Tag: The Decemberists

Best album of 2009 (marking 10 years of music)

As part of thinking back and remembering things on the cusp of moving into 2010, I am trying to work out what to put on my iPod and what not. so what follows is a brief look through the best albums I got in the year 2009 and a top 3 with some witterings on why i like things you will probably not like!

From 2009 the year that Jonathon Ross returned to his Radio two show and Sir Terry Wogan left his, also the year we got a new baby. Talitha. (nice) .
the contenders in alphabetical order;

  • The Builder and the Butchers – Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well
  • The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love
  • Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
  • Fanfarlo – Reservior
  • Florence & the Machine – Lungs
  • fun. – Aim and Ignite
  • Howling Bells – Radio Wars
  • Neko Case- Middle Cyclone
  • Nellie McKay – Normal As Blueberry Pie
  • Odd Nosdam – T.I.M.E. Soundtrack
  • One eskimO – One eskimO
  • Over the Rhine – Live from Nowhere vol. 4
  • Pheonix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
  • Regina Spector – Far
  • Jonsi & Alex – Riceboy Sleeps
  • Royskopp – Junior
  • St Vincent – Actor
  • Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer
  • Using a completely biased methodology of what did I listen to most then, what do I listen to now and think is pretty good and just what rocks my world, the top three are

    number 3
    The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love
    a modern progressive rock opera, with 4 lead singing parts, 2 female, 2 male, sung by two females and 1 male. staged as a touring show played in order, it shouldn’t have worked, on first listen it didn’t work, but Shara Wooten for My Brightest Diamond pushes this album into the realms of greatness. It is literate, deep, compelling, strange and weird all at the same time with some wonderful melodies and great tunes backing it up.
    seek out – as it is a progressive rock opera, it has to be the whole album, one song just doesn’t give enough without the full fabric around it.

    number 2
    Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
    Dirty Projectors, never quite got the previous album, “twin cinema”, but “Bitte Orca” is magnificent, it just sound right. It does just sound right. It is indie greatness.
    seek out – sorry the whole album, it is wonderful and only slightly pipped by Sunset for the top spot.

    number 1
    Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer
    This is a wonderful album which starts as grandly as it can and continues in it’s opulence and rock opera melodics for the whole album. considerably shorted that the Decemberists attempt at doing the same thing and this album does rock, you have probably never heard it but this sounds wonderful, like a band who are having fun creating something they will be proud of for the rest of their lives. truly a great album.seek out – The whole album. You just should.

    Best album of 2006 (marking 10 years of music)


    As part of thinking back and remembering things on the cusp of moving into 2010, I am trying to work out what to put on my iPod and what not. so what follows is a brief look through the best albums I got in the year 2006 and a top 3 with some witterings on why i like things you will probably not like!

    From 2006 the year that richard hammond crashed in that crash, and the year norman kember was on a peacemaking trip,m was kidnapped and then resc=ued by the SAS.
    the contenders in alphabetical order;

  • Barenaked Ladies – Barenaked Ladies Are Me
  • Belle & Sebastian – This Life Pursuit
  • Betty Curse – Hear Lies
  • The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
  • Duke Special – Songs From The Dark Forest
  • Hem – Funnel Cloud
  • I’m From Barcelona – Let Me Introduce My Friends
  • Iain Archer – Magnetic North
  • Johnny Cash – American V – A Hundred Highways
  • Kings of Leon – Because The times
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead – Yell Fire
  • Muse – Black Holes & Revelations
  • MuteMath – MuteMath
  • Regina Spector – Begin To Hope
  • Using a completely biased methodology of what did I listen to most then, what do I listen to now and think is pretty good and just what rocks my world, the top three are

    number 3
    Muse – Black Holes & Revelations
    we were driving back fro Ruaha National Park to our digs at the Deaf school near Iringa, the night had been fun and long with good chat and cold frosty beverages, around 2am the hippos had started shouting seemingly outside our waterside lodges, lions had been calling to each other, and our lodges had no glass in the windows! We had had a long day animal spotting, and the drive home was long. as we drove Alice asked if we could listen to one of her tapes, It wa athe new muse album. The sun was going down as the landrover drove, the stereo played this amazing soundtrack as we powered to our home. This album sums up our time in Africa in a wonderful and great way.
    seek out – “Take A bow”, “Super Massive Black Hole”, “Knights of Cydonia” & “Assassin”

    number 2
    The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
    Kinda “Progrock” in places, pop rock in others. it is a fantastic album with a depth of music and way with words which get in your head as much as colin’s voice is Unique. frankly a very, very good album, which was odds on for number 1 if the number one album hadn’t made an appearance to my ear buds!
    seek out – “The Crane Wife 3”, “O Valencia”, “Summersong” & “Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)”

    number 1
    Hem – Funnel Cloud
    Hem’s funnel cloud is a beautiful album of gentle folky indie music. It a delight of an album.
    seek out – The whole album. It is simply beautiful.

