Sunday, December 30, 2007
I wasn't planning on uploading anything until January, but I got a hold of this and I figured I should probably upload it to the blog. John Darnielle, the nucleus of The Mountain Goats, is a fantastic songwriter and storyteller. As much as I enjoy his work, I will say that Get Lonely, his 2006 release, put me to sleep. In comparison, Heretic Pride is like a shot of adrenaline, and is in every way unlike any prior release from The Mountain Goats. Darnielle incorporates a full band for the majority of the record, and a few of these tracks sound downright aggressive. Worth checking out if you're a fan of the group, but if you haven't heard The Mountain Goats yet I'd suggest starting with some of the older lo-fi records.
Download Heretic Pride
Friday, December 21, 2007
1. These records are in no particular order.
2. No live records, “Best of” collections, box sets, or re-issues. The albums chosen had to be material released in 2007. Yes, we know that Black Mountain record is awesome but it doesn’t drop until 2008, so it didn’t make the cut.
3. Like our top 5 album covers of ’07 list, this is a joint effort. If Dan and I didn’t agree that an album deserved to make the cut, it didn’t make the list.
4. And yes, we know we cheated a little.
Things like this always come with criticism, but don’t badger us because you’re pissed that we left that shitty Interpol record off of the list, or a variety of other things that didn’t deserve the praise that they received this year.
With that said, here are our honorable mentions for 2007:
Pissed Jeans - Hope for Men
White Stripes - Icky Thump
Health - s/t
Jesu – Conqueror
High On Fire - Death Is This Communion
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum
Adult. - Why Bother?
The Ponys - Turn the Lights Out
His Name Is Alive - XMMER
Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
The National - Boxer
Radiohead - In Rainbows
LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond
Phosphorescent – Pride
Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals
The Ohsees - Sucks Blood
Marnie Stern - In Advance of the Broken Arm
Caribou – Andorra
Frode Haltli - Passing Images
…and now without further ado, the top 10 records of 2007:
I don't even know what to say about this album, other than it rules. Any fan of the band knows that each release has sounded drastically different from the last. Their sound (for this album) has progressed into a perfect mixture of all previous albums, with solid song structure, strangely danceable songs, ghostly vocals, organ/synth showcases, and, of course, the usual experimentation. A good variety of tracks here.
...similar to their 2005 release in ways, but with a louder Krautrock influence. Sounds a little like the huggable vocals/guitar rhythms of Deerhoof mixed with a louder version of the incessant buzz heard on any Broadcast album. You'll like it a little more after each listen.
This album has the potential to be the best psych-whatever album of 2007. With droning guitars, blaring saxophone, and reverb drenched vocals, Raccoo-oo-oon's sound has developed into something truly interesting. Imagine Comets on Fire, Acid Mothers Temple, and a harsher Animal Collective in a 3-way of epic proportions. If you're looking for an album that is capable of holding your attention, or for something that makes you feel incredibly badass while cruising in your car, than this album has your melted face written all over it.
Warning: Before you listen to this album, throw out every expectation you may have. Ignore previous albums and side projects. There's no doubt this is AC, and standing alone, this album is wonderful, but listeners expecting to hear something that lives up to the greatness of Feels (for example: me) will be thoroughly disappointed. I'm currently on my second spin of the record, and, fortunately, it is already growing on me. It almost sounds like an adolescent version of Feels, with a strange innocence to both it's lyrics as well as it's sound.
According to Metacritic.com, "The third solo album fron Animal Collective's Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) is completely unlike its predecessor, as it is both upbeat and electronic, sounding like a spacey, 21st century Beach Boys album."
Download Person Pitch.
The problem with the entire garage rock genre is that most bands are derivative as hell; completely content with stealing some riffs from The Sonics and then calling it a day. King Khan and his many side projects may not be the most original music you'll ever hear, but Khan is light years ahead of his contemporaries. He seems to be heavily influenced by not only British invasion R&B acts like The Kinks and The Animals, but groups like Funkadelic and Sly Stone, as well as Motown. Overall this record (and the same goes for King Khan's 2004 release with The Shrines, Mr. Supernatural) is a lot of fun and really catchy. If you haven't already, make sure to download The King Khan & BBQ show record I posted a few months back too.
