Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Latest Listen: The Donkeys

Pitchfork is actually good for something besides trendy fuzzy or electronic non-listenable tunes! As I was reading Pitchfork's Guest List Best of 2008,which is essentially musician's top albums, I noticed that Craig Finn of the Hold Steady had many similar albums as I did in his top albums. He also had The Donkeys Living on the Other Side listed of whom I had never heard. He made a reference to Grateful Dead's American Beauty in the description, which immediately caught my one good eye. Coincidentally, I had been blasting Grateful Dead through my speakers quite frequently. Thus, Living on the Other Side came to my attention at the perfect time. The album is basically indie Grateful Dead. Even if you don't like the Dead, if you like indie folk/rock, you will enjoy this number. Packed with laid back groovers, The Donkeys should be making waves in the indie community, but I guess no one has found them yet. The album came out in September, therefore, they have not had much exposure. In my humble opinion, this blows what Dr. Dog is doing out of the water.

From: San Diego, CA
Available: emusic, iTunes, Amazon
Sounds Like: Grateful Dead, Dr. Dog, The Band
Favorite Tune: "Walk Through a Cloud"
Tour in South: Birmingham, AL Thursday, January 15, 2009 at Bottletree

Amazon Stereogum Weekly Deal

Beach House's Devotion only $3.99 at Amazon Mp3.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Amazon Mp3 Top 50 Best Selling Albums for 5 bucks

Amazon is offering its Top 50 best selling mp3's for $5.00.

Albums include:

Coldplay, Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend, Noah and the Whale, TV on the Radio, etc,
etc. Top 50 for $5.00

Friday, December 12, 2008

Closer Look: The Rural Alberta Advantage

Although I mentioned The Rural Alberta Advantage's Hometowns in "Undiscovered Music," I wanted to place my stamp of approval by these guys. The RAA's, somehow still unsigned, debut is quite delightful. It is remniscent of Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. I seriously would not doubt if this was Jeff Mangum's secret band. I also hear a little Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! and Silversun Pickups, given the lead vocals pitched in a whiny nasal tone. Almost every track is worth a nod. The album begins with one of the finest tracks, "The Ballad of the RAA." The album is pitched in the similar dark-welfare-music-broken-home setting of NMH's Aeroplane. The cd is only available through emusic and the band's website. In sum, someone needs to sign these guys; this is a fantastic album.

Hail from: Take a wild guess....Alberta

Available: Only on emusic and band's website

Sounds Like: Neutral Milk Hotel, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, Silversun Pickups

Best Song: "The Deadroads"

See Video below

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Top Ten of 2008

10. Langhorne Slim - S/T
I just discovered LS this year and have been thoroughly impressed. Yet another strange voice I am infatuated with...imagine that. A touch of pop peeks through the album's Appalachian folky core. Think Mountain Goats meets Avett Brothers.

9. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
I am not a huge electronic fan, but this one is a no-brainer. MGMT blew my mind and continues to ring in my ears almost everyday. It is definitely psychedelic, but very poppy as well. The first half of the album (1-5) blows out the latter half.

8. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Bon Iver combines the echoing hallows of Jose Gonzalez but adds a woodsy element that is very unique. Excellent indie folk album.

7. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

The Hold Steady is one of the finest indie acts out there. Stay Positive is almost as solid as Boys and Girls in America. There are only a couple of mediocre tunes, but these are overshadowed by the instant classics. Raise your beer bottle and show your metal fingers for Finn and they boys.

6. Conor Oberst - S/T

Conor continues to prove why he is the Bob Dylan of our time. His songwriting is second to none. I continue to be impressed by his releases, even though this one is without the Bright Eyes moniker. This album is tight from start to finish (minus the kazoo or random horn track). Two of the strongest tracks bookend the album.

5. The Felice Brothers - S/T
The Felice Brothers continue to blow me away with each disc I get my greedy little hands on. I cannot wait for the new album in March. Although this official release contained many of the tracks I already had on another album, the new ones seemed as familiar as the older ones.

4. Fleet Foxes - S/T and if you add the Sun Giant EP
FF perfect the art of harmonizing in a way that left Jim James thinking "why didn't I go that route" as opposed to the falsetto disco. I honestly thought MMJ would have sounded something like this by now. Anyway, enough about MMJ, FF stands on its own two (discs). I combined the full length release and EP in order to ratchet it up to number four. While the album is wonderful, I feel the EP needed to be one of the best releases of the year. I am looking forward to seeing them live.

