Wednesday, June 28, 2006

In Hindsight...

Now that 2006 is half over, it's a perfect time to reflect back on 2005 albums that I and others somehow missed the memo on. While this is not an exhaustive look at overlooked 2005 albums, the following have really grown on me in the last six months.

Okkervil River's Black Sheep Boy didn't grab me on the first few listens. Will Sheff's vocals sounded a bit too whiney and the repetitive lyrical themes annoyed me a bit. What I realize now is that those lyrics are stellar. It's pretty depressing, introverted, Bright Eyes-esque music, but don't let the heart-on-the-sleeve vocals turn you away. It's also beautifully arranged and produced music with enough going on lyrically to keep the listener engaged.

Okkervil River- For Real

Okkervil River- A Stone

Devendra Banhart ditched the "freak-folk" thing for his current, less interesting, pseudo-hippie thing. A shame - because when done correctly, melding a folk song with macabre or strange musical elements or approaches can make for some amazing music. Joanna Newsom and Akron/Family are great examples, and so is David Thomas Broughton. The Complete Guide To Insufficiency is a startling debut from the English singer-songwriter. The entire album was recorded all in one take in a big empty church - just Broughton, his guitar and some effect pedals. Broughton's voice is like a more appealing version of Antony's from Antony and the Johnsons - odd, yet affecting. The album's dark lyrical themes (death, drugs, rape) add to the album's ambiance. If you want more information, read the Coke Machine Glow review, or get a few beers in me and then ask. I'll go on forever and then invite you to my house for a listening party. In hindsight, this may be one of my favorite pieces of music from last year.

David Thomas Broughton- Ambiguity

Hype is such a terrible thing. It taints our perception of things. Did I like this album because everyone else said it was amazing, or did I like it because it was good? Hard to tell sometimes. While the hype surrounding Wolf Parade's Apologies to Queen Mary certainly made me view it with a critical eye, I must say it has held up to repeated listens. Now that the sun has come out again, tracks like "Shine A Light" and "I'll Believe In Anything" sound absolutely stellar. Believe the hype - great rock music.

Wolf Parade- Shine A Light


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