Thursday, November 08, 2007

On fall music

Radiohead–In Rainbows

Phil Selway is amazing. I don’t know of any drummer who combines electronic beats with his own bashing as perfectly and intelligently as Radiohead’s bald guy in the back. “15 Step” is only the most obvious example of his proficiency, but a good one, considering it’s also the best song on this excellent album. Some these songs have been gestating for years but this loosest sounding Radiohead album in over a decade.I haven’t read a review that’s commented on the fact that at least two of these songs (“Weird Fish/Arpeggi” and “Jigsaw Falling Into Place”) sound a hell of a lot like Broken Social Scene. So I guess I’ll be the first.

Radiohead-15 Step

The Staple Singers–Uncloudy Day

I’m not religious, but listening to this album, released in 1959, almost makes me want to believe. The lo-fi-before-lo-fi-was-cool recording snaps, crackles and pops like a Baptized bowl of Rice Krispies. The songs—Christian, Southern, sad—are mostly just four voices accompanied by a single electric guitar with the reverb cranked to otherworldly proportions. Pop and Mavis trade leads in making pleads to the Lord, while the call-and-response harmonies will make you cry. If someone asked me to define musical “conviction,” I’d play this.

The Staple Singers-This May Be The Last Time

The National–Boxer

According to the iTunes tracker on Carley’s computer, I’ve listened to this album in its entirety 15 times since I downloaded it. “Fake Empire” has been played 37 times. These numbers doesn’t include iPod listens, of which there have been many. Considering how rarely I play entire albums in these mix-and-shuffle days, that’s damn impressive.

The National-Apartment Story

Panda Bear–Person Pitch

Writing about music is tough. It’s even tougher for pop music critics than their jazz or classical peers, since it’s assumed the readership won’t understand technical terms. Because of this, many hack pop writers rely on references to similar-sounding artists to describe what albums and/or songs sound like. Person Pitch by Panda Bear sounds like The Beach Boys and Phil Spector, but better.

Panda Bear-Comfy in Nautica


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