Saturday, December 30, 2006

Top 20 Territory!

20. Sparks - Hello Young Lovers
I was in the back eating and I didn't really understand what I was hearing. It sat getting dusty in the racks since the release date, but it was quickly snatched off Gabe's shelf that day. It's like Danger Mouse meets Queen or something, pretty damn mindblowing.

19. Midlake - Trials of Van Occupanther
This is a late addition, which I just had to knock out Flaming Lips for. In fact, if I had more time with it than just a couple days, it would probably be really high up there. It's like someone took all those albums from the 70s that were all over the radio (I swear, I was waiting for Stevie Nicks on the opening track) and made them way fucking cooler.

18. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
I finally "got" Dan Bejar this year, after seeing him live w/ New Pornographers at Metro late last year, and opening for Magnolia Electric Co. at the Abbey this year. Indie rock needs some pretension, and Destroyer delivers in spades.

17. Islands - Return to the Sea
The Unicorns who? I don't understand what a big fuss was made over that band when they hit, and it seems all the talent survived to carry on in Islands. Quirky without being too whimsical, noise in the right places, cutsey fun when necessary. Great job!

16. Catfish Haven - Please Come Back EP/ Tell Me LP
I had to lump both of these together as on entity. I kinda wish they had made one kick ass album and gotten rid of the "slow jams" on Tell Me but really overally I love it all. Rockin' accoustic lead geetar, dancey grooveyness...dang!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Halfway there!

25. Danielson - Ships
This album might be painful for people who are not happy people to listen to.

24. Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
Hi Regina, Bjork and Tori Amos called, they want their quirk back. Oh shit, don't get the KGB involved, no, it's cool. We'll put the video in heavy ro after Degrassi and everything will be fine.

23. The Elected - Sun, Sun, Sun
I don't know why more people aren't digging this band. It's a similar vibe to Midlake, like that 70s sunny thing. Oh well.

22. Vetiver - To Find Me Gone

21. Pernice Brothers - Live a Little
As a long time Pernice lover, I really really fucking hated the last record. Peee-yew, ugh ick. This album gives me hope that a band can come back from the brink when I have lost all hope. Maybe R.E.M. has another good one in 'em? And while it might seem cheezy to remake your own song from another band, it is totally done justice.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

OMG here comes 5 more!

30. Tilly and the Wall - Bottoms of Barrels
You wouldn't think tap dancing percussion would translate well to album but it sounds just as adorable. More fuzzy feelgoodness that doesn't stop.

29. Willie Nelson - Songbird
There is nothing better than stoner country, and who better to make an album of said music than Willie and Ryan Adams? Oh man, Will Oldham should have been involved in this, but he might have killed 'ol Ryry.

28. Tim O'Reagan - s/t
Exactly what you would want and expect a Jayhawk's solo album to sound like, and there's nothing wrong with that. Poppy, countryish, some of the best of everything.

27. My Brightest Diamond - Bring Me The Workhorse
Sufjan's head cheerleader makes her own album that never sounds like an album from Sufjan's head cheerleader. She's got one of them opera voices.

26. Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
Being super sick can bring out the best in creative types, and Alejandro is no exception. Thankfully he is now well, and has more drama to portray in that dramatic Velvet Undergroundy (hello John Cale) Country way he does best.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Even more...

35. Damien Jurado - And Now That I'm In Your Shadow
Dang, I think I own all 7 albums by this guy. I like them all, this is another one.

34. Six Organs of Admittance - The Sun Awakens
Ben Chasney gets his drone on. This cat plays some motherfucking GUITAR.

33. Brightblack Morning Light - s/t
A lazy southern swampy psychedelic fun trip that comes with lazer glasses. Very non-cerebral.

32. Supersystem - A Million Microphones
Weird synthy funky dancy punk rock WTF. I like 'em

31. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
Man, I really hated their first two records, but I like the Springsteeny vibe and the subject matter here. Woot lets get drunk!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Five More...

