Friday, March 8, 2013

Day Fifty-Three: Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs

Barsuk/Atlantic Records ■ BARK 75

Released May 12, 2008

Produced by Chris Walla
Recorded by Chris Walla and Will Markwell
Mixed by Chris Walla ("Long Division" by Alex Newport
Mastered by Roger Seibel

Side One:Side Two:
  1. Bixby Canyon Bridge
  2. I Will Possess Your Heart
  3. No Sunlight
  4. Cath...
  5. Talking Bird
  1. You Can Do Better Than Me
  2. Grapevine Fires
  3. Your New Twin Sized Bed
  4. Long Division
  5. Pity and Fear
  6. The Ice Is Getting Thinner
It has been a long time since I could just drop the titles of tracks in order like this, but that's always an indicator of how much I like an album--that is, when I was typing up the above information, I only glanced at the inner sleeve to be sure of the actual phrasings (eg, the tense of "The Ice Is Getting Thinner", which I thought was past tense, as it is at the end of the song), but otherwise just typed them out. Now, on occasion, this really just reflects a lack of memory as to where a side ends, and sometimes just means I can't put them back in order in my head. But when I can, it means I've listened to an album straight through--a lot.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day Fifty-Two: Dead Man's Bones - Dead Man's Bones

ANTI-/Werewolf Heart Records ■ ANTI 87047-1

Released October 6, 2009

Produced by Tim Anderson¹

Side One:Side Two:
  1. Intro
  2. Dead Hearts
  3. In the Room Where You Sleep
  1. Buried in Water
  2. My Body's a Zombie for You
  3. Pa Pa Power
Side Three:Side Four:
  1. Young & Tragic
  2. Paper Ships
  3. Lose Your Soul
  1. Werewolf Heart
  2. Dead Man's Bones
  3. Flowers Grow Out of My Grave
It's always a puzzle, how to present this band.

It's difficult to throw out a description of the band itself and get people to stop long enough to listen--two amateur non-musicians write strange, semi-macabre songs that they sing and play with a children's choir. A novelty, maybe, or a curiosity--but more likely, it sounds like something you wouldn't want to listen to.

And there's that other thing.

It's kind of like trying to present Brother Ali and skip over the fact that he's a white albino Muslim rapper. It's a lame pigeonhole, but it gets people's attention, and his skills generally hold him up past those facts. That's the sort of thing that should happen here, as well, but because we aren't talking about simple, concrete facts that we may even deal with ourselves, it becomes different. But, of course, I can't properly discuss an album the way I do and constantly write [redacted] for one of the two "founding" members.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day Fifty-Two - Needle Scratch: The Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt

Yep Roc Records ■ YEP-2015

Released October 26, 1999
(Vinyl released December 11, 2012)

Produced by Byron Mckay and John Howie, Jr.
Engineered by Byron McKay
Mastered by Tim Harper

Side One:Side Two:
  1. If Only You Were Mine
  2. Just Someone I Used to Know
  3. We Had It All
  4. Suppose Tonight Could Be Our Last
  1. Counting the Hours
  2. (I'm So) Afraid of Losing You Again
  3. One Paper Kid
This will mark the second time I've fiddled with the alphabet in writing here, but I think my reasons have been solid in their non-arbitrary nature at both times--last time, I was covering an album on its release, and this time, well, I'd just been hoping to see a Two Dollar Pistols vinyl release to put up here anyway, and within days of stating this "aloud" this appeared before me for order, which I proceeded to place immediately (of course!). In and of itself, that would be a bit of a cheat as there are other albums I've deliberately looked up to keep my end-of-letter lists short, but this one is a release by someone who has been open and supportive of both of my attempts at writing, including this very blog. That, too, wouldn't necessarily dictate shifting the order of writing, but the fact that it's his birthday? That, I can make an exception for.

Day Fifty-One: Darkest Hour - The Eternal Return

Victory Records ■ VR495-1

Released June 23, 2009

Produced and Mixed by Brian McTernan

Side One:Side Two:
  1. Devolution of the Flesh
  2. Death Worship
  3. The Tides
  4. No God
  5. Bitter
  1. Blessed Infection
  2. Transcendence
  3. A Distorted Utopia
  4. Black Sun
  5. Into the Grey
After a forced hiatus (stemming from borrowed cars and loaner couches), I am in a position again to write here and take up where I left off. It was fortuitous in many ways that this came when it did, as it gives me a chance to try to put into effect some ideas I had for how to go about this process.
Darkest Hour is one of those bands I found myself listening to more by chance than almost anything else. In the midst of my earliest experiences with metal--wherein I was leaping from the then-popular "nu-metal" acts straight into extreme metal of the "death" variety--I was left somewhat rudderless, but still quite fully powered. I turned this way and that, able to listen purely for enjoyment's sake and nothing else, as I gathered up the sounds that I liked without regard for community reputations, obeisance to or violations of trends or traditions, and without even internal expectations. It was a nice time in this respect--one soured quickly by my first community of musically-oriented folk in the heavier direction. The scattered voices I heard prior were also similarly isolated, and shared that lack of socially inflicted focus.

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