quarta-feira, novembro 30, 2005

443. Pavement - crooked rain crooked rain

originally uploaded by jrd550.
A friend of a friend told me to get this when it came out. At the time I was probably trying to stretch the dying grunge genre an extra mile by checking out anything on Sub Pop, even giving Candle Box a try. Chad was doing the same in a way, but looking for new stuff - he even picked up Crash Test Dummies (I think you even got Counting Crows didn't you? Fool!). I remember when I first listened to this disc I didn't get it. I thought it was interesting, but I just wasn't ready for it. Then, one fine evening, I Iaid down and listened to the 'No Alternative' compilation on my discman, and stumbled upon Pavement's 'unseen power of the picket fence' - I had managed to overlook it before but this time I ran right into the fence ('unseen' my ass). It was then that I 'got' Pavement and since then I have been happily hooked and completely dependent. Not only was this album the wittiest, smoothest unexpected pop record of the 90's but it also created a genre that didn't really exist prior to its release. I also love it because it will forever remind me of a 'worry-less' college dorm room.

10 out of 10

442. Pavement - westing (by musket and sextant)

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Now this sounds like a joke that went on for too long... though released in 93, the material on this disc preceeds 'Slanted' (so really I should have listed this first). It collects several tracks off of seven inches that were released on Drag City prior to the band inking a deal with Matador. The songs are lo-fi and tinny - which I could actually be okay with - but they are also pointless. Randomness and dicking around can only go so far - sure it's fun when you're playing it, but once the playback button is hit you yourself want to turn that shit off. I'm trading it in.

4 out of 10

terça-feira, novembro 29, 2005

441. Pavement - slanted and enchanted (deluxe)

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This was my second Pavement disc, 'Crooked' being my first... I remember thinking that 'Slanted' didn't measure up to the magical brilliance their second release seemed to effortlessly conjure up. This was sloppy, not seriously witty, just witty and stubbly. An amazing woman bought me this deluxe version which allowed me to also get rid of 'Watery, Domestic', the single for 'Trigger Cut' and a Peel Sessions bootleg. The great thing about something being repackaged is that it provides you with a reason to re examine it (or you could start a blog like this). 'Slanted' sounds so much better to me now. Malkmus once said that Pavement was a joke that went on for too long and thatt hey should have never released more than a couple of albums. You sort of get that here, that these guys are just dicking around not sure let alone worried that if there will be a second album - truly a feeling that can only be captured and never recreated. The bonus disc, filled with b-sides, radio sessions and live tracks is worth the price of the disc alone.
'These fake fights never end,
we could wake up the empire state
with just one pause'

8.5 out of 10 (album)
9.5 out of 10 (bonus disc)

quarta-feira, novembro 23, 2005

now serving: prankster pop

need I say anything?

441. Sleep Station - after the war

originally uploaded by jrd550.
This album is surprisingly good. It was a surprise because I just heard it for the first time this past weekend. My friend Joe had one of their songs on a mix he made that I really liked, especially after many repeat listens. The songs are sort of Springsteen'ish, which normally I would stay away from because I am not a big fan of the boss, but they have enough moments of pop and melancholy in them to not be basic Americana. The concept behind the album revolves around a soldier returning home after a war - I haven't heard it enough times to go in more detail than that but I will be listening to this album more often. It also does not belong in this category.

7 out of 10

sábado, novembro 19, 2005

440. Cordero - live

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Dena first introduced me to these guys: a sort of bilingual indie band. Not sure why they released a live album because they don't seem to be an amazing band live, but they recorded one of the sweetest songs I've ever heard (lyrically at least), 'Rezando por Amor'.

'Yo te escojo tu me escoges'

5.5 out of 10

439. Kostars - klassics with a k

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I always liked Luscious Jackson and pretty much anything that was associated with the label Grand Royal, so when this came out in 96 or so it was easy to just blindly pick up. Featuring two members from LJ, the songs breeze by on this album like a mellow summer day. Unfortunately the duo can't seem to sustain that feeling throughout the entire album so there are moments where the disc lags - it would have made one hell of an ep but instead it is just an okay album.

6 out of 10

438. Fiest - let it die

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I first got a hold of Feist a couple of years ago, I think, when I heard 'Mushaboom' off of an import maxi single. Later I heard 'One Evening' - both songs couldn't be more different and they serve as a good representation of what this album sounds like, which combines bossa nova, french pop, neo soul, 80's soul pop, pop folk and any other mash up of a genre that you're not even sure exists. Leslie ultimately will, regardless of the genre she is singing in, seduce you.

