Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Willys - Part VIII - Finale

Here is my top of the heap.
Like many decisions in life,
there may be some doubt tomorrow.

Today, these are my guys...


4. Foals – Antidotes

Maybe seeing this Oxford, UK outfit is what it was like to see Gang of Four in Leeds in the 70's. Don't get me wrong. They're NOT Gang of Four, but they have that danceability. I'm surprised that they didn't have more attention in these end o' the year lists. I suppose that I'm the only one to bite the hook on this hype...With all the hype around TV on the Radio the past couple of years, I'll have you know that this album was produced by their guitarist. Regardless, I enjoy this in all its NME/British rag over-hype. "Mathletics" was their 1st single. "Balloons" (arguably their strongest track) slowly churns to a fever pitch. "Cassius" is simply a stomper, and "The French Open" opens the album with a march into the inevitable fast pace of the whole album. Much like riot grrls and Swedish music, Will is a sucker for any British Invasion.

3. Little Joy – (s/t)

The Lord only knows when and if another Strokes album will arrive, but it is amazing how their drummer, Fabrizio Moretti's, presence in this little side project shifts the sound the way of his primary band. Granted, Little Joy sounds like the Strokes at the Copa Cabana Lounge. Lead singer, Rodrigo Amarante (a Brazilian - hence, the Copa), sounds eerily like the Strokes frontman, Julian Casablancas, with his vocals distorted and filtered through a drain pipe. Free spirit, Bikini Shapiro, fills in with a mysterious and beautiful voice like Regina Spektor once did for the Strokes. "Keep Me In Mind" is the Strokes wannabe song but far from the best song. "Next Time Around" is a sweet ballad that finds all 3 of our players harmonizing over beach blanket riffs and beats. "Brand New Start" moves like a duet between Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello - simple and sharp. "Unattainable" is Shapiro's solo. It is identical to solo takes by Maureen "Mo" Tucker of The Velvet Underground (see: "After Hours" or "I'm Sticking with You"). At the end of the day, I love this record. In the dark, cold winter of Boston (it is dark here at 4:00pm, and we had a wind chill of -12 week before last), this little piece of vinyl will take you away to a desolate beach with a beautiful, warm sunset....

2. Vampire Weekend – (s/t)

You know? What more can be said about my little New England prepsters? I'm sure some of you STILL have not checked them out even after all my prodding. You still have time...Where Little Joy takes you to the beaches of Rio De Janeiro, the boys of VW make you feel like you are on the west coast of Africa having a beach jam off the Cote d'Ivoire. I must say as a Boston resident, resistance is futile as many have labeled this album a concept album about the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" will bring out your inner noodle dance - go white people, go! "A-Punk" will make you bounce right through the living room floor. "Oxford Comma" has all my favorites: chapstick and bow ties. You people owe it a listen. So, grab your favorite critter sweater from J. Crew, your Vineyard Vines polo, throw on your Sperry top-sider boat shoes and dance like there's no tomorrow.

1. Fleet Foxes – (s/t)

Seeing my rants about the 2 previous bands, you've got to believe in the quality of Fleet Foxes to topple them both. 1 of 2 SubPop bands in my top 4 (Foals), the Foxes were a breath of fresh air as Spring turned to Summer in 2008. Their sound is something almost Appalachian with the heavy reverb that My Morning Jacket has popularized. Many of you love Band of Horses. I, too, once thought they had something. Now, I realize they are a bastardization of the Shins, the Jacket, and some Jane's Addiction sprinkled in like vermouth in my Manhattan. No thanks. Fleet Foxes is everything that BoH wishes they could be. This album is nothing short of beautiful. If you close your eyes, it's hard to tell whether you are trecking the Appalachian Trail or marching along the Misty Mountains from Rohan to Rivendell. This band was not one of hype. They just quietly worked their way to the top of almost every list out there. I hate to side with the masses, but Fleet Foxes are for real and deserve your attention. These songs were plumb worn out in Whitney's car. The lyrics and melodies will haunt you. I dare you to resist. "Your Protector" is one of my favorite songs of the year. "White Winter Hymnal" sounds like O Brother Where Art Thou's Baptist congregation bathing in the shoals. "Blue Ridge Mountains" is their "Battle of Evermore" (that's one of Led Zeppelin's most blatant songs of Tolkien influence in case you didn't know).

I hope some of this music will take you to another place. They have taken me away...

Thus, ends the Willy's.
Hope you enjoyed or even read some of this.

(it ate up some serious time)

Please comment with your favorites.
***I'd love to hear.***

I won't chastise your love of Sasha Fierce.
I promise.


A said...

so much Fleet Foxes love in 2008. i should probably check it out . . .

i got (aka burned from a friend - dont tell the Feds) Stay Positive last week and I think it would've made the Top 20 if you gave it a full listen. I'm surprised they didnt release "Constructive Summer" as the first single! Anyone reading should download (or burn) NOW!