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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