Thursday, December 20, 2007

2007, we bid you Farewell!

Thanks to those kept up with the reviews, that was far more of an undertaking that I had imagined, but I do appreciate those that responded.

Speaking of responding, I am looking to get more reader input going with this blog. Posting your reviews of albums, shows, movies, books, news, media…whatever. Post comments; give me feedback on what you want more of and what you can do without.

Essential Albums that might have made the cut had I heard them more/sooner.

LP – Holy Fuck
Wierdo Rippers – No Age
All Hour CymbalsYeasayer
I Was Submerged – Tulsa
Easy Tiger – Ryan Adams
Person Pitch – Panda Bear (Jejune, I broke down and got it, no AC, but solid nonetheless)

And this little album; review from McConnell:

Dead Confederate - Dead Confederate
Could it be? Another band to hail from the City of Dreams. Yes, its true. Dead Confederate has emerged from our dear Athens, GA to spill their venom on the rest of the music world. I first heard the band through a chance encounter this past October at the Echo Project. I was impressed with their ability to bring a solid sound at an outdoor venue. I grabbed their EP, The News Underneath, for five bucks. Although I was instantly intrigued, it really took me a couple of listens to get hooked. I have since been delighted by my newfound treasure. Having been compared by the "real" critics to MMJ and Band of Horses, there is definitely something eerie and airy about their sound that leaves the soul drooling for more. Their sound can be best described as a grunge-infused darker psych-rock. The strongest songs on The News Underneath EP were carried over to Dead Confederate. The EP opens with the quasi ballad of "Memorial Day Night" before transitioning into one of their oldest songs. A stronger song,"The Rat", seems to lull you into submission with a constant drum beat before the powerful chorus sneaks up from behind to punch you in the face. Powerful instrumentals resonate throughout next two tracks, "Tortured Artist Saint" and "Get Out". The ethereal guitar sounds captured by the likes of MMJ are especially potent in "Get Out". The record wraps up rocking out with "Shadow the Walls" and as quick as the joy ride had begun, it is over. At times, it seems almost as if Kurt Cobain has returned to the planet of the apes to haunt the vocal chords of lead singer, Hardy Morrris. I've missed you Kurt. Since my first drink at the Echo Project, I have seen the band open for the Black Angels and then the Black Lips. They keep getting better and I find myself more and more inebriated. I'm looking forward to their next show December 19th at Smith's Olde Bar and their release party on the 22nd at Red Lion Pub. With the release of their LP early next year, you can expect big things from Dead Confederate in 2008.
Here are a few gifts for the Holiday Season:
Hope you enjoy the holidays and I will be back rockin' out in '08.

(Black Mountain, The Whigs, Tapes ‘N Tapes, My Morning Jacket, Wolfmother, Wolf Parade, DeVotchKa, Stepehen Malkmus, Britt Daniel, Franz Ferdinand, Postal Service, The Raconteurs, Islands, R.E.M., Blur and much, much more to come in ’08)

Friday, December 14, 2007

THE ESSENTIAL ALBUMS OF 2007...'Bout, F-ing Time!*


When our generation reaches an age where we reflect on the artists that defined our era there will be names from the silver screen, the walls of museums, the inventors of software and programs, athletes who reached heights never imagined, business people that changed commerce and musicians such as Radiohead. Musicans at the caliber of Radiohead do not simply make songs that are played on the radio or that wind up in ad campaigns. They challenge their critics, fans and peers to gain a perspective and evaluate what is being conveyed. The great ones make music that change the way you hear everything else. Such is the craft of Radiohead. Now we have In Rainbows, which may be the most defining album of Radiohead’s catalogue. Why? Nearly a decade after releasing one of the most influential albums of all time in OK Computer, the band has returned with not just an awing album, but also one that alters the state of modern music. A second, and third masterful album garners the rite of legend or Hall of Famer. Ad nausea, the media has fallen over its collective heels to grasp what the release format of this album will dictate. In perspective, the launch of the album has distracted from the greatness of its contained material. At this juncture Radiohead have mastered a form, a sound. What is so encompassing with this release is the synergy of the variations of style that the band has explored over the years in those 2-3 classic albums. 15 Step and Bodysnatchers are simply the best one-two punch I’ve heard in a long time. As the album flows along the boldness of The Bends era guitars melt to the post OK Computer sounds when digitalized amplifications became more and more prevalent. Then we receive an acoustic song Faust Arp, followed by the strongest songs of the album in House of Cards and Jigsaw Falling Into Place; closing quietly with the Kid A sounds of Videotape. What makes this so interesting and successful is that although the style has been explored before, it has never sounded so well versed and robust it does now. I am once again a believer in Radiohead and strongly feel that they are among the finest bands our generation will ever see.


I take great pride in knowing that most every one of my readers disagrees with my infatuation of this band…they’ve also never seen this magic performed live. Poof! It appears as if from nowhere. No strings attached, flashy lights, no smoke screens, only Mirrors. Intricate and masterful in delivery, this is the black magic of sound and it leaves the stunned audience scrambling for answers in the terror of it all. Performers can preach their abilities throughout the night, but if the act falls short of what is expected then the presentation is nothing short of complete failure. In the same notion if the act is just what the audience anticipated and that which they paid for, then where is the suspense? Where is the intrigue? What will keep them coming back? You see my friends, if you truly aim to win them over you must take them by surprise; give them what they never dreamed possible and leave them with curious smile. With audience perched on the mere edge of their seats in air thickening with anticipation the stunning vibration of the opening stanza of Race-In dashes outward and casts its image in their eyes and ears. The trickery and mind bending exploration grows and as more and more is unveiled, certainty slips further from grasp. Dare we say such sound comes from man, or be it machine that make such ruckus? That noise, that din, be that the vocals? Oh what contortion hath these hackers wrought? The man speaks and plays in machine and machine relays the message, does that change the meaning? What lies in those shadows of sound? Such theatrics, such toying, such the performance! Chirping noise waves over the nearly dumbfounded crowd with every wave of the wand and snap of the handkerchief. Soon that chirp become a growl and the feat of it all is unveiled as the curtains come crashing down. Behold the mysterious Tonto and breakthrough show stopper of the year, Atlas! Hear yea, hear yea! Come gather round. There are new masters of the oddity, fear you their sound?
Remember kids; you will always fear what you are unwilling to understand!

