Friday, February 27, 2009

Cat Power - You Are Free

Cat Power – You Are Free

Matador, 2003

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007

Price: $10

I had a copy of this and then I gave it to my sister for Christmas. Then I bought another copy of it. I think Moon Pix is the better record, but I don’t have that one and this is the one I’ve listened to the most and I’m really glad I’m listening to it now even though it’s typically an album reserved for really sad times. “Good Woman” would easily find its way onto a list of the 5 saddest songs I’ve ever heard. Despite the sadness, this is one of the most beautifully designed and packaged records I own. I love the mix of heartbreaking ballads and electric rock jams (most notably, “Free” to “Good Woman and“Fool” to “He War”). Anyway, this record is too sad right now. I’m going to listen to the Chills.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mama Cass - Mama's Big Ones

Mama Cass – Mama’s Big Ones

Dunhill, 1970

Acquired: Gift, Used, 2007

Price: $0

I’m pretty sure Annie gave me this record right before we dated or while we were dating because it has “Make Your Own Kind of Music” on it, and I openly freaked out about how much I loved that song when it was on an episode of “Lost” we were watching when we were maniacally watching “Lost” every day. Groggily rolling out of bed about ten minutes ago, I figured I should put some music on and was really gladdened to find that this was the next up, even though it’s slightly misfiled. Should it be under E for Elliott, probably. Maybe even M for Mama, but for some reason I thought it would be best, or I would be able to find it easier if I filed it under C for Cass. I also think I was drunk when I organized my records, but whatever. Anyway, morning, “Make Your Own Kind of Music” in the morning when I’m groggy reminds me of the scene where Desmond puts the record on in the hatch and goes about his morning routine before the record skips when the plane crashes. And given that Desmond is my absolute FAVORITE character on that fucking show, this song has garnered even more special meaning to me over the years. It’s one of those perfect songs, and for a kid raised on 60s pop, this is right up my alley. I always loved the Mamas and the Papas and I always thought it was strange because in the 90s when I was growing up it would be practically impossible for someone like Mama Cass to become a pop superstar despite how good her voice was just because she was fat. Which SUCKS because her voice is amazing and this record is amazing. It’s putting me in exactly the mood I want to be in, which is the mood to finish two songs I drunkenly and lucidly wrote at about three in the morning and need to hook up all the equipment and just record them. YES I WILL DO THAT I THINK. THANKS MAMA CASS. And “One Way Ticket” is an awesome song about getting the fuck out of some bullshit town. “I’d be happy anyplace but here,” she sings. Goddddd, my sentiments exactly, Mama. Exactly. LOVE YOU.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Etiquette

Castiotone for the Painfully Alone – Etiquette

Tomlab, 2006

Acquired: CFTPA show, Jackpot Saloon, 2007

Price: $12

This is the best Casiotone for the Painfully Alone album and everybody knows that. “Scattered Pearls” is the only song I can properly dance to, and on this record Owen Ashworth’s songwriting reaches new peaks. It’s just a fucking outstanding record. It really never lets up, every song here is a jam and it closes with a cover of the best Parenthetical Girls song ever, so yeah. It reminds me of the summer of 2007. It takes music that should have always been lo-fi and puts a higher production value on it and I think that something really special about this album, because it works really, really, really, really, really, really well. Anyway, I don’t know what else to write about this. Listen to it right now. Some things are best left unsaid.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Cannanes - A Love Affair With Nature

The Cannanes – A Love Affair With Nature

Self-Released, 1989

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2008

Price: $6

Australian indie-pop band that became affiliated with K Records in the 90s. Yes! While reading about the Cannanes on Wikipedia, trying to find the release date of this record I noticed that at some point in their history one of the band members was Annabel Bleach, who I can now assume provided the inspiration for one of my favorite songs/7”s of all time, “Annabel Bleach” by the Ampersands (another Australian indie-pop group). Yes! However, she left the group before this record was released. “Take me to the Hotel Johanna (and Let’s Trash the Joint)” is an awesome little song, as are all of the songs on this record for the most part. It’s making me really happy listening to this, knowing that I own it, and realizing that there was a reason I saw it at Love Garden last year and knew I needed to buy it. And then realizing it’s on white vinyl! I’m sorry, this is how I buy records. I just buy them and sometimes don’t listen to them immediately. This is most of the time. I have this habit of wanting to create a library of things that I want, and when I want them, whenever that happens, I have them. So for this project, of listening to all of my records, this is a wonderful little find. This is something that was just waiting to be dug up, a portrait of the late 80s/early 90s indie-pop/twee-pop scene full of little innovations, minimalist jams, drum machine handclaps on “Nuisance” which are totally awesome, switching between boy vocals and girl vocals from song to song, etc. Thus begins my love affair with the Cannanes.

