Posted tagged ‘ukelele’

End of 2009: 30 – 21

26 December 2009

I planned on finishing this before tomorrow, but I’m having not enough time to do it like I did for numers 50 – 31. So, the next texts are gonna be shorter, very short. Just a sentence and a song. Hope you don’t mind.

30. Megafaun – Gather, Form And Fly (Home Tapes)

What? Band rooted in indie country, but opening up to a whole array of genres

Megafaun – Solid Ground

29. Alec Ounsworth – Mo Beauty (ANTI-records)

What? Clap Your Hands Say Yeah-man goes solo and ‘nasals’ his way to heavy pretention pop. (but not as heavy as his other project Flashy Python)

Alec Ounsworth – Idiot in The Rain

Bonus song:

Alec Ounsworth – Wide Awake (one of my favourite songs ever, from unreleased early demos by Ounsworth)

28. Magnolia Electric Co – Josephine (Secretly Canadian)

What? Jason Molina grows a mustache and turns into a sad country-band.

Magnolia Electric Co – Whip-Poor-Will

27. Elvis Perkins – Elvis Perkins in Dearland (XL Recordings)

What? Johnny Flynn’s american twin brother didn’t impress me with his debut, but this album is an emotional joyride.

Elvis Perkins – Shampoo

26. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Up From Below (Rough Trade)

What? Not sure if this hippie stuff deserves to be so high, but the song ‘Home’ deluded me, by becoming the song i listened to the most in 2009.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Home

25. M. Ward – Hold Time (Merge Records)

What? M. Ward keeps going. We keep listening.

M. Ward – For Beginners

24. Doug Paisley – Doug Paisley (No Quarter records)

What? Folky singer-songwriter makes a strong debut album and sounds timeless alltogether .

Doug Paisley – Diggin’ In the Ground

23. The Burning Hell – Baby (WEewerk Records)

What? Ukelele is the sound to base your career on. And sounding like Bill Callahan who’s trying comedy.

the Burning Hell – Everything Will Probably Be OK

22. Cotton Jones – Paranoid Cocoon (Suicide Squeeze)

What? Page France waves goodbye to indie brothers Death cab For Cutie and say hello to the sixties. Is that the Doors?

Cotton Jones – By Morning Light

21. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast (Fat Possum)

What? I hear a whistle in my ear, and a violin in my eye.

Andrew Bird  – Oh No

End of 2009: 40 – 31

23 December 2009

And the list goes on…

40. Andrew jackson Jihad – Can’t  Maintain (Asian Man Recordings)

What? Folkpunk opens their bloody doors to wider horizons.

Andrew Jackson Jihad have made my list before in 2007, cause back then they made a huge impression on me with their Fuck-in-your-face Folk punk. The songs were about murders, misantropy and other difficult words that we can’t spell properly. This year they have released at least 2 albums (but I think more), which shows progression in the musical genre. ‘Can’t Maintain’ is no longer 1.2.3 and then 2 minutes of guitar ragging, but it’s got trumpets and kazoos, and all other instruments. They seemed to have traded in some energy for empathy (i just say that because it sounds good, it does not make sense), and made a good album while doing so. Is that the Mountain Goats yelling “This is our sound!”?

Andrew Jackson Jihad – Sense, Sensibility

39.  Haruko – Wild Geese (Bracken Records)

What? The usual folky woman in my list.

I think that if you compare all my end-of-year lists, you will always find at least 1 folky woman in it. Although I can remember that I once said to one of my friends that I don’t listen to female singers that often (I really don’t), the female artist I do listen to, are mostly mesmerizing. Haruko certainly is. I must admit: I don’t know much more about her, and I haven’t listened to ‘Wild Geese’ that often, cause I only discovered it late in the year. But after a first listen, I decided that it HAD to be in the list. That doesn’t happen that often. For fans of Alela Diane, Mariee Sioux and the rest of the bunch.

