Jerry Grit’s Year In Albums #13: December (The End!)

A significant shuffle of priorities has long delayed me from finishing my project to document every single album I bought in 2008 (for example, real life and things on cats). But always the completist, I will bring this to a close…a quarter of the way through 2009.

  • Andrew Daly – Nine Sweaters There was a funny comedian on Mad TV. Too bad he wasn’t allowed to be funny. Freed from that show’s painful banality, Andrew gets his laughs solo with longform occasionally subtle (and mostly obscene) character routines inspired by wearing 1 of 9 distinctive sweaters. Although you can’t see the sweaters (it being a recording and all) the characterizations are rich enough to imagine the sweaters. DO NOT listen to it with grandma. Or do, pervert.
  • Blue Giant – Target Heart EP A kinda pacific northwest supergroup: the Viva Voce couple with help from members of the Decemberists, Circus Lupus, Swords Project, Sleater-Kinney and Bradford Cox. But mostly, its Viva Voce on an alt-country kick. Which is awesome. The distinctive vocals and swaying guitar, filled out with the pedal steel, organ and fiddle. Also, stars in the Blue Giant phase are middle-aged massive stars in a transitionary period prior to becoming either a planet nebula or a supergiant.
  • David Byrne & Brian Eno – Everything That Happens Will Happen Today I haven’t yet learned to fully appreciate Byrne or Eno*, supergiants in a music universe I mostly like. And I don’t think I’m helping myself by starting with this album. It’s fine and there are some nice weird parts. But overall it’s a little too adult contemporary for me to be comfortable about it. That could be just because I’m uncomfortable being adult now.
  • Fucked Up – The Chemistry Of Common Life I freaking love it. Takes me back to the smart hardcore or Fugazi or Negative Approach. And still, they manage melodies and some neat uses of not-hardcore instruments. (Is that a flute in the beginning?). Father Damien’s vocals come in like the earth is opening up. Takes me back to high school, driving nowhere in small messy cars and watching other people smoke.
  • Dr. Dog – Fate It’s alright. They’re the Band, at an impressionable age, teleported to our time and embracing modern weirdness. Nonetheless, a step up from the last album.
  • Grouper – Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill For those who can’t keep up with Beach House, Grouper might be the perfect porridge for you. Reverbed drenched vocals moving at a somnolent snail’s pace…like actually dragging a dead deer up a hill. I have yet been able to listen all the way through without a dose. So also perfect for insomniacs.
  • Hercules And Love Affair – Hercules And Love Affair I’ve made a significant investment in my attempt to appreciate Antony Hegarty. I’m not there yet. It’s always overkill with that ridiculous vibrato. And yet I have 7 albums of this. The disco beats here breaks it up a bit. 
  • Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue I don’t think I like this. Loved the Rabbit Fur Coat, and I can even defend that last Rilo Kiley album. But this one’s annoying. Is it a joke? That “Where’s Fernando?” song puts me through the roof. Along with “Bad Man’s World,” “The Next Messiah” (8 and half minutes and it has Elvis Costello) and “Jack Killed Mom”…yech. A lot of stinkers here. I’m still onboard with Jenny, but slowly shuffling exitward.
  • Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak I’m sorry, it’s awesome. A part from the irony of his critique of consumerism turned into a product (unlike Tim Fite and his excellent Over the Counterculture, Kanye’s not giving it away).
  • Love Is All – A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night Oh, it’s fun. But it’s not for the ages. And I do not need to have fun.
  • Marching Band – Sparks Large It’s just so nice. I bet these guys wear sweater V-necks and drop people off at airports. I like it because I think they’re nice. But not enough to give them a ride to the airport.
  • Richard Swift – Ground Trouble Jaw EP Indie do-wop? Who knew?
  • Rodriguez – Cold Fact Supposedly buried treasure from the 70’s and I’m not one to appreciate buried treasures from the seventies. But this one’s alight.
  • School Of Seven Bells – Alpinisms It sounds like the brother from the Secret Machines hooks up with Au Revoir Simone. And half of that’s true. Also, this album compels and bores the same ways of the Secret Machines and Au Revoir Simone.
  • The Faint – Fascination Not as great as Danse Macabre or even Wet from Birth. Nonetheless all the elements are same and it still does what a Faint album is supposed to do. Which are good things.
  • The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound If Plato was ever to try to identify the ideal Jersey Band, I think the Gaslight Anthem are pretty much it. Other Jersey bands are only Jersey bands insofar as they share characteristics with this Jersey Band. Epic blue collar anthems from shore trash. Love it.
  • The Mae Shi – Hlllyh More ecstatic high-energy youth ranting. Does not suit my rocking chair at all. I won’t be seeking any of these tracks in the ever-accumulating clutter of my digital music library. But if one happens to come up in the shuffle, I won’t skip it. Unless I’m in my rocking chair.
  • The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns Sounds a little too much like Neutral Milk Hotel. So much so it feels more like theft than homage.
  • Why? – Alopecia This is awesome. Cool beats. Smart rhymes. Self-deprecating white boys being inventive.
  • Women – Women I like the weird catchiness of the album. I even like the experimental parts. And I really like how the entire album hangs together. It’s one of those strange small albums I cherish, like the Ruby Suns’ Sea Lion I got earlier this year.
  • Camera Obscura – Underachievers Please Try Harder From a few years ago. I realized I hadn’t bought a Comera Obscura in a while. So buying an old one will do. No surprise. It’s great.
  • Isobel Campbell – Sunday At Devil Dirt The 3rd Mark Lanegan album I managed to buy in this year alone. But once you get past his cheesy growl, you appreciate that its more about Isobell Campbell. And it’s to its tremendous benefit.
  • The Delgados – The Great Eastern An old album from a band I don’t know I was compelled to buy for no other reason than I thought it might be good. Actually, it happens to be the second back catalogue album from a Scottish band I bought this month (see Camera Obscura). Seems to be a good strategy.
  • Starling Electric – Clouded Staircase Sound like Guided by Voices, but with longer songs. I like it.

