Saturday, October 31, 2009

997. The Killers - Hot Fuss (2004)

















Track Listing

1. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine
2. Mr Brightside
3. Smile Like You Mean It
4. Somebody Told Me
5. All These Things That I’ve Done
6. Andy You’re A Star
7. On Top
8. Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll
9. Believe Me Natalie
10. Midnight Show
11. Everything Will Be Alright


Review

Sometimes bands are just what they are. There is nothing more to them, and that is sometimes a good thing. The Killers are a perfect representation of their hometown Las Vegas, shallow, glitzy and shit loads of fun with no pretension to being anything other than that.

So behind all the neons there is almost nothing, but in a great way. The music is eminently dancable, singalongable and fun! Full of little kitsch elements like a lot of the synth work here, which just turns it all from the bad to the so bad its actually pretty great category.

I was just at a party tonight where they played Mr. Brightside and it worked everyone was jumping to it. And Somebody Told Me has one of the most brilliant synth solos of all time throwing the whole thing back to the 80s. As if Cure, U2 and the Pet Shop Boys had a pretty dumb but fun child. Great.

Track Highlights

1. Somebody Told Me
2. Mr. Brightside
3. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
4. Everything Will Be Alright

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Since being nominated for five Grammy Awards, it has achieved worldwide sales of more than 7.5 million units

Mr. Brightside:

Friday, October 30, 2009

996. The Zutons - Who Killed...The Zutons? (2004)

















Track Listing

1. Zuton Fever
2. Pressure Point
3. You Will You Won't
4. Confusion
5. Havana Gang Brawl
6. Railroad
7. Long Time Coming
8. Nightmare Part II
9. Not A Lot To Do
10. Remember Me
11. Dirty Dancehall
12. Moons And Horror Shows

Review

Why did the people who made this list feel it was necessary to include a shameless rip-off of The Coral in the list? Might as well have put another Coral album up. Now the Coral are great and were particularly good in their début album, as such this is quite competent copying as this is pretty good as well.

That being said there is little originality here, there might be a bit more of Roxy Music inspired sax in the songs but the voice, arrangements and lyrics all remind me too much of The Coral not to be constantly aware of it.

So calling this album derivative is actually a bit of an understatement, this does not mean however that it doesn't have some great songs, it does, but they are derivative nonetheless, so even if my respect for The Zutons as artists is null I can at least enjoy the music. So it wasn't all lost.

Final Grade

1. Confusion
2. You Will, You Won't
3. Moons and Horror Shows
4. Zuton Fever

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album reached #9 on the UK Album Chart.

Confusion:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

995. Rufus Wainwright - Want Two (2004)



















Track Listing


1. Agnus Dei
2. The One You Love
3. Peach Trees
4. Little Sister
5. The Art Teacher
6. Hometown Waltz
7. This Love Affair
8. Gay Messiah
9. Memphis Skyline
10. Waiting For A Dream
11. Crumb by Crumb
12. Old Whore's Diet

Review

Another truly amazing album by Rufus, a companion piece to Want One, Want Two is composed of yet more amazingly composed and written tracks by Rufus. If anything want two is even better than its predecessor.

The music goes from fantasy middle eastern music in track one to Philip Glass tribute in the Art Teacher to reggae inspired music to finish it off. Rufus is not only astounding in the amount of styles he uses in the album but they also change within the songs themselves.

Want Two is one of those rare albums that is always a delight to listen to. Cinematic, heartfelt and beautiful it really shows what a well rounded musical education can do to a man.

Track Highlights

1. The Art Teacher
2. The One You Love
3. Memphis Skyline
4. Agnus Dei

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Want Two is, according to Wainwright, the darker sibling of 2003's Want One - its subject matter concerned with "the world we live in" (RW Geffen Bio) after Want One's focus on the intensely personal. The artist's song selections here show his range to be broad, veering from romantic ballad ("Peach Trees") to tragic ballad ("This Love Affair"), sophisticated pop ("The One You Love") to third person/first person narrative lament ("The Art Teacher"), personal tongue in cheek manifesto ("Gay Messiah"), to classical pop hybrid ("Memphis Skyline") and songs beyond category. "Agnus Dei" is used in the trailer for the 2007 film Trade.

