quinta-feira, abril 30, 2009

1014. AniDiFranco - So Much Shouting So Much Laughter

I was over at Paddi's a few years back and I saw this cd and said something, she replied "Take it" - she's sort of over Ani and I can understand why... my tour with her ends here too. This double live cd captures her early favorites with her newer stuff and the results aren't bad - there's less giggling and more ranting - and many of the songs have been reconstructed for the live setting... still this is for serious fans only.

6.9 out of 10

segunda-feira, abril 27, 2009

1013. Ani DiFranco - revelling/Reckoning

There are maybe three or four excellent double albums... nowadays a double CD almost equals a quadruple LP... anyway this double CD has some very strong parts, but it's the filler that brings it down. A single CD filled with the highlights would have made this an incredibly strong release by Ani, who explores longer, less folksy arrangements in favor of a flavorful swagger.

7.3 out of 10

quinta-feira, abril 23, 2009

1012. Ani DiFranco - Swing Set [EP]

I have no idea why I got this. Here's a simple breakdown:

Swing (Radio Version) - really?
Swing (Album Version) - again?
To The Teeth (Shoot-Out Remix) - actually made the song less worse - although calling it the 'shoot-out' remix knocks a few points off
Do Re Me (Live) - uh it's ok
When I'm Gone - I'll enjoy the silence
Hurricane - sounds like a bad episode of Law & Order

2.4 out of 10

1011. Ani DiFranco - To The Teeth

Another stellar cover ;) See how dated they get? This is actually a decent album despite the good intentioned, but horribly executed, Columbine track "To The Teeth"... anytime you start listing tv stations things are going horribly wrong. What makes this a good release is how experimental Ani is becoming in funk (adding Prince to a track helps), jazz and even blues.

7 out of 10

quarta-feira, abril 22, 2009

1010. Ani DiFranco - Up Up Up Up Up Up

In 1999 Ani released two cds, and in reality she could have released just one, good one. This release is sort of all over the place and at times very cluttered. I prefer the quieter moments, like "Everest", but there is a certain charm so the thicker riffs on "Jukebox" for example.

6.3 out of 10

terça-feira, abril 21, 2009

1009. Ani DiFranco - Little Plastic Castle

Ani has never been one for coming up with good album covers but boy does this one take the cake... the music itself is pretty incongruous with the artwork. What hasn't aged so well here is Ani's constant angst and frustration with all things - sure a lot of it is still relevant in life, but it comes across here as more of a shtick than being cathartic. Also, the excellent Pulse is ruined with Ani giving direction to her band in the studio to 'hold' a particular riff of the song for some extra moments - then she claims 'that was beautiful' as if the direction and result were spontaneous... please!

6.2 out of 10

1008. AniDiFranco - Living in Clip

I've seen Ani live a few times and the banter in between songs always annoyed me, especially the giggling - and it does here too. But I still love hearing Gravel, Joyful Girl, 32 Flavors, Untouchable Face, Fire Door, etc... since it's a collection of moments, one cd without the banter and the strongest tracks would have been perfect.

7.1 out of 10

segunda-feira, abril 20, 2009

1007. Ani DiFranco - Dilate

This was the first Ani cd I got based on two things: Chad saying something about it and this Spin cover (I think)... either way I was expecting something sort of heavy and was surprised by how eclectic this was... not too folky, not too quiet, etc. Listening to it again I pretty much still like what I liked (Untouchable Face, Outta Me, Onto You, Joyful Girl) and cringe with what I disliked (Amazing Grace). Still, a record that was fit for the times.

7 out of 10

1006. Ani DiFranco - Women In (E)motion Festival - July 8, 1994 Bremen, Germany

By the time I'm done with all of my Ani DiFranco cds you are going to think that I am a big fan - I'm not. I like some of her songs very, very much - but there are others that just annoy the hell out of me. I got this after trading in a ton of cds and had some credit left over. It's actually a pretty great live sampling of her early work - 11 tracks in all. It's just her and a percussionist but it manages to always sound full.

7 out of 10

quinta-feira, abril 16, 2009

1005. Daniel Johnston - Fun

I always 'knew' of Daniel Johnston but hadn't heard his music until M. Ward covered "The Story of an Artist" - then I checked out his documentary. I picked this up just to discover that it was Johnston's studio debut - which means gone was the lo-fi sloppiness, filled with pure eagerness and earnestness... instead what we have, despite good intentions, is studio musicians playing perfectly... sort of like when Bob Dylan sang on "We are the World".

3 out of 10

Here's a clip of M. Ward covering Daniel (this visual sucks but audio is decent):

1004. Vetiver - Vetiver

The thing with Devendra Banhart is that he can be a bit too freaky - his voice is so animated that if you're not careful all of a sudden you're in a fucked up place. But with Vetiver his voice falls in perfectly with the rest of the band - you start the cd off and by the time it ends with "On a Nerve" you're like the character on the cover: in it.

8 out of 10

quarta-feira, abril 15, 2009

1003. Califone - Heron King Blues

It would be easy to dislike Califone's "Heron King Blues", but the truth is it's a whiskey soaked, foot stomping, pan handling and banging good time. The sounds are almost gutteral, and ooze in like a hot sweat on a cool night. Not something for every day but more than good for the occasional night.

