Deferred Hat Tip: The Avalanches' Since I Left You

I'm not going to lie: The first time I heard "Frontier Psychiatrist" I thought it was one of the most annoying songs I'd ever heard. This was because it was released in the year 2000, when I was working at shitty chain record store and being pummeled with the likes of The Crystal Method, The Prodigy, Moby and Fatboy Slim by the same type of folks throwing on Since I Left You.

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The Avalanches, Since I Left You (released 11.27.00 on XL)

I also knew this kid that always called our local hockey team the Avalanches, and it annoyed the crap out of me -- kind of like when people say they're going to Sputniks. What I'm saying is I'm not taking responsibility for not liking this album at first, because clearly it's not my fault. I'll admit to being depressingly tardy to the party on this one, though. It took a collection of Best of the Decade lists to capture my ears whole-heartedly, and once it did, I haven't been able to stop listening to it.

Since I Left You works because it's not a genre album. It doesn't appear to even have a particularly acute goal in mind, other than to make some great tracks that resemble a music intellectual's brain-dump. It's filled with remarkable samples initiated and repeated to a degree most electronic bands have still yet to master, and ten years later still sounds fresh and new.

I don't mean to gush, exactly, but this album has been stuck on repeat for the last month or so, and I can't help but feel the part of the fool for passing on this earlier. I've gone back to a lot of electronic music that premiered during the genre's big pop-culture break in the '90s, but most have still left me feeling dazed or with flashbacks of late night Playstation parties playing Wipeout until my eyes bled. Since I Left You pulls more inspiration from rock and R&B structurally -- something folks seem to laude the likes of Justice for doing -- but does it in a passionate way that owes as much to the Rolling Stones as to Public Enemy or Daft Punk.

It has also left me itching for more, something that I can only imagine original fans of this album have felt for the last decade. Rumors, previews, possibilities and news flashes, but still no new Avalanches album. Why? Sampling law has changed drastically in the last ten years, and it has become increasingly more difficult for people who aren't Kanye West to sample songs and clips legally. Look at the likes of Girl Talk or the early mixes of Dangermouse -- all free or donation to avoid having a subpoena taped to a judge's doorbell. If a second album is indeed in the works, it will have likely taken years to sort out sampling copyright.

It makes me a bit sad to think there has been an Avalanche's album waiting to be released but at this point a boy can still dream and hope of an eventual release.


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