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1. Good News For People Who Love
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2. Our Endless Numbered Days
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3. The Sunset Tree
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4. Revolver [UK]
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5. fromabasement on thehill
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6. Odelay
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7. The Creek Drank the Cradle
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8. Woman King
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9. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
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10. The Moon & Antarctica
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11. Skittish / Rockity Roll
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12. The Sunlandic Twins [Bonus EP]
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13. Black Sheep Boy
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14. Mellow Gold
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15. Mutations
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16. No Wow
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17. This Is a Long Drive for Someone
18. Four Songs
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19. Exile in Guyville
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20. Rejoicing in the Hands

1. Good News For People Who Love Bad News
list price: $18.98
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Asin: B0001M7P78
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 47
Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
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It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment Modest Mouse started sounding like a real band. For the longest time, singer-songwriter Isaac Brock seemed to exist solely to defy the established rules, forging forward on sheer momentum and ingenuity. Even Pavement looked relatively ordinary in comparison to the band's early releases like 1996's This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About and 1997's The Lonesome Crowded West. But on Good News For People Who Love Bad News, the front man sounds like he's finally touching the earth, and the band--minus founding member and drummer Jeremiah Green--follows suit. A relaxed mood prevails, not so much in volume but in attitude. On the follow-up to the group's 2000 major label debut, The Moon & Antarctica, big sloppy melodies battle it out with brass on punky epics like "Float On" and "The Ocean Breathes Salty." The lyrics are simpler, the arrangements tamer, but the vitality remains. The prevailing mood is that Modest Mouse has pulled off something extraordinary here: a well-rounded, lovable record that doesn't sound anything like David Gray. --Aidin Vaziri ... Read more

Reviews (317)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good News is a Mediocre Album
If you were hoping to a return to roots for Modest Mouse, this isn't the album. This album builds on the direction they were heading with the marginal "Moon and Antarctica" without moving quite far enough away from it. The album doesn't sound formulaic but at the same time, there are no surprises.

"Good News..." starts with a whimper but manages to work it's way into a block of good songs before the album closes out with the flute laden "The Good Times are Killing Me." "Float On" was the obvious up tempo single and the sole bright spot on the first quarter of the album. "Dance Hall" and "Bukowski" start to turn it around but things don't really get going until "The View." Longtime Modest Mouse fans will probably enjoy the last few tracks of the album more than anything else.

The engineering also leaves a lot to be desired. Drum sounds are occasionally tinny, vocals are mixed loud and just like "Moon..." there's an overkill of annoying overdubs and effects. Modest Mouse seems to have lost or abandoned the expansiveness of their earlier work and with it a good portion of their soul. Compared to "Moon" though, "Good News" is warm and highly enjoyable.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good news...
Good news for people who love Modest Mouse: their new album is a thumbs-up disc. Though the tone isn't really changed from their 2000 hit, "Good News For People Who Love Bad News" is a fluid, haunting branch-out, with wonderful instrumentation and a sort of vaguely mellow feel.

The subtle "World At Large" opens "Good News...", soaked with restlessness and resignation, followed by the magnificent "Float On" and solid "Ocean Breathes Salty." The album stumbles a bit with the frenetic "Dance Hall," but picks itself up with literate lament "Bukowski," wall-smashing rocker "Black Cadillacs," and bouncing "Bury Me With It."

When a band's lineup changes, fans have a right to be nervous. But despite changes in the guitar and percussion sections (they switched drummers in mid-album), Modest Mouse keeps its unique, sweeping sound more or less intact without getting stagnant. It doesn't really move too far in a new direction (except being happier), but it's not a rehash of "Moon and Antarctica" either.

Death and pondering what's next are still the centerpieces of Modest Mouse's creations, from the very catchy "The View" to the searing "Satin In A Coffin." "Are you dead or are you sleeping?" Isaac Brock asks repeatedly in his very quirky (and very fitting) voice. Oddly enough, it's more upbeat than some of their past releases -- which is not very upbeat, but there's a sort of lighter undercurrent to the music.

"Good News..." also benefits from a bit of new blood: drummer Benjamind Weikel is new to the group. He doesn't try to imitate ex-band-member Jeremiah Green, but instead uses his own strong drumming to good effect. Synthesizers, versatile guitars and strong bass are backed up by atmospheric additions like banjos, violins, horns and organs.

