Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Last List of 2007

Before I can move forward and embrace the releases of 2008 I felt the need to share my favorite releases from the year gone by. It's just another list to toss on the 2007 fire. It was compiled and written by yours truly and as always I felt the need to post my opinions. Please free to share some feedback. Your thoughts are always welcome here. Thank you for reading and supporting the AGP.

The Ash Gray Proclamations Favorite 20 Albums of 2007

20.Sunset Rubdown- Random Spirit Lover (Jagjaguwar)
When he wasn't working on the next Wolf Parade album or playing with the Swan Lake Spencer Krug was recording the excellent Random Spirit Lover. With a solid song cycle steeped in magic and mythology Random Spirit Lover proves to be one of Krugs finest efforts.

19.Idlewild- Make Another World (Sanctuary)
Make Another World is a return to the guitar rock of Idlewild's early recordings. They've ditched the ballads of there last couple of releases in favor of 10 guitar driven pop anthems. A welcome return to form and great straight up rock record.

18.Menomena- Friend and Foe (Barsuk) This Portland Or. band delivered my eureka album of the year. How the hell did I go this long without hearing this band. Friend of Foe is filled with off kilter pop gems.

17.Modest Mouse-We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank(Epic)
Enter Johnny Marr for the most accessible Modest Mouse album without ever seeming like Brock & Co. were aiming for the top 40. This album is terrific, from the abrasive to beautiful and it includes my favorite song of 2007, Parting of the Sensory.

16.Buffalo Tom- Three Easy Pieces
(New West)
Three Easy Pieces marks the 1st album of new material in 9 years from Buffalo Tom. I bought this album because I'm a long standing fan of BT.I kept listening because this album is everything I could have hoped for,superbly written guitar pop.

15.Iron & Wine- The Shepherd's Dog
(Sub Pop)
Until his collaboration with Calexico in 2005 Iron & Wine albums were for the most part a solo affair. On The Shepard's Dog Sam Beam's lushed out vocals are supported by a wide range of instrumentation that elevate this album to Iron & Wine's best work to date.

14.Spoon- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge)
The little speakers are big fans of The Underdog and so are the rest of us around here. Spoon finds a way to be adventurous without ever losing their focus. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is a bold pop record of near perfection.

13.Ted Leo and Pharmacists- Living with the Living(Touch & Go)
This album was constantly playing in the car and on my ipod for a good reason. It rocks to put it simply. Recorded by Brendan Canty at North Brookfield's Longview Farms. Living with the Living is Leo's most diverse and politically charged record and it's also one his best.

12.Battles- Mirrored(Warp)
I cant remember having a listening experience quite like the one I had the 1st time I heard mirrored. Battles have created a blissful yet chaotic record with Mirrored. With each listen I was drawn in even more as the the melodic genius revealed itself.

11.Explosions In The Sky - All of The Sudden I Miss Everyone
(TemporaryRes) An album that improves on there past recordings with there most consistent release to date. Once again they prove to be head and shoulders above there post- rock brethren. A stunning listen from beginning to end.

10.Wilco-Sky Blue Sky(Nonesuch)
This is what we call a grower kids. Sky Blue Sky took some repeated listening before I got it. At least I think I did. It's about jamming at Bonnaroo right? All kidding aside, on there eighth studio album Wilco shed some of the experimentalism for some 70's influenced guitar rock. When the guitars subside Jeff Tweedy reigns the band in for the albums quietest but strongest tracks.

09.Circus Devils- Sgt. Disco(Ipecac)
Sgt. Disco is the 5th and latest release from Circus Devils. The on-going collaboration between Robert Pollard and multi-instrumentalist/producer Todd Tobias. You would think that with 32 tracks things might get tedious but it never does. Sgt Disco manages to accomplish something quite impressive, it reveals an accessibility without losing any of the prog-pop fire of the the Circus Devils previous output. To put it simply Sgt. Disco fxxking rocks.

08.Arcade Fire- Neon Bible(Merge)
Arcade Fire have followed up there sparkling debut record with an album that rivals Funeral on every level. Neon Bible is a righteous and powerful record worthy of your attention and praise.

07.Panda Bear- Person Pitch(Paw Tracks)
This record is remarkable. A kaleidoscope of Beach Boys drenched Psychedelia from Noah Lennox A.K.A. Panda Bear. Person Pitch is certainly more accessible than his main project, Animal Collective. However it retains the experimentalism and warmth that has made all his records so compelling. Person Pitch is a Gorgeous and inventive album from beginning to end.

06Okkervil River- The Stage Names
I was looking forward to this release all year and when it finally arrived it did not disappoint. Okkervil River deliver another superb collection of dark litteral pop. The Stage Name is an outstanding album From the guitar rock gem of Unless it's kicks to the stunning closer John Allyn Smith Sails, complete with the Sloop John B chorus. Without question one of the finest releases of the year.

05Dinosaur Jr.- Beyond
(Fat Possum)
I have to admit when I heard the original line up of Dinosaur Jr. was reuniting I was a little skeptical of it all. How do you follow up the three records that this line-up recorded in the 80's for SST? With a outstanding record that rivals anything that came before. Beyond is all that and more. Dinosuar Jr. has never sounded better to these years. Welcome back gentlemen.

Radiohead- In Rainbows (Self Released)
I'm not sure what I respect more, the fact that Radiohead raised there collective middle fingers to their label or that they've released there strongest collection of songs in years. It's hard to argue with this record being on the top of any year end list. In Rainbows is a masterful reinvention.

03.Animal Collective- Strawberry Jam (Domino)
To me this is the sleeper of the year. Animal Collective have successfully evolved without losing any of there weird charm. Strawberry Jam is there most focused effort to date party due to the fact that you can understand almost every word that vocalist Avey Tare and Panda Bear mutter. Strawberry Jam may not be just be the bands finest hour, but a hint at what's coming next. Deconstruction has never sounded better.

02.Robert Pollard- Coast to Coast Carpet of Love(Merge)
This is the record you've been waiting for Robert Pollard to make.Coast To Coast Carpet of Love is a sublime rock record full of hooks and pop magic. This album is full of remarkable moments, listen to songs like Slow Hamilton and Current Desperation once and you'll be hooked. Coast to Coast Carpet of Love is full of 16 creamy guitar anthems. It might just make someone start a band. Yeah it's that kind of record.

01.The National- The Boxer
(Beggars Banquet)
Ever since hearing there sophomore album Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers I've been singing the praises of The National. With each album the band has raised the bar and The Boxer continues that tradition. Like some of my favorite albums with repeated listens The Boxer reveals itself and uncovers some of it's hidden treasures. The Boxer is a smart and moody masterpiece from America's best band.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Superman Was A Rocker

This news comes to us courtesy of Rich Turiel and the good people at Rockathon Records. Thanks Rich.


Robert Pollard's Superman Was A Rocker is a return to old ways for Bob. This mini-album (13 songs, 30 minutes) finds Bob using recording methods that he hasn't engaged in since the old GBV days.

Bob recently poured through a bunch of old cassette tapes of his and found some great instrumentals that he either wrote or co-wrote, and never used. He decided to go into the studio and put vocals (and melodies!) over them. The music spans a 20+ year period

Due to the span of time and body of work from which the clips were accessed, many of the classic GBV alumni appear on this album; Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, Kevin Fennell, Doug Gillard, Nate Farley.

NOTE: The CD/LP will be distributed world wide by Revolver and will be in stores on JANUARY 29th.

You can check out the mp3 of Love Your Spaceman right here