Archive for December, 2007

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Guest List: Billy Schuh of Foundry Field Recordings

December 31, 2007

Billy Schuh of Foundry Field Recordings shares with us some of his favorite music of 2007.

MP3: Foundry Field Recordings – Caribou (Pixies)
MP3: Foundry Field Recordings – Beneath The Winter Frames
MP3: Foundry Field Recordings – Buy/Sell/Trade
MP3: Foundry Field Recordings – D.A.R.Y.L. Loves V.I.C.K.I

Billy Schuh’s Pile of favorites in 2007:

i honestly hate the “top ten” format. or hell even the top “fill in the number here” format. so i just have a list of albums that just
well got me more than anything, meaning they were on repeat or i tried to learn how to play them or instead of waking up and getting a midnight snack i turned to my headphones and listened to these delightful artists…

battles – mirrored – featuring members of helmet and don caballero i don’t know how this could go wrong. and it didn’t. to me this album is perking up a lot of ears and is going to pick up more. who knew a mostly instrumental album with heavily effected vocals could resonate in your head and actually make you sing it (?) out loud!? my friends thought i was singing a song with an unknown dialect. essentially i was.

okkervil river – stage names – it took me a long time to come around to this band. my friend and recording engineer/production fella of our albums barry hibdon kept telling me to check out okkervil river. i did and saw them live and actually left their show early. at the time i was not as familiar as i should have been with their material, but HOLY SHIT i love this record. arrangements, hooks, beats, and especially lyrics. my favorite bands of all time always have one record that grabs me so much that it forces me to go back and listen to the rest of their discography. well mr. sheff you have made your case with “stage names”. just a brilliant pop record.

animal collective – strawberry jam – as someone who occasionally writes a song, you come across a band who makes you take everything you just wrote and crumple it in a ball and throw it away. then there are bands like animal collective that make you take all of the songs you just wrote to a field where you cut them in to small pieces and burn them. then you take the ashes and bury them deep into the earth. then ask a developer to come along and put a strip mall over the area where you just buried the song ashes so that no one will mistakenly unearth them. essentially animal collective continued is path to pop song construct destruction. this album essentially makes you want to run out and get as many processors and pedals and switchboards as possible and then use them sparingly. i love everything this band is doing, they honestly have done no wrong and i believe will continue to do so.

yeasayer – all hour cymbals – the buzz for this band certainly reached high levels in 2007 as it released “all hour cymbals”. i saw these guys at a Fader showcase at CMJ this year and they were amazing. not in a “holy shit the drummer did a flip on to the back of the bass player and the two of them fought the singer on the shoulders of the guitarist” way but more of an endearing way. four guys who look like they should be in different bands fuse so many influences it can be dizzying, but they do it a very linear way that keeps your attention. their song “2080” is fantastic, and the album didn’t grab you the performance will

bald eagle – hot shoulders – okay i will preface this by saying this release came out on a label i co-own, but even if we didn’t have a hand in this record’s release this would have easily made my list. i grew up on their previous band Amputee Set, and when two of those members formed bald eagle you knew eventually they would make an album like this. hot shoulders is just a force of song. the album begins with a set of songs that just drive. the fretwork on the guitars, the pounding bass lines, and the sheer force of the drums knock you down only to have you wake up in the middle of the album for a soft acoustic guitar and light drum instrumental which transitions nicely into the albums final run.

radiohead – in rainbows – oh radiohead, how you change the industry! its one thing for a band to say that they will let people pay whatever they want to pay for their record, its another to jump the major label ship and release an album on a massive online scale using that same format. and it’s a WHOLE other thing when it is this record. not that i didn’t appreciate some of their more experimental arrangements, but this album has a beautiful balance and in someways made you feel like you didn’t pay enough for the download. ($15 was my price) i will certainly get the physical form of this when it comes out. but radiohead’s “in rainbows” might be the second to the last nail in the coffin of the music industry as we know it.