There it is. All the albums I bought in 2008. All 176, give or take (but mostly give). Did I learn anything? Do I appreciate more? Maybe, but I’m not consuming less. So far I’ve already long surpassed my 2008 number and it’s only early April (but I’m doing much less buying…I’ve discovered the library, much to the librarians’ chagrin).

The more I have the more I want. Alas, it seems I’m like everyone else.

*This was written 3 months ago. I have since come to appreciate Eno and Byrne in their individual distinctive greatness. Buy Here Come the Warm Jets and Another Green World and Remain in Light.

Excuses, Stuff on Cats

So yes, I’ve been delayed in completing my 2008 project to document every album I got that year. 3 reasons:

1. As expected, December was a doozey in terms of CD purchases. I think it’s at 26, but I think I’m intentionally ignoring a few. Did I really buy “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today”…uhg. Yes, I did. 27. And what am I doing with yet another Mark Lanegan album? Arg! He got me again. 28!

2. I am treading the uncertain waters of these economic times. I know: BORING. But at least I have 28 more CDs to sell. What is that, like 28 cents? 

3. I discovered a website and its two books devoted to the foundation-shaking equation: stuff+cats=awesome. Stuff like…

20090222_yoda…really unfortunate glasses…

 

20090224_mrpidzington3…really unfortunate holiday outfits…

…and the best stuff of all…

 

20090211_jarvis_martha…another kitty!

Ah! I can’t take it. I am going to scream.

We’ve spent the last month devoted to our own attempts freighted feline photography (which, btw, is not easy). We humbly submit…  

img_200411Stuff On My Cat as stuff on my cat!

 

It’s totally meta. 

Don’t try this at home. We all have graduate degrees. And we’re probably infected.

Jerry Grit’s Year in Albums #12: November

I only bought 15 albums this month. It is the calm before the storm that will rain down recorded music on me. In December, I know will succumb to the suggestive powers of numerous Best of the Year lists. I will ask for and receive a lot of music. I will have to account for every CD I bought this year that I haven’t yet mentioned yet for various good reasons.

But before I face that monster, here’s what happened this month. I seemed to go for the freewheeling ladies this time, with some degree of success.

  • Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer? Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls appeals to the 15-year-old goth girl in all of us. Or maybe just the one in me. You don’t have Yes, Virginia… by now, whatever. That said, Amanda’s solo album is not the place to start. There’s something definitely worthwhile in “Astronaut” and “Guitar Hero,” but only because they should be Dresden Doll songs. The weaknesses seem to be when she goes beyond what I’m expecting…which could just be me and my 15-year-old’s problem.
  • Ane Brun – Changing Of The Seasons “Treehouse Song” is probably my song of the month. Ane Brun is a Nordic Dolly Parton, which is actually pretty awesome. It can be a touch adult contemporary though and I did not havethe fortitude to listen to her (or anyone’s) cover of “True Colors.” Still, “Treehouse Song” is an awesome song. Did I say that you should probably hear “Treehouse Song”? Please listen to the “Treehouse Song.” (I don’t really stand behind the video)
  • Deerhunter – Microcastle I was not a huge fan of their last effort, Cryptograms. I definitely liked parts. I liked fewer parts of the solo Bradford Cox effort Atlas Sounds. But now, it’s liked they took whatever made those best parts and madean entire album. And after seeing their excellent live show, I now stand fully within the Deerhunter camp. I am ready for a T-shirt.
  • TV on the Radio – Dear Science, For my money, they don’t hit it out of the park this time. But it’s no whiff either. No “Wolf Like Me” on here. Nonetheless, the Vores like it enough to collectively hop into the proverbial bed with TVOTR. I think they’re moving a little fast and that they should be thinking about their reputation, but they could do—and have done—much, much worse.
  • Parts & Labor – Receivers P&L got a lot better. Kinda felt ripped off by the last album, even with all the critical praise. This new almost makes up for it. I half recall reading/hearing the duo expanded by two. And I can say they became twice as good. Actual melodies this time. They went from No Age-type noise to Secret Machines-esque anthems. I would recommend it to all my dudefriends. Probably not for the ladies. Even freewheelers.
  • Lou Reed – Berlin: Live at St. Ann’s Warehouse Lou Reed is like a freewheeling lady. And I don’t really know what to make of this thing. It’s a live performance of a concept album that I never heard. There’s an awful sax (hah hah! as if there’s any other kind!) and gratuitous gospel backup. And Antony is mooning on it, which is never a good sign. Still, where these elements would doom a download to digital oblivion, I’m still listening, and I kinda like it. That has more to do with Lou than with any change of heart regarding Antony, the saxophone, or rock songs with gospel backup singers. Those are treacherous rocks and Lou steers the ship clear. But I should probably know more about it.
  • Frida Hyvonen – Silence is Wild I kind of wish I was one of Frida’s ex-boyfriends. That’s probably why my ladyfriend hates her (but she says it’s the grating off-tune voice and mundane literal lyrics). Nonetheless, Frida’s expressions of nostalgia are excruciating in the frustrating funny-sad-important way that makes you want to be implicated in them. I loved her last album, Until Death Comes, as a perfect small singer-songwriter album. This one has greater ambitions, and it may not be perfect, it’s better for those ambitions. I hate songs about cities (or maybe just about New York City…and Memphis), but “London!” is an ass kicker.
  • Cut Copy – Bright Like Neon Love Cut Copy’s release earlier this year, In Ghost Colorshas been fungally growing on me and my freewheeling ladyfriend (gets no mention in Paste’s top 25, of course). But of course all the supercoolindiekids say it’s not as good as this album (oh, supercoolindiekids…your nostalgic attachments belie your avant garde pose). And this album is good. But I—the true avant garde—like the new one better. I may be burned out on eighties retro this month from repeated listens to Ladyhawke.
  • Ladyhawke – Ladyhawke Ladyhawke is freewheeling it back to the eighties. And yeah it’s a little gimmichy , but we’ve been hearing the eighties retro for years now (probably since we left the eighties), so it shouldn’t surprise or yield novel enthusiasm. Even though some of us may have lived through it, we need to dispassionately accept it as a valid idiom for expression. Once you get past the gimmicky synths, there are some pretty great songs here. Again, I hate songs about cities, but “Paris is Burning” is a new running song.
  • Joyce – Hard Bossa Brazilian lady recommended by Mac McCaughan on his superb dozen. Mac doesn’t let me down (Get Back Snowball, aside…which was probably more Bob Pollard’s fault, anyways). Lady’s singing gibberish (or Portuguese). I’m pretty sure there’s some pan flute on here. Nonetheless, it keeps pretty close to the bossa nova thing. So it’s “hard” insofar as it’s real bossa, not that it’s like metal bossa (which doesn’t make sense, but I was still a little disappointed). I like “Garota de Ipanema” like anyone else and this will keep me warm as the Wisconsin freeze begins. Plus, she sounds a little like a Brazilian Joni Mitchell, which is alright.

