Tag Archives: grizzly bear

Favorite Albums of 2009 (Chase)

Right now, I feel like a lazy bastard. 2009 is passing by, and the most remarkable event of the year for me was seeing Billy Ray Cyrus in a Starbucks. However, all my inaction allowed for me to soak up all the music and beer that arose this year.

It’s hard for me to imagine a busier year in music. With a slew of long awaited follow-ups (Flaming Lips, Eminem, Sonic Youth), new side projects (Bad Lieutenant, Beak, Them Crooked Vultures) and music news in general ( Blur reuniting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, Oasis split, Michael Jackson’s death), 2009 really out did itself.

I’ve put my picks of the year, in no particular order, below.

BEST ALBUMS OF 2009

Dan Deacon “Bromst”

Coming strong of the ridiculous, and often too much to handle Spiderman of the Rings, Dan Deacon set off to blow minds. Well, that what Bromst did for me anyway. A musical venture to Toon Land that never seems to run out of energy.

Flaming Lips “Embryonic”

I don’t know about you, but I prefer my Flaming Lips to heavily doped out. For the past two records, it seemed the Lips had decided to leave the psycho-tropics out of the recording studio. We here at SiA are pleased to annouce that with Embryonic, drug-induced music made a come back, and the Lips revitalized themselves. Hurrah!

DOOM “Born Like This”

Since 2005, the Supervillain himself, MF DOOM, seemed to fall off the face of the earth. Earlier this year, he dropped the “MF” from his name and unleashed his best solo outing to date upon the world. Featuring some excellent J Dilla production and unprecedented DOOM flow, it was a most welcome return.

Animal Collective “Merriweather Post Pavilion”
Album after album, Animal Collective manage to hone their experimental music in to a finer degree. MWPP is an instant classic. It’s one of those career defining albums that will be a benchmark for the band’s potential. After this can only be mind shattering greatness, or disappointment.

Grizzly Bear “Veckatimest”

Before Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear proved that they were a great atmospheric band. But previous albums failed to make it past a 3 month rotation. This one, however, is different. GB forged together a great pop record, while maintaining that atmosphere the indie crowd tends to admire.

Raekwon “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. 2
Good hip-hop is hard to come by these days. I’ve had Ghostface Killah carrying the torch for the past few years, but his recent stumbles had me worried. Have no fear, Raekwon is here! The long awaited follow-up exceeds all expectations, and is one the best hip-hop records in the past 3 years.

Tom Waits “Glitter and Doom Live”
The Gravely One rarely tours, and his sold-out tour across America last year was not to be missed. Sadly, I did. Thankfully, snippets from the tour have been pieced together on this most excellent of live albums. His voice harsh as ever, his stage banter still supreme, and alternate versions of recent songs and classics make Glitter and Doom Live essential to fans of……well, music.
Dirty Projectors “Bitte Orca”
To say that the Dirty Projectors’ music is eccentric, is a bit of an understatement. Starts, stops, blips, beeps, and occasionally incomprehensible lyrics can scare some people off. Bitte Orca saw the group tighten things up a bit, and put out a stellar record worth hundreds of revisits. No wonder why David Byrne loves them so.

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Animal Collective

No one really grabbed 2009 by the nuggets quite like Animal Collective did. They started off by releasing some of the best music of the year/their career in January with Merriweather Post Pavilion. Next, they supported that album with a great tour across the nation, with several major festival stops. They compiled an excellent box set of their work. And they finish the year strong with the 30+ minute Fall Be Kind EP, which shows that MWPP wasn’t their creative peak!

DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR

Eminem’s Return To Music
I can admit, I’m not that big of an Eminem fan. His first few albums were juvenile, fun, somewhat creative and always interesting. His issues with self-image and drug abuse led him to rehab and a few years out of the limelight. 2009 was supposed to be his big comeback, but all we got was Relapse. A record with half-assed writing, mediocre beats and an Em seems to have lost all relevance to the music world. Sure it sold well, but ultimately the record was a creative failure. Maybe if I were 14 again I would have crowned him king, instead I’m just sharpening the guillotine.

-Chase

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Review: Grizzly Bear “Veckatimest”

Well, music blogs and review sites were set on fire yesterday.

No, I didn’t do it.

Grizzly Bear did it.

The release of their third proper LP, Veckatimest, finally came upon us. We were teased with a barely audible leak of the album in mid-March, which set up promise for what sounded like a fantastic record. Well, send that crap to your recycling bin (don’t act like you didn’t “get it off a friend” aka download it yourself!) You’ll need to erase anything you decided about the album, and listen to it properly. Because Grizzly Bear just put themselves in the running for Album of the Year, along with Animal Collective and Dan Deacon.

