Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tony's Picks...

The year of twenty ten is officially coming to a close, and with it comes my top ten albums picks, in no particular order. The oldCrippledmen have had quite a time in this first year, and we hope ya'll will keep chugging on forward with us in the new year. Thanks for reading.
~Tony
Grinderman 2
Grinderman - Grinderman 2
(2010)
It is as evil and engaging as anything Nick Cave has ever released. Nick Cave never tries to hit it lucky. He knew what he wanted this album to sound like, and he produced it. You want rock n roll, you got it!

Magic Central
Breathe Owl Breathe - Magic Central
(2010)
My most-listened to album of the year. It came to me in early fall, just before I saw their live show, and became my autumn soundtrack for the next several months. It is innocent and quaint like a children's book, which makes it capable of revealing the sweet truths of life that only a naive child is able to share. Absolutely gorgeous arrangements, as simple as they actually are.

How I Got Over
The Roots - How I Got Over
(2010)
I was never able to believe the hype on The Roots until the release of this most coherent and soulful of hip-hop albums. Never shy of social commentary, The Roots combine the attitude of my favorite 90s hip-hop groups with the best production value this decade has to offer. Listen to it through a couple of times and you'll feel the urge to spin it again and again. It just works.

Brothers
The Black Keys - Brothers
(2010)
Straightforward, no-nonsense, back to the basics, dirty, garage blues. A real rock record for the 21st century if I've ever heard one. These guys are always consistent and they deserve all of the critical acclaim and huge shows they've received this year. Never overrated.

High Violet
The National - High Violet
(2010)
Mournful and honest as always, The National produce dark melancholy as music like no other group is capable of. All of their albums can cut into me as I listen through, but with an increase in production and unbelievably meticulous attention to lyrics, this album might just be perfect.

Have One on Me
Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
(2010)
It is 3 discs of pretentious 7 min on average songs. It is Joanna's attempt to build an epic collection of music to live up to the critics' acclaim after Ys. It is too much to ever attempt to listen to at once. But these are also the same reasons for my love of it. The most epic lullaby ever released. Each disc is an album of beauty and ambition in itself. Whether the length was an honest decision or just pretentious, this album was the most ambitious of the year other than maybe Kanye.

The Wild Hunt
The Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt
(2010)
The constant comparison to Dylan he receives must get so damn annoying, but after seeing him in Chicago, it really holds. He has girls screaming at his croons the entire show and his music is able to captivate the audience while he sings about matters of real gravity and concern. He is one of the most important songwriters of our generation, and The Wild Hunt is his most melodic, tender album to date.

The Monitor
Titus Andronicus - The Monitor
(2010)
A perfect union of aggressive, old-school punk and weighty, genuine Springsteen. This album is a punch of energy from start to finish and I guarantee you'll love it.

Halcyon Digest
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
(2010)
Cox has really gone to work this year with both his Atlas Sound and Deerhunter projects. He is a man constantly at work, and his work is constantly changing the game. This album is surely his best work yet, and it is an album that grew on me with each listen. Hot damn, this is special stuff.

The Budos Band III
The Budos Band - The Budos Band III
(2010)
Full of African good-vibes, this is the smoothest talking album of the year. It creates a driven, danceable atmosphere at each listen, and it never really gets old. When I consider music as a universal joy in the human condition, this is one of the albums I think everyone can agree to enjoying. It never stops moving.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Black Keys' Big Come Up

The Black Keys have done the unimaginable in my eyes this year. They have invaded the Billboard charts, scored shows at Madison Square Gardens, and are about to play a sold out, $80 ticket New Year's show in Chicago. It's outrageous to look back at this debut album of theirs, The Big Come Up, and see how ironically the album title of this back-to-basics garage blues collection fits their current position at the forefront of mainstream blues. However, while the band has taken off into the public's eye during this past year, I listen to their new Brothers album and feel like they haven't drifted from their raw roots in the slightest.

The Black Keys create music that sounds like whiskey. It is raw and abrasive, and yet just warm enough to leave a smile on your face after passing through you. I was skeptical at first upon hearing two white guys croon on songs like "Busted", "Run Me Down", and "Leavin Trunks", but regardless of the sincerity, this music sounds as raw as anything our generation has produced. The only criticism I had with the album after my first listen was that it could actually go for more complexity. Although I love how raw the simple riffs and snare slams come off, it has made all the difference in their career that they chose to beef up the production and instrumentation on their past 3 albums. The Big Come Up is still one of my favorite Black Keys' albums, but it really speaks a lot for their talent when a band who can create an album this raw is able to to produce an album of similar merit that is nominated for a Grammy. Check this dirtball out when you get the chance.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Will's Picks...