warhammer 48k – ethereal oracle / cave – hunt like devil/jamz – these two bands represent the death and birth of projects involving chicago transplant and former columbia, missouri native cooper crane. i knew cooper when he was a teenager, and put a song of his band at that time on a compilation for KCOU 88.1 FM. over the years cooper and his music have grown way the fuck up and with the passing of warhammer 48k comes his new band CAVE. though for 2007 warhammer’s final release was everything you wanted sonically out of one of the louder records of the year. the cd version just has the words “play fucking louder” printed on the cd itself. they mean it, there are a number adjectives like psychadelic, sludge, and avant-garde that could be placed here, but i know that the listener has to be the ultimate decision maker here. they use a variety of song structures and formulas to come up with the wall of sound they come up with. and as for cave, technically the album is out in 2008 but they have a “track on repeat” on pitchforkmedia.com. the stuff i have heard in 2007 has been amazing.
they have a great live show and will certainly be a band to look out
for in 2008.

blonde redhead – 23 – YES! proving that some bands can withstand the test of age! i am 30 and i feel like i’m running out of time to play music. which is not true at all, but its a stupid anxiety that plays around in my head. but then blonde redhead comes out with one of the best records of the year. my friend and songwriting partner Benjamin Hook brought this album along on tour over the summer and am i glad he did. this album fills up the stereo with an awesome mix of melody and noise that you just can’t help but listen to it over and over again. there was some grumbling about their live show at the Blue Note this year because they had some pre-recorded accompanying tracks, but folks this shit has been going on for a long time, it wasn’t like there was lip syncing.

sunset rubdown – random spirit lovers – i cannot get this carnie element out of this album, but regardless it is a great next step for this band. not every song is the best here, but when the songs are on they are on! again this is a band who takes the old pop song formula and dissects it into a hundred pieces and then puts it back together again. but instead of relying on processors they go for the real deal instruments.

the national – boxer – haunting, beautiful, rocking. the national took me sometime to come around to, but i’m glad i was patient with it. you can tell this band took a long time to lay out each and every song in the perfect order. this lays out like a good book and forces you to listen to every detail of every song. i am still finding more aspects of this album that i like with each listen. matt berninger’s soothing vocals and lyrics make him one of my favorite story tellers of the year. well maybe him and will sheff

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Guest List: Marcia Masulla of Masulla Boutique and of Loudmouth Promotions

December 31, 2007

Marcia Masulla, owner of Masulla Boutique on Washington Avenue and Loudmouth promotions lets us know what albums she liked from 2007. While she has a professional relationship with some of the bands on her list, I know for a fact that she included them out of love, and not obligation.

Here goes….
drumroll please

Top Albums

10)Jumbling Towers – Self Titled..As much as I try to fight it, still in heavy rotation on my Ipod. Ha.

9)Delta Spirit – “Ode to Sunshine“…..even though this album gives them no justice for their INCREDIBLE Live performance. Seriously.

8)Spoon – “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga”…over Brit Daniel who can is nothing short of AWESOME. Fight me on this one, I dare you.

7)Radiohead – “In Rainbows” …Creative marketing, creative lyrics…just plain creative.

6)1990s – “Cookies”…So deliciously catchy and I get my Scottish accent fix. Yummy.

5)Band of Horses – “Cease to Begin”…..I think I may carry a Spring flannel line in my shop because of them.

4)Interpol – “Our Love to Admire” …..Let the trash talking begin, obviously not as strong of an effort as “Antics” but “My Chemistry” is so cash money yo.

3)Feist – “The Reminder”….A new spin on “chick music” that doesn’t make you think of the movie Beaches, check out “Brandy Alexander” and daydream about your crush.

2)JaPanther – “Skuffed Up My Huffy”…Addictive, especially “River Phoenix”…plus Japanese Panthers are okay in my book. Asians unite.

1)The National – “Boxer”…well duh.

Special mention to The Thermals’ “The Body, The Blood, The Machine” released in 2006 And Eagle*Seagull’s “The Year Of How To Book” due out early 2008 because I just couldn’t have survived 2007 without them.
Music is Oxygen.

XO
M

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Guest List: Eric Enger of Gentleman Auction House

December 30, 2007

Eric Enger, singer, guitarist and songwriter of Gentleman Auction House gives us his Top 20 songs of 2007, with commentary:

my top 20 songs of the year:

#1: “Umbrella” by Rihanna
jesus h.