Andrew Bird

It’s good to see you as well. Grab a seat anywhere; can I pour a drink? Sure, I’ve got a scotch; smooth, well blended, aged with a smoky texture that rolls down the tongue leaving no burning aftertaste. I imagine it has not been all that long since last we spoke, but I feel much has changed and for the better I might add. This time last year, if my memory serves right, and these days it’s difficult to trust, you had found yourself in a new way, far more expressive in your work. You seem to have discovered something that made everything else click, and if you’ll allow me to be so curt, you really needed an edge. I guess now you’ve got it down. What was the name of that chap that you’ve been working with? Dash? Of course, Dosh. Good man. You two make quite the explosive duo, lucky you were introduced. Well, despite how it came about, I’m glad it did, it’s been grand for us all to share in. That being said, I hate to even bring it up, things are going so well here, and like I said it seems longer than it’s been since we last conversed, but I must know; what is it that troubles you so? Is there some dark matter from your past that haunts you? Surely this trouble is not of your own doing, so out with it, dispel the ghost that haunts. Tell us what we did wrong and you can blame us for it. Well that is something you say there, some truth to it for sure. I say, I’ve justly never see you look and sound so sharp, but there lies a trouble in those words you speak. You can’t be blamed you know? How about some credit now where credit is due, after all, like you’ve said it’s only fatal. Stay put, allow me to fetch something for you, I keep it on the nightstand. That’s right, it’s a book, a book of hidden things as such. It’s challenging but without a doubt, rewarding. An Apocrypha. You’ll grow much from the read and soon thank me.
What was that you were going to say?


SWDnce Assmbl seks, SWPop-Rck cllbrtn fr nw albm. Mst hv wllngnss to cr8 and dstrt and thn mx all tht we mak bck up and chrn it all out agn, unlk u wld evr drm!
SWDance Assmbl, ntrstd, vry ntrstd. We hve fnk, rck, and rhtm, w/ sme 2 spr. U brng the hrtbrk stries, w’ll brng the hrns…hw shld we mt?
W’ll dvlp the sngs wth our cmptrs, thn w’ll wrk 2gthr 2 make snd amzng!
Lt’s do ths!!
The result, a musical match that would make Apollo and Cupid blush in the heavens. It’s rare that heart felt stories of despair and young adulthood can be situated within the framework of fast tempo and amped up funk music, but Menomena introduce just enough of the mellow along with the layering of piano and whistles and chimes to make this jumble of sounds singable. It’s the darkest album that’s ever lifted my spirits. As the marriage of acoustic guitar and heavy bass lines finds jittery piano melodies underscoring choir like vocals the love story alters the whole romance with some inventive production skills. It’s the musical equivalent of a honeymoon gone wrong, only to be saved by the spirit of the young. But the Friendly sounds find Foe in the folds and depth of the words. A lover’s strife set to music that makes the room turn to frenzy. The closer we get to one another the more we discover we should never have met…so why does this work? I know you love to hear yourself speak, words that you think I can’t follow. Maybe that’s the way you and I will always relate. Broken hearted, jaded, and prickly slicing…music that scorns in draped red cloak and full of unearned decaDance!
End the search, the sound that was sought has been found.
Frnd dscvrd foe, rslt, mssve 3umph!!!


Winter gets cold in all the ways you forget. You’re feeling alone, your stride picks up a step. What keeps this simple is what keeps you going. When others fall short bein’ so new, you and I, we’ll stick to what’s tried and true.
Just one hit, a kick and drum.
Swagger on guitar, you’ll feel what he’s sung.
There’s Power in what they do. Textbook remedies to a long forgotten perfection. It’s everything a rock n’ roll song set out to be. For years Spoon has been perfecting the Pop-Rock template, and in so doing they have outperformed and surpassed in creativity most all of their peers. Keep it simple stupid. Well this time around, they did tweak the norm and pressed hard, not bending, but applying a little pressure to their fast set rules. There’s strong subtlety to these tunes and as always Brit Daniel’s lyrics are vivid and succinct, saying the commonplace in extraordinary ways. This band is an inspiration. Excess is no word amongst the vocabulary of these pop stars. The songs are keen and crisp, short and energetic, bold and reassuring. There is so much that can be said about this album, the song titles alone are conversation pieces, the exploration of tracks such as The Ghost of You Lingers and the sadness to jubilance of the closer Black Like Me, but if Spoon has taught me anything, it’s stop while you still got them interested.
Don’t you never think it’s right. Bet you think you had to but it doesn’t feel right. Bet you never think it feels right. Famous-sounding words make your head feel light.

The National

No surprise here, only affirmation. I fought it, I really did. I dissected ever album I listened to this year and was prepared to change direction, make the stunning surprise and drop a newly crowned champion, but I couldn’t find the challenger worthy to claim the belt. I assure you it came not from lack of trying. Maybe I am stubborn, I just refuse to let this one go. My love of this album places it among the best I have heard in the last ten years. It’s not grandiose but it stands strong on it’s own. There lies an overwhelming sense of accomplishment to it. If you take the time to hear its predecessors it becomes all the more apparent. From alt-country origins, flings with punkesque, and a formidable first step in Alligator, this becomes the high golden banner of a band that fulfilled it’s potential. There’s not much I haven’t expressed about this album so I’ll clarify more what it is that I listen for and why this contains the those elements.
Ultimately I want to feel that I have somehow, someway become a more enlightened or creative individual upon hearing an album. Like you approach a book or a film, you want to be entertained, sure, but you desire more, much more. You want feel what it is the artist is conveying to you. There needs to be a correlation between art and life that builds a bridge into your innermost thoughts. The direction and focus of an album can arise from anywhere; I trust the diversity of this list alones serves as a testament to that. I hold no preconceived notions when I listen, I’ll worship any album that fulfills my needs. I love an album that sounds ambiguous. When influences are painted on their foreheads, but comes out through them sounding so new. They can reinvent, recreate, redirect, revisit, whatever, in the end it must sound their own. The sounds I lend my ears most readily to are those that have a rockabilly stamina. Meaning they aren’t classic country and they aren’t rock, they kinda sit right there in the middle and claim to be neither. Then it needs an attitude. I’m not a huge punk fan, but I am enthralled by it’s influence and the independent spirit of the artists I listen to most embody this nonchalance. It has to, let me repeat, IT HAS TO, sound like something that would amaze me to see in person. I don’t want to just hear or digest the music, I want to transpose it into my life. When I love a song it becomes a walking anthem to my life. I hum it constantly. I alter lyrics. I set tempo to jogging, paddling, walking to it. I play it in my car, as I sit outside on a nice day, I play it as I fall to sleep at night, I play it as I work…it plays as I live. To allow something to have that much of an influence on my being, then yeah it needs to move me, it needs to inspire. Once the hook has me then it needs to make me want more. This is when the lyrics come to play. I love to read, and I do my best to write, so combine that with sounds I love and the imagery of the band, especially in live performance and all the senses come alive. When the lyrics are nonexistent, such as the case with Battles, then I study even harder the song structure and arrangement. I make the transitions in melody, rhythm, tempo, the placements, work to serve as the lyrics; I feel this to is the intent of those artists that create this form of expression. In the end, it has to appeal to me in a transcendent manner. What I love most with good music is sometimes not knowing what it is that draws me. This quest, in realistic terms, has brought me here, to challenge myself to express what inspires. Often simple explanation of guitar here and drum there doesn’t capture, so I become vague, odd even. What I am conveying is what the music makes me feel. Boxer does this do me more than any of the other albums I heard this year. The soundtrack that I will correlate to the 365 days that serve as the year 2007 will be Boxer, and that’s all I need to say.

