Thursday, December 29, 2005

Tablecloths Gliding In Immediate Take-off

As pointed out in a recent Schneider post and Darling list email, the EP we recorded last year was reviewed by a French-language music e-zine, As a result, evidently, it's selling in Belgium.

So I'm no professor of French, which is why I had it converted to English by a web translator. What came out is a 'beaut:

‘Ground i's sound' this is as naïve as to fall in love and to feel jaunty, this also is blessed gods as a fresh shower squarely canicule, the sensation to be at the right place at the right moment.

Darling this is a little the brother more intello, melancholic and subtle of Human Television. There where the latter sawed us literally in two with as irresistible as immediate melodies, Darling arrives to the same result but by diverted ways, with more of depth and of musical wealth, evoking peels mixes The Clean and David Kilgour, the Pavement, Havergal and Modest Mouse of the beginnings, but with a good dose of reverb to the Chuzzlewit / Roy Montgomery, sufficiently of innovations, of charms the trust, And of introversion to leave mouth gapes.

Darling is at the basis an American, started one up trio to the fall 2003, to kill boredom, as a duet between Jeff Schneider and Jason Munchoff, rejoined in 2004 by Jesslyn Jalayerian then going out this first ep in 2005.

In the better one worlds, Darling would be currently to the place of Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah, but being given the infime impact of this webzine, if nothing budges somewhere else, ‘Ground i's sound' just condemned to become the one of these discs worships destined to point finger the unsuitability between the affection of the masses indie and a pointed talent that chooses a way.

With its seven songs in thirty-five minutes in a done scored booklet hand and feeling again the paint, the disc holds more of a mini-album than of an ep. A very beautiful declaration of intention, an evident one for a group that already must have the impression to preach in the desert. Nevertheless of my side after two days of listens, I not some let go, this disc succeeds as little to combine spontaneity, freshness, melancholy.

A thing to say to the listens first piece, amen, one wants well to sign black on white, directly, that one will follow the group to the track, religious, also a long time as it will explore the same earths with such a accuracy and fineness of emotions. ‘Ground i's sound' transports us to each listens to the seventh sky, these direct vocal ones and touching, this guitar reflected. A minute of weightlessness before the piece does not begin really, bucolic and growing green, with crazy acoustic guitars to purity it proud unbelievable, tablecloths gliding in immediate take-off, rhythms invigorating. Completely the piece kind of which I did not dare to dream so far, one types foot in rhythm, the cœur fébrile.

‘Keyholes' more melancholic east, poignant and intimist, as a David Kilgour that would have undergone the influence of the Early Day Mine. ‘Reading Lines' recalls the beginnings of Havergal in his construction in ellipse, a guitar reflected that awakens a melancholic pain interior, a fragile construction to the simplicity that adorned made unstable nevertheless to the first one listens. Again a piece to listen some curls to the loss total knowledge. ‘Nightlight' continues in this mixture between naïve melodies, evident melancholic and fuzzy of réverbérations and of structures, to every time saving. This that gives a certain saving ambiguity to Darling that returns the unique and original group.

The sky opens somewhat the time of ‘Turning Gray' where it group offers more evidence mélodique, losing a little his mystery. On ‘Pulling down', the song somewhat hesitating adds a certain beneficial décallage to which one participate tablecloths of atmospheric synthé. At the start of finally banal elements, Darling aligns the miracles with a character force exemplary. On this piece, the guitar holds the ramp and does not loosen it, finishing in a stunning and épurée climbed reflected. The ep finishes quietly on ‘Lights are low', not deviating any his trajectory.

Darling begins with a first disc absolutely excel that gives envies to pray all the saints for that it quickly is followed by an album of the even believed and that the group to go out quickly anonymity type where it vegetates for the moment.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


From Pitchfork's top albums of 2005 list on our shared favorite album, Illinois:

Stories always feel more important when you tack them onto a map. Real places, people, and myths give us a way into a private story-- or cast the story in doubt. And while for years, the singer/songwriter tradition has assigned the mopiest songs to the lone acoustic guitar, a ballad can sound even sadder if you bring in a banjo and a choir. Sufjan Stevens' gift for crossing the grand with the intimate partly explains how Illinois landed at the top of this list: He wraps his stories in landmarks and footnotes, ornaments them with glorious countermelodies, and celebrates them like a Fourth of July parade.

We thought Stevens' breakthrough came two years ago on Michigan, but Illinois improves on it in every way: He takes more chances with humor and myth, the palette's richer, and the new drummer puts oomph behind Stevens' falsetto. It's still tempting to look for messages and slogans in his view of America, and to ask whether his gift for seeing us as we are comes with an urge to tell us how we should be. But Stevens insists that he's interested more than anything in singing about people, from beside a death bed, to inside the head of a serial killer, to someone tearing away his past in a van heading out of town. And he made a classic by empathizing with the loves and needs of those people, and watching them seek and wander while the landmarks on his map of Illinois stay fixed. --Chris Dahlen

It also got a nod in (#1), The Onion AV Club (#5), and even Rolling Stone (#9). Collectively it was the highest rated album on I suppose I can stop praising it, now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Top 100 Songs of 2005

I was released from jury duty early, as all the cases slated for today at the 6th Circuit Court of Cook County were settled w/out trial. It gave me time to go to the bank, email friends in Sydney to ask about what's going on in Cronulla, research the LSAT, and check my credit score. After all these unenjoyable and far too boring activities, I set about an annual tradition of ranking my favorite songs of the year. This marks the third year I've done so (see the lists from 2003 and 2004), and I had a much tougher time finding 100, given that I was gone for half the year. I'll be the first to admit the latter half is padded with the lesser songs of the better albums, but still worth a listing and a listen. (And if you're looking for a comparable, slightly more versatile list, visit


