Jun 26, 2007

2007 Half Yearly Review; Or Time Flies When You Try to Figure Out Why Young Men From Canada Make Such Amazing Music

As I sit here typing out my reflections on the year so far I am listening to The National playing on NPR last week. Where was this band all my life? Quite simply this is a band making sublime music. Having said that, is "Boxer" the best album out in so far in 2007? Well it is damn close. But you see there is young man from Canada named Dan Boeckner who plays in a little band called Wolf Parade and now also makes music under the name of Handsome Furs. Suffice to say "Plague Park" has crept under my skin, drilled a hole in my heart and has found a permanent home. The exciting thing for me is trying to sort a list of favourite things in 2007. Favourite albums, shows, movies. Isn't it a great thing to see your fellow human beings creating art that can excite and make you feel great to be alive. I am a optimistic person who is always excited by new creations. Hearing a new song or seeing a new movie or standing in front of a stage listening to sounds being created is something to be treasured, is it not? Anyway without further ado here is my ruminations on the year so far. Instead of waxing lyrical about each topic (don't worry that will come later in the year) I have decided to sum up each album, movie or show in 5 words or less. Hopefully my economy of words will still convey my feelings.

Top 25 Albums
1-Plague Park-Handsome Furs
My heart bends, then breaks
2-You, You're A History in Rust-Do Make Say Think
Glorious sounds make perfect listening
3-Person Pitch-Panda Bear
Talent to burn, sublime melody
4-Boxer-The National
Matt's voice is just otherworldly
5-Neon Bible-Arcade Fire
Greatness second time around
6-Friend And Foe-Menomena
So original, so much fun
7-All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone-Explosions In The Sky
They never, ever disappoint me
8-Ash Wednesday-Elvis Perkins
Do you feel like crying?
9-Tears Of The Valedictorian-Frog Eyes
Clearly one of a kind
10-Sky Blue Sky-Wilco
Nothing wrong with great songs
11-Some Loud Thunder-Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Better then you think
12-Armchair Apocrypha-Andrew Bird
He's definitely a genius
13-Icky Thump-The White Stripes
So is Jack
14-Cassadaga-Bright Eyes
It's so easy to hate
15-The National Anthem Of Nowhere-Apostle Of Hustle
Stop it Canada!
16-We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank-Modest Mouse
Still brings the excitement
17-The Pretender-We All Have Hooks For Hands
Look out, they're going places
18-The Reminder-Feist
The voice, the voice!
19-The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse-The Besnard Lakes
Compelling and mysterious
20-Voxtrot-Voxtrot
Enough here to like
21-Raven And The White Night-Odawas
Really compelling and mysterious
22-Wincing The Night Away-The Shins
Could be better, still enjoyable
23-Mapmaker-Parts & Labor
Ferocious and exciting
24-Sing The Greys-Frightened Rabbit
A very pleasant surprise
25-Five Roses-Miracle Fortress
Sweet, sweet melodies

The following I am still evaluating and haven't had enough listens yet-
Puddle City Racing Lights-Windmill
Oh, My Darling-Basia Bulat
...and The Family Telephone-Page France
Hymns For a Dark Horse-Bowerbirds
My Ion Truss-Minus Story
Lightning Dust-Lightning Dust
Wild Mountain Nation-Blitzen Trapper
Fables-Immaculate Machine
Easy Tiger-Ryan Adams

Top Ten Shows
1
-The Mountain Goats @ The Metro
John, thank you, thank you
2-Wilco @ Enmore Theatre
Never underestimate perfection
3-M. Ward @ Spiegeltent
Perfect setting, perfect voice
4-Neko Case @ Annandale Hotel
Speaking of perfect voices...
5-M. Ward @ The Metro
He's that good, appears twice
6-Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ Enmore Theatre
Was hoping for greatness, delivered
7-The Dears @ Playground Weekender
Think I lost my voice
8-Joanna Newsom/Bill Callahan/Andrew Bird @ NIDA
Special night, special talents
9-Andrew Bird @ The Basement
What can't he do!
10-Calexico @ The Basement
Just great musicians

Top 10 Movies
1-Half Nelson
Ryan Gosling is perfect
2-Babel
This was Best Picture, surely
3-The Lives Of Others
Complex, compelling, intelligent
4-Zodiac
See above...
5-Letters From Iwo Jima
A master from Mr Eastwood
6-Pan's Labyrinth
Dazzling, startling, what fun!
7-Noise
Best Australian film, clearly
8-The Last King Of Scotland
Forest Whitaker is a giant
9-Bobby
Moving slice of history
10-The Science Of Sleep
Original and mysterious

