Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Top 50 albums of the 00s - #44, José González: In Our Nature

Yep, we're counting down the top 50. Click here for overview and criteria.

José González is a bit of a patchwork quilt of a human being. His parents are Argentine, but had moved to Sweden before he was born. His musical upbringing was wholly within post-punk and hardcore bands, yet he likes to claim those Latin roots as influences. His thus-far two album solo career doesn't particularly sound like any of the above, yet you can kind of feel the background if you squint really hard.

One of my favorite restaurants here in Argentina has the same six albums on shuffle at all times. This is one of them. I never notice when the songs come on until they're halfway through. They fit right in there in the background before you realize they're already arrived and are surrounding you. The album is an apt soundtrack for virtually any activity. Most of the songs are simply José and a guitar, but it never feels like folk music. In fact, it's closer to adult contemporary, but his fragile vocal delivery makes every track personal.

This album centers around its second track, "Down the Line." González has a tranquil, easy way about him. But despite that flowery attitude, there's a hidden edge to this one. Yes, it's still just him murmuring and the guitar settling in somewhere between plucking and strumming (plumbing?), but there's the feel of a punch. Perhaps he blows his wad early in the game, with all the following songs falling way behind in terms of dynamism. But they flow well from that peak, like a the late spring snow of a mountain melting and trickling its way downhill.

33 minutes is barely an album. It's especially barely an album when you're talking about the best of a decade. But when a record is this relistenable, you don't really care that it's so short. It just means you're that much closer to giving it another spin.





Previous Entries:
#45 - Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
#46 - Caribou - Andorra
#47 - Mastodon - Crack the Skye
#48 - Shout Out Louds - Howl Howl Gaff Gaff
#49 - At the Drive-In: Relationship of Command
#50 - Rival Schools: United by Fate


Monday, October 19, 2009

Top 50 albums of the 00s - #45, Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion

Yep, we're counting down the top 50. Click here for overview and criteria.

If I liked this record more it would be higher on the list. Hmmm. Is that the most obvious thing ever written? Let me clarify. I've never been into Animal Collective, and have "mehed" at the previous urgings by their fans to give prior releases more chances. I think it's probably safe to say that I still don't get it. However, this is a brilliant piece of work. It's not really my thing. But it's so well done that I can't help but really fucking dig it. This nerdy group of harmonizers have taken their "Beach Boys on way more acid" routine to a much higher level.

This album takes a good two minutes to get going. But then it goes and goes and goes. It's headphone, private music to be sure. I can't imagine playing this record with any other people around for any occasion. First of all, if they weren't already accustomed to this kind of music, they would have a strong desire to punch my stereo square in the face. And even if they were already fans, it's not like you're going to hang out or rock it out to the dissonant boops and beeps that comprise the majority of this record. But when the whole point of the record is its punctuation, it can take you over as it pins you to the floor for ribcage-typewriter-torture.

I guess what I'm saying is, this album is annoying in an overt way, but inherently listenable in spite of itself. I have already decided that it doesn't mean anything, and I don't know that I'm going keep going find any hidden depths to it. But at the same time, there will certainly be times when I'm in the mood. There just won't be anybody else around.





Previous Entries:
#46 - Caribou - Andorra
#47 - Mastodon - Crack the Skye
#48 - Shout Out Louds - Howl Howl Gaff Gaff
#49 - At the Drive-In: Relationship of Command
#50 - Rival Schools: United by Fate


One Word Review: The Promotion



37: Awkward

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Sorry for the lack of content here. And we were doing so well! I have been without home internet for the last five weeks. And while my office has been doing a fine job of keeping me very busy, the IT folks have decided that large swaths of the internet should be off limits. This, unfortunately, includes blogger. So, I hereby promise that we'll be back very soon with a boatload of OWRs, the rest of the Best of the 00s, and hopefully even a new A to B Back and Forth Review of something. Until then, please check back. I promise I'm not deceased.