3. Vampire Weekend - S/T
This album was the breath of fresh air of the year. Unique, unique, unique. Afro-pop or whatever its called, VW delivers. Not a bad song on the disc. Great sunroof album.

2. Deer Tick - War Elephant

This is the surprise of the year. Deer Tick is tough to describe, which proves their originality. The whole album is fantastic. They master the alt-country sound while keeping it interesting with stellar songwriting and catchy tap-your-boot melodies. I probably have listened to "Ashamed" and "Dirty Dishes" at least fifty times since I purchased this ditty. As the Felice Brothers almost did last year, Deer Tick almost debuted their way into the number 1 spot.

1. Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Fight

Scottish indie rockers Frightened Rabbit gets the nod this year. This is a classic album slam packed with a juggernaut of great tunes that remind us what indie rock really is. My top three tracks are "Old, Old Fashioned," "Twist," and "Backwards Walk." The only track I do not love is "Keep Yourself Warm." I personally am not fond of such profane lyrics; call me a softy. Every other track blows me away. Lead singer Scott Hutchinson's rickety vocal chords wrench the emotion out of his brutally honest lyrics. Lines like "whisper the wrong name, I don't care, nor do my ears, twist yourself around me, I need human heat" prove why Hutchinson and his clever songwriting deserve this top spot. His heart was obviously ripped out and sledgehammered, but selfishly, we reaped and continue to reap the benefits from it.


Top Albums of 2008: 35-11

35. Annuals - Such Fun I love parts of the album while at times I hear Nickelback.

34. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer Not a bad release but all in all this one didn't have a thing on Apologies of the Queen Mary

33. Spiritualized - Songs in A&E Interesting release that evokes remnants of Ween and Flaming Lips.

32. Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs This is probably the last Death Cab album you will see in a list of mine. I'm just over DCFC.

31. Cat Power - Jukebox Another covers album which has an array of sweet ballads.

30. Cloud Cult - Feel Good Ghosts These guys are weird, but most of the tracks are solid. I hear Flaming Lips with a dash of Annuals.

29. The Black Kids - Partie Traumatic I have said enough about "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You." A handful of others are great too.

28. The Whigs - Mission Control Enjoyed this release. Full of edgy guitar riffs and gruffy vocals.

27. The Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride I almost dug this album as much as Sunset Tree. Dude's got a way with words.

26. Colour Revolt - Plunder, Beg, and Curse These Oxonians know how to wail. Need I say more. As I said previously, Coldplay meets Korn.

25. The War on Drugs - Wagonwheel Blues Sorry for another comparison, but this one is Arcarde Fire meets Dylan.

24. Bonnie Prince Billy - Lie Down in the Light This is probably one of my favorite BPB releases. This is more folky than most of his releases. I am still cracking up from the movie Old Joy in which BPB kind of tries to make a move on his co-star. Hilarious.

23. Fredrik - Na Na Ni Fredrik are the new Stars.

22. Joe Pug - Nation of Heat EP This singer-songwriter can do both impressively. I can't wait for a full album release.

21. Coldplay - Viva La Vida Mainstream or not, this is a great album. Coldplay delivered.

20. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns I swear Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk is secretly the singer of this band. It's happy at times and very dark at times, but never too slow. Great find of the year.

19. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins Pretty impressive release by spotlighted Will Sheff. These guys are here to stay. Can't get enough of "Singer-songwiter" and "Lost Coastlines."

18. Wild Sweet Orange - We Have Cause to Be Uneasy Birmingham's finest WSO presents us with standard indie rock.

17. Plants and Animals - Parc Avenue This album came out of nowhere and had me bobbing my head at the first note... and second note. "I wanna dance, I wanna dance." Love it.

16. Drive By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark Still not Dirty South, Still not Dirty South, but a great followup to what could have been a disaster after A Blessing and a Curse and Isbell's Departure.

15. Throw Me the Statue - Moonbeams Fine, fine indie pop. I still think their name should be Throw Me the Statute, but oh well. "About to Walk" rules.

14. The National - Virginia EP They touch it and it turns to gold. This EP is chock full of jewels.

13. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges I am still disappointed considering the pedestal I put these guys on, but it is a good album. I vote to get rid of falsetto. Who's with me?

12. Sigur Ros - Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust I have come to love these Icelanders. I must see them live! This release, while I do not dig it as much as Takk, still rocks.

11. The Tallest Man on Earth - Shallow Grave I love a weird voice and great lyrics. Great, Great new artist.

Top Ten coming soon.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Amazon MP3 Deal

Amazon is allowing RC fave Stereogum to pick one indie album per week to offer for a very cheap price.

Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam for $2.99.