Art piece at the de Young Museum
It’s always such a strange thing for me to sum up an entire calendar year, to take a snapshot of it. Either the framed picture is actually a better portrayal of the year than it actually was, or it cannot fully encapsulate the grandness of it. It’s been a positively turbulent year for me personally, and as far as music, the four albums that stick out in my mind are Sigur Ros’ Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust, Lykke Li’s Youth Novels, TV On The Radio’s Dear Science,, and Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, which was on my list from last year as well–yeah, it’s that good. They are all great albums that work cohesively as an album and not just as filler for a few singles. I think the Sigur Ros and Bon Iver albums are masterpieces. The four albums mentioned above should grow old gracefully and they won’t make your kids, or grand kids cringe when you play them on your hi-fi stereo. So, here’s a toast to my incredible (y)ear, and below are the rest of my notable albums of the year.
Here at the offices of FoeWeel, we hope for this holiday season, and for the new year that your lips be less chapped, the ability to breathe be at least through one nostril, and may both of your ears be open to music, in all of it’s many forms.
Sigur Ros – Med Sud i Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust
Inni Mer Syngur Vitleysingur (Within Me A Lunatic Sings)
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
TV On The Radio - Dear Science,
Lykke Li – Youth Novels
I’m Good I’m Gone
The REST (in no particular order)
Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III - (Lollipop (Featuring Static Major)) – one of hip-hop’s strangest artists who embraces the mainstream as well as the underground. I can’t explain why Wayne is probably the only mainstream hip hop artist who resonates with me, but I guess when you have an entire genre of crap, it’s not hard to rise to the top. Unique delivery with always an interesting perspective, all masked with the hip hop bravado.
Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend – (The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance) – almost every track on their debut self-titled album is a pop single ready to be unwrapped and consumed for all of it’s sugary goodness. Take harpsichords, cellos and sparse reggae beats not seen since the Police, and you have an album that may be enjoyed by that housewife who lives in the suburbs with 3 kids who mistakes boredom for blandness.
Nina Simone – To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story (Box Set) – (I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl (Live)) - A true artist. They should make a biography about her, and please don’t get Beyonce to play Nina. I think Gweneth Paltrow would be wonderful. Her range as an actor is beyond comparison and her hubbies band, Coldplay could do all covers of Nina’s songs. Wow, what a brilliant idea.
Flying Lotus – Los Angeles – (RobertaFlack feat. Dolly) The closest thing to blending abstract beats with hip-hop. Everything may appear to be slightly off, but it’s actually in the proper vestabule for your brain. One of the most forward thinking beat producers out there today, and the nephew of Alice Coltrane. It’s in the genes.
Hauschka - Ferndorf - (Rode Null) – A perfect soundtrack for a Tim Burton film, an animated one because most of his live action films aren’t that good anymore. It sounds as if Volker Bertelmann is conducting an orchestra with the players all inside his piano.
Liam Finn – I’ll Be Lightning – (Wide Awake On The Voyage Home) – the son of pop songsmith Neil Finn, of Crowded House fame. Another case to show that talent runs in the genes, an ecelectic mix of pop songs that continues his father’s excellent solo outings as well as the great career of Crowded House. Too much Yoko in Sean?
Kangding Ray – Automne Fold - (Quarante) – My mom once told me that the size of the bone on your wrist and the size of your ears determines your success in life. I wish I could remember this whenever someone is having one of their self-righteous moments. I think anyone who purchases a Ford, GM, or Chrysler should have this CD stuck in their CD player. You figure that one out.
Greg Dulli – Live @ The Triple Door - (Candy Cane Crawl) the former frontman for the Afghan Whigs, current member of the Twilight Singers and the Gutter Twins. If I could be reincarnated as any musician, it would probably have to be Dulli. Blues and alcohol drenched evenings on the road while wearing his heart on his sleeve. Puss and blood make a great combination for a guitar solo.
Goldmund – The Malady Of Elegance – (Image-Autumn-Womb) Just for the record, any statement can be made in to a sentence. The beauty of writing is that it can be freeform, and not the new James Frey variety, but one that makes sense and deliver the goods-TWSS. It has always been tough to sift through the crap. You have the ad agencies stuffing everything down your throat, which is supposed to be better, stronger, faster, but how do you know what is real, what is true. Go read a book, and not one that is recommended by Oprama. Stop watching TV, listen to KCRW, or WXPN and don’t trust anyone who lives within 5 miles of a strip mall.
Girl Talk – Feed The Animals – (Set It Off) – it’s a mashup of everything, and I mean, everything. It has a ton of 90’s hip-hop which I largely ignored for good reason, but it won’t cause constipation like listening to Coldplay.
Fennesz – The Black Sea – (Vacuum) – I make soup, yeah soup, to Fennesz’s music. It takes some time, but it usually turns out pretty well. It seems to put a smile on me lady’s face. Listen closely, it’s actually the Beatles played at indistinguisablly low levels. You have to enhale all of the cleaning solutions in your house to understand this one, but it’s worth it, once you get out of the hospital.
Flight Of The Conchords – Flight Of The Conchords – (The Most Beautfiul Girl (In The Room)) – Seriously…..witty lyrics, great melodies..how can you not like these guys. It truly is a tear on my face, and not just rain if you don’t understand the genius behind these guys.
The Dodos – Visiter - (Park Song) – Yes, they are from San Francisco. I like the DooDoos. Do they still live here? Local music here is pretty lame. Subtle across the bay are pretty good, but as far as smaller bands, musicians, where are they ? Maybe the heyday has been laid to rest by such greats as Sammy Hagar, Huey Lewis, Pointer Sisters, Metallica, Mark Kozelek (kidding), DJ Shadow, Amon Tobin (??), American Music Club (??) and Journey.
CLP – Supercontinental – ( I’m So Trill feat. Tunde Olaniran) – Phon.o and Chris de Luca tone down their breaks for people to talk over. I think they should just get Beans and Lil Wayne to wrap all over their beats. Who else is a good wrapper?
aus – Antwarps – (Lethargic) Do your feet ever just start sweating when you are wearing shoes ? Random foot sweats. I’ve noticed that my armpits seem to sweat more than when I was younger. Instead of wearing deodarant/anti-whatever, I just play aus for a bit after I get out of the shower and keeps me dry in the places I need to be dry during the daylight hours.
Animal Collective – Water Curses EP – (Street Flash) If the Beach Boys were actually good, or if they would have progressed beyond Pet Sounds. Scratch that. Familiar music made in unfamiliar ways. They are getting better with each new release. If we lived under water, this is what music would sound like to us.
Adele – 19 – (Best For Last) – you might say that it’s another female soul singer, another Winehouse, but is that bad? A little more pop, and a little more health. No boob job or tats, yet.
Byetone – Death Of A Typographer – (Heart) – If you take some of the excess felt/cloth off of the Q-Tip before you use it, you might be able to get more wax out. If you get more wax out, you will be able to hear the subliminal messages in Coldplays’ music (some examples: GP is the greatest actress ever), and you will be able to appreciate music’s progression in the form of Byetone. If not, just shove the whole Q-Tip in there and leave it there for a few days.