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[Comments] (3) Request Weblog Music Reviews: Hey, remember back in March when I asked you for music recommendations and never followed up? Well, I did buy those albums, and after months of occasionally listening to part of one of them, today I bit the bullet. I listened to all nine albums today while working on my novel. And now, the results! In the reviews below I give my impression of the album, a mean song rating (I rated the songs in Banshee as I listened), plus the person who originally recommended the album, for convenient wrecking of friendships.

  1. Menomena, "I Am The Fun Blame Monster!": More like Meh-nomena. (Unfortunately, not more like Mahnamahna.) Songs that are too long and too slow with too few words. Playing only the last two minutes of each song gives a decent album. Mean song score: 2.111... stars. Originally recommended by Nathaniel.
  2. Moloko, "Do You Like My Tight Sweater?": Funky and with lots of random lyrics. However, also suffers from fairly serious repetition. Does a song really need to repeat its chorus twenty times? I know that some will say "yes", but they are wrong.

    This musical style seems pretty similar to Menomena, but because I really liked the first track I was willing to put up with random track intros like the creepy moaning sounds at the beginning of "Party Weirdo". Or maybe I just like female vocalists better than male vocalists. Mean song score: 2.77 stars. (This was dragged down by the many tracks less than 30 seconds long. Mean song score without them: 3.0 stars.) Originally recommended by Evan.

  3. Eux Autres, "Hell is Eux Autres": Awesome rock with male and female vocalists that remind me of (the band) Barcelona. Originally recommended by Dave (Griffith?). Mean song score: a solid 3.555... stars.
  4. Girl Talk, "Night Ripper": Brilliant, but not brilliant enough to make me enjoy super-layered hip-hop remixen. "This song has the same meter as that one" is a game that's fun to play ad hoc with boring songs, but kind of annoying when extended to album length. And when I start playing that game with your remix, you've lost me. Mean song score: 1.63 stars. Maybe I'd like it better if I caught more of the references, though I did catch a fair number of them and it rarely improved my opinion of the remix. Originally recommended by Evan.
  5. Chroma Key, "Dead Air For Radios": Originally recommended by "Kangaroo" Jack Masters, and is exactly what I imagined him listening to. Oceans of sound with drums and strange electronic sounds and found audio and reverb. I never specifically wanted a song to be over but I also never had a specific positive impression of a song, except for the final, creepy "Hell Mary". Mean song score: 3.11 stars.
  6. Dan Bern, "Dan Bern": This guy is hilarious. The Dylan impression is unnecessary, but his songwriting is great albeit heavy-handed. Mean song score: 3.18 stars due to a weak second half. Originally recommended by Mike Popovic.
  7. Veldt, "The Cause The Effect": Originally recommended by Kevan. Was not optimistic about this: I gave British Sea Power a listen because Kevan is always listening to it, and I didn't like them. I don't feel any different after having listened to this album, and listening to BSP right now, I think I like them better than Veldt. Mean song score: 2.1818... stars.
  8. Silver Jews, "The Natural Bridge": Pavement precursor album, originally recommended by the jake. I don't really like Pavement, but Jake's taste is always good. And... this sounds like a less rocking Pavement. The songwriting is excellent ("All houses dream in blueprints" is the single best line in this review corpus), but the singer puts no emotion into it. It's like hearing a zombie sing. Mean song score: 2.4 stars.
  9. The Wiyos, "Hat Trick": Good-tymey swing music that rocks harder than most of the rock music on this list. Like if the Prairie Home Companion house band had more of an edge. Mean song score: 3.38 stars. Originally recommended by Mirabai.

I recommend Eux Autres, Dan Bern, and The Wiyos to the general NYCB-reading public. Thanks to everyone who gave me suggestions, even the ones I hated. (I still love you!)

Now that I've accomplished that guilt-relieving task, I invite you to pile on additional guilt. Give me more music recommendations! Links to "best of 2009" and "best of the 2000s" lists will be accepted, though I won't buy every damn album on them.

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Comments:

Posted by Brendan at Tue Dec 08 2009 12:35

They are on a lot of "Best of 2009" lists, but I recommend "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" by Phoenix, "Illinoize" by Tor (sort of), and "Middle Cyclone" by Neko Case. The second is available via the famously difficult "download over HTTP" method, but the third is maybe most in line with your musical tastes as I understand them. You can turn it off once you get to the part with the crickets.

Posted by Ben Heaton at Wed Dec 09 2009 01:43

Let Live and Let Ghosts, by Jukebox the Ghost.

Posted by Fafner at Thu Dec 10 2009 11:43

Woo! I made the cut! Truly, the Wiyos are great dudes.

Do you know Lhasa de Sela's first album, La Llorona? It came out in the '90s, but it's one of my favorite albums of all time. Her subsequent releases have been sort of disappointing, though, so if La Llorona isn't available, accept no substitutes.

If you've already heard it, let me know and I'll think of another one.


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