John Cale - Paris 1919

John Cale – Paris 1919

Reprise, 1973

Acquired: End of an Ear, Austin, TX, Used, 2008

Price: $15

Thanks to Tom K. for putting this record in the first batch of KJHK Essentials. I heard tracks from it all the time on the radio after that and got into the record. I bought it, or put it on the list of records I need to buy in my head, after hearing Will Sheff’s acoustic cover of “Antarctica Starts Here” and found a used copy when I was in Austin. I pry paid a little too much, but whatever, I wanted it, needed it. Now I have it and I’m listening to it and it’s so great! This is one of the records in my collection that I turn to more often than most. I don’t know why, it’s just nice to throw this on the record player and listen to it all the way through. There are just so many jams here. “Child’s Christmas in Wales,” “Hanky Panky Nohow,” “Paris 1919,” etc. Mmm. It sounds unlike any record I’ve ever heard.

End of B

B= $289
A + B = $333

Something is telling me that the grand total of this whole thing is going to be incredibly depressing. I'm talking a whole semester's tuition depressing. A few inches of records are already equal to a month's rent (WITH utilities). Oof.

Built to Spill - Keep it Like a Secret

Built to Spill – Keep it Like a Secret

Up, 1999

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2009

Price: $10

Man, what a solid batch of jams. This comes really close to being my favorite Built to Spill record. It might be, although I think Perfect From Now On might be the masterpiece. I can never decide, it changes all the time. Although, “You Were Right” is on this record, so I don’t know. That song has influenced me so much, one that let me know it was ok to constantly reference the artists you love for some sort of artistic statement. That and it has “Time Trap,” “Carry the Zero,” “Sidewalk,” that awesome breakdown in “Temporarily Blind,” and, well, shit, this is a great record. I remember the first time I heard it, too. I was in high school and picked up a promo copy of Keep it Like a Secret at Goodwill for two bucks. It’s still the best album I’ve ever bought at Goodwill. I still have it, it has that golden imprint from Warner Bros saying that it’s their property and you can’t sell it (although it’s been recently proven that that is bullshit and that once they give you a record, as a critic, you can do whatever you want with it because it’s technically a gift). Anyway, this is a great record. My only real quibble is that it starts with “The Plan,” which I think is the weakest track on this record. However, it’s still a fantastic follow-up to Perfect From Now On.

The Broadways - Broken Star

The Broadways – Broken Star

Asian Man Records, 1998

Acquired: Asian Man Records Mail Order, 2003

Price: $1 (it came in a box of vinyl that cost $25)

This is Chris and Brendan’s band before they started the Lawrence Arms. In High School I was pretty obsessed with Asian Man Records and Fat Wreck Chords, and when Mike Park offered up a $25 box filled with 13 LPs and 15 7”s, well, I freaked out. I came home from school to find the box on my doorstep, filled with extra goodies too. Tons of stickers, patches, etc. I’ve since sold or given away most of the records in that box but this is one I held onto because I really love this record. I listened to it a ton, and the Broadways were one of the best socio-political punk bands of their time in my opinion. Them and Propagandhi. It’s hyper-political, really pissed off shit about fucked up cops, fucked up grocery store owners who prohibit dumpstering, corporate takeover, the fucked up school system, etc. My favorite track, “Fifteen Minutes” comes into my head every time I’m stuck in traffic and wonder what I could be doing with the time. I think it’s why I will always find an alternate route instead of waiting in a long line of cars, no matter how out of the way it is. Being stuck in traffic is one of the worst feelings to me. This was one of those records that turned me into a pseudo anarcho-punk for a year or two in high school, and of course I had a Broadways patch sewn onto my black hooded sweatshirt. Of course, I was never really an anarcho-punk. I lived in the suburbs, but my family was more legit middle class than the other kids so instead of getting into rap I got really into punk and got really pissed off at corporations and George W. Bush. Which was a good idea. “Everything I Ever Wanted to Know About Genocide I Learned in the Third Grade,” I distinctly remember listening to that song on my CD player in the halls in between classes on Columbus Day. Their arguments aren’t as fact-based or as good as Propagandhi’s, but it was good to have when I didn’t know shit other than what I was told as a kid and it really helped to open my mind, like a hundred other punk bands. It’s like there’s this secret world that you never see if you live in the suburbs where everyone has their American flags out and no one really cares about anything except their own family. I also have the “I Hear Things are Just as Bad Down in Lake Erie” 7”, which would find itself on any “punk rock I listened to obsessively in high school” compilation I made. I think it’s their most concise song, but only because it tackles pretty much every subject they sing about and put it into one jam. “And the only dream I have is for an H-bomb to come and blow us fucking up/ so you don't have to hear me bitch anymore.” I will never sell this record.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bright Eyes - Letting Off the Happiness

