Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The half-year in music (with videos!)

(Ahem. As you can see there are few actual videos, it's mostly only youtube songs with static images)

Best Albums
Surfer Blood "Astro Coast" A-

Titus Andronicus "The Monitor" A-

Beach House "Teen Dream" A-

LCD Soundsystem "This is Happening" B

Black Keys "Brothers" B+

Spoon "Transference" B
The Hold Steady "Heaven is Whenever" B-
Tame Impala "Innerspeaker" B+
Yeasayer "Ambling Alp" (the first half, at least) B-
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings "I Learned the Hard Way" B-
Sleigh Bells "Treats" B
Jaill -"This is How We Burn" B
Male Bonding "Nothing Hurts" B
Dr. Dog "Shame Shame" B-

She & Him "Vol. 2" C-
Everything M. Ward does deserves a listen. At a certain point, though, even if I recognize something as quality work (mostly the production and instrumentation) doesn't mean I have to like it, or force myself to listen to it on the reg. I just don't see the point of She & Him. Zooey doesn't write quite good enough songs, they are pleasant enough, but I'd rather just go dig up some old records.

The Morning Benders "Big Echo" B-
The Brooklyn via San Fran group led off its second album with perhaps the song of the year, "Excuses," a glorious amalgamation of glee-club harmonies, bluesy strings and soaring melodies, but then let Chris Taylor's (Grizzly Bear) production drag the following nine tracks through the tasteful, reverbed sludge that makes Taylor's outfit so damn boring. Only the occasionally fuzzed-out guitar struts through the languid, hung-over drapery, heard on the second track on the top-loaded record.

Foals - Total Life Forever C

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti "Before Today"
Robyn "Body Talk Pt. 1"
Robyn is terrible and I'm tired of all these hipsters saying otherwise.
Janelle Monae "The ArchAndroid"

Vampire Weekend "Contra" C
I think yr a contra. NO! yr a contra ...
Wolf Parade "Expo 86" C
Broken Bells "Broken Bells" C-

Haven't had time for more than one listen
Gorillaz "Plastic Beach"
Dum Dum Girls "I Will Be"
Broken Social Scene "Forgiveness Rock Record"
Harlem "Hippies"
The National "High Violet"

Did not hear
New Pornographers "Together"
Band of Horses "Infinite Arms"
MGMT "Congratulations"
Joanna Newsom "Have One on Me"
... and thousands more



Michelle said...

I agree that "Contra" was kind of disappointing. It just wasn't what I was hoping for out of VW.

If you want to hear really awful VW, though, listen to their horrible song on the Eclipse soundtrack (Don't judge).

"Together" takes a little getting used to. It's not TNP at their finest, as in "Twin Cinemas" or "Challengers," but it's not awful. It just kind of is. It's got some of the things that worked in the previous two albums and some of what didn't. Not spectacular.

Warped Coasters said...

haha blast you for teling me about the Vampire Weekend song, that was really really awful. When did Ezra start breath-singing like an even wimpier John Mayer.

Carrie said...

From our mutual listens, I would mostly agree. However, I give "Shame, Shame" an A-. The first weekend of listening I would probably grade it the same as you, but after a long break from it I've been playing it over and over lately. I like every single song and the vibe of the album is much sunnier than "Fate". Check out Broken Social Scene's, the track "All to All" is amazing and after a few listens, the simpler songs are pretty awesome too.

Brendan said...

Congratulations, man. The album I mean.

A Mixed Tape said...

Best Albums - Surfer Blood sure has been able to stand the test of time, man it is a pretty good album. I could not get into Titus, and am surprised that you could...likewise for the Beach House, they just didn't appeal, maybe I like shiny things like LCD Soundsystem, that's a good record (how'd you like that transition?). I love the Black Keys, but I'm thinking there is too much hype on this one, too much mid-tempo stuff, not a lot of variation, though Howlin' For You is top notch. And good ol' Spoon, they are, for me, a perennial B band. What's missing? Free Energy, Toro Y Moi, The Heligoats, and maybe some more.

Good - I take back my comment on Titus, I forgot that you like The Hold Steady, I see a slight correlation there. Sleigh Bells is hard to listen to on an iPod so I can't speak much to it, and I haven't heard any of those other ones, but hope to soon!

Meh - She & Him scored slightly higher with me, Big Echo's vinyl groove is waiting downstairs for me to actually listen to it, and darn! I loved the Foals first record, but this one seems completely different, right?

For the rest of the list, slide Infinite Arms into the over-produced, huge disappointment category, and that's probably an understatement. Joanna is probably overrated, unless you have time to listen to a 2-hr album, MGMT was pretty disappointing too. Oh and let us not forget the unbelievable disappointment of Midlake's Courage of Others, that was like Madonna in Swept Away type shit.

Also, I apologize for my 4-mo absence.

Warped Coasters said...

Welcome back, Mixed tape! Yeah Titus Andronicus is definitely in the same taste orbit as the Hold Steady.

In a post above, I linked to full reviews that a I wrote of the LCD Soundsystem and Black keys records. Re: the Black Keys, I agree with your criticisms, they should have cut some of the mid-tempo tracks from the middle of the album, but I still like the rest so much that it makes my BestOfTheYear list.

As for LCD Soundsystem, again, there a few songs I REALLY don't like, namely "Pow Pow" and "Drunk Girls," but the rest, especially "Dance Yrself Clean" is amazing.

Sleigh Bells is an awesome summertime driving record to just blast as loud as possible.

I'll have to check out Tory Y Moi. Heard of him/them, never listened to it.

I still can't make up my mind on Free Energy. I'm going to see them at Pitchfork Fest next week so I might come back a big fan, I could see them being really fun live. Though I'm surprised that you are into them.

"Transference" is the weakest album of Spoon's career (as is The Hold Steady's "Heaven is Whenever") but for me, anything Spoon does is usually better than everyone else.

Warped Coasters said...

Oh I still haven't made up my mind about Flying Lotus yet, either. I think it might be growing on me.

Also, you really should check out the Tame Impala album. It may move higher in the list as I listen more.

I just got "Hippies" by Harlem, too, so I hope that's good.