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Classic Recordings
Robert Altman Week

Saturday
Feb282009

In Which We Tell You What Can You Say Now 

The New York Review of Hooks

by Alex Carnevale

Here's some research I did:

Me: what albums should I review that I'm not reviewing?
Danish: http://tumbledore.tumblr.com/post/77816250/these-are-the-2009-album-releases-ive-acquired
Me: TLDR

We haven't spoken since. As the world collapses around you, do you really need a soundtrack?

"The Death of Me" - City and Colour (mp3)

"Body in the Box" - City and Colour (mp3)

Throaty singer-songwriter pablum...with a harmonica! At first you're asking yourself what you've done to deserve this. If Elliott Smith never existed, what would have become of male angst? Answer: it probably would have stuck to Langston Hughes poems. Sometimes Dallas Green (the city and the color GET IT? GET IT?) sounds like a parody of a college music station, and other times he sounds like Justin Vernon if he never got dumped by that betch Emma. Standout track: none.

emma

emma?

Was there ever an outing of Emma? Are we sad or happy that she dumped Bon? How was the sex? Did he sing during sex? Was she like, if you don't score above an 8.0 on Pitchfork I'm never going down on you again? I guess I'll have to wait for a tell-all biography, I'm too lazy to do anything else but send the Aubrey O'Day Playboy spread to all my closest friends.

greek

Why has this woman not guest starred on Nip/Tuck yet? She also seems so down to earth. I really hope we see more of her, possibly in Penthouse or The Paris Review. Either way I want to be present for what's sure to be a tumultuous emotional journey. I can only hope Gavin Rossdale and this chick get engaged down the road. She would also be fantastic as the rumored fifth friend in the Sex in the City sequel.

There was this weird equating in Sex and the City: The Movie of Miranda's paramour Steve's infidelity with Mr. Big not showing up at Carrie's wedding. No-showing a wedding is way worse than getting your business on with some Brooklyn hottie. For one you're just having a little fun down at Union Pool, and in the other you're coming up empty on the biggest day of Sarah Jessica Parker's life. I feel I will regret saying this, but it is true.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVjcDwkNF1I]

LeBron and Dwight Howard doing half-court shots is the second greatest YouTube experience of my week. It comes on the heels of a Kevin Garnett commercial for NBA TV that inspires me everyday.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDQPYif3x2I]

There is no amount of times I will watch this commercial and not sob. Whoever put this together deserves an honor higher than whatever crap Danny Boyle movie won Best Picture.

lash

“Daniel” - Bat for Lashes (mp3)

“Moon and Moon” - Bat for Lashes (mp3)

“Peace of Mind” - Bat for Lashes (mp3)

Scott Walker and Yeasayer pitch in but this is a more confident album than anything she's ever done, and it's more fun, too.

dumpppp

You guys haven't been watching The Bachelor? Last week the talky-friend type got dumped, and in this case we were able to enjoy it all the more because the woman dumped, Jillian, is (a) Canadian and (b) an interior designer. She never stopped talking, and when the most annoying bachelor since Charlie O'Connell showed his vagina in front of a live studio audience on The Bachelor Tells All is telling you to hit the road...you've hit rock bottom. When it came time for the tearful limousine ride, Jillian openly wondered in her distinctive accent whether or not she was too independent for this d-bag, while the viewing audience wondered why exactly she was pronouncing aboot like that. Also, when you are a small man, and this d-bag is a  small man, do not let yourself be photographed in New Zealand unless in fact you are a member of Flight of the Conchords.

John MacLean's new album is happy sounding dance music, sounding like it's from every other decade than the one it's in. Where LCD Soundsystem is on some level desperate and cynical sounding, MacLean brings Puritan New England to the dance floor and ends up making something both familiar and new, as on the utterly addictive single, "The Simple Life." Like in James Murphy songs, vocals appear and disappear. This would probably be a James Murphy album if it wasn't for all the optimism. The Puritans made this world so they can try to save it, too. "Now you're gone," croons Nancy Whang, and you come back again.

"Accusations" - The Juan MacLean (mp3)

"Happy House" - The Juan MacLean (mp3)

"The Future Will Come" - The Juan MacLean (mp3)

couer

"Printemps" - Coeur de Pirate (mp3)

"Berceuse" - Coeur de Pirate (mp3)

"Francis" - Coeur de Pirate (mp3)

The hot version of Madeleine Peyroux is 18 year old singer-songwriter Beatrice Martin. It will surely not be long before she's winehousing herself all over the place, and probably ending Johnny Depp's marriage and ruining the emotional lives of his children.

2275_526

"Head Rolls Off" - Frightened Rabbit (mp3)

"Keep Yourself Warm" - Frightened Rabbit (mp3)

"Who'd You Kill Now?" - Frightened Rabbit (mp3)

This is a live recording of the 13th best album of last year. Frightened Rabbit has the best covers in the business, and unlike most of these bands they are an excellent live act. Excessive production is just flat out unnecessary.

little

You can bet the record would never have been mixed like this before Justin Vernon was born into the world. This is pop and dance music masquerading as goth-folk. On her blog she talks about being strong and resisting covering Joni Mitchell but she has the voice for it. Crooning "life seems so empty" on "Heart Paper Lover" is half-laughable. "Ghosts and Lovers" deserves an upbeat dance remix, but it's pretty good on its own. There is nothing more enjoyable than a depressing album, but I don't know that she sounds all that sad. Pop music is for everyone to enjoy. With that said this is probably the most enjoyable release of the year so far.

