Wednesday, December 12, 2007

i don't do orders because it's too hard.

my favorite albums of 2007, IN NO ORDER.

the unlovables - heartsickle

with the ergs putting out a uneven EP, other pop-punk acts had a chance to shine, and the unlovables(mikey erg drums. jeez, what bands isn't he in?) and the steinways(covered below) really took advantage. the unlovables are a female-fronted pop-punk band who is reminiscent of zolof and the rock and roll destroyer, but without the male vocals and keyboards, and with more sass. this entire album is cute and catchy as hell, with "Dance Party for Two(Your Room, 3 A.M.)" as a particular standout, though this might partly be due to my fondness for late night dance parties.

fishboy - albatross: or how we failed to save the lone star state with the power of rock and roll
holy fucking fuck, this album is awesome. fishboy sounds a lot like a more absurd neutral milk hotel at times, and at others, a more indie-rock tullycraft. i have not heard a more charming album this year, and you probably haven't either. if i did ratings, this might be #1. "The Details of our Trip" examine a world influenced by the actions of Fishboy ("everybody knows the band, talks to ghosts and holds up banks for money,") and I can't help thinking that maybe that would be a much more fun world to live in.

okkervil river - the stage names
okkervil river are awesome. this is their best album. meta-indie-country rock ftw.

streetlight manifesto - somewhere in the between
Har Har Har! Ska sucks! Luckily, this sounds a lot more like something the World/Inferno Friendship Society might come up with. There's a lot more sea-shanty than ska-bounce in this album, and I am thankful. Well, to be honest, I am more thankful for the honest and direct lyrics instead of traditionally silly ska lyrics. I suppose that's never really been Streetlight's thing anyway, though... so... this is basically a long winded attempt to avoid saying I like a ska album. Which is silly.

and really only a big deal because i used to make a big deal out of not liking ska.

you guys win.
this album is great. punchy horn lines, declarations of triumph in the face of failure, and yeah, probably some parts you can skank to. (not that i would. honest, folks. honest.)

paul baribeau - grand ledge
this is a more accomplished and introspective album than paul baribeau's earlier efforts. it is earnest, and wrapped in winter, and charming. it is perfect for long car rides at night with someone, for those mixtapes for cute boys/girls, for drinking tea alone on your windowsill, for travel of any kind. "if i love you, i miss you." is perhaps my favorite lyric of 2007, mostly because it is direct and true and heart-felt.

this album makes me cry almost every time i put it on.

jason anderson - tonight
jason anderson has finally wrote an album that captures the excitement and love of his live show. so maybe it sounds a little bit(ok, a lot.) like bruce? the boss fucking rules. so does jason anderson. see him live if you can, though he doesn't tour as much as he used to.

wolves in the throne room - two hunters
this album is the ultimate argument for voting green. if dirty hippies from the west coast can craft something this fucking evil and beautiful, then perhaps the rest of us should give up our cars and move to a cabin in the woods. who the fuck says united states black metal is a dead scene? this album rivals 'dead flag blues' in it's scope and sense of apocalyptic dread.

bludwulf - cryptic revelations
can we kill the punk vs. metal rivalry finally? bludwulf play thrash metal with snarled punk vocals and the resulting mix is far more interesting than the last slayer album(which i really did not care for, your millage might vary.) i don't think this counts as crossover, but i like it a lot more than most crossover revival anyway.

weakerthans - reunion tour
while not their most solid album, the high spots here outweigh the clunkers by far. the weakerthans are definitely following in the tracks laid down by their last album("Reconstruction Site"), so if you liked that one, you'll probably like this one. this is music written for late fall, for deep winter, an album focused on failed connections and tripped wires. these songs linger in the air like breath on cold days, reminders of people who have passed this way.

wingnut dishwasher's union - towards a world without dishwashers!
so pat the bunny has a new band, and it's a lot more hopeful than johnny hobo and the frieght trains, and i am glad. sounds mostly the same as johnny hobo, but i like the new lyrical direction a bunch. folk-punk 4eva!

