Posted tagged ‘the shins’

End of 2009: 50 – 41

22 December 2009

There are so many lists out there, that I don’t have the pretention that mine will be anymore outstanding than all those others. Still, for personal benefit and glory, and for you people who can’t get enough of lists or are constantly looking for new musical tips, I present you my list. It’s got probably some obscure names, so you can brag about it with friends.

50. Boat – Setting The Paces (Magic Marker Records)

What? More of the same  poppy madness

If I would be a poet, I’d say that Boat is the ship to party island, where we would dance with monkeys on wheels, and drink liquor with coconut flavour. Their previous album ended way higher in my list, but I think that their 50 spot (which is still good knowing that there was A lot of competition) mainly has to do with the surprise element missing. Still, the album is like confetti canons blown in your face. Awesome!

Boat – Lately (I’ve been on my Back)

49. Vetiver – Tight Knit (Sub Pop)

What? Slowly turning into the great wise uncle of the modern indie folk movement

Now that  Devendra Banhart is turning into something we didn’t really ask for (at least I didn’t), his buddy Andy Cabic is almost the only one left from the indie folk bands that appeared a couple of years ago en masse, that keeps making albums on a high level. Is it surprising music? No, it’s not. Is it good? It is. Heartwarming is actually the word that applies best to this wonderful folky pop tunes. We hear a lot of albums like these in a year, but most of them miss the glue. Vetiver however is superglue. It sticks and won’t let go, not even after surgery.

Vetiver – Everyday

48. Built To Spill – There is No Enemy (Warner Bros Records)

What? Why is this on a major label?

I’m constantly striving for the total annihilation of all the major labels, so I hope that Built To Spill will soon make the jump to a smaller label. I guess they’re still there because no one knows they have been making the guitar rock-based indie pop in which they excell. The suits who run the business will be surprised the day they find out that this band is still on their roster, thinking ‘Built To Spill’ was just a marketing expression they used among each others. Anyway, Doug Martsch and hsi band have been on a constant high level – even though the first three times I ever heard them (somewhere around 2004 I guess) I wasn’t that convinced. But since then, they’ve been slowly creeping up my veins.

Still, to show I have principles: no mp3 (they don’t offer one on their site, so I can’t link to that one) and no link to the label. Fuck them.

47. The Leisure Society – The Sleeper (Full Time Hobby)

What? Britain’s answer to the Shins

The Shins ‘Chutes Too Narrow’ is probably number one on my list of ‘Albums which i can singalong with from A to Z, though I have no idea what the lyrics are all about’ and also on the list of most played albums ever. (though it doesn’t beat Nick Drake). The Leisure Society reminds me a bit of James Mercer’s project, although it fits the new upcoming folky pop movement in Great Britain perfectly too (think of Mumford And Sons, Noah & The Whale, and all those banjo & Ukelele-playing bands).  It never gets really up-up-tempo or rock-slashy-fuck-raaaahww!, but it’s that mellowness I can really enjoy at times. 

The Leisure Society –  A Short Weekend Begins With Longing

46.  Aidan Moffat & The Best-Offs – How to Get to Heaven From Scotland (Chemikal Underground)

What? Hear Ye, Hear Ye! World’s Worst Singer makes Best Of List! … Or: Scottish Man Drinks himself to Dead and makes album about it.

Scotland is a land. Scotland is a land with people. Scotland is a land with people that drink. Scotland is a land with people that drink and sing. Scotland is a land with people that drink and sing as if they’re drunk. Scotland is a land with people that drink and sing as if they’re drunk, like e.g. Arab strap. Arab strap was Malcolm Middleton and Aidan John Moffat. Arab STrap is dead. Malcolm Middleton is a man that drinks and sings. Aidan John Moffat is a man that drinks and sings as if he’s drunk. Scotland is Aidan John Moffat.

Aidan John Moffat & The Best-Offs – Oh Men!

45. Dead Man’s Bones – S/T (Anti-records)

What? a bit heavy on the halloween theme, even using children choirs.

Let’s scare the hell out of people, that’s what Ryan Gosling (the actor that I had to look up on IMDB) and Zach Shields must have thought when they teamed up as Dead Man’s Bones and made this halloweeny album. They hired a children’s choir (that can sometimes turn out to be scary as hell), and managed to make an album that’s about death and whatever, but can be listened to everytime throughout the year. It’s indie music basically, a bit surfing on the waves of other indie drama queens like the Arcade Fire. Not sure if this will survive the years to come, but for now it turned out to be one of the nicest albums of the year.