The bright lights of 2010 are extinguishing.

In a year when a faux-bronze human pickle is picking up the reigns of the political right, and BP spilled its uncensored guts all over the Gulf, the musical community celebrated releases from veteran masterpieces to agitated and exploratory youth.

There were three albums that soared most, and consequently, really seared into my soul. Some claim the musical calendar of twenty ten more of a dud than a golden platter (the absence of folksy, NPR-lauded coffee shop music), but to those naysayers, I have to say fuck you! and check out these three strokes of genius (in no order).

3. Titus Andronicus- The Monitor
I actually thought Deerhunter's Halcyon Digest a better album through and through, but for God's sake, have you heard "A More Perfect Union"? A hard-driven, quasi-patriotically infused punk anthem with apocalyptic homages to the Boss and Abe Lincoln, this track catapulted the album to an unprecedented start. And the best part is that The Monitor didn't lag, drag or sag after that explosion at the beginning. These rowdy fuckers hailing from the industrial ass hat called New Jersey implement to me what music is all about. They seem to be talking about a lot of things in their music but I sense what they really enjoy doing is drinking beer and plugging in that distortion.

2. Kanye West- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Kanye West is not a hip hop artist. Like his idol Michael Jackson, he is now a pop artist through and through. And like MJ, he might be the king. Apart from the angelic arrangements of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, his lyrics again startle me with how simultaneously arrogant and self-conscience they are, and thats what makes this manic depressive pop star one of the most interesting artists of the 21st century.

"The plan was to drink until the pain over/ But what's worse, the pain or the hangover?"

1. LCD Soundsystem- This Is Happening
Talk about a 21st century pop mastermind. James Murphy, through three excellent albums as LCD Soundsystem, is a special man to me. Nothing has made me want to zip up a pair of acid wash jeans and shake my hips, really shake 'em, like "I Can Change" or "Someone Great". The boings and pbbsts of most electronic dance music usually makes me feel uncomfortable, like I dont really "get" the music. I now realize its just bad music most of the time. Well I get This Is Happening. And its really fucking good.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Major Organ and the Adding Machine - self titled (2001)

     With an Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour on target for next spring, I decided to step away from my most recent Bowie-binge and step a little bit further into the realms of one of my favorite collectives.  Yea, we all know about the splendor of Neutral Milk Hotel, of Montreal, The Apples, Olivia Tremor Control and other classics, but E6 really is more than just a collection of really sweet bands; it is the culmination of passion and fun for musicians who have always had a quirk about them.
    
What would happen if all of the bands formed together as one? Well that could be the result of mysterious and highly elusive band called Major Organ and the Adding Machine and some classic E6 shenanigans.  The band is supposedly lead by a more-than-likely fictitious Major Organ but is believed to be the work of Jeff Mangum, Julian Koster, Robert Schneider, Kevin Barnes and other E6 members. Their 2001 self-titled album is a bizarre mix of strange noises and tales that really doesn't make any coherent sense at all. I guess that it really is exactly what you would expect such a collaboration to sound like with really distinct influences from each individual band.  Jeff's fuzzed-out acoustic, Kevin's falsetto, and staple OTC craziness make you think that somewhere between the ring modulators and reversed tapes, you have heard it all before somewhere else.
    This past September, the band re-released their debut album with a number of bonus tracks as well as an accompanying DVD that I would suspect to be the craziest thing since Animal Collective's ODDSAC. Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Last Waltz aka The Greatest Show On Earth


"This film [soundtrack] should be played loud!"

It was on Thanksgiving Day, 1976, at the Winterland Ballroom in San Fran, that The Band, accompanied by a slew of their best friends in music took the stage for their final performance. It was the culminating show for this great band, that got its name and start from backing Bob Dylan in the 1960s. The Last Waltz is essentially an essay in the form of art, directed by Martin Scorsese, that demonstrates The Band's long history and influence. Characters like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Ronnie Hawkins, Van Morrison, and The Staple Singers all make memorable guest appearances

One of my most treasured experiences with music occurred mid-sophomore year of high school when some friends brought the documentary over on a snowy night in December. Other than maybe "The Weight" and "Cripple Creek", I hadn't discovered The Band yet, and I was downright floored, song after song, by the power The Band played with, and their incorporation of so many of my already favorite musicians. Looking back, it was sort of an unbelievable experience to watch so many legends perform on stage together for such a sentimental evening.
It's not just the fact that The Band might've been one of the "best bands" at the time of this concert based on song writing and cohesion, but they are also capable of reinterpreting their singles to fit new guests in the most delightful way. Footage of Van Morrison shaking and throwing his arms up while ripping through "Caravan", a tender rendition of Young's "Helpless", and the spiritually shaking version of "I Shall Be Released" with everyone harmonizing and swapping lyrics on stage to the end the show, it's just perfect.