The Art Teacher:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

994. The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free (2004)


















Track Listing

1. It Was Supposed To Be So Easy
2. Could Well Be In
3. Not Addicted
4. Blinded By The Lights
5. Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way
6. Get Out Of My House
7. Fit But You Know It
8. Such A Twat
9. What Is He Thinking?
10. Dry Your Eyes
11. Empty Cans

Review

Mike Skinner takes the idea of "keeping it real" to a whole different level, it is so real that it is often mundane and the whole nitty gritty of day to day life is reflected on the album. There's no ho's and guns here, just a working class guy going about his life and shit happening to him.

While this is interesting as a concept and Skinner is quite good at putting completely uninteresting things to song using plenty of humour and good arrangements, the album ends up being a little too narrative.

The album has a concept behind it, each song is like a chapter in the story of a guy who loses 1000 pounds and tries to get it back and falls in love and out of love and in love again through this. But after a while you've heard the story 4 or 5 times and really it just gets distracting a little tiring. So a great album to listen to a couple of times, or to return to once in a long while but not something to keep playing again and again.

I got the flu! *sniffle* Don't worry it's not catching through the tubes of the internets.

Track Highlights


1. It Was Supposed To Be So Easy
2. Fit But You Know It
3. Dry Your Eyes
4. Blinded By The Lights

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In the story, the protagonist loses £1000, or a grand in slang terms and strives to recoup the money.

In the first track on the album, "It Was Supposed to Be So Easy", he attempts seemingly simple events for the day but they don't go according to plan. When he comes home he cannot find the thousand pounds he has saved and his television is broken. In the process of trying to recover the money he:

Starts seeing a girl called Simone who works in JD Sports with his friend Dan. ("Could Well Be In")

Tries to recover the thousand pounds by gambling. After a series of wins he frustratingly cannot get to the bookmaker's in time to make a big gamble. Fortuitously, the prediction is wrong — it's his lucky day. ("Not Addicted")

Is stood up at a nightclub by Simone, but passes the time drinking alcohol and taking cocaine and ecstasy; he thinks he sees Simone kissing Dan but the drug induced high distracts him before he can think about it properly. ("Blinded By the Lights")

Moves into Simone's house and finds himself comfortable smoking marijuana there, rather than drinking with his friends at the pub. ("Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way")

Argues with Simone and she kicks him out of her house. ("Get Out of My House")

Poses to impress a girl ("Fit But You Know It") in a take away restaurant during a heavy night drinking on holiday.

Flies back from the holiday and remorsefully reviews the events of the previous night during a phone call to a friend, realising he still wants to be with Simone.("Such a Twat")

Suspects his mate Scott of stealing his coat, money and girlfriend but discovers that Simone is actually having an affair with Dan. ("What is He Thinking?")

Tries to cope with his girlfriend breaking up with him. ("Dry Your Eyes").

Deals with the events of his life in one of two ways; the final track, "Empty Cans", features two endings to the plot, a bitter ending and a happy ending (the former where he and a TV repairman get into a fight over the repairman's fee, and the latter in which he reconciles with his mates and finds the thousand pounds hidden in his TV).

The B-Side to the UK single release of "Fit But You Know It" contains the song "Soaked By The Ale" (Length 3:33). The story of this song takes place between the events of "Fit But You Know It" and "Such A Twat". It documents one of Skinner's mates being annoyed at Mike for stealing a tub of ice cream whilst on holiday in Spain as a result of his excessive drinking. The chronological order is identified in "Such A Twat" where Skinner raps "And that incident with the ice cream I forgot, it all ended in our vodka".

