Sunday, December 16, 2007

Massive Nights

Here is the list of the songs on my cd of my favorite songs of 2007. If you are interested in a copy, let me know.

1. LCD Soundsystem- Sound of Silver
2. Fog- Your Beef is Mine
3. Bon Iver- Skinny Love
4. Animal Collective- Peacebone
5. The National- Fake Empire
6. Menomena- Muscle’n Flo
7. Of Montreal- Suffer for Fashion
8. Yeasayer- 2080
9. Peter and the Wolf- Scarlet and Grey
10. Soulsavers- Revival
11. Oh No- Heavy
12. Handsome Furs- What we had
13. Andrew Bird- Heretics
14. Blitzen Trapper- Wild Mountain Nation
15. Black Lips- O Katrina
16. Ola Podrida- Jordanna
17. The Rosebuds- Silja Line
18. Vampire Weekend- Oxford Comma
19. Sunset Rubdown- The Mending Of The Gown

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What I liked in 2007

Here is my list.....nothing more than a drop of rain in a tsunami, but in case anyone was wondering "what did Josh Keller like this year in music", here is your answer. If you are interested in my "best of 07" mix cd(leave your email) or just want to tell my I am an idiot with horrible music tastes....leave a comment. (The cd track list I will put up later)

LCD Soundsystem- Sound of Silver
Oh James Murphy, hipster god, are we worthy? The first LCD Soundsystem album was a rollicking good time (especially disc two), but it made me wonder whether Murphy was cut out for this songwriting. Maybe he needed to stick to the wonderful and boisterous remixes that he put out on his DFA label and his production of fellow dance rockers. Boy, was I wrong. Who would have guessed that Murphy had some of the best songs from this waning generation hidden up his snap button shirt sleeve? This would be my favorite album of the year even it was a single with just “All my Friends” and “Someone Great”. Those two songs alone put most albums I listened to this year to shame, and seeing them live only added to their magical trance over me. James Murphy has manically combined rock and dance with great songwriting in a way that I feel is unparalleled. These songs still have the cowbell and grooves, but they are great songs. Win Butler played a small part of “All My Friends” on acoustic and I realized that James Murphy is a heavyweight….not in the dance rock scene, but in the entire music scene. He has morphed the entire dance rock scene into a place where it is relevant and it can stand next to its more straight-forward, guitar brandishing brethren. I just wonder if it will be possible for anyone else to ever replicate this or will it be looked back on as lighting in a bottle. Kick ass, emotional, and rocking lighting in a bottle.

Of Montreal- Hissing fauna, are you the destroyer?
One album can indeed change the overbearing impression that a band levies on you. Gone are the clich├ęd E6 psychedelic pop that has always kept me an arms distance away from Of Montreal. In there place are funky, dark electronic narratives that seem to perfectly combine great songwriting and wonderful soundscapes. I love really deep music (i.e. mostly depressing lyric content), but it does get tiresome to hear mundane and lethargic somber music always, so thank you Of Montreal for getting down while you are down.


The National- Boxer
Although I seem to be the only person in the world who still likes their last album, Alligator, more than this, I still love this album. It has all of the ingredients that make the National so great. Well laid out songs with deep and thoughtful instrumentals with Matt Bringer’s smoky baritone crooning over the top. He writes interesting and atypical lyrics that fit with the slight brooding tones of the music. This is the sound of a great band who has worked together for years and it shows…nothing feels forced or contrived, just great rock and roll music.