Those familiar with Grizzly Bear will find the band evolving from where their 2006 album, Yellow House, left off. For all the new Grizzly Bear listeners out there: Welcome! You’ve picked a great album to start on! Veckatimest (yeah, I don’t know how to properly pronounce it either) is Grizzly Bear’s most upbeat album to date. But, fans of the band’s more melancholic atmosphere shouldn’t be scared off at the sound of that. Grizzly Bear have the wonderful ability to create albums that feel like a trip through the woods. A vision quest of meticulously-crafted “chamber pop.” Well, Veckatimest still takes you on that journey, but now it occasionally has some sunny spots along the way!

These “sunny spots” (the blissful “Two Weeks,” “Cheerleader,” “While You Wait For The Others”) are scattered throughout the album with expert pacing. Like I said, Grizzly Bear are very meticulous when it comes to crafting their songs. And yes, I mean song-crafting, not just song-writing. Every song on Veckatimest is filled with acute instrumentation, orchestrated swells and wonderfully brooding atmosphere. This really becomes obvious when the album serves up the one-two punch that is “All We Ask” and “Fine For Now.”

Veckatimest truly is a great record. It’s atmosphere is perfectly sustained throughout. And the musical highs and lows are pulled off with ease. My only issue with the album lies within the second-to-last track “I Live With You.” Not to say that it is a bad song, not by a long shot. I just feel like it’s in the wrong place. My first listen, I had no issue with it, but having gone through record several times, I really feel like it belongs elsewhere. As it stands, it wedged in between the album’s final high (“While You Wait For The Others”) and it’s most beautiful low (“Foreground”). I really feel like putting these two side by side would render the listener utterly be-smitten. So now, my mind anxiously wanders during “I Live With You,” awaiting the album’s angelic close.

So, if you have yet to traverse through Veckatimest, I’m more than happy to send you own your way now. If you’re just getting back from it, I’ll ask you to just sit tight for a second. Let me finish typing this up, I’ll grab my headphones and we’ll take that trip together.

Good luck getting “Two Weeks” out of your head this summer….or year….or lifetime.

-Chase

Friendly Lists: Dave Dickinson

Today’s guest list is by Dave Dickinson, six-string strummer for All These Teepees. 

Favorite Songs of the Past Year: “reckoner” off “in rainbows” is probably my favorite song off said album, and it came out this past year. ya, it’s an “okay” song off an “okay” album.

Favorite Older Songs of the Moment: “can’t get it out of my head” by ELO. at least i think that’s the name of the song. it has been one of my favorite older songs for quite some time. I just can’t get it out of my head. “heroes” by david bowie makes me want to cry. bobby dylan’s “mr. tambourine man” is always a winner.

Favorite New Band or Older Band You Recently Discovered: grizzly bear is a band i was recently introduced to thanks to my good friend blake stewart, so i bought the album “yellow house,” and i really like it. i also bought the red house painters’ album “songs for a blue guitar” recently(thank you tyler dempsey) and i’m really digging mark kozelek right now. it’s my first time to own any of his stuff. i’m way behind, i know

Favorite Song Ever: “let down” by radiohead. perfect

Best Recent Concert: went and saw the meat puppets and built to spill just last weekend. it kicked ass. it also led me to raise my own expectations of my songwriting abilities and guitar playing skills to a whole new level. the meat puppets are bad ass mo fos by the way

Last Great Film I Saw: probably the fountain, it was pretty intense.

Last Great Book I Read: perks of being a wallflower.

First Album You Remember Buying: “back in black” AC/DC. oh ya!

Favorite Band to Hate On That All Your Friends Heart: i don’t know which, if any, of my friends like incubus, but i think they suck pretty bad. also jack johnson, but most of my friend share my dislike for his inability to write music. well, he wrote that one song, then made ten copies of it and put them all on a cd and called it an album. he’s repeated that whole process a few times now.

Best Purchase of the Last Year: fender american deluxe ash stratocaster tobacco sunburst w/rosewood fretboard.

Best Thing I Did This Year: as of 08’…decided to say “fuck you school!” as of 07’…helped form the teepees

Favorite Recent Drunk Moment: being drunk. dancing my ass off. it’s all good

Favorite TV Show at the Moment: probably “it’s always sunny in philadelphia.”

Favorite Video Game at the Moment: not a fan of video games

Most Commonly Eaten Food Product: sandwiches and hotdogs

this wasn’t on the survery,but:
to elliott smith-i love you and miss you everyday, you are my favorite

My Ringtone: