Sunday, January 11, 2009

end of year list #2

I'm really bad at picking my favorites of anything. I have a terrible memory, and I hate ranking things. I tend to not notice things until after everyone else has – hence the abundance of 2007 releases on my list. I've probably missed a lot of brilliant stuff from this year, but I've been so busy watching Doctor Who and knitting, I've sort of let things get away from me. (Favorite Doctor: Nine. Favorite yarn: Misti Alpaca bulky hand-paint.) Sorry.

ten nine favorite albums


(I totally lost the will to live at 9, and I couldn't decide on a 10th, so I stopped. Sorry.)
9 • Strugglers by Koufax
A lot of my old favorite disappointed me this year. (I'm looking at you, Ben Folds, Futureheads, Death Cab….) So the fact that this old favorite released exactly the album it was supposed to, full of syncopated angst, and then toured to support it, is a beautiful thing.
8 • 12 Crass Songs by Jeffrey Lewis
Astute readers will have noticed that I really enjoy covers. I also enjoy stupid things. Anti-folk covers of Crass songs sung by a comic book illustrator? Win!!
7 • Thank You by the Lashes
Sometimes, you just need loud, fun pop music made by boys who like pie. Most of this was (is?) available on myspace for free, but if ever there was a band that deserved your $5, it's the Lashes. Be nice to them.
6 • Always The Bridesmaid: A Singles Series by the Decemberists
Three 12" singles, six songs that are perfect for putting on your turntable and pretending that people still make vinyl records with tambourines and tubas and banjos on them.
5 • The Supreme Genius of King Khan & The Shrines by King Khan & the Shrines
I think King Khan may be classified as punk doo-wop. Or something. This greatest hits album sounds like something that might have been recorded in 1965 by some fairly messed-up people. But in a totally brilliant way.
4 • Confidence Man by Matt Pryor
If Matt Pryor releases something, it will be on my top 10 list. This is just a given. It's a bit patchy, but the good bits are really very good.
3 • All We Could Do Was Sing by Port O'Brien
Technically released in 2007, this album owned my stereo for a few months this year. If Iron & Wine had a baby with Modest Mouse, and it grew up on an Alaskan fishing boat, it would be Port O'Brien.
2 • Heretic Pride by the Mountain Goats
Dude. The Mountain Goats. Surely that's enough.
1 • Midnight Organ Fight by Frightened Rabbit
If this album isn't in your top ten, you didn't buy it. Or you have no soul. It's angry and sad and joyful and self-deprecating all at the same time, with some of the greatest instrumentation I've heard in ages. With Scottish accents.


ten favorite songs

10 • "Air Guitar" by the Republic Tigers from Keep Color
I have this weird fascination with Kenn Jankowski that I can't really put my finger on. He seems abnormally quiet and serious every time I see him, and then he goes ahead and releases a song about the awesomeness of air guitar – it's gotta be the silliest song of the year, and yet it takes itself so very seriously, there's no way I couldn't fall in love with it.
9 • "I've Got the Sex" by the Mountain Goats – never officially recorded, but it's around on bootlegs and things
John Darnielle is not, by nature, a sexy man. Squashed strawberries are not necessarily sexy. Neither is the phrase "basal body temperature." But somehow, when you put them all together on the Troubadour stage, your breath might catch in your throat a little.
8 • "Five Years Time" by Noah & the Whale from Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down
This is the reason I bought my ukulele. It's sugary indie-pop made by whistling Brits, and it pops into my head for no reason at all at least once a week. And I never mind.
7 • "Writing a Letter" by the Smoking Popes from 1991-1998
This is a very old song. It's a very simple song. It makes me drive too fast on the 134. But it uses "whomever" properly, and that makes me adore both the song and Josh Caterer.
6 • "36th St" / "N" by Reggie & the Full Effect from Last Stop: Crappy Town
Reggie replaced goofiness and anger with, well, angst and anger, and this haunting outro to Last Stop blows me away every time.
5 • "Accident" by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin which has not, to my knowledge, been properly recorded(?)
I discovered SSLYBY ages ago, but never paid them much attention until ako insisted I see them live earlier in 2008. They won me over. This song is my favorite, and I don't know why.
4 • " Le Fils De Jacques Dutronc" by King Khan & the Shrines from What Is?!
From an amazing album released in 2007 by a band from Montreal, this is, as far as I can tell, the only French song in King Khan's canon. I've no idea what it's about, but a French friend of mine tells me that it's partly about eating pickles. It sure keeps your toe tapping, though.
3 • "Garden Rose" by Lavender Diamond from Imagine Our Love
Also released last year. I'll never stop a bullet, but a bullet might stop me / I'll never drink the ocean but the ocean might drink me - if that doesn't win you over, there's something wrong.
2 • "Poke" by Frightened Rabbit from Midnight Organ Fight
Seeing this song performed live may have changed my life. A lot.
1 • "Lovecraft in Brooklyn" by the Mountain Goats from Heretic Pride
While my theme song should be "Autoclave", this song about the famous author's xenophobia is too absurd not to adore. There's something in the bass line and sparse, chugging guitar riff and that snare/hi-hat thing that just makes me happy.

