Moroccan Role: December 2005

Moroccan Role

A Totally Kiler Music/MP3 Blog.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Top 25 Albums of 2005: Part 2 (10-1)

10. My Morning Jacket - Z

"By trimming thirty minutes off their standard record’s length, the members of My Morning Jacket have paradoxically managed to broaden their sound, cutting the fat to give us ten songs that jive, moon-walk and cock-rock in equal measure. " -Prefix Magazine

9. Spoon - Gimme Fiction

"Spoon continues to build one of the most consistent, and distinctive, bodies of work in indie rock -- the band makes changes and takes chances from album to album, but ends up sounding exactly how Spoon should sound each time."
-All Music Guide

8. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm

"Unlike so many of their Gang of Four-worshipping peers, Bloc Party are that rare band that can actually transcend their influences and press clippings, crushing the fervor surrounding their arrival in a hail of splintered guitars and sumptuous despondency."

7. Andrew Bird - Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs

"It's a densely melodic place composed of layered instruments so intricately intertwined with each other and Bird's lyrics that repeated listenings inevitably reveal a hidden but grandiose vision of what a pop record can be."

6. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap You Hands Say Yeah

"When they began their self-titled debut, they were uncertain kids from Brooklyn making a record from all the music they had ever known. They’re leaving veterans of the game with obvious talent and colossal potential."
-Delusions of Adequacy

5. Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary

"Their sturdy, inventive debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary, draws further, fresh blood from the indie rock stone."
-Junk Media

"What really distinguishes Apologies to the Queen Mary from just another ambitious rock album though, is the dynamic and accessible songwriting -- and the voices that propel those songs from the streets to the stratosphere."

4. Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy

"With Black Sheep Boy, Okkervil River have made the kind of minor classic that will inspire obsessive-compulsive love affairs with the lucky people who stumble upon it."

"Consistently excellent, Okkervil River's Black Sheep Boy is a record that stuns on first listen, then manages the elusive -- it sinks deep into your soul."

3. Animal Collective - Feels

"Feels takes the Collective in an exciting new direction, creating the kind of record that expands on the group's less esoteric strengths while also pushing their sound forward."

"Half of the album is rambunctious and full, driving and manic; the other half charms us with melancholic lullabies fueled by a single sip from the purple bottle. The result: With Feels, Animal Collective has created its first pop masterpiece."
-Prefix Magazine

2. The National - Alligator

"The National seems to have settled into a fine balance between the hungover brooding of Leonard Cohen and the more mellifluous tendencies of Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen."
-Delusions of Adequacy

"Tonally and lyrically somewhere between Leonard Cohen, Aidan Moffett and David Berman, Berringer’s cynical, world-worn love-letters and resigned croon work perfectly with the band’s rock steady rhythm-section."

"The National are able to pack as much power into the songs on Alligator as any of the more heralded indie-rock bands working right now, only The National have taken the common influences and grafted them into something altogether fresh and remarkable."
-Stylus Magazine

1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

"From its framing gimmick and its anti-folk folk songwriting to its he-has-to-be-kidding song titles and its show-offy instrumentation, Illinois should reduce to a simple stunt performance. That it's pop-art of the highest caliber, instead, cements Stevens as one of the most vital voices in music today."
-Slant Magazine

"Once you've taken in how wonderful it sounds, it'll be time to thrill at how much of it there is, then how dense it all is."

"Someday the Smithsonian will file this sprawling musical celebration into their collection between Van Dyke Parks’ Discover America and Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers -- joyous, generous Americana filtered through a singular sensibility."
-Dusted Magazine

"Vast in scope and breathtaking in its beauty, Illinois may very well be the album that heralds Sufjan Stevens as one of this young century’s most talented artists."
-Prefix Magazine

Monday, December 26, 2005

Top 25 Albums of 2005: Part 1 (25-11)

25. Common - Be

Be is not only Common's best so far, its also probably the most tightly edited hip-hop album in recent memory. Passionate, optimistic, and honest. No time for unneccessary skits, Common is too busy proving that a rap album can be mainstream and intelligent at the same time.

Stream the album here.

24. Akron/Family & Angels of Light - Akron/Family & Angels of Light Spilt LP

Overall, a pretty cohesive album considering its split between the two artists. Akron/Family's part overshadows Angels of Lights' best efforts and signals a marked growth for the band. This record has me anticipating new material from Akron/Family more than about any other band.

Akron/Family - "Raising the Sparks"

Akron/Family - "Moment"

23. The Clientele - Strange Geometry

Atmospheric dream-pop with great production and melodies. The Clientele have stumbled upon a sound that fits them well and they are also quite fond of...although sometimes you wish they'd branch out a bit more.