Fit but don't you know it:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

993. Liars - They Were Wrong, So We Drowned (2004)













Track Listing

1. Broken Witch
2. Steam Rose From The Lifeless Cloak
3. There's Always Room On The Broom
4. If You're A Wizard Then Why Do You Wear Glasses?
5. We Fenced Other Houses With The Bones Of Our Own
6. They Don't Want Your Corn, They Want Your Kids
7. Read The Book That Wrote Itself
8. Hold Hands And It Will Happen Anyway
9. They Took 14 For The Rest Of Our Lives
10. Flow My Tears The Spider Said

Review

All the cool kids seem to be coming from Brooklyn lately, and the Liars certainly are cool kids. Scary cool kids, but cool nonetheless, this album is just something to cherish for the simple fact that it jars so completely with most that is being done at this time.

This is an album about fear, based on the stories about Walpurgisnacht it alternately tells the stories from two points of view albeit with a clear partiality towards the witches. And it works in a lovely way.

The fact that it is based on a German story gives the album's influences a whole different dimension, with stuff like Can and Einstruzende Neubauten being completely recognisable here, but used in a way that still makes this album sound new. Not an easy listen but a very rewarding one.

Track Highlights

1. There's Always Room On The Broom
2. Broken Witch
3. If You're A Wizard Then Why Do You Wear Glasses?
4. Flow My Tears The Spider Said

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Stylistically, the album lies between the "difficult" post-punk of They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top and the ethereal neo-no-wave of Drum's Not Dead. The album received largely negative reviews and sold poorly compared to their debut. However, after the following album, Drum's Not Dead, was released, this album received more attention and the opinion turned more positive.


There's Always Room On The Broom:

Monday, October 26, 2009

992. Tv On the Radio - Desperate Youths, Blood Thirsty Babes (2004)


















Track Listing

1. The Wrong Way
2. Staring At The Sun
3. Dreams
4. King Eternal
5. Ambulance
6. Poppy
7. Don't Love You
8. Bomb Yourself
9. Wear You Out

Review

Hey 10 albums to go on the list! We can start a countdown now! When this is finished I'll take a couple of days to update old albums I didn't get to review because I couldn't find them then (there's two of them I think, and I've already got them) and then I'll get into reviewing the 20 new additions to the list in the 2008 edition.

And now for something truly alternative. While that label is more often than not used for bands which sound like other 3000 bands and therefore not alternative in the least, TV on the radio is truly something different.

It is hard to categorise because it is really innovative, and really good as well, fortunately. Kind of dark electronics are propelled forward by a great voice and good lyrics in a way that harks back to some 80s stuff like The The or XTC but definitely different enough to be hardly comparable and with a post-punk influence of the Pere Ubu kind which is hardly to be found in those groups, it is also very much from the 00s. Great album.

Track Highlights


1. Staring at the Sun
2. Dreams
3. Ambulance
4. The Wrong Way

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album was awarded the Shortlist Music Prize for 2004. It was released on CD, 12" vinyl and MP3 download formats. The CD is enhanced with two different quality Quicktime video files of the "Dreams" music video. The 12" features two records with the extra song "You Could Be Love" and a different track order from the CD.

Staring at the Sun:


Sunday, October 25, 2009

991. Cee-Lo Green - Cee-Lo Green is the Soul Machine (2004)

















Track Listing

1. Intro
2. Soul Machine
3. The Art of Noise (feat Pharrell)
4. Living Again
5. I'll Be Around (feat Timbaland))
6. The One (Feat Jazze Pha & T.I.)
7. My Kind of People (Feat Jazze Pha & Menta Malone)
8. Childz Play (with Ludacris)
9. I Am Selling Soul
10. All Day Love Afair
11. Evening News (with Chazzie & Sir Cognac the Conversation)
12. Scrap Metal (with Big Rube & G-Rock)
13. Glockapella
14. When We Were Friends
15. Sometimes
16. Let's Stay Together (with Pharrell)
17. Die Trying
18. What Don't You Do? (Outro)

Review

Unlike Kanye's this is a really fun and original album which does its stuff perfectly, mixing hip-hop, soul and funk into a seamless one in what sounds more like Andre 3000's half of Speakerboxxx/The Love Below than anything else.

