Reverb :: Tuning the 'Fork

So has anyone else been noticing the glut of uber-positive reviews being doled out on Pitchfork recently? They've been handing out those "Best New Music" and "Recommended" tags like candy on Halloween. After denoting a total of zero albums worthy of the Best New Music tag in December, the 'Fork has bestowed the gracious honor upon five releases in January, with Deerhunter, Of Montreal, Deerhoof, Menomena and Sally Shapiro garnering the much-coveted label. In January '06, Pitchfork slapped the label only on Boris' Pink.

And for the Recommendations? A mere four, but that makes a combined nine albums that P-Fork is pushing. Two questions pop up:

1. With the dearth of searing, low-score reviews lately, is Pitchfork going soft?

2. Who wants to take bets on when we'll be seeing features on Deerhunter and Sally Shapiro in indie rags raving about the "Next Big Thing?" The over/under is four months.


Musings :: Sufjan Stevens

So anyone agree with me that when Sufjan Stevens finally gets around to Wisconsin in his fifty-states-fifty-albums project, he has to call a song "I Clarie, You Claire, We All Claire for Eau Claire!"?

Seems to me like it's right up his alley.


Get Out! :: Pinebender @ The Soapbox :: 1.26.07

9 p.m. :: $5
The Soapbox :: 255 N. Front St. :: Wilmington, N.C.

Get out, indeed! Wilmington, N.C., might be a bit far of a drive, but this sludgefeast is worth the road trip. You'll see I wrote about Pinebender in my Year in Review: Paradiso installment that the Chicago trio is one of my all-time faves, so I might be a little biased. Still, if the idea of thick, fuzzy Dinosaur Jr. riffs being played at fifty-five beats per minute gets you hard, the drive to Wilmington isn't that bad.

Pinebender Polly Gray

Buy Pinebender music here.

Get Out! :: Due East / Magnetic Flowers @ The Whig :: 01.27.07

Due East and Magnetic Flowers are two of the most talented up-and-comers in the Columbia music scene. Both take old time country and mix it with an indie sensibility that defines what alt-country is all about. Both only have a handful of home recordings under their belt with indubitable songwriting that are just screaming to get the studio treatment. Magnetic Flowers are open-mindedly bolstering their Iron & Wine meets Neutral Milk Hotel sound with new approaches to percussion. Due East’s tattooed rock ‘n’ roll looks belie their quiescent sound while imparting their grittier lyrical content. I doubt I’ve seen a more perfect, not-to-be-missed local lineup in recent memory.

Both bands have been kind enough to provide GoGoIndieRocket with some mp3s. 'When Night Comes' is a great example of Magnetic Flower's experiments with percussion, and Due East's 'Dream of Two' has this slow, rambling quality that I can't get enough of. I must have reloaded it on their myspace page ten times or so the first time I heard it. Speaking of myspace, if you like what you hear here, check out their sites for more goodness. (Due East and Magnetic Flowers)

Due East Dream of Two

Magnetic Flowers When Night Comes


Tube :: Grinderman :: No Pussy Blues

Being the big Nick Cave fan that I am, it's kind of a given that I'm looking forward to Grinderman, his side project with Warren Ellis (not the comic writer, the guy from The Bad Seeds), Martyn Casey, and Jim Sclavunos. Their myspace page features one of my favorite descriptions of a band ever - 'foul-mouthed, noisy, hairy, and damn well old enough to know better.' The video for their first single 'No Pussy Blues' certainly fits all those criteria. Don't watch this at work. There's nothing work-safe about Cave's new mustache. Not to mention a scene with implied bestiality. Seriously. Watch it somewhere where no one will see you watching it and mistake you for the sexual deviant that you may or may not be.
No Pussy Blues

Add to My Profile | More Videos

If you do want something to watch while you're at work, why not this cute video of Matt and Kim's 'Yeah Yeah' performed with a cardboard box and tiny keyboard? It won't get you in trouble. In fact, it will help you make friends and influence people! In related news, I have a crush on Kim of Matt and Kim fame. And now so will you.


