Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My favorite songs of the year.

My intention was to make this a big post, just like the albums post I made last week, but I've been a combination of really busy with this new jibby job of mine and a bit lazy too. So, here we are over a week after I said I'd put this up and I'm just now doing it. Eh, in the immortal words of Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein, "Could be worse, it could be raining". So, without further ado, here's my 28 favorite songs of the year in no order whatsoever. Why 28? If I had spent more time, it probably would have been 128, I just stopped at 28. Rather than tell you why I love these songs so much, I'm going to let these poets' words speak for themselves. Enjoy.

The National - Mistaken For Strangers

Make up something to believe in your heart of hearts
so you have something to wear on your sleeve of sleeves
so you swear you just saw a feathery woman
carry a blindfolded man through the trees
Andrew Bird - Dark Matter
When I was just a little boy
I threw away all of my action toys
When I became obsessed with operation
Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks
What a dream in the dark
About working so hard
About growing so stoned
Trying not to turn up
Trying not to believe in the light
On your own
Songs of Green Pheasant - Boats
This song is so beautiful and Duncan mumbles a bit so just listen.

Radiohead - All I Need

It's all wrong
It's all right
It's all wrong
It's all right
Low - Murderer
Don't act so innocent
I've seen you pound your fist into the earth
And I've read your book
It seems that you could use another fool
Well I'm cruel
And I look right through
Animal Collective - Fireworks
Attractive day in the rubble of the night from before.
I can't walk in a vacuum, I feel ugly, feel my pores.
It's the trees of this day that I do battle with for the light.
Then I start to feel tragic, people greet me, I'm polite.
LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan,
and the next five years trying to be with your friends again.
LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great
The worst is all the lovely weather,
I'm sad, it's not raining.

The coffee isn't even bitter,
Because, what's the difference?
Bright Eyes - Coat Check Dream Song
I slept with that dealer all summer
The ecstasy is still in my spine

Coat Check I couldn't remember

Walked into the winter, came out on the other side
Beirut - Cliquot
Set fire to foundation and burn out the station
You'll never get nothing of mine

The pane of my window will flicker and billow

I won't leave a stitching behind
Jose Gonzalez - Cycling Trivialities
Don't know which way to turn.
Every trifle becoming big concerns.

All this time you were chasing dreams,

without knowing what you wanted them to mean.
Kevin Drew - Tbtf
slice my eyes took me through
another night that goes all night through

tries to seize what their hearts have lost

my best friend took me in

laid me down beside my own sins

and I said "can you
please forgive the love?"
Deerhunter - Cryptograms
My greatest fear
I fantasized

The days were long

The weeks blew by

Before I knew

I was awake

My days were through

It was too late
Sigur Ros - I Gaer
I don't speak Icelandic

Spoon - Finer Feelings
I was part-time at the Tasty Prawn
That and moving furniture and cutting lawns

Covered in newsprint, staying up real late

Just holding out for some fate
The Twilight Sad - That Summer, At Home I Became The Invisible Boy
and fourteen and you know
that I'm looking the wrong way
and is the past outside

or in this lovely home
Kings of Leon - Knocked Up
I don't care what nobody says, no
I'm going to be her lover
Always mad and usually drunk
But I love her like no other
Menomena - Muscle n' Flo
There's so much more left to do
Well I'm not young

But I'm not through
Menomena - Wet and Rusting
I made you a present, you’ll never expect it
And when you unravel the secret will travel, oh

It's hard to take risks, with a pessimist
The Weakerthans - Virtute The Cat Explains Her Departure
For a while, I heard you missing steps in the street
And your anger pleading in an uncertain key

Singing the sound of you that you found for me
Dan Deacon - Wham City
I hope in my heart
that we on a whole
will die
and the earth be left alone
just beast and bee and fish and tree
this hope I wish will someday be
Panda Bear - Bros.
i know myself and i know what i want to do
im doing my best and i want to know is it good for you?
you give me trouble

you give me everything that you've got

ill show you that whats right for me aint for you
Caribou - She's The One
time and time I hear things that can't be true
and it's only talk cause she'll never be so cruel

every night there's a new name on her arm
that I don't think I recognize and it's never strange just how long she stays away
I guess I'll have to compromise
John Vanderslice - Kookaburra
Lightning shot from the sky
It breathed life into every, every living thing
It made you, it made me
It gave us the Kookaburra
It gave us Frangipani tree
St. Vincent - Paris Is Burning
Enclosed in this letter there's a picture
Black and white for your refrigerator

Sticks and stones have made me smarter

It's words that cut me under my armor
Explosions In The Sky - The Birth and Death of The Day
No lyrics here, and none needed.
Caspian - Asa

All those that know me, know that I find humor in many things. Well, this year (and many of the last few years) the thing that I found funniest was R Kelly. So to end the list making season with a bang, I present to you the most hilarious song of the year.

