Sunday, October 4, 2009

THE 100 BEST ALBUMS of 2000-2009:

Modest Mouse – The Moon And Antartica (2000): Isaac Brock is not a man to underestimate. When the album was finished he immediately pulled it in dissatisfaction. The point is that as an artist one needs to trust one’s own intuition. The indie rock world is better for it because The Moon and Antartica is a stunning achievement. Dark centre of the Universe floats as if on air but is peppered with a blissful chorus and guitars. This is the first track of many where the band uses the genre as a tool to make a statement. Unlike Interpol well after them, Modest Mouse never allowed major label induction to allow their message to seep away. Life like Weeds creeps along with Brock’s nasal twang more pungent than ever. The Moon and Artartica allowed us to witness something very rare in rock: the sound of a band growing up. ()

THE 100 BEST ALBUMS of 2000-2009:

Joanna Newsom – Ys (2006):

if Bjork was for you the most difficult pop entity in the 90s to appreciate then welcome to this decade’s most enchanting enigma. Newsom is more than a musician; she’s an artist and a medieval poet. Five songs clocking nearly an hour of music gives you some idea that Miss Newsom is here to unfurl some epic yarns and does she ever deliver: “Emily” is a blissful tongue-twisting tale of well, only Newsom knows (‘The meadowlark and the chim-choo-ree and the sparrow/ Set to the sky in a flying spree, for the sport over the pharaoh…’). How does one assess the value of a line like, ‘and the meteoroid is a stone/ that's devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee…’, that’s right, she said ‘thee’. To top it all off, she reels off “Cosmia” into the stuff that befits the fabled location in France that gave the album its title. ()

The Best 100 Songs of 2000-2009: Part 4/10

The Bachelor (Patrick Wolf): by even his lofty standards, The Bachelor represents a triumph of passage that not even Wolf could’ve expected given the tumult that surrounded the album of the same name. Fed-up with his own securities and an expressive sexual tone that was proving worrisome to market, Wolf unfurls a ballad, somber in its own admission of that highest ideal of heterosexual bliss: marriage. Or more precisely his exclusion from it given the global prop 8 stance that hinders gays to get hitched. This is a personal lament too however, one where the true Wolf, finally sheds his accustomed excess to strip himself bare and vulnerable. ()

A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger (Of Montreal): if this is the results from the musical therapy Kevin Barnes must go through then let’s hope he never returns to normalcy. ()

Violent Stars Happy Hunting (Janelle Monae): Cindy Mayweather on the run after committing the cardinal rule of alien life: falling in love with a human. ()

Roscoe (Midlake): old Americana blues from a band that knows how to evoke weary soul. Lead singer Tim Smith buttresses it all with a wall of ebullient sound and escapism into emotional reality. ()

We Share our Mother’s Health (The Knife): a Scandinavion swipe at Bjork…who knows the song’s real meaning but it’s clear that The Knife has unearthed new methods to present European dance music. ()

The Bleeding Heart Show (The New Pornographers): a throw-back to the heyday of indie ballads, especially Fleetwood Mac. The track swells with each member adding a significant touch. However, the song picks up steam once Neko Case and A.C Wonder trade vocal barbs towards the end (‘we have arrived/ too late to play the bleeding heart show…’). ()

Pagan Poetry (Bjork): while the fact that Bjork is Matthew Barney’s lover has somewhat stymied her creative output for the rest of us, it is apparently a rich ground for her personally and spiritually. Never mind the mind-blowing music video that accompanied it, Bjork’s most vivid imagination has always been interpretation and interpolation of her lyrics upon music. Pagan Poetry gives an intricate and detailed account of the age-old maxim of “love at first sight” (he offers a handshake/crooked/five fingers/they form a pattern yet to be matched’). If her poetry wasn’t that enchanting enough then witness the human ending, the repeated plea which she seems set to live or die by (‘I love him, I love him/ She loves him, she loves him…’). In one word: perfect. ()

Hey Ya! (Outkast): only Andre 300 could dare mimic The Beatles and get away with it quite frankly. The reasons are many but Outkast have always been best at merging the various electro-funk shifts in hip/hop and coming up with tremendous results. ()

Cosmia (Joanna Newsom): for sheer artistry, this is perhaps Newsom’s finest. The opening lines paint the cryptic incision of her observances ( ‘When you ate, I saw your eyelashes/ Saw them shake like wind on rushes/ In the corn field when she called me/ Moths surround me/ thought they'd drown me’). Cosmia is to a point obsessive over its object of affection but fussy details points to the care Newsome has taken to sculpt such a masterpiece. ()

Let My Shoes Lead Me Forward (Jenny Wilson): a smart toe-tapper. ()