#2: “Breakin’ Dishes” by Rihanna
how this isn’t a monster single, i have no idea. “i’ma blow dis, blow dis, i’ma blow dis, blow dis house house dowwwwwwnnnn…” oh my god. honestly. sometimes i’m amazed at how overwhelmed i get listening to some of the songs on this record. maybe my girl Janet will get jealous and drop something craaazy in 2008. here’s hoping.

#3: “Knife (Girl Talk Remix)” by Grizzly Bear (but mostly by Girl Talk)
i’ve been waiting for the next great remix for a while, it seems. here it is. ol’ boy NAILED it. too much to fawn over. i won’t spoil it. go get it. i’m sure you’ll guess what my favorite part is.

#4: “Dark Come Soon” by Tegan & Sara
“Everything i love get back for me now….Hold out for the ones you know will love you. Hide out from the ones you know will love you too.” this year was a mother, and this song makes crazy sense to me.

#5: “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
i will always have an affection for gun shot and cash register sounds in popular music…and Clash samples.

#6: “I Believe” by Simian Mobile Disco
nearly every year someone pumps out a soulful dance song. this one still keeps growing on me more and more. by the time it’s all said and done, i’m pretty sure it will rank way up there with Lo-Fidelity All-Stars’ “Feel What I Feel” in my personal pantheon of feel-good dance songs.

#7: “Atlas” by Battles
i have my own lyric submission based on a glorious word: “he’s a ‘globin, she’s a ‘globin, i’ma ‘globin, you’re a ‘globin…” this song is the ish, and i just wanted to be able to sing along.

#8: “Adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood” by Future of the Left
this song cements for me my theory that the phrase “what a guy!” was, in its initial inception, intended to be used only while slowly dripping with the thickest of saracasm. that aside, Future of the Left’s existance stopped my mourning of the late McLusky, from whose sacred ashes this band rose. Thank you Andy Falkous for realizing that the world still needs you. Also, this song is the jam.

#9: “Eddie’s Ragga” by Spoon
the ghosts of Elvis Costello, The Clash and M. Doughty (Soul Coughing) all haunt this song as it slinks down the dark stairs of a house that is as sexy as it is creepy. and that’s a good thing.

#10: “Lemme Get That” by Rihanna
my third pick off of my favorite record of the year. the highlights of this record are so good that they some how manage to overcome those unfortunate acoustic guitar-driven bombs. “keep my sheet in knots…” grrrr. somewhere in the back of my head is a vision where i meet Rihanna during of the best game of spin-the-bottle EVER.

#11: “Your Arms Around Me” by Jens Lekman
i never wanted to like Jens Lekman, and then this record happened. pretty great stuff, lyrically in the Morrissey “well, why NOT say that?” vein. this song and “Into Eternity” are both pretty stellar mixtape fare, i think. jump on it.

#12: “Stronger” by Kanye West
his SNL performance of this was ridiculous. mf owned it. now if only the snare was louder…thank you radio compression!

#13: “Cassius Clay” by Jon Hardy & The Public
best song out of st. louis this year, and probably better than a lot of songs out of anywhere this year. makes you fall in love and then look around to figure out with who. it’s a killer.

#14: “Into the Storm/Out to the Sea” by the Hibernauts
2nd best song out of st. louis this year, and from my favorite st. louis band (and just one of my favorite bands period). this song showcases everything i love about them. and the coda fiends strike hard. and Tom MCA”s so effing precious: “So come now, ’cause this you won’t believe…” that’s it, i’m calling Tom right now to tell him just HOW effing precious he is.

#15: “Bubbles” by Dizzee Rascal
thank god Dizzee came back with a great record. i was getting worried. i feel like i have a secret gold chain in my pocket when i’m listening to this (LOUD).

#16: “So Sorry” by Feist
a heartbreaker. when i first heard it i thought i was part of the conversation.

#17: “Buy/Sell/Trade” by Foundry Field Recordings
a personal sleeper hit by our labelmates. i was obsessed with this song for a good two months and tried to play it for anyone i could. nothing obviously brilliant about it, it reveals itself on repeated listens. a great windows-down driving rock song with one of my favorite melodies this year. love it.

#18: “My Favorite Book” by Stars
i’m a notorious sucker for romantic comedies, and this song sounds like one. like many of my favorite romantic comedies, i probably shouldn’t like it, but i do. if i was making a mixtape for a certain someone, this would have to be on it, on it. kryptonite, anyone?