Pick Up :: 01.23.07

I just bought a Wii today, so I won't be able to afford any new CDs until I get paid at the end of the week. However, you can bet that I'll be getting the new Shins and Menomena records. Here's what I wrote about them for the Free Times in an album preview a couple weeks back.

The Shins - Wincing the Night Away (Sub Pop)
It would be so easy to hate this album. Just get Natalie Portman to mention you in a pseudo-indie flick whose soundtrack plays constantly at every coffeehouse in America and sells truckloads of copies at Best Buy, and it would be so easy to draw critical ire for your next album. Here’s the problem, though — Wincing the Night Away is, by all indications, going to be amazing. The first single, 'Phantom Limb,' is easily one of their best songs yet, wholly frustrating elitist music critics everywhere. You win this time, Shins...

Menomena - Friend and Foe (Barsuk)
While technically its third album, the upcoming release from Portland’s Menomena feels like a debut album because of how much its sound has changed in the few years since its inception. Originally a piano-bass-drums trio a la Ben Folds Five, Menomena have expanded its musical repertoire so that all three members can boast the title “multi-instrumentalist” and perfected its post-everything sound on the road. Just check out “Muscle’N Flo” on their MySpace site to see why this is will be one of the most important albums of 2007.

In other news, I caught most of the "secret" Johnny Irion and Sarah Lee Guthrie show at The Red Tub last night, and it was pretty great. Sarah singing 'California Stars' is just achingly beautiful. Once I get the pictures developed, I'll post them. Unless they suck, which is a very distinct possibility.


New Noise :: Boris :: Rafflesia

It came up over drinks last night that I spent all of my workday listening to a Japanese metal band. Why do people always laugh when I say ‘Japanese metal band?' Maybe I don’t look like much of a metal head. Or Japanese either, I suppose. Anyway, I may be jumping on this one a little late. After all, Pitchfork has already reviewed Rainbow, the only-out-in-Japan-so-far collaboration between one of my favorite bands Boris and Japanese psych-guitar guru Michio Kurihara (of Ghost). But with an announcement of a May 15th release here in the States through Drag City Records, I just had to say something.

I won’t go into a whole review. Perhaps I’ll wait for the proper release. However, I will say that if you’ve never heard of Boris, then don’t be turned off by the whole ‘Japanese metal band’ thing. Boris is pretty darn versatile, and each song on this album subtly switches genres from psych-rock to shoegaze to metal to post rock. It’s all over the place, and yet it all fits perfectly. Damn it, I’m starting to write a review. Let’s just get to the song. If you were a fan of the shoegaze brilliance that is Boris’s ‘Farewell’ (one of my favorite songs of last year and available for download here (ed: or via the link posted under my Boris entry in my top twenty-one. -p.) then you are going to be very pleased with Rainbow. Especially, this lovely opening track. Enjoy.

Boris and Michio Kurihara Rafflesia

If you like what you hear, and (like me) you can't wait, then head over to Inoxia Records and get you one.


The Year in Review :: Part Two: Paradiso

we are slackers. it's true. but here's my take on 2006's best releases and what makes them so.

1. So Many Dynamos — Flashlights (Skrocki)
Because they do a damn fine impression of The Dismemberment Plan — one of my all-time favorites — and anyone with the chops and nervous energy to pull that off has to be atop any of my lists. Also, I’m of the opinion that the album you listened to the most is automatically your No. 1. Listen to “Search Party” and if you’re not dancing within 15 seconds, then you have no soul. The perfect soundtrack for your spazz-rock post-apocalyptic dance party. (Also gets bonus points for some of the coolest one-liners of the year.)

So Many Dynamos — "Search Party"

2. Russian Circles — Enter (Flameshovel)
Because this Chicago trio pulls off an astounding feat, blending the simple-yet-elegant beauty of Explosions in the Sky with the snarling, technical metal of Mastodon. Most impressive of all, Russian Circles manages to be an instrumental heavy metal band and keep listeners perched on the edge of their seats. Lots of hooks, gobs of gain and no mumbling about wizards or warriors. Best heavy record of the year.

