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Archive for December, 2010

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For the past seven years Mister Marlowe has offered up his memories for that year’s music scene.  Here is his list of favorites for 2010: 

#12 The Chemical Brothers- Further
“Once again they prove that the rave never has to end.”

#11 The National- High Violet
“So grab an import pint or three and get ready for ultimate lamentation.”

#10 The Walkmen- Lisbon
“…the band’s sixth album finds them fine tuning their melancholy reverb mastery satisfying old fans and making new ones in the process.”

#09 Beach House- Teen Dream
“The album is a dream come to life…”

#08 The Black Keys- Brothers
“Sparse instrumentalism, major washed out echo, and an easy, tough feel permeate the album’s 15 songs.”

#07 Crystal Castles- Crystal Castles II
“There remains no band on earth that can do what makes Crystal Castles great.”

#06 Kanye West- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
“…fascinating and a crucial step in hip hop’s continuing evolution.”

#05 Eminem- Recovery
“The best rapping I’ve heard since Tupac and Slick Rick? Indeed.”

#04 Fistful of Mercy- As I Call You Down
“…soaring harmonies are key to the Fistful of Mercy sound finding their fulfillment in the prettiest album of the year.”

#03 Cee Lo Green- The Ladykiller
“…a modern neo soul thriller that grooves, moves, and exudes an exceedingly fun vibe that never stops.”

#02 Vampire Weekend- Contra
“That tugging feeling of present pleasures disappearing before one’s eyes is the emotion Contra best evokes.”

#01 Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark- History of Modern
“History of Modern proves that OMD are masters of their genre, their instruments, and pop music in general. Whether this album came out in 1981 or 2011 the verdict is the same: History of Modern is amazing.”

To read the complete reviews and see the other yearly awards bestowed for 2010 check out Mister Marlowe’s full article at UndependentMedia.

http://undependentmedia.com/12CDs2010.htm

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El Ten Eleven = Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty = an amazing instrumental rock duo.  Full disclosure:  eTe is one of my favorite bands.  Kristian (guitars) and Tim (drums) are probably two of the most talented musicians on the planet; they also play well with others (Exhibit S:  The Softlightes).  Seeing El Ten Eleven live is guaranteed to be an incredible performance.  It never ceases to astonish me that just two musicians can create and sustain such complex and rocking songs.

I arrived home after a workplace holiday party to find a new mashup of an eTe track. “Marriage is the New Going Steady,” my favorite track on the new album, “It’s Still Like a Secret,” has been mashed with “ROC Boys” by Jay-Z.

I like mashups.  I realize there are musical reasons, but it’s still rad how vocal and instrumental parts devised by different artists in different places from different times can sound like they were meant for each other.  El Ten Eleven tracks are ripe targets for mashups due to a lack of vocals and a good amount of looping/vamping, and I’ve enjoyed most mashups of eTe compositions.  I dig hip-hop and rap, but it’s not my go-to music, and I can’t say that the song title “ROC Boys” triggered anything for me.  When I cued up the original “ROC Boys,” I recognized it immediately – very solid song.

What makes “MITNGS” such a great track is the instrumental build, climax, and cascade.  It does not adhere to a standard verse/chorus structure.  “ROC Boys,” on the other hand, does, and it is strange to hear verse/chorus vocals over an instrumental part that does not adhere to the same structure, that does not revisit a previous musical passage at a similar time point.  The moment around 2:31 is particularly awkward, when the “ROC Boys” chorus hits deep into the peak of the instrumental part.  It undermines the potency of the instrumental part.  Part of me wonders if this is an issue of not being used to listening to this contrast, but most of me has concluded that some instrumental parts should just be off limits for mashing because of their wondrous standalone elegance.  Regardless, definitely worth a listen, and cool.

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