Archive for the 'review' Category

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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



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


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

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #14. Jessie Ware – Devotion


maybe in our wildest moments


Jessie Ware “No To Love”

Jessie Ware “Wildest Moments”

- almostaghost

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #15. Poliça – Give You The Ghost

Give You The Ghost


This article says Poliça was formed to “escape to a different reality,” and when you really get into Give You The Ghost, that’s absolutely what they accomplish. Autotuned vocals float over deep new wave synths and percussion, in more or less every song. But this trip into the alternate reality runs wild: from intense abandon (“Violent Games”) to more hypnotic grooves (“Lay Your Cards Out”) and back.

Autotune has a strange reputation (probably deserved), but every once in awhile someone uses it in just the right way to twist emotion into otherworldly dreaminess. I think it is safe to assume that the singer, Channy Leaneagh doesn’t need to be autotuned. But that she is feels right, it takes you to that place. Fun yet complex, unique yet inviting, cool yet emotional: there are a lot of contradictions playing off each on Give You The Ghost as well. But like the rampant autotuner, those unexpected contradictions make this one of the best albums of the year.

Polica “Lay Your Cards Out”

Polica “Violent Games”

- almostaghost

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #16. Ultraísta – Ultraísta


strange formula

Ultraísta is a band formed by Radiohead’s producer, Nigel Godrich, partnering with Joey Waronker, Beck & Thom Yorke’s drummer. They “discovered” a singer named Laura Bettinson and this is their first album. The music is based around Waronker’s groovy krautrock-type beats, the steady repetitive rhythm. On top, Godrich washes it all with keyboards and effects, and Bettinson voice drifts in and out of it all.

There is a slight feeling that the music/atmosphere takes precedent over the songs, but I think that will reverse as they grow together. This is not just a Godrich sound experiment.

I was looking over my list here, and I realized there are not a lot of bands on it, both up to this point and what’s to come. This year was highlighted by solo artists and projects with one main leader. Ultraísta is one of the few that is a real band/collaboration. Godrich may overwhelm due to his name as a legendary producer, but this isn’t going anywhere without what Waronker and Bettinson mix in.

Ultraísta “Our Song”

Ultraísta “Gold Dayzz”

- almostaghost

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #17. Glen Hansard – Rhythm And Repose

Rhythm and Repose

think like a boat and go with the tide

A little melodramatic fleshed-out folk music doesn’t hurt anyone.

Glen Hansard “Maybe Not Tonight”

Glen Hansard “Talking With The Wolves”

- almostaghost

AlmostAGhost’s Top Albums Of 2012: #18. Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur


love is a stockpile of broken wills

Initially, I checked this album because Justin Vernon of Bon Iver produced it. Fortunately, I was immediately impressed by Edwards’ voice and songwriting, which is why I it is one of my favorite albums of the year.

The Bon Iver angle is one of the last things I think of when I listen to this. Sure, there are some definite Bon Iver aspects–the drum builds in “A Soft Place To Land,” unique touches of slide guitars or harmony, the overall gorgeousness. But Voyageur though is Edwards’ command, and her clever, emotional songs make for a stand-out record.

I guess her fame/rep is as a country singer, but I don’t hear much of that on Voyageur. Instead of telling stories like country music, she tells emotions and impressions. Because of that it feels much more modern, but also much more personal. No two songs sound alike here. From soft stuff like “House Full Of Empty Rooms,” to rockers like “Sidecars,” to haunting melodies like “For The Record,” Voyageur impresses.

Kathleen Edwards “House Full Of Empty Rooms”

Kathleen Edwards “Chameleon/Comedian”

- almostaghost