Haruko – Goodbye My Love, Goodbye

38. Volcano Choir – Unmap (Jagjaguwar)

What? Justin Vernon’s trip down memory lane

I wonder if ‘Unmap’ would ever had been released if Bon Iver hadn’t been so famous? It wouldn’t be completely fair, cause I’m pretty sure that this album will eventually prove to be more timeless than ‘For Emma, Ever Again’, although that could be because we’ve played that last album a time too many. Volcano Choir is too experimental for most people I guess, with songs that don’t have a chorus or just are based upon sounds, but that also means that there is much more to discover by each listen. Everytime I listen to this, it seems that it’s something I’ve never heard before, like some strange new species that looks a lot like a crane bird or a dog, but just not fits the description.

Volcano Choir – Island, Is

37. Gregory Alan Isakov – This Empty Northern Hemisphere (self-released)

What? Heartbreaking singersongwriter eternity

We’ve been doing for about a century now, or even longer, and still people can pull it off to be amazing. Just making simple songs with guitar and sparse instrumentation, and then still getting to the core of things. Gregory Alan Isakov is a name that has to be known by everyone who loves singersongwriters, because he’s one of the best out there, but no one has any clue about who he is. He doesn’t even have a label (order his cd on CD Baby). The songs are heartwarming, without ever being all that special or weird. Just songs. I like that at times.

Gregory Alan Isakov – Evelyn

36. The Cave Singers – Welcome Joy ( Matador Records)

What? Beard fights!

The beard has become a fashion statement in the indie scene. It separates the city slickers from the hippies, it separates the cool poppunk-sound from the folky-rock sound. It is probably no surprise that the Cave Singers have beards.  Next to folky songs with banjos, they have foot stomping folkrock. oh my oh my, what an amount of foot stomping I have done listening to ‘Welcome Joy’. So hard that my foot has turned into a stomp. Am I by the only one who sometimes has to think of Kings of Leon?

Cave Singers – At the Cut

35. Dent May & His Ukelele – The Good Feeling Music Of Dent May and His Ukelele (Paw tracks)

What? Melo-drama on a ukelele

Guys who play the ukelele are wussies (I play one too, so I’m allowed to say that). They are dreamers, who make cut-out hearts and spread them anonymously in the streets, hoping to find their true love this way. Dent May sounds in love. He’s actually the twin brother of Jens Lekman, who can be sooo amazingly corny that you feel ashamed in his place. But that doesn’t mean it’s not good music. Dent May is this guy who walks in the streets of Paris with Jens Lekman and Stephan Merritt. Actually, a lot of songs of this album could have been one of the 69 tracks on ’69 Lovesongs’ by Magnetic Fields. Oh, and the canary loves this the most so far.

Dent May – Oh Paris!

34. Julie Doiron – I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day (Jagjaguwar Records)

What? Great-Grandmother of female singer-songwriters waves at Kimya Dawson on the bus

Julie Doiron is special to me, but in some weird kind of way none of her previous albums was good enough to end up at my end-of-years list. But this one…oh my, there are no fillers here. It sounds all amazing. It’s especially fun to hear how she pulls out the electric guitar once in a while, to end up with a song that grabs you by the balls (and who doesn’t love that, especially if it’s Julie Doiron). She seems to sound a bit more like Kimya Dawson, with that difference that Doiron can sing. Doesn’t the song Consolation Prize by the way sound like something by Of Montreal?

Julie Doiron – Consolation Prize

33. Intelligence – Fake surfers (In The Red Records)

What? We hired a garage and made ourselves look like retards

Intelligence hired a garage and then made songs the way they have to sound when you’re making songs in a garage. Actually my first plan was to put Eat skull and Intelligence next to each other on spot 33, because of their fake feud this year, but actually ‘Fake Surfers’ was just a bit more convincing than the Eat Skull-record. So flatten your hair, put on your corduroy trousers and dance the polka, you golly fellows.

Intelligence – Moody Tower

32. Deer Tick – Born On Flag Day (Partisan Records)

What? cowboys don’t cry.

Bob Dylan made a christmas album. Fuck. Enough with that senile guy already. No matter how much people say it’s quite good, as soon as you start making christmas albums, you are off my list. Then you’ve got Richmond Fontaine, who didn’t really impress me with their newest album. Luckily there is Deer Tick, who manage to find the perfect balance between Countrysongs and Rocksongs. I guess the singer’s voice has got a lot to do with that. He sounds as if he smoked a pack of cigarettes (and by that, i mean the package instead of the cigarettes). Every album his voice gets rougher and rougher.

