December 31, 2007

'07's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, pt. 3

Coconut Records - Nighttiming
Sweet and fun, I'm just happy that I loved it before I heard that it was Jason Schwartzman singing.
Coconut Records - West Coast

LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver
It took me a long time to really get into this album, because it wasn't the ridiculous dance party that the first one was. This, my friend Casey says, is it's charm, because it's not just a dance party, it's a real album. James Murphy set out to make an actual album this time, not just club hits, and, after listening to it with that understanding, the whole album grew on me, and now I love it. Ladies and Gents, the sensation across the nation, I give you, LCD Soundsystem:
LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum

Great Lake Swimmers - Ongiara
Super soothing. Probably the most relaxing album of the year. Slow bluegrass waltz's take up a pretty good portion of the album, which is fine by me. The lyrics have a lonely, but hopeful, feeling to them, which makes the album refreshing and ... nice. It's a nice album
Great Lake Swimmers - Catcher Son

The Beastie Boys - The Mix Up
You know, I never payed much attention to the instrumentals on the Beastie Boy albums because I was too busy thinking "they could, and should, be spitting hot fire over these phat beats." Yeah ... I'm kind of a nerd. Anyway, when I heard about this album, I was instantly intrigued. The first video released showed our fellas playing the instruments and just having a blast ... it was like watching an old video of you and some close family members just mess around and have fun. Jazzy and just about the coolest thing imaginable.
The Beastie Boys - 14 St. Break

Björk - Volta
Okay, we all know Björk is weird ... so weird she may have actually invented it. This release is no change (just think, if it was normal sounding, it would still be weird, because it would be Björk doing normal sounding stuff ... which is actually to weird to even imagine). Slapping sound effects together, breaking beats (and objects [then recording that sound and making music with it]), Björk composes quite the master piece. I'd have to say that, after 1 or 2 listens, I was hooked. I think it's her catchiest album to date. I can't help but listen to this track over and over and over:
Björk - The Dull Flame of Desire

Hot Hot Heat - Happiness LTD.
Indie Dance Pop Punk ... gotta love it. Every song just explodes out of your headphones/speakers. Probably the most solid example of how good Hot Hot Heat is.
Hot Hot Heat - Harmonicas & Tambourines
Hot Hot Heat - My Best Friend

Nurses - Hangin' Nothin' But Our Hands Down
Like a mash up album between the National and Man Man ... kind of. It's just a spazzy, but really well thought out and well put together album.
Nurses - Lots...

Frog Eyes - Tears of the Valedictorian
Demented spirits have possessed musical instruments and recorded themselves ... that's the only explanation for this album that I can come up with. Frog Eyes has always been on the edge of greatness, never quite making the catchiest songs, or being the band to see, but with this new release, they've probably gotten the closest their spastic style will ever allow them to get. It's nuts, but oh my gentle jesus is it good.
Frog Eyes - Caravan Breakers, They Prey on the Weak and the Old

Múm - Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy
Like the electronic Björk side project, music by the Knife, Múm's magical masterpiece delights during every listen. It's calming and peaceful, worldly and playful.
Múm - Marmalade Fires

Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover
Like a rainbow heard through kaleidescopic ears, this album burst forth with such majestic force that one can barely understand what exactly is going on. Inventive. Reminiscent of well known phrases in other dimensions. Like Man Man's folky brother.
Sunset Rubdown - Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days

Handsome Furs - Plague Park
If this album sounds familiar, don't worry, it's not just you, there's a damn good reason for it. Dan Boeckner from Wolf Parade decided to team up with his wife and start to make music ... in a literal sense. This White Stripes-ian effort, subtracting the blues and country influences and adding in more contemporary and peculiar ones, is rather minimalist, but comes together quite well I have to say.
Handsome Furs - Handsome Furs Hate This City

'07's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, pt. 4

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - In Glorious Times
Like Frog Eyes and Man Man and Sunset Rubdown and Ayreon and any other awkward but hella intelligent band of, really, any genre. It's like a heart attack and a stroke at the same time ... but if those things were good.
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - The Companions
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Angle of Repose