Mark Sultan (a.k.a BBQ of the King Khan & BBQ Show) is gradually becoming one of my favorite songwriters in quite a while. His blend of rock & roll, punk, R&B, and surf music is nearly flawless. The one man band has delivered another rock solid album that, although isn't quite as good as his work with King Khan, is entirely killer.
Talk about a huge surprise, this album came out of nowhere and haven't been able to stop listening to it for almost a week now. A.A. Bondy is Scott Bondy, former frontman of the mildly successful and utterly forgettable band Verbena. Apparently the guys in Verbena were really holding Scott down because his first solo outing, American Hearts is absolutely incredible. Bondy plays well crafted folk tunes with sparse arrangements that really allow his great lyrics to be at the forefront of the songs. I could not recommend this record enough, it's really the sort of record that you could play for almost anyone and they'd enjoy it. Download this immediately and then go out and buy ten copies and give them to your friends.
Shoegaze of the late 80s and early 90s is back with a vengeance. A Place to Bury Strangers are the self-proclaimed loudest band in New York, and I doubt there is anyone out there who would dispute their claim. The band's frontman custom builds his own "Supersonic Fuzz Gun", "Interstellar Overdriver", and "Total Sonic Annihilation" pedals which are used by bands such as Lightning Bolt, Wilco, and TV on the Radio. What makes the band so great is that they aren't loud for the sake of being loud. Underneath the layers of reverberated sound is some incredibly catchy tunes. Their self-titled debut is one of the best, if not THE best release of 2007, and an essential addition to my record collection.
9. The Besnard Lakes - Are the Dark Horse
It's hard to deny how good this band actually is. Their comparisons to Arcade Fire was an immediate turn-off for me and I never bothered to download the album (well that and the fact that I would always mistakingly read their name as "The Barenaked Ladies"). Well, after seeing the badass album cover, I thought I would give it a try, and this is really good stuff. A mixture of The Beach Boys, Olivia Tremor Control, and Black Mountain would be more appropriate comparisons. Just because they are from Montreal, have a piano, and are led by a married couple, doesn't mean they deserve to be compared to such a band. With their more inviting vocals and catchier hooks, they have solidified Arcade Fire as an incredibly boring band. So if you're a part of the Arcade Fire bandwagon, hop off that one and head over to The Besnard Lakes'. The track "Devastation" makes this album well worth the listen.
After getting a chance to see Boris and Michio down in Ohio, I started listening to this album pretty religiously. Only a few tracks pack the punch of releases such as Pink, Heavy Rocks, and Akuma No Uta, but Boris and Michio Kurihara have created a well-polished psych rock album in the vein of Michio's band Ghost.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Not much to write here, these things sort of speak for themselves. The rules for this list are simple:
- These are in no particular order
- The records had to be released in 2007 (I suppose this is obvious)
- This is a combined list, so Dan and I had to agree on every selection in order for it to be eligible for the list
- The majority of these records are actually really good, but audible turds in pretty packages are still eligible for the list.
World's End Girlfriend – Hurtbreak Wonderland
Menomena – Friend and Foe
The Angelic Process – Weighing Souls with Sand
A nice five disc set with plenty of interesting takes on Christmas classics as well as some original compositions. This is a good alternative to the standard Time Life Christmas album fare.
Download Vol. I
Download Vol. II
Download Vol. III
Download Vol. IV
Download Vol. V
Download Does Christmas Fiasco Style EP
Download Fan Club Christmas Albums '63-'69
Download Reggae Christmas From Studio One
Monday, December 17, 2007
I certainly prefer Black Mountain, but I certainly enjoy Pink Mountaintops. Although 2006s Axis of Evol is also an enjoyable album, it's pretty easy to come across on other blogs or file sharing programs, so I figured I'd post the 2004 seft-titled release. This release also sounds the most Black Mountain-ish, only with sexually frustrated lyrics. Cum on blouses, 69ers, and sex with mountains? Good stuff.
Download The Pink Mountaintops
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Clikatat Ikatowi just might be one of the best bands you've never heard. During their brief existence in the mid-90's these guys apparently put on a legendary live show. I couldn't tell you from first hand experience (shit, I was probably 12 when they broke up), but I will say that this LP is still a great example of their explosive energy. Mario Rubalcaba (who now plays in The Black Heart Procession) is one of the best drummers to ever sit behind a kit, and Scott Bartoloni (formerly of Heroin) is almost equally impressive on guitar. This album is one giant crescendo after another of anxiety and nervous energy that absolutely pummels the listener, but never at the expense of song structure. Technically impressive, undeniably catchy, highly recommended.
