Originally Posted by DLeeWebb
(1) "All My Friends Are Funeral Singers" - Califone
There ya go. Nice list. My top 5 came out a little different, probably because I didn't hear that much new stuff, stayed mostly with the artists I've known, so kind of predictable if you know me very well .. but not too much different from yours ...Circulatory System - Signal Morning
If you have any history with Olivia Tremor Control and some of the other psychedelic Elephant 6 bands, you know what I mean when I say that this has a much denser production than most records, though some great songs at heart. It usually takes a few listens before the songs get a chance to work their magic. There's a lot going on, and there's often a dark undercurrent, but the music is so colorful, it never stays in one place for very long before morphing into something else, usually unexpected, even after many listens. I've been a big fan for many years, so this one just fits me, and it is the one I've listened to most this year. Some very magical moments, and this is the one that puts the images in my head the best. Some pretty cool effects come out when listening in the car, almost like multi-channel surround sound. Note that the actual CD sounds quite a bit better than the earlier leak.Califone - All My Friends Are Funeral Singers
Califone has always been unique and special to me, adventurous and fun, filled with a passion for the music, the words, the sounds. Seems like this is one of their best yet, easily one of their most diverse records so far. It's got some great inventive pop music, some of that fractured old timeless folk music, some of the Tom Waits-like junkyard percussion driven aural sound collages, the usual visit to the Stone's Main Street for a song or two, which I think they pull off well, especially on the fantastic "Buñuel". If you get a chance, give that one a listen, a real guitar rockin' dirty country blues thing about the influential Spanish filmmaker.
All in all, this record really ties together all of their past explorations, both the Red Red Meat records like Bunny Gets Paid
, and the Califone records like Roomsound
, into one very cohesive, interesting, and most importantly, enjoyable package. As usual, Brian Deck does a great job on the recording. Some of it explores a more atmospheric sound than they've done before, after all it is supposedly a soundtrack, but Deck provides a nice atmospheric shimmer throughout most of the songs, even when it goes almost unnoticed. Cool cover artwork too. After living this one for a couple months, think I may still like Roots and Crowns
better, along with the classic Roomsound
that is one of my favorites of the decade, but this is still very good, just not as transcendent as those favorites. Maybe too diverse sounding, or maybe it just doesn't take enough risks? A couple of the songs maybe aren't that memorable, but kinda cool that they have chosen to open their last two records with a couple of the least accessible tunes in "Giving Away the Bride" and "Pink & Sour". Actually, who am I kidding, I do really love this record, cover to cover.Engineers - Three Fact Fader
Really nice, if you like that early 90s shimmering shoegaze, with a storm of guitars always swirling in the background, they are probably the best at it nowadays. Don't know if he's a fan or just on the same label, but there's a pretty cool remix around of the second song, "Sometimes I Realise", by Steven Wilson. Think it's a bonus track on the 2-disc version. Some of it does sound a bit like Porcupine Tree, though more guitar effects, of course. Maybe a bit front-loaded, but opens up and gets more cohesive with time, and has that intoxicating pull throughout that some of us get from this type of densely layered and intricately constructed music.Richmond Fontaine - We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River
Nice record, these guys are something special, especially Willy Vlautin. Right now it feels like this one is their best yet. Has that same "lived in and seen too much" travelogue feel they've been exploring the last few records, except this broken down cast of characters is encountered while travelling throughout the Pacific Northwest. Mostly that downbeat alt-country sound, the life is in the lyrics, but they kick it on a couple times too. Give a listen to "43" if you get the chance... http://killrockmusic.com/wp-content/...ontaine-43.mp3Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
I do like this one a lot, though to be honest, over the course of the CD I sometimes get the feel it has started over on repeat. Some of the songs tend to run together in my mind. Maybe I just haven't spent enough time with it for them to all show their own personality. But this is very high quality music, no denying that. I like it the most when rhythmically complex, reminding me a little of what I like so much about that Dodos record from last year. And maybe too obscure in the US to mean much, but definitely a Augie March comparison to be made, though at this point in time, the Augie March debut Sunset Studies
is one of my top ten favorites of the decade, even though it is overly long and a bit unkempt around the edges, while this one isn't quite in that region.