(Separate Columbus list further down. Though, if the lists were combined, some of the local releases would unseat a few here…)
1. Larry Jon Wilson – Larry 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 Language – The 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 Bird – Noble 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 Vile – Constant Hitmaker; God is Saying This to You…; Childish Prodigy
I’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.
5. The Antlers – Hospice
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.
#6 onward + Columbus list after the jump. Continue reading
Posted in 2009 Favorites, Columbus, MP3
Tagged andrew bird, animal collective, Atlas Sound, Bill Callahan, Bird and Flower, Brian Harnetty, David Bazan, Dirty Projectors, fun., Justin Townes Earle, Kurt Vile, Larry Jon Wilson, Monolithic Cloud Parade, RTFO Bandwagon, Sinkane, The Antlers, The Love Language, The Mountain Goats, The Receiver, the sun, this is my suitcase, Times New Viking, Volcano Choir, Wing & Tusk, Yo La Tengo
“Chicago Netlabel” Rock Proper is offering Columbus trio The Sun‘s new/last album, Don’t Let Your Baby Have All the Fun, for free. From the site:
“We hawked the gear, we sold the van, we squeezed as much as we could out of the label and severed all ties,” singer, Chris Burney laughs about early stages of what would become their newest record. But selling the gear and splitting with the label was not the end of the logistical nightmare that would plague the creation of this record; continued legal battles, arguments with management and the departure of two bandmates made for some other highlights along the way.
For this project, The Sun boys teamed up with producer Mike McCarthy, best known for his production work with the band Spoon. McCarthy has produced everything Spoon has put out from 2001’s Girls Can Tell to their latest Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. “[Mike] has a technique of pushing you psychologically until you are in the mood he wants you in for the particular song you are working on.” Continue reading
Posted in Columbus
Tagged the sun
A long, long time ago (2006) in a land far, far away (Austin), Sound Team released its major-label debut, Movie Monster, after years of DIY releases & touring and mounting “next-big-thing” buzz. It was a tough album to pin down, with influences on the sleeve and all over the map (Spoon, Interpol, Walkmen, U2); the only constants were layered, pulsing electronics and big hooks. It’s soulful, impassioned and still holds up today, I think. But Movie Monster got mixed reviews (this may hold the record for the most grotesquely snarky), it didn’t sell well, and the next year Sound Team called it quits.
Sunday night (8/9) at the Treehouse you can catch the new project from 1/2 of the former band’s songwriting duo, Matt Oliver. (It also includes ex-Sound Team drummer Jordan Johns.) TV Torso, named after a song off Movie Monster, has a more organic vibe, but with Oliver’s vocal scratch intact and leading the charge, fully freed of unrealistic, fairy-tale expectations.
Chris Burney (The Sun) opens.
Remember a few years ago when Dave Grohl wrote an insane metal album and invited all of his favorite singers to sing on it? Probot. A little outside (okay, a LOT outside) of what he was doing in the Foo Fighters, but it was the kid in him just letting loose and making the album he always REALLY wanted to make.
Longtime Columbus drummer Paul Abbott (Woosley Band, Karma Farmers) has put together his own little Probot-like project that he’s named Pocketful of Sunshine and the players on the album (Target Audience of One) are a veritable Who’s Who of the Columbus music scene.
Just check out this list of singers who appear: Two Cow Garage’s Micah Schnabel (“Ultimate Mixtape”), Celebrity Pilots’ Chris Sheehan (“Are You Still Lovely?”), Earwig’s Lizard McGee (“My Favorite Star”), The Sun’s Chris Burney (“I Am the One”), The Spikedrivers’ Jesse Henry (“Get With You”), Big Back Forty’s Sean Beal (“Season of Giving”), Chris McCoy (“Undone”), Happy Chichester (“Easy Does It”), Ugly Stick’s Dave Holm (“Same Train”), Tim Easton (“Next to You”), and Megan Palmer (“Tumbleweed Rover”). Seriously … SEAN BEAL???? CHRIS McCOY???? When was the last time either of these guys sang on a record?