Poetry-rock group Modest Mouse is still going strong in "Good News For People Who Love Bad News." While it's not the strongest they've done, it keeps the mood pensive and melancholy without turning it into a pose. Good news!

5-0 out of 5 stars And it took me this long to buy this CD?
It takes a lot for me to BUY music. I tend to borrow and dl more than anything else, but Good News For People Who Like Bad News is one of the rare CDs that I thought was good enough to spend 10 bucks on. The music is addictive. The World At Large is a lot of fun; Float On, as much as it's the song that introduced me to Modest Mouse, is somewhat eclipsed by other tracks; Ocean Breathless Salty is by FAR my favorite on the album; Bury Me With It reminds me of some other song that I can't put my name on, which is nice; Dance Hall is, surprisingly, the only song that actually got me dancing when I first heard it; Bukowski is my second favorite song... lots of fun, tres memorable; This Devil's Workday is SUCH a good song, it seems like an old old song that hasn't lost it's meaning; The View, I don't particularly care for... it just doesn't fit; Satin In A Coffin is a good enough song, but it doesn't stay with me; Blame It On The Tetons is a very close #3 for me, very relaxing and is closer to most of the other music I usually listen to; Black Cadillacs is eh, sort of iffy; One Chance is something I would expect to be in a sappy teen movie or something; The Good Times Are Killing Me was an excellent end to an excellent CD. Overall, well worth your time and well worth your money.

2-0 out of 5 stars tragedy strikes
Modest Mouse is one of my all time favorite bands. It was Isaac's raw sound on earlier albums like Lonesome Crowded West and Sad Sappy Sucker that made the band unique and to me and pulsating with energy. Yes, this album is polished, but it is also watered down and much more boring compared to their older, jagged melodies that were throbbing with pain and electric. One would hope that when a band makes it big they're not selling out, but I feel like Modest Mouse just got dumb with their melodies. I for one shed a tear :(

3-0 out of 5 stars ALRIGHT!
After being let down by Modest Mouse's prior independent releases, I decided to give Good News a shot. I was not let down this time around. Mouse finds the perfect blend of weird and catchiness. Although the weirdness takes the cd off track here and there, as a whole it is pretty good. Standouts for me are the hit "Float On" and "The World at Large" and the rest is slowly growing on me. If you're looking for something fresh in the alternative rock scene, look no further. It's fun and slightly bizarre. Their best album yet. ... Read more

2. Our Endless Numbered Days
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Asin: B0001ENX54
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 338
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Florida’s brilliant singer-songwriter Sam Beam expands Iron & Wine from solo project to a gaggle of friends and family on slide guitar, percussion, and backing vocals on his second album. Fans need not worry--the hushed immediacy and rich melodies remain the focus--but new flavors abound. For instance, the strange "Cinder And Smoke" sounds like a collaboration (with banjos of course) between America, Robert Wyatt and Low. Meanwhile, "On Your Wings," "Free Until They Cut Me Down," and "Teeth in the Grass" showcase a brooding, earthy, Southern-rock-on-laudanum side that the band had previously only demonstrated in concert. It's rare when an artist who's become known for bedroom recordings makes the transition to the studio to produce work that's better--Daniel Johnston, Lou Barlow, and Liz Phair all made their defining moments crouched above a cassette recorder at home. But Beam is the exception to the rule, as he has easily bested himself on the second Iron & Wine album. --Mike McGonigal ... Read more

Reviews (48)

4-0 out of 5 stars Different and Brilliant
2002's 'The Creek Drank the Cradle' was my favorite album of the year. Brilliant, hushed, personal music. Wonderful lyrics, beautiful, understated guitar work. 2003's EP 'The Sea and the Rhythm' was more of the same. 'Our Endless Numbered Days', finds Miami native Sam Beam expanding his repertoire. It's different this time around. It's less spectral, less muted. Most of the songs feature sparse accompaniment (drums, banjo, background vox). Prior releases were composed solely of layered guitar and voice. This recording is cleaner and much more professional sounding. However, part of the appeal of the first two albums was the murky, basement-style recording quality. Sam's voice is more pronounced this time around. His sister provides beautiful harmonization on several tracks. It's not all new territory though. 'Naked as we Came' and 'Sunset Soon Forgotten' bear that trademark Iron and Wine sound. And, consequently, are two of my favorites on the album. All in all, I'm more than satisified. The recording quality is excellent, the lyrics are, of course, brilliant and touching, and the instrumentation is superb.

