Tag Archive | Dirty Projectors

It’s time for a list!: The “Hide Your Shame” edition

I’m intent on gleefully destroying any cred I might have as an amateur music critic, and today’s post is going to go a long way toward that goal.  I’m talking about the poor, neglected albums on my iPod that I never got around to hearing.  Sometimes I get overzealous and download so much music at a time (or friends burn stuff for me) I can never absorb it all, or I get sidetracked by  the one record I really love.  In most cases, I listened to the first two songs, or flipped through them all and decided I wasn’t in the right headspace, but never came back to it later.  It’s also possible that I’ve listened to many of these albums and that they just didn’t leave an impression on me.

So here they are, in alphabetical order:

  1. Aimee Mann @#%&*! Smilers I used to love Aimee Mann, but found her  quasi-concept album The Forgotten Arm to be a little toothless, despite a plot-line that revolved around a hard-living wrestler.  It’s hard to say if she’s changed or if I have, but either way, I couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to give this record a spin.
  2. Antony & the Johnsons — I am a Bird Now
  3. Augie March — Watch Me Disappear This Australian band’s second album Strange Bird is one of my absolute favorites, and their first and third releases were pretty good, too.  But all it took was three songs from  their latest, Watch Me Disappear, and the awful classic rock sound sent me running, never to return.
  4. Beirut — The Flying Club Cup
  5. Beulah — When Your Heartstrings Break Love Beulah, especially their final album, Yoko.  I think I’ve listened to half of this one, but I’m not sure why it never stuck with me.
  6. Bon Iver — For Emma, Forever Ago Shocking, I know.  Everyone else hailed this as one of the greatest albums ever, but I don’t get it.
  7. Cat Power — The Greatest I like what I’ve heard from this, and Jukebox was tolerable, but I’m still a little traumatized from Chan Marshall’s exercises in dreariness on albums like Moon Pix and What Would the Community Think that I can’t stomach any more from her.
  8. Choir of Young Believers — This is for the Whites in Your Eyes This is also no longer true, because I listened to this album as I was writing this post.  I was psyched for this after hearing the excellent single “Action/Reaction,” and although this is a very good sounding record on the production level, I wish it wasn’t so consistently downtempo.
  9. Destroyer — Destroyer’s Rubies I need to try this again when I’m not prone to being weirded out.
  10. Dirty Projectors — Rise Above
  11. The Felice Brothers — The Felice Brothers Dylan-y.
  12. The Flaming Lips — Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Love The Soft Bulletin, great album.  And I really like the first song on Yoshimi… which is the only song I’ve ever heard.
  13. Hot Chip — Made in the Dark
  14. Loney, Dear — Loney, Noir I really want to like this band more than I actually do, because they’re Swedish, and because their song “Airport Surroundings” was really catchy, and I’ve known a few people to recommend Loney, Dear.  But they’re like a less interesting version of Grandaddy.  And Grandaddy aren’t that interesting to begin with.
  15. M. Ward — Transistor Radio I gave this album to my dad. Because that’s the kind of music my dad likes.
  16. A couple of albums by Mount Eerie that my friend gave me.  This was part of a CD-swapping deluge and I just didn’t make it to these.
  17. Neko Case — Fox Confessor Brings the Flood I am thrilled about Middle Cyclone. Loved it.  There’s really no excuse why I haven’t listened to this one yet, especially considering that most Case fans think it’s the gold standard.
  18. Of Montreal — Skeletal Lamping And I thought I’d be the last person to complain about too many pop hooks, but Kevin Barnes happily frolics over the line.
  19. Okkervil River — The Stage Names and The Stand Ins I have never been able to get into this band, and I feel so left out.
  20. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart Ugh.
  21. Radiohead — The Bends You were probably with me up until this point, and then you saw that I’ve never listened to the Most Favored Record by a Most Favored Band.  Seriously.  It’s not like I’ve never heard Radiohead before.  I pretty much own all of their albums, but it’s a case where I started towards the end and worked my way backwards.  Still working on it…
  22. The Raveonettes — Pretty in Black
  23. Regina Spektor — Like, all of them.
  24. Ruby Suns — Sea Lion Sorry, Joseph!  My interest has been piqued for their upcoming album, so I will (re-)visit this soon.
  25. Rufus Wainwright — Release the Stars and Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall Rufus, I just don’t know where our relationship went so wrong.  I think I liked the idea of you more than the drippy, melodramatic reality, but I have to admit that no one does that sort of thing better.
  26. Six Organs of Admittance — Shelter from the Ash
  27. Sondre Lerche — Two Way Monologue There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be interested in this guy: he’s Norwegian, overly twee, and I once listened to a sample of this many years ago in the New Orleans’ Virgin MegaStore (RIP) — and remember liking it.  But it’s hard to get excited about something so palatable.
  28. A whole bunch of albums by Stina Nordenstam.  So far I’ve only explored The World is Saved, but I like her a lot.
  29. Also, everything by the Sugarcubes.
  30. The Thermals — Now We Can See
  31. The Walkmen — You & Me I think I might have actually listened to this once, but just didn’t give it the attention it deserves.  The Walkmen is one of those bands that intimidates me just a little because they have such unconventional song structures, and they seem wonderfully deranged — but in a way that demands love and attention.

