Thursday, January 20, 2011
Guest Year End List: Andrew Cedermark
If there was one artist I wish had gotten more attention in 2010, hands down it should have been Andrew Cedermark. Having released some wonderful songs in 2009, the build up should have been massive for Moon Deluxe. It got great reviews from Pitchfork, bloggers loved him, and he even wound up on Stereogum's Top 20 Most Overlooked LPs of 2010 for Christ's sake! I can only hope that 2011 get's him the explosive attention he deserves. Mr. Cedermark was kind enough to do a guest year end list, and ever the originalist, sent over his top 8 "music related things" of 2010.
Weezer—Pinkerton (Reissue) This is the single most important album of my youth, and in its day was widely dismissed. Now with a perfect 100 rating on Metacritic it seems that all the fat high school kids who learned from Rivers Cuomo that plastic glasses were cool (I'm talking about me) have finally stormed the establishment—or have at least themselves assumed their rightful roles as poorly-paid music critics.
WTJU 91.1FM—I cover local arts for a newspaper here, and one of the big stories of the year was about how the University of Virginia was trying to increase listenership at our community radio station by basically turning it into any other adult contemporary frequency—of which there are already several here. It just so happens that this local radio station rarest of beasts in that it is free form, like WFMU, and counts among its alumni people like Stephen Malkmus and David Berman. The listening community rose up in glorious disgust, started throwing support (and money) at the station and eventually saved it from being sucked into whatever that thing is that is constantly making everything in the world the same. There are some times of the day when nobody is listening to this station, and times when nearly everyone is—the only constant is that whatever is on the station is really, really great. It's a very special privilege to have access to its airwaves.
Frank: The Voice by James Kaplan—I requested this book from my ma for xmas, and I can't wait to read it. It's more than 700 pages—and only the first part in a two-part project. Apparently a lot of what they say in there isn't strictly true, but plays to our desire to have all of our favorite Frank mythologies tied together. I'm going to eat it up like Nerds Rope.
D.B.B. Plays Cups—Eau de Toilette des Etoile
My friend David is a teacher and makes this music here in Charlottesville. He doesn't distribute it and doesn't play all that often. To my knowledge he has produced three EPs: Cups, Sequel to Cups and this, Eau de Toilette des Etoile. On each he creates a very strange narrative (examples include a teenage boy who finds solace in the bathtub, and another a woman whose life changes after doing an advertisement for expensive champagne) that leave you with a hole in your heart the way a good short story can, wishing you knew more about whatever it is he's talking about. And the melodies are amazing too. I think this guy is a bona fide genius.
David Hajdu's "Famous Door" blog at the New Republic—I learned a lot about music this year on this blog.
Invisible Hand—Invisible Hand (Funny/Not Funny)
This is the best band in Charlottesville, and kudos to the Creative Intersection for covering their music. The Hand has lots of songs, all very good, but the best one for my money is the first on their new record: "Two Chords," a songwriter's fond farewell—or is it a fuck you?—to the I-IV progression. The rest of that album eschews the progression entirely, which kind of stinks (there is a reason it is very popular), but songs like "The Future of Music" show that, if there isn't another road to take, even a low one, they'll pave through a strange wilderness to get wherever it is that they're going. Caution: this album sounds really, really professional, and rocks.
Liquor Store is fronted by my good friend Sarim, who was the original drummer for Titus Andronicus and a graduate of Glen Rock High School, like me, and who, unlike me, has a reputation for turning up in strange places. (Jay Reatard's final tweet, which you can still read, says: "I will give anyone a hundred bucks per tire that they pop on the band liquor stores van ! Yes I'm serious.") I don't think Liquor Store's album is out yet, and when it does come out I'm curious to see what will happen. Sarim's lyrical style can be so absurd that it borders on comedy, but in a Weird Al kind of way, more of a hash-hazy biblical kind of way. And like D.B.B., Sarim is a for real intellect, and it shows in his music.
Titus Andronicus—The Monitor
Patrick Stickles takes his music more seriously than anyone I know, it is in applying that selfless conviction to his own vision, which happens to be really good, that makes his music better than that of any other band going. It has been equally sad and nice over the past year and a half to watch this band continue its ascent to hights that are probably higher than any of us dreamed were possible as young idiots with broken equipment. I'm looking forward to seeing this album on many other year end lists.