R. Kelly - Sex Planet
Girl now that you're next to me
We'll be just like satelites
Watching over the Earth
We'll make space our paradise
Girl I promise this will be painless(painless)
We'll take a trip to planet Uranus
Uh just put your trust in me
And girl i promise destination
will be a trip that you will never forget
I'm gonna take you out of this world
So hold on tight my dear

Hold on tight indeed.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Broken Social Scene on the streets of Bristol

Here's a quick little clip of a few of the Broken Social Sceners playing on the streets of Bristol, trying to earn a couple tips. Towards the end of the clip the band can be heard performing a nice rendition of "The Wagon" by Dinosaur Jr. Check it out.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Free Walkmen show at Emos on Saturday

The Walkmen are playing a free show on Saturday at Emos with Zykos and Horse + Donkey in the opening slots. I'm not sure why it's free or what type of unwanted merchandise is going to be peddled to the people at the show, but whatever, have a few extra beers on them. The doors are at 8pm and the show starts at 10pm on the outside stage. These free shows at Emos usually fill up by the time the headliner comes on, so you might want to head out a bit early.

In site news, I know I promised to put up my songs of the year post this week, but I started a new job this week and things have been a bit hectic. If I don't get it up tonight I'll do it tomorrow afternoon. Have a great weekend, see you at Emos.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

St. Vincent at Hot Freaks - video

Here's video of St. Vincent performing "Marry Me" during the Hot Freaks party at The Mohawk this past September. It's official, I have a crush.

(via GorillavsBear)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Top 25 albums of the year (according to me)

Today is the beginning of my year end wrap up. I'll have some more lists this week, including my songs of the year post. Before I get to the list, I just want to say that I can't remember a year in which as much great music was released as this one. I initially set out to do a list of my ten favorite albums this year but that soon became impossible, then it was 15, then 20, and finally i settled on 25. Truth be told, i probably could have made a top 50, but that's just a bit too much i think. So here it is, my 25 favorite albums of the year. The top 5 are for sure my 5 favorite but beyond that it's not so clear cut. I tried to put it all in order but it's hard to decide. Basically, if you think I like the #6 album exponentially more than #25, you're wrong. Hope you enjoy it.

25) Film School - Hideout

Apart from having my favorite album art of the year, Hideout continues on the path that Film School's previous albums followed, but it's bigger and more grand than anything they've done in the past.

MP3: Film School - Lectric

24) Caspian - The Four Trees

I got into Caspian by accident. I went to see This Will Destroy You and these guys from Massachusetts happened to be playing too. They blew me away. Expect big things from this epic Post Rock band in the future.

MP3: Caspian - Asa

23) Marissa Nadler - Songs III: Bird On The Water

This songstress from Boston released one of the years most subtly beautiful albums. She reminds me a bit of a more melancholy Joanna Newsom. Check out here Take Away Show with La Blogoteque here.

MP3: Marissa Nadler - Sylvia

22) Blonde Redhead - 23

Blonde Redhead have been around for a while but this is the first of their myriad of albums that has really grabbed my attention. I'm a sucker for walls of shoegaze-y guitars and those are abundant here. You'll get lost in this one for sure.

MP3: Blonde Redhead - 23

21) St. Vincent - Marry Me

Marry Me is one of the most impressive debut albums I have ever heard. Annie Clark has talent for days and it shines through in her songs. I definitely expect lots of great albums from her in the future. Check out her beautiful Take Away Show here.

MP3: St. Vincent - Paris is Burning

20) Interpol - Our Love To Admire

Turn On The Bright Lights is one of my favorite albums released in this decade, and while Interpol have never been able to match their debut masterpiece, they have consistently released enjoyable albums and this one is no exception.

MP3: Interpol - No I In Threesome

19) John Vanderslice - Emerald City

I love the way John Vanderslice albums sound. His classic approach to recording (nothing digital, all tape) lets you hear every bit of the music, nothing is clipped or "corrected". I love it when people stubbornly resist change.