100.) Sufjan Stevens - Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois

99.) Ryan Adams & The Cardinals- Magnolia Mountain

98.) Beck - E-Pro

97.) Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire - Banking On A Myth

96.) The Unicorns – Ghost Mountain*

95.) Sigur Ros - Gong

94.) Okkervil River – In A Radio Song

93.) The Dears – Expect The Worst/'Cos She's A Tourist*

92.) Smog - Feather By Feather*

91.) Hanalei – Action Drum*

90.) Cloud Cult – Outside of Your Skin

89.) Bright Eyes – Train Under Water

88.) Teenage Fanclub – Don’t Hide

87.) Spoon – Sister Jack

86.) Calexico/Iron & Wine – Dead Man’s Will

85.) The Russian Futurists – Paul Simon

84.) Okkervil River – In A Radio Song

83.) Death Cab For Cutie – Marching Bands Of Manhattan

82.) Stars – Set Yourself On Fire

81.) Fruit Bats – Lives of Crime

80.) Nada Surf – Do It Again

79.) Dave Matthews Band – Out of My Hands

78.) Ben Folds - Landed

77.) Bloc Party - So Here We Are

76.) The Decemberists – Eli, The Barrow Boy

75.) Eels – Old Shit/New Shit

74.) Tegan and Sara – Where Does The Good Go?*

73.) Teenage Fanclub – Fallen Leaves

72.) Gorillaz – Dare

71.) Spoon – Merchants of Soul

70.) The Decemberists – The Bagman’s Gambit

69.) The Frames - Too Many Sad Words Make A Sad Sad Song

68.) Okkervil River – Black

67.) The National – Secret Meeting

66.) Bright Eyes – Take It Easy (Love Nothing)

65.) M. Ward – Oh, Take Me Back

64.) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Clap Your Hands!

63.) Kanye West – Gold Digger

62.) Iron & Wine – Woman King

61.) Ben Folds – Bastard

60.) Sufjan Stevens – Casimir Pulaski Day

59.) Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mama

58.) Jack Johnson – Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

57.) Bloc Party – Banquet

56.) Sigur Ros – Milano

55.) Calexico/Iron & Wine – Burn That Broken Bed

54.) Bright Eyes – Arc of Time

53.) Tegan and Sara – You Wouldn’t Like Me*

52.) Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire - Masterfade

51.) Calexico/Iron & Wine – 16, Maybe Less

50.) Norfolk & Western – Day One

49.) Death Cab For Cutie – Brothers on a Hotel Bed

48.) Belle and Sebastian - Dog On Wheels*

47.) Spoon – I Summon You

46.) Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Dance All Night

45.) Sufjan Stevens – The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders

44.) Reef – Place Your Hands*

43.) Alex Lloyd – 1000 Miles

42.) Coldplay – Kingdom Come

41.) Doves – Black and White Town

40.) Beck – Black Tambourine

39.) Death Cab For Cutie – I Will Follow You Into The Dark

38.) M. Ward – One Life Away

37.) Smog – Butterflies Drowned In Wine*

36.) Dave Matthews Band – You Might Die Trying

35.) Sigur Ros - Hoppipolla Afturabak

34.) Foo Fighters – Best of You

33.) Calexico/Iron & Wine – History of Lovers

32.) Broken Social Scene – Backyards*

31.) Mark Geary – Ghost*

30.) Bright Eyes - Lua

29.) Ben Lee – Catch My Disease

28.) Daft Punk – Technologic

27.) Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

26.) The Decemberists – 16 Military Wives

25.) Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire - A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head To The Left

24.) Massive Attack – Angel*

23.) Death Cab For Cuite – Different Names For The Same Thing

22.) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Let The Cool Goddess Rust Away

21.) M. Ward – You Still Believe In Me

20.) Sufjan Stevens – Decatur, Or, Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother!

19.) The Shins – We Will Become Silhouettes*

18.) Spoon – They Never Got You

17.) Beck – Girl

16.) Iron & Wine – Evening On The Ground

15.) Sigur Ros – Glosoli

14.) Bright Eyes - At The Bottom Of Everything

13.) Ben Folds – Jesusland

12.) Sufjan Stevens – Come On! Feel The Illinoise!

11.) Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.

10.) Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire – Fake Palindromes

9.) M. Ward – Four Hours In Washington

8.) Coldplay – Fix You

7.) The Frames – Leave

6.) Stars – Your Ex-Lover Is Dead

5.) Iron & Wine – Trapese Swinger*

4.) Imogen Heap - Hide and Seek

3.) Kings of Convenience – I’d Rather Dance With You*

2.) Bright Eyes – Easy/Lucky/Free

1.) Sufjan Stevens – Chicago

Update: * = Not Released in 2005

My favorite 10 albums are also below. I'd make a list of which albums disappointed me, but it's not worth ranking. Suffice it to say, I wanted to like Coldplay's X&Y, Norfolk & Western's If You Were Born Overseas, and Doves' Some Cities, but they missed the target (N&W), were too dark (Doves), and severely lost their luster after a few plays (Coldplay).

On the other hand, these did not:

Top 10 Albums of 2005

10.) Stars – Set Yourself On Fire

9.) Death Cab For Cutie - Plans

8.) Spoon – Gimme Fiction

7.) Sigur Ros – Takk

6.) Calexico/Iron & Wine – In The Reins

5.) Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire – The Mysterious Production of Eggs

4.) Bright Eyes - I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning

3.) M. Ward – Transistor Radio

2.) Bright Eyes – Digital Ash In A Digital Urn

1.) Sufjan Stevens – Come On Feel The Illinoise!