Albums Of The Decade, Part IV

So far we’re nineteen albums into my best of the decade list (there are 74 total) but I don’t think that means much to my loyal readers (both of you) until we get down into the numbered selections, probably appearing sometime later next week. Let’s keep the ball rolling…

OutKast – Stankonia (Arista Records; 2000)

Stankonia

OutKast‘s fourth album (also known as “their last good one”) is a genre-bending, aurally ambitious offering from the Atlanta duo that became synonymous with that crunk-ass Dirty South, introducing freaky rapping styles to mainstream ears; quite possibly one of the first hip-hop records to get both critical acclaim and sales while staying true to the spirit of experimentation. Not to take anything at all away from Big Boi‘s standard hip-hop gangsterism, but André 3000‘s ideas (as far as his lyrical content goes; all that weird shit about the underwater land of Stankonia) at the time of this record was head and shoulders above the rest of the hip-hop world, he’s more on par with a crunk version of George Clinton or a ghettoized Prince. I mean, c’mon- they did almost all the beats and all the music (with a little help from Mr. DJ and Organized Noize) but this is OutKast‘s vision here, and if they had to choose one mission statement to be their best representation of what they were, it’d be Stankonia.

Key Tracks: B.O.B., So Fresh So Clean, Ms. Jackson, Humble Mumble (with Erykah Badu)

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Songs: Ohia – Magnolia Electric Co. (Secretly Canadian; 2003)

Magnolia

An album that lies at the intersection of “working class rock, white soul, swamp rock and outlaw country” (according to the one-sheet accompanying this record), Songs: Ohia has been native Buckeye-stater Jason Molina‘s singular vision since 1996. His songs of love and hate on here are heralded as a major change for him both lyrically and musically, but ask him and he’ll tell you previous release Didn’t It Rain was the last Songs‘ record- he leaves behind the spare arrangements in favor of a bigger, fuller sound. Either way, Molina‘s channeling the kindred spirits of Springsteen, Neil Young and John Cougar– blue collar country rock with an attitude; a shot and a beer with Jason and his road crew while Hank Williams plays on the jukebox at some hole in the wall in Skokie or Wabash. Guest vocalists Lawrence Peters (doing his best Merle Haggard impression) and Scout Niblett appear on two tracks right in the middle of the record; meshing with the material perfectly. Oh, and it’s produced by Steve Albini himself, so…

Key tracks: Farewell Transmission, Just Be Simple, I’ve Been Riding With The Ghost, John Henry Split My Heart

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Kings Of Convenience – Riot On An Empty Street (Astralwerks; 2004)

Riot

This record gives me a warm feeling every time I spin it; it’s as if this Norwegian duo figured out a way to bring the serene and tranquil heat you get from a fireplace and somehow box it up. Gorgeous melodies wrapped in whispered folk tunes, in the spirit of perfect Scandinavian pop- think Abba-meets-Iron & Wine at a Tahoe ski lodge. Riot On An Empty Street is an apt album title; that’s exactly what it sounds like. Actually, every song on here has a feel described by the song’s title- Homesick, Misread, Cayman Islands, Sorry Or Please, Gold In The Air of Summer; they sound like they should. Of course this album isn’t hurt by the fact that a one Miss Leslie Feist appears on two tracks (these were recorded right after she finished her work on the acclaimed Let It Die, released the same year) which are as beautiful as anything on her record. Never mind that drums don’t even show up until the sixth track- this record has such an easy climb to the centerpiece, the wonderful I’d Rather Dance With You, a sublime track extolling the virtues of a wordless exchange on the dancefloor; shhhh- don’t speak (you’ll ruin the moment…)

Key tracks: I’d Rather Dance With You, The Build Up (with Feist), Misread, Know How (with Feist)

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Destroyer – Destroyer’s Rubies (Merge Records, 2006)

Destroyers_rubies

Dan Bejar has taken so many chances, made so many different records; basically risks everything his name stands for with every release you can’t help but love the man, even when his records are completely awful (2004’s Your Blues) or one of the best of the decade (2000’s Thief). Obviously I just gave away one of my albums of the decade by admitting that Thief is a tremendous work in its own right, but my third favorite Destroyer record is Destroyer’s Rubies– the kind of record you throw on when it’s time for a soul-searching road trip. And I said third favorite, so you’ll be seeing another Bejar-led record on my best-of list as well. This review, however- let’s talk about the album’s opener, Rubies– one of the finest songs Bejar‘s ever written, a nine-and-a-half-minute opus that references both a Smiths‘ song and a CCR song and introduces us to the (loose concept) album’s main character, the “Priest”, referenced again in two more songs (one being the album’s final track). Bejar‘s razor-sharp wit, his uncanny ability to recall 1970s pop culture minutiae, both his adherence to and rejection of the popular song structure; every album creates a world unto itself- here his Rubies have created a world where both The Band and David Bowie are revered as gods that are not only to be worshipped but mocked and ridiculed, then finally laid to rest as the relics they are.

