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Cassie’s Top 20 Albums of 2009: #10-1

30 Dec

Alright, I’m sick of dragging this out, so I’m going to go ahead and just do the last 10 in one post…here we go:

10. The Flaming Lips – Embryonic

Coming from the band that recorded the majestically emotionally bipolar album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, in 2002, Embryonic is quite the shock. The Flaming Lips finally took all of that morbid subject matter that has been present in their lyrics for years and transferred it to the music as well; though a jarring move, it makes for (easily) the band’s best album since Yoshimi and a surprisingly pleasant listen.

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Cassie’s Top 20 Albums of 2009: #15-11

29 Dec

I’m back to list off 5 more albums, here’s #15-11:

15. Woods – Songs of Shame

I just can’t get enough of Jeremy Earl’s voice, which keeps me coming back to listen to Songs of Shame over and over. But, just as important are the melodies that anchor the songs, which, when combined with the tape-effects and the lo-fi sound, makes for a heavenly listen to my ears.

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Cassie’s Top 20 Albums of 2009: Honorable Mentions and #20-16

28 Dec

After much delaying and procrastinating, in the name of hearing as many albums from 2009 before the year’s end, I finally have a list of 20 albums that, in my world, are the best from 2009.

First up, some honorable mentions, in no particular order:

Wavves – Wavvves

Even if lead singer Nathan Williams is kind of a douchebag who fights with his own drummer while on Ecstasy and Valium onstage and insults his own crowd, Wavves still makes some fantastic surf rock-inspired lo-fi. For a good month this spring, this album was streaming through my headphones often.

Key Song: “So Bored”

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Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas

25 Dec

I wanted to echo John’s holiday sentiments, and in the spirit of the holidays, here’s one of my favorite Christmas songs (which isn’t all that explicitly about Christmas) by Okkervil River:

Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas

Home is where beds are made and butter is added to toast. On a cold afternoon you can float room to room like a ghost. Take the creche out and argue about who gets to set up the kings. And I know that it’s home because that’s where the stereo sings “I’ve got dreams to remember.” But not even home can be with you forever. It’s Christmastime and the plane flies me over white hills to a town in a dream, where the sky is frozen and still, and a room (that’s not mine but it’s just like I left it before, with the wax from the candles all dusty and locks on the door) where I held you so tenderly, and where in summer I opened your letter to me. I’m standing where we knelt and a miracle mile now borders it, but if I turn my back and look at the field I don’t even notice it for a second. There’s a tangle of greenery where winter scenery ends. And I hear that song sometimes and imagine us much more than friends – like if we stayed in this town, bought the first house that went up on sale, and how each Christmastime would bring inlaws and snowdays and holiday mail. Your dad says you’re living in Georgia since last September. Well, “I’ve got dreams to remember.”I’ve got dreams to remember. Oh Sara, come back to New Hampshire. We’ll stay here forever.

Copy and paste into your browser of choice to download the song as a Christmas gift from us here at An Ocean of Noise:

Travels through J Dilla’s Discography: 1995-1996, Pt. 1

6 Dec

Inspired by a discussion Travis and I were having about jazzy hip-hop and J Dilla, I noticed that I didn’t have nearly as many of Dilla’s tracks as I’d thought–a tragedy, considering he’s commonly referred to as the “greatest producer of all time” and many hip-hop heads claim that “Dilla changed my life”–and decided to correct that problem. So, I’m trying to go through his production discography, listening to as many of these songs as I could track down.

First up: 1995-1996…

Dilla produced six tracks off of The Pharcyde’s classic 1995 album, Labcabincalifornia:

1. “Bullshit”- The opening song on Labcabincalifornia, it’s particularly interesting because of its lack of Dilla’s trademark sharp, crisp snare drum beats throughout. Instead, “Bullshit” finds Dilla bumping the lowest of low bass with some synths layered on top.  4.5/5

2. “Runnin'”- Here, some of the snare comes back, combined with a spiraling piano melody and an incredible layering of rhythms. 5/5

3. “Splattitorium”- A perfect, chilled-out beat for a lax set of rhymes that starts out with an ode to “herbals for verbals.” That made me laugh this morning, good stuff. 5/5 Continue reading

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die-Can I do it?

21 Nov

In 2006, the book “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” was released, chronicling, well, exactly what the title says. In the back of my head, I keep hearing this voice challenging me to listen to all of these albums. Now, I’m going to give it a serious go and will write a brief review of each record as I move along through the list. First up tonight was Tupac Shakur’s Me Against the World. Out of all 1001 albums, ranging from Frank Sinatra’s In the Wee Small Hours to Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Natty Dread to Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model, this is probably an odd starting point. I had a few of reasons for doing so: 1. I was in the mood to listen to some hip-hop, 2. I own Me Against the World on vinyl, and 3. I love Tupac, and to this day, he’s my favorite rapper, so I threw it on the turntable. Continue reading

Yet another welcome/hello

19 Nov

Hello there fearless reader, I guess I’m here to say a bit about myself and just why it is that I’m here, writing about music.

First things first, I’m Cassie/onebloodonelife. At the moment, I’m a junior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, pursuing an individualized major in popular music studies (which just got officially approved last month, yay!). So, it’s pretty safe to say that music’s my life. In every sense of the word. Continue reading