6.25.2005

My Top 10 of '05 (Well... the first half that is...)

Since everyone and their Mom is doing this, I thought I'd go ahead and do it.

So here ya go, my top 10 of the first of '05:

10. Crooked Fingers - Dignity and Shame
While this record is melodically kind of dark, it's very beautiful and hopeful at the same time. Definitely the best effort by these guys. The title track is excellent.
9. Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger
Yea, I know, it's more of that "new-wave" revival shit right? Well, not really. These songs are just pretty damn good, regardless of their musical style. A Certain Trigger is a lot better then anything The Futureheads or The Killers are offering. "Graffiti" and "Apply Some Pressure" are great listens.
8. Spoon - Gimme Fiction
I can't really say anything bad about this album. Just go check it out. Standout tracks are "I Summon You" (another one of my favorites this year) and "Sister Jack."
7. Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah! - Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah
As I said in yesterday's post, these guys are the real deal. The only thing keeping them out of my top 3 is the occasional down spot on their S/T debut. It's really damn good nonetheless. Make sure you check out "Is This Love?" as it's one of my favorite songs released this year.
6. The Decemberists - Picaresque
Overall just an amazing album that fails to have any standout moments. It's more classic Decemberists. Her Majesty is still my favorite by these guys, but this has swooped in close behind. "Engine Driver" and "We Both Go Down Together" are the standouts.
5. Stars - Set Yourself on Fire
Indie/Pop at it's best. The songs are catchy as hell and sincere to boot. Another great album from this wonderful band. Check out "Reunion" and "Set Yourself on Fire."
4. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
Easily Conor Oberst's best album. I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning is a quiet and honest folk album. "First Day of My Life" and "Road to Joy" should be checked out.
3. The Mountain Goats - The Sunset Tree
Not my favorite Mountain Goats album, but it's hard to live up to Tallahassee in my mind. It is, however, more classic John Darnielle, which is a great thing. Check out "This Year" and "Love, Love, Love."
2. Antony and the Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
Some may be turned off by his trembling voice, but underneath is a album full of great and classic songs paying homage to the great blues/jazz albums of the past while incorporating a style very much his own . "Hope There's Someone" is easily the standout track.
1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
I'm guessing this one stays up here for the rest of the year. It's beautiful and sincere. Yes, melodically and structurally it is very similar to Greetings From Michigan, but I'm sure as hell not gonna say that's a bad thing. Highlights include "Chicago" and "The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Me."

6.24.2005

Two Short Reviews

Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah - S/T

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At their best, Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah emit the same kind of energy that the Talking Heads did. And that's a really big compliment. Their debut album (which is ingeniously self-titled) gives off a very comforting sense of awkward reassurance; the kind Neutral Milk Hotel still gives me. About 3/4 of the album The other 1/4, however, bores the crap out of me. Sort of the same way The Mars Volta does. But when they're on, THEY'RE ON. Their best is better then most of what I've heard this year, even with the occasional down spot. Yeah, I know... I know, everyone and their Mom are raving about these guys, but it's for good measure. These guys are for real so be sure to check them out.

RATING: 8.5/10

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIs This Love?

Buy it here.

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The Foo Fighters - In Your Honor


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I was trying to figure out what exactly to say about this album and I kept thinking of the same word: crap. It's boring and overdone and just more of the same boring radio rock. The acoustic CD is a lot better, but that isn't saying much. I would upload a song, but I deleted it from my computer right after I was finished listening. The only thing keeping it from being a 1, is the decent acoustic CD. If you're going to listen to any part, make sure it's that. Otherwise don't bother. Trust me, pass this one up.

RATING: 3/10

Don't buy it here.

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Odds and Ends

It looks like "Indie-Yuppie" has finally become a genre. (via Brooklyn Vegan)

*Sixeyes is all fresh and new... and still one of my favorite music blogs.

Noel Gallagher (of Oasis) must have eaten paint chips as a child.

6.23.2005

Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato


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I would easily note Rocky Votolato as one of, if not the, biggest musical influence I have. His brand of folk-tinged acoustic rock is as soothing as it is scathing. His voice is stressed like that of a man who's had one to many nights drinking; the kind of singer you'd hear in a roadside bar a couple of miles off the main road. He pushes his voice as far as he can in many of his songs, laying everything he has emotionally on the line for everyone to hear. He sings like he's been through years of pain, yet he never crosses over into depressing. His songs are amazingly powerful and poignant, covering everything from corporate greed, suicide, and loss. His most recent album, Suicide Medicine, was produced by Death Cab for Cutie guitar player Chris Walla, and Walla's amazing production and influence shows throughout the album. Suicide Medicine is his most mature and compelling work to date. If you download only one of the songs I've posted, make sure it's "The Rain Will Come," as it's easily one of his most dynamic and beautiful songs he's ever written.

From Burning My Travels Clean
Image hosted by Photobucket.comCrabtree and Evelyn
Image hosted by Photobucket.comWithout Eyes Still Seeing

From The Light and the Sound EP
Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe Rain Will Come

From Suicide Medicine
Image hosted by Photobucket.comMixtapes/Cellmates
Image hosted by Photobucket.comMontana

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Odds and Ends

FAMILY GUY: THE MOVIE!!!

This album has the potential to be redicuously good.