five favorite shows

5 • The King Kahn & BBQ Show @ the Echo
I was nearly killed by drunken redheads. But seeing these two men in sequins and sparkly wigs and pink turbans singing punk-rock doo-wop tunes while kids stage-dived was definitely worth any injuries I sustained.

4 • Koufax / Smoking Popes @ the Knitting Factory
Koufax's rhythm section and the Smoking Popes' absurdity made this a glorious show that I didn't expect to enjoy nearly as much as I did.
3 • Matt Pryor @ the Troubadour
C'mon. He did Get Up Kids songs. How was that not gonna make it to my list?
2 • Frightened Rabbit @ the Echoplex
Well, I mean, Frightened Rabbit. Dude. They are very, very good at what they do.
1 • The Mountain Goats @ the Troubadour
I saw the Mountain Goats twice – don't ask me to pick which show I liked more. The first show had insane banter, the second had guitar god riffs. How's a girl to choose?

the five people I'd invite to a dinner party:

I've always dreamt of having a voice-themed dinner party. That way I can just sit back and let these insanely intelligent men with the world's best voices chat amongst themselves, and I can sit in a corner and not get in the way. The guest list is as follows:
Stephen Fry, Colin Meloy, Alan Rickman, John Darnielle, and, of course, Christopher Walken.


my residual regrets of 2007:

Not paying enough attention to friends and family, including, but not limited to, my mother, my sister, my trans-Pacific pen pal/collaborator, my guitar, my ukulele, and my bass, and everyone who's now angry at me for listing my musical instruments before them. Although your really should know better by now.

in 2009 I might:

Figure out that real grownups spend their money on car payments and furniture and alcohol, and not on used Buffalo Springfield LPs, ukulele strings, alpaca yarn, or plastic pirates. Then, immediately discover that being a grownup sucks.


mp3: "I've Got the Sex (live at Pitzer College)" by the Mountain Goats
mp3: "Valerie Plame (live)" by the Decemberists, from Always The Bridesmaid
mp3: "Accident (live)" by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
mp3: "Modern Leper (live)" by Frightened Rabbit, from Midnight Organ Fight, performed live for LiveDaily
mp3: "I Woke Up Today (live at Primavera Sound)" by Port O'Brien, from All We Could Do Was Sing

7 comments:

Erik-Dardan Ymeraga said...

"Accident", actually a Mommyheads cover, has in fact been recorded, on a very old EP entitled "Gwyn and Grace"... you won't be disappointed. Expect it in your email promptly; I can't resist sharing such a gem.

cev said...

*has no soul* Although "The Modern Leper" did make my best songs list ...

colleen said...

yeeeah alan rickman! :)

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