Key tracks: Rubies, Sick Priest Learns To Last Forever, Painter In Your Pocket, European Oils

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TV On The Radio – Dear Science (Interscope Records; 2008)

Dear_science

Another band that’s going to have three albums on my best-of the decade list; obviously- have you ever fucking listened to TVOTR? No, scratch that- have you ever seen TVOTR live? Sonically, they’re light years ahead of the rest of the field- mixing post-punk, electronica, noise, funk and rock into a seamless blend of styles that they can call their own (nobody does it like these guys, period); not to mention lyrically there’s not a subject they won’t (or haven’t) touched: sex, love, racism, aging, death, disease, modern life, technology, travel, on and on ad infinitum. Having their fingers pressed firmly on the pulse of today, there isn’t another band around right now that can explain the curse of growing up in America these days; this challenge of how we can comfort one another by relating at once our collective human condition to each other while living both within the borders of our paranoid country and inside our paranoid mindscapes. Dear Science, please start solving problems and curing diseases or shut the fuck up.

Another Ten Albums…

I keep telling myself that I’ll be all caught up to the reviews I want to get finished by the end of the summer; then I find a record I fall totally head over heels for and listen to it for weeks at a time, rendering all other “projects” moot and pushing it all back days/weeks/months. The records as of late that have been spinning non-stop over here are Mos Def‘s The Ecstatic and one you’ll see below, two more albums that get “prefect” scores, two more albums that’ll fight it out for “most played” on iTunes and be somewhere at the top of a year-end list. So here’s another ten reviews coming at ya…

Gallows – Grey Britain (Warner Bros; 5/2)gallows

I read an interview recently where both of the subjects were in agreement that most new punk was boring, except when its infused with with another genre; GallowsGrey Britain is interesting in that its brand of balls-to-the-wall melodic hardcore punk is informed by elements of keyboard-based prog- I’m thinking of last year’s The Chemistry Of Common Life by Fucked Up. It’s the Anglo-centric version of that record’s proggier workouts- six-and-seven minute blasts (The Vulture Acts I & II, Crucifucks) of punk energy that meander with pummelling drums and jagged riffs that are able to sustain themselves over synth-driven anthemic shout-alongs. Punk isn’t dead, it’s suffered at the hands of its own formulaic structure (usually a 10-song, 26-minute paint-by-numbers affair) for so long- UK’s Gallows push its evolution ahead in a more engaging direction. 8/10

Deerhunter – Rainwater Cassette Exchange (Kranky; 5/18)rainwater

I got a chance to hear three of these tracks at Noise Pop earlier this year; before I went deaf for two days. Yeah, Deerhunter‘s live show is akin to My Bloody Valentine‘s- you better bring some ear plugs because you’re gonna get some guitars. Anyway, the band treated those shows as pre-tour exercises (meaning: they gave 110% but also used the opportunity to “try out” new tracks Disappearing Ink, Famous Last Words and Rainwater). I remember them being louder for some reason… Anytime Deerhunter can throw out a quick 5-song EP in between albums/tours, even if it sucks, I’ll happily lap it up. This does not suck in the least; yeah, it’s too short- but it’s an EP so it whets the appetite ever so slightly, I’m excited for what they have next. A band that’s big on conceptual continuity; you could lay their releases end-to-end chronologically, hit play and listen to them as a series of ideas, where slight shifts in perception create little ripples in the psyche. Some of these ideas from their earlier stuff are still being felt now- that’s why their albums are musically dynamic yet still true to their vision. I can’t wait for what’s next. 9/10

