A Great Place to Sit #2

Tully Rohrer

December 19th, 2007

This is another view of the people enjoying the sunset at the Delicate Arch. I’m not really sure which one I like more.

The countdown nears completion below:

Top Songs of the Year

20. Handsome Furs - Sing! Captain
19. Beirut - Elephant Gun
18. Spoon - Don’t Make Me a Target
17. Kevin Drew - Lucky Ones
16. Rogue Wave - Lake Michigan
15. Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation
14. Band of Horses - The General Specific
13. St. Vincent - Now. Now.
12. The Shins - Sleeping Lessons
11. Caribou - Eli
10. Andrew Bird - Dark Matter
09. Modest Mouse - March Into the Sea
08. Feist - Past in Present
07. The New Pornographers - My Rights Versus Yours
06. The National - Mistaken for Strangers
05. John Vanderslice - White Dove

04. Iron & Wine - Boy With a Coin
I’m not sure why this song stands out to me more than anything else on The Shepherd’s Dog. Perhaps it’s that it is the first song off the LP that I heard, but I suspect it has a lot more to do with the beauty of the melody and harmonies. Even the clapping is perfect in this one. I do know that anyone I’ve played this song for has fallen for it, regardless of their musical tastes. And, I suppose, that fact makes it great all by itself.

Decide for yourself: Iron & Wine - Boy With a Coin (From the The Shepherd’s Dog LP)

03. Blonde Redhead - 23
This is the best shoegaze song since My Bloody Valentine put out Loveless. I still have no idea what Kazu Makino is singing about, but it probably has to do with the “23 enigma“. Either way, the wall of guitar and those “la la la la la las” will have you dreaming you’re in a movie as you walk around with this blaring in your headphones.

Decide for yourself: Blonde Redhead - 23 (From the 23 LP)

Top Albums of the Year

20. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder
19. Elliott Smith - New Moon
18. Blonde Redhead - 23
17. Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation
16. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
15. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
14. Handsome Furs - Plague Park
13. St. Vincent - Marry Me
12. Feist - The Reminder
11. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
10. Rogue Wave - Asleep at Heaven’s Gate
09. Kevin Drew - Spirit If…
08. Caribou - Andorra
07. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd’s Dog
06. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
05. The New Pornographers - Challengers

04. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
A step away from the violin-heavy style of the flawless Mysterious Production of Eggs, and another step towards the stuff of legend for Andrew Bird. While it lacks some of the timelessness of the Mysterious Production of Eggs LP, Armchair Apocrypha makes up for it in consistency and flawless lyrics. “Cataracts” is the prettiest ballad he’s done, while “Armchairs” is a moving story of love and regret, wrapped around Bird’s fascination with physics and the passing of time. On “Simple X”, Bird collaborates with Martin Dosh to provide a beautiful tune over Dosh’s skittering drum work. I originally felt that this album was lacking a standout track, but in all honesty, it’s just because every song is a standout track. And if you haven’t yet, see him perform live. Seeing Andrew Bird play should be on every person’s “Must Do Before I Die” list.

Decide for yourself: Andrew Bird - Heretics

03. The National - Boxer
From the moment I first heard the arhythmic piano intro to opener “Fake Empires”, I knew it would be an anxious, brutally long wait before the whole album was released. Luckily I got my hands on a copy a few months before Boxer was released, and nary a day has gone by that it hasn’t gotten at least one play on my speakers. People that crave happy, poppy, upbeat rock will not be The National fans. Which is too bad, because sarcastic, cynical movies and books are often those same peoples’ favorites. But if you enjoy a good spiteful, satirical look at modern everyday life once in a while, this album is for you. Take, for example, the frustration with daily life and the awesomely sarcastic final stanza to “Apartment Story”:

Be still for a second while I try and try to pin your flowers on.
Can you carry my drink? I have everything else.
I can tie my tie all by myself.
I’m getting tired, I’m forgetting why.

Oh we’re so disarming, darling.
Everything we did believe is diving off the balcony.
Tired and wired, we ruin too easy.
Sleep in our clothes and wait for winter to leave.

Hold ourselves together with our arms around the stereo for hours
While it sings to itself or whatever it does
When it sings to itself of its long lost loves
I’m getting tired, I’m forgetting why.

We’ll stay inside til somebody finds us.
Do whatever the TV tells us.
Stay inside our rosy-minded fuzz for days.

So, worry not.
All things are well.
We’ll be alright.
We have our looks and perfume on.

Musically, the album is no less brilliant. Take the piano work that Sufjan Stevens contributes on “Ada”, the gentle guitar work on “Green Gloves”, or the atmospherics of “Start a War”. The real story, however, is the drumming. Bryan Devendorf turns every great song on this album into a masterpiece, whether it be the cymbal-heavy polyrhythms of “Fake Empires”, the skittering work on “Squalor Victoria”, or the fast-tempo pounding of “Brainy”. I can’t recommend this album highly enough - it is a masterpiece of modern music.

Decide for yourself: The National - Apartment Story

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