Moroccan Role: March 2007

Moroccan Role

A Totally Kiler Music/MP3 Blog.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Best of First Quarter 2007, Part. II

Part II of this short "Best of" series showcases three albums that leaked awhile back (late December - mid January) and have all received their fair share of blog hype and critical praise. Coincidentally, all of these album were released this week, so pick them up if you've yet to do so.

LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
James Murphy is much cooler than you or I. He manages to seamlessly blend many of the best elements of rock and dance music with an abundance of wit and humor. Sound of Silver is most compelling in how the music strikes a balance between so many would-be divergent elements-- stupid fun and undeniably strong quality, euphoria and melancholy, indie rock attitude and straight-up dance beats, being "too cool to dance" and shaking your ass off, producing both killer singles and an amazing and cohesive album. Further, Murphy pulls this off without the music coming across self-serious or sounding labored/over-thought. All 8 songs are very strong, but the mid-section (tracks 4 & 5) is the heart of the album and contains two incredibly great tunes. With an addictive techno beat, pretty yet simple vocal melody, and longing lyrical content, "Someone Great" is one of best songs in recent memory. "All My Friends" is right up there with "Someone Great" and even ups the emotional ante. This stunning track (to paraphrase a track review in Cokemachineglow) is like the Baba O'Riley of 21st century indie. I have been listening to this album for 3 solid months and it still sounds ridiculously good. Whether or not you were an LCD convert prior to the release of this album, if you give it half a chance, you'll fall in love with this album.

MP3: LCD Soundsystem - "Someone Great"
MP3: LCD Soundsystem - "All My Friends"

Panda Bear - Person Pitch
I never cared much for Panda Bear's Young Prayer until recently and still do not think it quite merited the critical praise it received or stands up to Animal Collective's stronger material. Person Pitch is another story. While Panda's new direction was hardly a surprise given the majority of the material on this album was previously available on singles, this album is markedly different and much more focused on melody than the aforementioned Young Prayer. There are two incredible tunes here: the psych-pop meets campfire chant opener "Comfy in Nautica" and the sprawling 12.5-minute lo-fi pop journey "Bros". The strength and great pop melodies of these two tracks overshadow much the rest of Person Pitch and the album sounds a bit same-y and indulgent in places, i.e. "Good Girl/Carrots" which feels overly long and "Search for Delicious" is a mere ambient distraction. The best stuff here comes across a spacey, lo-fi 21st century Beach Boys and takes the listener to another time and place altogether; it's too bad there's not quite enough of it to sustain its 50-minute run time.

MP3: Panda Bear - "Comfy In Nautica"
MP3: Panda Bear - "Bros" (Edit)

Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
Andrew Bird's 2005 album The Mysterious Production of Eggs ranked among my favorite albums of that year. I'll be damned if dude didn't go and top himself this time around. Unfortunately, this album may get lost in the shuffle with all the high profile releases this week. Showcasing a level of musical virtuosity heads and shoulders above most of his singer-songwriter peers, Bird crafts unique, intelligent, and undeniably catchy pop tunes. It has become increasingly rare to hear this type of depth in pop lyric writing and Bird's varied subject matter never comes across as pretentious or overwrought. The first five tracks jump right out of the speakers and-- while not as strong as the first half-- the latter half of the album also contains a pair of great tunes, "Simple X" and "Scythian Empire". First single "Heretics" is probably his most catchy tune yet besides 2005's excellent "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left" and in combination with the following two songs "Dark Matter" and "Plasticities", these tracks highlight some of the strongest work of his career. Bird has set the bar very high for his next album, but I would not be surprised to see him shatter even loftier expectations.

MP3: Andrew Bird - "Heretics"
MP3: Andrew Bird - "Plasticities"

**Stayed tuned for the third and final part of this series to be posted soon...

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Best of First Quarter 2007, Part. I

During the past couple of months-- which included one of the longest periods of inactivity for this blog-- I contemplated completely abandoning this operation numerous times. Mostly due to a pesky issue I had with the template (not to mention my lackluster html skills), I labored under a serious lack of motivation to post new content. Alas, I fixed the technical issue yesterday and decided to make another run at this thing...

As I have been inactive for the entirety of this young year, I've decided to dedicate this "first post back" to a recap of what I've been enjoying the past few months. This three part series of posts will chronicle the 10 albums that I've listened to the most in 2007 and will be presented according to the date when I first heard them.

Menomena - Friend and Foe
With my promo copy of this album arriving in mid-November and landing in heavy rotation throughout the remainder of 2006, this one feels slightly less than fresh at this point. But, the 12 track set is uniformly strong and one of the best albums to be released so far this year. From the spectacular opening three tracks, "Muscle n' Flo" (one of my favorite tracks of year), "The Pelican", & "Wet and Rusting" to other album highlights "Rotten Hell" and "My My", Friend and Foe most definitely deserved the widespread blog attention and "first great indie rock record of the new year" praise it received from Pitchfork back in January.

MP3: Menomena - "Muscle n' Flo" *recommended*
MP3: Menomena - "Wet and Rusting"

The Bees - Octopus
I first heard a taste of these guys' latest effort right at the end (12/27) of 2006 when the venerable Gorilla vs. Bear posted the sensational and sure-fire "end-of-the-year mixtape" contender "Listening Man". On the strength of that cut, I immediately got a copy of the album and I've been listening to it regularly since. Opener "Who Knows What the Question Is?" sounds like a modern reworking of the Ringo-sung "Don't Pass Me By" from The White Album with the fiddle swapped for slide electric guitar and sped up a bit. While similarly aping 60s classic rock and soul throughout the remainder, the songs stand up on their own well and rarely come across as mere pastiche. The album is strong from top to bottom until they run out of steam after track 8 "The Ocularist" and proceed to tack two throwaway tracks onto the end. Many other acts mine this same set of influences, but very few do so with the skill, tact, and genuine love for the source material as the Bees.

MP3: The Bees - "Who Knows What the Question Is?"
MP3: The Bees - "Listening Man" **highly recommended**

Do Make Say Think - You, You're A History in Rust
You, You're A History in Rust is album five from these Toronto-based instrumental post-rockers and marks my first real exposure to the band. Within my first couple of listens back in the earliest days of this young year I was hooked, and I haven't gone long without returning to it. There are a few standout tracks on this eight song, 48-minute piece, but this is the type of album that demands absorbing as a coherent whole and even the best songs sound that much better within the context of the album. Vocals are only present on one tune "A With Living" and are courtesy of members of Akron/Family and Great Lake Swimmers. Sounding quite a bit like Broken Social Scene at times (minus the vocals, obviously), the feel of this album is more focused and uniform than BSS's often thematically varied soundscapes. Don't be fooled by a few middling reviews in some publications that seem somehow disappointed with the direction the band took on this album; it is an expansive sonic experience that I strongly recommend you devote a bit of time to. If you choose to do so, your efforts will undoubtedly be rewarded nicely.

MP3: Do Make Say Think - "The Universe!"

**Stay tuned for parts II & III to be posted very soon...

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