Dead Man’s Bones -Dead Man’s Bones

44. The Dodos – Time To Die (French Kiss Records)

What? Keep up the rhythm guys

Ok, I must admit that the new Dodos album wasn’t nearly as catchy as the previous one, but still. It’s good.  I think the main point of concern is that the unique interaction between drums and acoustic guitar is being replaced by a more adult sound, and adults are boring. Adults are children who everyone hates. But anyway, on this album it’s still good (otherwise they wouldn’t have made the list). STill, Watch the future guys. The Minimalism of ‘Visiter’ is what made you stand out.

The Dodos –  The STrums

43. Woods – Songs of Shame (Woodsist Records)

What? What did the campfire smoke that day?

‘At Rear House’ was my number one record in 2007. Back then, no one had heard of Woods, but the sheer energy with which they made this weird psychedelic folk album absolutely mesmerized me. In the meanwhile they’ve climbed the letter of fame a little, though they still keep sounding like the campfire band you don’t want to have at your lounge party with campfire because vice Magazine said that was trendy. Their sound has become a bit more standard – you can recognize more songs – but the extreme falsetto is still not something you give to your parents for Christmas. the band is by the way responsible for the weirdest concert of the year.

Woods – Rain On

42. Wavves – Wavvves (Fat Possum)

What? Prototype for a Noise pop-revival that I’m getting tired of already

Wavves was on my Young Talent-list last year, and surely filled in expectations, but I must say I’ve quite had enough of it. The Noise pop explosion that followed in his tracks, with millions of bands popping up, and all doing the same shit. Okay, so you’re lo-fi and you rock, but stop it. LEt’s try something else next year. STill, The debut album by Wavves was the perfect soundtrack for a sunday morning waking up in your own vomit.

Wavves – Gun In The Sun

41. The Avett Brothers – i And Love And You (Columbia)

What? Major label doesn’t completely spoil the alt.country fun.

Aaargh, another major label relase. How stupid. Oh well, that means no mp3-linking (their own fault). Anyway, The Avett Brothers make fun bluegrass-styled music, but get a bit more mainstream on this album. But because they were a lot of fun, they are still a lot of fun, only slightly less. I’m not gonna say much more, cause major labels don’t like blogs merchandising their stuff (otherwise they would provide mp3’s or not sue people). So  all I can say is that the album is good, but that if you want to check it out, it’s at your own risk. I’m also happy to annoucne that I got this shit illegally. Ha!

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2008 Galore, pt. We’re there! 10 – 1

27 December 2008

So, I’ve made two friends fight (see comments of my big contest-post), I’ve made people go berserk from the waiting, but now we’re there. The following ten albums are the best of this year, in my humble, but very advising opinion. If you haven’t heard any of them, you should keep on listening Britney Spears.

10. Chad Vangaalen – Soft Airplane (Sub Pop Records)

soft_airplane-chad_vangaalen_480

Sounds like: someone at a concert told me Neil Young, and suddenly i realized Chad Vangaalen is the Electric Neil Young for the Unwashed Yuppie generation.

Vangaalen has been on my radar for the last couple of years, and now he’s on many. Understandable, cause with his falsetto voice and his scrummy lo-fi guitar noise singer-songwriter pop whatever, he’s made one of the best albums of this year. And the third winner in a row. It’s just waiting until he gets in his gospel period before he really stinks.

Chad Vangaalen – City of Electric Light

Chad Vangaalen – Willow tree

9. The Dodos – Visiter (French Kiss records)

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Sounds Like: Hit it with your rhythm stick, hit it! hit it!

The most important thing about The Dodos’ music? The percussion. It’s this tsjakka tsjakka tsjakka sound, combined with folky folky songs, that  are catchy as hell. But still complex. It’s like the best tasting yoghurt ever, but you first seem to get the grasp of this brand new lid system. And they’ve got the refreshing taste of An Animal Collective that’s not too heavy on the acid.

The Dodos – Jodi

8.  Ladyhawk – Shots (Jagjaguwar)

jag117

Sounds like: Testosterone melancholic rock, magnolia el. co

I’m not fond of heavy electric guitar engineering. No Black Sabbath, AC/DC or other rock bands for me. But Ladyhawk seems to pull it of. They seem to go, in a songs ohia kind of way, manage to use the electric power for their benefit, instead of making dull rock songs. And because of that i greatly honour them  with the number 8 spot.