Download Orchestrated & Conducted By
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I had been searching for this entire album for quite some time now, and finally came across it about a week or so ago. I had heard three or four tracks, and knew they had connections to Circulatory System and the Elephant Six collective, so was anxious to hear the rest. It was released in October of last year, and is pretty much everything I had hoped it would be. Reminds me of the slightly awkward and out-of-tune but equally awesome sound of the late 60s/early 70s from bands like Silver Apple, Fifty Foot Hose, and Soft Machine. Don't mistake their looping rhythms for repetition, treat the vocals as simply another instrument, and prepare yourself for an aural acid trip.
Download Liberty Seeds
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I never bothered to upload this when it first came out becasue it was pretty widespread when it first leaked, but I'm running out of enjoyable 2007 releases to share. When I read that they described their own sound as "Middle Eastern-Psych-Pop-Snap-Gospel" I was a little leary. Perhaps it would be more appropraite for them to describe their sound as fucking sweet. After the initial shock, it took about a half-second for their sound to grow on me, and it turns out their description is exactly right. Whether you enjoy it or not, it's hard to believe this is the bands debut album. They have a very well developed sound that will easily stick in your memory. For fans of the Phosphorescent record I posted a while back, and most certainly Animal Collective.
Download All Hour Cymbals
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Although I don't listen to Balkan/Eastern European music hardly at all, I've always appreciated the genuine sound of groups like A Hawk and A Hacksaw and this band from Iceland. Grap a partner, break that Beirut album in half, drink some vodka, and get fucking crazy. Now check out these incredibly hammered dudes acting incredibly homosexual in this strange video I came across entitled "Balkan Nipple Dance"...
Download Orkideur Hawai
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I only had the chance to listen all the way through this one once, but after that one listen I was pretty impressed. I loved the band's self-titled debut, and this one seems more consistent from start to finish. If you're not familiar with these canucks already, just imagine a large group of really talented musicians that love listening to the first four Black Sabbath records while taking monstrous bong hits. I highly recommend checking this band out, and while you're at it, make sure you give frontman Stephen Mcbean's other band Pink Mountaintops a listen as well.
Download In The Future
I have not had much time to download or listen to any new releases due to the 25 page paper and two twelve page papers that are due by next Thursday. I suppose I deserve such turture in my last semester of college ever. Anyways, I thought I'd upload what I've been listening to lately. For whatever reason, every year I seem to go a solid 9 or 10 months without listening to Sufjan, but as soon as the snow hits the ground, I find myself listening ot him. Enjoy Your Rabbit is a criminally underatted and underlistened album that doesn't quite fit in with his other releases. Nearly everything the man has created has been pretty solid, although I don't give him much play, but this is the one release that keeps my interest throughout. Contains instrumentals similar to those heard on Illinois, but with additional experimental glitched electronic rhythms added. Good music to accompany the cold weather.
Download Enjoy Your Rabbit
I can't think of another major release this year that had me more worried. There was all sorts controversy surrounding the involvement of Ghostface, and of course the lack of the group's x-factor, ODB. It's also easy to forget that it's been six years since Wu-Tang released a record (I don't think anyone wants to remember Iron Flag...). Thankfully I can breath easy now because Wu-Tang has delivered a rock solid album. The production is nothing short of fantastic, and several tracks feature some pretty cool cameos from the likes of George Clinton and John Frusciante. This might get taken down pretty quickly, so I'd recommend checking it out ASAP. If you like what you hear, don't forget to pony up the cash and buy a copy when the album drops on December 11th.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Japanther is one of those bands that has always intrigued me but never really excited me. Their albums came off as scatter shots of noise and lo-fi pop hooks that occasionally hit their mark, but far too often came off as sounding undeveloped. With Skuffed Up My Huffy, it seems that Japanther has finally recorded the cohesive album that they've been on the verge of making for years. Though occasionally a bit repetitive, the bulk of these tunes will definitely have your feet tapping, and the crazy samples sprinkled throughout the album really give it a sound that is unlike anything else.