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Daily Torrents

Broken Social Scene - Bee Hives
Collection of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Shorts
Elliott Smith - LIVE 1997-05-03, Stinkweed's, Tempe, AZ [DVD]**

(**=Requires Registration)

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Random Downloads

Ratatat - "Seventeen Years" (from Ratatat)
The Promise Ring - "Say Goodbye Good" (from Wood/Water)
The New Pornographers - "Use It" (from Twin Cinema)

6.22.2005

Page France

Page France


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I heard about this great band from You Ain't No Picasso a few weeks backs. And holy crap these guys are good. On the amazing Indie-O-Meter, I'd put them in between Pre-Transatlanticism Death Cab For Cutie and The Weakerthans with a little American Analog Set thrown in for good measure. They're catchy as hell and kind of quirky at the same time. But that doesn't take away from their music like it does with the indie worlds current love: Architecture in Helsinki. Their most recent release, Come, I'm a Lion!, has been out for awhile now and is worth the pick up. It's a collection of wonderful, often very simple, indie/pop songs. They'll be releasing a new full length, entitled Hello, Dear Wind, in the next month or so, so be on the look out it.

From Come, I'm a Lion!
Image hosted by Photobucket.comSpine
Image hosted by Photobucket.comAir Pollution
Image hosted by Photobucket.comRhythm
Image hosted by Photobucket.comSo Sweetly Around Me

Hit up their website here and buy their music while you're there.

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Odds and Ends

The American Film Institute recently released their top 100 movie quotes of all time. Read about it here.

Seu Jorge has scheduled some American tour dates.

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Daily Torrents

Mae - Destination: B-Sides
Transplants - Haunted Cities
Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People**
TV on the Radio - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes**

(**=Requires Registration)
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Random Downloads

Rocky Votolato - "Suicide Medicine" (from Suicide Medicine)
...And You Know Will Us By The Trail of the Dead - "Crowning of the Heart (Demo)"
Arab Strap - "Who Named the Days (from Monday at the Hug & Pint)
Simon Joyner - "Blue" (from Lost With the Lights On)

6.21.2005

Hanalei

Hanalei


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Hanalei is the solo project of Brian Moss (formerly of The Ghost). It's good. VERY GOOD. Blend some folk, americana, indie, and pop with a little bit of electronica and you have Hanalei. Charming pop songs are his specialty. We Are All Natural Disasters, his newest release (and his only full length), is a great collection of songs about dissention, strife, love, and even marriage. Lyrically, he's "sweetly" honest, straying from cliche's and metaphors; instead relying on very common phrasing and structure. When he sings he sounds like he's reciting a story from his own life, not just a singing a song. All of his songs are based around his vocals and an acoustic guitar, with electronic beats and bloops acting as his band. Great if you're into The Shins or The Postal Service.

From We Are All Natural Disasters
Image hosted by Photobucket.comAction Drum
Image hosted by Photobucket.comEulogy


Check out his website and buy his music.
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Odds and Ends

Wow. I guess the big music news for the day is that Billy Corgan is going to revive the Smashing Pumpkins.

Ashmatic Kitty has the new Sufjan Stevens CD, Come On! Feel the Illinoise! for sale for only $10. It's definitely my favorite album so far this year.

Tom Cruise needs to get a sense of humor.
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Daily Torrents

The Boy Least Likely To - Best Party Ever (Import)
Boards of Canada - In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country

6.20.2005

Monday Mix #2

Sorry for the short entry, I go straight from class to work today. A full update tomorrow.

Monday Mix #2

Here's the mix for this week. It's bascially a sampling of what I've been listening/am listening to. Get it here (via Yousendit).

Here's the tracklisting:
1. Maximo Park - Grafitti (from A Certain Trigger)
2. The New Amsterdams - "Strangled by the Thought (All I Want Is You)" (from Killed or Cured Demos)
3. Denison Witmer - "Forgiven" (from Of Joy and Sorrow)
4. Death Cab for Cutie - "State St. Residential (Live)" (from Live Room)
5. Coco Rosie - "Beautiful Boyz" (from Noah's Ark)
6. Camera Obscura - "Before You Cry" (from Underachievers Please Try Harder)
7. Architecture In Helsinki - "Maybe You Can Owe Me" (from In Case We Die)
8. Annie - "Always Too Late" (from Anniemal)
9. Math & Physics Club - "Sixteen and Pretty" (from Weekends Away EP)
10. The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir - "Bet You Never Though It Would Be Like This" (from I Bet You Say That To All The Boys)

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Odds and Ends

My Old Kentucky Blog has a White Stripes concert bootleg up. Check it out.

Crooks and Liars is still getting my attention.

This made me laugh.

...And this makes me sad.

Pitchfork has info on the Kill Rock Stars Compilation DVD here.


6.19.2005

Denison Witmer

Short entry today, but it's quality over quantity right?

Denison Witmer


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I guess you could consider Denison Witmer a singer/songwriter. You know, the "one guy with his guitar" type thing. The thing is, using such a simple title doesn't do his beautiful folk/rock music justice. His music is in the same vein as Sufjan Stevens, Damien Jurado, and Pedro the Lion, and interestingly enough, can easily be described as a combination of all three. He has the hushed, folk sensibility of Stevens, the sincerity of Jurado, and the religious metaphor laced lyrics of Pedro the Lion. His musical style can be seen by looking at his self-professed influences: Red House Painters and Graham Nash. Witmer's song are soft and elegant, staying close enough to his folk inspired roots, but he keeps his music accessible enough to grab all kinds of listeners. Witmer's a great talent and is worth checking out.

From 2002's Philadelphia Songs
Image hosted by Photobucket.com24 Turned 25

From 2004's The River Bends and Flows Into the Sea
Image hosted by Photobucket.comAre You lonely

Check out his website here and buy his music here.
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Odds and Ends

This made me laugh pretty hard. (via Brooklyn Vegan)

Um... should this be taken seriously.

The Go! Team will be remixing their latest release Thunder, Lightning, Strike for it's American release.