It’s All Too Much
My favorite varies from day-to-day… but right now it’s pretty much between:
Josh Ritter – The Beast In Its Tracks
The National – Trouble Will Find Me
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
I also really love the new records from Frightened Rabbit (I haven’t seen much love for that one so far – it’s so good you guys!), Rilo Kiley (I’m really loving Rkives A LOT), Mikal Cronin and Low. Oh and Daft Punk is kind of melting my brain.
Tame Impala’s technical mishap reminds me of Sasquatch 2008, when The National were scheduled to play the main stage, but their van broke down en route. Since they were the single biggest reason I’d made the 10 hour drive, I was pretty heartbroken.
Fleet Foxes (who had played the very first set of the day) got to play a second set in the National’s place (and killed it btw), and when The National finally rolled in they were set up on the much-too-small Yeti stage (just like TI). They backed their van right up behind the stage and unloaded right there while Modest Mouse were playing the main stage.
Just like you described for Tame Impala, a huge crowd crushed up against that tiny stage and Matt Berninger & co. were visibly appreciative of the show of support. They played an incredibly moving set, and we were even able to get them out for an encore performance of “About Today” (pretty amazing for a festival set). That still is to this day one of my favorite ever concert experiences.
So yeah, sometimes delays and screw-ups can totally work in your favor.
It’s kind of a testament to the National that even though my list is significantly different, I can still get behind just about every song on this list. It’s just apparent that the writer REALLY likes HIgh Violet. Which is a really great record.
Here’s my list I put together in about 2 minutes before I read Stereogum’s:
10. Wake Up Your Saints
8. Murder Me Rachael
7. So Far Around The Bend
6. All The Wine
5. Bloodbuzz Ohio
4. Slow Show
3. Secret Meeting
2. Mr. November
1. Fake Empire
(All The Wine should make every National list ever for this line alone:
“I’m put together beautifully
Big wet bottle in my fist, big wet rose in my teeth
I’m perfect piece of ass”
The way The National layer and layer and layer again when recording, it’s no wonder that their guests’ contributions start to sound sort of impressionistic at most… it’s all just part of the primordial goo that eventually becomes the recorded song.
That said, their two previous forays with Annie Clark and Sharon Van Etten (the Crooked Fingers cover “Sleep All Summer” and the gorgeous High Violet b-side “Think You Can Wait”, respectively) are both pretty straight-forward collaborations of the most traditional order. And they’re both pretty brilliant. So I’m excited to hear what else they’ve done with these two.
I really enjoyed this write-up. While I think you’d be pushing it to connect the direct-influence dots between PM Dawn and today’s hip-hop, it’s pretty awesome to hear how much of their sound has bled into and diffused through the genre over 20 years.
Does anyone know if “Turn Around”/”Tattered Line” are totally new recordings? Or Give Up-era hold-overs that never got released? They sound more like contemporary DCFC to me, but I haven’t been able to find anything to verify my hunch.
I’m only wondering because I love Give Up so much, but I really don’t love these. Either way, they kind of solidify Give Ups “lightning-in-a-bottle”-ness for me.
Woop, premature publish… this is what I meant to say:
I don’t know, I think most of the hate stemmed from the fact that it just wasn’t as brutally gut-punching as midnight organ fight was… which isn’t really fair, because a record like that doesn’t come along very often. But I loved WOMD, and I think its a solid record on the backs of songs like “The Wrestle”, “The Loneliness and the Scream”, and “Not Miserable” alone.
I think Pedestrian Verse is actually pretty similar, both sonically and lyrically, to WOMD, but its not meeting as much vitriol because its not being perceived as a huge let down after an undisputed classic.
I don’t know, I think most of the hate stemmed from the fact that it just wasn’t as brutally gut-punching as midnight organ fight was… which isn’t really fair, because a record like that doesn’t come
I know this is a day late, but I’ve got to respectfully disagree. While I’m sure what you’ve described is true in your own experience (and frankly, in mine too, at least among my circle of friends) – it gives a false impression of what “most drug experiences” are like. Specifically, what you describe is a relatively apt description of middle/upper-middle class recreational drug users, which I’d suspect covers most of the people who frequent Stereogum.
However, at least in the US, the vast majority of illegal drug users (whether its hallucinogens, meth, prescription pills, whatever) do not necessarily come from this demographic – rather, we see most drug users (and therefor, most drug abusers) coming from the lower socioeconomic classes (the lower-middle-class to the outright poor). What you’ve described is someone who had a good experience on a mind-altering substance, but then has the adequate socioeconomic capital to appropriately weigh what the costs/benefits of continued drug use would be to their life. When someone doesn’t have all the social/educational/intellectual/economic capital to do that, then whatever feels good right now tends to win out, regardless of the cost/benefits you described.
