Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Beginning of a Wondrous Fall

>> Featured Artist: The Mountain Goats

As summer winds down, the Toaster likes to pop on albums that will make us sad. It all stems from the 2003 Beck-vs.-E battle of who could be the most depressed on an album. (Beck won out because with Sea Change as the Eels' Shootenanny! actually had some upbeat material on it). This fall, John Darnielle is determined to depress the shit out of us.

And yet his brilliant songwriting makes it all listenable and "put-it-on-repeat"able. It's no Sunset Tree or Tennessee or We Shall All Be Healed. But the majesty of lonely has never been done better, and slowly but surely, Darnielle is becoming the high hurdle of American songwriters.

We especially recommend pairing Get Lonely (title track available here) with Elvis' Get Happy!! It makes for a balance of imperatives we all need.

>> Album Lookout: I'm Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
Yo La Tengo - Due Out: September 12, 2006 Matador

Yo La Tengo has won our early award for best album title of the year (a close second was Jewel's I'm So Scared of You, and I Have a Crooked Tooth). The Toaster has always enjoyed the songs on which Ira sang. The leaked song from Beat Your Ass, "Beanbag Chair," is the perfect track to get our interest up. After buying the retrospective Prisoners of Love last year, we've been aching for new stuff.

Let's hope it pans out well.

>> Reverting to: 1966

You don't feel that first snare crack the same way without hearing the famed introduction to this song. Getting heckled from his own crowds for "going electric," Bobby D (who had another critically acclaimed new album out today) was having a relatively rough time that spring with his "loyalists." At this particular concert in Manchester (mistakenly referred to as the "Royal Albert Hall Concert") on May 17, Bobby completed the set with "Ballad of a Thin Man" and as he was heading into his closer, the hit "Like a Rolling Stone" one of the rabblerousing folksters in the crowd yelled out "Judas." Bobby mumbled back, "I don't believe you...You're a LIAR." And then, to his band, "Play it fucking loud!"

The energy, the anger, the frustration that made this song so wonderful is tripled into what might be the most passionate live recording we've ever heard. That snare crack still gives us the golden chills.

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