Saturday, March 07, 2009

Listening Habits 02.2009

After an impressive start of the year, with mind-blowing albums like Telepathe’s "Dance Mother" and Animal Collective’s "Merriweather Post Pavillion", February's releases may seem less impressive in comparison, but we did get to listen to a few quite strong records. Morrissey, the godfather of sensitive '80s indie-pop, easily claimed the “Album of the Month” title with “Years Of Refusal”, an album that keeps the momentum going for his revitalized career in the '00s. Some of his students have also found a place in this month’s list: The Dears with the prog-rock inspired "Missiles", from the end of last year, and newcomers The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, from New York, with their excellent self-titled noise-pop debut. The Wedding Present, Sarah Records and the early ’90s shoegazing scene must have also left a lasting impression on them.

For more noise-pop thrills you can also listen to the full-length debut of Land Of Talk from Canada. The band, led by Elizabeth Powell, released the excellent "Some Are Lakes" at the tail end of 2008 (it was proceeded by the mini LP "Applause Cheer Boo Hiss") with Justin Vernon, better known as Bon Iver, lending his musical talents and helping out on production. For even more noise, but less pop, check out Titus Andronicus from New Jersey and their debut “The Airing of Grievances”. Derailed punk that gets drunk with The Pogues and shows appreciation for other art forms including Shakespeare’s plays, Camus’ literature and Bruegel’s renaissance paintings.

The Top 10 also includes another eclectic compilation from the Rough Trade Shops, a couple more good records from last year that I finally got around to listening (the mind-boggling mix of hip hop and folk by Why? as well as the second collaboration between Isobel Campbell and our recent visitor Mark Lanegan), Grand Dutchy, namely the ubiquitous Mr. Black Francis - or is it Frank Black this week? - and his lovely wife in a more pop oriented effort, and last but not least N.A.S.A. (which stands for North America South America) and the sprawling hip hop of “The Spirit of Apollo”. N.A.S.A. is the collaborative project created by producers Sam Spiegel, a.k.a. Squeak E. Clean (brother of director Spike Jonze), and Ze Gonzales, a.k.a. DJ Zegon. The backbone of their music may be banging hip hop beats but all sorts of elements are thrown in the mix as you can easily guess from the amazing list of collaborators: David Byrne, Chuck D, KRS One, Kool Keith, Tom Waits, Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O and Nick Zinner, M.I.A., Santogold, Spank Rock, Kanye West, half of the Wu Tang Clan - the list goes on and on!

Top 10 Albums

1. Years Of Refusal - MORRISSEY
2. The Spirit of Apollo - N.A.S.A.
3. Rough Trade Shops Counter Culture 08 - VARIOUS ARTISTS
4. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART
5. Some Are Lakes - LAND OF TALK
6. The Airing of Grievances - TITUS ANDRONICUS
7. Petits Fours - GRAND DUCHY
8. Alopecia - WHY?
9. Missiles - THE DEARS

Top 20 Tracks

2. Brother sport - ANIMAL COLLECTIVE
3. Michael - TELEPATHE
4. Temporary famine ship - INDIAN JEWELRY
5. When I grow up - FEVER RAY
6. All you need is me - MORRISSEY
7. No you girls - FRANZ FERDINAND
8. Give me back my heart attack - LAND OF TALK
10. Titus Andronicus - TITUS ANDRONICUS
11. Whachadoin? - N.A.S.A.
12. Airport surroundings - LONEY DEAR
13. People got a lotta nerve - NEKO CASE
14. Money babies - THE DEARS
15. Easy answers - THESE ARE POWERS
16. Ride the tide - NATIVE
17. Lovesick - GRAND DUCHY
18. Black balloon - THE KILLS
19. Blood bank - BON IVER
20. Fitz and dizzyspells - ANDREW BIRD

Threatmantics - Big Man, taken from the 2008 album "Upbeat Love", another fine addition to our Killer Track series.

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