Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009: A Reflection

So many great albums came out this year but its so hard to decide what the 'best' ones were. I'm a freak about making lists and I tried to make a poll but it annoyed me. Below is a list of what I suppose is my 'Top 30' (this number is completely arbitrary, it's just nice that when I was done, it was an even number so i got excited.) favorite albums from this year and I'd like to see what everyone has to say about the albums I've listed or nominate other albums if your favorites aren't on my list (leave stuff in the comments por favor). Maybe I missed something or maybe you just have bad taste...I don't know...but I'm still curious.

Now in quite a particular order:

Mount Eerie - Wind's Poem
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
Kidcrash - Snacks
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Bowerbirds - Upper Air
Kaospilot - Shadows
Portugal. The Man - The Satanic Satanist/The Majestic Majesty
Thrice - Beggars
Toe - For Long Tomorrow
Loma Prieta - Dark Mountain
Phantogram - Phantogram EP
Rx Bandits - Mandala
Native - Wrestling Moves
Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights
Sea Wolf - White Water, White Bloom
Daïtro - Y
Mono - Hymn to the Immortal Wind
Portraits of Past - Cypress Dust Witch EP
John Frusciante - The Empyrean
Bygones - By~
Daniel Striped Tiger - Certain Stuff
The Dodos - Time to Die
Russian Circles - Geneva
Bon Iver - Blood Bank EP
Castavet - Summer Fences
maudlin of the Well - Part the Second
Mouse on the Keys - An Anxious Object
Nadja - Under the Jaguar Sun
Fall of Efrafa - Inlé
St. Vincent - Actor

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009)

Ok...honestly, if you don't know about Animal Collective by now, then I don't even know where to begin. Ridiculously catchy yet super weird in outer space, these guys do what they want, how they want it...and it's fantastic. This is definitely their "poppiest" and most "accessible" album yet but it's still got all the quirky things that make AC so great, as well as new-found pop sensibilities that made Pitchfork soil itself and now every hipster worth his salt loves AC. I'm sure almost everyone who comes here has, at least, heard of this but it certainly was one of the very best albums of the year even though it came out right at the beginning of it. If you somehow haven't heard this yet, give it a listen for sure.

01. In The Flowers
02. My Girls
03. Also Frightened
04. Summertime Clothes
05. Daily Routine
06. Bluish
07. Guy's Eyes
08. Taste
09. Lion In A Coma
10. No More Runnin'
11. Brother Sport

Merriweather Post Pavilion

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Toe - For Long Tomorrow (2009)

Japan's finest have done it again. I don't think I can stress enough how amazing Toe is but you really have to listen for yourself. This is their first full-length album in about 4 years and it's well worth the wait. What makes this album so great is that it is such a natural progression. There is a lot more instrumentation involving everything from synths to glockenspiels and the like. There are also a lot more vocals. Sometimes they really add to the song like the female vocal samples in 'After Image' and the female vocals in 'Goodbye' but they are also most prominent in the album's weakest track 'Say It Ain't So'. The vocals and over-simplified instrumentation make for a somewhat catchy, happy sounding japanese pop song but I don't see how that fits on this masterpiece of an album. Last but certainly not least, the drumming is just as spectacular as ever and it never ceases to amaze me no matter how many times I listen.

01.koko ni wa nani mo kamo ga aru shi, nani mo kamo ga nai
02.shoushitsu tenyo fue
03.after image
05.say it ain’t so
06.two moons
07.mosikiiton wa mou kikoenai #1
08.mosikiiton wa mou kikoenai #2
09.last night (Album Version)
10.goodbye (Album Version)
11.you go
12.our next movement
13.long tomorrow

For Long Tomorrow

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bowerbirds - Upper Air (2009)

For me, Bowerbirds was one of those bands that just clicked and I was immediately hooked as soon as I heard their debut album, Hymns For a Dark Horse, which I posted a while ago. This album is much more of a 'summer' album, in my opinion, but that might have to do with the fact that it came out in july... Anyway, it just has a much more upbeat vibe whereas Hymns is more somber and autumnal sounding. The addition of a bassist and a lot more drumming really made for a drastic change in dynamic while retaining their folky integrity. Everything sounds full and the arrangements are just as beautiful as ever. Even though it's getting pretty bleak outside (for me, anyway) this album will keep you in high spirits and is completely worth the 2 minutes it'll take to check it out.

