Posted tagged ‘Islands’

End of 2009: Young Talents

21 December 2009

So, after a lot of procrastination and seeing a LOT of other lists, I finally took up the courage to start sharing my list with you guys. It’s always a lot of work, but in the end very fulfilling.

First start with my young talents list. Last year, I predicted a bright future for Mumford and Sons, and I turned out to be a visionary man (The year before Bon Iver was my number 1). I must admit that I’m not that sure about this year’s artists or this year’s number one. there aren’t any artists that will go into indie mainstream, which doesn’t mean that they aren’t as great. In my entire list (including my top 50), there is one artist who I think will be spoken of a lot next year. I will tell you if we get to the artist.

But enough blah blah. my top 10 promising artists!

10. The Awful Truth – Object Permanence (The Orchid Collective)

What? Twenties anxiety in songs

Most artists start making music in their teen years, when they are full of teenage angst, screaming to become an adult cause their growing brains are killin’ them. As soon as they’re 18, they realize how stupid their grieving was, and they will put aside their instrument to chase a life full of disappointment. But what do you do with the cynicism or regrets when you’re in your twenties? I guess you would make albums like The Awful truth. It sounds like songs from a grown-up, but not yet adult enough to believe that this is well-thought of. It seems to deal with growing pains, but not in the “fuck man, i wanna kill myself” kind of way. The voice sounds a bit like Destroyer, Thanksgiving and Adam Lipman. And maybe a little bit of Love Letter Band. This could end up to be a great promsie, but ‘Object Permanence’ is already charming enough to deserve your attention.

The Awful Truth – Growin’ Old

9. The Daredevil Christopher Wright – In Deference To A Broken Back (Amble Down Records)

What? Stretch those vocal chords and join the circus

Daredevil Christopher wright is not an androgynous man singing about his days at the circus, although you could think that after a first listen. After closer inspection it turns out to be a trio, with vocal cords being stretched like it’s a carnival act. Especially when he’s doing the falsetto thing, you could – this is gonna be a very bad joke and i’m apologizing already – think someone is juggling his balls. (told you it was bad). The music is kind of like a circus too, cause it bounces around like elephants on little tiny bikes that are bouncing around in big circus tents. If I wouldn’t be feeling the urge of talking about circuses, I’d call the music on ‘In Deference to A Broken Back’ theatre. Well-orchestrated stuff, if you know what i mean. There are quite some references to christian things, and having seen the documentary on Danielson just this weekend, i’m kind of eager to use that band as a reference, although it’s not that extreme.

The Daredevil Christopher Wright – The East Coast

8. The Love Language – The Love Language (Bladen Country Records)

What? Cucumber bubblegum chewed by Lo-fi afficionados

I can imagine you reading the description, and really wondering how cucumber bubblegum tastes. I think it’s kind of edgy. And bubblegum is catchy. This means that The Love Language is catchy edgy music, and with a lo-fi feel. Woohoo, it matches my definition of great music. This debut album gives me the happy wave your hands in the meadows on a hot summer day- feel. It’s hard to come up with comparisons, but some of the songs remind me of what Swedish pop people like Jens Lekman & Suburban Kids with Biblical Names would make if they had to live in a basement. I also saw Wavves & No Age pop up as reference, but this is not even close to their kind of lo-fi noisyness. No, this just has a smile your head off while being shot at on a carnival ride-feel. Boat, they’ve got a bit of Boat. And some band I can’t come up with right now.

The Love Language – Sparxxx

7. DM Stith – Heavy Ghost (Asthmatic Kitty)

What? Cabaret is this year’s trend

We’re four bands far in my year list, and I’m already starting to repeat myself. But well, DM Stith is kind of theater as well. He is the arty farty street performer, who can bring ghouls back to life. How that musically can be defined? Well, you all like Grizzly Bear don’t you? It’s like them, but then more  Department of eagles. It makes you dance in a weird standing still kind of way, falling in between the layers of the songs, and then finding out that your name doesn’t have to be Alice to get in Wonderland. You don’t need drugs to see big toads talking to you. A bit of DM Stith will do the trick.

