Spoon – Transference Album Review


With Spoon’s seventh album, this Austin-based band departs from their previous release, “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” by limiting the layered sound and accompanying horns that contributed to its greatness. “Transference” retains Spoon’s signature piano and stabbing guitars but casts this sound in a more understated context. At times this album feels like you are listening to an intimate bedroom recording or a demo and not a finished album. This works for me, as I like the intimacy that this creates with the listener. For some, “Transference” may need some time to grow on you (and your ears). Others, like myself, may respond to it immediately. It is the first entry on my list for albums of the year (2010). Sure we can debate the merits of where this album ranks in the overall Spoon catalog, but for the moment, listen to the MP3s and be thankful for 15 years (and counting) of Spoon.

Spoon | Who Makes Your Money

Spoon | Written in Reverse

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My Favorite Albums of 2009

Hey everyone. Here it is. What you’ve all been waiting for, my favorite albums of 2009. The first four on my list I have reviewed previously on this blog and have linked to those reviews.

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion
The xx – xx
Mos Def – The Ecstatic
Get Busy Commitee – Uzi Does It

Animal Collective – Fall Be Kind EP


Love these guys. This EP feels like a natural extension to MPP. The songs on this EP really have that classic Animal Collective epic, dramatic feel to them. The MP3 that I have posted below features the first ever authorized Grateful Dead sample. See if you can figure out the song. Phil Lesh sings the lead. Leave a comment with your guess. I think I just outed myself as a Grateful Dead fan – something Ryan Adams and I have in common.

Animal Collective | What Would I Want Sky

Deer Tick – Born on Flag Day


A little piece of country-folk-indie-Americana right out of Rhode Island. I heard that Deer Tick evolved from a bedroom project of one John McCauley, into what is now a full-fledged band. McCauley sings with a very distinctive rough and gruff voice, that really lends itself to the country vibe of the music. Hailing from Massachusetts, I take special pride in a band coming out of New England and I look forward to future releases.

Deer Tick | Little White Lies

Built to Spill – There Is No Enemy


With “There Is No Enemy”, Built to Spill has released an album that is right up there with “Perfect From Now On” and “Keep It Like a Secret.” Yes, it is that good. Gorgeous melodies, strong rhythms and Doug Martsch’s fantastic guitar playing. Some of my best memories are seeing these guys over the years. I haven’t seen them perform live since ’99, I am due!

Built to Spill | Life’s a Dream

Girls – Album


This album got a lot of play this year. It is a gorgeous album of dreamy, ethereal, California pop. It feels like Brian Wilson or Panda Bear could have possibly had a hand in this. My whole family dug this album, especially the kids. A few months ago, while driving in the car Cece shushed Maya because she was talking to loudly while we were listening to Girls. Sounds exactly like something I would have done to my sister back in the day.

Girls | Hellhole Ratface

Neko Case – Middle Cyclone


In case you have been living under a rock, Neko Case has a stunning voice. It seems to hover above her music, which creates a haunting, otherworldly effect. With this album, Neko continues to redefine country music on her own terms and in many ways has created her own sub-genre of country.

Neko Case | Fever

Japandroids – Post Nothing


With just a guitar (and lots of pedals) and drums, these guys produce one hell of a sound. Rooted in garage-rock, but more complex with their use of noise. Yes, they are loud, but inside of the noise, exist some really incredible melodies. I saw these guys back in November and they put on a fantastic show, one which I highly recommend.

Japandroids | Young Hearts Spark Fire

Buju Banton – Rasta Got Soul


This album by Buju Banton really surprised me. It is a fantastic roots-reggae album. I realize many will disagree, but I like it better than “‘Til Shiloh.” Buju’s enthusiasm on this album is boundless.

Buju Banton | Rastafari

Handsome Furs – Face Control


Handsome Furs is the husband and wife team of Dan Boeckner (of Wolf Parade) and Alexei Perry. Together they create high-energy, electro-punk (is that even a genre?) that is catchy and infectious and danceable.

Handsome Furs | All We Want, Baby, Is Everything

The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love


For some reason The Big Pink (isn’t that a Band album) remind me of the The xx. Both are youngsters from the UK, that create dreamy, electro-pop songs that stick to your ribs. This is a great album, noisy at times, but with enough melodies to have you tapping your toes and singing along. Listen to Dominos (MP3 below) and get a taste of what The Big Pink is all about.

The Big Pink | Dominos