Russian Circles — "Death Rides a Horse"

3. Band of Horses — Everything All the Time (Sub Pop)
Because local boys need love, too. Irmo native Ben Bridwell crafted a beautifully harrowing collection of songs about love, life and death without making any one of Everything All the Time’s 10 tracks seem cliché. He’s going to miss Mat Brooke, though.

Band of Horses — "The Funeral"

4. Mission of Burma — The Obliterati (Matador)
Because now, some 25 years after **Signals, Calls and Marches**, Mission of Burma still steamrolls post-punk imitators with the cathartic, chaotic energy they had when they were back in Boston during the Reagan years. (Aside: Mission of Burma, I love you with all of my cold, black heart ... but for the love of Everything All the Time, please get someone else to design your covers. You're fucking indie rock gods; your artwork shouldn't look like it was Photoshopped by a nine-year-old.)

Mission of Burma — "2wice"

5. ENVY — Insomniac Doze (Temporary Residence)
Because Japanese post-screamo simply doesn’t come any more beautifully done. Like Mogwai if they were Japanese and loved to scream their heads off. No other foreign language record has gotten me to sing along despite not knowing the language since “La Bamba.” Also because I'm a sucker for Japanese post-rock.

ENVY — "Further Ahead of Warp"

6. Pinebender — Working Nine to Wolf (Lovitt)
Because any time your favorite band releases an album, it absolutely must make an appearance. This is no mere token, however — Chris Hansen and company bring the dirge like nobody’s business. And while it’s no The High Price of Living Too Long With a Single Dream, the mere presence of the achingly beautiful epic “Fifth and Last,” which conjures up memories of previous epics like “There’s a Bag of Weights in the Back of My Car,” instantly makes Working Nine to Wolf better than 95 percent of everything.

Pinebender — "Polly Gray"

7. Aloha — Some Echoes (Polyvinyl)
Because “Brace Your Face” is my indie rock jam of the year. Because spacious indie-prog and xylophones go hand in hand. Don’t let its tropical name fool you — Aloha comes from deep in the heart of Ohio, where Pele and Sunny Day Real Estate never went out of style, and “emo” still means Rites of Spring.

Aloha — "Brace Your Face"

8. Yo La Tengo — I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador)
Because — cliché alert! — like a fine wine, Yo La Tengo only gets better with age. Combine the elegiac beauty of And Then the Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out with the guitar freakouts of May I Sing With Me and the indie-pop eclecticism of Summer Sun and you have the Hoboken trio’s best album since And Then the Nothing... — possibly since Painful. Also wins my award for best album name.

Yo La Tengo — "Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind"

9. Cadence Weapon — Breaking Kayfabe (Upper Class)
Because Rollie Pemberton’s rhymes and flow are so ill they have cholera. Because the beats on Breaking Kayfabe sound like an Atari 2600 freaking out and vomiting on itself. That’s how sick the Canadian rapper’s full-length debut is. Hands down my favorite hip-hop release of the year. Canada's answer to Dizzee Rascal? Mayhaps.

Cadence Weapon — "Sharks"

10. The Sword — Age of Winters (Kemado)
Because it sounds like witches at black masses. Because doom-metal about epic battles between Norse gods is much cooler than colonies of Birchmen and writing sins instead of tragedies. Because it fucking slays. That’s why.

The Sword — "Winter's Wolves"

11. Thom Yorke — The Eraser (XL)
Because Thom Yorke needed to get his masturbatory electro-wank out of the way before Radiohead could concentrate on its next record. But it's all good — at times cinematic, at times childlike —yet all-the-time claustrophobic — The Eraser hearkens back to Kid A- and Amnesiac-style downtrodden technopop. Except, you know, not as weird. Bonus points for translating the captivating "Cymbal Rush" into a perfect live gem on The Henry Rollins Show. Why couldn't that been on Amnesiac instead of that woeful "Morning Bell" remix?