40. White Magic - Dat Rosa...
Piano weirdness that sounds like it's from a cave inhabited by lunatic gnomes. There's not a lot of that out there.

39. Jason Collett - Idols of Exile
There is nothing really different happening on this album, but he certainly does that in a likeable fashion.

38.Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah!
I wish there were more disco-y bands around right now. It is difficult to listen to this without wishing you were wearing sequins and feathers and a tiny spoon on a chain and dancing at Studio 54. Two words: eltonjohn beegees.

47.Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
Pretty, folky, songs about war and being in love with girls.

36. Richard Buckner -Meadow
Richard Buckner makes Richard Buckner records. He sounds like Richard Buckner, and nobody else. He will occasionally change up the instrumentation. you are either a Richard Buckner fan or you are not, and you're never going to hate anything he does.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Next 5

45. Bobby Bare Jr's Young Criminal's Starvation League The Longest Meow
Not many out there are still country rockin'. BBJ gets a pretty good gang together and rocks the fuck out. Perhaps not as nuanced as his last few, but what are you gonna do.

44. Gnarls Barkley St. Elsewhere
It would be CRAZY not to have this one on here, right? Bwahahaha. It's a good album, but that may well be song of the DECADE! MILLENIUM! Who do you who do you who do you think you are?!

43.Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - Broom
These dudes opened for Catfish Haven, and they reminded me of Sloan in a good way, so I checked out the album. There are some Sloan-ey elements like lovely harmonies, but there's something else going on too. Check 'em out!

42. Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways
It should not come as a shock that Johnny is putting out records from the grave. I mean if 2 Pac can do it, so should this OG. I was pleasantly surprised by this one, I was expecting a real bummerfest, but it's a lovely tribute to him. (Note: I refrained from calling him "The Man in Black".)

41. Pink Mountaintops -Axis of Evol
This band (guy?) could be called "Someone Still Loves You Velvet Underground, but I guess that's an obvious statement, and they don't really need the affirmation Mr. Yeltsin does. The last Pink Mountaintops was all the "yay! rock n roll party excess!" album and this one is the aftermath. You may indeed hate yourself in the morning and your stomach will cruddy, but you won't regret it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bottom 5 of 50 for 2006!

50. Gossip Standing in the Way of Control
A pretty good album from the souly southern punkers, but the title track itself is easily one of the years best songs.

49. Matthew Sweet/Susanna Hoffs Under the Covers Vol. 1
Yes, it's an album of 2 artists not held in very high regard doing mostly 60s covers from the usual suspects, ala Dylan, Beatles, Bee Gees, Love. The harmonies are other worldly though, and it's a lot of fun to sing along with. Tacking on the "Vol. 1" is going to make them look pretty stupid of "Vol. 2" never happens though.

48.Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
I'll pretty much always check out what the Brits have their knickers in a knot over, and this is a good solid rock album from some young dudes. Will I buy their next one? Probably not.

47.Beck - The Information
Whoa. Another damn Beck album, another alleged return to form. At least the stickers distracted me from the fact that it's really NOT that different from Guero, which was a pretty okay album. I haven't even watched the DVD yet, which might have propelled this one a little higher. Hmm.

46. TV On The Radio -Return To Cookie Mountain
I feel like TVOTR didn't deliver on the statement made with the title of this album here. Where are the cookies? I don't find myself singing along like I did with the first full length. Oh well, it's still good.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Aimee Mann - One More Drifter in the Snow

I love mellow, kind of "stoney" Christmas music. Willie Nelson's LP, My Morning Jacket's EP, Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Soundtrack... All of these are what I would like to hear if I was stuck inside a snow globe for a few hours. Now I can add Aimee Mann's 2006 offering to my list. This is a lovely, mellow group of holiday favorites along with a great original and the slightly puzzling remake of that song she sang with Michael Penn, sans Michael Penn. The new version will likely grow on me, though. The standout is her deadpan delivery of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (on which she is aided by Grant Lee Phillips). This is the perfect antidote for the commercial ick found on the WLIT.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pavement Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinals Edition

First of all: How does Matador do it? They give us two disc reissues where disc one also has a ton of extra stuff, a disc two that's all awesome, and a really lovely book for only a couple bucks more then when the album came out. Major labels do the same thing (usually with less bonus tracks, etc) and charge $32+. I guess that's why they have a ton of money to put out stuff that's not that awesome right now. Anyhoot, back to the matter at hand: my least favorite Pavement album. That's not an insult mind you, my least favorite Pavement album beats, say, my favorite Justin Timberlake album anyday, and multiple listens to this makes me realize that even more. I would much rather be stuck on a desert island with only a CD player that operates on solar power and this deluxe reissue of Wowee Zowee as opposed to anything in the top ten right now. (haven't ipods really killed that whole "desert island disc" thing? I mean, kids aren't gonna understand that you can only take 5 records to a desert island... that's what portable music players are for. My ipod is locked and loaded for desert islandom). Oh yeah, Pavement. Dammit. I love this band. I would be happy if the bonus tracks were Malkmus farts and Spiral Stairs burps. They would go right on the ipod. Thanks Matador, for giving us more than farts and burps!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Detholz! - Cast Out Devils

Detholz! are one of the best local bands happening right now. If You like Devo (back when they rocked a little bit more), charismatic front men, dancing and evangelicism then this is meant for you. It's a slightly creepy paranoid soul splunging dance party. Do yourself a favor and go see them live too. Freak Out! Jump in, jump out, freak out freak out FREAK OUT!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Spooky Music For Spooky Occasions: The Halloween Mix

First off, I must give props to Scar Stuff, where all the songs marked with a * are available for download.

Spooky Music (Part One)* - Columbia Playtime 7"
Witches Brew - Hap Palmer & Martha Cheney
Werewolves of London - Magnolia Electric Company
Ghosts 'n' Goblins - The Advantage
Excerpt from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown*
Red Right Hand - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield
Everyday is Halloween - Ministry
Excerpt from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown*
The Witch - The Sonics
The Munsters Theme - Comateens
Pet Semetary - Ramones
A Spooky Sounding Halloween Story* - Kraft
Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.
Dead Man's Party - Oingo Boingo
Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive - Men at Work
Devil Woman - Cliff Richard
The Monsters Go Disco* - Count Chocula, Frankenberry & BooBerry
There's a Ghost in My House - The Fall
Halloween - Siouxsie & the Banshees
Lullabye - The Cure
Excerpt from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown*
Theme From Halloween - Mx-80 Sound
Halloween - Misfits
Spooky Music (Part Two)* - Columbia Playtime 7"

The Hap Palmer track is a song I remember from Kindergarten. It is an original by Hap, who pretty much just makes educational records that get played in school. There's nothing much educational about the song, which is about putting things such as "spider webs, moldy bread, fingernails too" into a witches' brew, then wondering "what's it gonna do to you?" I reckon it will fuck you up pretty badly, especially when you get to the motor oil.

Friday, August 04, 2006

v/a A Whole Lot of Rainbows

Fans of sunshine pop (certainly I am not the only one!) will find much to sink their teeth into with this bastard offspring of the Nuggets boxes. As the title promises, you will indeed be inundated with rainbows, and no less then TWO Paul Williams-penned songs (his own psych-pop band The Holy Mackerel as well as the Monkees performing "Someday Man"). Put this in your picnic basket with the box of wine and baguette and forget about the snow 'til next year!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Relatively Clean Rivers - s/t

A rambling pastoral California trip that may evoke CSNY's Deja Vu on 'shrooms. A completely timeless sound out of 1975 that's just right.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Chris Bell I Am the Cosmos

Everyone knows the name Alex Chilton, but I think the unsung hero of Big Star is Chris Bell. This CD (out on vinyl next month from 4 Men With Beards) is a collection of demos which gives any of the Big Star output a run for its money. It's completely disconnected from any time or introspective journey thru the mind of someone you would be too scared to get close to.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

