|The Tampa Film Review for January áby Nolan B. Canova|
The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region: Part 5 áby William Moriaty
"Cloverfield" áby Mike Smith
|THE AUDIO PHILES|
Top 20 Albums of 2007 #10-1 áby Terence Nuzum
Bud Lee: His Trapped Memories Can Still Escape Through Photos áby Paul Guzzo
Goodbye, Vampira áby Andy Lalino
R.I.P. Maila ôVampiraö Nurmi 1921-2008 áby Lisa Ciurro
The Yellow Submarine Chronicles Part One: In the Town where I was Born... áby ED Tucker
It's Oscar Time! .... So Mj's Available? .... Belated Congratulations .... .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1983 Should Have Gone To... áby Mike Smith
|Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review|
Top 20 Albums of 2007 #10-1
Band Of Horses: Cease To Begin- Toning down their fuzzy guitar drenched debut they opt instead to focus more on their country ballad and prairie laments. While there is no "Great Salt Lake" they rework their old shoegazing sound to incorporate even more melody and that down home feel. If "Marry Song" doesn't make you a true believer of their new sound then you might not have ears.
Panda Bear: Person Pitch-On the opening track "Comfy In Nautica" you can almost see the Wilson Brothers and their wily jerk of a friend Mike Love singing this song. So much its scary. So I came up with a conspiracy theory. Somewhere in an alternate universe Brian Wilson's Smile album was released on time and become a milestone. At that point he then made a follow up. Somehow Panda Bear's mind broke the parallel barrier and transmitted the album into thought patterns. The album was then thought up by Panda Bear and released in this universe as Person Pitch. Wilson/Spector harmonies abound and awash with experimental noises and samples. The best fun you've had all year.
Okkervil River: The Stage Names- While they showed signs of rage on a couple of tracks on "Black Sheep Boy" they didn't quite break out the rock until now. Sounding like they have discovered a newfound freedom like Dylan plugging in for the first time they thoroughly kick ass on the heart wrenching "Our Life Is Not A Movie or Maybe", playing pub rock like they have been doing it for years "Unless It's Kicks" and colmulnating in the Beach Boys idol worship of "John Allyn Smith Sails" in which they end the song by switching gears into "Sloop John B". Its not just a cover, its acknowledging a song they love plus thematically letting the narrator perhaps sing his favorite song. You could almost say that's never been done before. There is a reason why Lou Reed says they are the most important band happening right now ya know.
Battles: Mirrored- Battles is not just a band its a concept. Get 4 guys in a room and let them pound the fuck out of their instruments till a song arrives. It's almost like jazz musicians jamming. Yet underneath all the drums and throbbing bass and keyboards there is a underlying humour to it all. With voices and tunes that recall early Nintendo games Battles aren't trying to be ELP. The ultimate album for all of us who really really wished that there was a cd of the Mega Man 2 game soundtrack.
LCD Soundsystem: Sound Of Silver- We all know how much a contribution James Murphy has made to the world by creating DFA records and helping dance punk thrive and which in turn helped finally kill off techno and disco but never would anyone believe he could make an album this good or this honest and frankly this human. There are the usual dance punk numbers but this time there is something different going on. He's not inviting Daft Punk to play at his house or bragging about what obscure LP's he owns, no, he's now dealing with emotions and human conditions all the while still using grooves and beats that can bring down the house. "Someone Great" may be simple lyrically but it also might just be the best breakup song of the year.
Deerhunter: Cryptograms- Amidst their weird blog postings about their excrement, posts that came way too close to child pornography, and of course the frontman's skeletal body (a condition caused by Marfan Syndrome) people forgot that this band was more than indie rock tabloid fodder and that they in fact make amazing music. The best thing about Cryptograms is the genre hopping. One minute they are shoegaze, one minute they are pop, the next no wave noise rock. An album that recaptures the spirit of the '80s underground, the shoegaze movement and lo-fi indie pop all at once. It almost makes you feel like we are living in exciting times once again.
Caribou: Andorra- Caribou are channeling a different muse this time around. They drop their ambient tendencies and rock like it's summer 1967. "Melody Day" acts like it's a Pet Sounds out take and "Sandy" begs to be on The Magical Mystery Tour like the little track that could. Caribou act like it's cool to play sitars, and sing like the Beach Boys and The Beatles are still timely. Andorra proves they are right on all counts.
