29, 2012 7:00PM

Cody ChesnuTT
Landing On A Hundred

2012_10_cody_chesnutt_quick_spins.jpg It's been ten years since Cody ChesnuTT's last album, his acclaimed debut The Headphone Masterpiece, a lo-fi mixture of funk, soul, rock and hip-hop that introduced a talent with great promise. The double disc set is still breathtaking in its breadth and its fearlessness as ChesnuTT plundered every musical closet and mined every emotion no matter how unsympathetic it made him look. The Roots' "cover if his song "The Seed" helped bring him, and them, some wider acclaim. And then ChesnuTT went largely dark.

Judging by the contents of his second album, Landing On A Hundred, the intervening years have not been easy. ChesnuTT sings of addiction and infidelity again but this time there a deep sadness to these lyrical themes; the man is still looking inward but there's a new regret there that comes with the maturity that comes with actually trying to solve these issues instead of just simply exploring them. On the musical front we find ChesnuTT still leaps genres effortlessly but the bulk of the album traverses in classic old school R&B structures, with soulful horn charts and expansive instrumentation. In stark contrast to his debut's down and dirty and largely sonically monochromatic approach, Landing On A Hundred finds ChesnuTT and his band painting with a well stocked, bright and vibrant sonic palette. There's not a single weak track in the album's twelve songs and whether the song is two minutes or six minutes the listener never grows complacent. It took ten years to come up with this latest collection of music? It was well worth the wait.

In a year where we're seeing an amazing resurgence of talent in the world of soul and R&B, ChesnuTT rises toward the top of the list with Landing On A Hundred. had he not already included the word "masterpiece" in his previous album's title it would fit well on this one's.

of Montreal
Daughter Of Cloud

2012_10_of_montreal_quick_spins.jpg of Montreal's Daughter Of Cloud collects a number of unreleased tunes and non-album tracks. The funny thing about this is given the band's predilection for playing fast and loose with musical styles means that, at least musically, this could actually be any other of Montreal proper album. However we don't suggest taking it in that way. What makes the group's daring work, when it does, is the fact the leader Kevin Barnes is often trying to tell a story, no matter how obtuse, and this collection doesn't have that aspect of the groups' strengths going for it.

Viewed as a sort of perverse "singles collection," though, Daughter Of Cloud does actually work insofar that it does deliver a number of little gems, even if there is a lot of filler for anyone that's not a hardcore fan. The songs that don't work do so for pretty obvious reasons, the primary ones being they're simply not fully realized seem to catch the band in experimental moments they decided not to fully develop. Some moments of this prove rather frustrating, actually. For instance the tune "Steppin' Out" has a really promising chorus that could have been turned into a hell of a jam, but the rest of the structure feels too scattershot and the song literally runs out of juice and comes to an abrupt dead stop.

But for missteps like "Steppin' Out" there are almost an equal number, if not more, of minor victories. In fact the album's trip of opening songs "Our Love is Senile," "Obviousatonicnuncio," and "Sails, Hermaphroditic" are almost alone worth the price of full admission. When Barnes and his merrie crew mix glam and funk well, they do it in a way that allows them to create surprising synergies that stick in your craw instead of slipping easily away. These are quirky, spastic song attacks and they're so much fun. But Barnes can also do touching emotion, and a single listen to "Psychotic Feeling" will draw just about anyone in with it's extremely catchy handling of one man's desperate outpouring of his inner emotions. So yes, this collection is certainly a mixed grabbag, but more often than not you'll come up with a fistful of music that'll win over your ears.

of Montreal plays December 9 at The Metro