Best Albums of 2009: Honorable Mention

Exceptional examples of their genre:
Brad Paisley – American Saturday Night (Country)

Allen Toussaint – The Bright Mississippi (Jazz)

The Dream – Love vs Money (R&B)

Baroness – Blue Record (Metal)

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Best Albums of 2009: #s 40-21

40) Bell Orchestre – As Seen Through Windows
39) Rain Machine – Rain Machine
38) Antony & the Johnsons – The Crying Light
37) Fever Ray – Fever Ray
36) The ‘Chillwave’ Genre


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20 Best* Albums of 2009

*favorite, with a very slight edge given to originality.
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Art

Now Available for iPhone


1) “Is this art?” is usually the wrong question.

A-r-t is a word whose meaning we control, and all we have to concern ourselves with is keeping it a useful word.  Most arguments over whether something is art are really about how valuable that thing is. Good question.

2) By most worthwhile definitions of art, this qualifies.

Bonus: Jason Fagone’s exceptional profile of the author.

Preview: Ramona Falls – Intuit

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Portland has more life in it yet.  Why-haven’t-they-crossed-over-yet Menomena‘s Brent Knopf has an album coming out one week from today.  It’s called Intuit and represents the debut of his “solo” project, Ramona Falls. Continue reading

Reviewed: The Dodos’ Time to Die

It still ain’t broke.

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San Francisco duo turned trio The Dodos’ third album Time to Die (out digitally July 28 and physically September 15) is not a departure from the course set by their previous two, and this is mostly a good thing. The crew chooses to keep the guitar and drums largely acoustic, there’s still hardly any (noticeable) bass, and there may be even fewer effects on the vocals and guitars.  Still, this is a logical if small step forward from an already great band. Continue reading

Amateur Hour

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Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”:
Taken by an Attack

Back to the wall since 1893,
My palms fastened against my oblong cheeks,
I watch you stare and question, ponder why.
You question: “hmm, now what’s all this about?
What does this mess of noise and color mean?
Perhaps he is insane, and screams at his
Reality that is distorted by
His own perception, which mirrors his form
In all its bends and swirls of darkened paint?
Or does he represent one’s naked, bald
Humanity, while others hide in shade
Of soothing hats, afraid of the bare truth?
Maybe the answer’s simple, not abstract:
It’s just he has agoraphobia
Or acrophobia and fears of fall-
Ing off the cliff, or fears the vast expanse?
Is it his pondering that drives him mad,
Or does there lurk a real danger, one off
The canvas, one that will tear him apart?”

You ask me whom I’m screaming at and what,
If anything, I’m saying. Well, here goes:
I scream at you, and what I scream is “Stop!”

(spring 2006)