DM Stith – Pity Dance

6. Caddywhompus – EP (Self-released)

What? Morning Benders and Animal Collective have a Love Baby

While Indie kids are jerking off on Animal Collective and other too cool for fools-bands, I tend to take the time to go out there in the digital jungle to find what’s gonna be hot next. It’s not always easy, swimming in a pool of endless music sources, and drowning because the music at the bottom of the pool is pulling you down. But once in a while you find these bands that look like bubbles. You can inhale them, so that you can swim on for another 15 seconds before Game Over appears on the Screen. Caddywhompus, that sounds like a rough version of “Band that is gonna be big next year because they signed to a bigger indie label” Morning Benders. We’ll see them in 2 years, next to Jumbling Towers. Thank Aninsideoutsock for the early Adopter-opportunities. You can tell your friend you knew bands before they were cool, and call them a fool! Oh, and this EP is downloadable for free on their website!

Caddywhompus –  Untitled #4708

5. Lee Baggett (or lee Gull?)- Burn’r (RAD Records through Marriage Records)

What? Electric guitar slacking on the front porch

Is it weird to find out that Lee Baggett is part of Little Wings? Not really. He’s got that strange charming monotony that only real music lovers love, cause other people think it’s deadly boring (that’s what some of my friends would say). I think Baggett recorded this album while he sat on the front porch, a long extension chord coming from his amp inside. And while watching the sun setting and the three-legged dog slumping to his drinking bowl filled with multiple layers of dust, he just starts jamming and singin’ with his friend.  And without even knowing it, ends up with extremely catchy songs. (Though next time, keep low on the solo instrumentals).

NOTE: he doesn’t seem to have a MySpace. I guess he was too busy jammin’.

Lee Gull – Clover Hill

4. Au – Versions (EP) (Aagoo Records)

What? Experimental is a dirty word if you don’t wash it.

I’ve kept the experimental segment of my musical journey low this year. That has got to do with most indie music becoming more experimental already, and realizing that it’s stuff i just don’t listen to that often, even though I enjoy it. Question is if Au is really that weird and trippy. It’s a bit more offbeat than Animal Collective or Akron/family, but e.g. ‘Ida Walked Away’ is quite standard. Au only tends to freak out once in a while, but does it in a standardly awesome way. If standardly is not a word, It fits a description of Au perfectly. Akron/Family: watch your steps.

Au – Ida Walked Away

3. A Paper Cup Band – Detroit Vs Farming (Anti-Civ Records)

What? I never heard of a band that calls himself after some weird dead object..It’s like calling yourself Pavement, stupid!

Ok, I guess no one will get the What-description, though it means nothing more than that ‘A Paper Cup Band’ sounds like Pavement. But that’s only in one song. In another they sound like The Donkeys, and in another they sound like Of Montreal, and then they sound like a honky Tonky band. It’s as if they’ve been drinking from a glass of spit from all the indie that’s out there, and then tried to guess whose spit they tasted. Actually that’s a rather good concept for an album. Then again, a title like Detroit Vs Farming puts it very well as well. city versus countryside. Pyjama versus sleeping naked.

A paper cup Band – Drunks And Poets

2. Gregory Pepper & his Problems –  with Trumpets Flaring (Fake Four Inc)

What? Someone’s gotta to be the new Unicorns

You know who I hate? Nick Thornburn. For not fully admitting that he wants to make catchy pop songs and instead comes up with artsy fartsy disastrous albums (and some good side projects, okay okay). But from now on, there is no reason for despair anylonger, cause Gregory Pepper & His Problems are here! He’s Canadian, he looks a bit like Thornburn. We can all turn away from Thornburn now and listen to Pepper’s catchiness. Like Peppermint catchy. It’s not his first album, so I’m not sure whether he sounded like the Unicorns on his first album and this is his debut as Islands, but I hopen ot, cause that would mean that his next album would be awful. Still, Pepper is the way to go for now. Go Pepper go.

Gregory Pepper & His Problems – Drop The Plot

1. Squanto – Go Go Gadget Grass Stains (Self-released)

What ? Bedroom robots singing about their home planet

It’s sad to say, but I’m pretty sure that by the end of next year almost no one will know Squanto. That’s because Squanto is untouchable for most people. The music is a ghost with a shadow that no one can see. You only get a hint of something going on there. Layered music in a lo-fi setting, like Mount Eerie makes 23034 cd’s a year. This is perfect competition for the best Of-compilation of that album. I don’t know what it is that Squanto does with me, but I know it’s something I wanna feel flowing through my veins more in my life. That’s worth a number one spot. The album can be completely streamed at Virb, and downloaded for Free at the Collective, whose catalogue keeps to amaze me!

