Saturday, January 26, 2008

Top 7 in '007: Music

Have some music! Here are my favorite albums from the past year, replete with youTube-y goodness.

7. Radiohead, In Rainbows -- For a limited time this album was available for download from the band's website for whatever price you wanted. Lots of people grabbed it for free. Using advanced mathematics, I decided it was worth 3 quid 50 p ($7.05 USD), and yeah, it was. It's a great album. Here's a studio version of "Bodysnatchers."

6. The Decemberists, Picaresque -- Kinda-Wes-Anderson-rock, but I mean that in a good way.

5. The Coup, Pick A Bigger Weapon -- Song title of the year: BabyLetsHaveABabyBeforeBushDoSomethin'Crazy. This one's called "We Are The Ones."

4. Okkervil River, Black Sheep Boy -- Jackie turned me on to this band, and they were in heavy rotation on my iPod for a big chunk of this year. I guess you could describe them as alt-country (for lack of a better designation) or storytelling folk-rock, but the lead singer often sings like he's auditioning for Fugazi. Here's a live version of "Black" which captures the boiling anger behind the song, but I miss the bouncy, poppy keyboards on the album version - such a beautiful contradiction.

3. The Arcade Fire, Neon Bible -- The first track from their first album (Neighborhood #1 Tunnels - youTube link) still gives me the chills when it launches into the chorus with gorgeous ascending chords, steel drum tremolos and anguished lyrics. Talk about a tough act to follow, but there's not much about the new album that says sophomore slump. They're supposed to be amazing live (all 43 of 'em)... here's they are doing a live version of (Antichrist Television Blues).
That's right, punks, two french horns and a church organ. As an added curiosity, check out this clip of AF's "My Body Is A Cage" set to the final showdown from Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West."

2. TV on the Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain -- This band somehow manages to combine hardcore punk, soul music, Peter-Gabriel-style art rock and (um) doo-wop and makes it kick ass. This album is really good, but a tad tentative - it seems like they're one album away from blowing the doors off the place. Here's a live version of "Wolf Like Me."

1. Mountain Goats, The Sunset Tree -- I've raved before, and, yep. My new favorite band.

Honorable Mention: M.I.A., Kala; The New Pornographers, Challengers; Manu Chao, La Radiolina; Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs; Cloud Cult, The Meaning of 8.


Jackie said...

Heh. I forgot how much I enjoy that homemade sock puppet video of "Dance Music." There are two incongruous parts that always stick out at me. 1.) The lyrics say he's watching the Watergate hearing, but the sock puppet is clearly in front of a TV showing the Nixon-Kennedy debate, and 2.) The puppets are in some sort of coffee shop or something. There's two guys sitting in the corner in the background of the shot. What do they think is going on?

I don't know if you're already knew this or if I already told you this or whatever, but the Mountain Goats official website now has a track of the new, not yet released album ( Heretic Pride -- "Sax Rohmer #1"). It's fantastic ("and I am coming home to you
with my own blood in my mouth"). I've seen another track somewhere else on the interwebs which is also pretty good.

And as long as this is the longest comment ever. I really dig the Black Sheep Boy Appendix. Make Sarah give it to you.

t said...

ooh, new Mountain Goats! thanks for the tip.

also, it occurs to me that I don't think I would know what the Watergate hearing looked like even if they did get the clip right...

and yeah, I've been meaning to check out the appendix too, which is a weird concept, but everyone always mentions it in the same breath as BSB.