The Apples in Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder, 2007
After writing them off after their less than inspired last album, Robert Schneider and Co. are back doing what they do best. Sunny pop for sad people.
Calla - Strength in Numbers, 2007
You've heard one Calla album you've heard them all. But I do like that one album so I'll keep listening.
Califone - Roots and Crowns, 2006
A nice lazy summer afternoon listen. Nothing to freak out about but I have no complaints. It's almost like listening to Gastr Del Sol's melodic stuff with a touch of a mellow Animal Collecive.
Chavez - Better Days Will Haunt You, 2006
For some reason, I never really got into this band back in the mid 90's when indie kids all over this great nation of ours were creaming themselves about them. So this two CD comp of everything they ever put out is a pretty interesting listen - a step back to the yesteryear of the indie rock of my youth. I enjoy these CDs quite a bit but they never really stick with me in the way that favorites of mine from that era do. Maybe that was why I was never into them in the first place? This band definitely has Jamie written all over them and I remember that he was quite the big fan of them. Listening to this makes me want to hop in the car and head to Go Records. I definitely like Disc 1 more than Disc 2.
Matmos - The Rose Has Teeth In the Mouth of a Beast, 2006
Everything these guys do fascinate me. Whether they are reworking Civil War era songs, making music out of plastic surgery sounds, or manipulating a banjo, I pretty much like everything they do. Their latest presents ten tributes to people they dig. From King Ludwig II of Bavaria to Darby Crash, they're all here.
Listen to Banquet For King Ludwig II Of Bavaria.
Low - Drums and Guns, 2007
With a title seemingly stolen from the Liars, Low comes roaring back for '07. Not that this band is super loud or anything but they positively sound like Mogwai now compared to their early stuff. Hey there are some drum machines on this one! The last few Low albums aren't quite Dylan going electric but I wonder if there are some really pissed off slowcore fans out there moping around their towns.
The Hidden Cameras - Awoo, 2006
Everyone's favorite band that gets you singing along to their soaring melodies and you don't even realize that you are singing about explicit gay sex. Much better than their last record. The soaring harmonies are here but there isn't nearly as much gay sex in the lyrics for whatever that's worth. A good solid record. Oh wait, I take back what I said earlier. I just looked at the track listing and noticed the song called Hump For Bending.
Listen to Hump for Bending.
Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer?, 2007
If you had told me ten years ago that this band would still be putting out good records in 2007, I would have responded, "Yeah and Tullycraft will be the biggest band in America." I still can't believe Of Montreal is still going and getting better to boot. I really like this album. It is super catchy and super crazy as well. Check out the Conan performance to see what I'm talking about.
The Minus 5 - The Minus 5, 2006
This is a band that I'm so glad that my honey brings me home some of their CDs. I don't think I would go out of my way to buy any of them but every single one is very enjoyable. Completely disposable though. I always listen to them a lot for a month and then never think about them again. "I had six White Russians tonight/And two of them were people" is such an amazing line, ain't it? Like every Minus 5 record, there are guest stars featuring the newest and latest. This time around - Colin Meloy joins up with Pete Buck, Jeff Tweedy, and other assorted all-stars. It was nice to see even John Wesley Harding joined the fun on this one.
The Shins - Wincing the Night Away, 2007
Why do so many people not like this album? I like it a lot. Maybe it is because I never thought the Shins were the best band of the decade or anything like a lot of people do. They are a nice little band with a nice way with melody. This album is nice. Nice and good. That being said, this isn't necessarily as strong as their first two records but it is good nonetheless.
The Black Lips - Let It Bloom, 2005
I love In the Red Records. So many loud bands. So much garage to be had. The first time I listened to this, I assumed it was some remastered obscure band from the 60's. Fuzzed out and fun.
Listen to Dirty Hands.
Tom Petty - Highway Companion, 2006
Chris Larry put this on in his car and said, "Stone Groove will splooge all over this song. It has got Stone Groove written all over it." And he was right. It does have Stone Groove written all over it. When I asked Chris why he likes this album even though he states all the time that he hates music, he said, "That is why I love this record. I don't have to think about it. It isn't about really liking it. It is about the nostalgia of it all. It is so easy. I know what to expect from Tom Petty."
So I borrowed it from Chris and brought it to Maryland for my dad to listen to. He burned about half of it after skimming through it. I asked him why he didn't want to listen to it more before deciding what to burn. He responded, "Eh, I know Tom Petty. His fast songs I like but he always has so many boring slow songs." That Stone Groove. Too slow is too boring. But too fast or too loud is too much for the old man. He's like Goldilocks - he only likes things just right. Not too hot, not too cold. Not too loud, not too quiet. Oh Stone Groove.
Listen to the song that Stone Groove loves.
The Decemberists - The Crane Wife, 2006
With an album that includes a 12 minute song and an 11 minute song, I can't quite believe that this is the least pretentious of the Decemberists' releases. Catchy and not nearly as cloying as their previous records. Don't get me wrong - I like this band but they also kind of annoy me. Other than one really bad song ("When the War Came") and another mediocre one, the rest of this album is really damn good. The first of my "Should have been on Listmaker III" laments.
The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America, 2006
SHR has been quite ambivalent about this band for awhile. I hadn't really listened to them before this album. And I can't really say that I gave this album much of a chance but I didn't particularly care for it after two listens. It really sounds like a drunk dude making up lyrics to Springsteen karaoke. I guess I see the appeal in that but I was kind of cringing upon listening to it. Hold Steady fans out there, what am I missing here? Educate me.
Oasis - Stop the Clocks, 2006
I ignored this band when they were first out. Then Slice made me love them because of his karaoke stylings. SHR brought this supposed best of home. It includes the most obnoxious liner notes I've ever read. They basically state that Oasis is best, more important band ever. I suppose that makes sense that they would say that considering they've said that from the beginning. Of the 18 songs (two discs, lame), I dig about 4 of these. This band really isn't very good, are they?
Red Sticker Collection
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Barafundle, 1997
This is one of those bands that I like everytime that I hear them and then can't remember any of the songs five minutes later. Very pleasant. What world did we live in when a band like this was on a major label?
Silver Jews - Bright Fight, 2001
Dave Berman rubs some people the wrong way. There were a good many years where I didn't care for him at all. But then I delved into the Red Sticker Collection and changed my mind. This album has probably my favorite Silver Jews song, Tennessee, a song that I first heard when SHR put it on a mix for me during our courting days.
Listen to Tennessee.
The Minus 5 - The Lonesome Death of Buck McCoy, 1997
Like all the Minus 5 records, this sounds like a fun one-off record that has somehow turned into a career. The song with the Robert Pollard backing vocals is the highlight of this one.
The Plastic People of the Universe - Vozralej jak sliva, 1973?
The story of this Czech band is an amazing one. They were constantly harassed by the Communist gov't and spent a bit of time in jail because of their music. This live album is apparently hard to find but I found it waiting for me, still in the shrink wrap, in the vaunted Red Sticker Collection. The energy and craziness of knowing that they could be arrested at any time lends to an amazing vitality to this show. This isn't something I'd like to listen to all that often but as a historical document I'm glad that I have it. This band's music is absolutely nuts.
Listen to Ruze a mrtvi.
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