And this comparison is really not that strange. Cee-Lo is like Outkast from the South where the hip-hop scene has been revealing itself as the really fresh third power after the East and West Coasts.

However, unlike Kanye Cee-Lo never got the sales or the popularity, something he would remedy by forming Gnarls Barkley only two years later, so I imagine he is happy with sales now. Really good album.

Track Highlights

1. Scrap Metal (with Big Rube & G-Rock)
2. The Art Of Noise (feat. Pharrell)
3. Glockapella
4. I'll Be Around (feat Timbaland)

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Though not as ambitious or abstract as his first, this album shows diversity in style; in addition to fellow Dungeon Family producers and MCs, Cee-Lo brings in outside influences such as Jazze Pha, Timbaland, Ludacris and Pharrell.


I'll Be Around:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

990. Kanye West - College Dropout (2004)
















Track Listing

1. Intro
2. We Don't Care
3. Graduation Day
4. All Falls Down
5. I'll Fly Away
6. Spaceship
7. Jesus Walks
8. Never Let Me Down
9. Get Em High
10. Workout Plan
11. The New Workout Plan
12. Slow Jamz
13. Breathe In Breathe Out
14. School Spirit (Skit 1)
15. School Spirit
16. School Spirit (Skit 2)
17. Lil Jimmy Skit
18. Two Words
19. Through The Wire
20. Family Business
21. Last Call

Review

Yo Kanye! I'm really happy for you. I'm gonna let you finish, but Nick Cave had one of the best albums of all time.

Track Highlights

1. We Don't Care
2. All Falls Down
3. School Spirit
4. The New Workout Plan

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

The album was nominated for Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and won Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for "Jesus Walks" in 2005. It was voted as the best album of the year by Rolling Stone magazine and in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll, was ranked #1 in Spin magazine's "40 Best Albums of the Year", and received a near-perfect 4.5 mic rating from The Source. Comedian Chris Rock has attested to listening to The College Dropout while writing his material.

All Falls Down:

Friday, October 23, 2009

989. The Libertines - The Libertines (2004)


















Track Listing

1. Can't Stand Me Now
2. Last Post On The Bugle
3. Don't Be Shy
4. The Man Who Would Be King
5. Music When The Lights Go Out
6. Narcissist
7. The Ha Ha Wall
8. Arbeit Macht Frei
9. Campaign Of Hate
10. What Katie Did
11. Tomblands
12. The Saga
13. Road To Ruin
14. What Became Of The Likely Lads

Review

I am very ashamed to realize that I actually quite like this album. I still hate Pete Doherty though. There is certainly an attractive sense of self-implosion in this album, however, a destructive behaviour which would then define one half of the band in his endless showboating.

This album works in the sense that it is very much a 00s album with a sense of the shambolic which is more associated with the 70s, and it sounds truthful to the fact that it is all falling apart, as it indeed was.

There is enough talent behind this album to actually keep it together for the duration but just bursting at the seams. Knowing the personal history between the two band members while the album was being made helps explain this but it is really admirable that the album manages to only constantly threaten to disintegrate and sound so good while this goes on.

Track Highlights

1. What Became Of The Likely Lads
2. Can't Stand Me Now
3. The Man Who Would Be King
4. What Katie Did

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album cover was taken by Roger Sargent during the emotional "Freedom Gig" at the Tap 'N' Tin club, Chatham, Kent, on October 8, 2003, when Pete Doherty reunited with the Libertines for a gig just hours after being released from jail. Pete Doherty returned to the Tap 'N' Tin club on 20 December 2008 for a one-off gig with Chas & Dave.