Thar’s the list.  Blast away!

Summer Round-up: Reviews in Brief

Annie Clark’s singing has always been the calm little center of the storm, and that’s especially true on the new St. Vincent album, Actor, where her serene vocals work in direct contrast to the dark and sometimes aggressive musical arrangements.  This trick is only successful on a cerebral level, however, and many of the songs could have used some more lung-power to give them the edge they really needed.  The lead single “Actor out of Work” begs for your attention, but “Laughing with a Mouth of Blood” is the track that actually deserves repeat listens despite its slightly limp execution.  The 90s electronica-tinged “Save Me from What I Want” and “Marrow” are essentially the same song — and both songs are essentially Bjork’s “Alarm Call” from Homogenic.  Actor is more focused and consistent than Marry Me, but Clark could have used a little more of her debut’s daring streak.

While everyone else (read: Pitchfork) is going ga-ga for “Stillness is the Move” from the new Dirty Projectors release Bitte Orca, I find the first track, “Cannibal Resource” to be more satisfying with its tripping rhythms and sleek choral arrangements.  Also, as much as people make a big deal over Longstreth’s “divisive” singing voice, I’m far more interested in the insistent, sometimes unnerving harmonies of the female vocalists.  The gorgeous, folksy “Two Doves” is a highlight, although it sounds like a transplant from an entirely different album. The first five or six songs make a strong argument for Bitte Orca as a great record, but the final three aren’t nearly as distinctive as everything that comes before.

There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said about Jason Lytle’s solo debut, Yours Truly, the Commuter: it sounds exactly like Lytle’s former band Grandaddy, and there aren’t any surprises from song to song, etc.  All of the familiar sounds are here — hushed vocals over hazy strumming and warm fuzzed-out bass lines.  Those complaints aside, for anyone who likes Grandaddy’s sound, this is a pretty solid piece of work from top to bottom.  Highlights include the opening/title track and “Brand New Sun,” which is as lovely a pop song as Lytle’s ever produced, and the slightly more upbeat “It’s the Weekend.”  It’s hard to imagine this album making any sort of impact in the long-run, but for now, it creates a good atmosphere.

Summer 2009 is going to be amazing

I’ve just been looking at the lineup of album releases for the next couple of months, and it’s pretty impressive.  Tuesday after next (May 19th) is a big one, with releases by Iron & Wine (not actually new, but a round-up of previously unreleased material), Jason Lytle (of Grandaddy) and John Vanderslice.

May 26th, of course, is the week we’ve all been waiting for when the new Grizzly Bear finally arrives (although it leaked awhile ago — I’m trying not to give in to temptation!).

And the following weeks will see new releases by Elvis Costello, Dirty Projectors, Riceboy Sleeps (the side project by Sigur Ros frontman), Regina Spektor, Dinosaur Jr., Wilco, and God Help the Girl (Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian’s solo project).

The current word on Mew‘s No More Stories… is an August 19th release (in Finland), with the first single “Repeater Beater” premiering the first of June (and a few European tour dates this summer with Nine Inch Nails. Weird).  Woo!  Something concrete, finally.

Also looking forward to having more time with music this summer as I leave the ghosts of the school year behind.