 

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  • Desolation Wilderness – White Light Strobing Straight up. I bought it on the strength of the album artwork alone and that they may sound a little like Deerhunter. A little, but it’s Deerhunter-lite. Deerhunter is expanding their sound while these guys are comfortably ensconced within hazy reverb and indecipherable lyrics. Palatable enough, but it won’t make any lists. Not that it should. They’re a new band and they’re on the right path.
  • Deerhunter – Weird Era Cont. This one seemed to be made with more of the parts I didn’t like from Cryptograms. That said, it’s still pretty great and better than Cryptograms. And, from the story I heard, it was released in anger because Microcastle was leaked early. An amazing feat that Bradford Cox can pull off two pretty great albums. He’s like Axl Rose, but completely opposite. Get him a Dr. Pepper.
  • Mates Of State – Re-arrange Us I am a little embarrassed I own this. And I wouldn’t otherwise admit it if it was not the case that full disclosure is essential to the integrity of this project to document every album I buy this year. I was moved to buy it for its mention on the Paste best of list for 2008. Oh “Best of the Year” lists, I am weak to your suggestive powers, even when I know you’re terrible (to my credit, Re-Arrange ranks pretty low on that terrible list, which to my mind, meant that it should rank pretty high on mine. I’m not sure it will.) BTW, this album’s alright!
  • The Whispertown 2000 – Swim The lead vocal is a little precious, in that lazy-cute-drunk way. I’ll still listen, but I need to follow them up with a chaser of Marnie Stern, or drill sounds. And they may be under the guidance of Gillian Welch, which can only mean good things. Good for Sunday mornings.
  • Marnie Stern – This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He When Angus Young finally quits AC/DC to join Deerhoof, they’ll be surprised to find their intended terrain well trod by Marnie Stern. She’s got the wicked licks (especially on “Transformer”…which I keep thinking is “Thunderstruck” creeping out from the darker less-visited corners of my digital music library) and she can appealingly grate like Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzakie. Definitely not for Sunday mornings. But there’s a whole week to get through.

Bring it, December.

Jerry Grit’s Year in Albums #11: October

“Rocktober”? More like “You-bought-too-many-damn-albums-again-Eric-Jerry-tober.”

