Jan 23, 2009

np: "My Girls" - Animal Collective

This fantastic song has nothing to do with tonight's post, I'm just loving the hell out of it at the moment. Hopefully much more about that song and its parent album, the first truly great album of 2009, at another time.

The big news in music critic-land this week was the unveiling of the Village Voice Pazz & Jop Critic's Poll, which has me very excited for several reasons. First of all, this was my first time participating in the legendary poll started by Robert Christgau. I'd voted in the off-shoot Idolator Poll for the last two years, but this was my first time taking part in the grandaddy of all nerdy critic polls. As much fun as it was to see my individual list among the familiar list of names, it was an even bigger thrill to see one of my comments published as well! View my ballot here and scroll down to the very bottom of the page here to read my commentary regarding Erykah Badu's fantastic album and the overall mood of 2008 (and, no, I haven't moved to NY). There's no more denying it, I'm officially a music critic. Take that as you will.

As far as the overall results, I can't say I'm surprised by most of the top 20 albums. I kind of expected to see Vampire Weekend walk away with it, but I can't complain about the ultimate winner. And I'm definitely happy to see my personal pick, Badu, breaking the Top 5. I do think that Randy Newman album was a little overrated. It's a decent listen, but I think it's too spotty to stand up among the best of the year. The list does remind me that I need to check out that Raphael Saadiq record though, lots of love for his R&B. Very pleased with the high placement of the Torche album as well, it seems to be getting the attention it deserves for being such a tight, thrilling riff-fest.

Over on the singles list the number one doesn't exactly surprise me, but I really don't associate "Paper Planes" with 2008 since I've been rocking since the summer of 2007. But the Pineapple Express trailer, as well as a hot remix disc, gave the song a new life and I can't complain about that. Still a hot song. The rest of the top 20 was fairly close to what I would have predicted, though I am surprised by the placement of the Death Cab For Cutie song - I thought critics were so over them.

As usual, a fun way to spend a couple hours perusing the ballots and reading the various comments. I'm excited to have been a part of it and I look forward to participating again next year.

Jan 12, 2009

Anticipated Albums of 2009

I mean to have this post done a couple weeks ago but, as usual, real life got in the way. Here's a quick rundown of some of the albums I am most anticipating in the coming year. First up, the ones with firm release dates over the next several months:

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino) out 01/20/09
Their last album was my number 2 album of 2009 and, judging by all the buzz this is already gathering, I'm expecting huge things for these guys. Each consecutive album has been better than the last, so this could be one for the ages.

Franz Ferdinand - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand (Domino) out 01/27/09
It feels like forever since we last had new Franz Ferdinand, which I think actually works in the band's favor - they were in danger of wearing thin after that second disc. I've heard positive rumblings about this one and I'm interested to see where they take their sound next.

Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You (Capitol) out 02/10/09
I was little a worried about this one, but lead single "The Fear" has me feeling a little more confident. It's a bouncy melody filled with Allen's sly wit and leaves me hoping that this disc lives up to her still thrilling debut.

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - The Century of Self (Richter Scale) 02/17/09
Yes, these guys have been very hit or miss since Source Tags & Codes, but I've found at least a handful of songs to love on every album since. When they're on ("So Divided", "Caterwaul") these guys are on. Let's hope for a better hit to miss ratio this time out.

The Soundtrack of Our Lives - Communion (Yep Roc) out 03/03/09
A criminally underrated band that was left in the cold once that whole "garage rock revolution" fizzled out, which is a shame because the band has been on a great streak since then. This is a double-disc opus that looks to be filled with their special brand of psych-influenced rock.

Handsome Furs - Face Control (Sub Pop) out 03/10/09
I enthused about their debut album back in May of '07 and I've been eagerly awaiting more material from Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry. This is shaping up to be a good year for Sub Pop.

Mastodon - Crack The Skye (Reprise) out 03/10/09
Without a doubt my favorite metal band going right now. Blood Mountain was my favorite album of 2006 and I can't wait to see what they unleash upon us next.

The Decemberists - Hazards of Love (Capitol) out 03/24/09
This seems like a band with a schtick that should have worn thin about two albums ago, but somehow they keep battling my expectations and releasing solid album after solid album. Hopefully this one will be as filled with lit-prog as the last.

Beyond that, things get a little sketchy, but I'm also looking forward to new releases from:
Ambulance LTD, The Avalanches *, Between the Buried and Me, Baroness, Blur *, Built to Spill, Doves, Dr. Dre *, Eminem, Fugees *, Jay-Z, Metric, New Pornographers, Pearl Jam, Prince, Jay Reatard, The Shins, Silversun Pickups, Slayer, Stars, Wilco, Patrick Wolk

* - indicates "yeah right, I'll believe it when I see it", but one can hope

Jan 7, 2009

np: "No Fun" - The Stooges

I had the beginnings of a longish post about some of my own most anticipated new albums of 2009, but that kinda fell to the wayside when I heard about the tragic loss of one of the founding members of the legendary Stooges. Asheton's dissonant guitars were always my favorite part of the band's classic albums and he will surely be missed. For now I just want to strip down to my underwear, crank "No Fun" up as loud as my stereo can go, and rock out. In fact, we all should do just that in Asheton's memory. If, for whatever completely unacceptable reason, you don't know this song - by all means download it (and another favorite) below so that you can listen to it on your iPod while making a beeline to your local record store to buy the entire Stooges catalog.

The Stooges - "No Fun" (taken from The Stooges)
The Stooges - "T.V. Eye" (taken from Fun House)

As a sidenote, expect my posts to be fairly sporadic over the next month or two as I really ramp up my studying for the LEED AP exam I'll be taking. Wish me luck.