As far as critics on The Last Waltz go, yes, I'm well aware of the fact that nearly no one on stage wanted to go through with the show and Robbie Robertson smugly overdubbed his vocals higher than the others. It was to some degree a bloated, coke fueled self-congratulation, and god knows I can do without the career boosting Neil Diamond cut, but hell, who cares. The music timelessly speaks for itself and whether bad vibes were present or not, it was a celebration of the friendship of years past.

I realize that to most music fans, The Band and their Last Waltz together is nothing new, but I felt compelled to give this work my time and reflection because The Last Waltz has been such a key play in my music rotation this past semester. Amongst all of its problems between musicians, this album always comes off to me as so focused. The arrangements always captivate me, and drive me to be more focused. Tracks like "It Makes No Difference", "This Wheel's On Fire", "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", "Stage Fright", and "I Shall Be Released" surely cannot sound any better. Sheer goosebumps down my arms with every listen.


"Chest Fever"

"It Makes No Difference"

"I Shall Be Released"

The Last Waltz - I Shall be Released

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Are the oldCrippledmen just committing "cultural masturbation" here, or not?

First off, I'm well aware that the readers of this blog are here for a quick freebie for their ears and the occasional interesting musical analysis, so I'll just let you know that mediafire won't see the light of day in this post. But please know, that I am at least trying to change the function of this blog, and the way in which "followers" can contribute to making some sort of actual community (my initial reason for kicking this off). It is because blogging is like making love, in that it should not be done alone, that we have several contributors sharing music of interest together, but we still need something more.

The earlier blogs I started years ago fizzled out after short runs because I found myself sharing and relating with no one. I was trying to be cool, like the other bloggers I followed, receiving praise and thanks for sharing things that I have no reason to take credit for. I offered little personal insight and opinion, and didn't realize that in order to have a successful blog and not come off as a prick, you have to put real work into it and take it seriously. This blog has kept strong since its start, and many people have been following our daily posts, but I'm starting to feel like a prick again. At first it was fun because my friends and I were getting a chance to swap music together like we used to do every day in high school. However, feeling like I am contributing to a community that I can only measure by looking at the amount of daily readers is starting to feel shallow.

I don't mean to come off sounding whiny,because like I said, none of you readers and spammers are here for this kind of banter, but I am left to question, how can we push ourselves further into relationships and community in order to avoid the shallow act of "cultural masturbation", in which I take pleasure in the peeking, and not in the content. I've decided to re-evaluate the way in which I post these albums. I realize that in order to create something real within this seemingly soul-sucking atmosphere that is the blogosphere, I will have to put more heart and soul into posting. Although it will mean whacking off posts less frequently, it will also bring forth posts with depth and opinion. It will hopefully drive away the readers that simply come to oldCrippledmen for a quickie musical fix, and will retain the readers that are willing to contribute through recommendations and feedback in the comments section. My job is to write and post something that you (the reader) would want to respond to, and in the future I will do so. Below I've posted a brief video in which NT Wright offers insight on blogging in a more generalized light. Voice your opinion on the future of this blog, or just heckle me about getting back to the music, in the comments.
-Tony

Saturday, December 18, 2010

RIP Captain Beefheart (1941 - 2010)


The great composer of dirty blues, going on the age of 70, Don Van Vliet, or known on stage as Captain Beefheart, passed away last night due to a mix of complications from his multiple sclerosis. Beefheart always pushed himself out of the genres people tried to label him with, and he had an undying passion for constantly pushing boundaries. His catalog is somewhat vast, and I've only really come to know two or three of his albums, but it is still easy to feel a great loss at his passing. Pay some tribute to the legend and give his work your attention this weekend.
Here's his 1969 avant-garde masterpiece, Trout Mask Replica.

Friday, December 17, 2010

James Brown's Funky Christmas

My buddies and I all sort of got into James Brown Christmas songs last year, with his album James Brown's Christmas. This year I've found James Brown's Funky Christmas which is essentially a collection of the best cuts from his 3 prior Christmas albums. It's a versatile compilation that stands as the hippest xmas album of all time as far as I know. It's for the most part his own material, and shows how much the guy gets into the holiday season. How can anyone resist? Let's hear about your favorite Christmas albums in the comments, is there a funkier Christmas album?

