BotB – Drewl’s Top 10 Bitchin’ Albums

February 21, 2007  |  music

Poor Seamus. I think he’s been reading too much Pitchfork. I actually thought 2006 was a great year for music. I got to listen to some fantastic new bands and meanwhile some of my favorite groups put out excellent new albums that I actually bought! Also 2006 may have been the first year my top 10 list hasn’t completely changed after 2 months; I may trade out one of these for Silversun Pickups’s Carnavas or the Hockey Night CD, but the list below contains the albums I picked in January as my favorite from the Year of the Dog.

My Top 10 Bitchin’ Albums of the Year

10 DanielsonShips Danielson - Ships
What We Said Then:

DanielsonDanielson, like the Fiery Furnaces, is an acquired taste for some. Either you love it or you hate it. But you’d be hard-pressed to hate the album’s single, ‘Did I Step On Your Trumpet?,’ which is sure to enter the indie lexicon as a slacker mea culpa for accidentally offending someone.

9 IslandsReturn to the Sea Islands - Return to the Sea
What We Said Then:

IslandsThe more I listen, the more I likey. Fans of Rhymin’ Simon era Paul Simon, the Elephant 6 collective, the soundtrack to Delicatessen, and even the Polyphonic Spree should enjoy this big time.

8 Band of HorsesEverything All The Time Band of Horses - Everything All the Time
What We Said Then:

Band of HorsesEverything All the Time came out in late March and I’ve been spinning the shit out of the CD ever since. It’s the perfect album for listening to just before bed, or while drinking tea after a satisfying meal. It’s good for the digestion and easy on the nerves.

7 Pigeon John…And the Summertime Pool Party Pigeon John - Pigeon John & the Summertime Pool Party
Pigeon John Pigeon John is unique for creating fun, sunny-day, buddy hip-hop. The tracks on …And the Summertime Pool Party, his 4th LP, are about enjoying life, talking up ladies, and “let[ting] the sun shine in” despite everyday difficulties. It’s the perfect Los Angeles soundtrack, perfect for a town that’s frequently sunny but laced with smog. The beats bop along coaxing your mouth into a smile, and Pigeon John’s delivery isn’t tough or bored; he sounds like your goofy buddy rhyming about your unemployed life.

6 The Flaming LipsAt War With The Mystics The Flaming Lips - At War With the Mystics
Flaming Lips I think for many people, myself included, the Flaming Lips have become a great go-to band. I don’t often buy multiple albums by artists, even those I really like, but experience has taught me that when a Flaming Lips album comes out, the purchase will be well worth it. And Wayne, Michael, and Steven (and Dave) put out another awesome album in 2006. At War with the Mystics is weird, weirder yet if you read Wayne’s liner notes, but mostly full of pop genius. You can relax when you listen to this one; there’s no need to think about how Mystics will compare to Yoshimi or The Soft Bulletin; just enjoy. And back to those lyrics and the liner notes: they’re weird, but actually profoundly meaningful.

5 Belle & SebastianThe Life Pursuit Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit (Bonus Tracks)
What We Said Then:

Belle & SebastianAn album chock full of sensitive lads reflecting on girls and the local vicarage. What’s great about this album, though, is that it has so many appealing songs on it….I’ve yet to listen to the album less than twice in one sitting and I always end up with a different song stuck in my head.

4 Archie Bronson OutfitDerdang Derdang Archie Bronson Outfit - Derdang Derdang
What We Said Then:

Archie BronsonGahbless those twangy guitars and persistent bass lines, those crashing cymbals and frequent yelps. Whenever I listen to this album, I wonder why more singers don’t just bark when they have nothing better to say.

3 The Fiery FurnacesBitter Tea The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
What We Said Then:

Fiery Furnaces…at first listen though the recent Bitter Tea just didn’t hold up. But I worked at it, listening diligently, trying to figure out the difference between “Nevers” and “Nevers Again”; and then I heard the brilliance. Bitter Tea is a sophisticated morsel. Inhale the aromas. Let it mingle on your palate.

2 Electric PresidentElectric President Electric President - Electric President
What We Said Then:

Electric PresidentElectric President produces tasty soundscapes with notes of preciousness, like the Notwist fronted by Kermit’s nephew Robin…Isn’t this the stuff of a better life?

1 Baby DaylinerCritics Pass Away Baby Dayliner - Critics Pass Away
What We Said Then:

Baby DaylinerAt first listen, I thought, okay, it’s sorta like Har Mar. But the songs are much more polished and really catchy. Critics Pass Away is one of the few albums that my wife (who loves herself some hip-hop) and I can appreciate together. And it actually may prove to be one of my favorite albums of the year.

BotB – Seamus’ Top 10 Bitchin’ Albums

February 20, 2007  |  music

As mentioned in the introduction to our somewhat unorthodox end of the year Best Of list, the combination of our procrastination and our inability to make up or collective minds has led to your getting not one, but three, Best of the Bitch lists. Drewl and Chaddigan will have their chance later in the week, but today’s list falls on me so here goes…

My Top 10 Bitchin’ Albums of the Year

My list contains 2 bands from Ohio, 3 bands from outside the country, and 5 debut albums. We’ve written about most of these albums at some point, so I’ll try to keep this brief and just stick to the list. Anyway, that’s what you’re here for, right?