'You Could Easily Picture This In the Current Top Ten'

I survived my first completely homogenic listening of Scott Walker's The Drift. The packaging, which may be different than the for sale one (this one is catalogue # drift1) is a fucking black hole in your hands. Any light immediately around it is instantly absorbed. Even the insides of the jacket and sleeves are black. I'm playing it now pretty loud, and just hope the neighbors don't think someone is being murdered, or has already been murdered and those sounds are the aftermath. Did I mention it's analog(ue)? An mp3, m4a, ogg(?) is never going to sound like this, and I can only imagine how it sounds out of speakers one notch above my Radio Shack specials. Remember those Disney LP/storybooks, where you follow along with the action of the record? This is the antithesis. I followed along with the lyrics in this 12 inch book of blackness and had the shit scared out of me. The LP format is perfect because it gives you breathing time when you get up to flip and change records. You need it. It is not a passive listening experience. I read this interview prior to the listening, and while some of the songs are "explained" they become no less provocative or oblique. I cannot believe this album exists. That this came from one guy's head who appears to be fully functional in society. Strings sound like people screaming. They had to build a percussion instrument for one song because he heard it a certain way and nothing existed to make that sound. One of the things that makes this record even more remarkable is putting it in retrospect to all the ones he made before it, the progression his career has made. While perhaps sonically distant, the world of Montague Terrace isn't that far removed from that of the Flugleman. I guess Scott (1)-4 really doesn't have anything as disturbing as donkey punching or pee pee soaked trousers though. Oh wait; there's the wet head of his first case of ghonorrhea, but he didn't WRITE that one. There are pictures of him throughout the book, not surpisingly they are blurry and he's wearing sunglasses. The full body shot at the end is the best. John said "He looks like an alien in Converse."

He probably is one.

The final song, coming in on the heels of a demonic Looney Tunes interpretation, seriously feels like Scott Walker is tucking you back in your bed after everything that just transpired in the last hour of your life, which felt more like an entire lifetime anyway. You finally drift off to sleep and have dreams of him playing "Cossacks Are" on Top of The Pops. I don't think I could exist forever in that world, but it's nice to visit once in a while to put everything into perspective.

(Special thanks to Dave for getting this in my hands.)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Best of 2005

1. Andrew Bird - & The Mysterious Production of Eggs
2. Sufjan Stevens - Come On! Feel the Illinoise!
3. M. Ward - Transistor Radio
4. Silver Jews - Tanglewood Numbers
5. Fruit Bats - Spelled in Bones
6. New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
7. Matt Sweeny & Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Superwolf
8. Stephen Malkmus - Face the Truth
9. Magnolia Electric Company - What Comes After the Blues
10. Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy and Appendix
11. Deerhoof - Runners Four
12. Akron/Family & Angels of Light - Split LP
13. Devin Davis - Lonely People of the World, Unite!
14. Calexico/Iron & Wine - In the Reigns
15. Coco Rosie - Noah's Ark
16. Josephine Foster - Hazel Eyes, I Will Lead You
17. Adam Fitz - Between the Incident and the Event
18. Six Organs of Admittance - School of Flower
19. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning
20. Beck - Guero
21. Decemberists - Picaresque
22. Animal Collective - Feels
23. Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow
24. Damien Jurado - On My Way To Absence
25. Antony and the Johnsons - I Am a Bird Now
26. Jim and Jennie and the Pinetops - Rivers Roll On By
27. Of Montreal - Sunlandic Twins
28. Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine
29. Gorillaz - Demon Days
30. Freakwater - Thinking of You
31. Healthy White Baby - s/t
32. Kanye West - Late Registration
33. Robbie Fulks - Georgia Hard
34. Sam Prekop - Who's Your New Professor?
35. New Order - Waiting for the Sirens Call
36. My Morning Jacket - Z
37. Edith Frost - It's a Game
38. Feist - Let It Die
39. Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask
40. Weezer - Make Believe (SHUT UP!!!)