What Became of the Likely Lads:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

988. Ozomatli - Street Signs (2004)

















Track Listing

1. Believe
2. Love & Hope
3. Street Signs
4. (Who Discovered) America?
5. Who's To Blame
6. Te Estoy Buscando
7. Saturday Night
8. Dejame En Paz
9. Santiago
10. Ya Viene El Sol
11. Dona Isabella
12. Nadie Te Tira
13. Cuando Canto

Review

I think that when it comes to what the people who made this list think of as being "world music" they are somewhat uncritical. Ozomatli is a perfect example of this. Just because a hip-hop band has some elements from Latin and Eastern music does not make it any good.

The whole album ends up sounding pretty cheap, often like music you might listen to in a cruise ship disco in the south of Spain. Tacky party music with political pretensions which are lost in the fact that it is a bit shit.

So yeah it's crap.

Track Highlights

1. It all
2. grates
3. on
4. my nerves.

Final Grade

4/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

This album won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album at the Latin Grammy Awards of 2005.

Better live than on the album:


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

987. Beta Band - Heroes to Zeros (2004)


















Track Listing

1. Assessment
2. Space
3. Lion Thief
4. Easy
5. Wonderful
6. Troubles
7. Out-Side
8. Space Beatle
9. Rhododendron
10. Liquid Bird
11. Simple
12. Pure For

Review

Unfortunately for me the only great Beta Band album is the three EP's. Well it is not really an album but a handy collection of the first three EP's by the Beta Band where they really made their best music.

This is unfortunate for two reasons: first it means they did not get any better as time went on. But also because there is no 3 EP's on this list of album only markedly inferior offering from a band which too in love with its own blandness to do anything exciting.

So the album is perfectly listenable, it is nice stuff, reminds me a bit of Super Furry Animals and Belle and Sebastian but worse than those two because they are boringer. So this is not terrible music by any account but it is also supremely unexciting even if full of promise... oh well.

Track Highlights

1. Assessment
2. Lion Thief
3. Wonderful
4. Rhododendron

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The cover illustration was created by comic book writer and artist Kaare Andrews.

The Beta Band logo for the album was created by comic book artist Dave McCaig, later to be reused on The Best of the Beta Band.

Assessment:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

986. N.E.R.D. - Fly Or Die (2004)



















Track Listing

1. Don't Worry About It
2. Fly Or Die
3. Jump
4. Backseat Love
5. She Wants To Move
6. Breakout
7. Wonderful Place
8. Drill Sergeant
9. Thrasher
10. Maybe
11. The Way She Dances
12. Chariot Of Fire

Review

Well what can one say about this album? It is quite fun and dancy, does a good job of marrying funk, rock, hip-hop and R&B which is pretty much what the whole album is all about. And it is entertaining.

This last point is the most relevant element about the album, although the music is quite well constructed and perfectly produced the most important thing here is really the album's entertainment value.

It is clearly directed for a segment of people with low attention span, however, instead of taking the easy route and just making the music sub-standard, because "Who Cares?", they put the effort in to make the music hooky throughout, harder and in the end more rewarding. Anyway still a really good album aimed at teens.

Track Listing

1. She Wants to Move
2. Maybe
3. Fly Or Die
4. Backseat Love

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The band recorded its second album Fly or Die during 2003. The band actually learned the instruments needed to play the tunes, so they could perform live. As Chad Hugo told MTV News on December 9, 2003, "We're the ones playing the instruments live this time. I just started playing guitar last year so I'm learning as we go. Pharrell's playing drums. Last time, (on In Search Of...) we didn't have time to learn certain instruments so we got Spymob to help us out."

She Wants To Move:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

985. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand (2004)


















Track Listing

1. Jacqueline
2. Tell Her Tonight
3. Take Me Out
4. The Dark Of The Matinée
5. Auf Achse
6. Cheating On You
7. This Fire
8. Darts Of Pleasure
9. Michael
10. Come On Home
11. 40'

Review

The British answer to the Strokes or the White Stripes was actually something very different from those American bands. Franz Ferdinand have made alternative rock-music with the single purpose of making you dance, rocking your socks off as it was.