5-0 out of 5 stars Soul Searching with Sam Beam
When I read that Iron and Wine's new CD "Our Endless Numbered Days" was recorded in a studio with instrumentals, I wasn't sure whether I liked that idea or not. I was afraid it would lack that certain intimacy we all know Sam's first effort, "The Creek Drank the Cradle," layered on due to it having been recorded in his home on a four-track, with no backing band. However, my fears were quelled after my first listen and, I can gladly say, I might even like this album more than "The Creek." What the studio enabled Sam to do was to make a cleaner, sharper sounding album, without sacrificing the personal qualities we all love. His voice/lyrics and guitar are still the focus of all the songs; the sound of the record remains to be very intimate and simple, with only light instrumental arrangements in the background along with beautiful harmonies which help to add some variety to the album, including chants at the end of "Cinder and Smoke" and drums and tambourine on the bluesy "Free Until They Cut Me Down." All the songs are as beautiful and memorable as ever, with some standouts including: "Naked As We Came" with backing vocals by his sister; the beautiful "Each Coming Night"; the acoustic ballad "Fever Dream"; along with many others. "Our Endless Numbered Days" is a beautiful, thought-provoking album that lives up to the Iron and Wine name with a new sound that seems to be just a natural progression rather than a sudden shift in values. The bonus CD also features a few really nice tracks that have a lo-fi sound which should make fans of "Creek" very happy. Strongly recommended for established fans and newcomers alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars My kind of music
not much that hasn't already been said about this- without a doubt one of the top albums of the year. Sam is amazing in so many ways. Practically every song is terrific... what a follow up to another album that was a revalation.

See Sam and co. in concert if possible, such a good show.

5-0 out of 5 stars come on, harold
quiet is the new loud, don't you know.

1-0 out of 5 stars A chunk of pre-plunged vomit lodged in the throat of God
I don't know who this guy is. I don't care. What I do know is that he's trendy, that trendy people listen to him even though they might not like him, and that his hip, trendy music has apparently made a great impression on the dozen or so fanzines and indie-rock websites that are written by, read by, and purchased by the same 200 or so people who go to his concerts, buy his records, and shop for clothing and other material goods while listening to his trendy music play. That makes him a cult band. If he is a band at all.

I don't think he's a band, I think he's a talentless joke. He strums obtuse chords on a guitar, breathes deeply into the microphone, ripping off Mojave 3 at every turn, praying they either think this is flattering or don't have a lawyer, and looks depressed and ugly in all of his press photo shoots, each of which basically shows him in the same pose, clothing, background scenario, and facial expression. His music tries pretty hard to be important, but ends up being supremely annoying and irrelevant. Unfortunately, this guy and his army of imitators (we're talking fifth-generation Nick Drake wanna-bees by now) have hijacked the entire moribund "singer-songwriter" genre and turned it into a sad theatrical display, a boiling cauldron of musical diarrhea with trite and oh-so-forlorn lyrics to match.

If you have purchased this album and actually like it, then I do not ever want anything to do with you for the rest of my life, and I sincerely home I never have to encounter you in any way for eternity. ... Read more

3. The Sunset Tree
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Asin: B0007W22IE
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 326
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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There has always been something about John Darnielle’s lyrics; even when you’re not exactly sure what he’s talking about, it always feels like he’s telling it like it is. Not that metaphor is a major player on The Sunset Tree, the latest album from the Mountain Goats (of which Darnielle is the founder, frontman, and once only member.) Songs like "This Year," "Dance Music," and "Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod?" are painfully honest about his traumatic childhood and abusive stepfather. You might think that an album about child abuse would be hard to listen to, but as always, hearing Darnielle's lyrics is an honor and a privilege. Trying experiences are captured with deceptively simple statements (is there any better expression of determination than "I will make it through this year if it kills me"?) On this CD, Darnielle also remembers revered (yet cocaine-addled) reggae star Dennis Brown. ("It took all the coke in town to bring down Dennis Brown. On the day my lung collapses, we’ll see just how much it takes.") Though the Mountain Goats have apparently done well enough for Darnielle to quit his day job as a nurse, they don't yet have all the fans they deserve. Don't wait to join the fold. --Leah Weathersby ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars John Darnielle, where have you been all my life
I heard John Darnielle interviewed on NPR.Based on what he said and the performance of "Love, Love, Love", I bought the CD. When I arrived home, I listened to The Sunset Tree while I worked in the yard.Later that afternoon, I listened to this CD again, and was able to focus on the incredible lyrics.It's Tuesday, and I've been listening to this CD at least once a day since Friday. I can't get enough!!