Mount Eerie - No Flashlight: Songs of the Fulfilled Night (2005)

I guess itunes genres sometimes are right, as there really is no better way to describe this album than "unclassifiable." No Flashlight: Songs of the Fulfilled  Night is musical genius Phil Elverum's first LP outside of his The Microphones moniker and in it, he continues to find strange new places to take music.  Upon trying to elaborate on this album, it seems that every description would only lead to contradiction.  Sometimes it is heavy, dark, and bold while sometimes it is slow and comforting.  It could be found to be one of the greatest albums ever in years to come if it weren't so incomprehensible and obscure. One thing is for sure though, this album is extremely emotional and disengaging for those who really listen. Put on some Cocoa, give it a spin.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Woods - Songs Of Shame (2009)

A1To Clean
2:17
A2The Hold
2:42
A3The Number
2:53
A4September With Pete
9:40
A5Down This Road
1:37
B1Military Madness (by Graham Nash)
3:12
B2Born to Lose
1:59
B3Echo Lake
2:04
B4Rain On
3:28
B5Gypsy Hand
4:24
B6Where and What Are You?
1:20

The first thing that struck me in listening to Woods, and what I continued to fall in love with on hearing this particular album, is their simplicity. It is a similar simplicity that defines many of their contemporaries, like Real Estate, Vivian girls, and The Microphones, but where these groups can occasionally lose melody amidst the droning fuzz, Woods keeps it fresh with natural harmonies and at times spastic fretplay. They still coat the album in fuzz, but the end product somehow comes out natural and clean like the Fleet Foxes, or the Mountain Goats. It is the element of nature that unites this album and sets the overall mood, and with a cover of Graham Nash's "Military Madness"and a rugged, woodland mountain range for cover art it might even get a bit too peacenik at times. The only thing I'm not sure how to analyze is the front man's falsetto voice. He's a large guy with a beard, who is surely capable of belting it, and yet, unlike the similar grizzlyman, Jim James, he's constantly working the falsetto. It works for the most part, but when the times come where it gets a bit old, I always find myself asking, "Why the hell not take a break and show us something new?" At the end of the day it's an interesting take on the indie folk genre that's become so popular, and I certainly hope the group beefs up with some serious attitude and vocals in the coming releases.

Looking Back: Mountain Goats- Sweden


I bought this album a couple years ago. Listened to it a couple times over, and placed it in my CD collection under albums I haven't dusted off in a while like Return to Cookie Mountain and Loveless. Until recently, it remained cramped there-- kept company by the other albums that defined the musical explosion I experienced in my mid-teen years. I realize now I was just young enough where I couldn't quite grasp the visual sentimentality of John Darnielle's lyrics on Sweden.

Now that I have become more familiar with the music, the songs of Sweden are quintessential Mountain Goats. Full of words about young beauty, innocent (and broken) relationships, candy shops and the California sun, Darnielle has captured something lyrically that only maybe Arcade Fire or Jeff Mangum could do. And with the choppy hits of his acoustic and his nerdy, lo fi vocals, Darnielle's sound is also distinctly his own.

I've been digging up a lot of music I haven't listened to in awhile-- since the days where austin, tony and I would sit on lunch tables during break period and pretentiously discuss the republicans, beats or whether or not Jim James wrote better music with his twirled, nipple-length hair (and who could forget the infamous Pavement vs. The Beatles debate?). One of the coolest things about music is in its ability to send you back in time, back to the attitudes and the people you surrounded yourself with when you first heard a certain piece. I can clearly remember the first times I heard Z or "All My Friends" from Sounds of Silver. I remember it so clearly because I wanted to stand up and shout "I fucking love this in a more real way than I can ever express!"

Its winter time, snow is on the ground, exams are in full throttle. You yearn for a sound that's reassuring, but in a way thats hard to explain. Hope you enjoy Sweden, and remember to keep in touch.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

De La Soul - Buhloone Mindstate (1993)

De La Soul's 3rd full length and their last album with Prince Paul on production. A hip-hop masterpiece, simply put. Although I think Stakes is high is phenomenal, you can tell the difference in direction that Prince Paul's production took De La Soul. Jazz and pop culture samples are out of control and fun as always and Prince Paul manipulates drum beats like nothing I've ever heard. They're lyrical genius is always elevating, and as the opening track calls out, "it might blow up but it won't go pop". I'll be studying to this album all evening, you should do the same.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

That Fine Fine Music - Your Life Was Saved By Rock & Roll



The Rolling Stones could be the biggest band in the world. Moreover, they could be the most significant thing that has happened in the history of popular music and popular culture. They have hundreds of thousands and die-hard fans, and with the help of the new Keith Richards biography "Life" and a constant stream of 21st century re-releases, the band has been able to stay as relevant--to young and old audiences alike--as they ever have been.