Over the Rhine - The Trumpet Child
One of the most incredible swingy jazzy Sinatra-y albums I've ever heard. It's smoky and sexy and mmmmm smooth.
Over the Rhine - Trouble
Over the Rhine - I Don't Wanna Waste Your Time

Vashti Bunyan - Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind
Oh man. Oh man oh man. If you don't know of this chica, you need to. She's probably one of the most important folk artists to have ever picked up a guitar. She's one of the most influential folk artists baring Dylan ... and anything she touches is gold, which is evident by this release.
Vashti Bunyan - Train Song

The Number Twelve Looks Like You - Mongrel
WHOA! Like getting two CD players, putting a Dimmu Borgir CD in one CD player, and an Esteban/Santana duet album in another, and randomly pressing play and pause on each player ... well ... it only sounds like that sometimes. Yeah, sounds confusing, but good god these boys know how to play music ... some people may think that these boys don't understand that certain styles shouldn't even be in the same room as each other, and that may be the case, but that makes me happy.
The Number Twelve Looks Like You - Imagine Nation Express

French Quarter - French Quarter
Just a small time boy from Arizona warming the hearts of people from here to the heartland with his Ben Gibbardish style voice and his indie-pop singer/songwriter style. He's one of the most talented little guys I've ever come across. See him live, and he might just do his version of "Stayin Alive."
French Quarter - Build Fires
French Quarter - Bold With Fire

The Nightwatchman - One Man Revolution
Who would have thought that RATM's Rock n Roll guit-box player would be able to pull off Dylan-style activist-folk. Not I. But after hearing the SXSW live set, I was confident that it would be quite the awesomeness, and it was. His lyrics are probably the most political (who'd've guessed?) I've ever heard. His voice is a little hard to get past at first, but I quickly warmed up to it. Come on, how could Tom Morello do any wrong?
The Nightwatchman - House Gone Up In Flames

31Knots - The Days And Nights Of Everything Anywhere
Awkward smart rocking 70's style-ish indie rock straight from the heart. These boys know how to throw it down in more awkward ways than one, and each of those ways are new and inventive in new and inventive ways. Kind of a contrived way of describing it, but that's how it goes.
31Knots - Beauty
31Knots - The Days And Nights Of Lust And Presumption

Black Diamond Heavies - Every Damn Time
These guys sound like Tom Waits if Tom Waits was turned into two gorillas who then forced the keyboardist from the Doors to play swinging lounge punk. Seriously.
Black Diamond Heavies - Fever In My Blood

'07's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More Than Music

This is Part 4 of 4 of my best of. These are the albums that I had a hard time not hosting an mp3 of every song on the album.

Love More Than Music (<3>)

The String Quartet Tribute to The Arcade Fire's Funeral
There are few albums that give me the shivers, and the list of albums that give me the shivers as soon as I start the album is even smaller. The list, however, of albums that give me shivers as soon as I start it and continue to give me the shivers throughout the album no matter how many times I hear it is down to a handful ... and this is one of those albums. Now, truthfully, I'm willing to admit that this is probably only because I'm so totally in love with the Arcade Fire that pretty much anything they touch turns to gold. This album is probably no surprise to anyone who is familiar with string quartet tributes and even less of a surprise to people who have heard the album it's based off of. It is what it is, no more no less. It plucks my heart strings for reasons I can't explain, and, I dunno, maybe it will for you too. give it a shot:
The String Quartet - Wake Up
The String Quartet - Rebellion (Lies)
The String Quartet - Neighbourhood #2 (Laika)

Cloud Cult - The Meaning of 8

This album was a contender for album of the year. It is probably one of the most touching and painful albums I've ever heard. For those of you who don't know, the album was written about the death of the child of 2 of the band members. All ready you know this shits going to be heavy. With nearly every song directly about Kaidin's death (understandably so), one can't help but feel ... well ... straight up bad. It is a painful album, but that is what makes it so beautiful. Sure it's experimental, and it uses really awkward musical methods and all that jazz, but what makes it beautiful because, well, a work of art made to relieve pain is, more frequently than not, more touching. I dunno, I'm having a hard time describing it. Listen to it yourself:
Cloud Cult - Pretty Voice
Cloud Cult - A Good God
Cloud Cult - Your 8th Birthday