5-0 out of 5 stars simply perfect
I bought The Sunset Tree a week ago, sight unseen and note unheard.I listened to my other purchases first, since I was relatively familiar with them and knew what I was getting.Then I peeled off the celophane and popped in The Sunset Tree.No idea what to expect... I thought, upon the first notes of You or Your Memory, 'my god what an awful nasal voice'... then- 'oh.'Then lying on the floor watching the ceiling fan turn thinking, 'this is the most perfect album.There is no other way for this to be.'I am a self-employed artist and listen to music all day, and into the evening, as I work.This cd makes it hard to go to bed at night.It would almost be better to just sit still by the stereo and listen, over and over again, to this quiet steel masterpiece.I can't say enough, but it would be too much.Just buy this, and save yourself an afternoon or two or three, to really listen to it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Indeed
I found the Mountain Goats about 3 years ago, becoming a huge fan in a short time.Only I couldn't put into words the reason why, until now.I read an article by Sasha Frere Jones (Yes, it's true, the Mountain Goats are now exposing themselves to the world in places the archetypal MG fan is expected to be - NPR, bookslut, the Times).In Jones' article (and for the following he is my new favorite person) he was explaining my taste in music to me, much to my delight.I'll just give the tagline: "For John Darnielle...the point of making music is to communicate."

She mentions Beck in point of contrast.John Darneille's greatest strength may be his need to be understood.Beck's lyrics, wonderful though they might be, don't allow you entrance into them.They're doors locked.You can't have an interaction with a Beck song, unless your idea of interaction is trying to talk to a robot who's been programmed full of non-sequitors, and spits them out for half an hour, with choruses, leaving the other end frustrated.Or a schizophrenic who has flashes of insight, but quickly follows them up with the most utterly senseless drivel, making you wonder if the flash was a mere fluke.

"You gotta drive all night just to feel like you're okay."
"Yeah, I know what you mean."
"I just found me a bottle of blues."
"What's that?"
"I just found me a bottle of blues,"
"I'm sorry, I thought you said..."
"I am a paper tiger"
"Torn apart by idle hands."
"Yeah but...What?"
"We rock the salt, corroded to the bone"
"Stealing kisses from lepers faces"
You cross the street, thankful that the man in the crosswalk box lit up just then and there, as the hobo starts in on no one.

John Darnielle is Beck's inverse, and with a proper band, his equal pop-musically.

Jones also describes him as having less to do with rock in its present state and more to do with hip-hop m.c.s, "writing lyrics in complete sentences and delivering their songs emphatically"...a point I'm sure all MG fans and John Darnielle felt absolute joy in reading, as happens when hearing something that hits the nail directly on the head when you're searching for your misplaced hammer.

I just realized I haven't talked about The Sunset Tree.All I have to say is, The Mountain Goats are getting better, and it's kind of scary, in that really exciting way.

Darnielle, by the way, also has incredible stage presence, if you get a chance...just incredibly witty, and nice and interactive.He gives just the sort of enthralling performance you'd expect from someone who writes songs like these.

Rejoice!And we are on our way...

5-0 out of 5 stars A Triumph
This record is a triumph in every sense of the word.IF THERE WERE EVER ANY "stops" in John Darnielle's works they have all been pulled in The Sunset Tree.Exquisite arrangements and musicians with passionateintensity and shared vision carry this story of an abusive relationship to heights unheard of in this day of musical fluff and flash.Darnielle's songwriting has never before been so consistently on-target and downright beautiful.The entire record is a revelation with my favorites being This Year, Up the Wolves, Hast Thou Considered The Tetrapod,Song For Dennis Brown, Love Love Love and the heartwrenching Pale Green Things. Perhaps this will be the record that gets Darnielle the recognition he so richly deserves.

5-0 out of 5 stars Check out cellist Erik Friedlander + John Vanderslice too!
I'm a long long time Mountain Goats fans, from back in the day when he was putting out cassettes on Shrimper, and I have to say, this is a huge step up for John Darnielle -- very possibly the best record in his entire discography.

Just last night I saw him play at the Knitting Factory in New York, and part of me wants to say that one of the *reasons* he's stepped up his game so much is that he has finally found a team of musicians to truly capture the intensity of his always great lyrics. (The fact that he's finally singing about the child abuse that's surely the source for that holy fire also seems to help, too.)