Here we go, in no particular order…

  • Lambchop – OH (ohio)I’m sure there are states less deserving of a Lambchop album associated with them, but you could probably count them on your fingers. I can’t imagine this unsurprisingly excellent collection of mellow and interesting orchestrations supporting wry and wise observational lyrics will get much play in Canton or Lorain. But then again, this band—one of the best and underrated in existence—also did an album called Nixon, who is perhaps the Ohio of U.S. Presidents. You embrace your inspirations from wherever they spring. And as mundane and ridiculous and depressing as this state, this album is just as worthwhile.
  • Lambchop – What Another Man Spills OH (ohio) reminded me how much I love Lambchop. I have their last 5. Why not their 6? And again, it’s awesome. They potentially have the most solid back catalogue eva, although apparently I have 5 more to go in order to make this claim true. Same mellow “countrypolitan” or whatever you call the sound they invented. Some funk experimentation here, which I’ll allow but I’m happy they they no longer indulge.
  • Blitzen Trapper – Furr [Before the show…] I don’t think I like these guys. They seem to combine bad parts of the Beatles and Wilco, which really aren’t that bad, on the great scale of badness. But then there’s this touch of Tom Petty and that Skynard-southern-rock-thing, which tips the scales. And I think there’s a line about a “midget waiting for a midnight train” and “playing air guitar.” “Black River Killer” is further proof to my longheld thesis that indie bands should steer clear of murder ballads. I like the opener, though, and “Furr.” I like parts of half the songs here. Girl Talk could turn this into a wicked 3-song EP. [After the show…] Okay, fine. This is pretty awesome. The album is synergistic to their live performance, which isn’t as normal as it should be. That midget song still stinks, though.
  • Bound Stems – The Family Afloat Competent indie pop from Chicago. I think one of the guys went to my school, so any clear-eyed assessment is mired by a mix of alumni jingoism and envy. But I think some of the lyrics get a little too earnest.
  • Brightblack Morning Light – Motion To Rejoin Bluesy, slow, gospel-y. Kinda hippy-dippy, but to be expected from these tent-dwellers. Won’t set the world on fire, but sets a nice mood.
  • Clem Snide – End Of Love Last (?) album from Eef Barzelay’s great band. It’s good, but not as good as previous albums and the solo stuff he’s put out since. Seems like a good decision he made to move on.
  • Colleen – Les Ondes Silencieuses A few albums I buy a month are devoted to the purely functional purpose of drowning out my college-era neighbors with interesting but unintrusive sounds…I now understand why old people sit on their porches with shotguns. These cello-centered modernist (?) compositions do a nice job. Don’t know too much about this field to have a real opinion, though. Sounds good to me…on my rocking chair…with my shotgun. Damn kids. 
  • Damien Jurado – Caught In The Trees Lyrically, it doesn’t stray too far from Damien’s usual cheery themes of murder, failure, betrayal, shooting betrayers, etc. However, the sound is much more upbeat. With the drums, female vocal help, and some other instruments, he has created my favorite Damien Jurado album, all while doing songs that convey a deep suspicion or about doing songs. A lot of standouts here.  Canon-bound.
  • Department of Eagles – In Ear Park The Grizzly Bear guy does it again. Not as complex as Grizzly Bear, and I think it’s to the album’s benefit.
  • Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords I don’t think this stands so well without reference to the show. That said, if you know the show, it’s pretty great to have “Bowie” or “Inner City Pressure” come up in one’s shuffle as a way to recall the dead-on spoof videos from the show.
