Monday, July 16, 2007

My Siren Pick! Black Lips!

The band I'm most looking forward to this weekend when the Village Voice Siren Music Festival rolls into town has to be the Black Lips(they're on something called myspace). They've been given kudos by Deerhunter and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, everyone seems to think they're amongst the best live bands around, just today Pitchfork called their Vice Records released live album one of the Most Overlooked Albums of the Year So Far. Here's a taste:

Other than that I'm looking forward to M.I.A., the Twilight Sad, and Nathan's Hot Dogs. Plus sun-burn and swamp ass! Don't get no better than that.

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UCB in Central Park

This year's UCB in Central Park lineup lacks the star wattage of the last two years. In year one it was an ASSCAT in Central Park featuring the original UCB four as well as Horatio Sanz, Rob Riggle, Rob Heubel, and several others. The next year they out did themselves with appearances from Todd Barry(the night's stand out), three of four UCB originals, Aziz Ansari, Paul Scheer and others. This year however the emphasis is on UCB's more specialized items. This however is probably not such a bad deal.

On tap for this Thursday at 7:30 is a diverse and wonderful lineup. Slovin and Allen, Rebecca Drysdale and Reggie Watts are all acts I can give the stamp of approval. On top of that I've heard wonderful things about Stickerbook. Not good enough? Fine it's hosted by Rob Riggle and Horatio Sanz and Demetri Martin is at the top of the bill. Are you Happy? I am.

The Line Up.

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Top Ten Albums this Year so Far...

A year is best judged not in the albums that make lists but in the ones you just couldn't fit in. This year has that list has spiralled out of control and it's not even the fall: White Stripes, No Age, St. Vincent, Wold, Battles, Boris, Patton Oswalt, Deerhoof, Times New Viking, Justice, Arcade Fire, The Ponys, El-P, and Twilight Sad. To name the ones that I'm thinking of now. It's early and our cup runneth over. It's a great time to be an adventurous music fan ain't it?

10) Paul F. Tompkins Impersonal
Perspective is the key to comedy. Having a unique disposition and articulating that to an audience. On this, a run through some of his most tride and true material, Paul F. Tompkins does just that and his happens to be one of the most distinct comedic voices of our time. If you think the comedy album is dead you probably don't know much about comedy.

9) Panda Bear Person Pitch
Nothing is totally new. Not even the Animal Collective with their drum circles and Beach Boy harmonies and No Wave atonality can claim no forebearers. What they can claim is a totally new structure of what being in a band means. How else can you explain a band who can unleash one of the finest albums of the year as a solo album without even the slightest bit of break up suspicion. What Person Pitch does is to capitalize on the sweetest elements of earlier Collective efforts and drag them out into their blissful extremes. Extreme bliss music, this is avant garde?

8) The National Boxer
Subtle and boring live so close together they often seem to be one in the same. However The National know subtle and they don't give boring the time of day. The band, who once were upstaged by the hype around Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! and who this year decided to ride some opening slots for the hype machine around Arcade Fire's Neon Bible to wider press coverage, their hero moves (Matt Berninger's Mark Knopfler croon and esspecially those drums) that hit with the intensity of a single hair standing on end. Inspite of that they bring more drama than the fatalists in the aformentioned Canadian colective's latest and they do it with a sense of economy that makes this album cat nip for rockists. "It's a grower man."

7) Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Spoon are not peerless they just sit on a short list. Spoon and Yo La Tengo are the indie elder statesman at this point. And as a result they get alot of rope (ie: embarrasing album titles slipping into the market). But they also lose that luster that a newer artist might get. Instead they consistently release stupendous albums stuck to the lower rungs of year end (and mid year) lists. Ga is their best since that album that you liked better (Kill the Moonlight in my opinion) and like Yo La's last it has higher production values and more bells and whistles than any of their previous releases.

5 & 6) Deerhunter Cryptograms, Flurescent Gray

The rock and roll experience seems to change so much and yet in some ways so little. The buzz is still the same when a band comes along doing things you've heard before but allowing you to hear it with new ears. And watching a band hit it's stride is still feels as exciting as ever. Deerhunter hit their stride with Cryptograms, an album with an excellent grasp on the artsy vs. accesability divide. That wasn't enough though. They had to save four of their finest songs and a few shots of artistic growth for an EP released just a few months after the full length. Here's hoping they haven't blown their wad.

4) Marnie Stern In Advance of the Broken Arm
Zach Hill has done more to advance the prog influence on indie rock than anyone. More even than the Friedbergers. Creating time signature bending album rock with Hella on Kill Rock Stars released albums might have seemed unlikely ten years ago but this year the arival of Marnie Stern through that label's hallowed halls seems more destiny than quirky lark. Stern rattles cages shreds and shouts and closes out with the best high concept rock song of the decade. Some musicians empower you, make you feel like anyone can play, and some lay waist to your rock and roll fantasies and make you want to become a gym teacher. Marnie Stern is most definatly the latter.

3) Dan Deacon Spiderman of the Rings

With a noise rock sense of fuck-off-ery and a pop sense of melody theft and big idea bombast Dan Deacon has become the "it" party starter of the year. His statements are grand and yet self effacingly simple. This man may in fact be the electronic Ramones. Bald spots are the new helmut hair. Sweat stains are the new ripped jeans. Act accordingly and put your cameras away.

2) LCD Soundsystem Sound of Silver

Pop albums are fleeting, dance albums are even more fleeting and lack the cultural omnipitence needed to seem note worthy. Why then is the best rock hero invented post Eminem a dancey pop artist? How is it that the inspite of the death of the album James Murphy has been able to craft an hour of invention and splended repeatability? If you're not in love already there is no converting you. If you are there's no turning back.

1) Liars Liars

It's not out yet but this is the cloud of post punk fury is the elephant in the indie album room waiting to explode in your eardrum and make your face freeze in a palsyed state. Remember when They Were Wrong So We Drowned came out and sadened your sense of hope for this band? Then remember last year when Drums Not Dead curbed your fears and made you accept that Liars were no longer rock band?

Well they've decided to flip those expectations once again. From her on out they've established the precedent: no expectations. It's the Liars roller coaster and I'm on board. (The album "drops" August 28th)

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