8 out of 10

quinta-feira, novembro 17, 2005

437. Stars - set yourself on fire

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I love this album and my reasons are few and simple:
1. boy/girl converstion like vocals - I hadn't heard trading off vocals like this since Belle & Sebastian and Everything But the Girl - and Stars tend to do it better.
2. I am a 31 singlish guy and this album sounds like a perfect high school crush - a great sound for when you are having a drink by yourself at home.
3. the songs flow very nicely - either musically they literally carry over or continue from one track to the next and/or just complement each other very well.
Is the album perfect? No. Is it worth a 9? Probably not Ms. Lucky Leo, but like all crushes in life, it doesn't have to make sense to anyone but yourself.
One More Night
9 out of 10

segunda-feira, novembro 14, 2005

436. Stars - heart

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I first heard 'elevator love letter' ages ago and fell immediately in love with the band (see the vocal reference in the previous post). This album has great moments but often comes accross as slightly unsure and not as cohesive as it could have been (or as their follow up was) - but still, the band makes a very big bid for your heart and it shouldn't be ignored.

7 out of 10

435. The Magic Numbers - the magic numbers

originally uploaded by jrd550.
I am a sucker for male/female alternating vocals and that's what first attracted me to this album. Having heard this disc now a million times I realize that although it is sweet and poppy it doesn't belong in this category mainly because they have more of a time capsule sound to them, as if the album was dug out from the late sixties - where solid grooves and naive melodies tell you from an array of experienced heartbreaks and sorrow that you can love and get hurt and all will be okay (repeat 3x).

7.5 out of 10

terça-feira, novembro 08, 2005

434. Ben Lee - breathing tornados

originally uploaded by jrd550.
My buddy Brad is an odd fellow. He doesn't talk much, is an accomplished musician but doesn't really listen to music. I never got that. I always assumed that all muscians were first and foremost huge music fans. But he never had any cd's, never got excited about just sitting down and listening to stuff - he was, in the 'listening to music' respect, the complete opposite of Chad and I. He did though in 98 or so introduce me to Ben Lee. Yes I had read about Noise Addict and heard of him, but I had no clue what he sounded like. The album struck a chord with me because sad/happy pop songs about love often do and I had just quit smoking a pack and a half a day and Ben had that 'Cigarettes' song on there. The album ends by hinting at a very promising career for Ben - such a strong hint that I ran out to get his follow up 'hey you yes you' - which was god awful, a mess, pieces of a puzzle that were never meant to be put together. I haven't heard the new 'Awake...' album but did hear the single and it sounds like he is returning to form. Here's Brads band (and it's okay to say they look gay): www.elband.com
Cigarettes Will Kill You
8 out of 10

domingo, novembro 06, 2005

433. Badly Drawn Boy - all possibilities

originally uploaded by jrd550.
A three track ep with songs recorded live on 'Lamacq Live on Radio 1' - I didn't need to get it but it was on clearance and I love this sort of stuff. 'All Possibilities' is backed by two non album tracks: 'Where were you?' and 'Let the Sunshine in'. While 'All Possibilities' is played with a full band the last two tracks are stripped down to just a guitar and percussion, offering a more intimate look at BDB.

7 out of 10

sábado, novembro 05, 2005

432. Badly Drawn Boy - have you fed the fish?

originally uploaded by jrd550.
A much looser album that explores many sounds - I like the combination of whimsical pop with sad lyrics - nothing new I know, but that doesn't keep me from liking it. Contains my favourite 'All Possibilities' (which is actually an alternate title for the album) - how can you not love a Brit singing to horns?

"When you come back, I'll go... out of my way to be all the things you need"

8 out of 10

431. Badly Drawn Boy - the hour of bewilderbeast

originally uploaded by jrd550.
Ellen introduced me to BDB via the song 'All Possibilities', which I still love for its simple retro groove and 'i'm fallin in love'/'we can do anything' like lyrics (note: that song is not on this album). The first impression you get of BDB is that he sort of sounds like Elliot Smith, which makes sense since they both sound like the Beatles and both have the same producer. But upon further inspection you realize that of course both song writers are unique. There is something clearly british about BDB: fable/story like lyrics that leave you expecting a neatly wrapped up moral in the end (even interludes are included for set changes), polished crystally clear vocals with accompanying strings to match. Anyway the album works because he's just a sad guy in love or wanting to fall in love.

8 out of 10