Anyway, I'd suggest checking out not only the rest of John Darnielle's discography, but that of his contributors -- Erik Friedlander's solo record Maldoror, John Vanderslice's solo stuff (Erik plays on a new record coming in August), Shearwater, et. al.

Maybe people only listen to music for the vocals, but if you've been as impressed as I have by the MUSIC behind The Sunset Tree, you might enjoy all these discs. ... Read more

4. Revolver [UK]
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Asin: B000002UAR
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 240
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

Revolver wouldn't remain the Beatles' most ambitious LP for long, but many fans--including this one--remember it as their best. An object lesson in fitting great songwriting into experimental production and genre play, this is also a record whose influence extends far beyond mere they-was-the-greatest cheerleading. Putting McCartney's more traditionally melodic "Here, There and Everywhere" and "For No One" alongside Lennon's direct-hit sneering ("Dr. Robert") and dreamscapes ("I'm Only Sleeping," "Tomorrow Never Knows") and Harrison's peaking wit ("Taxman") was as conceptually brilliant as anything Sgt. Pepper attempted, and more subtly fulfilling. A must. --Rickey Wright ... Read more

Reviews (570)

5-0 out of 5 stars Close to perfect
Of all the Beatles' albums, Revolver has probably aged best. 'Yellow Submarine' is a dud, pure and simple, but this set makes up the band's greatest achievement. Capitol's exploitative policy of subtracting a few tracks from one Beatles album to whack onto the next was never more despicable.

'Taxman' kicks off the set admirably, although Harrison's lament jars a bit - I mean, why is he complaining about paying his fair share of tax, anyway? Is this the same bloke who wrote 'Living in the Material World'? Still, this track, along with his other contributions (4 & 10), demonstrate how far Harrison had come as a songwriter.

Lennon and McCartney were at their top here. Macca's ballads (2,5 ,10), helped along by some fine Martin arrangements, are probably the best he ever wrote, stopping this side of schmalzy, while Lennon's major contributions (3, 7, 14) are quite brilliant. (Although it's probably the soundscape of 'Tomorrow Never Knows', mainly courtesy of spooky tape loops and a huge drum sound, that makes it such a standout.)

'And Your Bird Can Sing' and 'Doctor Robert' are often described as weak tracks, but I can't find too much wrong with them. If nothing else, the former boasts fine harmonised lead guitar parts.

The sounds which the Fabs, producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick were able to coax from ageing studio hardware are remarkable. Macca's close-miked bass is right up there in the mix, clear as a bell, Ringo's drums sound terrific even today, and there are interesting guitar sounds everywhere. As well, Revolver extended the experiment with backwards parts which had begun on 'Rain', and is used to great effect here. The musicianship, particularly McCartney's bass playing, is great throughout. Honourable mention to R. Starkey for 'She Said She Said'.

Bookended by two magnificent double-A side 45s ('Rain'/'Paperback Writer'; 'Strawberry Fields Forever'/'Penny Lane'), this album is demonstrably the Beatles' creative peak, and you can see why Brian Wilson was inspired to go one better with Pet Sounds. Essential.

5-0 out of 5 stars Majestic and Groundbreaking
When I first bought REVOLVER, on vinyl in the 70's, I was astonished. A Beatles album with more songs by George Harrison than John Lennon??? I didn't realize then I was getting a truncated American version of what the band had assembled in England. Three of John's songs -- "I'm Only Sleeping", "And Your Bird Can Sing" and "Dr Robert" -- were plucked from the album and put on a collection called YESTERDAY AND TODAY -- that's the album with the notorious butcher cover. The release of the Bealtes' library on CD finally gave us North American Beatlemaniacs the "real" REVOLVER -- and what a magnificent, groundbreaking achievement it was! George's music matured here, with "Taxman" being one of his best and "Love You Too" representing his first (and best) excursion into full Indian instrumentation (although he'd played sitar on John's "Norwegian Wood" on RUBBER SOUL). Paul McCartney offers some of his best-ever compositions on this album. "For No One" and "Here There and Everywhere" were exquisite -- and "Eleanor Rigby" remains a classic of its kind. The soul-tinged "Got To Get You Into My Life" was also first rate. But as usual, the best, and most groundbreaking, offerings were from John. "And Your Bird", "Dr Robert" and "She Said She Said" are further livened up by some great Harrison guitar work -- he shines throughout the album. And Lennon's closing track -- the mind-bending "Tomorrow Never Knows" -- is the summit to which the entire CD ascends. A great way to finish this album (and to hint at what would come next year -- SGT PEPPER). Maybe the best pop/rock album of all time.

