Thursday, January 28, 2010

2010: The 1st Quarter

We failed to follow up adequately (though end of year and end of decade lists should count for something) on last year's Quarterly Music posts. Oh well.

Here's what we're looking at in Q1:

Patty Griffin- Downtown Church Recorded in, yes, an historic downtown church with Buddy Miller producing and a lot of Nashville favorites sitting in (Emmylou, Jim Lauderdale, Raul Malo, Julie Miller, Buddy himself). Add my favorite drummer (the chronically misspelled Jay Bellerose) and a bunch of gospel songs (only two originals) and we could be seeing this at the end of the year. The girl CAN SING, my friends.
Beach House- Teen Dream This album has potential to be this year's Merriweather Post Pavilion if it's not careful. Luckily, all the reviews I've heard so far have come from a diverse audience of unjaded, hipsterproof folks.
Retribution Gospel Choir- 2 The single alone is good enough.
Spoon- Transference Is it blasphemous to say that I wasn't all that jazzed on their Letterman performance? Well, I wasn't. Still, they built up an awful lot of equity with Kill The Moonlight, so they'll get some listens.
Eels- End Times One of my great live show disappointments was FINALLY getting to see Eels live (in 06) and have them decide to go aggro. Not that I don't like the quick-and-dirty Eels; just that I had heard some of the Town Hall live recordings and, really, my side of E is his introspective side. That show was anything but introspective. Entertaining, but not what I'd hoped for and heard all about. Why do I bring this up now? Because that experience has kept me from getting excited about Eels like I normally would.
Kanye West- VH1 Storytellers His albums, like it or not, are events.
Langhorne Slim- Be Set Free
Magnetic Fields- Realism The high concept, no-instruments-that-have-to-plug-in philosophy is intriguing (though Gillian Welch doesn't get any points or even bother making a big deal out of it).
Charlotte Gainsbourg- IRM
Frightened Rabbit- The Winter of Mixed Drinks Did we overpraise their last record? Yes. Does that lump too much pressure on this album? Yes. Are we still looking forward to it? Of course. I, Spike Woolridge, promise not to do to this record what I unfairly did to Great Lake Swimmers Lost Channels last year (first listen unrighteous dismissal followed by a late year repentance).
Rogue Wave- Permalight
Mumford & Sons- Sigh No More Buzz, buzz, buzz. I got my hands on an import and it's good. Sometimes it feels like it's trying a bit too much. But it's good. And you have to pay attention when Stereogum AND Telluride Bluegrass Festival are lauding the same record. You just do.
Midlake- The Courage of Others Will we get "Roscoe 2.0"? Can the flute be cool?
Mount Eerie- Black Wooden EP
Shout Out Louds- Work The song "100 Degrees" is one of my favorites of the last decade. I didn't make a list, for which we are all grateful.
Natalie Merchant- Leave Your Sleep Call me old. Call me irrelevant. But she has a place at the table. You can't deny her involvement with R.E.M., Cowboy Junkies, and Wilco. Those are artists who (ignoring some of the searching-era R.E.M.) have survived the test of time.
Massive Attack- Heligoland I haven't loved anything they've done since Mezzanine. And part of me wonders if they're stuck in a genre rut without the tools to free themselves. But I still have a floating interest in what they'll do next.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club- Beat The Devil's Tattoo The true sleeper of the bunch. Baby 81 and BRMC made my Best of Decade list, their set opening for Spiritualized in 2002 was one of the best I've ever seen, and Howl failed to make my list only because I'm too uncool to own it. They've been on a hot streak. Let's see where this goes.
The Watson Twins- Talking To You, Talking To Me Will they finally break free of "they did really great on Rabbit Fur Coat" paradigm?
Drive By Truckers- The Big To-Do
The White Stripes live There are very, very, very few live albums that get repeat listens for me and, sorry, I have a hard time thinking this will make that list.
Yeasayer- Odd Blood
Neon Trees- Habits Could be a huge year for this band. Utah could use somebody to help the world forget about The Used. Hopefully Tyler Glenn doesn't end up on Keeping Up With The Kardashians (a la McCracken on The Osbournes).
She & Him- Volume 2
Broken Bells- s/t (Danger Mouse + Shins' James Mercer)
Gorillaz- Plastic Beach Damon Albarn: most underrated musical Brit?
The Best of Pavement Typically, we wouldn't list a Best Of, but one from the band we thought would never make one? Gotta.
Josh Rouse- El Turista Didn't love his last one,'s a telling album.
The Streets- Computers & Blues
Lightspeed Champion- Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You
Brian Jonestown Massacre- Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?
Angus & Julia Stone- Down The Way

How many of these am I really interested in? How many of these will I even sample? The answer is embarrassingly low. But I already own the first three. So that's a start.

Regardless, 2010 is already shaping up to be pretty great.

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