*Now in correct order, idiot!

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Les Savy Fav
Sometimes it takes a little of the old to shake up the new. LSV can safely be tagged old these days (been at it since the decade that came before this one), especially in the ‘love you today, hate you tomorrow’ industry of cool. LSV are known as an off the cuff collaborative, whose albums have sounds that smear any established genre, creating a brilliant template for ‘more successful’ bands to steal from. Often is the case when you make radiant music that doesn’t click with the popular trends or pigeonhole you in a suitably designed arena for review and peers to stack up against. Let’s Stay Friends is a screaming reminder of the days when music was more concerned with message and innovativeness than trends and being hip. Has your skin grown thick from bands that make you sick? Pots and Pans, the album opener, explodes off the stove and flings hot, messy sauce all over the walls and ceiling, streaking across the floor. It ruins every other bands dinner and makes no apologies for doing so. LSV make a case for being such a superior band the easy way; they just remind you that most everything you hear is just crap and what you should listen to is a band with heart. Over the course of the album the message is loud (real loud), we don’t give a fuck how popular you are, we were here first, we helped invent this and we are back to show you how it is supposed to be done. When you give this album its due listen you find yourself constantly saying, I know that riff, these lyrics, and these song structures, shit this whole sound, why do I know it all so well? How do they sound like British pop, New York indie, west coast punk and a Pacific Northwest grunge band all at the same time? I’ll tell ya why. It’s their sound, the paved the way. Sorry to sound like such a putz, but this is the most fun I’ve had with an album all year. Glad to have you back and glad you still kick ass.
This is where it stops And this is where it ends Let's tear this whole place down and build it up again This band's a beating heart and it's nowhere near its end

Deer Tick
He’s a sonofabitch really. He drags you through every damn sad story you’ve ever heard. He makes you ponder your life, your relationships and your place in the world you know. That guitar twangs along, plucking at you, finding weak points and then plucking deeper ‘til it just hurts to hear it. His voice don’t do much in way of soothing ya neither. So just what the hell is it that makes this little piece such a melodically challenged beaut? It hits you just as much in the heart and the head as it does the eardrums, and man does it hit hard. Each song has its on story, which is how this whole thing got started; so it’s nice to hear someone make it sound so simple once again. The voice draws an image of a faceless man treading the empty roads by the light of an old kerosene lantern. It’s not lost so to say; it’s just not sure where it needs to be going. Stuck in the past, trudging in the knee-deep mistakes it’s made, it wants to apologize but either can’t find the right words to do so or it’s misplaced the will to admit its done wrong to begin with. The songs are scratchy in the sincerest of ways, keeping you attuned to what’s being unfolded without ever really sounding in tune at all. It’s a bit of a back alley, nickel shop sounding record, cheaply recorded without what seems to be a true drawing focus to what the intent was. In the same argument you might find one saying it’s downright made like it oughtta be heard. Variation in song volumes, mixed amps on instruments on various tracks and the drop note, kill close to Ashamed, really does sound of something earnest and all of its own right. If I had to call it, I’d say it’s the bar band nature of this Warring beast that gives it a backbone. It sure ain’t the prettiest of sounding things you’ll bend your ears to, but it goes down easy and sets up just right.

White Stripes
Icky, choppy and all kinds of riffy, King White makes his mark on guitar legendry once again. Jack dumped the piano off at the neighbors and uncovers bizarre goodies from the yard sale whilst prepping to unleash this heavily Euro influenced ditty. Bold aspirations have always been the ace up the sleeve for the Detroit Duo, but when over zealousness cast a shadow on Get Behind Me Satan, the former lovers needed to regroup. Regrouping apparently means digging deep down in that bottomless rhinestone studded leather bag of good timing tricks Jack keeps at his hip, for the guitar returns and it brings a few nasty accomplices to come play along. When the title track screeches into high gear ain’t nobody foolin’ nobody bout who’s brought the heavy and twisted this go around. Far from the sounds of their humble orgins, the Stripes are veteran and sneakily playing with a creative fever that teeters on a dirty disease. 300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues is the most aptly tagged track this vinyl owns; it’s downright filthy the way them kids fling themselves back and forth from blues to rock to metal to blues to some stuff you wouldn’t never tell your mother ‘bout, least you be sent to your room without supper. Now how the mates in question thunk up a rendition of Conquest like this’n, then smash their whole soundsystem with Little Cream Soda and flipped the whole mess so’s it gushed out to all corners of the studio just so’s they’s can dance in the slop belting out Catch Hell Blues…it’s elICKYtric! A little Southern Sass to light up that ass. Southern UK that is. The wizard on the mountain is Rag and Bone, the supreme parody driven/satirical song I’ve ever heard (sorry Ween). The red and white have reclaimed the Thump, and that’s music to my ears.

Josh Ritter
With a title like that a listener may just make the mistake of believing they are about to hear a greatest hits album or a collection of classic tracks redone…they would mistaken, foolishly mistaken. Irony of course being the foresight of the title. It refers not to a yesterday, it echoes onward to a time when we can look back and see where the Conquest of Ritter was defined, today. It’s not that this is the first time Ritter has written stunning songs or even assembled a triumphant album; it’s just that this time he knew this was going change his musical namesake while he was making it. This is a profound collection, expounding and expanding what has been dabbled with before, just never fully delved into. Nothing is held back here. Be it a slow waltz of a song or a galloping barn burner, all the preconceived notions of what an outfit like this is capable of are swept under rug. I love the way it moves, I love the way it grooves. I dig the meaning and feel the attitude. Can see the accomplishment and lift it’s might. Burning as the sunset that welcomes the night. It does so much and it does it right. It’s brilliant. It’s rocking, loose but with care. Did I mention how I love you in your underwear? Love songs, yeah you’ve heard ‘em for sure. But have you ever heard the bleeding heart of the Next to the Last Romantic before? Doubt you’ve felt the rhythm of Still Beating, Empty Hearts; leaving the others To the Dogs or Whoever from the start. You think you know Ritter, just Rumors. When the time comes you won’t refer to ‘knowing’ or ‘having heard’ you’ll tell ‘em all when you were laid waste by the Conquest.