Ladyhawk – S.T.H.D

7. Okay – Huggable Dust (Absolutely Kosher)

hugdust

Sounds like: a bug with a romantic soul.

IF there’s one band in this top 10 that you may not really dig, it’s Okay. His voice sounds like that of a dying moth, and his songs are repetitive till nuissance. But oh my god, if you just keep on listening, you’ll probably hear through this facade. And you’ll find out that this is amazingly sweet, romantic, fantastic, bloody wow.

Okay –  Beast

6. The Tallest Man on Earth – Shallow Graves (Gravitation)

shallow-graves

Sounds like: everyone says bob dylan, so i’ll say Bob Dylan too.

It’s true. The Tallest man on Earth sounds a bit like old Bawb, but he still has his own distinctive voice. And then again, when did Bob release anything worthwile for the last time? (woohoo, let the pro-old-bob front prepare to bash me!). TMOE is a bit more lo-fi, there is a bit of noise on the back, but apart from that, the songs are amazingly good. This is roadsong music. Something you listen while you drive home from a good evening with persons you love, or a bad evening in which you just had a fight. As long as it’s night and you’re behind your steering wheel basically.

The Tallest Man on Earth – I Won’t Be Found

5. Wolf Parade – At Mount Zoomer (Sub Pop)

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Sounds like: a combination of Sunset Rubdown, Handsome Furs and other great canadian indie. Heck, it is a combination!

Okay, maybe this record in the overal greatness of great albums isn’t really worth the number 5 spot, but i’m a sucker for this sort of indie music. Every Spencer Krug project let’s say. So, eerie voices, heavy indie rock and baloney music. Damn, this is good.

Wolf Parade – Call It a Ritual

4.  Ane Brun – Changing of The Seasons (DetErMine Records)

ane_brun

Sounds Like: my favourite female singer-songwriter from Sweden makes another heart-breaking record.

I’m really fond of Ane Brun. And as long as public radio doesn’t play her, i’ll keep on loving her (just joking, i don’t care about radio, cause i don’t listen to it). So, the best voice around, or one of the best and a really good talent of writing songs that hti you like a rock during national rock throwing day. You want to be hit, cause that’s the whole point. No mp3 (big label, scary!) , but a youtube link.

3. Johnny Flynn – A Larum (Vertigo Records)

johnny-flynn-a-larum-435295

sounds like: Old irish folk in a brand new 21st Century jacket.

I think this album is the one i’ve played most during the entire year, just because there doesn’t seem to be a mood not fit to listen to this. Flynn just uses an old formula, but succeeds in surprising me with it. It’s strange: i’m known as a singer-songwriter fanatic, and i’ve heard quite the lot of them, but it keeps on mesmerizing me how people can come up with new snogs that bedazzle me. that’s a lot of difficult words in one piece. Just listen will you? (By the way, also listen to his girlfriend Laura Marling. the UK Folk scene is alive and kicking)

Johnny Flynn – The Box

2. The Morning Benders – Talking Through Tin Cans (Self-Released)

the-morning-benders

Sounds like: The Shins, the Beatles, the pop, the sixties, the summer, the amazingly amazement singalong.

So, you want an album that you can listen to while barbecuing your veggie burgers? You need something that can serve as a soundtrack for that great summer where you will write a novel about in the future? The Morning Benders debut album is the one you need. They ended high in my promising artists list last year, and they amazingly met the expectations. This is heartwarming summer breeze pop for when you love the shins, but hate their popularity.

The Morning Bender s- Heavy Hearts

1. Why? – Alopecia (Anticon)

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Sounds like: Anthems of a indie generation.

I don’t think most people realize how amazingly good this album is.  On the level of lyrics, there is nothing better released… it’s funny, witty, street poetry. But also musically it’s soo well organised that it even beats Chinese Government drills. There isn’t a sound out of place,. Those two stuff combined, together with the overal quality of the songs, makes this the album of the year for me.

Why? – Fatalist Palmistry

Thanks for your attention. Maybe there is more stuff coming up tomorrow, otherwise i’ll be gone until at least 3d of January. And then i’ll try to be a regular blogger again.