Bright Eyes – Letting Off the Happiness

Saddle Creek, 1998

Acquired: Lawrence Antique Mall, Used

Price: $35

I remember the day I bought this. It was a snow day and despite the snow still coming down pretty hard I still drove to the antique mall and picked this record up. I’d seen it the day before, and wondered if I should spend almost forty bucks on it. When I got home, I looked on the internet and found that an original pressing of the first Bright Eyes with hand-screen printed cover limited to 300 copies went for upwards of $200. However, I’ve never really wanted to sell it. I like having it, like a little artifact of youth or something, given that this (and Fevers and Mirrors) were pretty huge for me when I was in high school. This summer when we weren’t listening to Dear You, Luke and I would listen to this record and sit on the sidewalk outside my backdoor drinking whisky and cokes, singing along as loud as we could to “If Winter Ends” and “June on the West Coast.” I think Chris Clark was there too. We were all really emo this summer. Listening to it now, I don’t want to sell it. It’s a really great record and I want to have it if all of my hard drives ever crash. That’s what my record collection is for. It’s constructed of records that I NEED to have in my life. Although, I say this now but I’m saying this after the Bright Eyes wave has crashed. Pre-Cassadaga, when I could have weaseled $350 from some teenager’s parents’ credit card on E-bay, I would have sold this record so hard. But for right now I like having it, and I like listening to Conor Oberst’s thin warbly voice, especially after really enjoying his most recent “solo album.” Letting Off the Happiness is amateurish in the absolute best way. It sounds like a kid screaming out his feelings into a reel-to-reel in the basement and there’s something really wonderful about that kind of expression at that age. It’s untainted, unfiltered, and it’s real. Unlike the later Bright Eyes records, I can tell he really means what he’s singing. It’s not an act. It’s interesting to see what’s happened to him in the past ten years, and more interesting realizing that his voice hasn’t changed at all. And despite the fact that this is the most valuable record in my collection, it’s also the record I’ve paid the most money for (that is, until I find an original pressing of Guided By Voices’ Bee Thousand, which I have allotted myself between $100-150 to spend).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jacques Brel - If You Go Away: Jacques Brel is Alive and Singing in Paris

Jacques Brel – If You Go Away – Jacques Brel is Alive and Singing in Paris

Philips, 1970

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007

Price: $7

I bought this because Beirut’s The Flying Club Cup was apparently heavily influenced by Jacques Brel and I was really into that album. The first song, “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” translated as “If You Go Away” (or “Don’t Leave Me” as it reads in the liner notes), is a song I already knew, but through a cover version by Emiliana Torrini. It’s a beautiful, terribly sad song no matter how you render it. This version is particularly sad, you can hear it buried in his voice, coming to the surface. The rest of this record is less sad. Actually, reading the lyrics of “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” the song isn’t sad. It’s about being in love with someone so much that he is giving her grandiose reasons why she should stay and what will happen if she leaves. “Let me become/ the shadow of your shadow/ the shadow of your hand/ the shadow of your dog,” he signs (in French of course, I like this part of the English translation though, though I prefer the usual English version of the lyrics better for the most part). It might be one of the best songs about obsessive love that I have ever heard. I adore it. I’ve always loved French singers though. I remember when I was a kid, or right around when Saving Private Ryan came out and my dad made me download Edith Piaf songs for him and I got kind of obsessed with her. When I listen to French singers, I imagine what it must be like to listen to American singers as a Frenchman. Usually I obsess about lyrics and consider them the most important part of a song most of the time, but here I just appreciate Brel’s gorgeous voice and the beautiful tunes that swirl around off of the record. Now I want to cover “Ne Me Quitte Pas.” I either want to learn all the French, even though I can’t speak the language (I ran through it on the guitar and I think I can pronounce most of the words) or do a version from the “Don’t Leave Me” translation in the booklet (which has both the French and English lyrics! God, I love having this record).