5-0 out of 5 stars VH1 says Revolver is the greatest album ever...Really
Oh,its true,thousands of music luminaries voted revolver the greatest album of all time,while it came in at number 3 of all time on the rolling stone poll. The results are cast in stone,Revolver is one of the all time greats,and all polls say that thats the truth!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Really?
"really tuneful...really whacky...really psychedelic...really social...really unusual..." yeah.

There are only a few songs on this album that reflect the greatness achieved by the Beatles pre-1965, which is sad. Nowhere near albums like Help or A Hard Day's Night.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great album!
I loved this album from beginning to end. It's full of great music written by the greatest band of all time. Songs like "And your bird can sing" and "For No One" reminded me why I love this band so much. ... Read more

5. fromabasement on thehill
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Asin: B0002SROT0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 88
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Posthumous releases fall into two categories: those which the artist was working on at the time of their death, and those which are gathered from every nook and cranny to keep fans enthused and cash registers ringing. Elliott Smith's from a basement on the hill is of the former variety. It was close to completion at the time of his untimely death. Over the course of the set's 15 songs, Smith's powerful songwriting and production skills are shown in their full breadth. From thickly interlocked chordal guitar riffs ("Coast to Coast") to shimmering melancholia ("A Fond Farewell"), the songs are each brought to their own particular focus by whatever means were most appropriate. There are lush background vocals, keyboard washes, pounding rhythms, and heart rending balladry. This disc is a sad goodbye to richly emotive artist. --David Greenberger ... Read more

6. Odelay
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Asin: B000003TBP
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4333
Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

Beck brags here that he's "got two turntables and a microphone." He also has a sweeping aesthetic that sees no reason why musical allusions to hip-hop, the Beatles, James Brown, punk, Gram Parsons, cool jazz, and Dylan can't coexist in the same song. Throughout, he rap-sings with sincere irony--I bet he laughs at the sight of a jump-suited Elvis, then cries when the King starts to sing--and Odelay's rich collage of sound may very well prove a prediction of the future. If he ever finds the courage to can the loopy metaphors and just tell a story, he could take over the world. --David Cantwell ... Read more

Reviews (144)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the jewels of '96!
1996 was one of the best years in popular music ever. The Smashing Pumpkins' absolute MASTERPIECE "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" was reaching it's peak. Everclear's "Sparkle and Fade" amazed everybody (even though it's follow-up was even BETTER). Of Squirrel Nut Zippers' "Hot" was realeased, a breath of fresh air in a world of synth-techno crap and cheesy Bush and Nirvana rip-offs. Then, of course, there was Beck's "Odelay". I didn't think it could get any better (or funnier) than "Mellow Gold", but it did! This is about 50 years worth of popular (and unpopular) music and street culture crammed onto one disc. Distorted, noise-drenched punk-rock guitars, funky breakbeats and dusty turntable scratching, steel guitars, banjos, ray-gun synthesizers, jazzy bass, assorted percussion, vintage 60s pump organs, pounding drums, nonsensical, often funny lyrics ("you can't lose in your razor blade shoes"), and the strangest samples you've ever heard (who's sampled Mr. Cool and Haydn all in the same song?) are all on this CD, just to name a few. You can breakdance, mosh, swing, or even just relax with this album. It's the ultimate party record.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bizarre and magnificent
When most people write about Beck they usually know exactly where to start - his diversity. Generally regarded as Beck's best experimental album before his latest, more serious record Sea Change, as well as a general classic of the 90's. And I don't mean experimental in an inaccessible way. Everything here is accessible to the average listener and gloriously bizarre and interesting. Odelay stands as a melting pot of different genres. From the edgy opening track Devil's Haircut to the soul of Hot Wax to country on Sissyneck and rap on Where It's At, Beck defies all attempts to pigeonhole him as anything but different.

