The book’s closed on the first three months of 2007, which makes now as good a time as any to take stock of the quarter that’s just ended. Here are our favorite tracks from the year thus far.
Rosecrans BaldwinFake Empire by the National
The digital revolution has turned me into a single buyer, but I’ve really enjoyed this entire album. A single song doesn’t do it justice, not the way an afternoon does.
» Listen to Fake Empire at Minneapolis Fucking Rocks
Rich Girls by the Virgins
Lots of Brooklyn sounds like this. Want to eat this. Put the tiger pants on. This is sidewalk music for the moment in the same way Chicken Noodle Soup was sidewalk music last summer (though probably for different people).
» Listen to Rich Girls at Red Blondehead
Fluorescent Adolescent by the Arctic Monkeys
How long have these guys been playing together? It sounds like they were born in the same room. The Arctic Monkeys carbon-date a big portion of my brain at permanently 21.
» Listen to Fluorescent Adolescent at Your Head’s Not Right
Valerie by Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse
Loved the original by the Zutons, love this even more. Winehouse skins it. You can hear another take on the song, jazzier and apparently the way Winehouse plays it live, on Ronson’s East Village Radio show two or three weeks back.
» Listen to Valerie at Pop Tart
Llewellyn HinkesSaltwater by Beach House
I recently saw the lead singer of a popular band stop in a song, mid-mope, to berate the sound guy. Oh mommy, you never loved me HEY I said no effects on the vocals! I won’t say the name, but suffice it to say his music has lost all suspension of emotional disbelief. Live shows are good lie detectors like that. Beach House, on the other hand, were more like an amplifier than a lie detector live.
» Listen to Saltwater at SixEyes
Some Summers They Drop Like Flys by the Dirty Three
How did Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You Black Emperor get so popular while the Dirty Three got left behind? It’s the same sombre-to-epic rising cauldron of sound with a different style. Though they didn’t exactly get left behind, they still deserve better. Please, this summer, won’t you think of the Australian instrumental post-rock bands and give to the charity of your choice?
» Listen to Some Summers They Drop Like Flys
The Generation Exploitation Podcast
Comedy is such a fluid thing. There are no absolutes. Except for Moms Maybelle, who is the agreed-upon queen. She tells some raspy stories about spiders getting high and then a lounge tune and then repeat. She makes it look like an exact science. And the only way I could have found out about her is via the Generation Exploitation Podcast. Fine comedy content in there.
» Subscribe to the Generation Exploitation Podcast
Drei Zinnen by Niobe
It’s about time somebody started bringing some Glenn Miller into the modern experimental day. It needs to be recognized for the surreal, drowsy jazz orchestration that it is. Niobe loses a bit of the ’50s terroir in the process, and replaces it with the abstract soundscape.
» Listen to Drei Zinnen
Andrew WomackHeimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse by Of Montreal
I have reversed my position on Of Montreal. I love the new album, and I also love the Outback Steakhouse commercial. I believe Of Montreal, with five-plus mouths to feed in one tour bus, can appreciate what a value-dining establishment like Outback can offer budget-minded musicians on the go.
» Listen to Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse at SixEyes
Kid Gloves by Voxtrot
In what has been the fastest backlash in the history of the record industry, the public has reacted lukewarmly to Voxtrot’s debut albumwhich won’t even see official release for another six weeks. For those of you who haven’t heard the album yet, that’s like going to the ultrasound to find out you’re having a Republican.
» Listen to Kid Gloves at Baby, You Got a Stew Goin’!
The Nights After Fiction by Mice Parade
The Beatles kept Ringo in the back, so ever since drummers in pop bands have been relegated to the same spot? Led by head mouse and percussionist Adam Pierce, Mice Parade turns the melody-rhythm pop formula on its head. This song shows what happens when percussion takes center stage and everything else turns into a rhythm synthesizer, rhythm vocal, or rhythm guitar.
» Listen to The Nights After Fiction at Herohill
Pick Me Up on Your Way Down by Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard & Ray Price
Last month I saw this trio of country legends play Radio City Music Hallif you were walking up Sixth Ave. that night you may have noticed all the tractors parked out front. Price and his 81-year-old vocal cords warmed up a crowd that was getting pissed (and drunk) with every moment passing between them and Pancho and Lefty. But during the show’s finale, when all three were on stage, Price’s lead on Crazy left everybody wondering who that guy with the bandana was. (Roadie, maybe?)
» Listen to Pick Me Up on Your Way Down at In House With Jeremy Petersen