Deer Tick – Hell On Earth

31. Phosphorescent – To Willie (Dead Oceans)

What? Even more cowboys!

A Willie Nelson coveralbum! Yihaaa! Phosphorescent turned away from multilayered melancholy and made this album inbetween. You know how cowboys sound. I went to see their show in Antwerp last year, and ran into a colleague there. Then the show started and a couple of days later, the colleague came to me and said “what the hell was that? I felt like I ended up in a redneck bar”. He didn’t enjoy that, but well, he enjoyed the awful opening act (that’s the reason he was there even), so I didn’t take him all that serious. This album is fun.

Phosphorescent – Reasons To Quit

2008 Galore! pt. 5: TOP 50 (50-41)

24 November 2008

So, the big moment has arrived. During the next week (or two weeks, depending on the time i have to present yo this list), i’ll tell you what my 50 favourite records were from 2008. I must admit I haven’t listened to every album that got released this year, but maybe i’ll make a few corrections at the end of the year. Maybe not.

Comment as much as you want, cause i really enjoy that. Oh, by the way. You don’t have to read everything. Just check out the mp3-links, look for them on myspace or the illegal circuit.. or Better buy their albums and surprise yourself! (and if you don’t like it, give the record away, to a homeless person or a starving kid in africa)

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50. Thee Oh Sees – The Master’s Bedroom is Worth (Tomlab)

Sounds like: The garage version of Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra

One of the important questions in life is whether garage music must be made in a garage or not. I’ve been wondering about that for ages. No idea whether Thee oh sees recorded stuff in a garage once ,or just pretended to be in one. It surely rocks and has a lot of energy, and the harmonic singing between the woman and the guy give a sort of Lo-fi White Stripes feel (lo-fi!). May i remind you that the White Stripes-comparison isn’t accurate at all?

Thee Oh Sees – Maria: Stacks

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49.  31 Knots – Worried Well (Polyvinyl)

Sounds like: Math rock with a rough edge

No, 31 knots, what have you done? Inviting Children’s choirs to sing along? Thou wilt no longer be a appreciated rock band! I’ve read some stupid things about this new album, but for me, it’s just one of the best rock albums this year. I don’t listen to heavy music (well, heavy, let’s not exaggerate here tom) that often, but 31 Knots is enjoyable at most times. It’s math rock (which is a stupid name for difficult dissonant riffs i think).

31 Knots – Certificate

burninghell

48. The Burning Hell – Happy Birthday (Weewerk)

Sounds like: Smog on Ukelele, although you don’t really hear the ukelele

Ok, i must admit: The Burning Hell isn’t as catchy or cool as Bill Callahan, but his voice is as deep, and some of his songs are the same. He is told to be a ukelele virtuoso, but unfortunately the ukelele doesn’t get a central part in his songs. He’s got something of a vaudeville, and he has made one of the best songs of this year (which i will share not now, but later on in the year). But this one is really nice too.

The Burning Hell – Happy Birthday To The End Of The World

depar

47. Department of eagles – In Ear Park (4AD)

Sounds Like: Riding the Sixties indie carroussel

Retro is the theme word of the year. There are really a lot of bands in my list that actually seemed to have born in the wrong day and age. No, no medieval bands though. Department of Eagles is a sideproject from the guys of Grizzly Bear (and i wasn’t that fond of their Yellow House-album), and is a real trip into nostalgia. This music reminds me of carroussels and i have no idea why. it’s like music that you swing around too, with your hands in the air while riding a plastic horse.

Department of Eagles – Teenagers

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46. Noah & The Whale – Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down (Vertig)

Sounds like: Every singalong, whistle, hand-clap record.

So, Summer is over officially. There is snow all over the place, and people crashing their cars into freshly built snowmen. But that doesn’t stop Noah & The Whale from singing about their happiness. Last year, i had a pretty similar album in my list (although this isn’t as catchy as that one): Bishop Allen. Strangely, i wanted to put this band into my talents for the future list of 2007, but eventually didn’t. And at first their album disappointed me, but… you know what. I’ll take the text i wrote from last year’s Bishop Allen album:

” While I was making this list, i wanted this band out. I liked them, but not that much, right? And I listened to the Broken string. And Again. And Again. And everytime i thought: “nooo, this definitely must stay in”… and then after a week i wanted them out again. But it’s impossible. This is catchy. So damn catchy.”