But why? What is so attractive about an almost laughable crew of haggard, junk-worn Englishmen who continue to play songs that we could all recite in our sleep?

You've heard the conversation starter a million times. "Oh the Rolling Stones...is that ole' Richards fellow still standing?"Or the classic "wow how can a man that old still dance like that?" While these may be somewhat valid questions, and their sentiments may be endearing, they undermine the creativity, talent, and (in some ways) humanity of the band. In a time and culture where we praise celebrity, and the lives of the famous seem to overwhelm the media's attention, it's important to remember that the Stones are still a rock n' roll band. Let's not make caricatures out of a few of the best songwriters in the history of the language. Yes, there is an aspect of the modern Stones that is loveably ugly- the band still jerking and twitching in classic rock n' roll style, while big old wily grins shine out of weathered faces. But this isn't why we like the Stones, is it?

It's the music, right? It's the straightforward rock aesthetic of Sticky Fingers. It's the dirty, soulful country hooks of Let it Bleed. It's the nearly whimsical pop tunes of Flowers and Between the Buttons. And finally, it's Exile on Main Street, the band's magnum opus, and perhaps the most critically-acclaimed and storied album in all of rock history. Right?

Well, yes. It's true that these achievements are the first thing that we think of when we think of the Stones. And absolutely, these are the reasons why we practically worship them. But I think deeper down, there is something even more powerful that draws listeners to the Stones.

It's the love. No, not the cheesy 60s flower power "peace, love, happiness" love. And no, not the love of your girlfriend. I mean real teenage, fire-eyed, love for rock n roll. There is not a feeling more powerful in the world than listening to your favorite band and feeling alright. Turn it up in your room. Plug into an amp. Play something. Add distortion. Maybe some reverb. From years of going to concerts, looking tirelessly for albums, and discussing music with friends, I am telling you with 100% certainty that this is the savior. Lou Reed once said that "the music gave you back your beat so you could dream." This is powerful stuff. It isn't washy, or emotional or sensational. It's having a band. It's just playing your favorite punk songs all day. And it's defending--till the day you die--your favorite records.

So finally, I am coming around to my main point. Recently I have been listening to the Rolling Stone's 1967 Their Satanic Majesties Request. A lot. Whether I'm in bed, doing homework, goofin', or playin' video games, TSMR has been spinning. And what I realized after maybe 15 listens is that no, it's not my favorite Stones album, but it is perhaps the most refreshing and organic of any of their albums I've ever heard. Because before listening to the album this year I knew no songs off it and didn't really know what fans thought of it, I was able to listen to it with a completely fresh set of ears--as if it came out in 2010. I didn't let the aura or legend of the album or the band overtake my actually real enjoyment of it. Song after song, I got a great feeling that I usually don't get when listening to the Stones. Instead of "wow this has got to be the best achievement in all of pop music," (which is valid) I found myself thinking "wow, these dudes are probably having a hell of a time." It isn't an "epic" or deeply emotional album, but it's one full of great and uninhibited songs. What more is there to ask for?

So while our generation admires the stones music on RockBand, their personalities on CBS Sunday Morning, or their legendary experiences in the new Richard's autobiography, I challenge you to admire them like teenagers did in the 60s and 70s. Round up the block and come in to the living room. Have a party. Crank the phonograph. Raid the liquor cabinet. Whatever you must do, listen to this album as a youngster.

And for god's sake, keep fighting the man.

Also, dig how the album art is totally mocking the Sgt. Peppers-era Beatles.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory (1970)

The season for listening to some good ole Creedence is coming to a close. Once you're done watching The Good The Bad & The Ugly, roll out in yer chevy with some "Rambler Tamble". I've come to think over the last year that this is CCR's best effort. "The Dude" Lebowski had this in his tape player during the entire Big Lebowski, so pay your homage to The Dude and spin this disc once more before its too cold to actually go outside. Have a good one.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Good, Bad and the Ugly


