Saturday, January 24, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
10. O, Tilly & the Wall
I love tap dancing. Throw lots of gorgeous girl-girl harmonies, mid-80s pop melodies and fat synths on top of Jamie Pressnall's wicked feet, and you've got 11 awesome tracks. If only "Beat Control" had made it onto the U.S. release.
9. Saturdays=Youth, M83
Anthony Gonzalez and co.'s latest offering smacks of the Cocteau Twins, Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. They probably could have put "Kim & Jessie" on a 12-inch half a dozen times and I'd have been happy. Saturdays=Youth is huge, darkly hopeful and fuzzy. And it makes me feel like wearing nothing but black and a smile. All good things.
8. Conor Oberst, Conor Oberst
This is not a Bright Eyes album, and Mr Oberst went all the way to Mexico to prove it to you. Instead, the former wunderkind/next Dylan/reviled emo poster boy embraces twang and taps a pre-CMT inspiration that's not quite alt-country. And it works. Bright Eyes' last record, Cassadaga, floundered under poor production and a lyrical thread that felt forced. Not so with this self-titled release, which finds Oberst escaping... from what, I'm not entirely sure. Regardless, I appreciate the sentiment.
7. Sun Giant EP/Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
Uplifting and radiant and perfect for Monday morning. Or any morning, really.
6. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
Yes, they might be the Whitest Band and the object of backlash for their look and sudden success. And yes, they sound exactly like Graceland-era Paul Simon. But what's wrong with that? I say the world needs more bands that could call you Al.
5. Hold On Now, Youngster..., Los Campesinos!
OK, tiny confession: Although "Death to Los Campesinos!" was the first song that really hooked me off this record, it was a mind-blowing mash-up by The Hood Internet that sold me on this band. See, Usher can do beautiful things. Without him, I'd have never fallen in love with the unabashed joy of "My Year in Lists," "We Are All Accelerated Readers" and "You! Me! Dancing!" Thank you, Usher. Thank you.
4. The Silver City, Jeremy Messersmith
Think Elliott Smith without the drugs fronting Fountains of Wayne without "Stacy's Mom." High praise, I know. But Messersmith's songwriting and voice, equal parts ache and hope, deserve it. Genius production from Dan Wilson (Semisonic) helps too.
3. Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne
iTunes tells me I listened to "Got Money" 77 times in the past six months. And that's not even one of the good songs. Tha Carter III sprawls, showcasing Dwayne Carter's lack of restraint. This would be a bad thing were it not for the truth to his claim: "They don't make em like me no more/ Matter of fact, they never made it like me before/ I'm rare like Mr. Clean with hair/ No brake lights on my car-rare." Best Rapper Alive, indeed.
2. 808s and Heartbreak, Kanye West
Sometimes I think 808s and Heartbreak is the finest Phil Collins record ever made by a rapper, and sometimes I think Kanye was just trying to murder Auto-Tune. Regardless, this album might be the best thing he's ever made. It's not a hip-hop album, it's not a rock album, it's not a pop album. No, 808s and Heartbreak is the self-portrait of an artist falling apart, nearly perfect in its imperfection. ART WINS!!!!!! ART WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ART WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BUT SERIOUSLY, THE DRUMS ON HEARTLESS ARE DOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1. Feed the Animals, Girl Talk
Yeah, yeah, yeah. He wrote none of the music and probably stole it all from the Internet. I don't care. This is not a party album; this is the party album, a sonic distillation of a multitasking, instant-gratification generation with a collective short attention span. Somehow, in trying and failing for 53 minutes to top "Juicy" riding "Tiny Dancer", Gregg Gillis constructed an entire album whose sum is better than his single greatest moment. Andre3000 rapping over Journey ain't bad, either.