  • High Places – High Places More sing-songy fragments. Her drowned-out vocals are nicely complemented by his sharp rhythms. No conventional songs, exactly, to ever really get excited/pumped/moved by. Can’t imagine how you would experience this live. Your hands probably spend most of the time in your pockets. There’s no crowd-surfing at the High Places stage. 
  • Horse Feathers – House With No Home More subtle acoustic thoughtful cello-laden fun. Better than their great first album. For the sensitive Nick Drake-loving types. Who you should all be.
  • Juana Molina – Un Dia Don’t know what she’s doing, where she’s coming from, but I like it. Is this Brazilian? I need to expand my horizons a little more, it seems. Or just move to Brazil. All I know about Brazil is from City of God, so I imagine I’ll end up getting shot by a 5-year-old.
  • Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson This song “Buriefied” I had off a sampler kept catching me. I also don’t know anything about this guy either (it was a month of rolling the dice!), but it sounds like he’s coming out of his skin. It’s unhinged acoustic folksy rock, but some interesting production gives it a strangeness that differentiates it from the million others of its ilk.
  • Mount Eerie, Julie Doiron, Fred Squire – Lost Wisdom  Really great. Julie Dorion’s vocals make this a pretty special album. And there’s a brilliant use of a Bjork refrain, which comes out of nowhere on this otherwise folky gothic acoustic album. This Microphones/Mount Eerie guy’s kinda hit-or-miss, and he really hits one here. It’s a short and moving album. This one’s heading to the canon.
  • Of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping Holy mole, what the hell is this? I’m not ready to throw it under the bus. But it’s no surprise to say it’s no Hissing Fauna. Pardon the glib psychoanalysis, but I imagine it must have been a little traumatic to have been so autobiographical about a break-up with your wife that you reunite with a year or so later. Trying to make amends with the same person you’re singing that you want to pay some other girl to hit must have led to complications. No wonder Mr. Barnes would retreat behind a swinging mystical transsexual persona. However exhaustively bizarre, still a standout for inventiveness. A mix of Prince and Fiery Furnaces.
  • Ponytail – Ice Cream Spiritual Again, what the hell is this? Unhinged lady just scream-skatting hyped dueling guitar rock. I have no idea when I’m supposed to play this. It’s too obnoxious to be appropriate for anything that I do while listening to music. Maybe if I got into coke-binges or knife-fighting, this might be the go-to soundtrack.
  • Portastatic – Bright Ideas Another album from Mac McCaughan’s post-Superchunk band. It’s from 2005. I’m still trying to catch up on all these albums I missed because I though Mac was too busy running Merge to do any more music. But, no. This guy runs a great record label and still puts out the good stuff on his own. This one makes me nostalgic for the Superchunk and some of the songs (“I Wanna Know Girls” especially) ranks with his former band’s best stuff.
  • Ratatat – LP3 Functional guitar/electronica instrumental background music. Part of the “soundtrack” genre. Which again, I know nothing about.
  • Stereolab – Chemical Chords If you’re from Southern Ohio or Central Pennsylvania, or any other part of Real America, then Stereolab is probably way above your Lynard Skynard-loving head. Stalwarts of post-rock from the Continent, they create chill odd lounge-y tunes for Chardonnay swilling at East Coast art openings or for planning terrorist attacks. It’s not much a departure from the last album, but still worthwhile if you’re into this sort of thing.
  • the castanets – City of Refuge Not for everyone, but I’m down with this guy. I would like to write more about this but I am so burnt out from this post. I, too, want to run to a city of refuge. What the heck…you should buy this, though.
  • Vivian Girls – Vivian Girls I listen to this album very early in the morning and it’s been one of my more favorite things this month. They take me back to the early days of Kim and Kelly Deal. By 10am though, my jaded sensibilities take over and I’m bored.