Thom Yorke — "Cymbal Rush"

12. Mogwai — Mr. Beast (Matador)
Because while it doesn't return the Scottish post-rock quintet to its Young Team glory days, triumphs more so because of its simple, straight-forward approach, eschewing masturbatory build-and-release epics such as "King Herod" and "Mogwai Fear Satan." Because like masturbating, sometimes you just need to get to the release as quickly as possible.

Mogwai — "Folk Death '95"

13. Mastodon — Blood Mountain (Reprise)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know I said that Blood Mountain was disappointing. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't rock incredibly hard. Best mainstream-oriented metal album of the year.

Mastodon — "The Wolf is Loose"

14. Venice is Sinking — Sorry About the Flowers (One Percent Press)
Because "Pulaski Heights" sounds like the perfect cross between Knife in the Water and Low. Because "Buried Magnets" rocks artfully like a White Trash Heroes-era Archers of Loaf b-side. Because violas are awesome. Yeah, it's not fair that Athens gets to be the home of every other cool band in the world. But if they all sounded like Venice is Sinking, the world would be a wonderful place.

Venice is Sinking — "Pulaski Heights"

15. Asobi Seksu — Citrus (Friendly Fire)
Because Asobi Seksu just won't let shoegaze die. My Bloody Valentine comparisons abound, with more than a few J-Pop touchstones for a new take on an old art.

Asobi Seksu — "Thursday"

16. Orgone Accumulator — Metallic/Organic (Underbed)
Because awesome music is not relegated to bands outside of Columbia. Because Orgone Accumulator combines just about everything I love — dense shoegaze, angular post-punk, electronic twiddling — with a few things I don't — traces of dub and neo-psych — into a melting pot of indie rock goodness. A perfect cross between Can, Jesus and Mary Chain and Sonic Youth.

Orgone Accumulator — "Raptor Attack"

17. Gnarls Barkley — St. Elsewhere (Downtown)
Because Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo are crazy. Just like me.

Gnarls Barkley — "Crazy"

18. Mono — You Are There (Temporary Residence)
Because, again, I'm a sucker for Japanese post-rock. Mono does it like no one else — guitars built like string arrangements, drums that thunder like timpanis, and lush, beautiful compositions that evoke guttural feelings. Classical music for indie rock types.

Mono — "The Flames Beyond the Cold Mountain"

19. The Evens — Get Evens (Dischord)
Because Ian MacKaye is a god. Because MacKaye and Amy Farina pull no punches. And why should they? Washington is their city. Pointed protest music at its finest.

The Evens — "No Money"

20. Boris — Pink (Southern Lord)
Because sludge hasn't sounded this inviting or exciting since Dinosaur roamed the Earth. Because "Farewell" slays.

Boris — "Farewell"

21. Owen — At Home with Owen (Polyvinyl)
Because despite all of my hatred for Mike Kinsella the man — long story — I can't bring myself to hate any of his musical endeavors. At Home with Owen recalls the finest points of sadcore heroes like Low, Mark Kozelek and Elliot Smith while maintaining his unique Kinsella approach to dirgey sad-pop. Perfect for that Sunday morning self-loathing session — especially "Bad News."

Owen — "Bad News"


Tube :: Charlotte Hatherley :: Behave

You may recognize Charlotte Hatherley as the former crazy-hot guitarist for Ash. (Well, not formerly crazy-hot. She’s still crazy-hot. But she’s not their guitarist anymore. You get what I’m saying.) I really enjoyed her first solo album Grey Will Fade, and if the single "Behave" is any indication, the upcoming The Deep Blue is going to be even better. Those odd underwater guitar hooks, the melancholic desperation of it all – I really dig it. The live-action anime video is pretty great, too. Reminds me of the old video for Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend.” Enjoy.

Hmm. The anime stuff in the “Behave” video plus a nod to the old Brit girl comics in this video for the better-than-it-has-any-right-to-be “Bastardo” (from Grey Will Fade)… Mayhaps Ms. Hatherley is a bit of a nerd like us. Speaking of nerdiness, keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg.


Get Out! :: No Way Jose! @ New Brookland Tavern

No Way Jose!
(with Blinded by Underpants, The Heist and the Accomplice and Ugly Dobro)
6 p.m. :: $5
New Brookland Tavern :: 122 State St. :: W. Columbia

Local indie rock dance heroes No Way Jose! bid a fond to the Soda City tonight at the New Brookland Tavern. In addition to being four of my favorite people on the face of the entire planet, No Way Jose! is also one of my all-time favorite local bands. Come early — 6 p.m. start time — and pick up a copy of their entire discography, plus a few bonus tracks, on one disc, Yes Way!. Earnest, loud-as-hell indie rock duo Blinded by Underpants makes an appearance supporting their Fork and Spoon collective comrades, and The Heist and the Accomplice is always a good time.


The Year in Review :: The Songs

For me, 2006 involved a lot of music downloading. And oddly enough, most of it was legal. With bands promoting one or two tracks on myspace and various music blogs, it's like we've entered a new Era of the Single. Forget that iTunes Era of the Single we had a few years back. So here's a list of my favorite songs of the year, most of which I downloaded free and legal if you can believe it.

20. Ratatat – “Lex” - Classics (XL)
Kicking off with an in-your-face beat and fading out with a Gameboy-meets-Mozart blipfest is the exact kind of thing I want from my Ratatat.

19. Pink Nasty (featuring Bonnie “Prince” Billy) – “Don’t Ever Change” – Mold the Gold (Independent)
I’m a big fan of songs where a couple can’t stand each other almost as much as they can’t stand being without each other (The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” and John Prine’s “In Spite of Ourselves” come to mind), and this one’s right up there.

18. The Thermals – “A Pillar of Salt” - The Body, The Blood, The Machine (Sub Pop)
Damn you, bouncy keyboard licks! Why do I love you so?! I’m also a sucker for fairly dark lyrics over crazygonuts fun music.

17. Jarvis Cocker – “Running the World” – Jarvis (Rough Trade)
Jarvis, I haven’t heard you sneer like that in five years (since the last Pulp album, really). Good to have you back, old son.

16. Bishop Allen – “Corazon” – January EP (Independent)
This is a sweet, jangly anthem about finding a free piano on the side of the road on the surface, but listen harder, and you can hear how this piano changed the way that the band created their music.

15. The Pipettes – “Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me” – We Are The Pipettes (Naïve)
Man, the part where Gwenno croons “And you might try to hold my hand again,” and then Riot Becki gleefully yells, “But you don’t know!” absolutely melts me.

14. Ladyhawk – “The Dugout” - s/t (Jagjaguwar)
This sounds like either an amazing Dinosaur, Jr. track that should have been on the Reality Bites soundtrack or an amazing Replacements track that should have been on the Single soundtrack. I can’t decide which.

13. Murder By Death – “Brother” - In Bocca al Lupo (Tent Show)
This might just win for catchiest song of the year. I would wake up in the morning humming it, find myself singing it while working, etc. I can’t explain it, but it definitely got to me.

12. Boris – “Parting” - Pink (Southern Lord)
Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in years. I don’t speak Japanese (and probably couldn’t understand the droning vocals even if I did) so I have no idea of the lyrical content of this song, but with the translated name “Parting” (or “Farewell” as I’ve seen it some places), you can take a wild guess. And honestly, the song perfectly conjures up “parting” and all the associated feelings.

11. Cat Power – “The Greatest” - The Greatest (Matador)
A lovely ballad by Chan Marshall about a boy wanting to be a boxer was not exactly something I expected, but I’m quite glad it’s out there.

10. Junior Boys – “In the Morning” - So This Is Good-Bye (Domino)
With an 80s new wave groove that beats the heck out of anything Postal Service ever did, “In The Morning” sounds like a long-lost Michael Jackson tune that was cut from Thriller but picked up by Basement Jaxx and remixed.