#19: “Huff Singers (North Philly)” by Birdie Busch
i want desperately to be relaxing on the porch where this song exists. “Sing me something heavy that in the end it doesn’t take up space.” amen.

#20: “Give It To Me” by Timbaland feat. Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake
“If s-sexy never left then why’s everybody on my sh-i-it?” …in which JT poses the best question of the year. i’ve loved timbaland for a decade plus, and in my book JT can do no wr-o-ong.

Honorable Mention:
“Future Baby Mama” by Prince
the record was no “3121” as i had hoped, but holy hell he’s still got it. and did you SEE his Super Bowl halftime performance this year? lordy. head to your neighborhood YouTube and get your rocks off.

surely i missed something that i will slap myself for later, but these are 20 of my favorite jamz, etc. of 2007. in a year marked by disappointing full lengths by some of my favorite artists, there was still a lot of stuff to still be excited about. bingo!

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AJS Best Albums of 2007

December 30, 2007

Dividing By Zero co-contributor AJS gives us his Top 15 Albums of 2007. Check out his regular column on InsideStl.

TOP ALBUMS OF 2007

1) The National – The Boxer

2) The White Stripes – Icky Thump

3) The Ponys – Turn The Lights Out

4) Okkervil River – The Stage Names

5) Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond

6) LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

7) Black Lips – Good Bad Not Evil

8 ) Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

9) Les Savy Fav – Lets Stay Friends

10) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Some Loud Thunder

11) Besnard Lakes – Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse

12) Spoon – Ga Ga Goo Goo

13) Radiohead – In Rainbows

14) Kings of Leon – Because of the Times

15) Panda Bear – Person Pitch

Honorable Mentions:

Jason Isbell – Sirens From the Ditch

Delta Spirit – Ode to Sunshine

Iron & Wine – The Sheppard’s Dog

Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam

Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

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Guest List: Katie Cook of Inside StL and Playback

December 30, 2007

Katie Cook, InsideSTL Music Editor 2007 and PlaybackSTL contributor, gives us her Top 10 Albums of 2007:

1. feist – the reminder

2. ryan adams – easy tiger

3. once soundtrack

4. band of horses – cease to begin

5. the shins – wincing the night away

6. arcade fire – neon bible

7. wilco – sky blue sky

8. kings of leon – because of the times

9. modest mouse – we were dead before the ship even sank

10. mark ronson – version

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Guest List: Nate Drexler of Jumbling Towers

December 29, 2007

Nate Drexler of Jumbling Towers (which released a great album this year, too) lists his Top 6 albums of the year.

MP3: Jumbling Towers – He’s A Cop Now

Nate Drexler’s Top 6 Albums of 2007 (in no particular order):
Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
Panda Bear – Person Pitch
Fiest – The Reminder
Yeasayer – All hour Cymbals
Handsome Furs – Plague Park
Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?

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Guest List: Mike Tomko of Gentleman Auction House

December 29, 2007

Mike Tomko of Gentleman Auction House and Tomko Bomb Co. checks in with his top 20 songs of 2007. Gentleman Auction House is in the middle of mixing their debut full-length album, which by all accounts, should be just outstanding. Keep track of the album’s progress at their recording blog.

MP3: Gentleman Auction House – Every One Has Taken Their Hat Off But You

Mike Tomko’s Best Songs of 2007:

01) D.A.N.C.E. – Justice
02) All Through the Night – Escort
03) Watch My Feet – Dude ‘N Nem
04) Gronlandic Edit – Of Montreal
05) Don’t You Evah – Spoon
06) Blood Infection – The Hailing
07) Time to Pretend – MGMT
08) Umbrella (feat. Jay-Z) – Rhianna
09) Golden Skans – Klaxons
10) I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You – Black Kids
11) Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire
12) Is It You? – Cassie
13) Atlas – Battles
14) Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe – Okkervil River
15) I Rock – Cool Kids
16) You! Me! Dancing! – Los Campesinos!
17) See A Penny (Pick It Up) – YACHT
18) Lip Gloss – Lil Mama
19) Song 4 Mutya (Out Of Control) (feat. Mutya Buena) – Groove Armada
20) I’m a Flirt (feat. T.I. & T-Pain) (Remix) – R. Kelly