This wouldn’t be a proper “here’s what I’ve been listening to” without a GeofCast episode, right? 🙂 Listen while you read.
Let’s follow last year’s mojo:
- Date is in the range: 01 Jan 2009 – 25 Dec 2009. Any cutoff point is arbitrary, but this makes sense to me. I’ve been willfully listening to Christmas music lately, so this helps hold the list growth down.
- Kind does not contain AIFF [to filter out unprocessed bootlegs and demos].
- Album Rating is greater than three stars.
- Genre does not contain Concert Bootleg.
This list is unoptimized; it’s actually done in alphabetical order by artist. At the end, I’ll give a best-of list, countdown style. Because I like embracing constraints, I’ll give a one-sentence statement about each album as to why it’s just so darn good. If you’ve ever talked to me for longer than 90 seconds, you know that one sentence is an unreal constraint.
- The Silent Stars, Alli Rogers. A worthy follow-up to her 2008 Christmas EP, but with new tracks and more Alli goodness. The Silent Stars, Nov. 29.
- I and Love and You, The Avett Brothers. Glorious harmonies, well-crafted lyrics, and fine instrumentation: worth your purchase. I and Love and You, Sep 29.
- Noble Beast, Andrew Bird. Lush, dense, expertly-crafted pop/folk, with whistling. Noble Beast, Jan 20.
- Blood Bank, Bon Iver. A fun follow-up EP to his groundbreaking solo debut. Blood Bank Jan 20.
- Posthumous Success, Tom Brosseau. Less reedy pop/folk than he’s crafted in the past, but this modernization of his sound is still quite good. Posthumous Success, Jun 23.
- Oh, My Darling, Basia Bulat. Lovely pop songstress; bought this when I was after a girl who liked her music, too. Oh, My Darling, Feb 16.
- E.C. Was Here, Eric Clapton. Classic blues/rock from the master. E.C. Was Here, 15 Apr.
- Eric Clapton, Eric Clapton. More classic rock from a guitar god. Eric Clapton, Jun 4.
- Across a Wire: Live in New York, Counting Crows. Across a Wire: Live in New York City (disc 1: VH1 Storytellers) and Across a Wire: Live in New York City (disc 2: MTV Live From the 10 Spot), 31 Mar.
- The Hazards of Love, The Decemberists. Surprising for a major-label release, THoL returns our musical heroes to their literary roots to craft what lesser reviewers would call a concept album. The Hazards of Love, Mar 24.
- Hotel California, Eagles. Unlike The Dude, I do not hate the fuckin’ Eagles.Hotel California, Sep 6.
- Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes. Ridiculous harmonies, lush instrumentation.Fleet Foxes, Feb 7.
- Dirty Birds, Kat Flint. Red-haired songstresses always get me.Dirty Birds, Jan 30.
- Great Escape, Nick Flora and Film at Eleven. Nick isn’t just a friend—he’s a very good songwriter. Great Escape, Apr 2.
- A Kiss in Time, Patty Griffin. I love live music, and while Patty is anti-bootleg [booooo], this is good [yaaaaay]. A Kiss in Time, Mar 19.
- The Law of Gravity, Andy Gullahorn. I’m pre-disposed to love AG’s records, but this one really is good. The Law of Gravity, Dec 5.
- Around the Well, Iron & Wine. So, you’re looking at me, saying, “Really? A B-sides and rarities compilation?”, but it’s the second disc that just kills it—and Paul is right when he says Sam Beam compares to Elliott Smith and Nick Drake. Around the Well (disc 1) and Around the Well (disc 2), May 19.
- The Black Album, Jay-Z. I’m not hugely into hip-hop, but I like Jay. The Black Album, May 5.
- The Ultimate Blue Train, John Coltrane. Just a classic jazz album. The Ultimate Blue Train, Apr 18.
- Lie to Me, Jonny Lang. Bought this because I saw him live; feel like he’s better live, but good in the studio. Lie to Me, Apr 21.
- Three Flights from Alto Nido, Greg Laswell. Just plain good song-writing. Three Flights From Alto Nido, Jul 18.
- Blue Lines, Massive Attack. Portishead begat a love of trip-hop that I expect will extend into 2010 as I enforce my completionist ways. Blue Lines, Sep 22.
- The Luxury of Time, David Mead. Just plain solid songwriting, with a great pop voice to boot. The Luxury of Time, Nov 16.
- Jaydiohead, Minty Fresh Beats. Jay-Z and Radiohead, mixed together: yes, please! Jaydiohead, Apr 21.
- Monsters of Folk, Monsters of Folk. I think I have to make an obligatory Traveling Wilburys reference here; anyway, it’s got M. Ward, which means I was gonna buy it—and the album isn’t ill-titled. Monsters of Folk, Sep 30.
