Jun 28, 2009

2009: Andrew Bird - Noble Beast

Andrew Birds seventh studio LP is a worthy addition to a brilliant discography to one of the finest songwriters this generation. Ever since the Swimming Hour back in 2001 Bird has made his name known to everybody who listens to Adult/Alternative music with his adventurous whistled melodies and interesting songwriting. His lyrics are some of the most mysterious, undecipherable, and beautifully poetic words you'll ever hear. The only thing that matches his gift with lyrics is his talent for creating original, catchy, melodies. Andrew Bird plays the guitar, the violin, writes all the songs himself and sometimes even whistles a fine tune. This record is no different from the last three albums, but one of the things lacking from this record compared to Armchair Apocrypha is the emotional impact of songs like Cataracts, but it still has the lyrical cleverness and melodic genious that is Andrew Bird. There is still traces of his retro-swing days with the Bowl of Fire on songs like Masterswarm and Fitz & Dizzyspells. Whether he silently plucks a string on his violin, whistles a heartfelt melody, or fills the air with his delightful voice he never ceases to amaze. Looking forward to his live show at Øyafestivalen in Norway this year as well.

Score: 7/10

Listen at Grooveshark or Spotify

2009: Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Like it's predecessor Strawberry Jam it features the same tripping psychedelic feel as seen on the cover. Only the difference here is that it leans more towards lo-fi bands like Fleet Foxes, they still pack the same beats and repeated choruses that some might find to be headache-inducing and repetitious. Perhaps not the same extent as its predecessor though. This record is far more accessible and consistent, and by far their best effort yet. Animal Collective are still the same, only here you can find more enchanting and harmonic pop-melodies than before. In the Flowers start off the album with an otherworldly feel, that immediately lifts you off the ground. While My Girls is a quite dancable tune, about buying a house for your kids etc. that will definitely have you singing along with the chorus. Summertime Clothes is perhaps the best song on the album with bubbly vocals sometimes drowing as if the singers lips are barely touching the water. The chorus is eerie and catchy as shit. Alot of the songs are powered with lush vocals that are quite so similar to The Shins. The last track Brothersport is a testament to that Animal Collective can create songs upon songs, and still keep the melodies interesting by the end of it. What separates Animal Collective from other indie, 'neo-psychedelic' bands is their use of electronics and sampled instruments, that sounds like a sorted mess, built up from a pulsating bass, harmonic high-pitched vocals and lots of keyboards and dissonant guitars. The album is simply dreamy, and the atmosphere is simply enchanting. While the choruses of nearly all the songs are infectious and will most definitely stay in your head for the rest of the day. I got the same excitement from this record as when I first heard Boces by Mercury Rev, because it has that same dreamy psychedelic pop feel to it. This is perhaps the most beautiful album released in 2009.

Score: 8.5/10

Listen at Grooveshark or Spotify

Jun 27, 2009

2009: Art Brut - Art Brut vs. Satan

This was one of the first records of 2009 that i actually listened to in one sitting, opposed all the indie kids these days with their sleepy lo-fi records and shit. Art Brut's third album is as refreshing as their debut back in 2005, as their songs have gotten less intimate their sound is about the same as before. This record is very fun and is easy listening, although the songs get a bit dull by the last three songs. Art Brut bears obvious an influences from post-punk- and early indie bands like Pixies and The Fall and became part of the indie rock scene together with Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party (also note that Frank Black of the Pixies produced this record). Art Brut is somewhat similar to Franz Ferdinand in style, perhaps a bit more upbeat and punk-oriented though, only Art Brut's songs are mostly about everyday teenage life, finding a job, discovering your parents old records written with bitter irony. The singer goes on and on about the (re)discovery of old bands like The Replacements and The Stones, and about how he obsessively likes to listen to old records.
Some people (hipsters) might listen to Art Brut and say that "Art Brut suck, retarded indie OH SO DEEP tryhards.",w hich is true in a sense that Art Brut might come on a bit too strong with their ironic songwriting, but songs about DC comics and Chocolate milkshakes can hardly be considered deep. None of the songs sounds as cool as the first one, but what they lack in coolness they make up for with witty songwriting and playful melodies. Some people might find the vocalist to be unbearable for his british accent, irrelevant and ironic songwriting or douchey attitude, but if you can find a way to put all preassumptions aside you might be in for an enjoyable record, but not much more than that, but with what it lacks in creating original instrumental parts it makes up for in wittyness.

Score: 7.5/10

Listen at Grooveshark or try their brilliant debut album on Spotify