8 out of 10

1002. Gravenhurst - Flashlight Seasons

Gravenhurst are part folk, part brit pop and fit comfortably lakeside in a cool august night.

7.4 out of 10

1001. Castanets - Cathedral

I was pretty bummed out after a break up and I wanted to get something that would cheer me or help me wallow in my melancholy - I picked this up because of all the positive buzz it had received. The CD sounds like an abortion, except instead of a poorly formed fetus toy soldiers are coming out and the little bastards are firing at you.

3.4 out of 10

1000. Grizzly Bear - Horn of Plenty

Funny that this is my 1000th CD... and yay that I've broken 1000! I must be the only person who has this Grizzly Bear CD and not Yellow House, you see I wasn't that impressed with the debut that I got a long time ago, so why get the follow up? Makes sense no? The trick is though that it went from a one man gig to a full band and that supposedly made a lot of difference. Horn of Plenty is low, staticky and if there is too much background noise you may miss it. There are some interesting moments but it never transcends into the beauty you think it would.

6 out of 10

999. Mojave 3 - Ask Me Tomorrow

Mojave 3 is Neil Halstead, Rachel Goswell, Simon Rowe, Alan Forrester, and Ian McCutcheon. Many of these guys have been in other bands together, and although most have solo careers now they plan on releasing another lp soon. This quiet meditative release starts picking up speed right at the very end - still it's a pretty good album for a brisk fall sunday.

6.6 out of 10

terça-feira, abril 14, 2009

998. Pernice Brothers - Yours, Mine & Ours

The Pernice Brothers are a more adult pop oriented version of The Sea and Cake with a bit of Spain - so the results are very, very pleasing but a tad expected as well... perfect if your parents are coming over and you aren't sure what to put on, or for a commercial on green technology or investment firms. I mean all this as a compliment.

6.9 out of 10

997. Calexico - Feast of Wire

Calexico sound like an amazing mariachi band that have traveled the earth, drank everything every culture had to offer and play with a sobriety I can only hope to some day have. Part soundtrack, part serenade, part confession - Feast of Wire is pretty amazing.

9 out of 10

segunda-feira, abril 13, 2009

996. Iron & Wine With Calexico - In The Reins

This combination works very well actually (the live show also worked well - first Calexico, then Iron & Wine and at the end a joint set). The simplest way to explain the outcome is Iron & Wine's slow churnings were revved up to Calexico's speed, and Calexico had an added layer of sweetness to their already lonesome tunes.

7.8 out of 10

995. M. Ward - Transistor Radio

When I first saw M. Ward live it was for the Transfiguration tour - and he played by himself with a piano and guitar and it was a perfect show. The second time was for this album and he had a full band - unfortunately the intimacy and magic behind his solo performance was lost when he had a band with him - and Transistor suffers from a bit of the same problem though it is a solid album it lacks the spark of his previous effort.

7.1 out of 10

quarta-feira, abril 08, 2009

994. M. Ward - Transfiguration of Vincent

As an ode to a passed friend, Transfiguration was my first exposure to Matt and it's a near perfect tribute. The songs are deeply intimate, exploring a range of emotions and feelings, mimicking a collage of home movies that capture the inner workings of our own quite imaginations.

9 out of 10

993. M. Ward - Duet for Guitars #2

This is a pretty good intro to M. Ward's lo-fi, hushed sound. Duet is a rambling man's disc, not sure where the day will take him but savoring each spot along the way.

7 out of 10

sexta-feira, abril 03, 2009

992. Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea

I'll keep this brief. I knew of Silver Jews as a side project from one of the guys in Pavement though I had never actually 'heard' them. The cd before this one had received very positive reviews so when this came out, and I found it used, I said why not. It's folky but there is something about it that makes it very endearing.

7.1 out of 10

991. Danielson - Ships

I've been conned into seeing Danielson three times, by the same person, Ellen... Danielson is an odd folk singer - he has a metalesque voice that is slightly chipmunk like and his music hops from one little tale to another - it's part theatrical and part prog and all around weird. But he's a funny guy and I think this is best release so far - musically it's the most sophisticated and has an added dimension of fantasy to it.

7.4 out of 10

quinta-feira, abril 02, 2009

990. Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche

Boy he's a prolific son of a bitch! Even if you're like me, all Sufjan'd out you can't help but appreciate this album's worth of out takes - great stuff.

8 out of 10

989. Sufjan Stevens - Come On Feel The Illinoise!

The fourth time I saw Sufjan play I was officially Sufjaned out - all the chimes, backing vocals and butterfly wings had gotten to me... and that's how I felt with this release. It's brilliant and has some amazing moments (along with Superman on the cover) but I'm just sort of on an extended Sufjan break.

8.9 out of 10

988. Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans

Michigan was followed up with this 'out of state' lp - I love Seven Swans for two reasons, it's simple and really creepy - religious creepy. I admire his faith and his ability to translate it into something beautiful in these songs and manages to transcend the bullshit that religion is.

9.2 out of 10

quarta-feira, abril 01, 2009

987. Sufjan Stevens - Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lakes State

The first in what promises to be many, Sufjan's state tribute cd series has its best example (thus far) in Michigan. A quite, contained exploration of humanity and geography... the mood is just right on this disc - still doesn't make me want to go to Michigan though.

9 out of 10