- The Sunset Tree, The Mountain Goats. Honest, heartfelt songwriting, honestly sung. The Sunset Tree, Feb 22.
- Z, My Morning Jacket. I love putting this record on when I need to rock out to something smooth. Z, Jan 4.
- Bleach, Nirvana. Yeah, I’m behind the times on this one. Bleach, Apr 19.
- Choosing Sides, Andrew Osenga. Get your copy fast!—Andy only printed 500 of them. Choosing Sides, Dec 14.
- Letters to the Editor, Vol. I and II, Andrew Osenga. Who cares that he put these songs out for free—they’re worth buying. Letters to the Editor, Vols. I & II, didn’t get blogged about this year.
- Live from Nowhere, Volume Four, Over the Rhine. It’s a great live record, and keeps you going between increasingly-distant OtR albums. Live From Nowhere, Volume Four (disc 1) and Live From Nowhere, Volume Four (disc 2), Aug 17.
- Chrome, Eric Peters. Eric Peters’s music rips right through my guts and makes me think. Chrome, .
- Behold the Lamb of God (10th Anniversary Edition), Andrew Peterson. A new turn on a classic record. Behold the Lamb of God (10th Anniversary Edition) (disc 1) and Behold the Lamb of God (10th Anniversary Edition) (disc 2), Dec 15.
- That Kind of Love, Pierce Pettis. Northeast Alabama’s best musical act [move over, Alabama] does it again. That Kind of Love, Apr 2.
- The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd. Yeah, I’m as surprised as you are that I didn’t own this before 2009. The Dark Side of the Moon, Jan 1.
- Dummy, Portishead. My addiction to trip hop would be annoying if I didn’t live alone; instead, it’s kinda awesome. Dummy, Jan 10.
- Kid A, Radiohead. I’m a completionist, but it’s a great record. 🙂 Kid A, Jan 16.
- Rook, Shearwater. Makes me think of a warm blanket on a cold evening. Rook, Feb 21.
- Dial M, Starflyer 59. Buying J.R.’s top ten CDs turned out to be a great endeavor. Dial M, Mar 29.
- April, Sun Kil Moon. Wonderful late-night music. April, Feb 23.
- Strict Joy, The Swell Season. It’s as good as people have told you. Strict Joy, Nov 2.
- Illinoize, Tor. Sufjan Stevens’s music, mixed with rap—kinda awesome. Illinoize, not blogged.
- Dear Science, TV on the Radio. I don’t know how to begin to describe them, but I like them. Dear Science, Mar 27.
- Hold Time, M. Ward. Not as good as his earlier stuff, but still a great record. Hold Time, Feb 17.
- Stockholm Syndrome, Derek Webb. Worthy of the controversy. Stockholm Syndrome, which I had before it ever came out, natch.
- Wilco (The Album), Wilco. I’d buy a record of Jeff Tweedy reading the Chicago phone book. Wilco (The Album), Jun 28.
- Wilco (The Album), Wilco. There are so many good songs on this album, but I thought I’d start with the opening track—it’s a treatise for the record and, frankly, for Wilco as a band at this point.
Are you under the impression
This isn’t your life?
Do you dabble in depression?
Is someone twisting a knife in your back?
Are you being attacked?
Oh, this is a fact that you need to know
Wilco will love you baby
As someone who “dabbles in depression”, yeah, I love this track … and this album … and this band.
- Letters to the Editor, Vol. I and II, Andrew Osenga. Yes, this is a compilation of tracks that he gave away for free; if you’re cheap, you can get Volume I and Volume II online still. But if you like it, buy the disc and support independent music. I chose “Staring Out a Window (My Confession)” because it just hits home for me.
- Stockholm Syndrome, Derek Webb. Okay, you can argue that, as a friend of Derek’s and one of the three guys behind derekwebb.net, I’m predisposed to loving his music. You’re right. But this is a worthy buy for the following reasons: a) it tackles prickly issues of sexuality that most Christians are uncomfortable dealing with b) Fred Phelps gets made fun of c) it’s Derek and Josh Moore doing their best Gnarls Barkley impersonation, without sounding like a cheap knockoff and d) he says “shit” on the record and gets away with it. Sorta. I picked “The Spirit Vs. The Kick Drum” because it’s just a kickin’ little track.
- The Hazards of Love, The Decemberists. Many long-time Decemberists fans [of which I cannot claim to be; I’m late to the game] would argue that they feared what being on a major record label would do to their music. But give Capitol all the credit in the world for letting Portland’s finest put out what lesser reviewers would call a concept album, and what I think of as “literature set to music”. The arc of this album is one unbroken story, and it’s just so well-done, with themes repeated and twisted as the album builds on itself. That makes it difficult to pick out one song, but I chose “The Rake’s Song” because that will tell you whether or not you’ll want to listen to the whole thing.
