Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Best of 2010

Song: O.N.E.
Artist: Yeasayer
Album: Odd Blood

Over the lifespan of this blog I've waxed quite a bit about my old love for "Modern Rock" and "Alternative" music of my youth and how I don't connect much to what is considered "indie" now-a-days. My tastes have shifted more toward dance music and pop... I don't know why exactly.  Maybe I'm just getting older and am way less concerned about appearing cool... yeah I love the new Ke$ha single, I just don't give a shit.

I could probably write an essay about this topic but will spare you.  What I really want to talk about is what (at least I thought) was the one indie-rock record that I hands-down LOVED this year.  Brooklyn-based Yeasayer released their sophomore album and follow up to 2007's "All Hour Cymbals" this February.  Ditching the world-is-ending-and-totally-sucks theme from their debut, "Odd Blood" finds the band harnessing the power of their sound, mixing strong memorable melodies with "what is that?" experimental sounds, and a surprising amount of 80's influences that aren't obvious at all.  It's sort of like if Radiohead decided to make an irony-free Orchestral Maneuvers After Dark record.

Maybe it's the refreshing mix of true eclecticism and heart-on-their-sleeve earnestness that I've connected with.  Or the fact that it's just really strange but totally catchy.  Opener "The Children" is a bit of a misnomer with it's industrial clatter, pitch-corrected vocals, and slow as molasses dirge-like sound.  It doesn't sound like the rest of the record, and yet works as visually I imagine and odd creature opening a large gate welcoming you into a strange world.  And then you're hit with "Ampling Alp," one of my favorite tracks of the year. The indie answer to Katy Perry's "Firework" (yes I just said that) "Alp" is a self-empowerment anthem disguised as an experimental reggae-lite Summer jam.  I love it.  Next track "Madder Red" is a melancholy I-know-I've-done-you-wrong lament that's equally sad and mysterious.  Another gem.

Things get very 80's prom dance on "I Remember" which is sweet and odd and in a different universe... would have been a huge hit this year.  Beautiful.  Things pick up with the bouncy, catchy, "O.N.E.," another big favorite this year.  A break-up track that's all hilarious "I'm over you..." but I'm really not and don't realize it.  "Rome" is about as Scissor Sisters as the band gets, and "Mondegreen" is their version of Ska.  But this is a great record start to finish that manages to take you on an experimental journey that lyrically fairly straight-forward and super catchy.

Funny, as I consider this the one indie-rock record that I liked this year, it turns out some of the hipsters have turned on Yeasayer, calling sell-out from "Odd Blood," and mourning the shift from "All Hour."  Ugh... there you go.  It pretty much sums up my feelings about the state of "indie rock."  Regardless of all that, the best thing I can say about "Odd Blood" is that despite all of its quirk... you're actually going to FEEL something from this record.  Caring is NOT creepy.



I Remember

Madder Red

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