9. CSS – “Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above” - Cansei de Ser Sexy (Sub Pop)
This song has all the earmarks of a great club single: cute Brazilian singer with an accent named Lovefoxxx, tasty bass line, and sex-charged lyrics like “I know how you’re doing by looking at your pants / And this is how we call it a comeback.”

8. Gnarls Barkley – “Crazy” - St. Elsewhere (Downtown)
This song somehow stayed fresh after being massively overplayed – a feat that even Outkast’s “Hey Ya” couldn’t pull off. Its wide appeal is further substantiated by the fact that it was the most covered song of the year, inspiring versions by everyone from Diplo to Jude to Billy Idol.

7. Midlake – “Roscoe” – The Trials of Van Occupanther (Bella Union)
If you told me a year ago that one of my favorite songs of 2006 would be very Fleetwood Mac-ish and feature an opening that sounds like the theme from MASH, I might have slapped you right on the mouth, but that’s before Midlake taught me better.

6. The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations” – Boys and Girls in America (Vagrant)
While not completely won over by these guys like most people (calm down, Pitchfork), I can’t deny this song’s clustered beauty. It sounds like Jello Biafra fronting Springsteen’s E-Street Band covering a Replacements song, which works out far better than you would imagine.

5. Killer Mike – “That’s Life” - Pledge Allegiance to the Grind mixtape (Independent)
In a year when official hip-hop releases generally left me cold, it’s the underground mixtapes that shined. On this track, Killer Mike just goes off, falling out of his flow occasionally to just plain preach against the hypocritical castigation of rappers. Oprah, Cosby, O’ Reilly, FEMA, Bush – no one’s safe.

4. Band of Horses – “The Funeral” - Everything All The Time (Sub Pop)
“Funeral” is one of those songs that manages to speak to everyone who hears it, even if it means different things to each. Ben Bridwell’s empyreal vocals combined with escalating indie rock guitars makes for a track that can define a moment of your life.

3. Sparrow House – “When I Am Gone” - Falls EP (Independent)
A side project of Voxtrot’s Jared Van Fleet, Sparrow House (this song in particular) dominated my iTunes’ Top 25 Most Played this year. Comparing the end of a relationship to the end of one’s life may not be the most original idea, but here it’s handled better than I’ve heard in a long time.

2. Peter, Bjorn, and John – “Young Folks” - Writer’s Block (Wichita)
The catchy whistling, the dueling vocals between Peter Morén and Victoria Bergsman (ex-Concretes), the driving percussion imitating the bustle and noise of a night on the town – it’s no wonder this song was so heavily remixed this year. But, really, how can you improve on perfection?

1. Ghostland Observatory – “Midnight Voyage” - Paparazzi Lightning (Trashy Moped)/Ghostface Killah – “Be Easy” – Fishscale (Def Jam)/Car Stereo (Wars) – “Ghostface Observatory” – Internet download only
I love the Austin indie dance duo Ghostland Observatory, and Ghostface’s Fishscale was my favorite hip-hop album of the year. However, I would never have thought that throwing the two together would produce such incredible results. Thank goodness that Car Stereo (Wars) did, creating one of the best mash-ups ever.


The Year in Review :: Part One: Vilification

Patrick's disappointing albums of 2006.

(in no particular order)

the hold steady

The Hold Steady — Boys and Girls in America

Honestly, I tried. I really did. But Boys and Girls in America is really nothing more than a fourth-rate Let it Be. Looks, kids in Minnesota no more fucked up than anywhere else — I should know, I spent some formative years in the suburban Midwest — and I really think that any well-read sixteen-year-old with a worn copy of On the Road, a shit-ton of Thin Lizzy records and a basic knowledge of barre chords could make Boys and Girls. I think The Hold Steady is kind of a clusterfuck — first-rate lyrics and mind-numbingly stupid music — but, ironically, that's the exact representative of "the boys and girls in America."