Passion Pit – Manners (Frenchkiss; 5/18)manners

Electro-pop must die. I say this because of 1) this record and 2) records like this. C’mon, people- this music has had its day, can we just leave it alone? What have we learned from the countless imitators of Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell and The Human League? Absolutely nothing. We know that Ladytron is still making music, but they should’ve maybe stopped after Witching Hour. A similar sentiment is extended towards Le Tigre. So now we have in our hands this record from Passion Pit– it’s bloody awful. Now don’t get me entirely anti- towards the whole scene (I quite like Hot Chip and MGMT) but for fuck’s sake, do we really need this? It’s basically emo-ass lyrics over Postal Service-on-cocaine music, which… now that I think of it, this record is probably a direct result of that album’s influence on an entire generation of kids who severely need their asses kicked. 2/10

Sunn O))) – Monoliths & Dimensions (Southern Lord; 5/26)sunno

Does anyone else not get this shit? Guitar drone gives way to stretching rope, buzzing bees and a ram’s horn, all the while some Hungarian dude is doing his best Vigo The Carpathian impression, talking some shit about middle Earth and underground civilizations, and that’s just the first track, Aghartha– a 17-minute snooze fest that’s actually laughable at times. It doesn’t even begin to get remotely interesting until about five minutes into the next track; Big Church (Megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért), and yeah, that’s the whole name- apparently the longest word in the Hungarian language. I tried to translate it with “Google Translate” and got this: “because they once again seem to have behaved as if with a rendelkeznétek properties that you may not be deprived of the holy mivoltotoktól”. At least there’s a choir and some strings to save this song from its own developmentally challenged riffs. Dude, drone doom metal is gay. The whole “wearing black robes behind dry ice smoke while playing so distorted and slow” isn’t art, it’s playing right into a stereotype of tired cliches- the occult, darkness, suffering, grief, death, etc. I guess I’m too stuck in my “myopic conservatism” to understand Sunn O)))‘s vision- oh well… On a bright note, there are a few moments on this album that are actually sublime; the 16-minute closer Alice employs some horns and strings, but sitting through 35 minutes to get to this track is criminal. 4/10

The Low Anthem – Oh My God, Charlie Darwin (Nonesuch; 6/9)charliedarwin

When this band is playing the whole ’round-the-campfire vibe, it works to amazing results. When they veer even slightly from this, the result is not so good. Since most of this record is a hushed affair, it scores big points for its melodramatic, whispered vocals and bare-bones folky instrumentation – think Bon Iver or Iron & Wine‘s older stuff. When they play the faux-Tom Waits uptempo vaudeville act (The Horizon Is A Beltway & Home I’ll Never Be– the latter is actually a Waits‘ cover of a Jack Kerouac poem) the effect is somewhat confounding- I’d offer this: go with what you know. Kudos to the other ten songs on here- odes to Ohio, Charles Darwin, ghosts, caged songbirds; a pretty slice of Americana delivered to these ears via pump organs, harmonicas, acoustic guitars, upright basses, banjos and mandolins. This album was originally released September, 2008- it’s been remastered and given a national release by Warner imprint Nonesuch Records. 7/10

Major Lazer – Guns Don’t Kill People… Lazers Do (Downtown; 6/16)majorlazer

This falls somewhere between dancehall and dubstep; a more apt approximation may well be what you’d hear while adrift in the metaphorical Bermuda Triangle outlined by Jamaican roots music to the south, deep and wobbly London basslines to the east and New York club bangers to the west- that’s a lot of ground to cover, but Philly-based Diplo and UK’s Switch are known for their worldly slant and danceclub savoir faire (Diplo brought Brazillian favela funk to the states, clearing the way for M.I.A.‘s eventual world domination and Switch has produced tracks for her records as well as Santigold and Tricky). The guest toasters on this record reads like a “who’s who” in the current Kingston riddim scene: Vybz Cartel, Ward 21, Busy Signal, Mr. Vegas, T.O.K. and Turbulence, and it all went down at the world famous Tuff Gong Studios. If you’re a fan of reggae but have grown tired of its parity, give this record a try- it bridges the gap from rocksteady and roots to computer riddims and dancehall to dubstep and beyond; it’s as much an introductory lesson as well as an homage to the last 40 years of Jamaican-influenced music. 7/10

