Monday, December 25, 2006

On some good albums from 2006

Neil Young Living With War
Sometimes the most powerful political messages are the simplest and rock music doesn't get much simpler than the three-chord crunch Neil and his crazy horses punch out on this record. Neil's pen points directly at the George W. Bush administration, but the melodies and arrangments - loud, massive, charging - ring with hope (and feedback and that nice, deep fried distortion). This is proof that rock and roll relevancy isn't something that passes with age; after all, the elderly are some of the angriest people in this world. (That said, the new Dylan wasn't nearly as blowjob-worthy as all the critcs made it out to be. And the less said about the new Who album, the better.)

Neil Young - Let's Impeach the President

Mates of State Bring It Back
In a year where war and environmental disaster were at the top of the news agenda, we all needed more joyful and whimsical to escape to. This record was one of those places. It's a pop masterpiece, all exuberant boy-girl harmonies, melodies as addictive as meth, bouncy drumming, and pump-it-up organ. This is what it's like, on a fantasy.

Mates of State - For the Actor

Loose Fur Born Again in the USA
Jeff Tweedy continues to disguise his obvious prog-rock tendencies with his all-too-human singing voice and a dash of country anytime things get too Genesis. Collaborating with indie uber-producer Jim O'Rourke and Glenn Kotche, possibly the greatest rock drummer in existence today, Tweedy indulges his passion for time-fucks and obscurist lyrics about the Bible. It's Tweedy, though, and Tweedy is the new God.

Loose Fur - Apostolic

The Raconteurs Broken Boy Soldiers
Apparently a lot of indie hipster types hate these guys, which proves a lot of theories I have about indie hipster types. Firstly, they don't actually listen to the music they claim to hate. This record is as crafty and varied as anything those Modest Mouse fools have released. It's smart, funny, and well-performed. Secondly, they care more about cultural elitism than they do about quality sounds. The Raconteurs were well-marketed, they sold a lot of albums and had a hit single, which, according to indie hipster creed, means they must suck. This creed is as problematic as the Scott Stapp fronted penis band. Thirdly, indie hipster types are pussies and don't understand rock. Because this, this fucking rocks.

The Raconteurs - Hands

Brightblack Morning Light Brightblack Morning Light
When I first heard the opening three chords of "Everybody Daylight", chords drenched in that elusive thing we call Soul, I knew I'd discovered something special. If mise en scene can be applied to music theory, than this album had the finest mise en scene of any album this year, showing us nothing but boozy and weedy nighttime recording sessions in Memphis, campfires in the California desert, and long, wet walks in West Coast rainforests. But more than that, for me, this record became that rarest of things: a close friend. On those rainy walks to the bus stop at six in morning, Brightblack was there. Coming down after psilocybe adventures by the ocean, Brightblack was there. And as we layed in bed, sharing our thoughts about nothing and everything, Brightblack, was there. Easily the best of the year, definitely one of the best of the decade.

Brightblack Morning Light - Everybody Daylight

Merry Christmas, baby.


Blogger M-C said...

Cliff's post was an odd choice for Christmas Day. We need to reconnect ASAP, when work allows for it.

3:28 PM  

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