Archive for February 9th, 2011

The Captain Discusses Modern Rock 2010 Part Sechs

6.  Indestructible – Robyn

Nobody worked harder in 2010 than Swedish artist Robyn.  She released three(!) albums worth of material last year.  And yet she got ten percent of the media attention as did Lady Gaga despite the fact Gaga released no new albums in 2010.  I guess Robyn need to start dressing stranger?

 This track is labeled as an acoustic version of a dance track from one of her other albums this year.  But in reality it’s just the vocal track dubbed over a string quartet version.  I’ve always been a sucker for a good orchestral arrangement, and this one is great.  My sister is also a string fan, making this track Cathie’s Official Pik for 2010.

7.  Go Do – Jonsi

When I heard the lead singer of Sigur Rós was set to release a solo album in 2010, I was equal parts curious and skeptical.  Much like the solo album from Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, I assumed it would sound like an almost as good version of the band that he fronts.  And while that’s a fairly accurate description of Go Do, it isn’t necessarily such a bad thing.  Sigur Rós is a widely adored band in indie rock, so there’ no real shame in Jónsi sticking with their sound.  It has the same hyper-positive sound, which combined with Jónsi’s unintelligible Icelandic lyrics makes for a real other worldly track.  It’s pretty good for a solo effort, which is just a nice way of saying hurry up and get back in the studio with your band.

8.  Kiss That Grrrl – Kate Nash

After her adorable first album, Kate Nash went the way of the sequel for her sophomore album.  She expanded her sound and ratcheted up the quirk in a typical bigger is better way.  It frequently doesn’t work, but when it does work on tracks like this it makes for a great listen.  The lush studio backing on this track has a classic Phil Spector Wall Of Sound feeling that makes it an instant classic in my book.  And in a year that was largely void of talented female solo artists I’m glad she was able to represent.  Kate Nash – keeping it real for female singer-songwriters

 

 

9.  Middle Class Fashion – Paper Dolls

Speaking of my sister, this track is off her band’s debut album, Sparks.  Cathie has been playing cello and singing backup vocals in the Paper Dolls for a few years now, and I’m delighted that they were finally able to release an album.  Paper Dolls have actually developed a sizable following on the St. Louis local scene due to their unique live show.  While their album sounds a bit unpolished, the band does a good job of recreating their live sound in the studio.  I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of the disc, since I was unable to attend the cd release party last month.  You should check out Paper Dolls, here’s a link to a site where you can stream every song from Sparks.

10.  Swim Until You Can’t See Land – Frightened Rabbit

Every year while I’m creating the final version of Modern Rock, I make a point to check out various end of the year lists written by music journalists.  I almost always find a great track that I somehow managed to miss throughout the year.  I found this hidden gem on A.V. Club’s best of 2010 lists, and as always I was amazed that I managed to miss this warm, non-assuming little song. 

Having heard nothing about this band, a few things struck me right away.  First, Frightened Rabbit wins the 2010 award for laziest band name1.  Second, their album Winter Of Mixed Drinks wins the award for 2010’s best album title.  I think they need to call a redo and swap out the names of the band and album.  I’d go see a Winter Of Mixed Drinks’ show based strictly on that name.   

11.  I Want the World To Stop – Belle & Sebastian

Considering the amount of critical swell that has surrounded Belle & Sebastian over the past few years, it’s unfortunate that their latest album is so mediocre.  Their music has been popping up indie movies for several years now, which has steered many newer music fans to the band’s lush back catalog.  These legions of new fans, along with original fans were all ready to devour the bands first new album in 4½ years.  What they got was an uninspiring rehash that seemed to please no one.  This was the only good track on the album, but it’s a hell of a good song.  Hopefully Stuart Murdoch is able to find his footing again, because his band is too good to be releasing albums like this.

Ciao,

The Captain

1  But it’s still not a lazy as last 2009’s winner, Amazing Baby.  That’s gotta be on the all-time top 5 laziest band names, right behind Dave Matthews Band.

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