Winterkids - Memoirs
Small-British-Village Dance-Pop-Punk that just comes from out of freaking left field. Elements of Bluegrass and Folk give it charm, but the pure talent the band members have in regards to writing a song and playing instruments make it basically one of the best executed albums I've ever heard. The lyrics are a little juvenile, which is where it leaves some points (i.e. what puts it behind the album of the year), but, personally, I find the lyrics rather charming and easily relate-able (hey, we're all a little childish sometimes). Honestly, I expect a heck of a lot from these kids if their debut is this astonishingly fantastic.
Winterkids - Tape It
Winterkids - I'm Not Used to You
Winterkids - Who Am I Kidding?

Foot Ox - Ghost
Rounding out at just under 20 minutes, this lo-fi triumph is one of the most brutally honest albums I've ever heard. Every note is from the soul, every song sounding like a collaborative effort of every good hearted person in town. From the lyrics to the music, every part is straight up touching and real, basement production only helping. I'll keep this short and sweet like the album, because, sometimes, all you need is a few words:
Foot Ox - Carriers
Foot Ox - Wet Blanket
Foot Ox - New Boyfriend

The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust
Like the ghost of a fleet of war torn WWII fighter jets screaming through the sky overhead, The Raveonette's new album comes straight to your ears and utterly destroys ... if that makes any sense. The album is an ethereal tribute to 1950's pop mixed with a hint of shoegaze. The wall of noise hits about a minute and a half in and rarely lets down. The whole album seems to bleed together, but in a good way. It's one of those albums that you can get lost in for hours on end. I found myself playing it over and over and over again, initially feeling guilty because I had other albums to listen to, but then reveling in how absolutely amazing it is. So, freaking, great:
The Raveonettes - Hallucinations
The Raveonettes - Dead Sound
The Raveonettes - Aly, Walk With Me

Album of the Year (sm12<3>μsic):

The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

I'm probably going to get a lot of shit for saying this is the best album of the year, especially since said it was too ... check that, I've already gotten a lot of shit for loving this album, because from the second I heard it I knew I would think it was the best album of the year, and, when provoked (or even unprovoked), I would say so. Granted, it's not nearly as diverse as Funeral, but I think it's much more intelligent.

Funeral for many people, including me, was instantly nostalgic. It reminded us of childhood and unrestrained hopefulness, instilling the listener with a sort of "whatever happens will happen, and I'll make it through, torpedoes be damned!" sense of self. It was a triumphant cheering anthem for the success of the spirit. Neon Bible, conversely, is angry, and dark, and boiling over with hatred and pessimism. It's the death of the child that was re-born in Funeral (what an awkward sentence). The band has never been more full of energy and spirit as they are on this album. they're no longer singing songs, they're screaming their souls out. They're no longer playing instruments, they're making their instruments bleed music. Neon Bible is one of the darkest albums I've ever heard, and it's also one of the smartest, because it's so subtle at times, and in your face when it needs to be. It's never over the top, it's spot on. It's everything I could possibly ask for from music.

The Arcade Fire - Intervention
The Arcade Fire - The Well and The Lighthouse
The Arcade Fire - My Body is a Cage
The Arcade Fire - Ocean of Noise

Well Tthere you have it. I know I missed a whole bunch of really good albums, but This is all I had time to write about. Trust me, I didn't get a chance to mention even close to all the albums I like. I'm definitely going to do this differently next year.

December 24, 2007

"You're Innocent When You Dream"

I may not be the first to know, but I know this hasn't gotten a whole lot of press. Scarlett Johansson is putting out a Tom Waits cover album. I only have the karaoke scene in Lost in Translation to go off of, but, regardless, I'm pretty stoked. 2nd best album of 2008.

By the way, my end of the year wrap up post is going well ... it's going to be enormous.

December 16, 2007

"We Never Saw This Coming, Pride Comes Before Our Fall."