White Denim – Fits (Full Time Hobby; 6/22)white-denim

Probably my favorite album of the last three weeks; imagine a world where time machines exist- let’s put Grand Funk Railroad in a jam session with Pavement and see what happens. White Denim‘s Fits, perhaps? GFR was a riff-heavy power trio and the Pave was the lo-fi, thinking man’s take on said “dude” rock. So to mash them two together would be the closest approximation to what White Denim appears to be going for; and to great success. Crammed full of riffs (the first five tracks); the musical ideas stretch into some dub explorations (Sex Prayer), down home-style country boogies (Paint Yourself), a funky Boz Scagg-meets-Jeff Buckley falsetto number (I’d Have It Just The Way We Were), acoustic-tinged dream pop (Regina Holding Hands and Syncn)- just when I thought “indie rock” was getting boring, here comes something that’s forward-thinking by looking back. When this Austin trio blows through town I’ll be sure to check them out. 10/10

Oneida – Rated O (Jagjaguwar; 7/7)rated_o

This is a massive, sprawling triple album from Brooklyn’s Oneida, as well as my introduction to their churning and bombastic take on experimental rock music. Repetitive and mechanical like krautrock, yet organic and free-form like jazz, it’s a study in getting the most sound out of one or two chord vamps- relying heavily on effects processors, analog synths and percussion. It can test your patience but ultimately it’s a rewarding listen, not for the faint of heart. I like challenging music, so for me it’s not an issue of getting into this record, it’s an issue of what I’m getting out of it, or rather what I’m taking away with the experience of Rated O. By cutting the record into its three parts I can describe each section as (disc 1; comprising of tracks 1-5) scary, dark and droning electronic songs, more on the exploratory bent; (disc 2; tracks 6-12) these next seven songs are exactly that; songs, ranging between three-and-a-half minutes to just under seven. Primarily these are the “rock” songs, with discernible structures, more or less built around the guitar and (disc 3; tracks 13, 14 and 15) are the thirteen-minute psychedelic-tinged sitar jam, simply titled O; a short instrumental piece End Of Time that acts as a passage to the ender, a near 21-minute workout called Folk Wisdom that encapsulates the entirety of Oneida‘s expansive sound; a post-avant garde world that winks one eye at the Velvet‘s Sister Ray while the other is fixed upon Can‘s style of free improv. A genre-defying release like this with its moments of dancehall (Brownout In Lagos), Neu!-style motorik elements (10:30 At The Oasis), straight-ahead rocking (It Was A Wall) and sitar raga (O), and what you have is the year’s most riveting records, both diverse and engrossing. 8/10

The Alchemist – Chemical Warfare (ALC/E1 Music; 7/7)chemical_warfare

First thing I gotta say is that the seventh track on this record, That’ll Work (with Juvenile & Three 6 Mafia) is fucking dope as shit; likewise the previous tracks: Therapy (with Talib Kweli, Blu, Evidence & Kid Cudi), Grand Concourse Benches (with KRS-One), the title track (with Eminem), Lose Your Life (with Pusha T, Jadakiss & Snoop Dogg) and ALC Theme (with Kool G Rap) are all tight- exercises in excellent beats/production by The Alchemist himself and expert verses all spit with precision and flow. Then comes track 8, Smile, an R&B jam that goes sour- playing Twista‘s superfast flow against Maxwell‘s smooth croon. I hate this shit; why can’t a hip-hop album just be hip-hop anymore? If I want R&B, I’ll put on some Otis Redding or Curtis Mayfield; the new jack shit is wack. Then the album does a complete 180, backsliding into oblivion- awful raps by Mobb Deep‘s Prodigy, Lil’ Fame, Fabolous and Tha Dogg Pound ruin what was a pretty tight outing. A seven-song EP would’ve got this record a ten, instead it only scores half that. 5/10

