Sunday, November 29, 2009

John's Top 10 Picks

Alright, I got motivated this year. Although sadly I can not (as of right now) attend the party, I really think I'll try to ship some mix CDs off to make an appearance there. So who am I? Hi. I'm John. You can visit me at (or don't, as it may scare you about the list that is to come).

That being said, let's get to the list. I'm posting now, because I'm not going to hold out hope for any better albums between now and the end of the year. These albums are in no particular order. I figure if they were good enough to make my list, they can all be at an even level.

Girl Talk - Feed The Animals

Before I even start, start this playing in another browser window. Go ahead, I can wait. This song is what kicks off 'Feed the Animals' and the album doesn't slow down from there. I love this album for so many reasons, including reminding me of songs that I love and exposing me to new favorites. The way I look at it is this: Games like 'Guitar Hero' expose youth to songs they never knew existed because they were recorded way before the children were born. What Girl Talk does is roughly the same, cramming as much music as possible into a short amount of time.

And did I mention, about halfway through the album he busts out 'The Carpenters' Click the video below to enjoy that!

Just amazing stuff.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

I love this band for their (even if calculated) lo-fi sound and for all their song topics sounding cheerful even when they shouldn't be. Case in point, 'This Love is Fucking Right' which can be found below. For as little as I follow bands from the 80s who sounded like this, I sure love it when they do it.

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

They've got party jams

and they've got slow jams

I don't know what else to say, except that until this album I had no clue who Animal Collective really was. I still find a lot of their music very hit-or-miss, but this album is good stuff. Plus, enjoy their ridiculously trippy cover art. Either drugs are heavily involved in their music making process, or they are doing a great job of pretending.

Neko Case - Middle Cyclone

Although not as great as some previous albums, Neko still has an amazing voice. Lucky for her 2009 had few enough album choices to allow her a spot. Although you might feel a bit ripped off when you realize the last 30 minutes of this album is just cricket noises.

Mew - No More Stories...
This band has been the best discovery for me this year. All of their music just tickles me in a way I can't begin to describe. So as usual, let's just listen to the music. Here's the first song off their ridiculously long titled album (23 words of a poem).

And after the half forwards/half backwards madness of that song, they continue on into prog-rock goodness.

And just because I feel they deserve a third video:

Definitely check them out along with their other album 'And the glass handed kites'

The xx - xx
Although I knew I enjoyed Interpol, I didn't know that I would enjoy The XX. They definitely have some shared qualities, although The xx manage to keep it more electronic and more mellow at all times. Imagine my shock when I saw the following video getting MTVu air-time:

The entire album is best listened to with headphones so you can hear all the crazy quiet stuff going on. Also, my money goes for the song 'Islands' because the bass is just bananas. Love every bit of it.

Dan Deacon - Bromst
After forcing myself to suffer through an online documentary about the making of Bromst, I found myself strangely sucked into the world of Dan Deacon. I had heard a few solitary songs from earlier works and enjoyed them, if only for their 'eclectic' value. However, as I should have guessed from my love of Sigur Ros and Godspeed you Black Emperor, this album has great value as background music to getting work done, or whatever you may be doing. I don't quite know what Mr. Deacon's goals are for making music, but I like it.

I can only imagine that Ms. Stefani IS surprised at this song.

God Help the Girl - Soundtrack
So here's the thing. Being a longtime Belle and Sebastian fan means that I have to subsequently try to keep track of every side-project the eleventy-billion members have had over the years. This latest effort, which technically is a soundtrack to a movie which may or may not ever be released, features many new recordings, as well as a few covers of previous Belle and Sebastian songs. I don't think that qualifies it as a 'greatest hits' album, so that's why it's on the list. Enjoy!

Here's a link to their other single, which sadly I can't find an embeddable video for:

Beyonce - I am Sasha Fierce
Okay. I can see there's an elephant in the room here. Hate/Debate/Do what you must. But Beyonce delivers a solid album of normal and bizarre songs. Really I'm more into this album for the juxtaposition that Beyonce has delivered with the double-album concept. Ballads and normal songs, club bangers and dirrrrty whore music.
She's got it all, and it's fun. And yes, I can admit that I have found myself singing along at the top of my lungs on some of those slow jams.
Why you should be scared: Which is worth watching the video for. Crazy shit.
Why you should respect:

Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career

Okay, play this while reading. Camera Obscura definitely has a particular genre that they are trying to fill. It's been like this for many albums. I don't know what else to say, except that this album is equally solid and provides a great soundtrack for a day spent lounging around the house, perhaps cleaning or doing dishes. For some reason it transports me to a simpler time; a time that I can only recreate through doing menial labor.

That's all I've got. I'll try to remember to re-visit to comment on any arguments made.

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