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July 2, 2006

Largehearted List - July 02, 2006

Here are the eleven most interesting music posts (presented alphabetically) that crossed my path in the past week:

Chromewaves listed its top albums of 2006 (so far).

I'm as curious as anyone as to how this'll stack up against my final year-end list. The second half of '06 is pretty loaded with new offerings from veteran acts, but that's not necessarily a free pass. After all, what's more impressive - an album simply meeting expectations, no matter how lofty, or a surprise one completely surpassing them? We shall see.

Each Note Secure interviewed Margot and the Nuclear So and So's.

ENS: So, would it be an insult to say you guys are a poor man's Arcade Fire?

ANDY: No, it's not an insult...

RICHARD (TO ANDY): Yeah it is!

ENS: The poor man part?

ANDY: No, the Arcade Fire part...

Erasing Clouds is not a music blog, but its "100 Musicians Answer the Same Ten Questions" series is unique and features many talented indie artists, including Casey Dienel, Shearwater, Camera Obscura and others.

(from Casey Dienel's interview)

When was the last time you wrote a song? What can you tell us about it?

A few nights ago, I was up all night after a show and decided to drive down the beach. I like wind, so I drove with the windows of the mom-mobile down, and it was almost 5:30 in the morning so the sun was coming up over the water and the sky was hazy pink. I wrote a love song, I think.

Good Hodgkins listed seven essential albums from the first half of 2006.

01. Aloha - Some Echoes

Recorded across a series of encounters, internet correspondence, and parcel deliveries, four friends who now live in different parts of the country have made an album that at once reflects an ever-present haunting elusiveness (how appropriate) and the shiniest of pop melodies. And their rhythm section absolutely kills. [Polyvinyl]

Marathonpacks broke down Lisa Lisa & the Cult Jam's "Lost in Emotion."

But, try as it might, all the nasty overproduction can't detract from what is just a stone-cold classic melody, a time-tested lyrical theme of resistance in the face of romance and a perfect delivery by Velez. The verse sounds like every anxious teenage conversation with giddiness that belies any sort of trepidation. But then the bridge comes in and everything drops into a minor key, and everything changes for a moment as the background singers (again, probably the push of a button) play the naysayer, as she sings the great line "From time to time, I wonder if I am in your heart. Even though I don't live there yet, I'm afraid it'll be cold and dark." But then the chorus strikes a perfect balance between the verse and bridge, letting us know it's okay to wallow in indecisiveness for a little bit---it can actually be rather pleasant to get lost for a minute. Que sera, que sera.

Motel de Moka shared an anti-war playlist, complete with Guernica artwork and quotes from James Madison and a Supreme Court opinion.

note: Perhaps the subject matter of this list is not something comfortable, but I felt it is something important around this time of the year. The style of the playlist itself is repetitive, mainly mix of same minor key combination, small lyrics and extreme drone. The balance of the playlist is divided between folks and avantgarde, two areas I intend to focus on in the next few weeks. Overall, it is cautious, somber and perhaps hopeful.

Nothing But Green Lights posted a free and legal "January-June" mix CD.

A 19 Track mix of some of the best music I’ve legally downloaded the last 6 months that will fit onto 1 CD.

Shake Your Fist interviewed the 1900s.

I think you currently have 8 members. Is bigger better? And I wonder, is this a Chicago thing? Because a couple other local bands, namely Head of Femur and Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, are also bursting at the seams.

Bigger isn't necessarily better. I mean, some of the best stuff out there is just one person singing and playing guitar like Dylan or Townes or Willie Nelson. But to do what we want to do, you need bigger. You need backup singers and string players and an occasional horn player and before you know it, you can barely fit on stage. I'd bet other bands with similar lineups have done it for similar reasons, and we probably have some similar influences that drive us to form big bands--Belle and Sebastian, Beach Boys, Sufjan Stevens, Flaming Lips, Motown, tropicalia. Why there are so many in Chicago is anyone's guess.

Status Ain't Hood eulogized the soon to be on "indefinite hiatus" Sleater-Kinney.

They'd become so absurdly good at bright, intricate bob-and-weave interplay and gorgeously harmonic exuberance that I wasn't all that amped to hear them ditch that stuff so that Brownstein could get all Jimmy Page and play two-minute fuzzbomb guitar-solos. But it was still a strong and ballsy album and a commendable risk, and it's not like I don't still have The Woods on my iPod. Even if it wasn't my favorite album, it showed that they were still capable of completely throwing themselves into a new idea and just tearing it to shreds.

Trees Lounge offered a July 4th compilation of its "50 states project."

What is going to happen is that I'm going to give you guys the rundown on the first 23 awesome states that we have. (Including 700+ mp3s!!!!) Then I'm going to resume regular posting next week starting with Mississippi (it's all uploaded and ready to go, folks.)

What Would J. Crew Do shared Sufjan Stevens fan fiction.

Then Sufjan Stevens pulled out his guitar and played a song that he’d written just for me. It was called “Amanda Knows What No One Else Knows She Has the Most Beautiful Nose! Eureeka!” When he’d finished the song he wiped a tear from the corner of my eye, and told me that my outfit was amazing. “I would never have thought to put that top with those trousers,” (he used the word trousers! so cute!), “but it totally works. And I see a lot of outfits when I’m out on tour. Speaking of, would you like to go on tour with me?”


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