...the Austin indie rockers cover "Peace Like a River", from Simon's self-titled 1972 solo debut, in their live session for Daytrotter, and they successfully come up with a few new ways to leave your lover.
They've actually been playing the song in live shows for a little while now, transforming Simon's laid-back acoustic plucks and hand percussion into the familiar framework of melodic yet sharp-edged recent Spoon albums like last year's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Simon's vision of the forces of history carrying people through periods of misinformation and thuggery remains resonant, and it's a nice change to hear Britt Daniel's gruff voice reaching up for those high notes. Spoon's Daytrotter session also includes a previously unreleased original-- the jerky and string-accented "Back to the Life"-- along with Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga's "The Ghost of You Lingers" and the Soft Effects EP's "I Can See the Dude".
After the birth of our son and the most serious computer crash I've ever experienced, I finally compiled my favorite albums of 2007. Hopefully, some of you still have some remaining iTunes gift certificates to experiment with or an emusic subscription that is begging for suggestions.
When I first started looking back at the music I acquired in 2007, I thought that picking a favorite album would be easy because a) there really wasn't that much good music last year, and b) I hadn't really picked up that much music in 2007. I quickly realized that neither of those points were valid.
Blah Blah Blah Disclaimer ... I'm not the experts, and I don't get all the free records that they get. To see the expert's favorites, check the links below. To see my favorites, hit the jump.
I've spent the last few days looking through my iTunes library and trying to apply some sort of Larry & Sergey algorithm to come up with my favorite album of 2007. This year will be a little bit harder than past years — for the simple reason that I no longer have my entire music library on one computer. It's primarily on one, but I no longer have my own version of "the jazz matrix" that I once had.
I will say that I'm surprised that I've picked up as much music this year as I have — so choosing a favorite album, or a list of 30 of them, will still take me another few days.
As you wait with bated breath, here are a few lists the experts have made:
1. The National - Boxer
2. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
3. Bruce Springsteen - Magic
4. The White Stripes - Icky Thump
5. Feist - The Reminder
6. M.I.A. - Kala
7. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
8. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
9. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
10. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
"Rock and roll is dead,” he says, voluble again. “Rock and roll is a museum piece. It has no viability anymore. There are great rock bands today—I love the White Stripes, I love the Raconteurs. But it’s a museum piece. You’re watching the History Channel when you go to these clubs. They’re just reenacting an old sentiment. They’re channeling the ghosts of that era—the Who, punk rock, the Sex Pistols, whatever. It’s been done. The rebellion’s over."
I'm glad to see Relevant magazine profiling what I consider to be good artists, though one could hardly call Dylan Peterson's piece on Pinback a "review" by any standard. Perhaps others who, like Peterson, depend on Grey's Anatomy and The OC to find new music, will agree with his assessment that Pinback is an indie rock "hit" band (whatever that may mean).
However, I believe that Peterson's inability to appreciate the full scope of Pinback albums might say less about the band and more about a generation of ipod 'playlist' and television soundtrack music listeners that are increasingly incapable of actually engaging an album for what it is-- namely, an album. I think it is a sad commentary on how we engage music as art that so few people I know actually consider that artists compose albums and therefore few sit down and listen to an album in its entirety.
Don't get me wrong: those that are content to pluck "hits" at $0.99 a pop would still benefit from Peterson's advice to check out Pinback. But, for those that want to encounter a band that exists as a creative force outside The OC and 30 second iTunes previews-- I would highly recommend the new Pinback album, Autumn of the Seraphs. The album has a great flow from beginning to end. In fact, I heartily recommend all of Pinback's albums (even Nautical Antiques, which is not technically an album but the compilation of several out of print EP's from earlier in the band's career).
I realize I haven't updated any of my BOOKS or MUSIC lists since before my blog hiatus in April. For that I can only apologize and say that there are two reasons behind this: 1) laziness/indifference 2) I have been working on an alternative to those side bars that will actually have an RSS feed. This is almost ready to roll. In the meantime, I thought I would give a run down of some of the music that has gotten me through the summer.