Wednesday, December 19

Mr Dogg's Top 25 of 07: 15-11

15) Illinois – What the Hell do I Know? (EP)
Seeing as the band is from Bucks county P.A., some folks might consider me a homer for putting Illinois in the top 25. They would be right, too, if not for the near perfect blend of ’60 pop and backdoor, dirty-country porch bluegrass on What the Hell do I Know?. Old gems like the funky hip-hop of “Nosebleed” and the homemade pop harmonies of “Screendoor” are nice, backed by the banjo twang and deep percussion that is the band’s trademark. Still, it’s new, more glossy pop songs like “Headphones” that stand out on this recording, pushing the band past their trademark sound to keep them fresh. If Illinois can keep walking this line without falling on either side, they’re going to be an exciting band to watch in the coming years.

14) Japanther – Skuffed up my Huffy
Japanther, a drum and base duo that play fast punk tunes, sing through telephones, and use extensive sampling and Casio noises to pepper their lo-fi pun attack, are currently the toast of Brooklyn, NY. Listening to the rough-around-the-edges good vibes on Skuffed up my Huffy, it isn’t hard to see why. The lo-fi feel goods are all over this record; tracks like “River Phoenix” and “Challenge” pulse with a youthful energy all to absent from most traditional punk setups, while the dense audio mud of “One Hundred Dollar Cover” and “Funeral” are more than worth slugging through. Sure, it’s art-house rock, but Skuffed up my Huffy is the silliest and most relaxed art-house rock has ever been, and a must have for anyone with even a slight interest in lo-fi music or punk rock.

13) Tegan and Sara – The Con
The Con is not so much an album as it is a 14-part character sketch of romance, loss, love, youth, and the faded promises of love. At times heartbreaking, at times inspiring, Tegan and Sara have managed to take heartbreak, a theme that is crushingly personal and universal at the same time, and bottle it into an explainable feeling with an accuracy that’s almost scary. Those willing to open old wounds and look at what can be learned would do well to check out “The Con,” “Knife Going In,” and “Like O Like H.” But if all this reflection and depth ain’t your scene, The Con makes for a great background listen, you cowards.

12) Menomena – Friend or Foe
From the opening vocals of “Muscle’n Flo,” it’s obvious that Menomena’s Friend or Foe is a team effort. Some parts outshine others, but only for an instant. Like a long running game of Jegna, remove one piece and the whole damn tower falls apart.

Friend or Foe is full of the kind of sharp arrangements and musical depth that usually comes from looping songs over and over again. The great thing is that there are no loops; its humans making music with other humans. Robots zero, humans one. Still, the thing that’s most impressive about Friend or Foe is how new everything sounds while still seeming familiar. Even when something feels miles away from everything you’ve ever heard, it still brings you back to safe place. Menomena won’t change your life, but they might make it a little better.

11) Do Make Say Think – You, You’re a History in Rust (Winner of the "Best Album Title of the Year" award)
A drum kicks in; fast, tight, but with no sense of urgency. There is no panic here, only skill. Come what may, it can be handled and it will be taken care of. Later on, voices arch high; not orchestral, more like friend around a bonfire struggling to hit a high note, but struggling together. No worries about sounds ok, we will make this sound together, in safety. Later on, sound flies at a breakneck pace, horns rising with the tide as drums drive the opening of a flower, the birth of a life, the sparks of a universe. Elsewhere, at the edge of a dark wood, stings and soft voices beckon you to come, not in fear but in hope.

So go the songs on You, You’re a History in Rust, Do Make Say Think’s tightest, and yet most cathartic album to date. While staying in their jazz roots, DMST have allowed their songs some time to grow, finding the quiet beauty in echoes and the controlled chaos in crescendo. Possessing moments of pure madness and beauty, it’s a mammoth of an album that takes the listener over miles from where they began. While not as emotional as Explosions in the Sky or as prophetic as Godspeed! You Black Emperor, You, You’re a History in Rust thrives in the quiet moments between scenes; as much as in what is implied as what is said.

Check tomorrow for 10-6!

No comments: