• flamgirlant's Top 10 of 2008 (on eMusic)

    Nov 30 2008, 16h08

    Below is my final 10 albums of 2008 on eMusic, along with a few honorable mentions. Might have to rehash this list to include non-eMusic music as well.

    For now, I give you my eMusic top 10:

    1: BlackblackBlackBlack
    I’m gonna quote myself (from my album review):
    Oh Blackblack, I believe I'm crushing on you. I love how your guitars and bass dance around the maypole of your drums. I love how your overtly innocent-sounding vocals contrast with the flashes of naughtiness I hear in your songs. That little edge isn't sharp enough to cut, but oh how I love the scratches you leave behind. I love how you sing your stories in a just less than perfect way. And I love how you deliver it all with a kitten-heeled strut. You work me over so well! If you're ever in Milwaukee, let me woo you with cheese curds and beer. I promise to keep my hands to myself.

    2: Plants and AnimalsParc Avenue
    Leave me wanting more… that’s the quickest way into my obsession. Unlike the typical jam band, Plants and Animals does just that. I get the zen of the repetitive grooves, I get the tingles from the slow layering of instruments, I get charmed by the slightly crooked harmonies. I get a tiny moment, a tiny taste, of bliss before they bring me back down again. They tease with the promise of more the next time you listen, but they are always just shy of giving you just enough. Because of that, they got me.

    3: DeerhunterMicrocastle
    Microcastle is a like a trip through Alice’s mirror – while sometimes lulled into a spirit of contentment, it’s uneasy. Each song leads you down a different rabbit hole either chasing something or being chased. The loud is quivering on the edge of chaos and the quiet is filled with a fierce restraint with transitions between the two as subtle as an ice cream headache. Better than any ride Disney could ever come up with.

    4: Bon IverFor Emma, Forever Ago
    There isn’t much I can say about this album that hasn’t been said before, but any album that can give me goosebumps from beginning to end, from first listen to one hundred and first; any album that can make me smile slowly while breaking my heart; any album that can make me want to let go as badly as I want to hang on is an album that must be heard.

    5: Brightblack Morning LightMotion To Rejoin
    To wit, I give you a haiku:

    red-haired sticky bud
    ice cubes in the bong water
    light diffused in haze

    6: She Keeps Bees - Nests
    She Keeps Bees sounds as though early Liz Phair gave her a black eye before becoming partners in crime, drinking stolen 40’s. She Keeps Bees sounds as though Chan Marshall just grabbed her guitar and spider plant and walked out front door, never turning to look back. They have the swagger of a girl that knows how to take the upper hand, and the ragged fingernails and smeared mascara of a girl that knows the anguish of giving it back. And does it all without an ounce of self-pity. Badass.

    7: Breathe Owl BreatheGhost Glacier EP
    You know an album is special when it can make you pause not to take note, but to really listen. How often do you find something that’s heartfelt yet playful, textured yet uncomplicated, fresh and new but with a lovely patina in all the creases? It’s an organic, fluid, earnest album that charms its way into being played again and again.

    8: The KillsMidnight Boom
    If Blackblack has the kitten-heeled strut, The Kills have the stiletto boot swagger. Not so much a tease as a threat. A little dangerous, a little mysterious and whole lot of snarl. I love every little thing Midnight Boom throws at me.

    9: AuVerbs
    “Verbs” is the soundtrack to the most amazing National Geographic special on bugs and birds. Oooh oooh, even better, the soundtrack to the next IMAX nature movies. Can’t you see the hummingbird in flitting from flower to flower in “Are Animals”? Or giant raindrops falling slow motion into a drought-stricken African watering hole in “rr vs. d”? Or flowers opening in the morning sun as the rest of the forest awakens in “Two Seasons”? “Verbs” couldn’t be better-titled.

    10: The Shaky HandsLunglight
    Lunglight has everything going for it: groovy bass lines, jangly guitars, frenetic drums, and nasally vocals that teeter on desperation. All that energy builds up in this fuzzy tension with each song. It’s the perfect album to listen to when you’ve had one to many cups of coffee and you need release some of that energy – even if it is just bouncing in your chair at work.

    Honorable Mentions:
    Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Flight
    The Dodos - Visiter
    Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
    Langhorn Slim - Langhorn Slim
    Maps and Atlases - You, Me And The Mountain
  • Review: Joaquina - The Foam and the Mesh

    Mai 24 2007, 4h16

    I don't know much about CA; I know even less about the San Joaquin valley (home of Joaquina). But growing up in Wisconsin I know about farms, lazy summer evenings, underage drinking, strip malls and dreams of getting out of a small town.

    That's what Joaquina is for me. Listening to The Foam and the Mesh reminds me of bribing older kids to buy me beer, smoking my first cigarette, driving around with my friends on hot summer nights just to burn time, crappy jobs I had in highschool and teenage heartache.

    Their sound is something like a spaghetti-western folk pop. Underneath the y'allternative twang, you can hear the dream of something better; pining for a bigger life. That's why I love Joaquina. Big dreams in a small town. Perfect soundtrack for sitting barefoot on a porch on a hot and dry summer night, drinking an ice cold beer.