Download Skuffed Up My Huffy
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
(LINKS REMOVED 11/21/07)
Wire emerged from the
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Although everything the man has ever created is relatively flawless, I miss the sound of Venetian Snares' older material, and fear that many new fans will never get a chance to hear his early work as it slowly dwindles in the depths of the internet. This four track EP is one of my favorites from Aaron Funk. Carries the same abrasive and snare-heavy breaks heard on almost every Snares release, but there's just something about it that sets it apart from the rest. Blasting this shit as loudly as possible in your vehicle while cruising down the road during the wee hours of the night is a absolute must.
Download 7 Sevens Med EP
Friday, November 16, 2007
I won't waste your time by talking endlessly about how goddamn awesome Wire is, how influential they were/are, or how I have a man crush on Colin Newman. I'm sure if you're reading this blog you know all about Wire already. If for some reason you don't, go and check out their first three albums, have your mind completely blown, and then come back to this post. Read & Burn 03 is Wire's first release of all new material since 2003's Send LP. This record really showcases Wire's commitment to continue to evolve and move forward as a group. My only complaint is that it clocks in at under 30 minutes, and we won't get a real full length album until 2008.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
This best of collection from Aussie punk rockers Radio Birdman is actually the group's very first stateside release. Hats off to Sub Pop records for getting these guys more exposure, because they are without a doubt one of the most criminally underrated bands of the last 30 years. Whenever someone discusses punk rock's infancy the two names you'll always hear tossed around are The Sex Pistols and The Ramones. It's too bad that nobody gave two shits about the Australian music scene in the 1970's because Radio Birdman makes both of those groups seem downright juvenile in comparison. Taking their cues from Detroit acts like The Stooges and The MC5, Radio Birdman created some of the smartest and outright catchy music of the decade. Though largely ignored internationally, their songs would go to influence legions of Australian rock bands for years to come. This record is called "essential" for a damn good reason. Download it now.
Download The Essential Radio Birdman (1974 - 1978)
Monday, November 12, 2007
I picked up this limited 10" when I saw Boris a few weeks back. A very good split EP. The Stupd Babies Go Mad cover of Boris' "Ibitsu" is very badass, and Boris' cover of SBGM's material is, of course, also badass. If you get a chance, I suggest tracking down a hard copy of this before they're too difficult to find. The accompanying DVD with about 70 minutes of live footage of both bands makes it a must.
Download Damaged EP
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Doormouse has always been one artist I've hated myself for loving. Reason#1: He's a fucked up invidual who manages to find every fucked up sample known to man. Reason#2: He does ridiculous things live that would ordinarily embarrass any rational human being. Reason#3: Nobody understands what maes this so enjoyable. Despite these reasons, the man is a genius. I decided to upload one of his tamer releases. It's impossible to explain all the amazing experiences I've had with this particular EP. The first track single handedly won me over to electronic music (goddammit), and track 4 pretty much made me hallucinate on marijuana. That, my friend, is reason enough to download this. Doormouse produces relatively violent, fuzzed-out experimental breakcore with occassional gabber tendencies. If you're interested in more of his material, let me know because I have virtually everything the man has created on my hard drive. For fans of Venetian Snares, Squarepusher, Kid606, etc.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
It seems like the last month or so has been pretty dry when it comes to new releases worth posting here. Dan actually tipped me off about this record and it took me a few days to track down a good copy of it. Honestly, you shouldn't even be reading this right now. Just stop and download this record immediately. Not only is this a stellar debut from a very promising band, this is without a doubt one of the best things that will grace your ears in 2007. If I was forced to pigeonhole HEALTH, I'd say that the music they make sounds like a more americanized version of Boredoms. This record is a full out sonic assault. The blasting noise, howling vocals, and amazing drumming will completely blow your balls through your ass one minute and lull you off into a trance the next. I should also mention that these guys routinely play free shows in L.A. So if you're in the area, check them out.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I took the advice of a shoutboxer a few weeks back and checked out the latest album from The Angelic Process. Although they are just a male/female duo, they produce some of the most epic-sounding drone/ambient/metal I've ever heard, and the kickass album cover compliments the record nicely. My only complaint of the band is the lack of variety, or my perceived variety, in their sound. Their sound, at its peak, is relatively unchanging, making it impossible to distinguish the middle of one song from another, but this is still a great album, and an essential listen. This album will no doubt make an appearance on quite a few albums-of-the-year lists. Unfortunately the band is on hold indefininately due to the badly broken hand of the male half of the duo.