- Noble Beast, Andrew Bird. I really thought that Armchair Apocrypha was going to be the apex of AB’s music for me. I didn’t think that he’d make a better record, but to my ears, he did with Noble Beast. Musically, it’s just so strong: songs with movement are just such a rarity in popular music these days that hearing tracks like “Masterswarm” is simply astonishing. It’s impossible for me to pick out a track I love the most, because I love them all, but I picked “Tenuousness” for this GeofCast episode.
If you made it this far, thanks!
Yeah, I’m back to adding bootlegs into my rotation after a long, long hiatus. Part of it was because I was just overwhelmed by the backlog and wanted to ignore it, and part of it was because I got tired of going through them. But I’m back.
Here goes nothin’. The GeofCast is designed to be the music I would play you if you came over to my house. Since my townhouse is small and the Internet is ginormous, I’ve created the GeofCast.
My model for this podcast is Steven Garrity’s Acts of Volition Radio, which has introduced me to some cool music. I hope to do the same.
Songlisting [and a bit of why I chose it]:
- The first song is “Epistemology” from M. Ward’s latest album, Hold Time. Hold Time isn’t as highly-rated in my world as Matt’s last two albums, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great.
- The most infectious song off the new eponymous Wilco album: “I’ll Fight”.
- I next chose “The Snow Leopard” from Shearwater’s album Rook. I came across Rook from my friend and fellow Whiskerino J.R. Caines, who is my closest musical neighbor on Last.FM. Rook was one of his top-ten albums of 2008, so I gave it a shot, and I’m glad I did.
- My favorite track from Iron & Wine’s recent demo and B-side vehicle, Around the Well, is “Love Vigilantes”. Often, these type of releases end up being so much filler between studio releases, but coming on the heels of The Shepherd’s Dog, this has some great tracks, and “Love Vigilantes” is in the top five songs I’ve heard in 2009.
- I next chose “The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid” off of the epic new album from The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love. As it’s just one big sonic work of art, it’s hard to strip one song out from the entire thematic arc of the story, but I have. If you know me, you know I love Shara Worden’s vocals, and she makes an appearnce in this track.
- There’s really no good way to follow that up, so I just took a massive left turn. One of the things I’ve come to in the last year are mashups, sonic creative destruction when multiple songs are put together. One of my favorite mashups to cross my ears in 2009 has been Jaydiohead from Minty Fresh Beats. Here’s the mashup titled “Dirt Off Your Android”.
- Let’s go from hip-hop to trip-hop. Somehow I missed Portishead in the 1990s, when I was listening to really bad contemporary Christian music and far too much 311 for my own good. A friend was playing this as house music before a concert I was recording, and I whipped out my iPhone to fire up Shazam to find out what I was hearing. It was “Numb” from Portishead’s Dummy, and in case you missed it back then, too, here it is:
- Hang on, folks, as I take another musical detour. This one takes us to the fields of Illinois, where songwriter Andrew Bird toils in solitude. His last effort, Armchair Apocrypha, was one of my favorites last year, so I jumped on his latest, Noble Beast, the moment it came out. Noble Beast focuses even more on musicality, providing depth and movement to his songs in an age when most music sounds the same at the end of the song as the beginning. To highlight this, I chose “Masterswarm”.
- For this last track, I figured I’d throw my friends a bone and send out a [then-]unreleased track. Yes, I’m going to bend the good will of my friend Derek Webb and play one of the tracks off of his upcoming album, Stockholm Syndrome, that he hasn’t yet leaked to the world. If you like it, please buy the album so the wee bald man doesn’t kick my ass. Most of us will remember the case of the Jena Six, and the female in this song shares that spelling. Keep that in mind as you listen to
“Jena & Jimmy”
Please leave me comments, including whether you want show notes, links, etc.
I have them to provide and will go back and update this post. Mainly now, I want to go to bed.
: The download option will now work. Myyyyyyy bad.
: Show notes added.
taped by matt b. (trysomekef AT yahoo.com)
akg c1000s -> rolls pb224 -> sony mz-m10 (hi-sp) -> pc via usb ->
sonicstage -> wav -> cd wave editor -> flac via dbpoweramp (medium level)
Taper: P Dub
Source: Sonic Studios 6P mics>D8>cdr
Location: 10th row just right of center
Transfer: cdr>EAC(secure mode)>WAV>dbpoweramp>flac (lvl 8)
Taper: P Dub
Source: Sonic Studios 6P mics>D8>cdr
Location: 8th row on the right side about 10 yards from the right stack.
Transfer: cdr>EAC(secure mode)>WAV>dBpoweramp>flac (lvl 8)
Recorded and Transfered by: Brian Meccia