Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Best of 2011 - Dave Edition

Sidi Toure - Sahel Folk (Thrill Jockey)

At its heart, Sahel Folk is an album of friends reuniting around a glass of tea. It’s Sidi Touré’s second album, but the first time most of his collaborators have been documented. Chronicled in a live “field-recording” style at Sidi’s sister’s house, the simplicity of the takes highlight the beauty of the songs and the skill of the players. Each track on the album is a duet recording of Sidi and one friend, a product of a very specific two-day process. On the first day, the friends would meet, play, and choose a song over a glass of tea. On the second day they would record the song, allowing themselves just two takes to retain the spontaneity of the recording and reunion. It was the original intent of Covalesky, the album’s producer, to create an historical document about the traditions of Gao, and to mix the audio of Sidi and his friends’ songs with street recordings and interviews. However, once the recording started, everything changed. Covalesky puts it best when he says “In the face of such beauty and power delivered so simply by Sidi Touré and his friends, there was nothing to add. Everything was there. – Thrill Jockey

Drive By Truckers – Go Go Boots (RED Distribution)

Far more than on any of the Drive-By Truckers' previous albums, Go-Go Boots rises like smoke from the old Muscle Shoals country-and-soul sound. Having recorded with Bettye LaVette and Booker T. Jones, and having spent a lifetime listening to classic soul albums by Bobby Womack, Tony Joe White, and especially Eddie Hinton, it was inevitable that the Truckers eventually produce this album.

J Mascis - Several Shades Of Why (Sub Pop)

Nearly all acoustic, Several Shades of Why was created with the help of a few friends. Notable amongst them are Kurt Vile, Sophie Trudeau (A Silver Mount Zion), Kurt Fedora (long-time collusionist), Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), Matt Valentine (The Golden Road), and Suzanne Thorpe (Wounded Knees). Together in small mutable groupings, they conjure up classic sounds ranging from English-tinged folk to drifty, West Coast-style singer/songwriterism. But every track, every note even, bears that distinct Mascis watermark, both in the shape of the tunes and the glorious rasp of the vocals. Ten brilliant tunes that quietly grow and expand until they fill your brain with the purest pleasure.

The Dirtbombs – Party Store (In The Read)

Detroit's Dirtbombs are back with a brand new full length album that serves as a sort of companion piece to their Ultraglide In Black album. On that album the band performed cover versions of 60's and 70's soul music. On Party Store the band tackle Detroit techno music of the 80's and 90's. Techno music as performed by a rock band. Includes a mind-blowing 22 minute version of Innerzone Orchestra's "Bug In The Bassbin". Vinyl comes as a beautiful triple gatefold with the hour plus music spread over three 12"s.

Devon Williams – Euphoria (Slumberland)

Euphoria presents an homage to things romantic and rare. A powerful and catchy set of songs matched with a more intricate and layered production than his 2008 debut solo album Carefree, _ Euphoria_ retains a uniform feel though it was recorded and mixed in several studios by producers like NYC's Jorge Elbrecht (from the excellent Violens) and Vancouver's Dave Carswell, who also produced Williams' onetime touring mate, Destroyer. From the gushing crescendo of "Slight Pain" to the trance-like state of "Dreaming," the album's vast emotional landscape embodies the tough-minded/tender-hearted spirit that animates Williams' live performances. The 12 songs on Euphoria live in a dizzy head space of quiet desperation, progressing from the loving and warm "Revelations" to complacency in "Sufferer," then back to the optimistic "Right Direction" directly into the claustrophobic, pounding chorus of "How is There Always Room?"

Steve Adamyk Band – Forever Won’t Wait (Dirtnap Records)

Ottawa’s roots-punk Steve Adamyk Band wear their influences loudly and proudly, but anyone who listens to them knows they have a lot more to offer than just a revival of the Ramones, Buzzcocks, and Dickies (who they cover, with “X-Eyed Tammy”). Power pop and straight-ahead hard rock inform their sound as much as raunchy punk from 1977, and Forever Won’t Wait is the album where they begin to prove just how thoroughly solid they can be, after a less than stellar self-titled debut. With 16 tracks, all around the one- or two-minute mark, there isn’t a sleeper to be found on board. They could all be singles. Each song is a quick and crispy amped-up rocker, with a sugar-soaked hook to balance out the vintage raunch and modern-day blast. While it’s been well publicized that lead singer/guitarist Steve Adamyk is the chief songwriter, drummer Dave Williams, bassist Davey Quesnelle, and second guitarist Emmanuel Sayer play with a tightness that only a band with years of camaraderie could share. Forever Won’t Wait rocks hard, and though there are hints of nostalgia, it seems timeless and is packed full of good fun from front to back.

TBWNIS Vs. The Purveyors Of Conspicuous Authenticity (Birdman Sound)

Hard hitting improvised psych rock. could be from 4 - 9 (or more)people involved on any given night. Only 100 copies were pressed.

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