Although the album is highly consistent, there are several stand-out tracks, though these will probably depend on your faovured genres of music. The New Pollution is too eclectic to be put into words, the gentle Jackass is brilliant - ending in a donkey's bray - and of course Devil's Haircut and Hot Wax are true classics. Sampling other songs Beck eschews a variety of pop culture references so that Odelay often seems like he's taking you on a journey of pop culture of the last few decades musically. The real credit though is that all of the songs here merge so well and Beck never comes across as being pretentious or arty. What he's produced here is amazingly original and something that no artist, not even him, has really been able to rival. It showcases Beck's diversity better than the previous Mellow Gold or the later Mutations and occassionally misguided but still fantastic Midnite Vultures. With Beck set to take a more serious note - his lyrics here are often indecipherable or just plain silly - given his last album Sea Change, it's well worth taking a chance to listen to his other masterpiece. Indeed, when seen alongside the intelligent lyrics and mastery shown on Sea Change, Beck's diversity on Odelay seems even more impressive. This is an artist that feels free to flow free with his musical moods, sometimes even within the same songs, and Odelay is Beck at his pinnacle.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Came Here to Tell You About the Rhythms of the Universe...
...and tell us, Beck does, in this sublime mix of hip hop, alternative, country, jazz, rock and pop, with even a Beatle-ish Sgt. Pepper homage tacked to the very end.

Critics of Odelay accuse Beck of being overly indulgent and WAY-overly derivative, but isn't that the whole point of the CD? Beck has stolen the key to Fun Factory and is determined to play with every toy in the building before security throws him out.

Over 13 tracks, Beck (with a big assist from the Dust Brothers) treats us to a music mixer's wet dream, from the chronically hook-y ("Devils Haircut," "The New Pollution," "Where It's At") to the startlingly touching ("Jack-Ass," "Ramshackle") to the just plain silly ("Sissyneck").

Odelay holds its place as one of the essential CD's of the 90's. Years later it still continues to entertain and excite. This is a joyous celebration of music, period . . . and Beck's best album by far.

2-0 out of 5 stars blech
This album is overrated. I put it on, and the first impression I got was that Beck really wanted to make a "cool" album.. and he and his producer thought that in order to do this, the songs shouldn't make any sense, there should be few melodies, and the production should be wacky and aloof. It sounds like it's trying way too hard, and I couldn't enjoy any of it.

3-0 out of 5 stars So Much Was Made of So Little
Is this album, called groundbreaking and classic when it was released, going to matter to anyone in 10 years? Of course not.

ODELAY was embraced at a time when American culture was drenched in irony and pop-culture regurgitation. Not surprisingly, the ironic-nostalgia fad ran SO deep that no one stopped to think about how the music would age once the retro-waves it was riding crashed on the sand...hence the blind worship of this record.

Beck also benefited from the bizarre notion that "blending styles" was an inherently noble act. Didn't matter if the styles were blended clumsily. It was all about the musical blender, man. Basically, it was multi-culturalism dogma creeping into the music scene, and the results weren't pretty.

Once rocks fans clear their heads of all the bad irony and musical crossbreeding forced on them in the past ten years, ODELAY's status is going to take a serious tumble.

That said, the record isn't all bad. "Jack-Ass" is a timeless tune, "Derelict" is damn catchy, and "Novocane" is a nice jolt of adrenaline. Otherwise though, there are a lot of forgettable moments on ODELAY, which precludes it from being deemed a masterpiece. ... Read more

7. The Creek Drank the Cradle
list price: $13.98
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Asin: B00006J402
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 817
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Iron & Wine is Sam Beam, a back-porch Florida singer-songwriter whose sad little songs pack a helluva wallop. Beam's immediately likable tunes paint such clear pictures that songs like "Southern Anthem" and "Muddy Hymnal" are more akin to short stories by Raymond Carver and Flannery O'Connor than to your average pop ditty. Recorded in his living room on a vintage four-track, The Creek Drank the Cradle co-stars cassette hiss, ambient room sound, and Beam himself. A stripped-down, one-man band, Beam contributes delicious Delta-flavored slide guitar, passable banjo, and deliriously beautiful harmonizing. Beam isn't just a songwriter the equal of Will Oldham and Leonard Cohen (really--and it'll be a surprise if folks don't immediately start covering him), the boy can sing. His melt-in-your-head-but-not-in-your-ears voice is instantly recognizable and will certainly please fans of Nick Drake, Lou Barlow, and Elliott Smith.--Mike McGonigal ... Read more