I’m not discounting your experience, or even that it may apply to a good swath of people. But I’ve worked in addiction recovery programs for years, and the truth is that there are millions of people who suffer from drug addiction silently… and the reason you don’t hear about it is NOT because they’re having such a good time. It’s because they are poor (read: invisible).
[ALSO: m b v is really great!]
We always talk about the inherent contradiction in listing art from best to worst – I mean it can’t actually be done, right? ESPECIALLY not for someone like John Darnielle – his catalog is too varied and too universally excellent to make any meaningful comparisons (for example, you can’t actually say “Tallahassee” is a better record than “Sweden”, or that “The Sunset Tree” is more fully realized than “All Hail West Texas” – they each set out to accomplish different things in very different contexts – and all succeed).
That aside, I was so excited to see WSABH as #1 – that will always be my very favorite of all Goats records. That thing does crazy things to my emotions. CRAZY THINGS.
Also! I was so happy to see Transcendental Youth so very high – I’ve been loving that record so much. I don’t know if I’d personally put it above “The Sunset Tree”… but songs like “White Cedar” and “In Memory of Satan” certainly make a solid case for where you’ve put it.
I adore Sharon van Etten’s Tramp… but Japandroids won me over when they opened their album with a song containing a whole verse composed entirely of the word WHOA. Then the rest of the record was incredible.
Sooo… Japandroids – Celebration Rock for record of the year.
I’ve actually really enjoyed reading all these lists over the past several months. I particularly like how they’re presented as a single listener’s take on the artist’s output, rather than a voted-on staffroom consensus. Those are fine and all, but I love how these lists allow a writer to say “this is their best record and this is why I think so”. I haven’t agreed with all of them, but I never get the feeling these lists are trying to be disingenuous. It’s just that writer’s take on it.
For example, Tom defends Vol. 3′s merits as a record, but he also adds in the sentimental detail that it coincided with his own first move to NYC. While I obviously don’t share that experience, I can’t discount it; instead I can allow it to present a different opinion than my own, as well as an opportunity to re-assess a record that I’d frankly written off a long time ago.
And to be honest, isn’t that why we read these things anyway? Or is it just to reinforce our previously-subscribed-to opinions of recent musical history? To pat ourselves on the back and say “I already believed that _____ was _____’s best record and now I see that others believe it too, and therefore no more exploration is necessary”? That doesn’t sound fun to me.
“It’s a dwarf planet. That doesn’t mean it’s not a planet. It’s just smaller.”
That’s not all!
Sufjan, Nico and Bryce actually debuted an entire set of new material for us on Friday: a song cycle they called “The Planetarium”, all loosely inspired by celestial objects. Videos for Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury have all made it to the internet in addition to Venus, and they’re all magnificent (especially Mercury… that one had me in tears: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-uske4mobA).
They’ll be performing the set for several European cities in the next month or so, but that’s all they said about it. I have no idea if they’re planning to record it or what, but it was some pretty beautiful stuff for sure.
So yeah. Y’all should’ve come to Cincinnati last weekend. :)
I think it’s hard to argue against Pet Sounds, and that’s probably my favorite record. But I’ve still got a soft spot for all the early 60′s cheesy Beach Boys stuff… like seriously, how great is Little Deuce Coup?? Summer Days (And Summer Nights) is a pretty good mix of that and Brian Wilson’s later, artsier stuff… plus it’s got Help Me, Rhonda (my all time favorite BB song), Girl Don’t Tell Me, and California Girls. So good guys.
Demolition. As a record it’s kind of strange, but it has so many of my all-time favorite Ryan songs (Hallelujah, Cry On Demand, Starting to Hurt, She Wants to Play Hearts, Tennessee Sucks). So great you guys.
I go through phases… every year or so I get the itch and only the Beatles can scratch it. And every time that happens a new favorite seems to rise to the top. Several months ago (the last time I was on my Beatles-binge), Let It Be really got me like it never had before. That was fun, especially because I’m usually apt to brush that one off (we do have Let It Be…Naked after all). But if I’d have to pin down my definitive all-time favorite? White Album. Every time.
So the question is… why did they cancel all their upcoming tour dates?? Hopefully this is a sign that they’ll be rescheduling them soon…