"Brittle, Crushed, And Torn" - Marissa Nadler (mp3)

"Little Hells" - Marissa Nadler (mp3)

"Ghosts and Lovers" - Marissa Nadler (mp3)

sb3magazine-illustrationmyspacehead

"Ring Ring" - Sleigh Bells (mp3)

"Infinity Guitars" - Sleigh Bells (mp3)

DJs and tattooed female vocalists are the third best invention of the past 20 years, topped only by the George Foreman grill and erotic Twilight fan fiction. Brooklyn-based duo Sleigh Bells everyone. "Ring Ring" is my mother's favorite song of the year.

"The King Must Die" - Elton John (mp3)

"Sixty Years On" - Elton John (mp3)

"Your Song" - Elton John (mp3)

This talented young singer-songwriter has exploded on the scene with his debut self-titled album. Sers though, the idea that EJ once played backing vocals blows my mind. I just want to do it all over again with Elton. That's my real problem with him being gay and in committed relationship. If he was straight he'd have divorced several times by now and he would need to keep recording better albums to pay off his exes. The world would have been better served if Elton had just rehabbed that sexual preference. God damn it.

venusss

"Yoko Ono" - Ben Lee (mp3)

"Bad Poetry" - Ben Lee (mp3)

I don't know what shocks me more, that Ben Lee is now married to Ione Skye or that he's recorded four albums since I last seriously listened to him.  Lee is more well known in his native Australia, but he was known to me in 1998 for writing hot love songs for Claire Danes and appearing suspiciously like what I imagine a weevil looks like. Lee's always been a good pop songwriter - "Cigarettes Will Kill You" and "Nothing Much Happens" are both minor classics - and The Rebirth of Venus is either terrible or brilliant, and sometimes both. "Rise Up" is the perfect Lee song and that does wonders for the album. Plus the b-sides includes Lee covering a song "Ben Lee" by the Ataris about how much he sucks. The Ataris compare him (unfavorably) to Bob Dylan, but he's more like a poor man's Billy Joel. That's no slam, and this album is definitely better than anything Baz Luhrmann has ever done.

I'm a little offended you haven't already bought CapGun. It's inappropriate, frankly. Do you know how hard it is to get Dick Cheney to write for my website? I had to make Lambert eat ramen noodles for over a month. Things are tight, even for blogs. I need your help to keep This Recording going, or else I'm going to curl up in a little ball and probably take Danish down with me. Please buy our third issue, it has already appreciated $7.4 percent. And you haven't even bought it yet. At these prices, who can say no?

CapGun features the finest poetry in the land, prose from the most inventive new writers around, plus Will hand-letterpressed the covers. Well I guess more properly he managed a small, illicit sweatshop that hand-letterpressed the covers, but either way, it's a significant outlay, and I'd like to thank Will for doing that. Please buy the third issue.

fist

"Heartbreaker" - MSTRKRFT ft. John Legend (mp3)

"Vuvuvu" - MSTRKRFT (mp3)

"Fist of God" - MSTRKRFT (mp3)

Pronounced Masterkraft, there are a lot of great dance songs here. It's not a Justice album, but then what is except Cross? John Legend and Lil Mo stay ubiquitous, and other rappers make appearances. Young people and Danish will no doubt enjoy this music, and if I took ecstasy, I'm sure I would too. Unfortunately I am drifting towards the stage in my life where I can barely stay patient for the endings of movies (I just go to wikipedia and read what happens) let alone the ends of six minute long house music tracks. "1000 Cigarettes" is a hot track though.

trail

I e-mailed Danish because I don't understand this band, but I do like their cover done in blue Bic.

Basically what everyone's been saying (and I agree) is that it's no Source Tags and Codes but it's a lot better than their last two albums (possibly due to the fact that they're no longer on Interscope). It walks a fine line between dramatic and melodramatic, not really sure what the single is/would be.

"Halcyon Days"  - ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead (mp3)

"Fields of Coal"  - ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead (mp3)

"Luna Park" - ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead (mp3)

"We Build Then We Break" - The Fray (mp3)

"Ungodly Hour" - The Fray (mp3)

I didn't really understand how a person as attractive as Patrick Dempsey could be depressed, and then this four-piece outfit from Denver explained how to save my life. Would that Grey's Anatomy were just a compilation of Ellen Pompeo taking her bra off to different songs by this talented pop band. They have truly filled the role Coldplay was born to play of recording the same song to a slightly different tempo so people can be soothed in the waiting rooms of doctor's offices. This is an underrated skill -- like women who are easily fulfilled sexually, The Fray are the great unappreciated champions of this depressing time in American life.

"Heartswarm" - Swan Lake (mp3)

"Spanish Gold, 2044" - Swan Lake (mp3)

Sometimes the very thing you're looking for is the one thing you can't see. Sometimes the snow comes down in June, sometimes the sun goes 'round the moon. Just when I thought our chance had passed, you go and save the best for last.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He lives in Manhattan, and he tumbls here.

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

The best of William Faulkner.

A little less conversation.

Ambiguity is so attractive to the young.

pirate