Monthly Archive for December, 2012

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #5. Cate Le Bon – Cyrk

Cyrk

making it work

I wrote about this infectious album earlier this year.

Cate Le Bon “Cyrk”

Cate Le Bon “The Man I Wanted”

- almostaghost

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #6. David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant

xxx

million particles born today

David Byrne & St. Vincent made the nerdiest album of the year, which if you know anything of Byrne and Annie Clark is hardly a surprise. They created an idea first–horns!–and built off that, together. From what I’ve read, they traded lyrics back and forth too, finishing and adding lines, a true partnership. That said, a lot of the words do sound Byrne-esque, in how they effortlessly go from minutiae (watching TV, valentines, dinner party) to bigger ideas (“the forest awakes,” “outside space and time,” etc.).

There are a few songs on here which sound very much like their respective solo work, but when they do songs like “Why” or “Lazarus” where they go back and forth, it’s as good as anything they’ve done alone. They actually don’t “duet” much, which allows both their talents through. The ideas here are plentiful and thoughtful, which is exactly how you could describe David Byrne and St. Vincent individually.

Actually these are the toughest albums to write coherently about; this is just a bunch of ramble ideas I’ve had while listening. But albums like Love This Giant have a mystery to them, something that will keep revealing itself over time.

David Byrne & St. Vincent “Optimist”

David Byrne & St. Vincent “Lazarus”

- almostaghost

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #7. Bear (The Ghost) – What Was All This For?

if you miss my interpretations

if you miss my interpretations

I honestly know almost nothing about Bear (The Ghost). I happened on their album at some point though, and couldn’t get it out of my head. It kept climbing up my list, as I liked it more with every listen.

Their warm sound led to numerous plays–no required constant plays–as it fits all sorts of situations: both being played loud and soft, as background music or being trapped with it on a drive, during moments of contemplation or dancing around.

Since these are just 5 songs, all fairly lengthy, I could only share one mp3 here due to WordPress’ file size limits. And I would ask everyone to hear it all instead of just a song. Bear (The Ghost) also does not appear to be on Spotify or anything like that. However, you can listen to their album on their website here:


http://www.beartheghost.com/newcd.html

And I absolutely encourage everyone to do so. Bear (The Ghost) is my favorite new band that I found in 2012.

- almostaghost

Life In Mixtape Form #79

Life In Mixtape Form #79 from almostaghost on 8tracks Radio.

A quick break from the countdown for a mix of some songs, a strange mix of classic old stuff and some decent newer stuff and that’s how these mixes should be, I think.

- almostaghost

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #8. Hello Seahorse! – Arunima

al fuego

sonic ranch

Ah I wanted to write a bit more about Hello Seahorse! But it’s late and I haven’t the time and I’ve already fallen off my countdown schedule so I’ll be quick. And besides, Hello Seahorse! is from Mexico, and they sing entirely in Spanish so I honestly have no idea what the songs are about anyway. These could be horrible lyrics for all I know. (Don’t ruin the mystery for me if you know Spanish, thanks.)

But still, they get some fun drama out of their songs, and almost always get a good sense of movement in their music. The singer has a pretty powerful voice, which always adds to their momentum. The songs have drive, and even without knowing what they’re talking about, that much is evident.

Hello Seahorse! was one of the highlights for me at Coachella this year and this album, which came out 6 months later, did nothing to diminish that.

Hello Seahorse! “La Flotadera”

Hello Seahorse! “Para Mí”

- almostaghost

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #9. School Of Seven Bells – Ghostory

white wind to shatter the scenery again

white wind to shatter the scenery again

Sexy dark grooves, School Of Seven Bells-style

School Of Seven Bells “White Wind”

School Of Seven Bells “Low Times”

- almostaghost

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #10. Disappears – Pre Language

replicate

replicate

I don’t listen to a lot of straight-up rock bands anymore, but Disappears (who were one of my surprises in my list last year), returned just a few months later with another cool record. And while I wrote last year that their album was difficult, one that I would hardly go around recommending to people. It sounded like “garage band, but with the garage door closed,” as I wrote.

But on Pre Language, they brought Sonic Youth’s drummer into the studio for the first time (he’s since left the band), turned everything up a little louder, infused their riffs with a menacing repetition, and get a huge awesome swirly psychedelic groove going. Don’t mess with these guys.

Disappears “Hibernation Sickness”

Disappears “Replicate”

- almostaghost

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #11. Black Moth Super Rainbow – Cobra Juicy

meltin' like a sundae burnin' in my eyes

meltin’ like a sundae burnin’ in my eyes

Describing Black Moth Super Rainbow would probably be pointless, so let’s just look at some of the song titles and lyrics, because underneath the titles and vocoder and general bizarreness and analog electronics and psychedelia are some pretty great songs:

“Windshield Smasher”: “Show me the way you make my dreaming okay / you give me all I want, subliminally, in my sleep”

“Like A Sundae” : “I can see myself / Being with yourself / if the summer buzz would just wear off.”

“Hairspray Heart” : “suckin’ all the poison from a snakebite like a gummy drop / I’m just like a person with a hairspray heart.”

“Psychic Love Damage” : “your voice does this thing / and your smile could wreck me / the thought that we’d both be gone someday / tears me to pieces”

“We Burn” : “new days come around / at sundown we can change our faces / bad air all around me”

“Gangs In The Garden” : “When I look at you, you make my days seem real / you can rip me up, I’m like a orange peel / You should join our gang in the garden / Sacrifice your friends / We should be your only friends / You taste just like a gum drop / Yellow gum drops are fun / I’m the nicest of the bad ones / With my peanut butter lung.”

Black Moth Super Rainbow “Gangs in the Garden”

“The Healing Power Of Nothing”: “The healing power of nothing always felt so wrong / Healing power was something we could both feed on / Nothing works anymore, feels like it’s run its course.”

“I Think I’m Evil”: “dizzy dizzy lips so sticky tasting tasting everything lemon lemon I’m in heaven tell me tell me anything / I think I’m evil now / ‘Cause I’m already sweatin’ you out / You make me paranoid”

“Dreamsicle Bomb”: “keep me spinnin’ keep me close to your evil / dipped in glitter, turns out you’re my dreamsicle / now that I got you, my dreams are good / we can go fuck up the neighborhood”

Black Moth Super Rainbow “Dreamsicle Bomb”

“Blurring My Day”: “And the weird city girl says love me / The lawnmower girl says breathe me / There’s a fizzy little girl gettin’ nearer / And a horse-headed girl says join me / I’ll eat the flowers that you’re blowin’ in my direction / I have to say that you’re blurring my day”

“Spraypaint”: “First thing in the morning, won’t cry / Won’t eat a bunch of things to make me smile / I lied / I can’t be without you”

- almostaghost

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #12. Here We Go Magic – A Different Ship

A Different Ship

I believe in action

Just a quick note: Nigel Godrich was a fan of Here We Go Magic, called them up and offered to produce their record. They said sure, and the groovy and spacey A Different Ship is the result.

Here We Go Magic “Hard To Be Close”

Here We Go Magic “Make Up Your Mind”

- almostaghost

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #13. Julia Holter – Ekstasis

Ekstasis

this plane is taking off

Ekstasis contains many many ideas. Classical orchestrated electronics. Bits of saxophone. Haunting melodies. Warm vocals, emotional and icy. The background atmosphere of ambient/field recordings. Quiet drones, bursts of joy. The album feels accomplished, but despite all these aspects I point out, you won’t get lost in its construction, no. You will, very likely, get lost in its enveloping beauty.

Julia Holter “Goddess Eyes II”

Julia Holter “In the Same Room”

- almostaghost