12.23.2008

Listen Up 2008, pt 3

með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, Sigur Rós

This album is a whole lot more "pop" and accessible than their others. I had to shell out for the iTunes version, because of the exclusive song "Heima", and my geek-OCD wouldn't allow me to just let that go...

Of course, everyone has to mention that the English "translation" is "With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly" in their reviews, and I think that it really gives insight into the tone of the album.

For me, this has sentimental value, especially the first song "Gobbledigook". It was released as a free download from the band right around the time that Molly and I started dating... I listed to it, and I just hear happiness and joy. Every time it comes on, I think of her.

This album is less ethereal than their other releases, but still vast and Icelandic. It just has a mood full of emotion — and part of it may be because I don't understand the lyrics (even the English Song "All Alright"). The vocals are like the moaning of a wounded soul. A wandering spirit calling out into the frozen wilderness for a lover...

And, yes, I know that Greenland is the one covered in ice — I remember my middle school geography... But still, there is this weight behind it, but it doesn't bring you down. It lifts you up, somehow.

Favorite Tracks: "Inní mér syngur vitleysingur", "Festival", "Íllgresi", "Heima" and "Gobbledigook"...




Real Emotional Trash, Stephen Malkmus & Jicks

I reviewed this album earlier in the year...

Love the jamming. Must be just awesome to see live. Another one of those albums that makes me just want to play music — pick up my guitar and just have fun. Sit on the couch and write songs all afternoon.

Still haven't listened to any of his other stuff... There was a re-release of a Pavement CD that came out this year, maybe I'll pick that up.

Favorite Tracks: "Hopscotch Wille", "Baltimore", "Elmo Delmo", "Wicked Wanda" and "Real Emotional Trash"...




Chinese Democracy, Guns N' Roses

Is Bush's America what an actual, real-life Chinese Democracy would look like?... Maybe I'm looking too deep into this album, or giving Axl too much credit...

I've never been as huge a fan of GNR as my best friend, John, but I always refer to him with any questions, and the occasional poke of fun. The way GNR has shaped his life is on par with how much of an impact Pearl Jam has made on me. Except, you know, Pearl Jam has been releasing albums steadily since their first album... And that's part of the joke &mdash part of the appeal in listening to this album. Like they all say about slowing down when driving past a car wreck.

I am actually surprised by how much I actually like what I hear. It's different than the "old radio stuff" — hearing what Slash and the rest of the guys have done without Axl, it's easy to hear that they added a Blues Influence to the songs that is absent here. You get the grand ballad orchestration and thick production from back in the day, but with an oddly out of place, yet cohesive electronic-metal thing going on as well.

His voice still sounds good and rockin, and you can tell that it is still GNR. The song writing and attitude, to me, seem like the logical next step in the musical evolution... "Real Fans" might be disappointed that this isn't just like one of their old albums, but we all know that those nostalgic crybabies are always in the wrong. You want the old stuff — just listen exclusively to the old stuff and quit complaining. Be content to live in the past like the Neanderthals.

Hearing this after the 14 or so years this album has been in the works, I can hear that this is what happens when an obviously talented guy is indulged in his insanity with no real filters, editors, peers, collaborators, or self-doubt to hold him back. I don't think that anyone is ever really going to be able to talk about this album independent of the context of its history and turbulent creation... But I have to admit, that the Story does kind of add to it and make it a little bit more exciting.

But this is a pretty good album. I will most likely put this on and listen to it recreationally. So much better than those bands that are around now trying to mimic the 80's hair-metal thing that GNR was a part of... Chinese Democracy is not the self-parody I thought is was going to be, but rather a whole new joke I can torment my friend John with.

Favorite Tracks: "Chinese Democracy", "Better", "There Was A Time", "Prostitute" and "Scraped"...




This Will Destroy You, This Will Destroy You

I already reviewed this album earlier in the year...

After listening to a bunch of instrumental post-rock music this year, I can hear that this band is different than Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky. Part of it is the electronic sounds and beats — the way they put them in there. Another is the way in which the phrases build and repeat and change — it's really a signature that I can now pick out as belonging to this band.

So glad I found this band and saw them live... I can't wait to start writing again so I can listen to this album more often.

Favorite Tracks: "A Three-Legged Workhorse", "The Mighty Rio Grande" and "Threads"...


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