The Welcome Wagon - Welcome to the Welcome Wagon (2008)

Would you take a look at that cover art. Ain't it something? I'm not quite sure what to make of it. Makes it look like the album is going to be some guy and his wife singing songs about love and jesus.

Wait a minute. That's exactly what it is.

Still, you should never judge a book my its cover, because if you did you'd end up missing out on a load of great music, and this album is no different.

So, The Welcome Wagon is actually reverend Vito Aiuto and his wife Monique, and a bunch of gospel singers that back them up. Oh, and Sufjan Stevens. Yeah, that's right, Sufjan is involved. He produced the album and as a result it just oozes Sufjan, abeit a more religious than usual Sufjan.

So you've got a lovely christian married couple singing indie pop songs with gospel singers in the background and Stevens' production techniques slapped on for good measure. It sounds like a mixed bag and many people will be put off by the whole religious aspect of it, but fuck that, it's good music. End of.

You know you want to hear this now.

Give it a listen

Buying this album is like buying my way into heaven, right?


The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin Outtakes

This is just a small post I'm making because I care.

The Flaming Lips are one of my favorite bands and I recently bought (hey, some of us have to do it) The Soft Bulletin 2009 reissue and was happy to discover it came with a little bonus CD that contains 3 songs that were cut from The Soft Bulletin. Now I'm sure a lot of you guys already have these since they also came with The Soft Bulletin 5.1 but that wasn't released everywhere so a lot of people missed out on these songs.

They're great tracks, real top notch stuff. The Captain, has to be one of the coolest Flaming Lips songs I've heard, with a sort of shoegaze (a la My Bloody Valentine) sound to it. There's also the undeniably sweet Satellite of You, which is just one big ol' metaphor for love. Awww, bless.

So, grab it if you don't already got it.

Give it a listen

Double 180 gram LP reissue of one of the greatest albums of all time, complete with bonus cd of outtakes that are as good as the stuff that made the cut? Huh...I might buy that

Sea Snakes - Clear as Day, the Darkest Tools (2004)

So, your hipster cred is down and you need an album to boost it back up. Well, I've got this album...let's get the checklist and see how it fares.

1. Must be by a non-british/non-american band. Check
2. Must be the only album by said band. Check
3. Must have less than 2,000 listeners on last.fm. Check
4. Album art must not have the name of the band or album on it. Check

Oh, well there you go. You'll have to check out this slice of indie pie.

Sea Snakes only put out one album (this one, hurr durr) before each member went off to do his own thing (maybe you heard of one or two of them). It's a darn shame as well, because this is one of the best albums that I've heard in a long time.

Not too dissimilar from A Weather I suppose, they have that same quiet/quiet dynamic and both bands kick out some beautiful songs, but Sea Snakes have a certain sound to them. They're quite wintery, I guess. They sound like they're playing in a shed in the middle of winter, that's what it is. And I suppose the lack of a female vocalist makes their songs less sweet and more emotional. Think A Weather and American Football mixed together with a pinch of I Am Robot And Proud and you might get an idea of what I'm talking about. Better yet, get the damn album.

Quiet, acoustic-ish, wintery, indie cred boosting indie pop. Get on it.

Give it a listen

I would spend money in order to boost my indie cred. COME ONNNNNNN.


UT - In Gut's House (1987)

Okay, so now that the holiday season really has come to an end I should hopefully be updating this thing on a regular basis. Don't quote me on that, though.

So what's todays album all about, then? Nothing much, really. Just an amazing, long forgotten, punk album that came out of artsy New York way back in the mid 80s. Disorientated, multi-part vocals are layered over some jagged, atonal guitars with some rather minimilistic drumming that sort of fades into the discordant noise the guitars and vocals produce. It's all very artsy and raw.

Of course, you could argue that it's one of those albums that's easier to appreciate rather than enjoy. Something about a bunch of women playing experimental punk rock must've been pretty impressive back in the day, and it probably holds some significance even now.

But fuck that, I just think it sounds awesome.

Give it a listen

This album is so different, just like me. I'm actually going to BUY this.


Top 10 LPs of 2009

10. Watercolor Paintings - Open Your Mouth

This right here is one of the sweetest albums to come out this year. You've got two kids, brother and sister, throwing out some simple yet beautiful tracks. Think Nana Grizol meets Joanna Newsom in your basement with a tape recorder and you'll have an idea of what these guys sound like. Check it out.