OH! I almost forgot! A day or so before my computer brokc (by-the-by, I'm on a family member's computer currently, which is why I'm able to post) I was looking up stuff on stuff (you know, general time-wastery) and I found out that Ayreon's new album, 01011001, is soon to be released! Jan. 23rd or 29th depending on where ya live. Can anyone say best album of 2008? because I can. seriously, look at the cast for this opera:
Anthony Lucassen (duh)
Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian, Demons & Wizards)
Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain of Salvation)
Tom S. Englund (Evergrey)
Jonas Renkse (Katatonia)
Jørn Lande (ex-Masterplan, ARK)
Anneke van Giersbergen (Agua de Annique, ex-The Gathering)
Steve Lee (Gotthard)
Bob Catley (Magnum)
Floor Jansen (After Forever, Star One)
Magali Luyten (Beautiful Sin, Virus IV)
Simone Simons (Epica)
Phideaux Xavier
Marjan Welman (Elister)
Liselotte Hegt (Dial)
Ty Tabor (King's X)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen - Guitar, keyboards, synths, bass guitar, programming
Ed Warby (Gorefest) - Drums and percussion
Lori Linstruth (ex-Stream of Passion) - Guitar solo
Michael Romeo (Symphony X) - Guitar solo
Derek Sherinian (Planet X, Yngwie Malmsteen, ex-Dream Theater) - Keyboard solo
Tomas Bodin (The Flower Kings) - Keyboard solo
Joost van den Broek (After Forever) - Piano and Keyboard solo
Jeroen Goossens (Flairck) - Flutes Ben
Mathot (Dis) - Violins
David Faber - Cellos
CanNOT wait for that shit.

RIP Colonel

Have you ever had as much fun as I currently am? My car, The Colonel, just died. It'll cost about $5000 to fix. Which means I'm going to be borrowing a car from my father until I can afford another car. My computer, the Beast, also just had a heart attack. It's under the knife as we speak, but it'll be a long procedure (this is why I've not been posting recently). I've learned from this that I am too attached to stupid little things ... but that doesn't mean I'm going to give them up, because they certainly make things a whole lot more fun. The whole point of this being that I'm going to take a break from this blog thing for another week or so. I'll be back just in time to reveal my "top albums" end of the year wrap up. I'm excited about it. You should be too. Til then, have a happy whatever.

December 6, 2007

"This is How You Make a Toothbeef Sandwich"

I randomly found this blog with this picture, and I had to share it. Yes, it says "Best Wishes Suzanne, Under Neat That, We Will Miss You."

In other news: So, Dan Deacon (who is basically always on my mind) has recently been used in a Greyhound advertisement, something Deacon never agreed to. This pissed him off because, in his words, "if [he] had [his] way [he] would see all their buses transport guns to all the people they have fucked over." I find this hilarious, because I've always pictured Dan Deacon as an overly loving guy, but, as it turns out, he's human, which makes me love him even more (actually, I'm reminded of one of the times I saw him where some douchbag started off the show yelling at Dan, and Dan simply told him that if he was going to keep that shit up, this was going to be a really bad show for him.) Dan Deacon, you rock. Oh yeah, and he recently made 40 minutes of music for Jimmy Joe Roche's film project "Ultimate Reality," which can be purchased here. Here's a taste:

Here's another masterpiece by Roche:

December 5, 2007

"Human Human Human," "Ways," "You're a Punk Bitch If You Don't Know 'Bout Boulder"

1) It's been a hell of a week and a few days. I've been up until 2AM, a few times until 5AM, doing homework, and it's not nearly as fun as Daft Punk makes it out to be:

Daft Punk - Human / Together / One More Time / Music Sounds Better With You / Stardust

2) Speaking of French electronic music, a group by the name of Spitzer recently contacted me and asked me to check them out, and I was rather impressed. They remind me of everything good about the idea of Daft Punk covering the Knife, but without sounding like a rip off of either. It's dancy as hell, which, as my readers might know about me, is something that I prize above many things. Look out, it's Spitzer:

Spitzer - Yacht Club

3) Speaking of Dancy music, someone recently noticed that the links to the 3Oh!3 songs I put up died out. So ... here they are again (as though these fellas need any more press than they're getting):

3Oh!3 - Chokechain
3Oh!3 - Don't Dance
3Oh!3 - Holler Til You Pass Out