Monday, November 20, 2006

2K6 in song

The Hold Steady- Stuck Between Stations from Boys And Girls In America

I'm sure I've said enough by now. One of the best pieces of rock n' roll you're likely to hear all year. The band always rocked, but never have they sounded so anthemic. Sure, the Van Halen guitar riffs, electric keyboard arpeggios and Craig Finn's Elvis Costello vocals sound a bit silly to the jaded and disillusioned part of you at first - but if you're not a believer by the time the guitars kick back in after Finn sings "We drink and we dry up and now we crumble into dust" during the bridge, rock and roll music is not (and never was) your thing.

Jason Molina- It Costs You Nothing from Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go

On the other end of the spectrum: Before forming a Crazy Horse-esque roots-rock band, Molina specialized in stark, introspective, impressionist folk. This year's Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go recalls that early Songs:Ohia material, featuring nothing but some guitar or piano, a programed drum beat, Molina's distinctive voice and an assload of room noise and ambiance. Never is this formula as effective as on "It Costs You Nothing." A foreboding pipe organ is the canvas, Molina's haunting, dejected vocals are the paint - what comes out is an eerie anthem to the lowest parts of depression and sorrow.

Camera Obscura- Hey Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken from Let's Get Out of This Country
I swear I'll make it through this blurb without mentioning how much better this album is than Belle & Sebastian's recent output.

Oh who am I kidding? It's all the best parts of that classic indie pop sound you grew up on without all the fey, overly precious bullshit. Throw in a 1960's Motown aesthetic, and you have one of the year's more perfect pop anthems.


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