Saturday, July 28, 2007

Best of the First Half of 2007

I started working on this list over a month ago, but got sidetracked by the birth of my son Conner.
I wouldn't have said that the first six months of the year had been that great musically - nothing stood out in my mind as singularly mind-blowing. The trumpeted albums - by Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Of Montreal, Feist, Voxtrot - were all good, but nothing jumped out of the pack and marked itself as classic.
However, when I began to put together a rough list of my favorite tracks, I was surprised to find that I was almost overwhelmed with the amount of material I wanted to include - and the high level of enjoyment I got when I played the songs one after another. And frankly, I had a tough time editing the list down to the 36 songs with which I ended up.
Here, then, in no particular order, except that the segues work, is my list (album titles in parentheses):
Feist - One Two Three Four (The Reminder)
Los Campesinos! We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives (We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives)
Twilight Sad - That Summer at Home, I Had Become the Invisible Boy (Fourteen Summers, Fifteen Winters)
Of Montreal - A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger (Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?)
The Clientele - Here Comes the Phantom (God Save the Clientele)
Lucky Soul - Add Your Light to Mine, Baby (The Great Unwanted)
Math and Physics Club - Darling, Please Come Home (Math and Physics Club)
Kuryakin - Take My Hand (Unreleased Demo)
Pelle Carleberg - Pamplona (In a Nutshell)
California Snow Story - Begin Again (Close to the Ocean)
Panda Bear - Comfy in Nautica (Person Pitch)
Lewis and Clarke - Blasts of Holy Birth (Blasts of Holy Birth)
Great Lake Swimmers - Rocky Spine (Ongiara)
Magic Arm - Outdoor Games (Outdoor Games)
Miracle Fortress - Beach Baby (Five Roses)
The National Lights - Better For It, Kid (The Dead Will Walk, Dear)
Paul Duncan - Red Eagle (Above the Trees)
Nobody and the Mystic Chords of Memory - The Seed (Tree Colored See)
Hot Air Balloonists - Cosmos (Demo)
Scott Simons - Umbrella (Unreleased)
All Systems Ghost - Misty's Reflection (Virtues of Sleep demo)
Le Futur Pompiste - Sunflower (Your Stories and Your Thoughts)
Au Revoir Simone - Sad Song (The Bird of Music)
The Twin Atlas - Take Your Own Advice (Magic Car Wash)
Ulrich Schnauss - Never Be the Same (Goodbye)
LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great (Sound of Silver)
The Charade - My Song to You (A Real Life Drama)
The Mary Onettes - Pleasure Songs (The Mary Onettes)
Explosions in the Sky - Welsome, Ghosts (All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone)
The National - Fake Empire (Boxer)
The Field - Over the Ice (From Here We Go Sublime)
Alsace Lorraine - As We Fight (Dark One)
I Am Robot and Proud - The Catch (The Catch and Spring Summer Autumn Winter)
Patty Griffin - Up to the Mountain - MLK Song (Children Running Through)
The Postmarks - Goodbye (The Postmarks)
Many of these songs have already been posted on Be Hear Be Now. I've posted several more here. I strongly recommend that you buy these artists' albums.

My New Sloop

I have to be honest, I've never been a huge fan of the Beach Boys. But this understated remix of "Sloop John B," by my friend David Mester, really brings into focus how brilliantly they used harmonies to create a Phil Spector-like wall of sound.
By the way, Mester is not only a talented musician and mixer. He is also, among other things, the voice of the "Goat" in certain Aflac commercials.
David - My New Sloop