Squanto  – Gumballs, The Fountain Of Truth

The List is done!

28 November 2009

 

So, finally my  2009-list is done, a bit later than last year. Listening to all the stuff from this year, I had a mixed feeling… there were not as much outstanding records as last year, and a lot of bands I really looked forward to disappointed me.

That being said, I’ve got a really amazing number one, which I will reveal in the course of the following weeks, hoping to have finished before or just after Christmas. I also will try to finish my best of the decade list by then, so I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Anyway… the albums that you won’t see in my end of year list (that you would’ve suspected in the first place)

Islands – Vapours: Vocoders are there to be destroyed. This band is finally over for me. I won’t be trying any next stuff.

Devendra Banhart – What will we be: Banhart’s first major label release, and you can hear that. All the fun is sucked out of his songs. The promising future turned into a bland present.

Monsters of Folk: Though they gave a great show (and I got wronged by Oberst and James about how they suck these days), the sum isn’t nearly as good as the separate parts. At least on the record.

Micah P. Hinson All Dressed up and smelling of strangers: I like cover albums, but i have no idea what Hinson was thinking with some of these versions.

Findlay brown: I don’t even wanna remember this. From superfolkie (and a high spot in my 2007 list) to Phil Collins’ evil stepbrother. Yuk. (I’m not even giving the name of the album, because I wanna spare you guys that).

Misophone – I sit at open windows: I once asked them if they would release their old material, and i think this is one of the albums preceding “Where has it gone, all the beautiful music of our grandparents? ..” The bad thing is you can hear that they’ve not grown to their full potential on those albums yet. Guys, ignore my request and just start recording new stuff.

Grizzly Bear– Veckatimest: i must say it was on the shortlist for quite a while, but in the long run it just wasn’t good enough to obtain a place in the top 50. The Same for Castanets, Casiotone For the Painfully Alone, Bonnie Prince Billy, Hallelujah The Hills, Why (my number one of last year!) and Noah & The Whale.

Wilco – Wilco (the album): the last three albums of this band are probably all in my top 50 of the last ten years, and although this one has enjoyable songs, It’s just a bit below Wilco-standards. There isn’t one song no it that would end up on my Wilco best-of mixtape. This hurt probably the most this year. Ouch Wilco.

So, now you have a small overview on what’s not there. Keep checking the blog for the Yes-list.

Yes!

2008 Galore!, pt. 6: 40-31

1 December 2008

So, we are getting tired of all this new music, and starting to listen to some old stuff again. But that doesn’t stop me from guiding you through my 50 best records of this year. The sequel, starting with number 40

40. Turner Cody – First Light (B.Y Records)

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Sounds Like: Born too late, but okay, we can still sing along with your (anti)folk songs; Benji Cossa

Turner Cody brings really quirky folkpop songs, which sound as if they could be on a 60’s British sunday afternoon radio show. I see those British school children eat a red apple, dad tunes in the radio, a radio voice says: “and now the delicately charming Turner Cody”, and then he starts singing.

Turner Cody – My Baby’s Been Away

39. O’death – Broken Hymns, Limbs And Skin ( City Slang)

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Sounds Like: Absolutely Wrecked Bluegrass Appalachian Folk, Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, 16 Horsepower

O’death is the first band in this list that also was in my list of last year. For I am a hobo in heart and soul, I thoroughly enjoy this hilbilly music, which includes fiddles, banjo’s and probably even blow bottles! now all get up and do the devil’s honky Tonky!

O’Death – Low Tide

38.  Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (Say Hey Records)

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Sounds Like: Well, mr. Micah P. Hinson, it seems you’ve got some competition there.

Micah P. Hinson was a young guy, who used to be in jail, was addicted to some pills. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson is 24 and has been homeless. They should start a band together, or keep on releasing amazing indie-singersongwriter albums like the one by MBAR. This is a genuine amazing album, that you’ll like if you like Hinson’s work. Lots of layers, with a lot of voices, and stuff like that going on. Ah man, forget it. Listen instead of reading this. I’m not here to fool you!

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed

37. Castanets – City of Refuge (Asthmatic Kitty)

cityofrefuge

Sounds Like: There is a town where all people died, and then they ressurected.