The Clientele - "EMPTY" (right click, "save target as")

The Clientele - "Since K Got Over Me" (right click, "save target as")

The Clientele - "(I Can't Seem To) Make You Mine"

22. Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow

"A '60s psychedelic, experimental hippie-folk throwback, an invocation of lost, childish innocence delicately constructed with a deft musical touch." -Music Um yeah. Terrific more often than not, yet somewhat frustrating at times...a sprawling album that has Banhart running the gamut of musical styles and almost invariably succeeding regardless of which musical hat he tries on.

Stream the album here.

21. Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll

A catchy and clever indictment of popular culture and modern rock 'n roll. Post-modern art punk for the masses. Hell, they even made a song about being unable to get it up sound well thought-out and entertaining.

Steam two of their best tunes on their MySpace page.

20. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

This album does not sound nearly as vital as it did when it was released way back in Janurary, but it still easily the best and most cohesive he's done. Although the Emmy Lou Harris guest vocal harmonies sound pretentious/forced and never quite mesh with Conor's (and correspond to making this album seem dangerously close to a Ryan Adams -Heartbreaker tribute), some of the finest examples of Americana in recent memory and the sound of one the of most talented young songwriters maturing make this album important.

Bright Eyes - "Lua" (right click, "save target as")

Bright Eyes "We Are Nowhere, and It's Now" (right click, "save target as")

19. Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene

Although they may be unable to ever top You Forgot It In People, there are moments of brillance on this album. The production dilutes the intensity of many of the songs and the last few songs on the album are weak, but solidifies BSS as the premier purvayers of indie mood music.

Preview the album here.

18. Sigur Ros - Takk

If Coldplay were Icelandic and didn't suck, this is what they would sound like. Even with (or maybe due to) their with other-worldly vocals, this album is quite accessible and sometimes breathtakingly beautiful.

Stream the album here.

17. Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures

This is what mainstream American rock radio should sound like.

Rogue Wave - "Publish My Love" (right click, "save target as")

Rogue Wave - "10:1"

16. Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - Cold Roses

The first and best of Ryan's three 2005 releases. The country-rock of Cold Roses finds Adams sounding his most comfortable and confident since his landmark debut Heartbreaker. 2005 saw Adams recovering nicely from his Rock N Roll mis-step and reminding us why we liked him in the first place. Keep the records coming.

Stream the album here.

15. The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan

At times the record does sound a bit rushed and like a work in progress, but there are intermittently some of Jack and Meg's best tracks scattered on this album. Sure, they have made better records, but a mediocre White Stripes record is still heads and shoulders above the vast majority of shit out there.

Stream the album here.

14. Stars - Set Yourself On Fire

Stars' third and best LP. Probably the best break-up album of the year and one of the best slices of indie-pop since the Postal Service's Give Up.

Stream the album here.

13. Kayne West - Late Registration

Although the album varies wildy in quality and is overly long, there are moments of true pop brillance as well. Kanye is probably the hardest working and most talented man in hip-hop, so its really no surprise this often great, mess of a second album is also the year's best in that genre.

12. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema

On their 3rd LP, A.C. Newmann's troupe have offerred up their best collection of tunes yet. Hands-down, the indie-pop album of the year. Interplay between Neko Case and Newmann is brilliant and even Dan Bejar (of Destroyer) has his moment in the sun on the surprisingly great "Jackie Dressed in Cobras".

New Pornographers - "Use It" (right click, "save target as")

New Pornographers - "Twin Cinema" (right click, "save target as")

11. The Decemberists - Picaresque

Literate, lovelorn, and downright pretty folk-rock. Meloy's ambituous storytelling and lyrical prowess help make their brand of theatrical music sound both unique and immediately accessible...a difficult line to toe, indeed.

The Decemberists - "The Engine Driver" (right click, "save target as")

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Rare Neutral Milk Hotel Demos Surface

As reported this afternoon in Pitchfork:

"A woman named Shannon Palmer, who occupied the same Louisiana house as Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum (as well as Olivia Tremor Control’s John Fernandes), recently discovered a tape given to her by Fernandes 11 years ago. Through the Elephant 6 message board, Palmer learned that the tape (dubbed “Shannon's Monroe House demos”) contained previously unheard NMH demos. founder Gavin Bachner helped Palmer make the music available to all, and his site is currently offering one song, “Arm So Real”, for download. Palmer has three tracks, “Gardenhead”, “Circle of Friends”, and “Now I’m Going Down” (the latter is an unconfirmed title), available from her blog, Shannon’s Arty Arty. “Dead Dog” is currently posted on You Ain’t No Picasso, and “Say Goodnight” (also an unconfirmed title) is available from My Old Kentucky Blog.

Once all of the song titles are confirmed, the entire demo cassette will be accessible from Palmer’s blog and"

If you don't feel like doing all the legwork...I have a .zip file with all the songs:

Lost Neutral Milk Hotel Demos (.zip file) (18 megabites)