In full disclosure, these were not all the albums I bought this month. I have the new TV on the Radio and Deerhunter just waiting for me to play. But I am so done writing this post. It’s my little birthday gift to myself: a little slack on my self-imposed year-long project. Still feel a little guilty. If only I were so driven about recording albums and starting record labels, I could be like Mac. But no. I blog irregularly. A major reassessment of priorities will take place for 2009.

Jerry Grit’s Year in Albums #10: September

Simply, this is getting ridiculous. I’ve been dreading the September edition of my self-imposed project to account for every album I buy this year because it gets me all that closer to the October post. We’re not even half-through and yet I’ve already amassed 22 albums. Isn’t there an economic collapse going somewhere?  

Oh wait, that’s everywhere. Perhaps I’ll spend an impoverished 2009 reassessing my accumulated purchases and frittered wealth. 

Only 17 albums for this entire month. And there’s kind of a theme or three to my purchases: back catalogues and wordlessness (or at least English wordlessness).  And also Bill Callahan-like sounding front(wo)men. And I liked most of it!

  • Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar – Go Marko Go! A great Serbian brass band (Caveat: I’m not confident I could tell a great from a good Serbian brass band) and this is a great album. Passionate and funky folk jazz. They got kind of dampered by rain at this year’s Pitchfork, but rumors of their raucous rowdy live show abound. A bonus: Serbian words can kind of sound like English, which leads to fun mishearings. Like on the outro for “Bubamara , Ne kuni me , Kalasnijikov” sounds like they’re passionately and repeatedly intoning that “Carl likes people.” He may very well, but not as much as I like this.
  • Breathe Owl Breathe – climb in I liked the Ghost Glacier EP so much, I felt obligated by that discovery to buy more of this guy. This is his last full album that came out a few years ago (2005). Just as great as the EP. A little more Bill Callahan this time. But like a camping and high Bill Callahan.
  • Chicha Libre – Sonido Amazonico I don’t anything about these guys, but I know they’re based in Brooklyn. Any band based in Brooklyn makes me suspicious. But they do a competent, nay…exciting…job of jazzy folk latin. It was also recently touted by Sound Opinions’ Greg Kot on their “buried treasure” show.
  • Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People Apropos of nothing (or was it the Brendan Canning album…alas, purchases beget purchases), I realized I didn’t have enough Broken Social Scene. So I went back to their so-called “breakthrough” album. It’s great and is exactly what is to be expected. It’s so much easier buying thoroughly vetted albums from 2002.
  • Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton – Knives Don’t Have Your Back Part of the campaign to fill my Broken Social Scene bucket. And now I’ll probably have to fill me up a Metric bucket. Emily’s in both bands. And she has this excellent solo album. I need to blog less. Unlike BSS, you can understand the lyrics here. They’re pretty saucy and pessimistic with wry deadpan humor (the Bill Callahan of chix?). Not a whole lot of romance here, unless you consider romanticizing nihilism romantic. Still, it’s great. Wouldn’t buy it for a depressive, though.  
  • Giant Sand – Provisions It’s the Southwest version of Bill Callahan, but I think this guy precedes Bill. So maybe Bill’s the Pacific Northwest version of Giant Sand. Either way, both are worthwhile. Great collaborations here, too. Isobell Campbell, Neko Case, and a great PJ Harvey cover to boot.
  • Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter – Gentleness of Nothing EP I’m onboard with Jesse, so this EP works as the other ones do. Does not sound very much like Bill Callahan.
  • Justice – ? (Cross) Apparently, “D.A.N.C.E.” was one of the most overplayed anthems of this summer. I haven’t heard it once before downloading it this month. I’m not “dialed in” anymore I guess.  Nonetheless, great to run to. Hey fatboys, before mocking my belated electronica purchase, do 50 squats. I could squish you.
  • Lindstrøm – Where You Go I Go Too Chill electronica/house long compositions to drowned out the returned student horde. Cheesy in parts, but very worthwhile for having only 3 tracks.
  • Mates Of State – Bring It Back Not sure why I was moved to buy this one. I know most of these songs and have seen them twice live. I already know what they have to offer and it’s okay.
  • Mitch Hedberg – Do You Believe In Gosh? Not as polished a performance as on the other 2 comedy albums, but the guy’s dead. It’s still funny as hell and worth repeated listens. Like the other albums, the jokes are only alright. Ridiculous observations and reductions to the absurd (“Is a hippopotamus a hippopotamus or a really cool potamus?”). But clearly the key to Mitch is his delivery. This manic burnout jumping from one-liner to one-liner. I could probably listen to this guy talk about anything.
  • Okkervil River – Down the River of Golden Dreams Occaisioned by the release of the new album, went back and got this nifty set of tunes. Not as solid as the more recent releases. Nonetheless, worthwhile nuggets abound.
  • Okkervil River – The Stand Ins Will Sheff makes me feel extraneous. It seems like he’s doing everything I would do if I were in a indie band. I guess that’s a little self-aggrandizing of me to say.  Pardon me. I’ve been at this for 2 hours. The defense against my inflated self-assessment is wearing down.
  • Rhymefest – Mark Ronson presents Rhymefest: MAN IN THE MIRROR It’s available for free so I don’t feel obligated to write much about it. Just know that it’s worth the download effort. Despite his implosion at the  Hideout Block Party.
  • The Cool Kids – The Bake Sale I was turn on to them by an article in the NYTimes, which is about as cool as checking out what your mom listens to. So I’m kinda behind the trend. I like the idea of it. Nostalgic low-fi hip hop. But I’m not sure I’m completely sold on this one example yet. 
  • The Uglysuit – The Uglysuit The band I saw at the Hideout Block Party, who’s performance was only remarkable for the fact that each band member seemed to be wrestling with their own unique hair issue. The album’s alright. Kinda like an earnest Flaming Lips?
  • Clinic – Do It! I’ve been buying Black Angelsalbums so I wouldn’t have to buy Clinic albums. But I broke down, as I always do, and here we are. Can’t say I was that far off on my earlier assessment. Both are garage rock psychedelia.  But you can tell Clinic songs apart. So both bands aren’t that alike. And there’s something still appealing to the saminess to the Black Angels. Clinic may be reaching too much. And they probably have better albums,

Dearest Skynard Fan,

Comment from “SKYNYRD FAN” to Jerry Grit’s Year in Albums #9: August (Part 2) [Censored on behalf of my more delicate readers]

HEY YOU [expletive] MORON.

WHAT KIND OF [racial epithet] MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO?

WHY DID YOU BUY THE CD, SCUMBAG, IF ALL YOU’RE GONNA DO IS BASH IT?

YOU STUPID [different expletive] YOU.

AND LEARN TO SPELL LYNYRD SKYNYRD, [more different expletive].

YOU WOULD BE BETTER OFF WITH A BULLET IN YOUR [expletive, same as the first] HEAD

Dearest Skynard Fan,

I was very excited to receive your comment. I treasure deeply that you sought out my posting, read it, and have let your voice be heard, however loud and monotone your voice seems to be.

