Matt Nerney Poop 05

Well, it’s that time of year again. The holidays have come and gone, the cookies and nog have settled permanently in my waistline, and the resolutions have been made. Then the voices in my head start talking; “Mark’s going to be in touch soon, start on the list, don’t put it off, don’t put it off …”. Unfortunately, I’m able to listen to myself about as much as I listen to other people (which is not much, obviously, except for my wife and son). So once again, at the last minute, I’ll try to meet Mark’s deadline and stay in his good graces. As usually, I’m spending the last few weeks of January trying to get last minute purchases and digest them while also immersing myself in all the music that I’ve listened to during the year. It all gets a bit confusing to be honest. This year though, it’s been even more fun and confounding than usual because I’m using my eight month old son, Declan, as a soundboard. If he likes something, it goes on the list. Thankfully, he seems pretty open-minded about music (he actually seems to like everything except bluegrass). On the other hand, he hasn’t helped me speed up the process any (I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree). Well, let me stop wasting any more time and get down to business.

Top of the Pops

  Buy new or used through Amazon

1.Oranger : New Comes and Goes

It’s not innovative, original, or thought provoking, but I love it all the same. Having transformed themselves from a neo-psychedelic power trio to streamlined glam-pop quintet, Oranger produce their best album yet. For fans of EC, the Figgs, or New Pornographers.


  Buy new or used through Amazon
2.New Pornographers : Twin Cinema
These unlikely heroes just keep getting better. AC Newman took a vacation to the slow wonder and came back with a new wisdom and vision. Intelligent and adventurous, delicate and aggressive, Twin Cinema challenges what we should expect from pop music. Plus, Kurt Dahle kicks some serious ass.


  Buy new or used through Amazon

3.Apollo Sunshine : Apollo Sunshine

This band is way too much fun to be taken seriously by the mainstream music media. Combining the adventurous spirit and sound of bands like Phish and Camper van Beethoven with the melodic sensibility of Macca, Apollo Sunshine are irreverent, ambitious, and rockin’. While they are a bit silly, I still love this record. Really, I love it.


  Buy new or used through Amazon
4.Decemberists : Picaresque
Continuing in the same theatrical folk-shanty vein as their prior albums, while slightly expanding their stylistic range and at the same time refining their sound. Brilliant song-writing, interesting arrangements, and a unique voice guarantee that the Decemberists are in a league by themselves.


  Buy new or used through Amazon
5.Eliza Carthy : Rough Music
Only for fans of doom and gloom English traditional music. If you do go out for this kind of stuff though, Eliza Carthy is the best you can get. She sings and scrapes the bow with an honesty and integrity that is rare today.


  Buy new or used through Amazon
6.Sufjan Stevens : Illinois
Sufjan Stevens is developing into a really interesting songwriter with his overly ambitious “states” project. He has a distinct voice and vision, combining disparate elements to very intriguing effect. I wonder what he’ll do with New York? We may find out some time in the next 48 years.


  Buy new or used through Amazon
7.John Vanderslice : Pixel Revolt
Another very interesting songwriter. Vanderslice came out of the box with a different take on the world and that vision has only deepened with time. Beautiful sounds with lyrics that will keep you thinking.


  Buy new or used through Amazon

8.My Morning Jacket : Z

It seems like this will be the album that breaks MMJ into the mainstream, but will probably also be the one that older fans will deem the “sellout”. I personally think that their expanded sound and style work really well. A nice mix of classic rock, pop, jam-band reggae, and the odd waltz thrown in for good measure.


  Buy new or used through Amazon
9.The Coral : The Invisible Invasion
Having found new producers, the Coral also seem to have found a new energy and enthusiasm. Still harvesting the same 60’s garage sounds as their last album, but with a fuel-injected engine.


  Buy new or used through Amazon
10.Bloc Party : Silent Alarm
Just another post-punk Gang of Four wannabe, but I still really like it. Hopefully they’ll develop into something that is worthy of further investigation. Great drummer though.


  Buy new or used through Amazon
11.And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead : Worlds Apart
A bit overwrought and a bit pompous, but one of the few bands (that I know of) carrying on the art rock tradition (of the Sonic Youth variety).


  Buy new or used through Amazon
12.Akron/Family : Akron/Family
Another album that’s a little bit overwrought, a bit pretentious, but still good for when that certain mood strikes. What you might get if you stuck Will Oldham, Mark Linkous, and Thom Yorke in a two-bit Memphis studio for a drunken weekend.


  Buy new or used through Amazon
13.Spoon : Gimme Fiction
A new direction for these Austin icons. While on previous albums Spoon flirted with classic rock heroes, they now openly embrace the old dinosaurs. Lennon, Lou Reed, and the Stones are all major reference points, to mixed affect. There are still nods to the Spoon of old and those are my favorite moments on this album. Some folks who have shied away in the past might want to take another look


  Buy new or used through Amazon
14.Joggers : With a Cape and a Cane
Here’s one that I just stumbled on accidentally. Kind of maybe like a mix of Pavement, Big Audio Dynamite, and the Libertines, with Mark E. Smith yelping away out front. Sloppy, yet somehow intricate, with, you guessed it, a boss drummer. Sweet, sticky stuff.


  Buy new or used through Amazon
15.Gorillaz : Demon Days
Yeah, kinda cheesy, but I still like it. Dub, dance, rock, rap, Gorillaz do it all, but not necessarily always well. Still, it’s all in good fun, so lighten up.


Other Notable News (and Olds)

  • Deerhoof : the Runners Four — well, here’s another art rock band …
  • Greenhornes : Sewed Soles — authentic 60’s garage
  • Bees : Free the Bees — authentic Abbey Road (studio that is)
  • Rogue Wave : Descended Like Vultures — a little more muscular this time around
  • Alisdair Roberts : No Earthly Man — more doom and gloom but of the Scottish ilk
  • Richard Thompson : Front Parlour Ballads/Grizzly Man — neither is great, but it’ll do
  • Superwolf : Superwolf — Oldham continues on his strange path
  • Animal Collective : Feels/Prospect Hummer — new wave hippies?
  • Arcade Fire : STEP — interesting to hear their first recordings
  • Drones : Wait Long by the River … — like Come (with a guy singer)
  • Franz Ferdinand : You Could Have It So Much Better — this could be so much better
  • 101ers : Elgin Avenue Breakdown — some real gems among the debris
  • Happy Bullets : the Vice and Virtue Ministry — please, call me Ray
  • Six Organs of Admittance : School of the Flower — the new John Fahey?
  • Espers : the Weed Tree — the new Fotheringay?
  • Holopaw : Quit / Fight — off-beat indy folk
  • Anders Parker : the Wounded Astronaut — for those who like Anders with distortion
  • Super Furry Animals : Love Kraft — not quite up to par with their last few brilliant albums
  • Thievery Corporation : the Cosmic Game — more of the same from these chill-out spinners
  • Team Sleep : Team Sleep — deftones on valium

    Too Much Music, Not Enough Time

    Phantom Buffalo, Minus Story, Wilderness, Vashti Bunyan, Alec Bathgate, Deathray, Quasar Wut-Wut, Reigning Sound, Gris Gris, Outrageous Cherry, and the list could go on …

    contact : mattalie AT AY OH HELL DOT COM