Saturday, December 27, 2008
Ohhhhhhhhh snap! Here it is... the new Animal Collective Album. I've only listened to it about once all the way through, but I gotta say this is probably the most accessible and toned down I've seen Animal Collective in a while. Stand out track is definitely "Brothersport"... very addicting. Anyway... get this shit before it's gone... cause it will probably be gone quick.
Posted by pj at 6:56 AM
Monday, December 22, 2008
I guess it's that time of year. Time for whiskey and thoughts of suicide, sprinkled with random sex with strangers, crying and being cold... Oh yeah and then there's this years top ten albums! This year was a strange year for music. There were a lot of GOOD albums from some of my favorite bands.. and some pretty good newcomers... but really nothing AMAZING. I looked at the Pitchfork top 50 for inspiration and really... the top ten are good, and I agree with most of it... but honestly this years top ten wouldn't have even made last years top 25. I mean last year Radiohead, The National, Animal Collective, Panda Bear, LCD Soundsystem all gave me albums that I listened to like 500 times on repeat and will probably hold as some of the best albums in the new millennium... and unfortunately there weren't any groundbreaking albums like that this year. That being said... I had a lot of trouble coming up with the top ten. While there weren't any amazing albums... there were a TON of good albums.. and it was hard to decide who deserved a top spot. So I derived a system based on 2 qualities: 1. Artistic merit (meaning how I viewed the album as a whole, and it's level of artistic complexity) and 2. Replay value (meaning how much I actually listened to the album). I did this because while some albums I found highly artistic and challenging to listen to... I rarely replay the album even to this day. Whereas some albums that I actually thought were very catchy and had immediate appeal... but not very much artistic value. So I had to find a happy medium between the two, with albums that I both listened to a lot, and also appreciated for their artistic content. Okay?! okay.... now on to the list!
1. Okay - Huggable Dust
It seems fitting that at the top of my list is my very first blog post. I struggled more with the top 5 of my list than anything else. I didn't know who deserved 1st really... and while this album has it's flaws, I keep coming back to it. Its genius is in its simplicity. It's an album of love songs... period. But it really brings you through the whole process of emotions that go along with love. It's as heartwarming and catchy as it is heartbreaking and distant. If listening to these tracks doesn't make you feel sorrow for your loves you've lost or feel grateful for the love you have, then you need to check your pulse... cause you're probably ugly... or a totally unlovable bitch. There I said it.
2. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Technically this shouldn't be here because this album was released late last year. But it had it's major release this year and no one knew this guy until 08 anyway so who freakin cares really. So here's another album of love songs... I know. But the proof is in Justin Vernon's voice. Like with Okay, he has this endearing quality to his voice that really makes you feel everything he sings. The atmosphere on this record is second to none... it has a cold and openness to it that is utilized perfectly with the crooning of Vernon's vocals. It's too bad this didn't get a proper release because this would've been on the top of either this year or last years lists... but instead he missed out on both of them. Don't worry though....we don't pay attention to "rules" on teh intarwebs.
3. Dosh - Wolves and Wishes
This, along with Okay, is one that I feel a TON of people overlooked. This is probably the freshest sounding electronic music being made today, courtesy of Andrew Birds drummer. I mean this guy kills on the drums, which are all live on his albums. No samples here bitch. Oh and if you listen to this and then listen to Andrew Birds new album, you will notice that Bird totally swiped a bunch of beats off of this CD... WTF man. I mean, I'm sure he had Dosh's approval, but seriously, it kind of devalues and taints the amazing quality of the original when you use it in other peoples songs. It would be like 50 cent taking DJ Shadow's first album and rapping over the beats.... well maybe not that bad.. but you get the point... either way. For me this album instrumental masterpiece... catchy, appealing, great production, full of depth and of course... some freakin tight ass beats.
So, this is probably cheating to use two albums as one post... but a lot of people did that with Deerhunter's Microcastle/Wierd Era Cont. and Fleet Foxes EP and follow up album... so I win this argument! Take that blogosphere! If I were to pick album(s) of the year based solely on how much I listened to an album, these guys would've been #1 hands down. While Los Campesinos are the quintessential indie band... they are ahead of the game in one gigantic aspect. They know EXACTLY what they are... and aren't trying to be anything else. So while most bands that use this formula end up sounding whinny, cheesy, predictable and just plain lame... these guys end up sounding catchy, fun, witty and exciting. Los Campesinos are definitely the break out new band of the year... and with two albums in one year (both of them good) I'm excited for the future.
5. Portishead - Third
When I first heard Portishead was going to resurface, I was questioning how in the hell their old formula for success was going to translate in a modern sound scape. I guess they asked themselves that question too, because they essentially came back as an entirely new band. This album evokes the exact opposite type of feeling I get from Los Campesinos. If I were to pick an album based solely on artistic merit, these guys would've been #1. The only problem I had with this album is that it is insanely dark and thus immediately disorienting. It takes a while to get past it, but when you do, you realize what an amazing achievement it actually is. How do you destroy your beloved indie image, only to come back as a darker, more haunting band with an entirely different set of structures and make one of the years best albums? Yeah.... THIS.
