Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The First Quarter

NBA games come down to who wins the most quarters. This year 2009 is playing against itself. Q1 vs Q2 vs Q3 vs Q4 (which deserves a handicap since we can never live with it long enough to definitively judge it by Dec 31)

Q1, though, is shaping up to be pretty wicked.

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit- s/t :: Underrated. For some reason I'm more likely to grab this than the Drive-By Truckers record from last year.
Bon Iver- Blood Bank EP :: OK. It wasn't as a good as I'd hoped (loved the first two songs, tried to figure out what was missing for me on the last two), but combined with the track from Dark Was The Night, I think there's some momentum going on here. Let's just hope momentum's two usual accomplices, Complacency and Pressure, don't ruin things.
Gary Louris/Mark Olson- Ready For The Flood :: Welcome back, Jayhawks. I can't imagine how this album couldn't be great. The voices together plus some of the best underappreciated writers around equals subtle greatness.
M. Ward- Hold Time :: Probably still recovering from all the love he got for She&Him's Volume One, M. Ward brings it. As a fan of his last few gruff-voiced records and their bluesy/folky/quirky/old timey feels, I have to admit a bit of trepidation when they trot out a list of "special guests." And this one is DROWNING in the special types: Lucinda Williams, Jenny Lewis, Jason Lytle, Neko Case, Peter Broderick, Zooey, Jim James, Adam Selzer...we get it. You have popular friends. Hopefully they know how to fit in.

(Behold, the obligatory Zooey photo.)

Great Lake Swimmers- Lost Channels :: Tony Dekker & Co.'s last record, Ongiara, was easily one of my favorites of its year and has continued to earn and re-earn listens. Listen to "On A Line." The guy writes songs that have a real simple purity to them and sings with that mournful rasp that gets more sure with each record. To say I can't wait for this one is a brutal understatement.
Sarah Sample- Born To Fly EP :: The title of the EP is fitting for its relation to Sarah Sample's trajectory as a writer. Her last album, Never Close Enough, had several winners and showed promise. This organic EP, recorded live in 2 days, delivers. Check out the sad gospel feel of "Mercy Me" and the Grey's Anatomy bound "Used To You."
Animal Collective-Merriweather Post Pavilion :: We've been over this. But, our personal inability to connect aside, this thing is an eruption of hype and has to be on any list. And, in our defense, we haven't given up on it.
Bruce Springsteen- Working On A Dream :: Critics are divided, but he's been relevant long enough that the Boss has earned the right to do what he wants.
Beirut- March of the Zapotec :: Charlie T might be a better authority on this one, but I've known for awhile that this is a project I should lend my ears to.
Andrew Bird- Noble Beast :: Again, I'm behind on this one. But it has two words involved with it that are known to put me over the top: Glenn and Kotche.
Laura Gibson- Beasts of Seasons :: My winter needs Laura Gibson like the Orlando Magic need a point guard. I doubt many Laura Gibson fans would a) ever say that and b) know what it means. Welcome to our blog.
Felice Brothers-Yonder Is The Clock :: Wait. What? The band that released one of my 08 favorites already has one of my potential 09 favorites ready? This is too good to be true. Please tell me that one of them doesn't die or quit between now and April. Oh wait. Is that Q2? Yes. Oh well.

Once Q2 hits, we'll revisit these and see what Q2 had to kick into the mix

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