Band of Horses
Condensation peaks, assembles, bubbles and runs down the slope of the cool glass against the heat of the day. In the south we like it sweet. Real sweet. Maybe we take it that way to agitate the Yankees, maybe we just know better. Any way you slice it, tea is always better served sweat and iced with a wedge of lemon. It’s almost a perfect drink. Simple, smooth, with a little pick-me-up. If you like, you can sneak a little more of that pick-me-up in there. Personally, I take to the sweat tea of beer, High Life, of course. It’s more than a beer; it’s a statement, a way of doing things. Simple, and just enough of everything you’re looking for. I kinda think Band of Horses had that mentality when they set out to record their breathtaking yet smooth and simple sophomore album, Cease to Begin. Even the title begets ease. A notion or pause just before act. So often bands are quick to enter the high moments, cluttering songs. Patience is a wise man’s virtue. Let the songs build, let the reverb fill the air, allow the voice to bellow and open the guitars when the moment strikes. Steeped in the country tendencies of a South Carolina upbringing, the Pacific Northwest’s folk heroes return home, just in time to catch the Dawgs on the tube. The album has many facets, yet at no time is there a feel that the band has lost touch or turned a poor direction. It’s the kind of album you listen to with a Lab, a bucket of beer and some true pals. Band of Horses has defined a role as the new leading southern rock band, and despite a few temptations, they seem prepared to stay sincere to their roots and keep the Carolina vibe alive. Drink this one up, it’s as refreshing as they come and yeah there’s plenty pick-me-up in there to boot.

LCD Soundsystem
You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan,and the next five years trying to be with your friends again.
It’s a cliché latenight in a swanky town, sipping top shelf with the kind of friends that’ll let you down. It’s bored with you before it had a clue you couldn’t keep up. It talks through you as if you were in the way. It builds and builds, just to keep you in your place. And when it’s over, it just wrecks the whole space. Keyboards stammer, drumkits clack, hit all the high notes and ignore the flat. Remember when what you loved, well that was cool? If it you aren’t with the masses, get left behind and dig the old skool.
To think I used to pity you. To think I used to pity you, it’s true.
Now you seem confused. Are we not who we am? Oh, sorry that’s right, we never even shook hands. We picked up your beats and made them our own. When we sing out loud, sounds like we talk on the phone. Moving in time and feeling upbeat, but you’re still at that last club, yeah the one down the street. When you think you’ve caught up, that’s when we throw you in spin. Oh I don’t know, I don’t know, oh, where to begin? There are so many voices, sound all the same. That repetitive beating, if it weren’t so catchy, it’d drive you insane! So where is it headed and from where did it come. It sounds so greasy, covered like that North American Scum. You try and shine up a bit, with your champagne and spit. Cleans up real nice, new buzzes come out. Heavy on the twist, plum out of the shout. So crank it up, crank it, this is just the beginning. If silence is golden, noise must be silvern.


Friday, November 30, 2007

It is Essential that I find more clever ways to use the word Essential

Bam! Here they are, #18 - #13...they look delicious, have seconds.

Neon Bible – Arcade Fire

Working for the Church while your family dies, You take what they give you and you keep it inside. Curtains pulled tight and heart poured out as Arcade Fire wrote the most morose album I’ve ever owned…and they did it with style. The very sound itself is black, underscored with a glaring Neon glimmer of hope that envelops the listener. As the album plays through the themes of loss, despair, confusion and doubt smother, but the jubilant rhythms and anthems of chorus allow you to look beyond the shadows and into the soul of the music, and that’s where the heart of Arcade Fire lies. It’s not what most expected as a follow up album to Funeral, but once it was unearthed there was no denying its force. The songs are more hit and miss than the critics and fans owe up to, but when they are ablaze few bands capture such passion. If early trends predicted that Bruce would be the new black in ’07, then Neon Bible was the multi-billboard ad campaign in Times Square. Antichrist Television Blues I still believe deserves a cosign notation to the Boss, and although I am not part of the music populous that feels Bruce is a national treasure I do feel this to be the best track on the album…so maybe there is something more to this trend?
They know my name cause I told it to them, But they don't know where and they don't know, When its coming, oh when but its coming Keep the car running!

The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse – The Besnard Lakes

It’s the work on the high hats that truly snagged me here. I suppose the parallels this album draws to Animals – Pink Floyd is what gives it its power. There is also the wash of guitars that roll in and out, soaring and plummeting, altering with the subtle ebb and flow of the vocals as the stories unfold. Then there is the voice that serves as the muse to these stories, a rarity in rock, a female lead. Then comes the complex element that makes this listen so intriguing; the ambling voices and electronic muffling placed at the intro and outro of songs throughout the album, creeping in at the dénouement of the thunderous climaxes. What Brightblack Morning Light did for stoner folk music in 2006, The Besnard Lakes have done for psychedelic in 2007…given it new intent and a fresh body by stripping off the binds that weigh the genre down. 2007 also saw a re-release of their previous LP as well as an adjoining EP to Dark Horse, but there will be no cheating this time around, Dark Horse stands as valiant effort alone. Bringing the earnestness of southern rock to the woozy headed vibes of the late ‘60s and tossing in some modern day production values and the Besnard Lakes’ days as the Dark Horse on the horizon are numbered and the coming of a new way is fast approaching.

Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? – Of Montreal
(reviewed by reader Jejune, quite nicely I might add)

This is easily the most danceable record about an existential crisis that I've ever heard. The best songs on it feature a nice contrast between jaded, personal lyrics and upbeat, glammed-out music. Kevin Barnes has always had a gift for uniquely expressing universal themes like alienation and love, and this album features some of his strongest writing (My personal favorite line is "Somehow you've red-rovered/ The Gestapo circling my heart"). It's nice to see a lyricist who hasn't run out of interesting ways of phrasing things after a bunch of albums (Monsieur Tweedy, I'm looking in your direction. Was that a cheap shot? Sorry, I'm just trying to fit in on this blog.) It's true that the album is kind of front-loaded; there's not much after "The Past is a Grotesque Animal" that really stands out. But that seems kind of appropriate for one of the great late-night records of all time: if you can't close the deal with the cute androgynous girl in the glasses after the first 6 tracks, then don't blame Kevin Barnes.