Download Weighing Souls With Sand
Monday, November 5, 2007
I had read somewhere earlier this year that Billy Joel used to be in a band that was pretty badass for their time. I pulled out my bullshit card and decided I needed to track the album down and give it a listen. I finally came across is earlier this summer, and was very suprised. I would have never thought Blly Joel was capable of making music that didn't involve a penis, a male asshole, and some sort of penetration. Attila is a heavy organ drum duo that rocks out about as hard as was possible in 1970. I would kill to hear Lightning Bolt do a cover of any one of these songs. According to Wikipedia, the band broke up after Joel ran away with the drummers wife. Very nice.
This split LP (which has become increasingly harder to find) is a great collection of songs from a pair of bands that have really hit their musical stride. You won't find any bands that play a better blend of soul, blues, and throwback rock n' roll. The Dirtbombs are the most recent vehicle for the songs of legendary Detroit garage rock icon, Mick Collins (formerly of The Gories and Blacktop). I must say though, King Khan & His Shrines seem to shine a bit more on this release. The upbeat, horn laced tunes will make anyone who hears them feel the urge to get up and dance.
Download Billiards At Nine Thirty
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
If you're not in the mood for gimmicky horror themed punk rock, try downloading this instead. Wizardzz is Brian Gibson of Lightning Bolt and Rich Porter of Bug Sized Mind creating music that combines synth pop with noise rock. If Lighting Bolt recorded a video game soundtrack, it would probably sound a lot like this.
Download Hidden City of Taurmond
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Bought this CD on ebay for $3. I've had this album on my hard drive for years, but just got the hard copy of it in the mail today. Com.a makes electronic music exactly the way I want to hear it. His sound varies from abrasive, chunky, sample heavy, rock-the-fuck-out tracks, to huggable 8-bit serenades. Imagine the electronic trickery of Kid606, Venetian Snares, and Squarepusher mixed with the quirky drugged out pop of DAT Politics. A perfect sound for the Tigerbeat6 label.
Download Shot of Love
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I uploaded this album in the shoutbox of another blog for some people, so I figured I would post it here too. Every sound Ryoji Ikeda has created throughout his carrer has been incredibly interesting to me. The first half of this album contains pieces of his early work, and the second half could be considered the actual album. His work with sine waves and sound oscillation is only appreciated by the trained listener, but should be heard by all. This album perfectly replicates what it may sound like if you were to travel into space without a suit, hearing nothing besides your beating heart and the ringing in your ears. If space is out of the question for you, I suggest turning off the lights, putting on some headphones, and listening to this significant experiment in sound.
Download 1000 Fragments
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I might as well post this record as well because it sort of goes hand in hand with my last post. In the mid-80's Mission of Burma had to call it quits because the insanely high volume of their live shows coupled with constant touring had more or less blown apart guitar player Roger Miller's ears. After their demise, drummer Peter Prescott decided to form Volcano Suns. Volcano Suns sound like a really drunk and rowdy version of Mission of Burma, which in case you were wondering, is a good thing. I'm not sure why these guys still haven't received a great deal of attention, because they certainly deserve it
Download The Bright Orange Years
Every year the local college radio station here in Kalamazoo tries to bring in at least one national touring band to play. It's nice to see a solid show without having to drive up to 3 hours, because lets face it, most bands have no real desire to stop here. This time around we'll be getting Mission of Burma, which is pretty fucking awesome. For those of you don't know, Mission of Burma are post punk group hailing from Boston, and in my opinion the best American band of the 1980's (heres where all of you rabid Pixies fans feel the urge to crucify me). The thing that elevates Mission of Burma above their peers is the fact that they've never made a shitty record. These guys are old enough to be my dad, and last year released The Obliterati, an album that rocks significantly harder than 99% of the shit being put out by bands half their age. It's damn near impossible these days for bands that have been around for 20+ years, or get back together after a lengthy hiatus, to put out music that doesn't sound like a dated retread of past material. Even legends like Sonic Youth can't pull it off. The things I've compiled on this download range from live cuts, acoustic tracks, and some early demos. Even casual fans of the band should get a lot of enjoyment out of this stuff.
Download Live + Rarities