Magnolia Electric Co. – Josephine (Secretly Canadian; 7/21)josephine

I’ve been trying to throw together my “Best Of The 2000s” list and Jason Molina‘s 2003 offering Magnolia Electric Co. (Molina‘s last album under the Songs:Ohia moniker, and arguably his finest record to date; always capturing his mood perfectly on each record) figures somewhere in there. Then there’s his awesome 1999 record Axxess & Ace (bright and lively) that would figure high in my “Best Of The 1990s” list, and I could also mention honorably 2000’s The Lioness (ragged and melancholic like Neil Young‘s Ditch Trilogy albums), then there’s the “working man’s folk” of Didn’t It Rain, I can go on and on with this- so when Molina puts something out I’m usually near the front of the line. So here’s Josephine now. I can say that it’s a good album, not great- nothing all that spectacular sticks out, even upon repeated listens. I feel like I was listening to this record with too much intent (if that’s possible, being a “reviewer” and all), trying to find the truly awesome passages- but alas; it’s more like truly awkward passages. Take for instance the most out-of-place saxophone on the album’s opening track (O! Grace) that’s used for no other purpose than to say, “Hey, we got a sax solo on here!” The horns inexplicably reappear on the sixth track (Song For Willie) that sound ridiculously corny. I understand Molina‘s loss (bass player Evan Farrell died in an apartment fire during the early stages of recording) but to make an album that’s basically two long goodbyes (one to “Josephine” and one to Farrell) doesn’t really play on any of Molina‘s strengths- he’s at his best when his music is unpredictable (here it’s overwhelmingly rote) and his lyrics have a hint of angry passion to them (again; here he’s just self-pitying, which leaves me to wonder- did Molina die or did his friend?) 6/10

I’m On A Boat…

The Lonely Island – Incredibad (Universal Republic; 2/10)incredibad

You know, I really didn’t want to review this record- I’ve been listening it for four months now and didn’t want to denigrate its awesomeness with a review. But there are too many great songs here to deny that it’s one of the best albums of the year- from the SNL Digital Short skit-based jams everyone already knows (the insanely viral Lazy Sunday with Chris Parnell, Dick In A Box with a metro-beared Justin Timberlake, a dirty-ass Natalie Portman on Natalie’s Rap) to the new ones (song of the year nomination goes to the T-Pain assisted I’m On A Boat; the hilarious ode to premature ejaculation Jizz In My Pants; lampooning corporate leadership skills on Like A Boss) and all the guest stars here: Julian Casablancas of The Strokes (Boombox), Norah Jones (Dreamgirl), an uncredited Joanna Newsom on the reggae-spoofing Ras Trent, hyphy Bay Area legend E-40 clowning Carlos Santana‘s foray into the sparkling wine biz with Santana DVX, it’s the funniest album since… since… (don’t say Flight of The Conchords, those dudes are only mildly funny at best). The only weak spot is the Jack Black (Sax Man) song, someone must’ve forgot to tell these guys he’s several years past his prime. Still, it’s one of the best this year, or the year 3022- the year of Space Olympics. 10/10

UGK – UGK 4 Life (Jive; 3/31)4life

Four years ago an album by Houston-based rapper Mike Jones hit the streets- it was all I could listen to for about two months that year, imagine me rolling in a silver Suzuki Forenza bumpin’ that jam all day long. Seriously, I even made Back Then my ringtone. Then, as quickly as it came into my life, it was gone. UGK‘s Bun B spit a verse on one of those songs, I remember thinking “is this the dude who rapped on Jay-Z‘s Big Pimpin back in the day?” Yeah, that’s Underground Kingz– the duo of Bun B and Pimp C. Some of this album was finished after Pimp died in December of ’07, so it’s as if he’s rapping from the grave on some of these tracks. Nevertheless, it lacks the infectiousness of some recent hip-hop favorites (Clipse‘s Hell Hath No Fury is one I can think of). Some of the tracks are bangers, re-calling their 2007 International Player’s Ball (I Choose You); you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting that song two years ago. But, some of the songs are straight clunkers (all that new jack R&B shit is just whack- singers Raheem DeVaughn and Akon kill the momentum with their shmoove shit); but songs featuring West Coast legends Snoop Dogg, E-40 and Too Short are all tight. When it’s hip-hop, it’s a hell of a record, when there’s all those corny R&B hooks, it’s just hurtin’. Pimp C, rest in peace. 7/10

Suckers – Suckers EP (IAMSOUND; 4/14)suckers

First off, four songs at sixteen minutes is too short, and I’d only say that because this is good enough that I want more, at least 40 minutes of it. Second, Suckers make a unique brand of pop-meets-spiritual music in that they share a musical sensibility that’s equal parts Yeasayer and MGMT– so it’s both a gospel-esque sing-along (or shout-along) as well as rhythmic enough to get your head nodding, even danceable at times. Suckers are your urban hippies with synths- when music comes away from the campfire and into a studio full of electronics and midi sounds; the result is sublime- It Gets Your Body Movin’ is one of the best songs I’ve come across this year. 9/10

