will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to listen to and review one album from each year of my life, 1973 to 2022. The only qualification is that it has to be an album I’ve not reviewed previously.
Album: I Love You, Honeybear Artist: Father John Misty Release Date: February 9, 2015 Label: Bella Union | Sub Pop Favorite Tracks:
I Love You, Honeybear
Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)
Bored in the USA
Thoughts: Father John Misty is a name I’m been familiar with for several years, memorable because of it’s oddity and association with photos of a young, bearded man. But had I ever listened to his music? No. This is the second album Josh Tillman released under the pseudonym/character Father John Misty after leaving the band Fleet Foxes. The album draws inspiration from Hillman’s recent marriage and works as a satire of the raw vulnerability of white male singer/songwriters that goes so hard it becomes the real thing. Influences and similarities in the Misty sound can be made with 60s baroque pop, early 70s Elton John, Harry Nilsson, and Randy Newman, as well as with contemporaries like John Grant and Lana Del Ray. On first listen, it’s not music I dislike but I also feel it would be hard to love. That being said, I also sense that this is the type of album that would reward multiple listens. Rating: ***
The Boston duo MEDIOCRE, Piper Torrison and Keely Martin, are better than their name implies. On “Pop Song Baby” they take on misogyny in the music business with raging guitars and joyous pop punk. The song is one of five on the band’s new EP To Know You’re Screwed. And the title track features a comic video filmed on location in Boston so here’s a bonus song of the week.
Who Is She? is a supergroup of Seattle artists Bree McKenna of Tacocat, Robin Edwards AKA Lisa Prank, and Julia Shapiro of Chastity Belt. I haven’t heard of any of these artists/groups individually, but I am intrigued. The song is based on Le Tigre’s “My Metrocard” and is suitably named after a transit pass used in the Puget Sound region of Washington. Lyrically the song is a takedown of Amazon head honcho Jeffrey Bezos
I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to listen to and review one album from each year of my life, 1973 to 2022. The only qualification is that it has to be an album I’ve not reviewed previously.
Album: When I Was Born for the 7th Time Artist: Cornershop Release Date: 8 September 1997 Label: Wiiija Favorite Tracks:
Sleep on the Left Side
Brimful of Asha
Butter the Soul
We’re in Yr Corner
What is Happening?
Good to Be on the Road Back Home
It’s Indian Tobacco My Friend
So far in 50 Years, 50 Albums project I’ve split listening to some old favorites with listening to albums for the first time. When I Was Born for the 7th Time is an old favorite that I haven’t listened to in a long time. I remember considering this album for my list of 250 favorite albums last year and I now I regret that it didn’t make the cut! Cornershop are an indie rock band from Leceister, England. Back in 1997 this album stood out because Cornershop included musical and lyrical references to the band members’ South Asian heritage which wasn’t all too common back then.
This album is truly eccletic as it mixes low-fi indie rock with raga rock, electronica, hip hop, retro-funk, folk music, classic rock, and sound collage. The whole vibe this album gives off is relaxed and cool, and the lyrics are clever and incisive. Guest artists include Paula Frazer (who duets on “Good to Be on the Road Back Home”), Justin Warfield (who raps on “Candyman”), and beat poet Allen Ginsberg (spoken word on “When the Light Appears Boy”). The best known track is the classic “Brimful of Asha” which brought the band international attention after a remix by Norman Cook. The album concludes with a cover of The Beatles “Norwegian Wood” translated into Punjabi, which brings the use of Indian music in English rock full circle.
I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to listen to and review one album from each year of my life, 1973 to 2022. The only qualification is that it has to be an album I’ve not reviewed previously. I
Note: Each week I’m choosing a year randomly and then deciding what album to listen to from that year. You can help by voting in the poll below! Next week’s year is
Album: Puberty 2 Artist: Mitski Release Date: June 17, 2016 Label: Dead Oceans Favorite Tracks:
Your Best American Girl
I Bet on Losing Dogs
“Your Best American Girl” was my introduction to Mitski. The guitar on the transition from the verses to chorus caused my soul to separate from my body. And yet, while I listened to and reviewed Mitski’s more recent albums Be The Cowboy and Laurel Hell, I’d never listened to Puberty 2. Which is a shame, really, because this may be the best of those three albums. The only problem with Puberty 2 is that it’s too short at 31:21!
Mitski’s distorted guitar dominates the album and yet it feels defiantly different from the indie rock sound it’s grown out of. A lot of different music styles are thrown into the mix but so smoothly that you can’t see the seams. How can this music be punk and ethereal simultaneously? Lyrically, the songs deal with the idea of adjusting to adulthood in one’s mid-twenties, needing to repress things to be “mature,” but burbling with emotion underneath. That all comes out in the music, but it’s cathartic rather than wallowing in self-pity.
The Portland, OR duo of Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss (formerly of Sleater-Kinney) return after a 10-year absence with a single from their upcoming album Breaking the Balls of History. “Doomscrollers” is a jaunty tune about finding solace in the small things amid the many crises of the past ___ years.
New Yo La Tengo is always a good thing! Even if it sounds a whole lot lie old Yo La Tengo, which is a surprise for a band known for continually known for reinventing themselves. Still, it sounds much better than their most recent albums, so that is a good thing.
Album: Blue Rev Artist: Alvvays Release Date: October 7, 2022 Label:Polyvinyl | Transgressive Favorite Tracks:
Bored in Bristol
I’m familiar with the Toronto quintet Alvvays mainly through their 2013 debut single “Archie, Marry Me,” which is a piece of power pop perfection. This most recent album, while recognizably the same band, has a different sound. Fuzzed out guitars play loudQUIETloud dynamics beneath the vocals of the captivating band leader Molly Rankin. While Alvvays clearly shows their influences – specifically Television, The Go-Gos, Teenage Fan Club, Yo La Tengo, and The Smiths – their sound is definitely their own.