And they are truly successful in this most impressive début album only challenged this year, as a début, by Arcade Fire's album. Each and every song here is designed to make you move, and it does. More than that the lyrics are funny, the music is attractive with a post-punk quality to it.

Taking inspiration from bands such as Talking Heads or Gang of Four, they had perfect blueprints which could easily be stripped of their political or artistic ambitions and directed much more strongly towards fun. And that is what they do, what they lose in depth they win in sheer "make-you-moveness".

Track Highlights

1. Take Me Out
2. The Dark of the Matinée
3. Michael
4. Darts of Pleasure

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Franz Ferdinand received universal critical acclaim. The NME said that the band was the latest in the line of art school rock bands featuring The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Duran Duran, Roxy Music, the Sex Pistols, Wire and Blur. It rated the album as 9 out of 10 and said: "This album is the latest and most intoxicating example of the wonderful pushing its way up between the ugly slabs of Pop Idol, nu metal and Britons aping American bands. What these blossoming bands have in common is the absolute conviction that rock 'n' roll is more than a career option."

The BBC's review of the album said: "At only 38 minutes long Franz Ferdinand may not be a particularly long album, but it is a masterpiece of funky, punky, suave cool from the first track to the last." Allmusic rated the album as four out of five stars and said: "Franz Ferdinand ends up being rewarding in different ways than the band's previous work was, but it's apparent that they're still one of the more exciting groups to come out of the garage-rock / post-punk revival."

Take Me Out:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

984. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/ The Lyre of Orpheus (2004)


















Track Listing

Abattoir Blues:

1. Get Ready For Love
2. Cannibal's Hymn
3. Hiding All Away
4. Messiah Ward
5. There She Goes, My Beautiful World
6. Nature Boy
7. Abbatoir Blues
8. Let The Bells Ring
9. Fable Of The Brown Ape

The Lyre of Orpheus:

1. The Lyre Of Orpheus
2. Breathless
3. Babe, You Turn Me On
4. Easy Money
5. Supernaturally
6. Spell
7. Carry Me
8. O Children

Review

How often does a double album do exactly what it should? Having not a single skipable or less than great track, looking like an excess of talent rather than lack of editing? Being able to separate the two halves perfectly according to mood, content and concept and doing both equally good? Not very often, but that is exactly what happens here.

Nick Cave gives us what is one of the finest double albums in history, with less filler than the White Album, less bloated than The Wall... the only comparable one would be Blonde on Blonde but there is more variety here... even if I would be hard pressed to put this very excellent album above Blonde on Blonde.

Nick starts off by defying expectations, after Nocturama and Blixa leaving no one expected that the first half of the double album could be as aggressive and rocky as it ended up being, and in the second half he does creepy sensibility as only he can do it, making beauty and the grotesque seem like best friends. Getting older and his albums keep getting better.

Track Highlights

1. Hiding All Away
2. Breathless
3. Cannibal's Hymn
4. Easy Money

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The double album was recorded by Nick Launay at Studio Ferber in Paris in Spring 2004 by The Bad Seeds line up of Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Thomas Wydler, Martyn Casey, Conway Savage, Jim Sclavunos, Warren Ellis, and James Johnston. It was the first album by the band in which Blixa Bargeld did not take part. Cave decided to split drumming duties for the two albums, having Sclavunos drum on Abattoir Blues and Wydler on The Lyre of Orpheus.

