Eric Fine Poop 09

Hello world.  Time to wake up again, cram as much music into my brain for a few days and put some ramble on paper and pretend I have immersed myself in music this year.  Truth be told, I find most of my time is spent listening to old Stevie Wonder records.  Perhaps I should just review those?  Nonetheless, I did find a few items that stood out. Surprisingly, or not, much of my “new” music was either compilations (limited attention span?) or reissues.  Anyway, to quote the late, great George Michael (from The Machine, not Wham): “Let’s go to the tape.”

GRIZZLY BEAR   Buy New or Used through amazon  OR   @ eMusic
Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest What a great headphone record. Layered, atmospheric and complicated; I can’t ask for anything more from an album. Both happy and sad; it can’t decide which way it wants to go. I know the feeling.

Various Artists - Dark Was the Night   Buy New or Used through amazon  OR   @ eMusic
Various Artists – Dark Was the Night The Red Hot Organization celebrates its 20th release with a who’s who of indie rock.  Outstanding covers mixed in with originals, both new and old.  Highlights include The Books version of Nick Drake’s Cello Song and The National’s So Far around the Bend.

Big Star – Keep An Eye On The Sky Sometimes   Buy New or Used through amazon  OR   @ eMusic
Big Star – Keep An Eye On The Sky Sometimes What is old is new again.  Never dated, it is like hearing these songs fresh for the first time.  The volume of unreleased material fits in nicely with studio tracks. 

DIRTY PROJECTORS   Buy New or Used through amazon   OR   @ eMusic
Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca One of the most diverse, original recordings to come around in awhile. Heavy, folksy, and breezy all at the same time.

YO LA TENGO   Buy New or Used through amazon  OR   @ eMusic
Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs I guess that is Ira’s stab at sarcasm. Opening track’s strings help to set up a dark mood, which is quickly shifted to Georgia’s light and airy singing. For me, they can do no wrong, and I am happy to say this is another strong showing.

WILCO   Buy New or Used through amazon
Wilco – Wilco Best American (not Americana) band out there today, this album gets better with each listen. As always with Wilco, there is more than meets the ear. Dig deep into each track and see how simple and complicated they are at the same time.

Brendan Benson – My Old, Familiar Friend   Buy New or Used through amazon  OR   @ eMusic
Brendan Benson – My Old, Familiar Friend True, Jason Falkner taught him what well produced pop music sounds like. However he has been carrying the torch nicely. I see this as one of those albums that will continue to improve with each listen and will stand up to the test of time in Pop.

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix   Buy New or Used through amazon   OR   @ eMusic
Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix Normally, not my cup of tea. Poppy and happy are usually not two words I put together when describing the music I listen to. However, I find myself taping along to the strong hooks.

  Buy New or Used through amazon  OR   @ eMusic
Built to Spill – There Is No Empty Quite the improvement from their previous release, there is a sound for everyone here.  Still going strong with big guitars, there is more melody than I have heard from them in awhile.  They are still one of the best live bands around today.

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE   Buy New or Used through amazon   OR   @ eMusic
Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion It doesn’t take long for this record to take flight.  Starting off like slow and steady, the thumping beats set the pace for the rest of the album.  Each song has an epic anthem quality which you feel like could explode any second.

Various Artists – Score! 20 Years of Merge Records: The Covers A great compilation. I am a sucker for a good cover, especially a Superchunk cover.
The Fiery Furnaces – I’m Going Away Dated, but in a good way. I would describe this record as indie rock with 70’s piano; a more aggressive Sloan perhaps?
Dinosaur Jr. – Farm Some things never change… and that is a good thing. This record snuggly fits into their catalog perfectly.Neko Case – Middle Cyclone Sure, her voice has held up quite well. Powerful, yet somewhat hollow at the same time. Sadly, I don’t find the songs that interesting anymore.
Tortoise – Beacons of Ancestorship Still hypnotic, however not as melodic as previous releases. They are slowly becoming the elevator music of our day. That is not a complement.
Flight of The Conchords – I Told You I Was Freaky Not as strong as their first season, but still make for a good laugh.
Sonic Youth – The Eternal Their tightest release in years without straying too far from their core sound.

The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms / Good Earth 2 classics finally resurfacing. The sound is amazing
Sunny Day Real Estate – Diary / LP2 Somewhat dated, but still rocks
Beastie Boys – Check Your Head The record that took them to the next level for me
U2 – Unforgettable Fire Before they saved the world, they wrote impassioned and warm songs
REM – Reckoning Totally missed first time around, I get a second chance, loaded with bonuses
Neil Young – Archives, Vol. 1 1963-1972 Full of nuggets and gems I can keep going back to
Jesus Lizard – Head / Goat / Liar / Down Man, these guys were badass
Elvis Costello – Live At The El Mocambo Vital live, high energy highlighting the early days

As always, thanks to my patient wife. I know she wants me to grow up, I’m just not sure how. And to Jaden, an innocent ray of bright light and the sunshine of my life (see, I told you, lots of Stevie Wonder). Maybe next year he can contribute his own list.

Eric Fine, via NYC