MP3: John Vanderslice - White Dove

18) The Forms - The Forms

The Forms released their debut, Icarus, way back in 2003 but as the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. It's a very applicable colloquialism to use here, because when I heard about this new album it quickly became one of the more highly anticipated arrivals of the year. Well worth the wait. Watch for the subtle time changes, absolutely brilliant.

MP3: The Forms - Knowledge In Hand

17) Panda Bear - Person Pitch

I love fucked up pop songs and this is an album absolutely brimming with fucked up pop songs. Noah Lennox (aka Animal Collective's Panda Bear) has come up with one of the greatest pop tinged pieces of psychedelia to be released in a long time. "Bros" is a timeless classic that our children will be blown away by when they start doing drugs.

MP3: Panda Bear - Comfy In Nautica

16) Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

There was no way that Neon Bible could top Funeral. It simply wasn't possible, and anyone who was expecting it to is a sucker who was bound for disappointment. With that being said, this is a great album. It's political without sounding whiny, and in this day and age of really boring and self satisfying "protest songs" it's a welcome treat.

MP3: Arcade Fire - No Cars Go

15) Radiohead - In Rainbows

Definitely the most talked about release of the year, and perhaps the most talked about in quite some time. Radiohead's latest LP isn't the masterpiece that some label it as but it got everyone talking, and the day of it's digital release, dubbed Radiohead day by everyone I know, was the most interactive musical experience I have had since downloading music became an option. It felt like it used to feel the Tuesday a big album was released.

MP3: Radiohead - All I Need

14) Low - Drums and Guns

Drums and Guns backpedals a bit from the heights of The Great Destroyer and in doing so perfectly bridges the divide between it and Low's earlier, more minimalist output. It seems as if they've found a comfy little nest there and I hope it allows for many more albums as good as this one in the future.

MP3: Low - Murderer

13) The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse

This one is a grower. After my first few listens I wasn't overly impressed, but give it some time to sink in and you'll find yourself going back again and again. The 1-2 combo of album opener "Disaster" and it's second song mate of "For Agent 13" make for one of the better album opening duos of the year.

MP3: The Besnard Lakes - Because Tonight

12) Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog

I never expected this from Sam Beam. Beam's first album, the absolutely divine The Creek Drank The Cradle is a graduate level course in the "more is less" credo, yet here we are 5 years later and Iron & Wine have released the best folky psych rock album I may have ever heard. In fact I don't even think there is another album like this one that I have heard. Brilliant.

MP3: Iron & Wine - Boy With A Coin

11) Songs Of Green Pheasant - Gyllyng Street

Gyllyng Street came out of nowhere. I had never heard of Songs of Green Pheasant before this release but I will definitely remember them now. The story of how Duncan Sumpner got signed to Fat Cat is pretty amazing. You can read about it here. The album cover describes the songs inside incredibly well. Put this one on the player on a rainy day and get lost in it.

MP3: Songs Of Green Pheasant - Boats

10) Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature

Jose Gonzalez may be best known for his reinterpretations of other people's songs ( see his cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats" from Veneer or Massive Attack's "Teardrops" on this album) but his own songs shine through on In Our Nature. The Besnard Lakes had the years best 1-2 punch, but Jose has the years best album ending 1-2 punch in closing tracks "Fold" and "Cycling Trivialities".

MP3: Jose Gonzalez - Fold

9) The National - Boxer

I proclaimed this album "Best of the year (so far)" a few months back, and it's surely a testament to how good so many albums were this year that it landed at #9 on my list. I'm sure most of you have heard this already, so you know it's good. Any other year this would have been much nearer the top of the heap.

MP3: The National - Mistaken For Strangers

8) Explosions In The Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

Explosions In The Sky may be my favorite band. I love every second of every song they have ever released. When i initially set out to make this list I had this album in the high teens but before I published the list, I decided to listen to all of the albums a few times a piece and make any necessary changes. With each successive listen this one moved closer to the top. if I had listened to it 10 more times it probably would have gone even higher.

MP3: Explosions In The Sky - Catastrophe and The Cure

7) Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew - Spirit If...

I'm really surprised that I haven't seen this album on more year end lists. From front to back, Spirit If... overflows with great songs. I also really love the idea of this album, I love how it keeps the Broken Social Scene ideal intact while allowing the focus to be shifted to the stylings of one member rather than the sound of the collective as a whole. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series.