Someone made a funny video for The Lyre of Orpheus:


Final Grade

Friday, October 16, 2009

983. Devendra Banhart - Rejoicing in the Hands (2004)

















Track Listing

1. This Is The Way
2. It's A Sight To Behold
3. The Body Breaks
4. Poughkeepsie
5. Dogs They Make Up The Dark
6. Will Is My Friend
7. This Beard Is For Siobhan
8. See Saw
9. Tit Smoking In The Temple Of Artesan Mimicry
10. Rejoicing In The Hands
11. Fall
12. Todo Los Dolores
13. When The Sun Shone On Vetiver
14. There Was The Sun
15. Insect Eyes
16. Autumn's Child

Review

Davendra has something of Bert Jansch, something of Nick Drake, something of Vashti Bunyan (who he collaborates with in the strangely reminiscent of early Rod Stewart title track) but then he also has something if himself, a kind of nervous singing more reminiscent of the Velvet Underground than any other folksy bands.

This is what makes him the most original thing appearing in the alternative folk scene since the 1970s, reinvigorating the whole musical style and leading many people to dig up others.

I know this happened to me after my first encounter with Devendra, I owe him my love for Nick Drake and Vashti Bunyan. He is very much not afraid to acknowledge his influences and in this way he has given new life to musicians which were almost forgotten in the early 2000s. And his music is pretty nifty too.

Track Highlights

1. This Beard Is For Siobhan
2. Tit Smoking In The Temple Of Artesan Mimicry
3. This Is The Way
4. Will is my Friend

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The music review online magazine Pitchfork placed Rejoicing in the Hands at number 193 on their list of top 200 albums of the 2000s.

This Beard is for Siobhan:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

982. Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004)


















Track Listing

1. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
2. Neighborhood #2 (Laïka)
3. Une Année Sans Lumiere
4. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
5. Neighborhood #4 (Kettles)
6. Crown Of Love
7. Wake Up
8. Haiti
9. Rebellion (Lies)
10. In The Backseat

Review

What can I say? It is probably one of the few albums widely adopted by the hipster mob which I can firmly put myself behind. This is a true work of genius, and this is really not an hyperbole.

Funeral is a concept album that works perfectly as a whole, each track also works perfectly by itself with incredibly inventive arrangements and a sense of controlled chaos which is bitter-sweet.

The lyrics are at the same time cryptic and evocative, and the alternating joy and melancholy of it all makes the whole album a thrilling ride. It might not be the quickest album to sink in, as there is so much happening throughout, but when it does sink in it will never leave you. Indispensable.

Track Highlights

1. Rebellion (Lies)
2. Neighbourhood #2 (Laïka)
3. Wake Up
4. Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Preliminary recordings for Funeral were made during the course of a week in August 2003 at the Hotel2Tango in Montreal, Quebec, and the recording was completed later that year.

Rebellion (Lies):

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

981. Icarus Line - Penance Soirée (2004)





















Track Listing


1. Up Against The Wall Motherfucker
2. Spit On It
3. On The Lash
4. Caviar
5. Spike Island
6. Kiss Like Lizards
7. Getting Bright At Night
8. Big Sleep
9. White Devil
10. Meatmaker
11. Virgin Velcro
12. Sea Sick
13. Party The Baby Off

Review

The rarest of things in 2004 is an interesting rock album, and this definitely gets there... only it really isn't interesting enough. Not much here is original but the album is perfectly listenable.

It fortunately avoids the tropes of Indie or Nu-something and goes for powerful noise with an underscoring melodic line, really all you need from a rock album. They make good use of feedback and other "accidental" noises but it has been done before and better.

So it is a good album all told, just not particularly exciting or original, and it gets slightly boring after a while. Also it is coming just before a trio or quartet of really good albums here so I am kind of looking forward to them. And this while good just doesn't give me the excitement I need right now. If I want to listen to this I'd rather put on some Suicide or Pere Ubu which are a whole different kettle of interesting and share some points with this.

Track Highlights

1. Spit On It
2. Seasick
3. White Devil
4. Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In the summer of 2006, Buddyhead Records released a double-vinyl version of the album. The album features the original mix by Alan Moulder as well as a remix by Aaron North.

