J. Mascis reunites with the dudes he?s done his best work with (Murph and the indispensable Lou Barlow) and tries to make more of just that. He succeeds, mostly.
MIA?s second album is darker than her first, but still retains a jovial, if satirical, sense of humor. The synthesizers are really BIG here, the production an interesting blend of grimey Hip-Hop, modern pop, fuzzy electronica and even bits of world music (didgeridoo in a rap song is too cool.) Timbaland was supposed to man the boards for most of it, but due to issues with visas and such, only helps on one track, which is more than fine with me. Everything about this trumps Maya?s first record.
In Defense of the Genre
Max Bemis makes pop-punk that?s funny, diverse and surprisingly intelligent. Not as good as ?Is A Real Boy, but close enough.
|12||Ghastly City Sleep|
Ghastly City Sleep
Chilly, subdued post rock. I honestly believe Ice Creaks is the song of the year.
If circus performers played Math Rock, it might sound vaguely similar to Battles? Mirrored. It goes without saying that the members of the band are hyper-talented, but I wouldn?t feel right if I didn?t mention how enjoyable the music is. Throw this on in the car and end up either taking one your favorite drives of the year or with your car wrapped around a telephone pole. Either way, it?ll make for an interesting anecdote for when you and all your indie friends are talking!
As far as Rap in 2007, no one pulls off weird quite like Dalek and their Abandoned Language. It?s a rap album in shoegaze?s clothing; soaked in fuzz, but not so much that you can?t hear MC Dalek?s powerful wordplay. It takes a lot to pull of a 11 minute long song, especially for a rap group, but anyone who?s heard Language (and its opening track) now knows just how well it can be done.
An eponymous album knee-deep in an artists? career always means something, but for Liars, it takes a couple listens to really hear it. The band?s Self-Titled is a more accessible release, but I can?t say it stacks up anywhere near Drum?s Not Dead. That?s OK though. Everything that Drum?s presented so vividly is crystallized here. For fans of Sonic Youth and Queens of the Stone Age alike.
If you don?t have this yet, you missed out. In Rainbows is probably Radiohead?s worst since Pablo Honey, but there are songs here that I?m sure had every skeptic thinking twice. Nothing can be said about this that hasn?t already been said, but I guess that?s just the magic of Radiohead.
I?m not sure if Win Butler and the gang will ever better their debut LP (It?s called Funeral, but you should already know that) however, there are a lot of bits and pieces on Neon Bible that give me hope. The production, for one; throw this on any decent stereo and be blown away by the depth and clarity of the sounds (which are worthy of some hearty admiration themselves).
Spiderman of the Rings
If I ever met Dan Deacon in real life, I wouldn?t know what to say (have you ever seen this guy?). Spiderman of the Rings is one of the worst album titles of the year, but damn if the music (wacky electronica on a sugar high) isn?t the most amusing/amazing. Wham City is epic in the most fun way possible.
The ability to create such poignant, interesting music is definitely a trait Picastro?s third shows off well, but perhaps the band?s best mannerism? The ability to show restraint. Picastro don?t find themselves painted into the same corner most Post-Rock groups do, not here at least. Take one part Radiohead, one part Xiu Xiu (Jamie Stewart even stops by for a guest appearance), two parts Cat Power and a bunch of really rad (restrained!) build-ups, shake well, and name the product Whore Luck.
What No Age lacks in instrumentation they make up for in sheer brilliance on Weirdo Rippers. Every song drips in the same ethereal sonic bliss, even when the band unleashes their raw side on tracks such as Boy Void, Dead Plane, or the frustratingly good opener Every Artist Needs a Tragedy. Liars are the obvious comparison here, but No Age?s music is much simpler and easier to digest. If that doesn?t seem like the biggest compliment, listen to this and see why it is. 2008 will be No Age.
Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band
It?s already been discussed at length why Joanna Newsom?s sprawling, majestic Ys would prove nearly impossible to follow up, even for a songwriter as wonderful as Newsom is. So needless to say, the fact that Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band EP is just that (an EP of Newsom and her band) is in no way a disappointment. In fact, it?s one of the best choices Joanna could have made. The EP houses 2 remakes of classic Newsom tunes, performed by the folk singer and her touring band (Ys?s Cosmia is fleshed out superbly, while Milk Eyed Mender?s Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowery is left relatively unchanged) and the gorgeous original Colleen.
While Person Pitch seemed the perfect step forward for Animal Collective upon its release, I think it?s undeniable how good Feels? [the band?s 2005 album] actual follow up is. Perhaps the most affecting disc in the band?s catalog, Strawberry Jam shows Animal Collective?s Avey Tare at his most versatile. He screams himself hoarse with For Reverend Green and worms his way into your soul on Fireworks. The sounds aren?t nearly as gorgeous or full as they are on Pitch, but it?s funnier, more fun and nearly as easy to get lost in, which is saying a bunch. If 2007 proved one thing, it was dept of Animal Collective?s creativity.
Though I?m not exactly sure why Panda Bear?s Person Pitch is one of the most polarizing albums on this year?s staff list, it?s clear from the beginning that it?s not for everyone. Another thing that?s completely clear? How capable Panda Bear is of making an absolutely brilliant record apart from his Animal Collective-mates. Every facet of Person Pitch, from the lush, harrowing Bros, to the jarring, repetitive Good Girl/Carrots, to the album?s distinctive cover is designed to perfection. Panda?s vocals are prettier than those of [Animal Collective?s] Avey Tare, and he takes every opportunity he can to prove it on this release.
I really like your blurb for Panda Bear. And now that I've read the blurb for Picastro, I really want it. Good to see some other Dalek love.
This list is very well done.
love you joe/jungler
Very interesting list. You've got me interested in a few of these albums.