kayne west - graduation
so kayne is almost as good as he thinks he is. there are two bad songs on here, but the good ones are so really very good. you know what this sounds like. hey, you remember when he was more known for saying our president doesn't like black people? i had forgotten.

xo skeletons - bored by heaven
wes screaming about being bored and disaffected is pretty much always awesome. the subtraction of guitars(ok, yeah, there is some guitar on this album, but you know what i mean.) and the addition of shitty dance beats makes this even more poignant. cage guests on this, and it's awesome. it seems california hasn't made wes any happier than boston did(which sucks for him, but heck, the music is awesome. writing this sentence made me feel vaguely repugnant.)

th' legendary shack shakers - swampblood
oh goodness, does this record rip your face off and then nail it back to your skull. th' legendary shack shakers play balls-out southern horror rock with gusto and verve. if you liked the direction clutch has been heading in, you owe it to yourself to check this album out, and then you can sell all your new clutch cds back to the music store(ok, i liked the last clutch album, but i like this one much more. that's really all i'm trying to say. sorry for the snark.)

skeletonwitch - beyond the permafrost
i recently was heard to proclaim "what the fuck good is ohio?". i quickly retracted this, as integrity popped into my head RIGHT AFTER I SAID IT, but i forgot about this band too. this band is also from ohio, and awesome(though they don't really sound like integrity at all.). skeleltonwitch plays awesome blackened thrash and really don't make any missteps on this album.

but seriously, ohio is like one of the worst states.

defiance ohio - the fear the fear the fear
"the list" is maybe the best song defiance ohio have ever written. with every release, defiance ohio becomes a more complex outfit, vocally, lyrically, and musically. this is what happens when folk-punk grows up.

nine inch nails - year zero
trent reznor becomes relevant again, news at 11. this album from the former oink member is not without it's mistakes, but good god, "capital g". shiiiiit, son. this is much better than "with teeth".

the steinways - missed the boat
snotty, immature, totally fucking awesome. these are songs about how much warped tour blows, and all those awkward high school relationships that really were probably just about sex but no-one wanted to admit it at the time. perfect summer music. they're doing a short tour with dear landlord soon, and that should be fuckin' killer.

vampire weekend - blue cd-r
these guys get a lot of flack for being safe, but i prefer to think of them as charming. happy earnest african-influenced indie rock about the rich parts of massachusetts, and college-y things. this is really great lying about on the quad as it starts getting warm music.

tullycraft- every scene needs a center
tullycraft writes indie-pop perfection, and this album is no different. in a discussion i had recently about twee, a friend of mine was complaining that it was too one-note in thematic quality, and i brought up this album as a counter-point. with songs ranging from "the lonely life of the ufo researcher"(a paean to the kind of desperation needed to cling to slim hopes) , to the more twee-friendly jaunts of "the punks are writing love songs", tullycraft displays a depth that most of their contemporaries cannot claim. they are also totally and wonderful dance-able, by yourself in your bedroom, or with some of your closest friends.

jena berlin - quo vadimus
i had never heard of this band until 2007, when they opened for nakatomi plaza at a house on my college campus.(in the spirit of honesty, it should be noted i booked this show.) however, their live performance and the tour ep they had for sale made me a fan instantly. their catchy brand of post-punk combined with their insightful lyrics and their knowledge of when to be quiet and when to howl makes this one of my favorite cds of 2007.

so yeah, that's that.
new content soon.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

texas is the reason

Sorry for the lack of posting. The pre-holiday week was extra hectic with my sister coming in, and working extra hours and everything.

So, onto the first album on that big list of albums right below this post.

Fishboy is from Denton, TX and apparently named after some sort of middle-school dare that involved consuming a live goldfish. They are a four-piece, and their new(second? i think second) album is a rock opera about how they, with the help of buddy holly's ghost and a girl they met while working at a taco stand tried to save the state of texas with the power of music.

which, i think we can all agree, is a tremendously charming undertaking, and this charm and spunk pervade the entire album. it's a twee-pop masterpiece, and easily one of the best albums of the year.

