Andy Stavas and Dave Rosser are huge Vinyl fans and two of my closest friends. They performed and arranged the new Andrew WK produced Lee Scratch Perry album “Repentence” and will be at this year’s Grammy Awards fighting for Best Reggae Album. Both are LA based songwriters and studio musicians trying to make it in the music biz like the rest of us. Look for them hidden in this recent hot newz video from the fall:
Andy is currently full time with the California indie rock sensation kiev (http://www.myspace.com/kiev) and Dave is still pushing modern groove with his funky fresh Warrior Nation (http://www.myspace.com/awarriornation)
Show em some love!
In case you love the snow on the ground in Chapel Hill/Carrboro and you really miss watching Thomas the Train Engine.
Enjoy the snow. Just so you know, NC State and NCCU are out of classes today, while UNC and Duke are holding classes. Make of that what you will.
- Matt Poindexter
Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino Records, 2009)
At the end of 2008 I listed Animal Collective’s forthcoming Merriweather Post Pavilion as my most anticipated album of 2009. Certainly I was not the only music lover and Collective fan to buzz about their latest offering; blogs posted tidbits of trivia and album artwork while early leaks of tracks “My Girls” and “Brother Sport” drew thousands of listens and only increased the fever pitch of excitement surrounding the album. Needless to say I was a bit nervous about whether or not the album as a whole would live up to the hype of the unofficial “singles”, but having had Merriweather on repeat for the last few days, I think its even better than I could have imagined. I am convinced that it will be counted as one of the best albums of 2009.
The title comes from the name of a venue in Maryland that tends to play host to much more main stream artists than Animal Collective, such as Santana and Sheryl Crow, but more important to note is the subtle way that they have brought together their experimental tendencies and their melodic pop influences, in what is surely their most accessible record. Thats not to say that die-hard AC fans are going to be disappointed when they hear this album. On the contrary, it has all the marks of a classic; able to combine the exuberance of 2004′s Sung Tongs, the raw sonic fields of Feels (released the year after), and the trademark unifying crescendos, effervescently making one musical idea out of many, of 2007′s Strawberry Jam. The songwriting is as rich as ever, each track meandering through layers of meaning and yet never losing sight of the overall landscape of the album: a shimmering, celebratory ode to the myriad wonders of life and love.
Somehow prime songwriters Dave Portner (aka Avey Tare) and Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) are more focused now than they have ever been, displaying the strength of their individual styles when melded together. Panda Bear tends to be the more dream inspired, shoegaze oriented of the two, whereas Avey Tare is more lyrically straight-forward. The duo dive into pop music history and sprinkle the album with catchy hooks and choruses that give Merriweather the feel of a dance album at times, while at other moments rendering it a deep sea of pensive chants and mantras. Brian Weitz (aka Geologist) once again enriches Animal Collective’s music, fiddling with various knobs and electronics galore to create interesting and complex music that meshes seamlessly with the lyrics and vocals of Tare and Panda. Considering that at any given time there may be as many as 18 vocal loops layered on top of one another, it was no small feat to balance the “noise” of each track with the “voices” that so often drive their compositions.
One of the major differences between this album and their earlier work is the control that Tare and Panda exhibit. There are far fewer emotive outbursts and jangling vocal interjections than in the past (see their first full length studio album Here Comes the Indian on Paw Tracks Records), which some may read as a criticism, but, far from being disappointed, I was impressed by the way this newfound calm contributed to the gradual building quality of the record. Merriweather Post Pavilion, AC’s eighth LP, is as complete an album as they have ever created, smoothly flowing from up-tempo beats to retro pop to ambient soundworlds, all while continuing their endless expedition towards the outer boundaries of the musical universe.
It has been written already, and rightly so, that virtually any song on this album could stand alone, but some of the most amazing tracks are the Brian Wilson infused “Summertime Clothes” (yes, that’s right, a Beach Boys reference); the instantly memorable “Also Frightened” that revels in starry harmonics and contains the scintillating and catchy line “will it be just like they’re dreaming/will it be just like I’m dreaming”; and the synthed-out “Daily Routine” that displays old-school Collective experimentalism in its unorthodox structure and echo imbued musical fabric.
But the ultimate beauty of this album is its wholeness. Whereas early Animal Collective saw Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist, and Deakin creating music that seemed compiled from endless jam sessions and late night “experimenting”, Merriweather is immaculately constructed, and sees the Collective stronger than ever, completely at ease with their unique sound and displaying a confidence that springs from nearly a decade of creative and groundbreaking music.
The new semester is a day away, which means the Vinyl Records 2009 assault on the music world is getting ready to roll. We have the FREE VINYL RECORDS RELEASE PARTY AT LOCAL 506 coming up on January 30th (so go to http://www.local506.com for info). Before that though, we’ll be posting the first singles by Apollo, Lafcadio, and Lake Inferior here on Vinyl Press.