If some Kazakh freedom fighters would have kidnapped me, and made me listen to some albums without me telling who i was listening to, iI would have said that no one else but Castanets could have made this record. It’s desolate big city folk, apocalyptic in every way. Tech-folk, Country Noir… all these genre descriptions have been used to describe Castanets, but it’s just truly unique. All his albums would be in the lists of their release year.

Castanets – Glory B

36. Grampall Jookabox – Ropechain/ Rill Bruh EP (Asthmatic Kitty)

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Sounds Like: too much acid, an acoustic guitar, a fourtrack, and a lot of samples. The Muppet Show of the 21st Century, Man Man

Grampall Jookabox is genuinely weird. It’s deconstructed acid-tripping.. folk? Can you call this folk? or hilbilly Hiphop? Or something else? You take some people in a madhouse, musical ones, give them some instruments and leave them there for 3 weeks without food or water. This is what you’ll get. I like the EP a bit more than the full album, also because i’m all funked up by Bad Wis My Sploder. Best song is for later on though. You can download the entire EP for free.

Grampall Jookabox – Bad Wis My Sploder

35. Human Highway – Moody Motorcycle (Suicide Squeeze)

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Sounds like: Sixties summer pop, Neil Young’s bastard Kids

If there is one guy that let me down a bit this year, it’s Nick Thornburn from Islands. The New Islands records sucks and lacked some cool songs. Luckily he made this album, so I’m not entirely mad at him. This is a Collaboration with Jim Guthrie (From Royal City-fame). The result are some nice harmonic songs, which you can sing along during summer camp. (Thornburn also recorded a hiphop-esque album with the alias Reefer, and quite enjoyable too)

Human Highway – The Sound

34. Dr. Dog – Fate (Park The Van)

dr-dog_fate

Sounds Like: 60’s lo-fi, though less lo-fi than they used to be

Dr. Dog have always been like the cool Beatles to me. The Beatles that stayed in their garage and just made noisy 60’s songs. On their new album they’ve become a bit cleaner, but that doesn’t mean they’re less good. They also released a compilation of old stuff this year, which is great. I’ll add a song of that too. While listening, i think they could be higher on the list. great Band that hasn’t let me down up until now!

Dr. Dog – The Rabbit, The Bat & The Reindeer

Dr. Dog –  Me & My Girl

33. The Whiskers – The Distorted Historian (Self-released)

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Sounds Like: The Cheap version of Wolf Parade (and i mean that literally)

Free albums that are great! hooray! the Whiskers’ lead singer sounds like a moderate version of the voice at Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, Handsome Furs or Frog Eyes. A sound which i can’t seem not to enjoy. So, why do I call them cheap? Because they offer their album completely for free on their website, which we greatly appreciate. Fans of everything Canadian and weird voices, try this.

The Whiskers – U-92

32. James Yorkston – When The Haar Rolls In (Domino Records)

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Sounds like: your late-night soothing troubadour

James Yorkston comforts.  he’s your big musical teddybear, with warm well orchestrated folk songs, and his calm voice singing over it. It’s not weird, it’s not creepy, it’s not lo-fi, but god, i like this. Findlay brown or Bowerbirds-fans, come and see this.

James Yorkston – Queen of Spain

31. No Age – Nouns (Sub Pop)

nouns

Sounds like: Mom, can you please turn of that vacuum cleaner, we’re trying to make some popsongs here!

Lo-fi is back! I already talked about Wavves, but there is also Times new viking and eh…other dudes. We’re back to four tracks, noise, a lot of feedback, combined with funky funny sing along teenage sjillamee sjellikers! I missed their free show last year, because i didn’t know them (and didn’t ahve a driver’s license), but if i would have a time machine, i’d so be there! lo-fi pop, for all the happy kids. Buy the cd by the way, cause the booklet looks great

No Age – Eraser

2008 galore!, part 1: Worst Albumcovers of 2008

13 November 2008

So here I am. I’ve been climbing mountains of albums (and still not really reached the top, but just keep that to yourself) and came back with my list of lists. For the next weeks (let’s hope it won’t take too long anymore) I will entertain you with some stupid lists summarizing the musical year 2008.