I recently watched The Good, Bad and the Ugly again, and if you've seen the movie (you really, really need to if you haven't), you'll relate to the gunslinging, fuck-all attitude I flirted with for the next couple of days. But I noticed it was the theme song, that brilliant piece by legend and frequent Leone collaborator Ennio Morriconne which has sentiments of the Old West but really is more of a 60's piece, that had me hooked.
This isn't the theme song here, but watch how well Morricone's soundtrack shifts and carries mood in the tri-duel finale of the film.
This is one of the great climactic scenes in all of cinema, remember to clean up after yourself when your done.

yee haw


video

Bela Fleck & The Flecktones - Jingle All The Way

Here's our favorite bluegrass jam group doing a splendid collection of Christmas covers and originals. It's so special to have so much great, themed music available for just one month. I feel like I've never taken advantage of it enough. Anyhow, I'm trying to really pay my respects to great Christmas music this year, and this is at the top of the pops. Throat singing, banjo pickin, and a lil "Linus and Lucy", I wouldnt want my Christmas any other way. Check it out!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Green Pajamas - Strung Behind the Sun (1997)

While it may not be my favorite piece of work by The Green Pajamas, Strung Behind the Sun is still a very good and very fun Neo-Psychedelia album.  This is an album that I have just never been able to make sense of.  It seems like some songs are riddled with emotion but for some reason I just can't take it seriously. Tracks jump all around from fuzzed out guitar licks to accordion driven medleys while somehow still retaining an obscure kind of flow.  Check it out, you will be pleased.

Fertile music from Memphis: Moloch (1969)

It's gettin to be pretty damn late, but I can't wait to post this one any longer. Guitarist who eventually came to play with Alex Chilton. So much soul to release upon you. The only white boys to ever grace the Stax collection.... Moloch!

Check it out!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Morning Jacket - Early Recordings: Chapters 1&2

We oldCrippledmen revere the work of Jim James and his Louisville collaborative My Morning Jacket. Although the majority of their magnificent releases will be covered here in the future, I wanted to take some time to post this compilation of their earliest recordings, seeing as my roomate has been playing them all week. This compilation series was released by My Morning Jacket in 2004 as a showcase of early lo-fi recordings that offer insight into the group's forming influences and Jim James' writing style. The two chapters featured, Ch. 1: The Sandworm Cometh and Ch. 2: Learning, both contain diverse covers ranging from Elton John's "Rocket Man" to Erykah Badu's "Tyrone" to Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit". Other than covers, the comp serves as a coherent collection of b-sides, demos, and so on, from the group's earliest recordings. They implement little to no studio tricks and present the tracks with the raw, passionate feel that all My Morning Jacket fans have fallen in love with at one time or another. If there ever was a compilation that belonged amongst a group's best studio work, these discs would fit right in there.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dâm-Funk - Summertime Clothes Remix


Y'all like remixes?
Me either. The very concept is bombastic, and the glitzed remix is, remarkably, often more boring than the original.
Here however, Dâm-Funk, a sucker for 80's DJ beats, does something beautiful by remixing "Summertime Clothes", a tune form the musical spelunker's Merriweather Post Pavilion album. I was immediately interested because, let us be honest, no one has the balls to try and define Animal Collective through words, so how is one going to remix it?
So strap on some headphones, and pull up the bass on this one.



Buena Vista Social Club - Self-Titled (1997)

Best afro-cuban jazz album I know of? Yea. Blues guitarist Ry Cooder is on guitar, which really puts a spin on the typical latino/salsa feel this band puts out. I usually have a hard time reviewing world music, as its a genre that really makes the goal to produce flowing, solid releases. It's usually all about the feel good atmosphere created, prime for singing and dancing. However, I guarantee this band has something special going on that puts them in a different league of their own. This album is continuous perfection that makes you want to just sit on a sun porch all day drinking mai tais in Aruba. Shame we're about to get more snow. Anyhow, this album still resonates even in this cold, dry month.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Hypnotist (EP) - Sonny and the Sunsets (2010)

Readers should know that Sonny and the Sunsets sound exactly like you would think their name entails.  So really, if you don't like the name you can just stop reading now.  As the rest of you guessed, earthy folk jams are riddled with a melancholy singer that you can't help but sing along to as every care in the world seems to dissipate.  This one is short at sweet, a mere four tracks of catchy tunes. Currently only being released on 7", a bit of crack and pops come along for the ride but are easily forgotten after about 12 seconds. If you aren't familiar with Sonny and the Sunsets you may want to swing back a year and reconsider getting their full length debut entitled Tomorrow is Alright.  

please refer to the comments for a link.

