Tag Archives: fun.

Photos: fun. with Miniature Tigers in Columbus

fun., Miniature Tigers
LC Pavilion – Columbus, Ohio
April 19, 2012


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Favorite Albums of 2009 by Joel Oliphint

(Separate Columbus list further down. Though, if the lists were combined, some of the local releases would unseat a few here…)

1. Larry Jon WilsonLarry Jon Wilson
I won’t lie. Talking to Larry Jon and producer Jerry DeCicca (Black Swans) about this album, learning about its origins, and visiting Wilson’s back catalog gave me a heightened appreciation for this masterpiece. So context helps, but even if you know nothing about the back story, this is a stark, beautiful album from start to finish from one of the forgotten country outlaws. Wilson’s Georgia baritone is the sweetest thing I heard this year. For Townes Van Zandt fans, this is required listening.

MP3: Feel Alright Again

2. The Love LanguageThe Love Language
It’s a rock n’ roll cliché and a PR flack’s dream: Guy breaks up with girl, drinks heavily, pisses off all his friends, eventually sobers up and retreats to his parents’ house to record an album on a four-track. But man does this cliché jangle with some of the best in-the-red pop songs I’ve heard in a while. Stuart McLamb’s Chapel Hill band signed to Merge in October and is slated to have a new release in August, and after seeing the full band (now a 7-piece) put on a terrific show at the Wexner Center in the fall, McLamb’s next outing could be even better with a little help from his friends.

MP3: Manteo I MP3: Lalita

3. Andrew BirdNoble Beast
Every aspect of Andrew Bird just keeps getting better—his voice; his gorgeous, multi-layered violin arrangements; his whistling. It makes for a backdrop so compelling that he can sing about proto-Sanskrit Minoans, porto-centric Lisboans, Greek Cypriots and Hobis-hots and have you nodding your head in agreement instead of scratching it in confusion.

MP3: Oh No

4. Kurt VileConstant Hitmaker; God is Saying This to You…; Childish Prodigy
kurtI’m grouping these together so I can squeeze more in, but all three LPs probably deserve a separate spot for different reasons. God finds Vile filtering his psychedelia through John Fahey and Neil Young; Childish kicks the volume up a notch and tones the lo-fi down; and Hitmaker, the best of the three, plays both sides with casual brilliance. “Freeway” is one of my favorite songs of 2009.

MP3: Freeway

5. The AntlersHospice
Hospice is one of only a few albums this year that completely transports me whenever I give it my full attention. (Brian Harnetty’s Silent City is another.) A concept album about a hospice worker and a young patient, the songs swell like Sigur Ros then retreat into gingerly tapped piano, lightly strummed guitar or shimmery synth. It’s in those quiet portions that Silberman employs his alabaster falsetto — more hushed than Jeff Buckley but less wispy than Antony Hegarty. Back in March, the Antlers played a show at Cafe Bourbon St. in front of me and maybe three other people. I’m thinking there’ll be a few more in attendance next time.

MP3: Bear

#6 onward + Columbus list after the jump. Continue reading

Video: fun. – All the Pretty Girls

As I mentioned previously, fun. is my not-so-guilty pleasure of ’09. Here’s the first official video from Aim and Ignite. Something very ELO about this track…

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Nate Ruess used to write ridiculously catchy pop songs with The Format, culminating with Dog Problems in 2006. When the Format folded in ’08, Ruess immediately recruited ex-Anathallo multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dost and Steel Train’s Jack Antonoff for this new band, the appropriately titled and annoyingly punctuated fun.

fun. released its debut, Aim and Ignite, in August, and it sounds like Freddie Mercury and Paul McCartney getting drunk at a carnival, then catching a Broadway show. There’s copious strings and accordions and Wurlitzers galore, all gallivanting next to Ruess’ impressive, addictive tenor. So fun. is exactly that. In fact, Aim and Ignite is the most fun album of straight-up pop music I’ve heard this year. It may be too candy-coated for some, but it’s the type of dessert I crave from time to time.

fun. came to town in April touring with Jack’s Mannequin, and now the band is touring with Taking Back Sunday and Anberlin (this Friday, 10/23, at the LC)—all of which makes me sad, because it only further entrenches Nate Ruess with sad-sack emo/screamo bands, an association I’ve never quite understood. He’s infinitely more talented than those dudes. You can stream much of Aim and Ignite at the band’s Myspace to see if you agree and/or purchase from all the typical digital retailers.