Let’s first start with the dumbest of them all: the ugliest albumcovers of 2008. I’m not an illustrator, nor am i a guy who is really sensitive about design (after all, i practice the fine art of Paint Art, which is just the lo-fi version of Photoshop). Then again, i don’t release albums into the wild, or at least not charge people for it. I don’t have to care. But the following artists should have:

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10. The Ruby Suns – Sea Lions

But inside out sock, why…isn’t this a nicely drawn picture of a kid standing on a bunch of big emeralds? Well, the reason why this made my list, is because it reminds me of Manga. Now, i do have some manga comics i like, but the problem with this cover is that it’s imitation manga, drawn in some Korean sweat shop, where kids were trained exactly one day and then they had to reproduce a 200-edition series of Kandru, the little warrior. His special powers are the things that come out of his body. It surely will scare his enemies. If they don’t die laughing.

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9. Noah & The Whale – Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down

There once were the seventies. And in those days, they published books with covers just like these. They were called “Igor, the fiddle player and Margarita Sjotlzestinin”. Yep, this reminds me of communist Russia, and though I am a communist (just not a russian one), i just don’t like this one. It’s bitterly disturbing (even to me). There is this banjo player – i know it’s not a fiddle – and his headless girlfriend, and a big comical looking tree in the back. And then some ghost like leggy type. And the colours are those that as a kid i refused to use, because they scared me.

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8. Adem – Takes

Again those russian seventies colours. Mix that with geometrical figures (i tend to hate covers that are just a bunch of geometry. I used to have nightmares about squares and perfect circles to attack me. Seriously by the way).  This looks like a ground plan for a parliament, or a theoretical elaboration on the study of colours. The alternative theory.

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7. The Sound Of Arrows – Danger EP!

On the 9th day, God decided to come down on a blue lightning which he had stolen from a 80’s record which no one would buy because the cover was too ugly. Everyone ignored the Lord – because of the lightning, that’s for sure – so he started his own hair metal band, and conquered the world again. but behind his back, people kept making fun of him. (Disclaimer: Sound of Arrows is no hair metal, that’s the worst)

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6. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

The big problem with all the covers I’m listing here, is that they all are sort of pretentious without being funny. Now, MGMT is a bit pretentious, but they do have some nice songs (they are not in my big list..not even close), but this album cover – i think it’s the European one, or maybe just not -seems like a bad teenager’s photoshop. The green dots are indeed globes, and there is an angel in there, and the sun. Oh my god, it’s just about hippies. I just don’t get the big piece of fish in the front. (Jesus the fisherman). MAybe it’s christian propaganda.

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5. The Shaky Hands – Lunglight

Rohrsach-tests, woohoo! I see a two headed mole, that’s been run over a couple of times and has been bleeding orange blood ferociously (moles indeed have orange blood). What do you guys see? You see a dot of ink that’s been pressed together so it would create a mirror effect? You guys must be nuts.

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4. 31 Knots – Worried Well

Puppet shows for adults. That’s what i think of. Does that exist? The puppet version of Fight Club or the godfather? I would like that. And it would be cool if those puppets looked like the one on this cover. But puppets with bleeding noises AND some strange hat.. Now that i take a closer look…is it even a puppet? A very old man that got beaten up, so it would look good for the picture. yikes.

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3. Megapuss – Surfing

Devendra Banhart used to be a big hero for me, but he sort of lost track of himself along the way. I’m no longer eager to go out and buy his newest albums (i must admit, i only was up and until Nino Rojo). His sideproject called Megapuss has a really strange album cover. Ok, i must admit it is sort of funny, but just a mere smile funny. Two longhaired guys nakedly attacking each other, and then calling themselves Megapuss and making sure we all know that… it’s just too much.

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2. Warmer Milks – Soft Walks

Yep, this is an album cover, and not some weary picture of an ex-girlfriend. Everyone has his fair share of photo’s that make every photographer run out and weep “why, why?”, but again, we don’t use them as album covers. We cherish them at night, when we’re silently weeping underneath our blankets, sobbing “why, why?”. I’m sure this girl looks amazing in real life, but now she just will be known as that stupid picture on a Warmer Milks-cover

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1. Islands – Arm’s Way

If there is only one album which cover I really realy really really think is awful, then it’s this one. It’s the motherload of kitsch (and sadfully the music is going that way as well). In-A-Gadda-Vida, seventies progrock, a new age picture of Paradise and its inhabitants. I just don’t know what to think of this, but i do know that it’s the ugliest album cover of 2008.