Phish Live Bait Vol. 3

Track Details (all previously unreleased Live Phish):

Countdown/Auld Lang Syne >
(1993-12-31 Worcester Centrum - Worcester, MA)

Down With Disease Jam >
(1993-12-31 Worcester Centrum - Worcester, MA)


Split Open And Melt

(1993-12-31 Worcester Centrum - Worcester, MA)

Runaway Jim
(1997-11-29 Worcester Centrum - Worcester, MA)

Llama

(1991-12-31 Worcester Memorial Auditorium "The New Aud" - Worcester, MA)

Phish has released this Livephish collection, featuring their longest recorded track, the nearly an hour long Runaway Jim, for free on livephish. You can find it here. Download.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sufjan Stevens - Age of Adz (2010)

1. "Futile Devices" 2:11
2. "Too Much" 6:44
3. "Age of Adz" 8:00
4. "I Walked" 5:01
5. "Now That I'm Older" 4:56
6. "Get Real Get Right" 5:10
7. "Bad Communication" 2:24
8. "Vesuvius" 5:26
9. "All for Myself" 2:55
10. "I Want to Be Well" 6:27
11. "Impossible Soul" 25:35

After recently posting the new Roots' album last week, which happens to be my favorite hip-hop album of the year, I realized that it would be fitting for me to throw a bunch of other year-end favorites as a sort of recap to 2010. This new disc from Sufjan shows him at the very top of his game as far as songwriting is concerned. It is his most ambitious album to date and shows his to be a great contemporary composer. As good as it is, the high production level loses me at times and so it is probably floating near the 20th mark on my top albums of 2010 list.

Link in comments

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Breakestra - The Live Mix, Part 2 (2000)

You're all going to love this. Short, flowing samples of funk/soul delight from this 10 piece "orchestra".

A 9 part suite begins the album and fresh, throwback sounds characterize what's left.

Link groovin in comments, dont miss this one!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Roots - How I Got Over (2010)

1.. Walk Alone (Truck North, Porn, Dice Raw, Mercedes Martinez)
2. Dear God 2.0 (Jim James, MOF)
3. Radio Daze (Blu, Porn, Dice Raw, Mercedes Martinez)
4. Now Or Never (Phonte Coleman, Dice Raw)
5. How I Got Over (Dice Raw)
6. The Day (Blu, Phonte Coleman, Patty Crash)
7. Right On (Joanna Newsom, Sugar Tongue Slim)
8. Doin It Again (John Legend)
9. The Fire (John Legend, Rick Friedrich)

Notice the sampling of the Jim James and Joanna Newsom. This album has unbelievable flow and I just can't get enough of it. It is their most cohesive album to date, and many of the songs can only be described as powerful. I'll say it's the best rap/hip-hop album of the year, since it's now the time of year to make bold music claims like that.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas


It snowed for the first time in Chicago yesterday, which means this certain album must come out. Vince Guaraldi's '65 soundtrack to the CBS Christmas program of the same name is my favorite Christmas album and has become an album that I am exceedingly tempted to put on even after the holidays. It is captivating and amazingly well played while at the same time being most tender on tracks like "Christmas Time Is Here" and "Greensleeves". Vince Guaraldi has created something that I feel is universally nostalgic, so long as you have actually seen the short Charlie Brown special.

I've been spinning a few Yo La Tengo xmas shoes lately, and I'll do the occasional Christmas standard, but I'd love to branch out and hear your ideas for some new Christmas music listening. Let's hear it from ya in the comments.

Link harks in the comments

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Atlas Sound: Bedroom Databank Vol. 1-4 (2010)

Back in the week of November 22, us college folk all probably went back to our hometowns for some turkey and sat around catching up with old friends, not really accomplishing too much.  What did Atlas Sound do in that time?  He got his shit together and released 4 albums all available for the price of nothing! Musician Bradford Cox (Deerhunter) continues with these exciting sonic wonderments, all of which were written in 2010, and reminds you just why it is that you like him and his stream-of-consciousness songs.  Heavy exploration into the nooks and crannies of his many different styles yields a very diverse collection of songs that range from beautiful folky songs with acoustic guitars and harmonicas to complete digital annihilation while encompassing everything in between. So if you've got some time and some inclination, give these a good listening through.  Once you hear a bit of Volume 1, you will definitely find yourself going back for more.