The Good, The Bad, & The Queen- Sporting a impressive line-up with Damon Albarn of Blur on vocals, Simon Tong of The Verve on Guitar, Paul Simonon of The Clash on bass, and Tony Allen drummer for Afro-beat legend Fela Kuti on drums one would imagine a monstrous thunder of a supergroup. You'd be on the wrong track, G,B, & The Queen (actually the band is nameless but most fans use the album title to refer to them) instead opt for the quieter more melancholy approach. Influenced by dub and trip-hop the songs are some of the best Albarn has written since the last Blur album easily outdoing his lazy outings with Gorilliza. "80's Life" is a vaudevillian mope tune which then leads into "Northern Whale" a track that sounds like Morrisey mixing it up with Broadcast. Next is the hit single "Kingdom of Doom" which actually if it wasn't so down beat would sound like the best Blur ballad never released. Which leads one to believe that alot of what's on here, while a natural merging of the hip hop of Gorillaz, and the dub influenced last Blur album Think Tank, probably would have been the next Blur album if such a thing was going to happen anytime soon. This really is all Albarn's show for the most part. Which isn't a bad thing. And while most of the album he's in subdued mode every once in a while that middle class Brit punk sneer comes out to remind us that he's still got a little of Blur still in him. The precise and tight playing of the band makes for great headphone rock that emits a warmth and smoothness that hasn't been heard since Jazz's heyday. It's the In The Wee Small Hours for the mope rock crowd. But it isn't all just frowns and roses as evident on the runaway bass of "Three Changes" and the kraut rock groove of the title track. Its obvious that this is Albarn's masterpiece which with the right musicians he has finally achieved what he tried earlier on Think Tank with Blur.
Burial: Untrue- If any one thing can be said about Trip-Hop it is that it's a self contained movement. While it definitely has influenced some underground rap groups its dark synths and drum and bass break beats have never truly touched the mainstream. Yeah there is Bjork but Bjork is another story altogether. Trip-hop also never quite really evolved which is why it faded from view. Burial has resurrected it. Influenced by dubstep as much as Massive Attack, the album Untrue is a revelation. Finally the next step. Burial has removed the rapping and torch singing almost entirely leaving us with a wasteland of sonic emptiness. Though it has vocals this is basically a instrumental album as the most you get is a piece of a harmony hear or there. Imagine Massive Attack's Blue Lines blown up by a nuke and you are hearing the last sound of a world. Burial's Untrue does what most truly great albums do but yet we haven't experienced since Kid A and that's that it creates its own world and transport the listener there. Perhaps the greatest thing about the album though is that under all its darkness and apocalypse each track manages to also give the feeling that maybe a little hope is on its way. That a ray of sunshine might just be peaking through the smog clouds. In the times we are in it's this reassurance that Untrue reminds us of. A lesson we should all remember.
Radiohead: In Rainbows- I didn't want to pick In Rainbows as number one. I swear I didn't. It seemed too obvious and too contrived. But I had no choice it was inescapable. Why? Simple. It's the album I listened to all year by one of my favorite bands. For some though that isn't quiet good enough. And frankly it wasn't good enough for me. So in the end it came down to 11 reasons really and here they are:
Radiohead: In Rainbows
1. 15 Step-- The opening track that starts it all. Handclaps looped into a groove and backed by a sinewy guitar line with Thom Yorke howling about someone reeling him out and then cutting the string.
2. Bodysnatchers-- This song is the beginning of the revelation of what makes this album so damn great and that is that Radiohead while still employing electronics sound like a human band again. Yorke's nasally punk snarl reaches new heights while Greenwood's guitar screeches like a out of control truck on a suicide mission headed straight for Thurston Moore's mojo.
3.Nude-- Nude is purportedly a older track dating from the Ok Computer tour in 97. That actually makes sense and coincides with the full band approach of In Rainbows. A somber piano driven affair with Yorke proclaiming "you'll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking".
4. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi-- A drum and bass number with a soothing vocal and guitar jangle.
5. All I Need-- Perhaps Radiohead's greatest ballad in my opinion. Trance like drum beats and Aphex Twin-like synth throbs all perfectly accentuate Yorke's tale of a doomed romance.
6. Faust ARP-- A short but charming acoustic interlude with crackling guitar strings that have a somewhat unsettling tuning. Not unlike the unusual tunings of Nick Drake on Pink Moon.
7. Reckoner-- Reckoner is an interesting beast. The guitar and drum interaction is almost like a skiffle number yet upon closer listen it becomes clear what Radiohead have been doing the entire album. Making electronic music with actual instruments and a band.
8. House of Cards-- This trance like number bolsters Radiohead's more chilled out mood and with a seemingly looped guitar line is the only track that sounds like the Kid A and Amnesiac electronica era of the band.
9. Jigsaw Falling Into Place-- Proves that there can be such thing as an acoustic rock song that can sound heavy.
10. Videotape-- Pounding piano keys and droning vocals end the album with classic Radiohead paranoia with lyrics about how all our skeletons in our closet can not in this day and age be hidden anymore.
and the eleventh reason is simple....
11. No other band this year pushed the envelope by releasing an album for free and no other band this year had people missing sleep simply to download their new release. How many albums this year can you really say did all these marketing firsts and after all was said and done turned out to be quite simply a damn great album. Just one, the album of the year...In Rainbows.
"The Audio Philes" is ©2008 by Terence Nuzum. All graphics (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.