Thursday, January 29, 2009

Releases, Part I

I was terrible at posting about music last year. Don't know why. Maybe I was just uninspired about last year's music. Or maybe I was just lazy. (I was just lazy.) I'll be better this year, I promise.

Last week's releases are a good place to start. I mean, there were four new releases that I would've been excited about any release day, plus the new Bon Iver EP. I'll skip the Bon Iver because I don't really know him all that well. The EP is great though.

Okay, I'll start here and continue in the next post:

A.C. Newman - Get Guilty

As much as I love A.C. Newman, I have to admit I wasn’t too excited about this album. I was disappointed by the last New Pornographers album (Challengers) and thought that his other solo album (The Slow Wonder) sounded more like an outtake album. Plus Get Guilty came out a frenzied day of releases. This was the album to slip between the cracks. It hasn’t though. I absolutely love it. Newman has been relaxing a little since the pop explosion of Twin Cinema, but it sounds more mature and less forced than Challengers. Darker? Not quite. But definitely more serious. And it sounds fantastic. This album will definitely stick with me throughout the year.

Andrew Bird - Noble Beast

This, along with Merriweather Post Pavilion, was definitely the two albums I was most excited about. Andrew Bird’s previous album Armchair Apocrypha was one of my favorite albums of 2007, and I have grown even fonder of it since. It was instantly satisfying, impossible not to love after the opening of “Fiery Crash.”

Noble Beast however is much more difficult to understand. There are no pop songs here. It’s constantly complex. Most of the songs are more like suites. This album is the very definition of a grower. Even as I listened to it the first time, it took until the fifth song, “Tenuousness,” to begin to understand what was I was hearing. It’s difficult to put into words, but this is definitely not background music. It’s something that requires your undivided attention, because just a passing listen will leave you completely unsatisfied. It’s all great to hear as a package. There are a couple of songs that stand out, but they are much weaker without the surrounding songs. This album is a worthwhile experience, but not an easy experience.

Also if you pick up this album, go ahead and get the deluxe version with the instrumental bonus disc, Useless Creatures. It’s worth the extra money.

And I like the cover better.