Go Get 'Em  (they're free)
http://deerhuntertheband.blogspot.com/

Cody ChesnuTT - The Headphone Masterpiece (2002)

Okay, you know that song "The Seed 2.0" that The Roots released around 2003 or so, one of the most enjoyable dance songs of all time. Anyhow, they ripped that song off this fine lo-fi soul/r&b debut from Cody ChesnuTT, The Headphone Masterpiece. This is his ambitious debut double album, and it has some really nice tracks. As an entire album, it sort of misses the cut when it comes to flow. It has a lot of silly, immature filler and some of the songs just plain stink. But if he had chosen the best 10 tracks and released it as a single disc, it would be phenomenal. Don't let my negative feedback dissuade, this album is an interesting, passionate spin on r&b in the 21st century.

Link is groovin along in the comments.


and save yourself if you never heard "the seed 2.0"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Presenting Toms Relling Presenting Cannonball Adderly's Somethin' Else

The hard bop and cool styles of Sir Cannonball Adderley are captured here on this sublime jazz masterpiece. This alto sax is just right on throughout the entire album. All killer no filler. I speak like I know it, but I was actually just recently turned on to this album by my great friend Toms Relling from San Francisco. He's gotta a lot of words to speak and a lot of soul to share. Check his stuff out over here, and if you're reading this Tom, know I expect to see these dirty blues recordings soon.

Loving links lie in the comments.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Blue Pill, Red Pill Drill

By now I'm assuming all you college kids are back at school; and with that realization comes some bad news. Turkey Day is over, ya bum; and the next couple weeks of projects and exams are going to fucking suck, really. Fortunately, you've got a few options.

The Red Pill:

Storytelling by Belle & Sebastian

First off, this isn't Belle & Sebastian's best album. Nor is it my favorite. Nor is it the first that I would recommend to a friend. But, I believe that its their most uniquely beautiful and strangely haunting album. I've come back to her time after time during these miserable fall afternoons always so be pleased with the shyly suggestive lyrics and soft hooks. "Black and White Unite" and "Big John Shaft" are two of my absolutely favorite B&S tunes, and the instrumental "Fiction" will set you at ease after only a few doses. This album is supposed to be a soundtrack for a movie, but I've never heard of the actual film. There is some hilarious dialogue bytes from the film in the album, though. If you don't have it, give it a few listens and take what you need out of it. Leave the rest though.

The Blue Pill:


Copper Blue by Sugar
Bob Mould is on the complete opposite side of the dial from Steve Murdoch. After the breakup of his hardcore/college rock legendary band Husker Du, Mould came back strong with punk hooks and a whole lot of catchy melodies with Sugar. If you like Husker Du, this is a lot different (I Think), but the melodies and sentiments are similar. Add more R.E.M. to Husker, and subtract some Dead Kennedys guitar, and this is what you might be left with. Really great album thats sure to help you through some times.

So, if you wanna lay down and see if the exams might take themselves, listen to Storytelling. If you wanna humbly kick their asses though, spin Copper Blue. Either way, have a great night. Links are doin' what they do best in the comments.

Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds (2009) (a pun?)

Winter is enclosing a lot faster than any of us would have wanted.    Staring into an overcast sky an overcoming feeling of solemnity and recognition that the warm tones of summer are long gone begins to seep in.  Preparation starts for the great change by dusting off the old SAD light and thickening up the stockpile the chai tea.  The Mimicking Birds' 2009 debut self-titled album is a prefect representation of the kind of music that begins to take over the stereo.  A slow acoustic guitar encumbered with a layer of  vocals reminiscent of Edward Droste (Grizzly Bear) brings a meditative state of ambiance.  Subtle whispering and a reserved falsetto bring a very personal and humanistic feeling that is, in itself,  the feeling of winter.  Enjoy!

link sits quietly in the comments

Boards of Canada - Music Has the Right to Children (1998)


Experimental, electronic, IDM, ambient, magic.
It's getting very cold. I am wearing gloves all the time. My cocoa is running low. I need a fire to keep my feet warm. I need to listen to Boards of Canada. Music Has the Right to Children always touches me around this time of year. It is an album of discovery. Imagine children puffed up with winter jackets, racing through the barren, snow covered woods, discovering nook after nook of natural beauty. A remarkable album to listen to in the evening. Absolutely gorgeous.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sharon Jones & The Dapkings - 100 Days, 100 Nights

The soul queen of the 21st century. Seamstress of all coherent Daptone blendings. Foxy fortress of funk. She really is the next torch-taker for my life-changing female soul singer flame, with the likes of none other than Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Sharon Jones

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Bill Evans Trio - Sunday at the Village Vanguard (1961)


Gorgeous piano Jazz off the Riverside label. This is Evans' first trio and this album begins the long collection of the Trio's sessions. I'm personally just getting into Evans' material, so why don't you get acquainted with me.

Link in Comments.