Jacques Brel - Jacques Brel

Jacques Brel – Jacques Brel

Barclay, 1966

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007

Price: $4

I don’t really know why I think Jacques Brel is so handsome. He looks kind of like a Neanderthal, but when he has a cigarette hanging out of his mouth he looks like Humphrey Bogart or something. That and he sings like some sort of French angel. I can tell that this is a French copy of the record by the way the spine label is upside down, because for some reason (with books and records) the French think it is funny to do that. It took me forever to find when this record came out, and I found it as I was listening to If You Go Away, which I thought came first, but I was wrong. So, my Jacques Brel story is in the next entry. The story is every time I see a Jacques Brel record for under $6 I buy it because I have a weird obsession with French pop that stems back to about ten years ago. I actually really don’t like this record that much, not as much as Jacques Brel is Alive and Singing in Paris. It’s a very strange, almost frantic record. At times it sounds like he’s scream-singing, which makes me think of the birth of French screamo or something, which is totally inappropriate. He refrences Garcia-Lorca in “Les Toros,” and I kind of wish I could read the lyrics to this because that seems odd.

Billy Bragg - Brewing Up With

Billy Bragg – Brewing Up With

Go! Discs, 1984

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2008

Price: $5

Want to hear a Billy Bragg story? So, at SXSW last year I’m walking down to the Mohawk to see some band, Islands I think, and on the way I hear Billy Bragg’s “Waiting for the Great Leap Forward” and I look to my right and he’s playing in a parking lot, and he’s updating the lyrics! It was pretty fantastic; I stood behind the iron wrought fence and watched with a bunch of other gawkers. It was pretty incredible. Anyway, I only got into Billy Bragg through KJHK. When I first started Djing, we had this sampler of all his early records in rotation, a sampler from Yep Roc who were re-releasing all his records. I played “A New England,” I was hooked. And I own this record because it has “St. Swithin’s Day” on it, and I don’t know why I was surprised that it’s still just him and a guitar, which I love. I love the later stuff but this is my favorite. And fuck, this album is amazing. Also, the back of this record has a little line that reads “For copyright reasons this album is not for sale in South Africa.” Weird, ok. But yeah, Billy Bragg rules, k? And really, this is the first time I’ve listened to this all the way through. Tracks to return to: “It Says Here,” “The Myth of Trust,” all of them. Fuck, this record is good. It makes me want to go find a copy of Life’s a Riot With Spy vs. Spy or just settle with Back to Basics. I wish I was listening to this when I was miserable. And I really want to cover “The Saturday Boy” next time I play a show, because I’m realizing how much I want to be Billy Bragg when I write songs. Come to think of it, I have a cover of “Little Time Bomb” floating around on one of the tapes in the box with my four-track somewhere.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

Domino, 2009

Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2009

Price: $24

This sounds so much better on vinyl. At least better than the MP3 rip I’ve been listening to for the past couple of months. Everything sounds richer, now, and I kind of wish I was stoned right now because the first time I listened to this record all the way through I was stoned and it was amazing. It was like that song on Feels, “Did You See the Words?” And I saw the words and they were coated in fruit-snack colors, glimmering of sunshine and blues and yellows and oranges. This is a record to get lost in and I get lost in it every time I listen to it. Like when we were all driving to Clinton Lake a couple of weeks ago and Kasey and I were rocking out up front, singing along to all the words we could decipher on that perfect Saturday. This record just came out a month ago and I have already associated so many memories with it. It’s my record of 2009 and I think it’s going to stay that way because I still haven’t completely absorbed it yet and I hope I never will. I hope I still find new things every time I listen to it and I hope my favorite song changes on every listen. Well, actually it might just have to be “Summertime Clothes” forever, one of the most perfect pop songs I’ve ever heard. God, “My Girls” sounds so different on vinyl coming out of nice speakers, and I’m now realizing that “Also Frightened” is there specifically to balance the first half of the record because going from a monster jam like “My Girls” to another monster jam like “Summertime Clothes” would just be too much. Oh, perfect. I am now stoned and listening to “Bluish” and want to fall into the grooves on the vinyl. I want to live inside of this record, I want this record to be my world and over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to do that. It’s a record of romance, it’s Animal Collective in love and an amazing album to fall in love to, to fall in love with, to discover new things that make you love it more every day.