MP3: Kevin Drew - Tbtf

6) Beirut - The Flying Club Cup

I honestly did not expect to love this album as much as I do. Gulag Orkestar immediately caught my eye last year with it's unique take on Balkan and French sounds but it seemed like any further albums would invariably sound like a retread of Gulag Orkestar. I was 100% proven wrong. Zach Condon's band of musicians have produced one of the most satisfying listening experiences of the year and by defying my expectations have definitely found a permanent place in my record collection.

MP3: Beirut - Nantes

5) Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

With each successive release, I expect some sort of drop in quality, yet I am constantly proven wrong. Not only does Spoon's creative output remain strong on the curiously titled Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga but it may be the best complete album that they have released since 2001's Girls Can Tell. At this point I am officially assuming that the combination of Britt Daniel and Jim Eno can do no wrong.

MP3: Spoon - You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb

4) Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha

This is a classic album. I bet I'll be marvelling at it when I am much much older than I am now. I've been a fan of Andrew Bird's for a number of years but not until this album was I left in complete awe of his range of talents. The whistling, the beautiful violin, the loops, the fucking songs! It's all so good, and when you throw in an phenomenal drummer/overall musician like Martin Dosh, you get something really really special. Be sure to check out Andrew Bird's Take Away Show here.

MP3: Andrew Bird - Dark Matter

3) Menomena - Friend & Foe

Honestly, any of these top three albums could be #1. This album kills me. I've lost track of how many times I have listened to Friend and Foe in it's entirety. While Menomena may have initially caught people's attention because of their unique songwriting approach, by this point they have transcended the novelty tag. The fact that three guys make this music and that they can pull it off live amazes me to no end. If you haven't seen them live yet, do yourself a favor and do so. It will make the album even better. Be sure to check out there Take Away Show here, it features the most unabashed display of musical joy by children that I have ever seen. If the sight of those french kids dancing doesn't make you smile the biggest smile your face can make then you are already dead.

MP3: Menomena - Wet and Rusting

2) The Twilight Sad - 14 Autumns and 15 Winters

I saw The Twilight Sad 4 times during SXSW and once more since. If they played Emos once a week I would go every week and I would happily be deaf by week 10. This album will be with me for my entire life. It speaks to me in a way I can't describe. I've heard the band's sound described as "scratching and itch I didn't think I had" before and that is really fitting. "That Summer At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy" starts with the simple, yet unbelievably profound line of "I'm 14, and you know...". Yes, I know, I really do know. I can't believe this isn't my favorite album of the year because it's one of my favorite albums ever, but this isn't just any year and the best album of this year isn't just any album.

MP3: The Twilight Sad - That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy

1) Caribou - Andorra

Caribou's Andorra is one of the best album's I have ever heard. Simple as that. The sonic territory covered on this album spans decades and genres effortlessly. If the album itself hasn't impressed you enough already, which I find hard to believe, watch this 8 minute mini documentary on Dan Snaith and the creation of this masterpiece. I have spent countless hours pouring over Andorra's 9 songs and am still hearing things that I never noticed before. This is the best example of a "headphone album" that I can think of, it overtakes your senses and envelopes you in sound. I love experimental soundscapes and music that pushes me in directions that I would not go on my own, but at heart I am a sucker for Pop, you get all of that here too. Your head is bobbing and your toes are tapping and then you soundlessly mouth the word "wow" to no one except yourself. This will happen. Goddamn I love music. Best of the year, and this year that is definitely saying something.

MP3: Caribou - She's The One

New Iron & Wine Video - Boy With A Coin

Here's the new video for "Boy With A Coin" off of Iron & Wine's latest album The Shepherd's Dog. Sam's just sitting around, playing his guitar and wondering about where his beard ranks in the canon of all time greatest beards, while some dancers dance. It's actually a pretty cool video.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Dinosaur Jr @ Emos 12.7.07


The Dinosaur Jr. show at Emos on Friday night qualifies as the single loudest show that I have ever attended. I've been to shows where the volume level has exceeded Dino's at times (Mogwai come immediately to mind), but in terms of sheer volume from start to finish, J, Lou, and Murph have taken the crown. It may have had something to do with the three Marshall full stacks behind J and the Ampeg 8x10 and Marshall half stack behind Lou. Just a guess. This was my first time seeing Dinosuar Jr. and I am so glad that I decided to go. The near capacity, if not full, crowd at Emos ranged from middle aged former slackers in stained Husker Du tshirts drinking 4 dollar beers to glassy eyed 19 year olds in stained Husker Du tshirts to confused looking frat boys pounding Lonestar tallboys as they made their way to the door with a look on their face that seems to say "Why do they have to play so loud, and what's with that old guys hair?" In short, the audience was varied, but once the confused "I went to this show because it was recommended by the Chronicle so I guess I should go" crowd left, everyone was really into it and the vibe was great. As opposed to Dinosaur Jr's last show in Austin (at Stubbs) which focused on the bands early output, Friday's set mixed in some of the band's mid 90s, post Lou and Murph tunes as well as a few from their new album Beyond. In fact, the highlight of the night for me, aside from the classics, was "Pick Me Up" from Beyond. Watching J solo for 4 or 5 minutes straight while Murph showed why he is one of the best rock drummers of all time and Lou chewed gum and banged away on his Tele bass was beyond amazing (oh my, the pun). I had a blast and it seemed like everyone else there did too.