Menomena-Friend and Foe
Weird, angular rock and roll that is more satisfying with each listen. After seeing them live I came away with an even greater appreciation for the complex sounds that this three piece creates. All three have wonderful singing voices and they have multiple instruments at their disposal. This is enough for any band to be great, but Menomena up the creative anti with their distinctive recording process (look it up). The thing that pulls everything together is the songs, which if they were not as good as they were, would render all of the talent in the world pointless. Luckily for Menomena, and me, they do have that last important ingredient, and they showed us that on Friend and Foe time and time again.
Animal Collective- Strawberry Jam/ Panda Bear- Person Pitch
Animal Collective are great. They write weird and funky tribal jams. On this album that leaned farther towards pop music than they have before and they came up with all aces.
Person Pitch was my first love of the year 07, and it stayed with me. Noah Lennox took the great qualities he brings to Animal Collective (amazing falsetto, droning rhythms, and Brian Wilson-esqe melodies) and he made himself a damn good album. I would say that this album will stand along the Animal Collective cannon in years down the road and be able to say that this was one of the best from the group.
Radiohead- In Rainbows
Radiohead made a great album…no surprise there. I think that a little of this album’s quality was lost in the hoopla surrounding its release, but I believe that they are starting to bring back some of the great qualities (song structures, guitars, etc) from their early (OK Computer and The Bends) to mix with their electronic fetish of the latter years. It still isn’t a return to the glory days (my impression only, I do realize that many people think their glory days were Kid A era), but I for one did the like the slight concessions on their part. Radiohead has proven they can make great albums in multiple genres…here is to hoping they can continue to find ways to write amazing music and surprise all of us cynical music lovers.
Peter and the Wolf- Ivory Palms
Red Hunter performs under the name Peter and the Wolf. He write folk songs and shanties, in a vain that I image Sufjan Stevens would do if he didn’t try to cram 400 instruments in every song. Plain and simple, he writes good songs and it is a crime that he is at the level of recognition he is and there are people out there with no talent making millions of dollars on image and style over substance and talent. Sorry….end of rant.

Spoon- GaGaGaGaGa
Spoon is the quintessential American Rock and Roll band. Anyone want to argue…..bring it on. When you listen to an album as solid and amazing as GaGaGaGaGa and have to wonder whether it is better than their last THREE albums, you come to realize you have a band that has been consistently been writing amazing songs for the last decade. Britt Danial is our generation’s John Fogerty (I mean that as a compliment). He cannot stop writing great, airtight songs that are ridiculously melodic and painfully catchy, without feeling structured or cheesy. This is an album (like all of Spoons albums) that is solid from start to finish and finds ways to weave Britt’s snarling voice and unique songwriting style over a plethora of styles ranging from rock to funk to electronic. Can Spoon make a bad album?
Blitzen Trapper- Wild Mountain Nation
It must get old for bands that mix different musical genres on an album to avoid being compared to Pavement. Blitzen Trapper made one of my favorite albums by having an ADHD approach to writing songs. Want an indie rock song about sci-fi nerds? Check. Want a couple old fashioned ho-downs? Check. Want some slicing rock and roll? Check. How about an even mix of serious lyrics with goofy banter? Check. A great album filled with solid songs no matter what genre or style. Check, indeed.

Dr. Dog- We All Belong
Why are these guys not world famous and touring the globe to weeping girls and fawning fans? Seriously…what more can these guys do? They sound like about 40 great classic rock groups than an alchemist someone melted into musical gold. The rolling rhythms, the catchy yet original songs, the soaring backing vocals…why can’t everyone so easily meld the Beach Boys and the Band together? Plus they wear cool sunglasses and I am pretty sure one wears a fanny pack, which is reason enough to listen to these guys, right?


HONORABLE MENTION
Okkervil River- The Stage Names
Shocking Pinks- Shocking Pinks
Poison Control Center- Collage of Impressions
Yeasayer-All Hour Cymbals
Rosebuds-Night of the Furies
Fog-Ditherer
Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever ago
Sunset Rubdown- Random Spirit Lover
Besnard Lakes- Besnard Lakes are the dark horse
Burial- Untrue
!!!- Myth Takes
Patrick Wolf- The Magic Position
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Dirty Projectors-Rise Above
St. Vincent- Marry Me
PJ Harvey- White Chalk
Kayne West- Graduation
The Field- From here we go Sublime
Beirut- Flying Club Cup
Andrew Bird- Armchair Apocrypha
Brother Ali- The Undisputed Truth
Oh NO- Dr. No's Oxperiment
Dan Deacon- Spiderman of the Rings
The Go Team- Proof of Youth
To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie- S/T
Bright Eyes-Cassadaga
Kevin Drew-Spirit if...
Caribou- Andorra
The Twilight Sad- Fourteen Autums and Fifteen Winters