Nonetheless, I can sense from you comment’s tone that you are not fully onboard with my assessment of how listening to Lynard Skynard is like hearing “beer bellies…Rows and rows of swaying, dirty beer bellies.”

But criticize you did and respond I should.

SKYNYRD FAN: HEY YOU [expletive] MORON.

Me: “Hey” to you, my friend. Your good-natured but obscene badinage has gotten my attention. You may proceed. 

SKYNYRD FAN: WHAT KIND OF [racial epithet] MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO?

Me: Thank you for asking. Although, I’m not familiar with music genre of which you speak, much less of any of its sub-genres. Your interests are obviously as varied as they are deep. I appreciate your interest in my listening preferences, however.

SKYNYRD FAN: WHY DID YOU BUY THE CD, SCUMBAG, IF ALL YOU’RE GONNA DO IS BASH IT?

Me: Again, your curiosity is so refreshing. But don’t be mistaken. I didn’t buy it to bash it. I bought it to enjoy it. And you must admit, that’s nearly impossible. Also, bashing is not ALL I’m going to do to it. The disc functions nicely as a coaster/cat toy/bad mirror. And I needed to stash my copy of “Truth or Dare” somewhere no one would ever look. One would be would hard-pressed to find a place more bereft and derelict than the inside of a Lynard Skynard CD case.  

SKYNYRD FAN: YOU STUPID [different expletive] YOU.

Me: Your criticism is bracing, but cleansing. Like the arctic winds.

SKYNYRD FAN: AND LEARN TO SPELL LYNYRD SKYNYRD, [more different expletive]

Me: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

SKYNYRD FAN: YOU WOULD BE BETTER OFF WITH A BULLET IN YOUR [expletive, same as the first] HEAD

Me: Thank you for the suggestion. However, I am going to have to take you at your word. For I notice a flaw in your advice. It doesn’t seem like I would be living with such an accoutrement so placed. Thus, I wouldn’t “be” at all, much less “be better.”

Oh, wait. I get it.

Sir, you have unmanned me.

Jerry Grit’s Year in Albums #9: August (Part 2)

Hole mole, I’ve been hiatused. There’s the garden variety laziness that can be blamed. And I have other priorities, I guess. But blog-wise, I’m also confronted by the twin challenges of satisfyingly bringing my biking adventure to a close and saying something…anything…about that Lynard Skynard greatest hits album I was for sure I had to own.  And so weeks have passed and nary a word (ug…that just came out…I’ll punish myself by leaving that horrifyingly hackneyed phrase).  But I’ve taken to making headbands part of my casualwear. And a headband does something for one’s work ethic.

First, on biking to work…guess what? It’s not that tough and I haven’t really stopped. I’m not doing 75 miles a week anymore. But I’m definitely getting over 50. Take that, carbon footprint. It’s more like a carbon kitten paw print. Aw…my adorable minimized share of environmental damage. And about Skynard…

  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – All-Time Greatest HitsNo idea what I was thinking when I got this one. I think the onset of fall has me thinking back to the gaps in my catalogue. But I don’t know why I should fixate on Skynard. I’ve always sided with the Canadian in the great Neil Young-Skynard debate. But “Sweet Home Alabama” doesn’t make this collection, not that I need to have it. But still “Simple Man” kind of bothers me, in my infinite complexity. “Curtis Lowe” is stupid. Nothing really surprises me here. I just hear beer bellies on this album. Rows and rows of swaying, dirty beer bellies. 
  • CocoRosie – The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn This is more like it. Still, an older album but only by a year. They’re like a rapping Joanna Newsom.  So unapologetically weird. Take that Skynard! You do a werewolf rap song, Ronnie Van Zant. The southern man definitely does not need these sisters around anyhow. A vast improvement from the last album. Which I liked, but threw my hands up afterwhile. I could be going back to this one a few more times.
  • Inara George – An Invitation It’s so classy. I feel like I should be wearing a vest when spinning this. The Bird and the Bee lady does a nice Sunday morning album. And the arrangements sound so ridiculously complicated that I feel I have no qualifications to say anything about them other than “good job”.

 

I’ve finally closed out August. That wasn’t too bad. September will be a doozy, however. I’ll need to wear 2 headbands.