01. House Of Diamonds 2:58
02. Teeth 4:10
03. Silver Clouds 4:30
04. Beneath Your Tree 3:40
05. Ghost Life 5:24
06. Northern Lights 2:54
07. Chimes 4:18
08. Bright Future 4:01
09. Crooked Lust 4:04
10. This Day 3:08

Upper Air

oh wait...
I posted the first album but long after that, I found the bonus tracks which are nothing short of spectacular. They are even better than some of the songs that actually made it on the album and one of them, La Denigracion, has become one of my favorite songs by them in general.

Hymns For a Dark Horse Bonus Tracks

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Best of 2009

I just realized that the last two albums I posted are some of my favorites from this past year. I'm terrible at making lists because I can never decide but I'm going to post my own little top 10 from 2009 for the next 8 posts I suppose. I may do more than 10 if I'm too indecisive (count on that) and I may rank them eventually but who knows... I MAKE THE RULES.

Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca (2009)

This album took over my life when it came out at the beginning of this past summer. If you've heard the album's first single "Stillness is the Move" and didn't like it...that's ok. The rest of the album is notthhhiiiinnngggg like that song. Don't get me wrong, I adore that song in the context of the album but I feel like it turned a lot of people off. Anyway, if you haven't checked out this album yet for some absurd reason, here's your chance. The ridiculously creative compositions and beautiful vocal harmonies make this album a fascinating and fulfilling listening experience.

  1. "Cannibal Resource" - 3:55
  2. "Temecula Sunrise" - 5:05
  3. "The Bride" - 2:49
  4. "Stillness Is the Move" - 5:14
  5. "Two Doves" - 3:42
  6. "Useful Chamber" - 6:28
  7. "No Intention" - 4:17
  8. "Remade Horizon" - 3:55
  9. "Fluorescent Half Dome" - 5:45
Bitte Orca

Mount Eerie - Wind's Poem (2009)

Phil Elvrum's latest, Wind's Poem, brings together so many different worlds of music to make one of the most original and cohesive albums to come out in quite some time. Drawing an intriguing amount of influence from depressive black metal artists like Xasthur (check out 'A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors' and you'll see exactly what's going on) as well as keeping up his signature lo-fi, fuzz-folk vibe and soothing voice, Phil creates something truly special. There is also a healthy dose of drone-influenced soundscapes, filled with richly harmonized organs and distorted guitars as well as plenty of gongs. Do yourself a favor and delve into this masterpiece.

  1. "Wind's Dark Poem" – 4:12
  2. "Through the Trees" – 11:33
  3. "My Heart Is Not at Peace" – 3:17
  4. "The Hidden Stone" – 3:46
  5. "Wind Speaks" – 3:46
  6. "Summons" – 2:51
  7. "The Mouth of Sky" – 4:46
  8. "Between Two Mysteries" – 4:18
  9. "Ancient Questions" – 3:24
  10. "(something)" – 2:22
  11. "Lost Wisdom Pt. 2" – 5:04
  12. "Stone's Ode" - 5:26
Wind's Poem

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Le pré où je suis mort - Le pré où je suis mort (2007)

Get ready, I'm about to snob up this blog with some French screamo. Yes, you heard me correctly. These guys take a different path than their countrymen and go for a more dynamic and drawn-out approach to the screamo genre. With sprawling, almost cinematic, songs, they really capture a lot of emotion and intensity. Even though I have absolutely NO idea what these guys are talking about, I can almost appreciate the vocal inflection more, almost as its own instrument. These epic journeys through music are definitely not to be missed. Also, prepare yourself for some more European screamo kinda stuff in the near future, I'm in love with it.