Magnolia Electric Co. – It’s Made Me Cry (Secretly Canadian; 4/18)magnolia

Jason Molina has a voice that could stop traffic- or melt your heart; depending on what your tastes are, I’d say he’s a somewhat acquired one that puts an arrow in my chest upon every listen. Bordering somewhere around a high nasal register and adenoidal warble, his lofty vocalizations are a cross between Neil Young‘s falsetto and Colin Meloy‘s whine. This four song EP was released specially for Record Store Day, and while it’s classic in its Molina-ness; three of the four songs feature piano rather than guitar, and it’s only six-and-a-half minutes long. It’s basically a stop-gap between 2006’s Fading Trails and next month’s Josephine. “Stop-gap” sounds kind of shitty; in actuality it’s a benefit record for the late Evan Farrell‘s Memorial Fund, Magnolia‘s bass player that died in an Oakland apartment fire in December, 2007. Only 1,000 were pressed, so if you have a copy, consider yourself lucky because I haven’t been able to find one anywhere… 8/10

Cryptacize – Mythomania (Asthmatic Kitty; 4/21)cryptacize

Mythomania is the outdated terminology for “pathological lying”; but there’s an earnestness in Nedelle Torisi‘s voice and something ancient in there as well. Ex-Deerhoof guitarist Chris Cohen‘s subtle studio wizardry (as well as singing lead on two tracks) is a perfect complement to their kitschy psychedelia. I’m drawing comparisons to a stripped-down Stereolab here; it reveals the wonder of a world we forgot (or never experienced)- the late 1950’s post-Sputnik sparseness of their sound is pleasureable in that it sounds simultaneously like something I’ve heard before and like nothing I’ve ever heard. It’s a musical conundrum that falls midway between a joke and high art; the riddle is how does this record sound so complex when it’s really so simple? I think that’s its instant appeal, however- it begs repeated listens, showing this listener more and more upon the next play and the next. 8/10

Diamond Watch Wrists – Ice Capped At Both Ends (Warp; 4/28)ice_capped

Hella drummer Zach Hill and the ever-prolific Prefuse 73 (aka Guillermo Scott Herren, whose latest record was just reviewed in the post here) unite for a genre-bending offering of the WTF variety, equal parts prog-rock mess and incoherent folk-via-hip-hop; exactly what you’d expect if you’ve ever delved into Hill‘s take on spazz-core kit skills (he’s the best in the game; if you say Don Caballero‘s Damon Che, you’re not only wrong but an idiot- everyone knows he’s a total megalomaniacal dick and he edits his own Wikipedia page entries). Uh, anyway- Prefuse‘s glitchy take on music combined with Zach‘s crazy rad drumming is one of the year’s most head-scratching collaborations, and it works to some avail. That’s the good part; the bad is that some of the almost 38 minute album drags along at times, periodically being rescued by Hill‘s beats (which P73 occasionally gives the “screwed & chopped” treatment to, slowing it down like it was sipping that Purple Drank). Battles’ Tyondai Braxton shows up on a track, but that’s about it for the highlights. 6/10

The Wooden Birds – Magnolia (Barsuk; 5/12)wooden-birds

Heartfelt, emotionally overwrought folk-rock; I usually love this shit (Iron & Wine and Bon Iver are immediately called to mind) but this is the main dude from The American Analog Set– and while I like their older stuff (they influenced one of my favorites, fellow Austinites Explosions in The Sky and got them their first record deal) they’ve veered towards a safer route as of late. This record follows that same “plays-it-safe” route as well; its songs are all four-minutes-or-less, adhering to that rootsy Americana formula AmAnSet frontman Andrew Kenny‘s been delving more into, and away from the seven-plus minute sadcore jams his real band used to play. Do we really need another album like this? 4/10

Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Glassnote; 5/26)phoenix

God, I wanted to hate this so bad. I knew what it was (electro-synth pop/rock), knew who made it (the French) and have read so much hype on this band before the album was even out that I was rolling my eyes every time I saw their damn name. Phoenix Phoenix Phoenix Phoenix Phoenix Phoenix every-fucking-where. You know something, It’s not half bad. Songs like 1901, Lisztomania andthe album’s closer Armistice are a few of this year’s better tracks, and they’re all on one record. It’s like that damned MGMT‘s Oracular Spectacular– initially I hated its freaking guts, but it kept polluting my mindscape until one day I let my guard down and BAM! I got it. And I get this- it’s supposed to be fun, dancy keyboards-and-guitars pop for the iPod generation. That’s exactly what it is. Can’t fight that… 8/10