Monday, December 24, 2007

the nice list.

pretty sure i’m on it this year. here are the album’s of 2007 that made my musical nice list. instead of pitting bands and albums of varied genre/concept/sound/brilliance against one another for contention of top 10 status, i opted to let itunes do the work for me. the following is a list of the albums I listened to the most this year. in descending order…

The Snake The Cross The Crown Cotton Teeth
caw-ton tee-th: genius arrangement of relaxed guitar, subtle piano, rough vocals, and honest lyrics. songs of mention: all of them, especially "Behold The River," "Cakewalk," and "Electronic Dream Planet."

Dear And The Headlights Small Steps Heavy Hooves
s-mawl st-eps hev-ee who-vs: running almost in the front. a voice that breaks in all the right ways at all the right times. nostalgic lyrics that leave me comfortably pensive. songs of mention: all of them.

Andrew Bird Armchair Apocrypha
are-mmm-ch-air ap-aw-cri-fah: delicate guitar, whistling, melodic, strings and more. against the saturated vocals, odd but pleasant. songs of mention: "Imotosis," and "Heretics." how about some credit now where credit is due.

LCD Soundsystem Sound of Silver
sow-nd ahv sill-vher: my favourite album of 2007. it ranges in emotion and theme, the results: maturity and cohesion.. songs of mention: "All My Friends," turning the simplest of piano riffs into 7 minutes and 37 seconds of sonic bliss.

Menomena Friend and Foe
fur-end ahnd f-oh: weird and wonderful, quirky vocals, piano, use of percussion, and tech sounds. songs of mention: "Wet and Rusting," for highlighting how hard it is to take risks with a pessimist. "My My," for its use of organ.

The National Boxer
bawk-sir: johnny cash esque vocals over ivory gold and guiding drum lines. this album is heavy in all the right ways and deserves special mention for it’s skilled use of brass arrangements. songs of mention: Fake Empire for being beautiful and driven. Ada, for the same reasons.

Portugal The Man Church Mouth
ch-er-ch m-ow-th: rock and roll. it didn’t die, it’s alive and well. songs of mention: "Tellers Telling Me," and "Dawn," sit down and listen.

Kings Of Leon Because Of The Times
bee-k-awz ahv th-uh tie-mz: stretched vocals. catchy enough to gain mainstream notice, good enough to maintain indie street cred. use of bass much appreciated. songs of mention: "My Party," and "On Call."

Justice (cross)
k-raw-s: sound. noise. beautiful beautiful sound and noise. songs of mention: "Genesis," nominee for most brilliant opening track to a record. "D.A.N.C.E." for making people want to.

Band Of Horses Cease To Begin
see-suh tew bee-ghin: pretty. songs of mention: "Is There A Ghost," and "Ode to LRC," for not caring what the people say.

Bring on 2008.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

miss mixalot

It's that time of year again. The snow is falling, exams are being written, and music snobs around the world are making their best of 2007 mixes, with tracks from what they think were the best albums released this year.

Because I am off in dreary ol' Amsterdam, my close circle of snobs will be exchanging their mixes without me this year. Even though the event is taking place at my house. No, I'm not bitter. I'm in Amsterdam. Amsterdam trumps all.

Since I can't share my lekker mix with my friends, I would like to share it with all of you.
And before I get criticized for not having Vampire Weekend or MIA or Miracle Fortress, may I remind you that a CD only holds 80 minutes of bliss. And I don't like MIA.


1. Flux - Bloc Party
2. Black Mirror - Arcade Fire
3. Nineteen - Tegan and Sara
4. On Call - Kings of Leon
5. Pioneer to the Falls - Interpol
6. The Past is a Grotesque Animal - Of Montreal
7. Missed the Boat - Modest Mouse
8. Drunk on Aluminum - Wintersleep
9. You! Me! Dancing! - Los Campesinos
10. North American Scum - LCD Soundsystem
11. Phantom Limb - The Shins
12. Wooden Sky - The Wooden Sky (formerly Friday Morning's Regret)
13. Four Winds - Bright Eyes
14. Fake Empire - The National
15. Videotape - Radiohead

Of Montreal X 2 + Girl Talk = 12

Twelve euros isn’t a lot of money. It can buy you two pints in an Amsterdam bar. It can buy you one gram of weed in one of the numerous coffeeshops around town. And as of Wednesday, December 12th, I found out that it can also get you a ticket to see indie rockers Of Montreal. Two nights in a row. With Girl Talk. Yes, you can be jealous.

Walking into Paradiso, one of Amsterdam’s premium music venues, I had no idea what was in store for me. I had assumed that Of Montreal would play on the main stage. Instead, I was pleased to discover that they were to play in a small room upstairs that probably holds no more than 300 hipsters. Score.

The room filled fast, and Of Montreal hit the stage full force, no opening band necessary. Even though the bright, eclectic outfits of all the band members and lead singer Kevin Barnes’ sparkled eye makeup would have been enough to keep my attention the entire set, it wasn’t necessary. The band launched right into their not-quite-12-minute masterpiece, "The Past is a Grotesque Animal" off of the 2007 release Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer? (FYI, the song is also featured on my Best of 2007, in stores now). The show never slowed down as the quintet played most songs from Hissing Fauna and 1995’s Sunlandic Twins, with a few tracks from one of their numerous other albums. Barnes’ voice could only be described as heavenly, hitting some notes that I never realized were so high when listening to the albums. Highlights included a costume change for Barnes off stage as the band played the instrumental track "October is Eternal". The end of the song saw Barnes slither on stage in green, thigh-high fishnet stockings and a pair of jean booty shorts so tight that even I blushed when I first saw. I never blush.

The second half of the set was just as upbeat and energetic as the first, and after thirteen songs, the band left the stage, only to return and play "She’s a Rejector" as the encore. AND inform the crowd that they would be playing a free show the following night at the same venue with Girl Talk. This is where I would like to say thank you to the airport staff at the Athens, Greece airport. Because of your strike, Of Montreal could not play there the next night, and I got to reap the benefits. I hope your strike goes well.

The next night was just as good as the first, starting with a jam-packed room getting hot and sweaty to 1.5 hours of straight dancing to mashup DJ Girl Talk aka Gregg Gillis. He invited the crowd on stage. We went. Then we abused our power and took off his shirt to throw into the audience. And then we pulled his pants down. And that is how he dj’ed for the rest of the night. Track pants around the ankles and all.

Girl Talk ended at 12:30 and we had to wait until 2 a.m. for Of Montreal to take the stage. There were less people than the night before, seeing as the show was so late and there was a dance party going on in the main room downstairs. By the end of the show there were maybe 50 people in the room. Damn the ignorance of techno-loving Europeans. Regardless, Of Montreal played yet another stellar show, with only two tracks of the 15-song set being repeats from the night before. Even though I was a bit too drunk to fully embrace the full awesomeness that night, I definitely appreciated the cover of Prince’s "Purple Rain" as their final song. No encore came that night, as there wasn’t enough of a crowd to cry out for one. Unfortunately, the voices of myself and my friends weren’t enticing enough for Kevin and the gang. Alas, I left the room satisfied and feeling extremely lucky to witness what I did for the low, low cost of twelve euros.

Suffer for Fashion - Of Montreal

Forecast Fascist Future - Of Montreal