1 Vision - 6:22
2 Une fois de plus - 6:45
3 Terre promise - 6:52
4 Silence - 13:54

Le pré où je suis mort

Phantogram - Eyelid Movies (2009)

My band was put on a bill with these guys (well, guy and girl) at a local venue and it couldn't have been a more pleasant surprise. This dynamic duo combines hip-hop inspired beats, dank synths and catchy, inspired guitar melodies underneath beautiful vocals. There are also lots of effects going on (Im pretty sure i saw 2 KAOSS pads being used while they were playing...2!) but they only add to the atmosphere and create intriguing, dynamic textures. On top of being densely textured and interesting to listen to, it's also extremely dance-y and infectious. Highly recommended for blasting in cars.

1. mouthful of diamonds
2. when i'm small
3. turn it off
4. running from the cops
5. all dried up
6. as far as i can see
7. you are the ocean
8. bloody palms
9. futuristic casket
10. let me go
11. 10,000 claps

Eyelid Movies

The Microphones - The Glow Pt. 2 (2001)

This project had eluded me until about a month or so ago. I really wish it hadn't. This is some of the most raw and genuine music I've ever heard and this album has quickly soared to the top of my list of albums that I will love forever. If you are capable of relating to human emotion and you can appreciate one guy recording just about every aspect of this record alone, then I strongly urge you to check this album out. Just do ittttt.

  1. "I Want Wind to Blow" – 5:32
  2. "The Glow Pt. 2" – 4:58
  3. "The Moon" – 5:17
  4. "Headless Horseman" – 3:10
  5. "My Roots Are Strong and Deep" – 1:53
  6. "Instrumental" – 1:38
  7. "The Mansion" – 3:34
  8. "(Something)" – 1:46
  9. "(Something) (continued)" – 2:53
  10. "I'll Not Contain You" – 2:50
  11. "The Gleam Pt. 2" – 1:58
  12. "Map" – 5:01
  13. "You'll Be in the Air" – 2:41
  14. "I Want to Be Cold" – 1:42
  15. "I Am Bored" – 1:36
  16. "I Felt My Size" – 2:19
  17. "Instrumental (2)" – 1:56
  18. "I Felt Your Shape" – 1:55
  19. "Samurai Sword" – 4:07
  20. "My Warm Blood" – 9:27
The Glow Pt. 2

Sun Kil Moon - Tiny Cities (2005)

I had never listened to this artist up until a few weeks ago when I found out that there was an entire acoustic cover album of Modest Mouse songs. I still have yet to even listen to some original material but who really cares? This album has some great/unexpected song choices (Four Fingered Fisherman!) and the interpretations of the songs are beautifully done and orchestrated mostly on acoustic guitar with lots of finger-picking riffage. Great for any hardcore MM fan.

  1. "Exit Does Not Exist" – 1:24
  2. "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes" – 3:13
  3. "Neverending Math Equation" – 2:53
  4. "Space Travel Is Boring" – 3:42
  5. "Dramamine" – 2:44
  6. "Jesus Christ Was an Only Child" – 1:59
  7. "Four Fingered Fisherman" – 2:41
  8. "Grey Ice Water" – 2:32
  9. "Convenient Parking" – 1:56
  10. "Trucker's Atlas" – 2:49
  11. "Ocean Breathes Salty – 4:36
Tiny Cities

Wow...It's been a while...

You people amaze me. I'm happy to see that people still come here even though I'm a cretin undeserving of your support. It happens to be snowing today and I'm sitting here drinking coffee and the wireless internet is flowing like wine and it made me want to post some albums for all of you saints out there that still click on this site from time to time. Sit tight for a bunch of new posts. I assure you, your patience will be rewarded.