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The Coral – The Coral

7 06 2010

Listened: Friday June 4

The Coral is another album I got in the used section for very cheap. I had once heard it was good, so I bought it. I hadn’t ever actually listened to it all the way through until now.

I didn’t hate it, but it seemed very referential, like they were wanting really badly to have been alive when there were real hippies about. The singer sounds like a cross between the Zombies and Jim Morrison and musically they are pretty heavy handed with the Doors-like organ.

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Vampire Weekend – Contra

7 06 2010

Listened: Friday June 4

Contra is one of those rare albums that hits you upside the head the first time you hear it. Vampire Weekend did that to me with their first album, and to have it happen a second time is unheard of.

The head-smack starts from the opening line: “In December drinking horchata, I’d look psychotic in a balaclava.” I have had this line haunt me obsessively in my sleep, and I have no clue why. But it won’t leave once it gets in there!

All the African-rhythms-by-way-of-Paul-Simon are still here (plus bonus Vocoder and M.I.A. sample this time). Some of the yelps and vocalizations are so weird that you ask yourself why you like them, but you like them anyway.

What’s more, the nutso intellectual references are also still here; on the last album it was the Oxford Comma, now they are namechecking FONTS – 96 point Futura to be exact.

Even the album art is in on the same action – again, some ultra-modern but simultaneously ultra-retro photo.

I did not expect to be struck by ear-crack twice… but I was, I really was.





Sufjan Stevens – Come On Feel The Illinoise

7 06 2010

Listened: Friday June 4

Sufjan Stevens has taken on a huge project: doing an album for each state in the union. He started with Michigan – his home state – and Illinois is his second album in the project.

There are songs on this album about John Wayne Gacy, Abraham Lincoln, the Cubs, and there are many recognizable Illinois place names mentioned. All this sounds pretty boring on paper, like a history lesson, but the songs are really beautiful and the lyrics can hit you just like any other lyrics, and aren’t like a lecture.

I admire him for taking on such a ginormous project – I somehow doubt he will finish in his lifetime!





Elf Power – Come On

7 06 2010

Listened: Friday June 4

Come On is an EP Elf Power released of cover songs, none of which I’m all that familiar with in their original versions. I don’t think I’ve listened to this album much in the past (it was one of those things I bought because it was a collector’s album), but I enjoyed it. Some of the recording quality isn’t very good though – super muddy in parts, and not in a good way.





Kanye West – College Dropout

7 06 2010

Listened: Friday June 4

Kanye West seems like an asshole in real life. And he might very well be, but his records are damn funny, as well as affecting. Whether college is a worthwhile life choice is a big theme on College Dropout which is a decision many different  kinds of people have considered.

When I heard All Falls Down on the radio I loved the wordplay: “Couldn’t afford a car so she named her daughter Alexus”.

The self analysis: “Always said if I rapped I’d say somethin’ significant, But now I’m rappin’ ’bout money, hoes, and rims again”

The poignant: “As kids we used to laugh, Who knew that life would move this fast?, Who knew I’d have to look at you through a glass? And look, if you tell me you ain’t did it, you ain’t did it And if you did, then that’s family business.”

But it always comes back around to a quip: “Now even though I went to college and dropped out of school quick, I always had a Ph.D.: a Pretty Huge Dick”

Also, his production is so much more appealing than most rap records. I can respect the layers of samples that come together so well on this album. They’re not there to slam you into submission, they’re there to catch your attention with their uniqueness.





Beulah – The Coast Is Always Clear

7 06 2010

Listened: Friday June 4

I thank my former coworker Glen for loaning me The Coast Is Always Clear. Beulah are talented musicians who play friendly and poppy modern songs you’ll be singing for days. I also love the cover art.