dj shadow

DJ Shadow — The Outsider

File this one under "They Can't All Be Winners." Josh Davis is easily the white boy who single-handedly saved (experimental) hip-hop, but The Outsider falls flat. The cavalcade of of guest stars — Kasabian, Keak da Sneak, David Banner — is nothing new for Shadow, as his James Lavell U.N.K.L.E. collabo, which produced Psyence Fiction, one of my all-time favorites, featured everyone from Thom Yorke to Richard Ashcroft to Kool G Rap to Jason Newstead and Mike D. So if The Outsider doesn't suffer from a lack of starpower, what does it suffer from? It's too scattershot, its crunk-rap beats too crunk-rap and it's ultimately an unexpected commercial venture for Shadow. I'm not holding out for Entroducing II: Re-Entroducing, but anything coming close to the underrated The Private Press is gold at this point.


Mastodon — Blood Mountain

I do these kind of lists every year, and I always feel the need to clarify: Just because I was disappointed by an album doesn't mean I didn't think it was good or that I didn't care for it. On the contrary with Blood Mountain — while I don't believe it holds up to Leviathan or even Remission, it's a damn brutal record. But for all its forays into psych-prog territory, it never quite settles into any sort of groove. Que cera, cera.

The Arctic Monkeys

The Arctic Monkeys — Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Don't believe the (blog) hype.

The Tapes 'n Tapes

Tapes 'n Tapes — The Loon
See The Arctic Monkeys.

yeah yeah yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs — Show Your Bones

Bonus points to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for daring to go beyond the garage-punk freakout that was Fever to Tell. Minus points for doing a really piss-poor Siouxsie and the Banshees impersonation. I spun this in my cd player once, and was unimpressed enough to not play it again.

the decemberists

The Decemberists — The Crane Wife

Blah blah blah The Decemberists blah blah blah hyper-literate indie prog blah blah blah Death Cab for Cutie blah blah blah another boring, bland Northwestern band blah blah blah. Once again, don't believe the (blog) hype. I honestly don't understand what people see in The Decemberists. Colin Meloy looks, dresses, sings and writes songs like Ben Gibbard's retarded younger brother.

...and you will know us by the trail of dead

...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead — So Divided
So Divided is everything this album is not, as far as critics are concerned. Universally panned, So Divided fails oh-so-spectacularly to save face from 2005's embarrassing Worlds Apart. New Year's Resolution for Conrad Keely: Give up.


Danielson — Ships

Another critical darling I can't wrap my head around. In fairness, I couldn't get into the Danielson Familie either. And that misspelling always bugged me.

susanna hoffs and matthew sweet

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs —
Under the Covers, Vol. 1


The Year in Review :: Tug's Favorite Albums of 2006

So, welcome to GoGoIndieRocket. No pretentious indie rock blog is complete without some end of the year lists, so we'll be posting our various lists over the next few days with regular GGIR content to follow. Hopefully, the lists will give you an idea of what kind of music we're into and will be talking about in the future. Enjoy, folks!

20. Ratatat – Classics (XL)
19. The Pipettes – We Are The Pipettes (Naïve)
18. Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid of You And I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador)
17. Midlake – The Trials of Van Occupanther (Bella Union)
16. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti)
15. Malajube – Trompe-L'Oeil (Ninja Tune)
14. Islands – Return to the Sea (Equator)
13. Be Your Own Pet – s/t (Ecstatic Peace!)
12. Cat Power – The Greatest (Matador)
11. Band of Horses – Everything All The Time (Sub Pop)

10. Girl Talk – Night Ripper (Illegal Art)
The biggest problem with mash-ups is that once you’ve learned the tricks of the tracks, the songs don’t have much to offer in the way of surprises. Greg Gillis, under his moniker Girl Talk, changes all that by creating such complicated mixes that you always catch something you missed the first time around. In just one track, he throws in 50 Cent, James Taylor, Weezer, and I can’t name how many others. With this album, he single-handedly legitimizes the mash-up as an art form.

