Saturday, February 28, 2009

Top albums 2008- The Praire Edition or the new Soundtrack to Days in Heaven

This is not all inclusive for me but I needed a theme to whittle shit down. These are the albums that I discovered or re-discovered in the year 2008. For a lot of 08 I didn't buy much new music (read broke) and didn't download new albums (read broke and transient).
2008 was the year of the bucolic revolution for me. Already enamored by things all things old: your mom; olde-timey music; hats. Equally enamoring are new things that have an old soulful feeling to them. This is true of: women; photography; mustaches; bicycles; music. I found myself being influenced by the movie Days of Heaven. Where there is this feeling of calm beauty on the surface with chaos and fire right below the surface ready to erupt at any moment. This came out a lot in the music I found myself drawn to.
Some call my taste boring. They are right. I feel old sometimes. I want my fucking peace, quiet and the fucking hipsters off my lawn. Most of the time, I fantasize about a pastoral life by wearing vests and trying to be cool in a fedora (read FAIL). They say as you get older you return to your roots and become more conservative. Maybe that is what is happening. But fuck them and fuck you, I like what I like. I hope you might find something new and interesting here or at least, old and clingy.

Paralyzed- Witch

Stoner heavy metal from Vermont with the dude from Dinosaur Jr. on drums. Yes. I’ll take 8.

I’m Not There Soundtrack- Various Artists

My Morning Jacket covering Goin to Acapulco. Best song of the year. The rest of the album is great when people weren’t doing bad Bob Dylan impressions. Cat Power and Charlotte Gainsbourg’s tracks literally turn me on.

Devotion -Beachhouse

I read the pitchfork review. Listened to it on myspace. Bought it. Listened to it constantly it for a month. Liked its beach boys esque vibe.

Bob Dylan Live '75- The Rolling Fucking Thunder Review

This is what rock and roll means to me. Big gypsy chaotic sound. This is where I think Dylan realized that he would spend the rest of his life touring and on the road. There are lots of opinions about Dylan this is mine. Dylan in the mid 70s was at the top of his game vibing off the best decade of music ever. That's right I said the 70's were the best decade of music ever.

Only as the day is Long- Sera Cahoune

I got this album in the best way possible. Someone sent me a package and included it. Thanks Kate. It feels so good when someone knows you and with whom your tastes mesh with, so well. To the point that they know just what you will like. That is why mixtapes are so unbelievably erotic and romantic.
This wasn’t quite like that. But I played the first track and knew that she knew that I knew I would love the whole thing and would profess a strong desire to sleep with Sera Cahoone.

Vol. 1 -She and Him

Fuck. I kind of hated my self for loving this album as much as I did. I am pretty sure I heard it on the radio (imagine that!!) then went and bought the thing. But it was everything I like: a vintage yet indie vibe with a great female singer. I listened to this album all summer long. I mean I fucking love Elf. A lot. So maybe this was just destiny.

Lie Down in the Light -Bonnie Prince Billy

My man crush on Will Oldham is real and daunting at times. If I was a less lazy and distracted being I could probably be considered obsessed. This album top to bottom is true. Supplemented by the fact that I finally saw him live at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival with an acoustic bluegrass outfit and gave a lovely shout out to Hazel Dickens- he just is just the tops. The clapping, the group singing, the hippy-esque Appalachia -southern roots of the whole surreal deal. I want to drunkly hug my friends during half this album and lie naked in a field on a warm day for the other half. He is so joyful and morose. Sometimes in the same song. A return to I see a Darkness idea- I want to kill myself but I have my buddy- so I don’t. This album is I am older and the world is a fucked up horrid place but I have my family and friends and you- so it’s ok. Let’s find the light and lay in it. Anyway I’ve seen the movie and it all works out in the end. Although, someone dies.

Paper the Walls -Loch Lomond

Magic. People are sick of this story and many don’t really care for this band. I don’t know if I would love them as much as I do if it wasn’t for Magic. Music can still equal Magic for me. It is a left over of my heady hippy days. As a recovering hippy, I can lapse into stupid comparisons of music to higher levels of consciousness and all that as a trick at cocktail parties.
However, part of it is still true. I get moved emotionally by people, music, anything has potential. I don’t always show it in personal relationships. But like a father who can’t hug his kids but keeps his 56 Chevy in pristine condition and spends hours upon hours with it I can dote on music I like.
I was waiting for my girlfriend to fly into Portland from NYC. Loch Lomond was waiting for said plane to take them to NYC for a gig. The flight was delayed for hours because someone got ill on the plane and they had to make an emergency landing in Nebraska. The band found a piano, busted out their instruments, and played song after song. There was a strange lady who would ask lovely amusing odd questions in between songs. A young married couple sitting on the floor with their first child surrounded by too much luggage. The custodial staff lingered to listen and turned down the hip hop in their ipod. I sat on the stairs and felt Magic. They were good. They played lush music that was queerly quiet for the number of instruments there were. Then Richie’s voice cut through and filled the room. The lyrics were odd and old feeling “sounds of children laughing make my eyes bleed”.
It was late, I was tired and hungry and probably feeling overly romantic as I was about to see someone I loved after a long time and many miles apart.
I bought their album and they were still good. Although Magic with music is like a drug or romantic things the first time is often special and hard to recreate. Even trying can be problematic or addictive (read coke heads and Phish). I listen to the album a lot now and see them play when I can. I am still not sure if I like them for who they are (I think I really do) or if I am just playing alchemist and trying to create Magic.