The Books - Lost and Safe

The Books – Lost and Safe

Tomlab, 2005

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007

Price: $9

While it’s typically not as highly regarded as The Lemon of Pink or Thought For Food, this is my favorite Books record. Or not, listening to this I just think it’s pretty good. Although “An Animated Description of Mr. Maps” was one of my monster jams of 2005 and yeah, it’s still just as good. “Be Good to Them Always” is another monster jam I only recently (while listening to this record) realized. But overall, it’s a really pretty, interesting record and when I heard it in 2005 when I was in the midst of my getting-over-punk phase it blew my mind. Lyrically, “Mr. Maps” is fucking amazing. “He felt lost but he felt pretty intensely good, and he woke up screaming having dreamed of a color he had never seen before.” That line, every time, kills me. The song also makes reference to chicken fingers, and that line, about the smell of chicken tenders, always makes me want chicken tenders because I love chicken tenders.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - The Letting Go

Bonnie “Prince” Billy – The Letting Go

Drag City, 2006

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007

Price: $8

There really isn’t a Bonnie “Prince” Billy record that I do not like. I think they all range from very good to outstanding. This one is pretty excellent, finding Will Oldham’s voice accompanied by Dawn McCarthy’s lovely harmonies. It gives songs like “Cursed Sleep” a sort of surreal, uneasy quality that creates specific emotions in my head that make me feel uneasy and at the same time at peace. It’s a beautiful song, and the video is so weird and great! The liner notes feature an extra creepy picture of Oldham with a “Thanks” word bubble drawn, and I think that’s pretty great because in the photograph it looks like he’s about to molest somebody or he just molested somebody. These are just great songs, and this is a great record that again, warrants re-listening on some random rainy day. And it was recorded in Iceland! How cool is that! Also, I wish this was called Then The Letting Go, which it was originally titled, because I’m pretty sure that’s taken from a really fantastic Mountain Goats song. Oldham’s pseudo-title track however, is one of my favorite tracks on the record. Beautiful, haunting, and all the other adjectives I overuse when I’m talking about Will Oldham.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Master and Everyone

Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Master and Everyone

Drag City, 2003

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007

Price: $6

Hmm, six bucks for a Bonnie “Prince” Billy that I really like? Um, yes please. I’ve been listening to this one a lot with Jenny because I’ve been preoccupied and haven’t taken this off the turntable in like five days. That and she knows all the words and gets really excited when I play “The Way” and “Hard Life” and she sings along, which is very nice. But yeah, in the past five days or so I’ve listened to this record something like six or seven times and I think it’s fantastic and beautiful. Maybe my favorite Bonnie “Prince” Billy record. I can’t think of a single person on earth who writes songs like this or sings them with such sadness. This is one of those records that I’m going to return to when I need a record to listen to, thus validating this project! YES!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bon Iver - Blood Bank

Bon Iver – Blood Bank

Jagjaguar, 2009

Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2009

Price: $10

“Blood Bank” is one of those songs; one of those songs I’m going to carry around with me forever and right now it is even more perfect. I spent winter break listening to the song hoping to get stuck in the snow with someone and then I did. It’s one of the most beautiful love songs I’ve ever heard, capturing all the excitement of meeting someone new and moving on. On our way back from lunch this afternoon it came on KJHK and Jenny and I just had to sit in the car and sing along to it because, well, yeah I put it on a mix CD for her and she loved it. It’s a song to be obsessed with. A song I need to have on vinyl because the warmth of Bon Iver never sounds quite right coming from an MP3 out of a computer speaker. The rest of the EP is lovely and interesting, perfect EP material, lovely b-sides. “Babys” preaches the haunts of summertime, as does “Beach Baby,” where “Woods” is a trademark Bon Iver sad song (sung acapella through a vocoder) about being up in the words and drinking to slow down the time. It’s the perfect record for this winter.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