9. Love Is All – Nine Times That Same Song (What’s Your Rupture?)
This Swedish group of indie popsters are very lo-fi in spirit but make so much noise that you forget about that fact. Saxophones, synths, some mad drumming, and the fuzzy squeals and yells of lead singer Josephine Olausson all make this cacophony of sound that’s undeniably affecting.

8. Beirut – Gulag Orkestar (Ba Da Bing!) Only 19 years old, Zack Condon (Beirut) made an impressive debut this year with Gulag Orkestar. While most kids his age are just cutting their indie teeth on Modest Mouse and the Decemberists, Condon has created a sound influenced by Neutral Milk Hotel, Tom Waits, and Stephen Merritt and rooted in Balkan folk and gypsy music. As his low, wavering voice floats on the waves of horns and mandolins, it really does feel he’s tapped into the heretofore unknown genre of gypsy pop.

7. Destroyer – Destroyer’s Rubies (Merge) Dan Bejar should really receive some kind of indie rock Man of the Year award. Riding off the success of the last New Pornographers record, he burst into 2006 with Destroyer’s Rubies, which immediately got tagged to appear in many Top Ten lists, and now Swan Lake, another of his side projects, is getting added to some of those lists as well. This is the best of seven Destroyer records, managing to be both accessible and mind-bogglingly intricate at the same time.

6. Joanna Newsom – Ys (Drag City) I hated Joanna Newsom at first. The buzz surrounding her 2004 debut The Milk-Eyed Mender seemed like much ado about nothing to me. Indie folk was just starting to get on my nerves a bit, and this squeaky harp player’s folk pop songs just didn’t do it for me. However, on Ys, Newsom has created five epic tracks that shift constantly and tell strange and personal stories. It’s a bold change in direction that pays off in spades, helped even more by hiring the legendary Van Dyke Parks (known mainly for his work with the Beach Boys) to arrange the songs. The beauty of his arrangements sometimes overshadows Newsom’s contributions to the album completely.

5. Tom Waits – Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, & Bastards (Anti) Since it’s a compilation, it’s almost unfair to include this box set, but almost a third of it is new and unreleased material, and that third is still better than most of the albums that came out this year. This collection cements Tom Waits as a true music legend. There’s not much more I can say without writing a three-page essay on why everyone should own this album.

4. Man Man – Six Demon Bag (Ace Fu) The unending descriptions of Man Man as Zappa meets Waits meets Beefheart were what originally sparked my interest, but after listening to the album, these guys definitely have more going on than some intriguing influences. The songs are huge sonically and massive in scope. Like no other album this year, Six Demon Bag is something that must be experienced, not listened to.

3. Annuals – Be He Me (Ace Fu) Another wunderkind on my list, Annuals is led by Adam Baker, who was only 19 when he arranged the songs for Be He Me. The album itself runs a gamut of musical genres and influences, making it one of the most ambitious albums of the year. It definitely doesn’t always succeed, but when it does, it’s absolutely stunning. Check out my little test review that I posted back in November for more.

2. Boris – Pink (Southern Lord) Japanese drone metal certainly isn’t a genre that gets a lot of exposure here in America, but Boris decided to change all that with this album. Arguably their most “mainstream” release, Boris tries their hand at everything on this album. Opener “Parting” is a subtle twist on drone that almost seems as if Boris are playing with My Bloody Valentine and Wire just to show us that they can outdo them, and then from there they drop the sound and go straight into some of the finest metal ever produced.

1. Grizzly Bear – Yellow House (Warp) For an album recorded in the lead singer’s mother’s house (hence the album title), Yellow House features some of the best production of any album this year. Like that old, dusty house, the band’s psychedelic folk-rock almost seems to breathe on its own, expanding into something huge and unfathomable then deflating into something soft and intimate. The album is filled with magical moments that words can’t even describe, flowing into each other to create an album that’s feels like the consistent pressure and warmth of a blanket. Yellow House’s ambition is met only by its imagination, making it something of a masterpiece.


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