Monday, December 01, 2003
Belle & Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress (Rough Trade)
The inherent charm of Belle & Sebastian has not been destroyed by Trevor Horn�s (who has also twiddled the knobs for ABC and Yes) production. This consistent collection of teenage symphonies may appear a little more polished than traditional expectations can handle, but it will reward the patient and continue to grow on you like patina on copper.
Manitoba, Up In Flames (Domino/Leaf)
Dan Snaith was has taken his laptop back in time and recorded a ramshackle masterpiece. This producer of intelligent dance music creates an oddly acoustic, often whimsical sound that easily contrasts the with ProTools psychedelia of groups like the Chemical Brothers. It is the modern-day soundtrack to Hinterland Who�s Who.
The Minus 5, Down With Wilco (Yep Roc)
This CD spent months in record label limbo and dismayed punch-drunk Wilco fans who expected the second coming of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. In reality, Young Fresh Fellow Scott McCaughey orchestrated a tightly woven, expertly conceived vintage pop transmission. Keyboards, harmonies and quirky tunes all make you wish radio didn�t suck so much.
The New Pornographers, Electric Version (Mint)
If you applied the Atkins Diet to music, you would have to cut out the New Pornographers. The Vancouver band�s sophomore effort comes across like a real band without losing the unique vocal stylings of Carl Newman, Dan Bejar and Neko Case. Still sugary, but much more evenly granulated.
Outkast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (Arista)
Big Boi delivers the cohesion while Andre 3000 pushes the envelope and demands sugar from his neighbour. Speakerboxxx carries on the Southern- playalisticadillacmuzik tradition that began a decade ago while The Love Below is the libido of the duo. Despite the ominous slash dividing these two discs, it is still Outkast from the outset.
Pernice Brothers, Yours, Mine & Ours (Ashmont)
Joe Pernice has built a perfect indie pop palace high atop the Americana of the Scud Mountain Boys. From the fuzzy jangle of �One Foot in the Grave� to the Britpop of �Sometimes I Remember,� it is a joy to unravel the long and winding influences on the group�s scorching third release.
Damien Rice, O (Vector)
Floating above the typical singer-songwriter pack, Rice writes songs so familiar you will think they are covers and vow to track down the originals. He claimed this year�s Short List music prize and his minimal acoustic accompaniment on these 10 home recordings will speak to your inner (or outer) wuss.
Now, since that list went to print, all I can say is that I have listened the shit out of the new Shins CD Shutes Too Narrow and realized I am not ready to make a top ten list...yet. But, here are some of the CDs that appeared on The Coast list that do get my seal of approval ("Worth It"), are just OK ("Whatever") or I have yet to hear myself ("Wishlist"):
Brendan Benson, Laplaco (V2) note: actually a 2002 release
Broken Social Scene, You Forgot it in People (Paper Bag)
Buck 65, Talkin� Honky Blues (Warner)
Eels, Shootenanny! (DreamWorks)
Grandaddy, Sumday (V2)
Joel Plaskett Emergency, Truthfully Truthfully (Maple)
Radiohead, Hail to the Thief (EMI)
The White Stripes, Elephant (V2)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever To Tell (Interscope)
Ryan Adams, Love Is Hell, Part 1 (Lost Highway)
Ryan Adams, Rock N Roll (Lost Highway)
Kings of Leon, Youth and Young Manhood (BMG)
Stephen Malkmus, Pig Lib (Matador)
Sam Roberts, We Were Born in a Flame (Maple)
The Strokes, Room on Fire (BMG)
Super Friendz, Love Energy (Outside)
Super Furry Animals, Phantom Power (Sony)
Basement Jaxx, Kish Kash (XL)
The Constantines, Shine a Light (Three Gut)
The Darkness, Permission to Land (Atlantic)
Jon Epworth, mm/dd/yy (Anti-Antenna)
The Finger, We Are Fuck You/Punk�s Dead Let�s Fuck (One Little Indian)
Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers (S-Curve/Virgin)
Guided By Voices, Hardcore UFOs: Revelations, Epiphanies and Fast Food in the Western Hemisphere (Matador)
The Hidden Cameras, The Smell of Our Own (Outside)
Damien Jurado, Where Shall You Take Me? (Secretly Canadian)
Stars, Heart (Paper Bag)
The Thrills, So Much for the City (Virgin)