Up Against the Wall, Motherfuckers:

980. Brian Wilson - Smile (2004)

















Track Listing

1. Our Prayer
2. Heroes and Villains
3. Roll Plymouth Rock
4. Barnyard
5. Old Master Painter / You Are My Sunshine
6. Cabin Essence
7. Wonderful
8. Song for Children
9. Child Is Father of the Man
10. Surf's Up
11. I'm In Great Shape
12. Workshop
13. Vega-Tables
14. On a Holiday
15. Wind Chimes
16. Mrs. O'Leary's Cow
17. In Blue Hawaii
18. Good Vibrations

Review

So there was this album which was meant to come out after Pet Sounds and it was to be called Smile. Ironically not a lot of smiles seem to have gone on in the business of producing it and when Brian Wilson finally lost it and even set fire to the tapes it became the great lost album in musical history.

In 2004, Wilson being somewhat recovered by now, he got together with a backing band and decided to finally record the album properly. And we got this. Of course it is always hard to live up to the promise of such a mythical work but this comes pretty close.

The impact of Smile is somewhat minimised by the fact that some of the songs from it were later published in other Beach Boys albums, such as Good Vibrations, Heroes and Villains and Surf's Up. While these might be some of the best tracks here, the album works as a conceptual work as well, consisting of three main suites and it is a beautiful piece of work. Had it come out when it should have it would have been a contender for those mythical top spots reserved by critics for Pet Sounds and Sgt. Peppers. As it is, it is still an extremely impressive work and a truly smart, polished and beautiful album, we are all richer for Brian Wilson finally releasing it. Thanks.

Track Highlights

1. Heroes and Villains
2. Surf's Up
3. Good Vibrations
4. Mrs. O'Leary's Cow

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

On February 20, 2004, 37 years after it was conceived, a complete version of Smile was performed by Wilson along with his backing band, which includes former Beach Boys guitarist Jeff Foskett, members of The Wondermints and percussionist Nelson Bragg, in a live performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London. This performance was made whole by the addition of either lost or newly-composed lyrics that filled the gaps left open by the original 1966-67 Beach Boys sessions. This show was followed by subsequent performances elsewhere in Britain.

Recording of the new version of Smile began in April 2004 with his ten-piece touring band, augmented by a ten-piece string section and an acoustic bassist. The basic tracks were taped at Sunset Sound in just four days, with overdubbing and mixing continuing through April, May, and June.

First Two tracks:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

979. Mylo - Destroy Rock & Roll (2004)




















Track Listing

1. Valley Of The Dolls
2. Sunworshipper
3. Musclecars
4. Drop The Pressure
5. In My Arms
6. Guilty Of Love
7. Paris Four Hundred
8. Destroy Rock & Roll
9. Rikki
10. Otto's Journey
11. Muscle Car (Reform Reprise)
12. Zenophile
13. Need You Tonite
14. Emotion 98.6

Review

Sometimes to make a brilliant dance album all you need is a sense of rhythm a PC and free time on your hands. That is exactly what makes this album so good. Not much has gone into it and therefore it has the sheer joy of music making.

You can tell that Mylo really enjoyed making this, it is full of jokes and sheer fun. The whole thing is pretty minimalist because it really doesn't need much more. It can therefore seen as pretty much a basic dance music album.

And it is basic. And again that is what makes it good, paring down dance music to its bare essentials in such a way that it doesn't become artsy, just a really good mainstream dance album. Nice.

Track Highlights

1. Drop The Pressure
2. In My Arms
3. Paris Four Hundred
4. Muscle Car (Reform Reprise)

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Mylo attended George Watson's College, Edinburgh before graduating in philosophy, psychology and physiology from Brasenose College, Oxford, he subsequently gave up studying for a philosophy Ph.D at UCLA to return home and produce music. Mylo released his debut album, Destroy Rock & Roll in 2004, on the Breastfed Recordings label, which he co-owns. Mylo produced the album on a computer in his own bedroom.

Drop the Pressure: