The Beatles – Early Years (1), Please Please Me, Hey Jude
Just started reading the Bob Spitz bio from a few years back, so I'll be going through a lot of these in the next few weeks. I had the weirdest revelation looking through my Beatles records the other day: I don't have a copy of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" on any album. I don't even know what it's on, other than probably the red album. WTF?
Catching Up With Depeche Mode
The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Just had occasion to listen to "Do You Realize?" a bunch of times in a row the other day. Brilliant single, but I think the rest of the album's a little overrated. Some interesting arrangements by Drozd, but Coyne kinda phoned a lot of this one in.
Fleetwoof Mac – Tusk
Has a strong cult following that considers it some sort of misunderstood masterpiece (including, but not limited to, members of Camper Van Beethoven), but I'm not buying it. This is just a self-indulgent mess.
Ghost – Lama Rabi Rabi
The Housemartins – London o Hull 4
I love that a jangle pop band with overtly communist lyrics and a gay lead singer titled their debut record with a reference to a soccer rivalry. Ah, England.
LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
Gave this one another shot since it made just about everybody's year-end top ten list, but I'm still not convinced. This is just not a great album, and this is coming from a thirty-something ex-New Yorker aging-hipster-type, clearly Murphy's primary demographic. Weak year overall for critic-oriented records, sure, but still. The first two are better.
Mastodon – Crack the Skye
Please, please, please let this actual-singing by metal bands catch on and become a new trend. I just don't know how many more four-band bills I can sit through with one doom-growler after another. This could be the album that helps metal reinvent itself for the new decade, and I really hope it is. Oh, also, sick riffs, sick drumming. Just a fantastic album all around, one of my favourites of the past several years in any genre.
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy – I See a Darkness
Why the fuck is my copy of this record so worn out? Did I really listen to it that much? Do I need to just break down and find another copy? The title track is so crucial, and it's really quiet and thus highly susceptible to vinyl wear. Best lyrics about platonic friendship-love between two men ever written.
Pink Floyd – Meddle
I bought this because the wife really liked the single, but I put it on the other day and she didn't comment. Wonder if she recognised it, or if its appeal has faded already. Whatever, I think it's holding up quite nicely.
Saviours – Into Abbadon
Public Image Ltd. – Second Edition
Every time I've ever gone into the studio with a band in which I'm playing bass, I always tell the recording engineer I want my bass to sound like the second PiL record, even when it's completely inappropriate to the music. Most of the time they have no idea what I'm talking about. What a damn shame. Look, if you're an engineer and you're reading this, go listen to this album right now. Now. Now. Pay attention to the bass.
Silver Jews – American Water
I've been listening to a lot of Stones records lately, and I think Jagger's a terrific, underappreciated and really under-examined lyricist. Keef thinks so too, based on what I read in his new book. His lyrics seem simple and obvious, and I don't mean that in a bad way, I mean like they seem to have just been born with the song, like they're perfect and nothing else would fit there, so natural. When I listen to them, I think, "Man, I wish I could write like that."
On the other hand, when I listen to the Jews, I don't think that at all, because I could never, ever write like that. Instead, I think, "Man, I wish my brain worked that way."
Smog – Wild Love
Oh Prince, you are so alone...
TV On the Radio – Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
I really hope these guys don't stay on haitus too long. Indie rock needs them. Needs more of them and fewer Arcade Fire knockoffs.
Terrific title, by the way.
The Velvet Underground – The Quine Tapes
Sundazed Records really deserve a special Congressional commendation for releasing this set on vinyl. I know it's $100, and that's a pretty penny, but this is truly a valuable public service.
You can talk all you want about how much more avant garde they were with Cale in the band, but this phase is where they peaked as a live act. Even the 17 minutes of "Follow the Leader", which is barely even a song, are awesome.
The Yes Album