Just replace the Broken string by ‘Peacefully, the world lays me down’.

Because their album is released by a Vertigo, which is part of Universal, and i don’t want to post mp3’s that could piss RIAA-people off, i’ll just add the well-known YouTube-Clip:

wave

45. The Wave Pictures – Instant Coffee, Baby (Moshi Moshi)

Sounds Like: What’s with the accent, dude? British poprock

The most fun about this band? The English Wit, combined with the amazingly thick London Cockney accent (as far as I know, it could be Liverpudlian too..i’m nto British). Their songs are quite catchy too, but in a different way than Noah & The Whale. This is more rock-related, perhaps even close to Britpop (although they remind me of the Clash, but then again, i don’t know that much about the Clash..but there’s a bit of a reggae-mood in here). I do admit that after a whole album, his voice can get a bit tedious, but that doesn’t take away the fact that this is a really feel-good album, and probably a really good live band.

The Wave Pictures – We Come Alive

danku

44. Stanley Brinks – Dank U (B.Y Records)

Sounds like: Bossa Nova Loner

I’m getting Flashbacks. Last year Adrian Orange & her Band made this rather excentric bossa nova album that ended up high in my list, and this year there is another artist that makes a strange album that sounds very south-america. So, you all know Stanley Brinks from his past as André Herman Düne (about which he made the amazing song called Stanley Brinks) , and i seem to miss him in the band Herman Düne. They also make this southern catchy songs, but when they were still ocmplete, their songs sounded less shallow (so sorry guys, you’re not in the list this year). This is a melancholic southern album, with trumpets and all of it. Amazing. Dank u, Stanley Brinks (for the non-dutch speaking community. Dank u is Dutch for Thank You)

Stanley Brinks – New Hampshire

ray

43. Ray Lamontagne – Gossip In The Grain (RCA Records)

Sounds Like: Otis Redding stepping away from the soul, but sometimes returning to it.

There aren’t many people with Ray Lamontagnes goosebump-voice. That being said, this album is actually a bit too clean for my standards. I know, that’s just wanker talk (My collegue and big Lamontagne-fan will probably curse me right now), but i’m really looking forward to hear Ray Lamontagne’s Pink Moon-album. Just him with a guitar, his voice, and okay a bit of the very intense production that is exemplary of his albums. But just not too much. Because of his voice, he’s in the list. Again a major label issue, so no mp3 but a video:

two

42.  The Two Man Gentleman Band – Heavy Petting (Serious Business Records)

Sounds like: Woohoo, get out the Kazoo’s, Bottlenecks, Blow Bottles and Banjo’s, cause we’re having an old time rag folk swing party here

The Two Man Gentleman Band is the most retro band in my list. They sound like two guys having lived on their farm for 80 years. The use of kazoos is just so over the top, but so funny. It’s probably an album that will get boring after a while, but right now, i’m still enjoying every inch of it.

not only a song, but also a video, because it’s so funny

The Two Man Gentleman Band – Playing My Kazoo

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41. Mr. David Viner – Among The Rumours & The Rye (Loose Music)

Sounds Like: classic singersongwriter-stuff

When making my list, i started with over 200 Bands, and very quickly erased dozens of them. I relistened to stuff and got rid of them. I listened to it again, and they got out of there. And Mr. David Viner remained. I don’t know why. I really don’t. He’s the Strange bug in the dog’s skin, and maybe next year, he’ll be totally out of this list. Everytime i watch over my list (i do that at least ten times a day, to see if there are any last minute changes), I see him standing there and thinking “Mr. David Viner, who the hell is that?” and then i listen to one or two songs, thinking: “well, this is quite good.” It’s nothing special, just songs that sound timeless. (he’s maybe this year’s Kid Harpoon). He used to do shows with The White Stripes, by the way. (but expect something completely different). Funny how I started with White stripes and ended with them!

Mr. David Viner – Do What Thou Wilt

in Dutch, we have an expression, translated it is “The Head is Off”. Which means, we’ve started. Expect more bands in the following days/weeks (depending on the time and the mood i’m in).