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17 Dec 2010 02:07


Music: Pitchfork fulfills obvious Kanye West “best album of 2010” overture

  • But, somehow, West managed to transcend the preposterous talk show appearances, the too-good-to-be-true Twitter account, the live breakdowns, the Horus chain, the free-MP3 stunt(ing), the press blitz, the breakups, the make-ups, the dick pics, the furniture pornography, the Rosewood movement, the NO NEGATIVE BLOG VIEWING, the living paintings, the short film, and the rest of the lot. Through all that noise, we obsessed first and most deeply over the eye of the storm: the album.
  • Pitchfork writer Sean Fennessey • Revealing what’s been a straight-up given for the last month – Kanye West has Pitchfork’s top album of 2010. Considering it got a 10.0 from the site, it would have been a shocker if it wasn’t really. Past Kanye, perhaps the biggest surprise of the top twenty is Janelle Monae’s relatively low number twelve showing. The question is, who would’ve let her in the top ten? From Titus Andronicus to LCD Soundsystem to Deerhunter, the top ten overall is pretty solid, complete with James Blake’s numerous EP releases this year. Actually, we have a thought – Vampire Weekend’s “Contra” doesn’t belong there, thanks to this ad. Put Janelle Monae in its spot and give a girl with some awesome ideas her due, Pitchfork. source

13 Mar 2010 14:00


Music: Saturday Mixtape: Is Titus Andronicus the best of 2010 so far?

  • 1. It’s big, it’s messy, and it’s not really about the Civil War. But man, is it a lot of fun. “Four Score and Seven,” an eight minute track off Titus Andronicus‘ excellent second album, “The Monitor,” has a lot of everything, but doesn’t feel like a dirge. That says a lot.
  • 2. It’s pretty awesome to see Lou Reed used this well this late in his career. This Gorillaz tune, “Some Kind of Nature,” is one of the Velvet Underground singer’s best performances – guest or otherwise – in years. It’s a credit to Damon Albarn that he fits in so well.
  • 3. Man, we missed Ted Leo. Leo isn’t at the height of his “Ballad of the Sin Eater” powers, but he feels a lot closer to that point on “Even Heroes Have to Die” than he has in a while.
  • 4. And now for something different. We stumbled upon German pianist Nils Frahm earlier this week, and while his neo-classical solo piano improvisations aren’t exactly the kind of thing that will burn up the charts, they’re always interesting.
  • 5. Both James Mercer and Danger Mouse sounded like they were in dire need of a side project, and Broken Bells has proven to be the exact tone both were looking for. “The Mall & Misery” has a little of everything in modest servings – pretty pensive synths, calming strings, a little slide guitar, a little more surf guitar, and a few riffs that cut through the middle like a New Order song. It’s full of ideas, but none that scream at you.

09 Mar 2010 23:08


02 Jan 2010 19:12


Music: Saturday Mixtape: Five trailblazers to start out the next decade

  • 1. Folk: The Avett Brothers had a pretty good 2009, with a large major-label mainstream breakthrough in the form of “I and Love and You.” As folk goes, their sound – influenced by ramshackle punk and Beatlesque melodies as much as traditional Guthrieisms – seems ready to define folk-rock for the next decade. And unlike Ryan Adams, they have a fairly consistent musical plot, which means they won’t screw this up so easily.
  • 2. Punk: Fucked Up may perhaps be the most interesting thing to happen to hardcore punk in a couple of decades. There’s a distinct level of risk in their performance style (they’re known for being violent and confrontational) and their sound (their most well-known album, “The Chemistry of Common Life,” opens with a flute solo – not exactly hardcore), and it’s a definite blueprint for punk’s future that could win them fans over time.
  • 3. Electronic/Noise: HEALTH has two pretty good albums to their name, and with a brutal live set (punctuated by pin-drop changes in dynamic), a tie to one of L.A.’s best scenes at The Smell, and an ear to the potential of electronic music (2007’s HEALTH//DISCO remix album proved to be a great evolution of their sound), they’re bound to come up with a great album eventually.
  • 4. Pop: Chromeo is perhaps the most influential pop band that currently isn’t getting heavy play on the radio. Mainstream acts are riffing on their retro sound (which itself riffs on Hall & Oates, with a little French electronica mixed in there) left and right, and they come up way more often in articles about pop music than they do on iPod playlists. With a third album in 2010, expect them to get an even bigger profile.
  • 5. Rock: Titus Andronicus perhaps has one of the most interesting conceits for an album in 2010 – “The Monitor,” a concept piece on the Civil War, anchored by a song called “The Battle of Hampton Roads.” The scrappy indie rockers, if they pull it off, could win the kind of respect handed to guys like Craig Finn of The Hold Steady. The band already has a history the with concept album, so it should be intriguing.

12 Dec 2009 17:14


Music: Near the end: Our Saturday Mixtape decade roundup hits 2008

  • 1. “What’s gonna happen to you?” As we noted in last week’s mixtape, Plants and Animals was going to be a part of our 2008 list, too. And “Bye Bye Bye” may only be the second best song with that title, it’s certainly a  close second.
  • 2. Cut Copy’s attempt to synthesize New Order into something fresh and new worked surprisingly well for 2008. The record, “In Ghost Colours,” got a little beat heavy, but when they mixed the beats with pure pop, like on “Feel The Love,” it worked better than good.
  • 3. It’s funny how different you feel about an album after a year. A year ago, we felt like Titus Andronicus’ “The Airing of Grievances” was a great album, sure, but not one of the best of the year. But we kept finding ourselves coming back to it – repeatedly. Ragged but by no means dull, these Jerseyites bring passion to every chord they touch, especially on “Titus Andronicus” (the song).
  • 4. Fellow Jerseyites The Gaslight Anthem also brought pathos with them on “The 59 Sound,” but they brought it with a little more punk and a lot more Bruce. The Killers’ attempts at Bruceisms were misguided, but they also paved the way for Gaslight’s success, so we’ll give them a break.
  • 5. We were really torn about putting Atlas Sound over Deerhunter in this spot. Ultimately, Deerhunter won. It’s because Bradford Cox’s full band has amazing singles even if their full records don’t hold together as well as his side project. At least that’s our take on the world of Bradford Cox. Anyway, “Nothing Ever Happened” is simply sick.