January 29, 2008

Best of 2007, actually #5

I got the numbering wrong in my last "best of 2007" post, as if it matters. Laura Veirs was #6 on my list. The actual #5 was the New Pornographers' "Challengers", another swell album in a series of swell albums. (Not quite as good as "Twin Cinema", but still, damn.) They've been expanding their sound over the years, no longer delivering all-hyper-power-pop-all-the-time but bringing in melancholy ballads, cut-and-paste experiments, and hypnotic epics that have retroactively made me feel much more warmly about their second album, "The Electric Version", which I had once dismissed as a carbon copy of their first album. Now that they're making so few songs that recall their first album, I don't mind having two versions of it.

Here are two very different tracks: Dan Bejar's "Myriad Harbor", a song about New York with an opening call-and-response couplet that cracks me up every time, and Carl Newman's "Adventures in Solitude", a delicate number that opens up at the end with a great vocal from Kathryn Calder, holding her own in a band with Neko fucking Case in it -- not bad.

(Obligatory Amazon link for the acquisitionally motivated. Or go to the Matador website and buy the executive edition, which includes downloads of every associated B-side, a twelve-track live CD, and videos.)

Posted by Francis at 03:49 AM
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