10 Bel AuburnLullabies in A & C Bel Auburn - Lullabies In a & C
What We Said Then:

Bel AuburnThis is music you want to listen to when you are getting ready to drive off a cliff after the girl you thought was “the one” broke up with you. It just might make your turn around.

9 Oh No! Oh My!Oh No! Oh My! Oh No! Oh My! - Oh No! Oh My!
Oh No! Oh My! One of the few on this list that I didn’t review, I was convinced after I first heard Oh No! Oh My! that they would be the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah of 2006 and, while they did open for the Flaming Lips for several dates, that hasn’t really happened yet. However, their self-titled debut remains one of the bitchin’-est albums I heard in 2006 and this song will make you check ’em out if you haven’t already.

8 Mates of StateBring it Back Mates of State - Bring It Back
What We Said Then:

Mates of StateI’m a big fan of their harmonizing, almost screaming pop vocals because their songs are endlessly fun to sing in the shower for both of my personalities. MOS coerces such an amazing sound out of just an organ, a drum kit, and those voices, which can also be fun in the shower.

7 Snow PatrolEyes Open Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
Snow Patrol Another one that not reviewed here, but this was one of those CDs that kept finding its back into my car CD player. Filled with epic soundscapery and singalongability, Eyes Open is one of those albums that was bound to be on 11 when I was trapped at a stoplight singing at the top of my lungs and looking like a fool. Plus, Snow Patrol manages to namecheck Sufjan Stevens along the way.

6 IslandsReturn to the Sea Islands - Return to the Sea
What We Said Then:

IslandsFans of Rhymin’ Simon era Paul Simon, the Elephant 6 collective, the soundtrack to Delicatessen, and even the Polyphonic Spree should enjoy this big time.

5 Josh RitterThe Animal Years Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
What We Said Then:

Josh RitterRitter’s fearlessness to mix politics with music has rightfully earned him comparisons to Dylan and Springsteen, but there’s also a certain amount of introspection, poking around with the idea of getting older that evokes Jackson Browne.

4 Band of HorsesEverything All The Time Band of Horses - Everything All the Time
What We Said Then:

Band of HorsesHow much would you enjoy a super group made up of Doug Martsch (Built to Spill), James Mercer (the Shins), and Rob Crow (Pinback)? Wouldn’t they just create the most relaxing yet rocking, strong-enough-for-a-woman but-made-for-a-man kind of music?

3 Tapes ‘n TapesThe Loon Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon
Tapes 'n Tapes One of my fondest memories of The Loon was driving home from a bar after my sister’s rehearsal dinner and my brother Ozgur turned to me and said, “Who is this?!?” I knew that we had somewhat similar musical tastes, but just hearing “Cowbell” was enough to get Ozgur to rush out and get this album. I realize that I’m teasing you by saying that and not delivering “Cowbell”, but I promise it will be appear later in the week.

2 BearsBears Bears - Bears
What We Said Then:

BearsEvery now and then someone tips me off to a an album that I had absolutely no idea existed yet it inevitably becomes fused with my CD player. I just can’t bring myself to remove the disc because quite frankly nothing else is going to sound better.

1 PhoenixIt’s Never Been Like That Phoenix - It's Never Been Like that
What We Said Then:

PhoenixFans of The Southland and other mellow 70s rock-pop stylings will enjoy this. I don’t know if it’s reception hangover, but this group of Parisians has quickly pulled even with Islands and Band of Horses as one of my favorites of the first half of 2006.

Best of the Bitch

February 19, 2007  |  music

It’s already seven weeks into 2K7 and you’re probably wondering, “where the sam hell is my best of 2006 list?!?” Patience, my monkeys, patience. You will be rewarded soon.

You may recall that (((withoutsound))) began just over a year ago, right around the beginning of Chinese New Year. Drewl had written a few posts on Blogger before that, but our first official post as (((withoutsound))) was on January 31st, the third day of the Year of the Dog. Soooo, in light of our One Year Anniversarycake, our talent for procrastination, and the fact that we’ve finally managed to recover from our collective hangovers, we present to you not ONE “best of” post, but a whole freakin’ week of subjectivity to celebrate the end of a bitch of a year and ring in the Year of the Pig.

We tried to mush our three “Best Albums of the 2006” lists together into one “Top 10”, but it was a futile effort and maybe that’s because ’06 wasn’t really an album kind of year. Sure, there were some good albums, some that might even be considered great at some point in the future…but when began to compile our list of “Best Songs of the Year” we discovered that many of these songs weren’t on any of the albums in our “Best Albums of the Year” list. And that, perhaps, is a sign of the times.

Album sales reportedly dropped another 5% this year and with the large number of places available to download individual tracks, legally or illegally, the Year of the Dog may be best remembered as when the quartet practiced in the park, and we sang dirges in the dark, the year the album died.

But I digress. Let’s start off this week with our list of…

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