Jagjaguar, 2008

Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2008

Price: $13

It’s weird listening to this album when I am not miserable. The last year, the year in which I completely embraced this record, I identified with this record so much because I just wanted to retreat to a hunting cabin in Wisconsin and record some sad songs. Listening to it while very happy with life, I realize that I still adore this record for everything that it is. I don’t know how Justin Vernon makes these sounds, or makes his songs sound like this, it’s pretty incredible. I got to see them play twice at SXSW last March. The first time was out on the patio at the Mohawk (my favorite venue in Austin) and it was really awesome, but I randomly ended up seeing them play at Emos the next day and being like “well, shit, Bon Iver is playing, how often am I going to get to see him back home.” Like most SXSW bands, he played pretty much the same set. I liked it, of course I did, but I eventually went to sit down on the bleachers with Nick to just talk or something. And then, fuck, he played “Creature Fear” at the end, which he hadn’t played the night before and I immediately rose to my feet and ran to the stage. It was so beautiful, god, it broke me down. Anyway, that’s my Bon Iver story. I spent a lot of my life with this record last year and I don’t really want to talk about any of it. It’s embarrassing, but this record is like, what Alkaline Trio was for me in high school: it got me through the hard shit I didn’t ever think was gonna end and, when it did, I still had absolute respect for the songs that got me through it (except for the last two Alkaline Trio albums, which are atrocities). “I’ll be holding all the tickets, and you’ll be holding all the fines.” Every line on this record is that good, fuck. Seriously, if you have not heard this, even if you deny anything that Pitchfork says is good, sometimes they are right because sometimes records deserve universal acclaim.

The Blow - Paper Television

The Blow – Paper Television

K Records, 2006

Acquired: K Records Mailorder, New, 2008

Price: $10

So, for some reason this summer I got REALLY into this record. Actually, I got really into the first three songs and the last three songs. I’m still kind of eh about the middle of the record and after “The Big U” I just wait (impatiently) for “Pardon Me.” And while “Parentheses” is like, one of the most perfectly designed mixtape songs ever and sweet and wonderful and dancey, “Fists Up” is the masterpiece here. I mean, in terms of pop songs, and K Records pop songs, “Fists Up” reminds me of Mirah and Tiger Trap in a weird way and at the same time it’s this little electro dancefloor number. The way it switches up towards the end, oof. And “True Affection” is pretty amazing too. And I am now remembering that I had to lance a blister on my thumb last night from playing guitar on the porch in the afternoon for an hour and I’m thinking “This blister is so worth it, and it actually feels kind of good now that it’s popped.” Anyway, The Blow: makers of albums with super strong starts and finishes, needers of making more consistent records, creators of “Fists Up,” the best song in the universe.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Blonde Redhead - Misery is a Butterfly

Blonde Redhead – Misery is a Butterfly

4AD, 2004

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007

Price: $8

This was one of those records I got just around the time I was transition out of punk and embracing indie rock. I don’t know where I found this record, but I got it and thought it was gorgeous. Listening to it now, it still is. It sounds like a classic, a record that should be revered fifteen years from now. The opener, “Elephant Woman” sounds almost epic, with Kazu’s pained vocals, the Pace Brothers swirling, whimsical yet haunting guitars and subdued drums, and Guy Picciotto’s beautiful production work. It sounds like the perfect song for the end of a movie (EDIT: This song was used at the end of the movie Hard Candy). It’s a record I’m adding to my long-running “Best Records of the Decade” list because shit, this is so gorgeous and different from any other record I’ve heard. Also, I am shirtless in this picture because I'd just gotten out of the shower. That and the record cover has a boob on it, and I thought I'd try to replicate that (but be less forward).

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Karl Blau - Nature's Got Away

Karl Blau – Nature’s Got Away

K Records, 2008

Acquired: K Records Mail Order, New, 2008

Price: $10

So, at SXSW I was talking to Karl Blau and he said his new album was called Nature’s Got Away. I thought he said Nature’s Got a Way and it’s interesting how just combining the a and the way it changes the connotation completely. Anyway, I think this album is really weird in the best way. The opening track “Moved On From Dreams” is this swirling little jam that has this weird ass synthesizer thing running through it and there’s just something really interesting around all of these songs. I think it’s a certain kind of innocence that inhabits these songs. Lyrically and melody-wise, “Before Telling Dragons” almost sounds like a song kids would sing on the playground but upon closer listening you can see how perfectly constructed it is, despite the fact that the arrangement is pretty loose. It’s a nice springtime record that makes you want to walk out into a forest and cavort with the trees, to walk barefoot through a stream or spend an afternoon on a hidden beach. That kind of happened yesterday, we all went out to the lake and sat on the beach and laid in the sun all day. It was perfect and wonderful and listening to this record is making me think of that, and how nice it is to be out in nature (even though the lake is, well, a reservoir, ha). “Mockingbird Diet” makes me think of this, and it was one of my favorite songs of 2008. Where the rest of the album is kind of loopy at times, this one is a straight-up jam. This whole record is a jam, and when I got it, it marked the first time I’d bought a record having not heard it already upon purchase and that was really exciting to me.