Fishboy - Taqueria Girl

an extra song, with charming lyrics about winter, and winter ending, which is important these days.

Fishboy - Blackout Halftime

Music comes in seasons, just like people and films, and I've definitely fallen into the trap of listening to almost exclusively winter music as of late. Owen, Jawbreaker, Okkervil River, and oddly enough, this one song by Jens Lekman. The majority of his work is charming, and upbeat, and reminds me of Burt Bacharach(which is a fairly high compliment from me.), and this song is just heart-wrenchingly sad. The light piano underscores the focus of the song, which is Jen's voice, and his simple and direct lyrics about someone waiting for an old flame at the airport after a long separation.

Jens Lekman - Sky Phenomenon

Sunday, November 18, 2007

albums that are great from this year and might make some sort of list eventually

Fishboy - Albatross: How We Failed To Save The Lone Star State With The Power Of Rock And Roll
Tullycraft - Every Scene Needs a Center
Streetlight Manifesto - Somewhere in the Between
Skeletonwitch - Beyond the Permafrost
Bomb the Music Industry/O Pioneers!!! - Split
Bishop Allen - The Broken String
Legendary Shack Shakers - Swampblood
The Unlovables - Heartsickle
Various Artists - Folk Music for the End of the World
Kayne West - Graduation
Bettye LaVette - Scene of the Crime
The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour
Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala
Minsk - The Ritual Fires of Abandonment
Wolves in the Throne Room - Two Hunters
Jason Anderson - Tonight!
Paul Baribeau - Grand Ledge
The Ergs - Upstairs/Downstairs
Weedeater - God Luck and Good Speed
Okkervil River - The Stage Names
The Steinways - Missed the Boat
Matty Pop Chart - Everyone Does Everything
Jena Berlin - Quo Vadimus
Algernon Cadwallader - tour edition demo
A Smile and A Ribbon - The Boy I Wish I Never Met
Bruce Springsteen - Magic
Wingnut Dishwasher's Union - Towards a World Without Dishwashers
Baby Dee - Safe Inside the Day
Blud Wolf - Cryptic Revelations

this is more for myself than anyone else, i keep forgetting what came out this year. but everyone should take the time to check these albums out. i might post some songs later tonight from one's that are especially off the radar and/or awesome.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

whoa what

Apparently the Ergs covered Paul Baribeau on the b-side of their "Books About Miles Davis" 7-in.

This sounds pretty awesome to me.

Sorry for the lack of MP3 updates, I've been really busy and exhausted lately.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

every single one of them named jennifer

I have half a post prepared about punk rock, and bands that still stand for what I believe in, but it's not what I'm really listening to right now, so instead:

Typically, I would deny listening to something as... i guess, unoffensive as Bishop Allen, but I am in a strange place right now where I read books I would normally pass, and sip tea and lean against the CTA railways. I have a lot of people I love living in Asia right now, and I spent today writing my application to teach aboard in Japan, and I am feeling all kinds of fall and wistful and this song seems to wrap all that up. The rest of this album is the same kind of sepia-toned indie pop. It will probably end up on my end of the year list of albums i've loved.

Bishop Allen - The Chinatown Bus

That's all for now, I have to finish letters and start other projects.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

oh my lord



(note: if you are not amused by the idea of death metal covers of pop songs, you probably shouldn't even bother.)

Ten Masked Men.

Their version of "Cry Me a River" made me laugh so hard.

can we start again?