6. M83 - Saturdays = Youth
M83 = Blissed out synth pop... I think. I dunno. I always feel very 80's-ish whenever I put M83 on. While this album doesn't really break any new ground for the band, it definitely contains some of the years best songs. It took a while but this one definitely grew on me.
7. TV on the Radio - Dear Science
TVOTR have hit a nice stride here. First "Return From Cookie Mountain" now... this! Although out of the two I think I prefer the former... but this one is no step in the wrong direction. These guys do production better than any band out there today. Even when they are tame they manage to keep everything so refreshing that it's still exciting. I do feel like this album could have benefited from a couple more focused songs. 10 songs isn't much and when a few are easily ignored then it kinda kills the feel... while a 12-14 track album can have a few throw away tracks and still be brilliant. Ah.. but what the hell do I know... either way these guys continue to impress.
8. Why? - Alopecia
Ugh... WHY? WHY!!!??? Why doesn't Yoni stop rapping and ruining half of his records!? Maybe I'm alone in this feeling. The rest of the songs are great though. This is another band with the potential to make a mindfuck of a record. Elephant Eyelash was close, this was a little less close... but it is definitely still good enough to make it to # 8 in the top ten.
9. Beach House - Devotion
If 'life is a beach and then you die' (like I read on some dudes coffee cup)... then a Beach House must be where all the shit happens when you're alive... and then I guess you die. It's so simple! The only reason this album wasn't at the top of my list is because I felt this album didn't really progress the band any further than their self titled did. That and you really have to be in the right mood to listen to this music. But when the mood is right, nothing hits you quite like Beach House.
10. The Notwist - The Devil, You and Me
There were a lot of bands that I thought deserved the top ten really... but I just had to get Notwist in here somewhere. While I can't say that this is the best album ever... I did listen to it a ton... and there are like at least 4 of my favorite songs of the year on this album. This one really made this list cause of the sheer excitement it gave me to listen to it for the first 5 times through. There was no album this year that I was anticipating more than this one... and while it didn't blow my mind... it definitely satisfied my hunger for one of my favorite bands.
Alright I couldn't help myself. Here are a few more albums that are definitely worthy of checking out even though they didn't make the top ten. The "honorable mentions".
Bonnie Prince Billy - Lie Down In the Light
Probably his best release in recent years
Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Flight
I just recently found out about these guys... great album. If I had discovered this sooner it might have made the top ten, but I don't think I can get past some of the cheesy lyrics. But when it's good... it's really good.
Grouper - Dragging a Dead Dear Up a Hill
Like Beach House, you really have to be in the right state of mind to listen to this. I really wanted this to make the top ten but it is such a mood music record that I felt like others deserved it more.
Subtle - Exiting Arm
I really love subtle, but for some reason I just didn't listen to this as much as everything else on the list, so I couldn't find it in my heart to give them a spot... still a great album though.
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Okay, so I know it's cool to hate on these guys but they actually deserve most of the praise they are getting. A lot of bands nowadays are trying to mold themselves after Paul Simon's Graceland... even The Islands tried this a few years ago... these guys definitely did a better job... but honestly, I can't see them progressing with this sound any more than this record. Hopefully they decide to reinvent themselves.
David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
Wow... two of my most favorite artists put their brains together and make an album... how can it not be good? Answer: it CAN'T.
Phew! That was a bitch to do. I hope to never do a post like that again... well.. until next year i guess. Sweet. I hope everyone enjoys my picks for 08 and has a lovely depression free holiday season. Alright, I gotta go catch santa and fuck his shit up. That bitch has yet to give me a Wii.. wtf santa.
Posted by pj at 8:40 AM
Thursday, December 18, 2008
In case you didn't notice, I'm trying to disguise the title here because I know Blonde Redhead's record label trys to kill links. Tricky huh? Here is a favorite from my teenage years. This one defintely had a huge influence on my progression in musical taste. I was getting into this stuff when I first discovered Sonic Youth... and while I think these guys sound very simliar to Sonic Youth, for some reason I was always prefered these guys. There was something immediately appealing and likeable about Blonde Redhead, whereas Sonic Youth took a lot of time and repeat listens to really enjoy. Unfortunately, like Sonic Youth, these guys make a lot of plain and boring records nowadays. Apparently almost being killed by a horse then taking four years off will do that to some people. (Although I think Mark Linkous would've enjoyed the ironic imagry) Either way..this one is from their prime...pre-horse trampling and subsequent down time... possibly their last good album.
Posted by pj at 6:29 AM
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Since my Andrew Bird post got pulled I figured I would post some more stuff by his drummer, Dosh. If you don't know who this guy is or haven't heard his music, you need to check this shit out now. This guys is probably my favorite electronic musician in recent years... plus no one will care if I post his music. These are the two albums before his most recent effort Wolves and Wishes. I can't rep this guy enough ... anyone who is into electonic music would best be served by checking this out. I am a drummer and I am a sucker for music with tasteful and creative drums... and it really doesn't much get better than this.