    Music Downloads – free legal music

    So the holy grail really is free legal music.
    something you can downlaod and own just because the other person is giviging it away. something which some artists are trying, some thing which can work well.

    Anyway two live concert recordings are currently available for download by two of my favourite bands.

    bnl4On the “pop”ier side of things, Barenaked Ladies have been long term loves of mine. they have a turn of phrase, an ability to make you laugh with simple yet effective humour, and a great line in pop/rock tunes. And they are Canadian. nice. ever since i heard “If i had$1,000,000” i have followed them. anyway things have been a bit shaky for them. They left their label, formed their own record company, released 2 albums and 1 children’s album, Lead singer Steven Page was arrested for drugs offenses, declare to prove himself innocent, the band canceled a tour with Disney.
    No real surprise then that the band announced that band Steven Page had left the band amicably to pursue solo projects, causing the band to go from a 5 piece to a 4piece.

    So what would it sound like?
    Would it be any good?

    one of the key points of the band had been the vocal interplay between ed’s straighter rock vocals and Steven’s more theatrical vocals. The other thing which really made them stand out were the intricate five part harmonies which the band preformed live. well, a week or so ago as part of a mardi gras celebration the and played live as a four piece. They recorded the live front of house mix and have released the whole concert live as a free give away.

    get the download here

    and would you believe that apart from a few ropy harmonies which i think can be mostly forgiven they sound not half bad.
    (I particularly love “the Big Bang Theory” theme tune) yeah, we built the pyramids!

    colin-meloy
    Perhaps I just have a love of wordsmiths. The second live offering is the first live performance of the album “The Hazard of Love” by The Decemberists. The album is described in a press release as, “a 17-song suite that tells the tale of a woman named Margaret who is ravaged by a shape-shifting animal; her lover, William; a forest queen; and a cold-blooded, lascivious rake.” yeah rock on! not really spinal tap i suppose but to be honest. it is quite wonderful.

    Is it any good?
    A live 17 song suite, isn’t that just a return to prog?

    I have only got through the first 10 songs but think that a long drive to Edinburgh this evening may provide me with the opportunity to hear the whole thing. What’s that? how can I listen to the whole concert. well i will tell you. The good people at NPR recorded the whole thing, broadcasted it live on the web and on American radio and have made it a live concert podcast.
    Click here to access the live stream or the podcast.

    sometimes. I really love live free music, don’t you?

    The Decemberists @ ABC, Glasgow – 4th Feb 07

    What a good concert

    Matt dropped me off in town. I met up with Mr Rich, and headed for dinner. I had sme pasta in a tomato and chilli sauce. We then headed to the venue. We went in having been in possession of tickets.

    I was quite surprised by several things

    one
    how many of the songs I could sing along with.
    (I had listened to the crane wife during the afternoon before the gig) but the music sounded fresh live, it seemed to have more of an edge, yet familiar enough for me to feel familiar with the music.

    two
    Why do people pay 10-15 pound to talk over live music.
    Don’t these people watch friends? don’t they know what coffee shops in this globalised aspirational consumerist society we live in are for?

    three
    Where do you by mirror balls that size. And If you turn it on does half of Garnetbank endure a blackout? How long does it take to slow down? Does it create it’s own gravitational pull?

    four
    were the foursome who came a stood in front of us really into swapping partners?

    anyway

    The band were great. live everything went well and the show flowed well with loud bits and quiet bits.

    Stand out track included, The crane wife parts 1 & 2, Summersong, and O Valencia. I really enjoyed the Version of Ssns and Daughters.

    Special mention has to go to the the new girl in the band Lisa Molinaro for singing Laura Viers part on Yankee Bayonet and making it sound v.good indeed.

    so what a night.
    great music
    great stage presence and entertainment.
    good company.
    lots of people to look at/mkae fun of/wonder about
    and a giant mirrorball.

    what more could you ask for.

    Categories: music

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