In my enthusiastic post show state I searched the Internet for a decent quality live recording of "Pick Me Up" and, in doing so, discovered that one of my favorite tapers, Sloan Simpson of Athens, GA, has a new blog (Southern Shelter) where he posts boots of local shows. He has a really great quality recording of the 12.3.07 Dinosaur Jr. show in Athens up in case you want to vicariously experience the show. Below is the version of "Pick Me Up" they played at that show. The whole set can be found at Southern Shelter.

Dinosaur Jr. - Pick Me Up (live @ The 40 Watt in Athens, GA)

Get the whole show here.

Buy Beyond here

Friday, December 7, 2007

Jose Gonzalez at The Blanton Museum

Jose Gonzalez was recently in town to play at The Parish, and while he was here our local La Blogoteque knockoff video series, KUT and Super Alright's Retread Sessions, recorded 2 songs of Jose's at the Blanton Museum of Art. Check them out below.

Jose Gonzalez - Abram

No. 5 Jose Gonzalez - "Abram" from Retread Sessions on Vimeo.

Jose Gonzalez - Time To Send Someone Away

No. 5 Jose Gonzalez - "Time to Send Someone Away" from Retread Sessions on Vimeo.

Mark Mothersbaugh article

LA Weekly just did a piece on Mark Mothersbaugh's Mutato studios. Mothersbaugh and his coworkers compose and record music for everything from Cartoons to Hollywood movies to Commercials. Most people are probably aware of Mothersbaugh's past working relationship with Wes Anderson (Mothersbaugh provided music for the first 4 of Anderson's films) but did you know that Mothersbaugh and Co. also came up with the theme song for Pee Wees Playhouse and the Nickelodeon television show Rugrats? The article is a really interesting read, you should check it out. It also features the following quote from Mothersbaugh on how he first started working with Gerald Casale, “We couldn’t afford drugs, we didn’t have a van and we hated bowling.” Yep, yet another scenario where boredom creates brilliance. Thanks to Monsieur Bidwell for the link.

The article can be found here.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Dinosaur Jr, at Emos tomorrow

J, Lou, and Murph will be in town tomorrow night to bring some rock to Emo's outside stage. I've never seen Dinosaur Jr before, so I am excited. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here. Really not too much to say that hasn't been said a million times before. These guys are legends and seeing legends play is pretty cool.

Dinosaur Jr. w/ Awesome Color & Grand Champeen

  • Emos - Outside Stage
  • Tickets here ($20)
  • Doors at 9pm, show at 10pm
Dinosaur Jr. - Thumb

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sigur Ros - Heima & Hvarf/Heim

Sigur Ros's new concert DVD Heima was released today. The film chronicles the band as they return to their homeland of Iceland and perform in front of their countrymen and women in some unique locations. The film has garnered pretty glowing reviews across the board and is magnificently shot, as can be seen from the trailer below.

About a month ago Sigur Ros released Hvarf/Heim a double disc album comprising both rarities and previously unreleased tracks as well as acoustic performances done in promotion for Heima. The album is as beautiful as anything else the Icelandic group have released in the past, and the second disc's acoustic tracks shed a whole new light on some of the band's past work. Both are highly recommended.

Sigur Ros - Hjomalind

Buy Hvarf/Heim here

Buy the Heima DVD here

Saturday, December 1, 2007

St. Vincent live at Other Music

I just can't get enough St. Vincent. Here's a video which is part interview, part performance and was recorded at Other Music in NYC (over by NYU). Said video features Annie Clark performing an unreleased tune "Bang, Bang" which has become a live staple for her, as well as "Marry Me' and "Paris Is Burning". Thanks to Gorilla Vs Bear for the heads up on this one, Chris is seriously on his shit.

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