Monday, September 22, 2008

What I'm listening to these days

Let's try to get through a bunch of stuff I've listened to. Quick hits. Here we go.

TV On the Radio - Dear Science,

Typically brilliant stuff. They go from Prince-esque funk to glitchy electro to string-laden ballads to creepy bedtime stories, all without blinking an eye. I loved Return to Cookie Mountain, but I think I like this one better. Just fantastic stuff.

Rating: 5/5
Favorite Song: "DLZ"

Doug Burr - On Promenade

A great folk singer, but he also adds bits of noise and gospel into the mix for good measure. He has a great voice, and a real gift for musical arrangements. To call it a folk record is to miss the greatness of it. There are a couple of songs that aren't great, but when the rest of it is so fantastic, the "down moment" aren't really that big of a deal.

Rating: 4.5/5
Favorite Song: "In the Garden"

Kings of Leon - Only by the Night

I've never been a big fan of theirs, but their great performance on SNL prompted me to check this album out. It's a bit spotty, but when it's on, it's really on. Their best work on this album is the best work of their career. I'm a big fan of the lead singer's kind of reminds me of the lead singer from Polarboy. Who didn't love that reference?

Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite Song: "Use Somebody"

Cherry Ghost - Thirst for Romance

I'm a sucker for big pop songs, and Cherry Ghost does them very well. They also mix a bit of country into their stuff from time to time, and it sounds great. They kind of sound like Coldplay, but that's mainly because there's a British guy singing pop music.

Rating: 4/5
Favorite Song: "Dead Man's Suit"

Coldplay - Viva la Vida

Since I just referenced them, I might as well talk about their new album. This album is light years better than X&Y, but that's kind of like saying that eating grass is better than eating human beings. It's not a bad fact, there are a number of really good songs on the album. If this album was terrible, I would've written off Coldplay forever. It's possible that this album is just delaying the inevitable...or they could be back on the path to greatness.

Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite Song: "Death and All His Friends"

Throw Me the Statue - Moonbeams

A nice little summery pop album, filled with fuzzed-out instrumentations, drum machines, and vocals that are usually somewhere between good and mediocre. It's catchy, it's fun, and it's great to play with the windows down. It's not a great album, but it's a good album.

Rating: 3/5
Favorite Song: "About to Walk"

Shearwater - Rook

So...these guys really like Talk Talk, huh? I don't mean that in a bad fact, I love this album. Rarely can a band show it's influences as obviously as Shearwater does and still put out an album as great as this. Grand sweeping pop songs infused with noise and a hint of classical influences.

Rating: 5/5
Favorite Song: "Home Life"

Beck - Modern Guilt

Quite possibly my favorite Beck album. He is, fairly consistently, the most electic and exciting artist. With every album he does something new and different. On this album, he pares down his electro and hip-hop wanderings in favor of a psych-rock direction. Beck & Dangermouse make a glorious team...let's do it again, fellas.

Rating: 5/5
Favorite Song: "Youthless"

The Shortwave Set - Replica Sun Machine

A nice little psych-pop album. I like it...but I don't love it. They seem creative enough, and they have a pretty cool sound, but I've never been blown-away by this album...which I think it what they're going for. Check it out, but don't expect to have a mind-bending experience.

Rating: 3/5
Favorite Song: "Glitches 'n' Bugs"

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs - Dirt Don't Hurt

A big, stomping country album. It sounds like this album was recorded 70 years ago in a barn with dirt floors, the entire thing done in one frantic session. Whiskey bottles and lined up and clouds of dirt fill the barn, yet the recording session continues, on into the night. If I were a big country fan, this would probably be my new favorite album. As it is, I just like it quite a bit.

Rating: 4/5
Favorite Song: "Bottom Below"

Grand Archives - The Grand Archives

As you all well know, I'm a sucker for a good pop song. This album has quite a few of them. I'm not a huge fan of the entire album, but there are enough great songs on here ("Torn Blue Foam Couch", "Sleepdriving", etc.) to keep me coming back. It's not that the "off" songs are bad, they're just not nearly as good as the great ones. I guess that's not really a bad problem to have.

Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite Song: "Torn Blue Foam Couch"

Amanda Jenssen - Killing My Darlings

What a voice. She can jump from horn-laden soul music (a la Dusty Springfield) to nu-soul (a la Amy Winehouse) to ska-ish pop to slow-building ballads...all without batting an eye. While the genre-jumping can be a little distracting sometimes, she's so good at them all that it doesn't really matter all that much.

Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite Song: "For the Sun"

Jesper Norda - Little Ones EP

The first song, "Tomorrow You Will Be Forgiven but Tonight You Will Have Your Teeth Knocked Out" is an absolutely gorgeous, piano-driven song. It sounds like a song that Matt Behringer (from The National) would alone in his apartment after a long night out on the town. It's fast becoming one of my favorite songs of the year. Unfortunately, the rest of the EP is not too good. It's worth checking out for the first song, though. And, since it's a free download, you can do just that.

Rating: 2/5
Favorite Song: "Tomorrow You Will Be Forgiven but Tonight You Will Have Your Teeth Knocked Out"

There's more...oh, there's always more. I'll stop here for now, though.


Fosterface said...

Hey pal - once again, the next couple of weeks of musiclistening will be guided by your blog.

I had a severe letdown/sigh of relief last night. The Onion's A.V. Club, whose music reviewers I am so close to writing off as oblivious and unable to write about music at all, talked about this group called Ratatat and made them sound like a couple of guys who made Chimpo actually happen. I wanted to hear what it would sound like to be done professionally but was going to be disappointed that someone else did it and we didn't. But they didn't do it. It was boring background electronica stuff. Like mall music will sound like in 3 years.

We have iPods at work now! Wheee! Though "Messed Up Over You" is playing now and I think I'm going to go take a nap now.

sharon said...

Seeing TV on the Radio as the first entry on your list made me remember that I forgot to tell you that the BonIver (?) song that goes "My my my, my my My, MY, My" was on Grey's last week! See, now don't you wish you had watched it with me! :) hah! ps - remind me to work on my ipod music this weekend :) luv, sharon