Plague Park – Handsome Furs

Cadence, speaking verses over downtrodden and torn pleas of vocals with the searing brilliance of craftsmanship upon keys and chords, Handsome Furs have the most underrated album of the year and I am proud to sing it’s praise! It’s jittery, prickly, creepy and reeking of lover’s quarrels. This is the other half of what makes Wolf Parade such an amazing sound. The strength that Boekner brings with fragile voice is hard to describe and in perspective is even more tedious to enjoy. It’s the delicate balance of terror in lyrics and love in meaning that give repose to such prose as
I stood outside in the bright black nightBeneath their buzzing power linesAnd I saw a number in the sky, in the skyAnd if there's a God, he's a little gunAnd he holds you closely inside these wallsBut he hates his babies most of all .
This is the one album that I am timid to share with others for fear that they’ll discover just how odd I can be. As Krug reaps the benefits of endless praise for his works, the other wolf in the parade has earned his chops here and some. The drum machines vary little over the course of the album and the tracks do resemble alternate takes on the same theme but it’s still a creative portrait. Despite the pulse of songs and numerous time changes and crossovers that structure, the element that gets below my skin and swims in vein is Boekner’s eeriness. He describes Handsome best; "basically Wolf Parade without the guy that everybody likes and no real instruments."

Emotionalism – The Avett Brothers

This title frustrates me. It makes the band sound soft and beyond the glory of it’s bar brawling past. A blatant misnomer and a discredit to an enduring and sweeping album. This is storytelling music at its best and its might should be told of. I have pride in heritage and am a Carolina boy tried and true. Although it would be easy to wave the Carolina flag for Ryan Adams, it’s the Avett Brothers that are heroes to the graces of the Tarheel state. The folk craft is perfected here as the brothers turn down the hollering and lean in on the harmonies. The album delivers with tales that all can relate, tales of home, family, love, tradition and finding yourself while having some fun. Being real is what the Avett’s do best; this is some of the most sincere music you’ll find. Emo, does have a gentle, grown up feel to it, but it is a thin veil to those who know how raucous and vibrant the live show is. I tip my glass to these boys and can’t wait to hear what they come with next. A live album?

Strawberry Jam – Animal Collective

Jejune strikes again! I own and listened to Feels, the predecessor to Jam and I missed what it was. When I was told to take another run with the band I discovered what I had overlooked. What it is is that Animal Collective sounds, for all intensive purposes, like nothing else. They are inventors of sound. So when the songs echo discordant and alien, it’s not that they are flawed, it’s that you’ve never heard this before. You rookie! The lyrics, as alluded to previously, resemble the Mad Lib effort of drugged out Ivy League students, desperate for something bold and inspiring to tear down the mundane and conservative. It hooks, stammers, rumbles and joyously screams, belting out ‘you may not get this, and that is our secret!’ Rabid fans of this Collective claim Jam to be a vivid effort, but short of the peaks that they have reached. As new addict taking his first few hits, I’m naïve to the drug and feel at comfort with what I dabble. Praise be-a-plenty to the bizarre, it has never sounded so endearing. I am slowly becoming addicted.

WOW, can you believe it? Next time I post it will be to list the 12 Essential albums of 2007! It seems like yesterday that I reviewed the little bluegrass show of Chatam Co. Line and LTME was launched. (tear) Looking forward to closing out on a high note.
As always, thanks for reading and taking part…it keeps me motivated.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Essentially, I am putting you to work

I have enlisted Jejune to review an album* for the list and it got me thinking 'why not let others take a crack at it?' So, if there is an album you have a passion for and would like to post a review let me know or just send it in and I'll either post it as part of the list (if album is on the list or not yet reviewed) or I'll include an extra post with readers reviews for albums that I have already reviewed but you have a different opinion (throw in a Wilco, Ryan Adams, Broken West, Dead Confederate etc.) or those albums that I did not review.

I can also do a another post like this and make even more wordy and slightly more confusing and redundant to read.

It's really up to you.

*Jejune is reviewing Hissing Fauna, are you really that good?- Of Montreal

Monday, November 26, 2007

necessary, vital, indispensable, crucial?

Ah, Essential!

A little more time for the ones that are a little more gooder. Making our way, they only way I know how, #24 - #19 of the Essential Albums of 2007.

The Shepard’s Dog – Iron and Wine

Folk music has a hero and it’s big bearded and big-hearted Iron and Wine. There are plenty of others in the trade, but Iron and Wine have the one thing they don’t…general appeal and a sound that won’t put you to sleep. Iron and Wine nudges its sound over into what many may consider outside of true folk and more indie country. Regardless, I and W turn up the amps (to about 6) and mellow folk rock till the cows come home on this one. It’s clangy and plucky in all the right ways. Bluegrass for those that like to harmonize and watch the sunset but still have that urge to keep things jumping. The decidedly more uptempo and fuller sound to Dog, make this both the most successful LP and at the same time their most courageous; a feat that normally alludes. This album does reside in the area just beyond the music that I truly dig, but I respect the heck out of it. Personally it’s still too mellow, but I love the boldness in the approach and I sense SUBPOP is the perfect label for I and W to gather the heard and head for the greenist of pastures. A powerful and absorbing album.

Good Bad Not Evil – Black Lips

Right off the bat it’s the best album name of the year. Once that RBI is in the books comes the fact that these thrashers of the old are from Atlanta. The homerun comes right when you realize that the throwback, high-school drop out sound is far more complex that it seems and that’s when you hear the lyrics. Poignant and fierce, they tackle everything from the great religions to Katrina, all while swerving and swaying the sounds of true punksters…with dare I say more swagger and a few more chords than the likes of the Ramones? Many will write this album off, that’s their loss. This earns a true listen. How many great Punk acts can you name? Probably not many. Reason: they usually lack in the talent department relying on brash sex appeal and when that runs dry, well they fade away. Look for the Black Lips to stick around and one day they may just make that short list of great punk bands. This one’s a grand slam.