Give it a listen
They're so sweet I think I'll visit their myspace

9. The Loneliest Cowgirls - I Shall Be Free

Some people will judge me for liking this record but I don't care. For those out of the loop The Loneliest Cowgirls is the brainchild of some 16 year old kid living in Montana. And it's painfully obvious that these songs are the bedroom recordings of a heartbroken kid with a guitar, but that just makes it all the better. It's raw, emotional trash and it's excellent.

Give it a listen

8. Ramona Falls - Intuit

Ramona Falls is one third of awesome indie band Menomena and this is his debut solo effort. And man-oh-man is it good. Catchy tunes, beautiful instrumentation and powerful lyrics. At times it actually gets pretty dramatic and almost theatrical, providing a truly interesting listen. It's creative, it's different and it's a little bit special. Couldn't recommend this more.

Give it a listen
I'm so artsy and cool I'm actually going to buy this

7. The Starlets - I Wake Up Dreaming

Nobody seems to know who The Starlets are. Let me tell you now, they're one of the best bands to come out of this decade. Hauntingly beautful dream pop is this Glascow bands forte and they push the boat out on their latest album. At times it's painfully melancholic but sometimes, just sometimes, a beautiul ray of joy pokes its head out of the lush soundscape. Sure they've recycled some of the songs of their earlier albums (particularly Further Into The Night) but you've not heard those either so shut up.

Give it a listen

6. The Leisure Society - The Sleeper

Calm, soothing, wonderous, relaxing, beautiful. All of these words (and no doubt more) can be applied to this album, and indeed the band responsible for it. This is another one of those albums that seemed to come out of nowhere and unfortunately only a few people found out about it. This album shows what this band is capable of and is definately one of the best debuts this year. I wish them nothing but luck in the future, and I'll always be keeping an eye out for them.

Give it a listen
These guys sound so cool I'm going to buy their LP AND EP

5. fun. - Aim and Ignite

This album is marmite. Some people love it like no other and others hate it with a firey passion. It's an odd thing, really. Some people really love the upbeat, broadway-esque music and the often overly-dramatic vocals and these people take nothing but joy in singing along to All The Pretty Girls which just oozes Queen. But then some people hate all that. I have my suspicions that those people are boring.

Give it a listen
You BUY marmite? Hahaha, oh wow

4. Jeffrey Lewis And The Junkyard - 'Em Are I

Folk-punk seems to be the hip new thang with bands like Andrew Jackson Jihad and Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains becoming ever more popular with their short, sweet songs that get stuck in your head for days on end. Andrew Jackson Jihad even released a new album this year, but it ain't got a patch on 'Em Are I. Sure, each to their own but this album doesn't have a kazoo sonata whilst it does have an 8 minute experimental epic that is equal parts folk-punk, jazz and post-rock. Sound interesting? You bet your ass it is.

Give it a listen
I would pay good money for an 8 minute folk-punk/jazz/post-rock track alone

3. Stardeath And White Dwarves - The Birth

If you've seen The Flaming Lips on tour recently you no doubt saw this bunch of kids supporting them. Stardeath And White Dwarves are an excellent band who have but out one of the most remarkable albums this year. Flaming Lips comparisons aside this is a beautiful, psychedelic, experimental and downright groovy album. Each track is different, from the funky, noisy masterpiece that is Those Who Are From The Sun Return To The Sun or the amazingly beautiful album closer Smoking Pot Makes Me Not Want to Kill Myself.

Give it a listen
Smoking pot makes me want to buy albums

2. Pomegranates - Everybody, Come Outside!

I dont know how to describe these guys. Uhh...as if Vampire Weekend weren't as boring and had a tonne more influences? And they're signed to Lujo Records (proud parents of Look Mexico) so you know they can't be bad. This album is immensly enjoyable, with each track being a little quirky indie gem. I don't know what else to say, it's just a really great album and I honestly can't wait to hear more of these guys.

Give it a listen
Quirky indie music? I'm going to buy a copy and show it to all my hip indie friends

1. Future of the Left - Travels With Myself And Another

I always knew this was my #1, from the moment I pushed play. Maybe it was the quiet opening that made me turn up the volume only to be scared to death by some guy shouting "C'MON RICK, I'M NOT PRIZE" at the top of his voice. But I always knew. This is the second album from the welsh noise rock band made up from the broken pieces of the always relevent Mclusky. This album is an agressive, noisy, sometimes funny collection of songs about everything from the army to plastic forks. With its awesome riffs, catchy-as-fuck songs and shout along choruses it certainly deserves the title of my album of the year.

Give it a listen

Well that's it for my top 10 LPs but I think I might compile a short list of favorite EPs as well, so keep an eye out.