Posted by pj at 5:05 AM
Sunday, December 14, 2008
In keeping with the new music trend... here we have a new EP from the guys who brought you arguably one of the years best with For Emma, Forever ago. (Speaking of... I will probably be putting together a best of 08 list relatively soon) To be honest, I was afraid that Bon Iver wouldn't be able to recreate the same magic that helped so much with For Emma... but I am happily proven wrong here. It's hard to tell if a band will advance in a good direction just from an EP... but at the very least this little ditty gives me hope that this band is definitely on the right track.
Posted by pj at 12:14 PM
Holy shit... guess what? I've actually got some new music! Remember these guys from a while ago with their impressive album Pyramids? No? Then you need to go download it from this blog... then download this one. While I've only listen to this one through a few times... I find almost half the album skippable. So in order to enjoy High Time, you actually have to be high... because a lot of it is just ambient noise rock... not a whole lotta structure. And while that works really well for maybe a few in between tracks... when 4 outta the 8 songs are like this then I feel like you wasted a lot of space on just plain mediocre music. Really though, I bet if you were high you might actually like listening to this whole thing front to back... seriously! But I personally don't really enjoy listening to some sub par instrumental tracks when there are so many bands out there that do it better. However, don't be discouraged because those other four tracks are the shit... and even better... THEY ARE NEW. And that's apparently all that matters.
Posted by pj at 11:40 AM
For anyone who enjoyed laughing at the insanity that is Ninjasonik in the video I posted a week ago, here is something to take home with you. Sure this isn't the best music out there.. but it's rap music that doesn't take itself too seriously...in fact, it pretty much makes fun of itself... which is almost impossible to find nowadays. Put some freshy fresh beats over that shit and you're golden. I can't wait for their full album release... you know it's gonna be 10x ridiculous.
Tight Pants EP
Tight Pants EP
Posted by pj at 11:28 AM
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Alrighty. Because It's morning time and I'm ridiculously tired... also I'm kind of hallucinating... I figured HEY, why not some Brainiac!? It seems to fit well with my delirious state right now. Internationale is the single when they were first signed to Touch and Go records. It's produced by Kim Deal of The Pixies ...and although it's short in length it makes up for it with a few pretty sweet songs.. most of which are a little more reminiscant of their earlier post punk days. Then we have the Electro-Shock for President EP, which ended up being the last release from Brainiac before Tim Taylor died tragically in an auto accident. Aside from being one of the main influences of Trent Reznor (you can seriously hear the similarities) Electro-Shock is one trippy as fuck ride through what one could call more of an experiment with electronic noise than a musical record. The songs don't necessarily have the attributes that a lot of traditional songs have... but it's an EP with a purpose. What that purpose is, I don't really know. Probably to really fuck up your equilibrium and make you question what you consider electronic music to be. Like their previous work.. it's difficult to place in a genre... I guess you could call it industrial electronic noise rock, with tiny bits of punk sprinkled in. When I listen to.. it takes me through a range of emotions... none of them good, but all of them powerful. And right now... would probably give me visions of unicorns murdering rainbows and the resulting blood-letting dripping on to a stereo, causing crackling bits of perverse beauty to weep from the speakers.... Yeah.. it's time to go to bed.
Electro-Shock For President
Electro-Shock For President
Posted by pj at 5:16 AM
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I normally don't do posts that don't include albums... but man.. you gotta check these guys out. They are the future of hip-hop... or at least I hope they are. They are as smart and witty as they are crude and ridiculous. And DAAAMMMMN! THOSE BEATS ARE FREEEEESSSH! I've almost gotten in trouble a few times cause I'm singing this jam in public without even thinking about it... and it's not that acceptable to hear a white kid singing that he is a tight pants wearin ass nigga. Damn you Ninjasonik for being so freakin catchy... you're gonna get a honky killed. Check it. Ay-ay.
Posted by pj at 4:27 AM
I was reluctant to put this one up because I thought that everyone would already have it. Then I checked the numbers for Neutral Milk Hotel (which I also thought everyone had)... and that is the highest ranking download on this whole site. So... it goes to show what I know. It's kind of funny how these music blogs work. Sometimes I will praise an album to high heaven... calling it a must have... best album in the genre... and 10 people will download it. Then I will post something saying "here ya go!" and it will get 200 downloads. It seems that people just look for what they want and ignore everything else. Which is totally not what I think these blogs are for... I try to keep things varied.. but I try to post things that I think like minded people will enjoy. That's why I don't like blogs that just post the downloads. I try to give a breif description so people will know if they might like it. I don't know how many times I've been on a blog, downloaded like 20 albums, then deleted 19 of them cause they sucked. Sometimes it makes me not want to write anything and go... blah here is the album. But then I think even if only one person reads this shit and ends up downloading something and loving it... then it was worth the time and effort. I really don't mean to sound like some bleeding heart blogger or something... and I don't know why I wrote this ridiculously long tangent. But yeah... Arcade Fire... here ya go!
Posted by pj at 3:29 AM