I’ve listened to everything so far, and I can definitely say Vinyl Records has three products that we can get behind and push hard. We hope you’re as impressed with the releases as we are.
Finally, Vinyl Press is looking for writers. If you are a student at UNC and are interested in writing you should contact Vinyl Press. We’d love to have you!
Good luck with the semester, and come support Vinyl Records!
- Matt Poindexter
Wouldn’t it be cool if everyone out at the bars tonight just hugged it out and sang this one instead of “Auld Lang Syne” – let Robert Burns have his Burns Supper on January 25th (more on that to come here) and give NYE to ABBA:
Happy New Year to you and yours, from everyone at Vinyl! Be safe!
- Matt Poindexter
I just stumbled upon this video from a great artist named Anni Rossi who’s signed to 4AD Records, the same label that has released albums by TV on the Radio, Pixies, the Mountain Goats, and Department of Eagles. She plays viola and a video of her covering “Creep” from Radiohead’s debut album Pablo Honey got her some internet views. Her album Afton is definitely worth a listen, she has a voice that’s been compared to Joanna Newsom for its anachronistic style, but her take on the classical-indie-pop hybrid genre of music is unique and thought-provoking.
check out the video and her album:
happy new year from Vinyl Records!
I’ve had a week now since exams ended, meaning I’ve had lots of time to catch up on music that fell through the cracks in 2008 (as well as hear some great music that is slated for 2009 release).
Apparently, quite a bit fell through the cracks. What’s done is done – I can’t add these to my already finished “Best of 2008,” but they should definitely get just as much attention. Their respective albums seem great too, but I haven’t had enough time to fully evaluate them. At any rate, listen to these songs. Because each has a fantastic video for it, I’ll link those.
- Matt Poindexter
Its not often that you find a locally owned and operated book store that also boasts one of the best music selections in town, but that’s just what Nice Price Books is; a mecca for book and music lovers. Located just inside Carrboro town lines on Boyd St off of Main, this bookstore opened its doors 21 years ago next to Vis-Art and Cat’s Cradle, but relocated to more “remote” premises and has become a cultural hub of Carrboro with its immense selection of used and rare books, CD’s, tapes, DVD’s, VHS’s, and vinyl records, all for low prices.
Books on every subject imaginable are stacked from the floor to the ceiling and conveniently labeled making it easy to find a book dealing with anything from ecology to science fiction to landscaping. It reminded me of many of the dusty, hole-in-the-wall used book stores you stumble across in London or Paris, which turn out to be full of rare first editions and seem to go on forever.
The atmosphere at Nice Price is perfect for browsing their impressive record collection, with plenty of great oldies in good condition and lots of genres to choose from, including country, soul, blues, and worldbeat. Plus they play WXYC in the store a lot, which means if you swing by you could hear some great college radio while perusing. They even have a frequent buyer card, but the prices are generally as low as I’ve seen considering the quality of the selection.
So next time you head out in search of some vinyl records or books, make a trip to Nice Price Books. It’s’ local, friendly, and knowledgeable. Bottom line, they have a good selection and nothing costs too much.
I just spent about 2 hours this afternoon, came back with: Purple Rain by Prince; Elvis’ Golden Records; Parisienne Accordion from Francois Chantal & Orchestra; Made in the Shade by the Rolling Stones; Graceland by Paul Simon; Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers live in Paris; and a techno album from Matador Records with Dälek andTechno Animal tracks… price tag for all 7 records: $28
My family has three Thanksgivings.
My parents host the first for all of our friend in Winston Salem on Thanksgiving eve. Then on Thanksgiving day, we drive to Richmond County to have lunch with my mom side of the family and dinner with my dad’s side of the family.
With all this prepping, cooking, driving, eating, and excessive napping of course, we have to have a little music to get us through.
I know it’s hard not to be a Grinch when Christmas music is so terrible, but fear not! I have the Christmas music low down.
I begin my holiday season by listening to The Chieftains “The Bells Of Dublin.” This, in my opinion, is the greatest Christmas album of ALL TIME. The Chieftains are kings of the traditional Irish folk music genre, and they apply that style to Christmas in a way that always makes me happy that I’m about to have to go shopping and freak out about finals.
Other favorites are A Canadian Brass Christmas, and Sufjan Stevens’ “Hark! Songs for Christmas,” which my room mate and fellow Vinyl family member, Sarah, screams at the top of her lungs. It’s charming, really.
Paddy Maloney, who is a member of The Chieftains, released and album called “Silent Night: A Christmas in Rome” that is not one of my all time favorites, but it does provide a nice change.
In the classical genre we have two traditions, and I don’t care if they are ubiquitous. Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” and Handel’s “Messiah.”
So those are some albums with class that will hopefully see you through the season.
I was going to write a long post about this, but I feel like this video from Russell Simmons shows how completely awesome Vinyl Records co-founder Tripp Gobble is. If you haven’t noticed – Vinyl is on the rise!
- Matt Poindexter