Ash Wednesday – Elvis Perkins

I’m gonna cheat here, deal with it. Ash Wednesday + the EP All Night Without Love combine to launch what I hope will be a brilliant career for Mr. Perkins. Carrying the title of Elvis anything brings with it a certain weight, but Perkins either tosses it aside or lifts it well upon his back because there is no sign of weakness or fear to his work. I found myself deep into several of these songs over and over again this year. The Dumps, All Night Without Love, and While You Were Sleeping, these songs crush me. The backing band, Dearland, doesn’t get the nod on the album cover, but they have been road warriors with Perkins (even crashing on a buddy of mine’s couch here in Charlotte). They’ve picked up many fans this year and have shared the spotlight some with Alec Ounsworth of CYHSY, but their music is of their own style. Spoil yourself and get the full package on this one, it won’t dissapoint.

Sojourner – Magnolia Electric Co.

Jason Molina’s band name may have changed over the years (Songs:Ohia) but his focus and sincerity in making brilliant music has stayed true to the heart. The title Sojourner finds origins in faith, overcoming and truth. Molina has a voice that sets him aside from all others. Smokey, dusty, a bit hollow and weighted with thought and intent, it yearns to be heard. The collection is overwhelming in quality and in size, running 34 tracks deep. I own the abridged collection, trimmed down some, but still full of the ambitiousness of the full set. The songs play like grimy yellowed westerns reeling slowly across the silver screen. Lonesome Valley, Nashville Moon, Texas 71, the moon songs and Hold on Magnolia are strong in every sense of the word. It’s size and scope can be daunting so start slow. Let it grow, wrap around and settle in. Soon the forest is grown and you’ll lie deep in thicket of sound.

Fort Nightly – The White Rabbits

It’s the black tie gala swinging event of the year and who else but a bunch of New Yorkers with a flare of the exotic and even a little topical should take center stage? It's the Walkmen meets calypso and I’m hitting the open bar to get the party rolling. Relentless and energetic to the max, it doesn’t make you want to tap your feet its reaches out of the stereo, grabs hold of the ladies and drags them to the dancefloor. This album was met with mixed reviews, some praise and plenty of bashing. I stumbled on it, got hooked on Kid on My Shoulders and then disregarded it. A while back MOKB had them in studio and I streamed the tracks. How had I missed this? It’s a flat out blast listening to this stuff…albeit a bit repetitive, but never droning. Once I re-approached this album so much more came to life under the glaring spotlight of center stage. It moves, it jumps, it tosses and turns and keeps perfect time on a wide variety of percussion. A true diamond in the rough.

Wild Mountain Nation Blitzen Trapper

In all reality this album should be a complete flop of mixed ambitions and half-thought through messy songs. It’s more than a little ambitious, it’s genre defying. Wild is far too predictable a word to describe the heaping jumble of whatnots composed here and as off the map as it is, it still finds the buried gold. If Pavement had been from North Texas by way of Montana, they easily would have made this album. The way the songs follow no suit, no order no allegiance to country, rock, folk or anything, it’s downright silly. Take in some of the most bizarre song titles and easily the most off kilter lyrics aside from Animal Collective and you’ve got yourself Wild Mountain Nation. Luke said it best when he regarded the album as some Neil Young project…he just failed to throw in the phrase “on speed.” I like this album as much for how off guard it caught me as for the true lasting power of these songs. In a sense it’s an impact album, but it’s got more too it than just some shock value, it’s got a pulse and buried deep in there, somewhere, a direction.

#18 - #13 later this week…

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


The Next 12, better than the last, not as good as those to come.

The Reminder – Feist
Who knew bad dances moves and a catchy hook could bring such success? Oh, right, everyone in the music industry. The cute at first, obnoxious by the end success of the 1234 iPod video brought massive attention to Feist in 2007. As with most heavily pushed singles however, the song serves as a poor indicator to what the rest of the album has to offer. More stripped down, and friendlier to acoustics, the remainder of the reminder is arguably more of a success than its single. Also, Luke and Jejune earned the right to have this make the list.

Fameseeker and the Mono – Arizona
The first of the LTME reviewed cuts to make the list, actually an EP, but still nudging its way into the Essential. Full of strings and arrangements that flirt with rock and classical, Arizona appeals to the Sufjan fan, just without making you feel like a wuss for listening to it. Making it sound easy, that’s how Arizona does complex pop. Fameseeker is rare in that it’s a full, well delivered EP, not just a single and some filler like most.

† - Justice
Dance, Dance, D.A.N.C.E. !!! Not much of a dance music fan myself, but I couldn’t resist the single and the video wowed me, so I took the plunge. This album is for the cool kids, who know how to kick it through the night and into the day, playing through until the real party begins…the next night. Most dance albums flow together in such a way that it is difficult to discern when one track fades and another cranks up, not the case with Justice, who lay it down with complete track after well composed track. S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

La La Land – Wax Fang
You say you rock with reverb and grandiose landscapes of sound? You just weird enough to stay intriguing but not cliché? You pay homage to your influences, but never reveal how it is they get into your music? You must be Wax Fang. And this? Well, this must be your breakthrough. Heavy on the operatic feel of late Floyd or Queen, Wax Fang are making music unlike anyone else. The Doctor Will See You Now is one of the more rollicking songs of the year. I’ve streamed a few tracks from this collection since I saw these guys open for MMJ and although the album just dropped and it hasn’t had much official review time, it’s exactly what I thought it would be, and that earns the nod.

Vietnam – Vietnam
So what’s the most rollicking song of the year? (That’s what you asked yourself moments ago) The answer: Priest, Poet and the Pig. It’s a dirty and sloppy style of rock, but’s a crucial sound that is missing from the landscape these days, so it’s presence is received with open arms and open booze. Snarly vocals and restlessly relentless guitar churn and churn, but what sets Vietnam apart are the wry lyrics. It’s slack and unwashed at times, but that’s what gives it it’s biker babe charm. Just listening to this album makes me want to buy a leather jacket…or at least act tough, because if I wore leather, I’d probably just look gay.

Yours to Keep – Albert Hammond Jr.
Yeah, it’s no Strokes album, but it’s still pretty kickass. ‘Ol Al may have left the band mates behind on this one, but he did remember to pack their signature fearless rock sound…he just turned it down some. Although not a giant stretch in terms of redefining a sound, Everyone Gets a Star for the effort. It’s easy listenin’, just cruisin’ music for folks who heart aggressive rock (I am trying as hard as I can to avoid the ‘garage rock’ moniker too often slapped on this stuff) and although this album was very much under the radar this year, it got plenty of airtime in my car.

Run From Safety – Octoberman
What started as a good find for me on what was a good album has grown into a grand album of discovery. Run drips a powerful paint on the canvass, displaying what you already know but have never seen quite like this. To say that the lyrics have meaning would be like saying Run From Safety contains the word ‘Safety.’ Octoberman have ‘a style of their own’ painted all over them. It’s a gritty, more indie rock feel to Josh Ritter and it sounds anything but safe. Keep running boys, you’re headed in the right direction.

Beyond Dinosaur Jr.
This album did slide some in the rankings, but mostly because it’s peers grew on me more and the recommendations from others led to more and more albums to squeeze in ahead of it. That being said I still think this is a phenomenal album. A friend told me it sounded too much like the stuff that was big in the early 90’s, to that I replied, that’s exactly what draws me in. I am a huge sucker for grunge rock, and Dino’s been playing that perfect role of grunge/alt/indie rockers, before anyone even knew what was going on with the scene (well maybe Built to Spill knew). I’ll say it again, I love the guitar work on this album, despite the poor live reviews that have been relayed to me, I’d still love to see these fellas.

We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank Modest Mouse
I’m an Indian giver. This album has slid since the midpoint of the year. It was the benefactor of little else being released and some catchy hooks and some clever ideas. The longer I listened the less it sounded sincere…almost like Modest Mouse covering Modest Mouse. Still some great songs on here, but much of it simply does not have any lasting power. It’s hard to be blunt on a favorite band (Wilco) but sometimes it’s the ones you love the most that you hurt.

Random Spirit LoverSunset Rubdown
It may be overwhelming to perform a six degrees of separation of indie rock with Spencer Krug, the guy is all over my map. After being stunned by the first official Sunset release and then growing a bit confused by some of the follow up projects, I am relieved to hear Spencer back in his full element. I feel like I just reviewed this album, so I will let it’s high ranking speak the rest.

Turn the Lights Out – The Ponys
Quality punk music is back, but it doesn’t sound like it used to. In the 90’s and much of the ‘00’s, punk has had an identity crisis. In a lot of ways it has been more experimental in production (which really isn’t punk at all) and at the same time punk has gone mainstream (which will never be punk). The Ponys reside in the healthy realm of, well just being modern day punks. When I say this is a punk album, I don’t mean it’s 2min songs, yelling and poor musical quality; what I mean is that it is fast, often heavy and it does exactly what it wants and isn’t concerned what you think (now that’s punk). Heard ‘em before the Spoon show, now I am hooked.

The Good, The Bad and The Queen – The Good, The Bad and The Queen
Breaking the halfway mark of the Essential 50, this album was once on heavy rotation but faded some as the year moved on. I dug the sound at first, but it’s a short album and it blends and now seems a bit forgettable at times. The songs that do still stick out, History Song, Herculean, and The Bunting Song, still come across loud and clear, serving as reminder of what got me into this album to begin…the brit pop meets world music sound done so well.

We’re closing in gang, stick around to see who makes it to the upper cut and who finds it’s spot in the 12 Essential Songs of 2007

#24 - #13 will be here before you know it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Fringe Essentials

Let the games begin... still need some input on the top 12 (by some I mean someone post a comment for fucksake!)

Because of the Times – Kings of Leon
Overproduced, arena guitars and vocal distortion turned me off of this album immediately. It grew on me. At its core, its still a KOL album and says a lot for me. I am announced fan of KOL. The recipe is simple, punk rockers raised in the south singing about partying and babes. The get a little big for their britches at times on this one, but safe themselves from disaster on tracks such as My Party, Arizona and Fans. As I’ve allowed this album to mellow of the course of the year, I have decided to commend the Kings for being bold and trying some experimental sounds, although the screeching and controlled vocals I can do without.

Drums and Guns – Low
Very much a Built to Spill meets Wilco sound (note they opened for Wilco on most recent tour) they do separate themselves from the pack by turning up the volume and intensity. Distortion and altered sounds support the droning melodies and create interesting layers to peel back. My first go round with Low, I like what I hear. Start with Breaker.

Some Loud Thunder – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
I may be the only person in America that has this album on their list, I’m OK with that.
Written off because it wasn’t CYHSY II, there are some real gems on this follow up album that give a new depth to the bands material and lends itself to a fuller more complete focus. Emily Jean Stock is among my favorites for this yelpy bunch and Yankee Go Home and Satan Said Dance pull this album through. Way to make the list fellas!

Person Pitch – Panda Bear
I am without a doubt the most unhip pseudo legit blogger ever because I do not think that Panda Bear is a gift from the indie gods. It’s just not my cup of PBR. I get that its neat and different, but it sounds a lot like a soundtrack to a made for TV movie to me, just mixing classic pop songs with indie overtones. Maybe I’m missing something and then again maybe I just don’t like this stuff as much as the rest.

Easy Tiger – Ryan Adams
I’ll give it to him, this is the most direct and intent he’s been in years and that works, but its not as thrilling as the works of his past. The on again-off again drama of women and drugs as well as a confusing working relationship with the Cardinals all seem to be resolved. Where does that leave Ryan? Well apparently it keeps him from relasing 10 albums in a year, but it also keeps him from stumbling into his true ability. Some didn’t care for this album because it stressed his alt-country leanings too much…that’s why I like it.

Ongiara – Great Lake Swimmers
Speaking of Alt-Country, these guys have got that genre down to a folk perfection. Mellow, dramatic and ultimately incredibly listenable, this album soaks in and settles quite nicely. It’s a much-needed break from the guitar heavy, more rock than country, alt country norm. It lends itself more to a bluegrass/folk feel, but its songs build and evolve more than that company. Its frustrating that a sound so simple and pure is so difficult to describe, so give it a listen for yourself.

Raising Sand – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
I’ll start by saying this album is being cheated here, I haven’t given it a full listen and it deserves more, but I need it on the list and not sure how great it is yet. I gotta say hearing Robert Plant harmonizing and singing ballads with country queen Alison Krauss throws any Zeppelin fan for a loop. That’s part of the problem, I can’t get past the non-rocking Plant, which is too bad, because this album appears to have much to offer. I’ll re-approach this album in the new year.

You, You’re a History in the Rust – Do Make Say Think
It’s Besnard Lakes light. Brilliant composition and perfectly timed transactions maker this is an intriguing listen, but it lacks the punch of a standout track or an anchor sound. This is a creative band with high aspirations, so the album comes off a bit underdeveloped, sounding more like a random assortment of very talented folks that ran through some ideas, agreed enough on how they will sound and hit record. Still a quality work, just not what it could be.

Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon – Devendra Banhart
This is letdown number two of the year. I had high hopes for this album and although its got some great tracks, including the powerful Seahorse, Devendra’s most rocking song to date, it sounds like the band spent too much time smoking the doobage and staring at crystals and not enough time writing real material. Its not a concept album in the classic seanse, but there is a concept that’s overly abundant here. Sings songs in different languages and maybe the listener won’t notice that it’s nothing more than a run of the mill song. Nice try, you crazy multi-linguist hippie, but I need more than this.

Cryoptograms – Deerhunter
I will admit I bought this simply because Pitchfork told me too. Shit, this is nothing, was my initial reaction, but it came out at a time of the year when little else was being released so I gave it more than its fair share of time. Perhaps it’s the number of listens that solidifies this album on the essential list more than the actual recorded material, but there are some solid tracks on this wild thing as well. Give Providence and Lake Somerset a creepy listen.

Tears of the Valedictorian – Frog Eyes
Yet another Spencer Krug supergroup (Mercer, Campbell etc.) this one hits the mark several times. The precursor to Swan Lake, hardly has an Idle Song (pun strongly intended, likely not gotten). Most of you won’t ever listen to this, and those that do probably will not like it. It’s not easy to listen to, and the stuff comes and goes and the rhythm and melodies are difficult to discern. For some reason I dig this stuff.

All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone – Explosions in the Sky
I am one of those kids that discovered this band through Friday Night Lights, here again, I’m OK with that. Some of the best driving music ever created, it’s the big skies of Montana moments before the storm rolls in, put to music. Enveloping, monumental, colossus, and I don’t know what all…its stunning, and a great bridge between the jam-guitar fans and indie kids.

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
It’s the most mainstream this list gets, and you can argue why it doesn’t belong, but I dig the sultry sounds. Like a lounge singer in a strip club, Winehouse drunkenly stumbles through song after song, dropping some of the best lyrics of the year. Rehab, the non-sober single got me to pick it up, Me and Mr. Jones and Back to Black, kept me ordering drinks and dropping ones in the g-string.

Friend Opportunity – Deerhoof
At first I hated the crazy singing of Satomi Matsuzaki, felt she distracted from the tremendous music that was being made, then it hit me. That’s their whole gig. They want to be bizarre, way off the expected and on the brink of annoying. It works. Possibly the most creative album of the year…if it doesn’t drive you crazy first.

#36 - #25 to come soon…

Monday, November 12, 2007

Essentially, these albums are not, essential

Non-essential albums of 2007

Era Vulgaris - Queens of the Stone Age

I have yet to hear a QotSA album that sounds like a completed effort. Josh can sing and rock with the best of them and when David Grohl grabs the sticks the sound is vulgar and of a dark era no doubt, but it's often a little too rough around the edges. Era should have been the album that defined them as the best heavy rock band in the US, instead it simply confirmed that they have a ways to go.

A Place to Bury Strangers - A Place to Bury Strangers

What? I'm confused. Is this not just fuzzy fuzz run through a fuzz machine with some odd arrangements and super loud guitars...that sound fuzzy? You looking for a place to put these unknown corpses are ya? Tell you right now they sure shit aren't gonna end up in the beautiful pastures of my Essential list.

Year Zero - Nine Inch Nails

I like Trent Reznor a lot. Most of what he has accomplished is borderline genius, the worry is that he now knows that and thinks he can get away with anything. He's sober now and it seems that rarely ends up well for artists I like, but in all reality that doesn't seem to be what makes his new material suffer. I think it's that he now relies far too much on computers making his music too accessible at times, which he tries to balance by throwing beats/guitars that are prob too heavy to hide the flaws. All in all, this album is prob comes in at 51 on my list of 50, I never said much about it during the year so I needed to address it.

Liars - Liars

Nothing really wrong with this album in the sense that it is a poor effort from the musicians involved or anything like that, but it is a problem that the music is tired and played. Like a lot of the indie bands that flirt with the shoegazer-emo genre, the songs drag and lean on sloppy structure to give a shadowy feel...trying to out cool you to the point where you forget that 'hey, this stuff is pretty damn boring.'

Our Love to Admire - Interpol

I won't say that this album is not good, it is, it's just that I wanted it to be amazing and I was letdown. Nothing has evolved for this band, at least not on the scale that seemed destined when they stormed onto the scene. Our Love is in it's best sense, just a good album, which isn't nearly good enough. I've a got a feeling the band will bounce back from this one, especially since many fans enjoyed it, I am asking more from a band that has it, they just didn't bring it.

Two Albums that Surprise me with the Praise they receive...

Andorra - Caribou; not half as good as Panda Bear and by the way why is 'sounding like the Beach Boys' such a positive, it's 2007

God Save the Clientele - The Clientele ; from what I gather this is not the album to meet the band on, but I don't plan on being in this neighborhood again any time soon so the cold greeting will remain as my sole impression

And of course my most hated album of the Year.

Sky, Boring Ass, Blue Sky - Wilco

Aaaagggrrhhh!!!!! Why?????? Tweedy did you get lost in the Adult Contemporary section at Target? Somebody slip an Oxycotin in this guys drink asap. You made this album like ten years ago. It's almost like you didn't even watch I am Trying to Break Your Heart. Let me give you the elevator pitch; Jay Bennett wasn't good for the band, you fired him, you created one of the best albums in the modern era and the new sound of the band was perfect, followed it up with another stellar album and released one of the best live albums of all time...why did you retreat? The band had sideprojects and solo tours, everything was primed for the most creative and inspiring album to date and then we get this. I'm so sad with this.

The most glowing response to this album has been "It is far easier to listen to." Not being easy to listen to is the prime reason Wilco made such worthy music and has such a rapid fan base.

I hate this album because I love this band and I know they are better than this. But, Wilco is proud of this album and a lot of people like it, shoot love it and some say its among the best of the year. I need to see these guys live soon to reaffirm why they are still great, but for now I remain distraught.

Albums I will not be reviewing.

Graduation - Kanye West
Believe it or not I haven't heard, not gonna buy anytime soon either
Kala - M.I.A.
Not my thing

Wizard of Ahhhs EP - Black Kids
Haven't heard it yet, despite the vote of approval from Don Marshall

From Here We Go Sublime - The Field
I don't even know what this is

Challengers - The New Pornographers
Didn't buy it

Cassadaga - Bright Eyes
He's gotten too self important/political and there is no way this is as good as Wide Awake, didn't bother

Magic - Bruce Springsteen

Lupe Fiasco and Wu-Tang Clan will not be released prior to completion of list