Bane recently(7 months ago) celebrated their 10th year of existence as a band with a hell of a show in Worcester, MA at the Palladium, and since they are the most important band in the world to me, of course I was there, braving snow and ice to celebrate. They played with FC Five, Outbreak, Evergreen Terrace, and a re-united Overcast, and in a rare display of kindness, the Palladium removed most of their barricades. What resulted was one of the best shows I've ever seen, rivaling the first time I ever saw Bane. FC Five were scrappy and furious(and Japanese!), Outbreak as pissed as I've ever seen them, Evergreen Terrace gave everyone a chance to breathe, and covered Op Ivy(which was fun, gotta give 'em that.), and Overcast rocked the fuck out with their brand of Worcester-style metalcore. But Bane, good lord. Bane was amazing. They tore through mostly newer songs, but threw in some great picks from "It All Comes Down to This", and "Holding This Moment." In the midst of their set was a Bjork cover, which I present a recorded version of to you below. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but it's certainly interesting to hear Bane put their stamp on a non-hardcore song.

Bane - Enjoy(Bjork Cover)

Black Forest / Black Sea were another band I discovered that fateful night in Boston in 2004. They opened for Birchville Cat Motel, and were entrancing. It's a duo from Rhode Island, and that night they both played string instruments and looped some of the sounds, I believe. I was major into Godspeed You Black Emperor! at that time, so I really ate it up, and ending up buying a CD(which I listened to on the ride home, and almost drove into a tree since it was so soothing. After that, my girlfriend made me listen to the radio.) This track is off a compliation entitled "frannce" which is four discs long, and spans all kinds of music. It's a sparse little tune sung all in French by the female member of the duo, and the Neil Young/Crazy Horse style guitar in the middle just makes it all the better, I feel.

edit: Here's a rough translation, provided by a friend of mine. I make no claims as to it's accuracy. The note is from her as well.

One night, one time
Spent the night in a new way
I noticed before climbing
The death of hero (something)

Outside the law where
la la loo will be the thread
with sympathy
A task of (energy?)

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse where are our tickets
No one would suspect us

We ate all the pastries
We peed in the swimming pool
We wrote in lipstick on each mirror and each toilet
Mickey and Minnie were (anticipated? Anti-something.)

We will finish, we will escape
In the dark

*note: French people use the word thread to mean connector or unifier

Black Forest / Black Sea - My Night with the French Resistance

Tomorrow night I probably won't post anything because I'll be at the Metro to see Lucero. I am pretty excited, though wistful, since those drunk kids from TN I sang along with last time probably won't be there. Anyway, this is Lucero playing a song by Jawbreaker.

Lucero - Kiss the Bottle(Jawbreaker cover)

'til next time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

motherfucking shit computer

I had half a post typed, and then my computer restarted for no reason.

motherfucking bad omens.


welcome to my music blog.

I was first exposed to Birchville Cat Motel, and by extension, noise/drone in 2004. It was December 31st, in Boston at an experimental music showcase. I didn't really have any idea what I was going to be seeing, aside from free music that was "experimental!" needless to say, i was in full throes of being indier-than-thou, and dragged all my friends. they left after the fellow who had treated vinyl with different substances to produced warped sound(i thought he was neat), but I stayed for Birchville Cat Motel's first ever US show. Or at least his first show in Boston. I can't remember. regardless, i thought he was amazing, and managed to catch him a second time, two years later. Campbell Kneale(the fellow behind BCM) has the worst hair I've ever seen, but crafts music of breathtaking beauty and chaos. He has a tremendous knack for taking moments of sublime destruction and turning them into quiet angelic melodies. This is a Prince cover, from a tribute album released on his label. It sounds not much like most of his work, but I like it a whole bunch anyway.

Birchville Cat Motel - I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man(Prince Cover)

This is a quietly epic song that I like very much. I don't know a whole lot about Working for a Nuclear Free City except that they are from England, Stylus really liked them a whole bunch, and I expect this double CD (Businessmen & Ghosts) to be on a few end of the year lists.

Working for a Nuclear-Free City - Asleep at the Wheel

And finally.

MC Frontalot - I Hate Your Blog

'till next time, kids.

p.s. MC Frontalot has a song about grues. it's not very good, but still! song about grues! goddamn!

mic check.

music bloggggggg.

first real post later?