Some songs that have thrilled me (by no means a definitive list)
Fractured Skies-Parts & Labor
Alleluia-Odawas
What We Had-Handsome Furs
Pretty Voice-Cloud Cult
My Sword Hand's Anger-Apostle of Hustle
Wet and Rusting-Menomena
Welcome, Ghosts-Explosions in the Sky
Bushels-Frog Eyes
Prelude For Time Feelers-Eluvium
Black Wave/Bad Vibrations-Arcade Fire
Heretics-Andrew Bird
Apistat Commander-Sunset Rubdown
Comfy in Nautica-Panda Bear
Fake Empire-The National
Tourist Trap-Bright Eyes
While You We're Sleeping-Elvis Perkins
Side With The Seeds-Wilco
Cindy-Ola Podrida
Wild Mountain Nation-Blitzen Trapper

Things That Excite me for the rest of 2007
Our Love To Admire-Interpol
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga-Spoon
Emerald City-John Vanderslice
The Broken String-Bishop Allen
The Stage Names-Okkervil River
Places Like This-Architecture in Helsinki
Challengers-The New Pornographers
Under The Blacklight-Rilo Kiley
Liars-Liars
Spirit If...-Kevin Drew
Widow City-Fiery Furnaces
(Title TBA)-Beirut
Strawberry Jam-Animal Collective
Random Spirit Lover-Sunset Rubdown

8 Comments:

  • At June 26, 2007 , Blogger Oz said...

    I haven't listened to as many albums this year. So far the standouts for me have been albums by Feist, Andrew Bird, New Buffalo and the Arcade Fire.

    It'll take me awhile to get into the new Ryan Adams. One obvious thing is that unlike his last few albums this one is more sprawling stylistically.

    That and I preferred the less glossy version of Off Broadway on his

     
  • At June 26, 2007 , Blogger Oz said...

    *on his Suicide Sessions

     
  • At June 27, 2007 , Anonymous Jules said...

    I like your list but I would have found room for Electrelane, Cloud Cult, Spoon, Pela and New Buffalo, but I realise that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Just out of interest, were there no Australian bands that make the grade?

    I'm only asking because I tend to listen to songs on the various blogs and I find that I listen to a plethora of fantastic music from o/s, but none from here mainly because they just don't recieve the coverage, even on Australian based blogs.

    There have been one or two notable exceptions such as Grinderman, and Devastations, but they are as good as o/s acts anyway.

    Jules

     
  • At June 27, 2007 , Anonymous Karen said...

    Good work on the 5 words or less. I find that sort of thing much, much harder.

    1. Mountain Goats - Metro Theatre.
    2. Wilco - Enmore Theatre.

    YES.

    And it's nice to see Frightened Rabbit in your list.

     
  • At June 27, 2007 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Oz-Only just started listening to Ryan Adams. So far it's not exciting me, but I def need more listens.

    Jules- Spoon is amazing and will def make top 10 by end of year but officially it's not released yet so I didn't include it. I like the Cloud Cult but it just missed although it's so complex after more listens it might make an end of year list. I want the Pela CD but I haven't bought it yet. So far as Aussie acts go there are no full length albums that have excited me yet. Although everyone seems to love New Buffalo so I might have to give it a chance. I bought Art of Fighting and Expatriate but found both dull. I do own a number of EPs I like including Dead Letter Chorus, The Mares and Whitley but I didn't include EPs. For good local coverage I leave that to the boys at Sandwich Club. They do a great job.

    Karen-Wait until my end of year rant. It will make the Magna Carta seem brief.

     
  • At June 30, 2007 , Blogger James said...

    Hey Wayne,

    Excellent summary of the year's first half. I'm really interested in hearing Do Make Say Think - couldn't find anything over here to sample. Our year end lists will no doubt have many similar records.

    As you know I love Handsome Furs. "Hate the City" is my favorite song of the year so far. Have you heard The Twilight Sad? You should check that out. Spoon is my favorite album so far, but I'm really excited for the new Okkervil River. I haven't heard the leak yet....just 2 songs.

    I downloaded a bunch of mp3s that I didn't know from your list - I'm sure I'll have a few new favorites! Keep up the great work...you're on a roll lately.

    Peace,
    James

     
  • At June 30, 2007 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Thanks James for the kind words-
    Do Make Say Think are vastly underrated. I just ordered the CD direct from Constellation records. I love all their music so it wasn't hard to jump straight into the new one. I have The Twilight Sad record, I quite like it but I couldn't find a spot for it in my top 25.

    Spoon is classic from front to back and so is Okkervil River. Both will easily end up in my top ten by year's end. More than likely top 5.

     
  • At August 10, 2007 , Blogger starla said...

    I haven't listened to you number one album yet, I'll check it out soon. :)

     

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