Great Music in '09

Triggercut, we’re still anxiously awaiting your final two favorite albums of 2008! In the meantime, a new year is upon us so here are a couple of new albums I’ve been listening to…

Andrew Bird – Noble Beast. Armchair Apocrypha set the bar pretty high so it’s not surprising that Bird comes down to earth a little with his next album. Which is not to say this is a bad album as all because it’s not. There’s not a bad song on the album. But neither is it particularly brilliant the way Armchair Aprocrypha was. It’s a pleasant diversion but I’ll be surprised if it makes anyone’s year end lists.

Bruce Springsteen – Working on A Dream. Again, nothing mind blowing here. The first track is kind of bad but also catchy. (I’m ashamed to admit it’s growing on me.) The rest of the album is fine but there’s nothing really memorable here either.

Franz Ferdinand – Tonight. This is actually the reason I started this thread. I never really got into their first two albums for some reason. I like a few of the songs but the albums left me a little cold. Maybe it’s just the mood I’m in this week but Tonight has really grabbed me in a way their past albums haven’t. There are a couple of dull spots but they’re almost entirely surrounded by standout tracks so overall it’s a win.

Animal Collective’s latest is their best yet.

New Bats album “The Guilty Office” coming next month to everywhere outside of NZ. And it’s a cracker, if you’re a fan of old-school kiwipop.

Last two of 2008 coming soon! I’m too busy getting my ass trampled at work right now, but that’ll change after Tuesday, sadly. I think.

At any rate, the long delayed (originally scheduled for Fall of 2007) album from The Living Blue hits digitally on Inauguration Day. I’m actually almost as excited for that as I am that other thing on Tuesday.

I knew there was a thread I forgot to start.

My first great album of '09 is a reissue, but they only made 2000 of the original so I think it counts: High On Fire’s “Live from the Relapse Contamination Festival”. A little on the shortish side, it’s a characteristically tight, pummeling set from High On Fire circa 2003, so it leans heavily on songs from Surrounded By Thieves and The Art Of Self-Defense. The big surprise comes with the last track - an awesome cover of Venom’s “Witching Hour”.

I went to school with Animal Collective. They were a year above me. I wish I could say I was their best friend, but I wasn’t really.

Ya, it lives up to the hype. I’ve had this on repeat for most of the week.

I’d like to throw in another vote for Animal Collective’s new record. It really is the type of music they’ve been building towards their whole career. I think back to the unevenness of Sung Tongs, some of the looseness of Feels, some of the harshness of Strawberry Jam, and now this record with all its quiet interludes and booming choruses. They’ve woven all their past sounds into something really joyous, mature and complete. It’s definitely going to be hard to top this year.

I also really like MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILION by Animal Collective. If anyone’s curious for a taste, try the song My Girls on Myspace. So good.

BTW, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives double album hit Stateside two weeks ago, and that double album is fantastic.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart is a band from New York who are determined to bring the C86 sound back, kicking and screaming. Imagine Stephen Pastel fronting The Flatmates or The Field Mice with a harder edge. Normally they might sound too gimmicky, but they not only get the sound right, they also write terrific songs.

“This Love Is Fucking Right!”
“Everything With You”

Ooooooh, a C86 revival? Sign me up. I picked up an awesome compilation called, cutely, CD86 last year, which has some of the bands you’d expect - Wedding Present, The Darling Buds, The Mighty Lemon Drops, The Soup Dragons - but was also crammed with perfect little pop songs from bands I had never heard of. Fans of 80s indie guitar pop will love this.

Now you guys are in my wheelhouse, as a bona fide C86 fanatic. That CD86 compilation was a really nice introduction (put together by Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne actually), but also be sure to check out The Sound of Leamington Spa series of compilations for tons of tape compilation and 12" obscurities from the era.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart do seem to be the great twee hopes for 2009. If you like them, there’s about a million more bands just like that on Cloudberry Records. Alot of their singles seems to be sold out now, but I imagine CD comps will be along soon.

I’m definitely interested in the new Animal Collective album. “Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished” is still my favorite AC album, counter to most people’s opinion.

Just in case you guys haven’t heard, the new Animal Collective album is ok.

I just want four walls and adobe slats for my girls!!

I thought the new Andrew Bird release was pretty meh. Of course I haven’t had much respect for him after hearing one of his songs during a commercial on TV. Booo!

Haven’t heard it yet, but just to pile on, I cannot wait to get the new Animal Collective. I am still in love with Panda Bear’s solo record–if it’s even half as good as that I’ll be happy.

And in a former, ancient life I was as rabid a Springsteen fan as you’ll find. (Around the time of Darkness/The River.) I liked The Rising more than most, thought Magic was okay, and caught him on that last tour and thought they were freaking great. So why can I not get excited about this new record?

There’s a lot of PERSON PITCH in the new AC album, Jeff. You won’t be disappointed.

So what’s the verdict on the song “Woods” by Bon Iver, the vocoder track from his new EP BLOOD BANK? I was recoiling in horror when I first put it on but then it kept building and building and before long I was transfixed. You can listen to it here at the Bon Iver myspace page.

I’ve only heard the brief clips of Animal Collective’s new one on iTunes, and yet I’m sold. They’re scratching an itch of mine that somehow M83 has never been quite able to reach. Definitely making this my first purchase of the year.

Bought it early this a.m., it’s been on repeat ever since. Loving it. I’ve been partial to “Feels” until now. This may replace it.

I think Sisters of Mercy is touring in Lebanon and other exotic places. They’ve left their website pretty much untouched except for tour dates for more than 5 years now though :)

OK, this thread made me buy the Animal Collective record, having never heard any of their stuff before. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. For one thing, it’s a lot poppier than I was expecting, but it’s a real Beatles/Beach Boys style pop which I hope is now coming back into vogue. (I keep thinking the second track is going to break into “Getting Better”.) The actual music is sort of fascinating - I was trying to describe it to a co-worker, and I said imagine you recorded a guitar part with like a ton of effects and echoes and delays and whatnot, and then took away the actual guitar sound and just left the effects.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like it on an intellectual, music-nerd level more than I like it like it. Mind you, I tend toward the loud, atonal and abrasive, so that’s not terribly surprising. I’ll have to give it a few more spins.

What’s the rest of their catalog like? Is it as poppy, or were they more experimental in the past?