Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Sonic Parthenon Playlist: Autumn 2009, Vol. II

Magnolia Electric Co. - "Little Sad Eyes"
The deftly sedate Indie band conjures up a little Jazz in their melancholic love story.

The Maldives - "Blood Relations"
An epic song from the love children of Neil Young and Levon Helm. Every modern country act should sit down and listen to this and find out everything they are doing wrong. Then go to Rodney Crowell for some help. Then bring these guys on a tour and rock the worlds of every Nashville-loving cowpoke yon South and West. No man worth his salt would turn his nose up at this song.

Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles - "Special Party Time for Everybody"
The cutesy title is misleading - this is a dense, well-played country-pop song.

Monsters of Folk - "Say Please"
This year's supergroup of supergroups, it is just more evidence of the primacy of M. Ward, the improvement of Conor Oberst, the occasional flash of brilliance from Jim James (excuse me, Yim Yames) and the whatever from that Mike Mogis guy.

Lookbook - "The Only Ones" and Neon Indian - "Terminally Chill"
A pair of ultra-dance songs: Lookbook are pure 80's revival and have fun doing it. Neon Indian is a totally typical trendy hipster act but if I had heard this song earlier in the year, I'd have had a summer dance hit. This year's Justice/Junior Senior.

Pearl Jam - "The Fixer"
Pearl Jam's gone happy! Pearl Jam's gone happy! The band was always melodic but they never got over their grunge-era grumpiness. Then Eddie and the boys shed their recording contract and suddenly pop isn't such a bad thing in rock. "The Fixer" is a shockingly fun Pearl Jam song. Repeat: This PEARL JAM SONG IS FUN. The only thing more shocking than this song's existence is the news that the band closed out the Philadelphia Spectrum on Halloween by donning up as Devo and doing "Whip It". Yes I am still talking about Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam. To quote my co-worker on all things..."What the hell is going on?!"

The Raveonettes
After a good set at the Siren Festival, the Raveonettes backed it up with two great songs from their new, back-to-pop, record called In and Out of Control: "Suicide" and "Last Dance"

Rodrigo Y Gabriela - "Hanuhuman"
The best damn Dublin-based Mexican mixed sex former metal acoustic duo in the world have asserted themselves as an act that won't change its sound. They don't have to.

Sea Wolf - "Wicked Blood"
Plain, straight-up, clearly identified Indie rock can be dull but every now and then a band that is grouped in this category breaks the mold. Sea Wolf does that with this striking song that has not left my playlist despite the fact that I never give the band much else thought.

The xx
The badly named xx are a very buzzed, very fast rising pop band ala the Airborne Toxic Event but with backing-tracks everywhere and almost no rocking intensity on their debut LP. This is not a negative however as they are so clearly inspired by the Velvelt Underground and the Jesus and Mary Chain in all the right ways. So now you're thinking distortion. Nope, no distortion. But the pop sensibilities. Mixed with a sense of sleek. Great walking-around-the-city-at-night music - maybe the best since the National's Boxer. And one of the rare completely good full-length albums of 2009.

Honorable mentions:
The Avett Brothers - "I and Love and You"
Forro in the Dark - "Perro Loco"
The Fucking Eagles - "Gentlemen's Blues"
Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks: "The Blues My Naughty Baby Gave to Me"
Islands - "Shining"
Soulsavers - "Pharoh's Chariot"
Yo La Tengo - "Periodically Double or Triple"

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