Tuesday, February 15, 2011

January Weekly Top Tens

As I lay there dying from the flu in January, in my fevered hysteria, I thought, "how will I ever get my best of the year lists done?" Will I ever be able to get out of bed long enough to attend a concert again? Will I ever play another CD? Will I ever be able to do more than just watch travel shows on PBS? ...Will I ever stop talking abour it?

Well, eventually the senses started returning, I listened to some quiet albums, went out to a couple of shows (I really needed to get my concert legs back) and the urge to write followed, getting stronger and stronger.

Between January 14 - 20, 2011, and I listened to just a few albums, but it was the soothing, upbeat sweetness of the music of Lord Huron, on their two EP's, that was really healing and helped to escort me back to the world of music. Beirut's The Flying Club Cup was another piece, which I hadn't played in a while, but the variety and creativity of this album was reassuring and engaging. George Glass picked up the pace a bit for me with their more aggressive rock, but still they fascinate me with the breadth of their range in each song. Rob Crow, Film School and Blitzen Trapper filled out the rest of my listening parameters and I thank all these artists for bringing me back to where I belong.

What I listened To January 21 - 27, 2011:

1. Alpine Decline - Visualizations (self release)

2. Iron and Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean (Warner Bros.)

3. Iron and Wine - Live at Norfolk 6/20/05 (Sub Pop)

4. Nightfur - Glass Wall (self release.

5. The Monolators - Silver Cities/Ruby Double 45 record (self release)

6. Iron and Wine - Around the Well (Sub Pop)

7. George Glass - George Glass (self release)

8. Pepper Rabbit - Beauregard (Kanine Records)

9. Tommy Santee Klaws - Rakes (self release)

10. Seryn - This Is Where We Are (Velvet Blue Music)

I was sent the album by Alpine Decline called Visualizations over the holidays, but it wasn't untill I started playing the CD that accompanied the shipment that I realized just how great this is. It's diffused, spacious sound is anchored by a powerful wall of sonic noise beneath that it sounds like a spaceship taking off, but with some very sweet singing aliens on board. They played the very first night of our Radio Free Silver Lake LaBrie's show but I wasn't familiar with their music. I will pay closer attention next time.

This was the week of the Iron and Wine shows including the one I saw on Wednesday, Jan. 26 so I gorged myself on his recent records. His new album, Kiss Each Other Clean, is challenging and a little remote, but the poetry is beautiful and fascinating in its elaborate construction. In concert it was spectacular, full-bodied and quite hypnotic. 11 musicians filled the stage for most of the show and the sound was perfection. His Live at Norfolk album remains my favorite of his recordings because it's so forcefully played and his stage persona is so ingratiating and unforced that you can listen to it over and over.

The Nightfur album, Glass Wall, is terrifically well recorded and, though more tame than their live renditions, the songs are solid and interesting. The Monolators double 45 they just released, Silver Cities/Ruby is such a treasure, because they are recorded like a real rock band and sound better than ever. Their live energy is apparent on the record, but they take care to showcase all elements of their sound without ever tipping over into the sloppy.

I've written about all the others, but should mention that the Seryn album, This Is Where We Are, was sent to me and I enjoyed hearing it and I will try to see them next time they're in town.

What I Listened To January 27 - February 3, 2011:

1. Alpine Decline - Visualization (self release)

2. The Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin (Nonesuch Records)

3. Iron and Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean (Warner Bros.)

4. Nightfur - Glass Wall (self release)

5. George Glass - George Glass (self release)

6. The Monolators - Silver Cities/Ruby Double 45 record (self release)

7. Three Mile Pilot - The Inevitable Past Is The Future Forgotten (Temporary Residence)

8. Iron and Wine - Live at Norfolk 6/20/05 (Sub Pop)

9. Pepper Rabbit - Beauregard (Kanine Records)

10. Tommy Santee Klaws - Rakes (self release)

Still obsessed with the Alpine Decline album. I find the songs dreamy and seductive and they are good enough for frequent, repeated plays. It's great mood music while riding on the bus as the compositions are highly visual and cinematic.

The Low Anthem blew me away at the Iron and Wine concert in January, so I picked up their Oh My God, Charlie Darwin CD in the folk section at Amoeba, and, though not quite as impactful as their live set, it's still a damned good record.

All the others, you know what I think. Now I'm off to see a bunch of shows.


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