Two More

I heard two albums this week that should, after just a few listens, make the list I just posted.  First is the recently released new Mountain Goats album, The Life Of The World To Come.  I’ve long respected John Darnielle as a songwriter and live performer, but I haven’t really warmed to his studio work.  This album changes that for two reasons; first, the production is airy and open, intimate and spacious at the same time; secondly, John’s control of his voice is masterful.  As his career as gone on, his learned better the limits, strengths and weaknesses of his voice, and on The Life Of The World To Come he nails the proper approach on every track.  He seems to trust his subtle lower register more than in my experience of his earlier work (I freely admit that my bias against his studio recordings has caused me to skip a listen to some of them, which I might have to rectify in light of this albums greatness).  For a real review of themes and the album as a whole (as opposed to just my stating my fondness),, you can’t do much better than read Ian’s piece for Popmatters.

The second album is the upcoming Bob Dylan Christmas album, Christmas In The Heart.  I loathe most Christmas music, being overproduced sentimental dreck, filled with chorale bombast and treacly production.  Bob wins me over by making a late 40s/early 50s country swing album, like a radio show from a bygone era.  I wish he had actually gone all the way there, by recording spoken interludes like he does for his “Theme Time Radio Hour” satellite radio show; his mix of anecdotes and music history really enhance those shows and would have done the same here.  His voice is shot, but his earnest understatement on these Yuletide classics works; his smooth starting delivery descending into croaky roughness as the lines get long is charming (something he glossed over for Modern Times, recording each line as separate parts to mask the degradation).  It sounds like he’s having fun, and it carries on to the listener.  Can’t wait to get a copy when it comes out next week.

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Ninety-Nine

Quietly thinking about restarting things here, so figured a “favorites of the decade soon to pass” post was a good way to kick it off.  The top ten are locked in place, the next ten are in order but not in stone, the rest are not really in order at all.  If anyone wants my thoughts on any of these in particular, let me know in comments.  Links go to previous posts on various blogs where I talked, even slightly, about the album in question.

1.   The Notwist – Neon Golden
2.   Alcest – Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde
3.   Lambchop – Nixon
4.   The Goslings – Grandeur Of Hair
5.   VA – Nigeria 70
6.   Lamb – What Sound
7.   Clutch – From Beale Street To Oblivion
8.   Man Man – Six Demon Bag
9.   Joe Henry – Tiny Voices
10.  Yo La Tengo – And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out
11.   Yob – The Great Cessation
12.   Lambchop – OH (Ohio)
13.   Tinariwen – Aman Iman: Water Is Life
14.   VA – Run The Road
15.   Benoit Pioulard – Précis
16.   Ufomammut – Snailking
17.   Witchcraft – The Alchemist
18.   Earth – The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull
19.   Fugazi – The Argument
20.  Departure Lounge – …Out Of There
21.   Made Out Of Babies – The Ruiner
22.  Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – Goodnight Oslo
23.  The Evens – The Evens
24.  Bishop Allen – Charm School
25.  Dizzee Rascal – Boy In Da Corner
26.  Moonbabies – The Orange Billboard
27.  Mugison – Mugimama Is This Monkey Music?
28.  Bloody Panda – Summon
29.  Mono & World’s End Girlfriend – Palmless Prayer/Mass  Murder Refrain
30.  M. Ward – Transfiguration Of Vincent
31.   The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free
32.  Willie Nelson & Asleep At The Wheel – Willie And The Wheel
33.  The Langley School Music Project – Innocence & Despair
34.  Bubba Sparxxx – Deliverance
35.  The Angelic Process – Weighing Souls With Sand
36.  The Avalanches – Since I Met You
37.  Electric Wizard – Witchcult Today
38.  Iron & Wine – Woman King EP
39.  Noxagt – Turning It Down Since 2001
40.  VA – African Scream Contest: Raw & Psychedelic Afro Sounds From Benin & Togo 70s
41.   Dolly Parton – Little Sparrow
42.  Wiley – Treddin’ On Thin Ice
43.  Kaki King – …Until We Felt Red
44.  Caïna – Mourner
45.  Joe Henry – Blood From Stars
46.  Six Organs Of Admittance – School Of The Flower
47.  Bob Dylan – Love And Theft
48.  Ufomammut – Lucifer Songs
49.  Sons And Daughters – This Gift
50.  Jesu – Silver
51.   Randy Newman – The Randy Newman Songbook Vol. 1
52.  Outkast – Stankonia
53.  The National – Boxer
54.  Zu – Carboniferous
55.  Jason Forrest – Shamelessly Exciting
56.  Devin The Dude – To Tha X-Treme
57.  Dntel – This Is The Dream Of Evan and Chan EP
58.  The Long Winters – When I Pretend To Fall
59.  Elvis Perkins – Ash Wednesday
60.  Seu Jorge – América Brasil o Disco
61.   Wetnurse – Invisible City
62.  Ulver – Shadows Of The Sun
63.  Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer?
64.  Lady Sovereign – Vertically Challenged EP
65.  Belle and Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress
66.  The Budos Band – The Budos Band
67.  Low – Trust
68.  VA – Serious Times
69.  Conifer – Crown Fire
70.  School Of Seven Bells – Alpinisms
71.   Madvillian – Madvilliany
72.  Mark Kozalek – What’s Next To The Moon
73.  The Notwist – The Devil, You + Me
74.  Kaki King – Dreaming Of Revenge
75.  The Evens – Get Evens
76.  Spirit Caravan – The Last Embrace
77.  Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – Olé! Tarantula
78.  Hacride – Lazarus
79.  Wardruna – Runaljod – Gap Var Ginnunga
80.  Keren Ann – Not Going Anywhere
81.   Electric Wizard – Dopethrone
82.  Dizzee Rascal – Showtime
83.  Eluvium – Copia
84.  Sleep – Dopesmoker
85.  Madder Mortem – Eight Ways
86.  Lambchop – Is A Woman
87.  Espers – Espers II
88.  The Goslings – Between The Dead
89.  Torche – Meanderthal
90.  Mugison – Mugiboogie
91.   Drive-By Truckers – Decoration Day
92.  Bishop Allen – March, April & May EPs
93.  Gay Witch Abortion – Maverick
94.  M. Ward – Post-War
95.  Grandaddy – Sumday
96.  VA – Do You Know The Difference Between Big Wood And Brush?
97.  Sasquatch – II
98.  Joe Henry – Civilians
99.  Madredeus & Flemish Radio Orchestra – Euforia