Reviews (49)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Real Thing
Let me be the first to offer some remarks on this remarkable disc. Working alone in a home studio, Sam Beam has put together a low budget wonder, a collection of songs written, performed and sung by Beam alone, overdubbing himself to create the illusion of a full band. Sub-Pop is to be congratulated for recognizing this low-fidelity, home-spun masterpiece and making available to a wide audience.
The music is stark, simple and emotional. Beam's voice is soft, almost breathy, as he sings with tentative passion about love, life & loss. While this might be enough for some to classify him as one of the all-too-common breed of folksy modern singer/songwriters, Beam transends his ostensible genre in both material and performance. Singing his strange, sad ballads with the intensity of Nick Drake, Beam occasionally adds a layer of slide-guitar blues that makes some songs sound as if Drake had sat down to play with with Son House. Melodic lines overlap and separate with subtle skill and beauty, making the fact that the disc was a one-man-show all the more amazing. The best cut, to my mind, is 'Weary Memory', a sweet and haunting ode to what is past and lost to all but remembrance.
'The Creek Drank the Cradle' is a low-budget recording, and the songs are of uneven quality, but it is the sort of extraordinary musical achievement that may eventually lend itself to a good deal of hype. Do yourself a favor, if anything I've said here reaches you, check it out before Beam gets manhandled by the media. This music is pure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Junkmedia Review - Best new artist of 2002
Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce the Best New Artist of 2002: Sam Beam, the one-man band who makes up Iron & Wine. I know, I know, the whole "Best New Artist" thing doesn't hold much weight these days. After all, if you know your pop music history, most performers who are crowned with such a superlative usually fall short before long. But Iron & Wine's debut album, The Creek Drank The Cradle, is worthy of any superlative you can throw its way.

Beam's music was brought to Sub Pop's attention by the Ugly Casanova himself, Modest Mouse frontman and lately Sub Pop's A&R guy Isaac Brock, whose taste is turning out to be the most trustworthy in indie rock. The last band he suggested the label sign was a little Albuquerque, New Mexico, band called the Shins, who, as you may recall, released Junkmedia's favorite album of 2001. So when Isaac recommends something, we all ought to lend him our collective ear.

Now, have you ever seen a big, full Pink Moon (a la Nick Drake) rising over the Mississippi Delta? Try to picture it. That's what Iron & Wine is the sonic equivalent of. With its whispered vocals, bluesy slide guitar work and beautiful vocal harmonies, The Creek Drank The Cradle sees Beam creating a minor masterpiece with extremely limited resources.

The entire record was recorded on 4-track in Beam's home in Miami, Florida, meaning that tape hiss and room noise are a constant presence throughout. But the sound is remarkably intimate and warm, like a distant radio station you have to hold your ear up to the speaker to hear. Beam's day job is teaching film to college students, and it's evident in his song arrangements: he uses sounds like a film editor uses images. A banjo here, a menacing slide guitar figure there, it all conjures up a striking mood of melancholy and reflection.

The centerpiece of the album is "Upward Over The Mountain," a long, meditative number that is at once impossibly sad and still somehow hopeful. "Mother, don't worry, I've got a coat and some friends on the corner," Beam sings in his most fragile voice. "So may the sunrise bring hope where it once was forgotten / Sons are like birds flying always over the mountain." Unlike most self-obsessed bedroom pop auteurs, Beam's vision manages to be both private and expansive at the same time. Listen to the celestial vocals on "Southern Anthem," another standout cut: Iron & Wine's predominant mood may be one shrouded in darkness, but some sunshine does break through the clouds.

So even if the promise shown by this debut is proved false by future releases, it doesn't matter. The Creek Drank The Cradle is a gem of an album all on its own. And Iron & Wine will still be the best new artist of 2002.

Tyler Wilcox
Junkmedia Review

3-0 out of 5 stars consistent, to a fault
I like this album, there really isn't a bad song on it. Unfortunately, there really isn't any song that jumps out to the forefront either. Its mellow, folky, introspective, bittersweet- all those adjectives used in previous reviews. But its hard to tell when one song ends and the next begins. But its really nice to turn the lights down and nurse a couple Guiness.

3-0 out of 5 stars mixed feelings
this might be rant-y or ignorant. feel free to ignore it. I think Iron & Wine is some decent music but for some reason i have major problems with it. for one it is boring. all the songs are languid, bittersweet, same instruments, same energy level in vocals and instrumentation. taken on an individual basis the songs are good, some original lyrics, very lulling. I actually like his cover of the Postal Service's "such great heights" more than any of these album tracks. it is great stuff to fall asleep to.

that said I find his 'image' to be sort of fake and annoying. Sam Beam is portrayed as a 'back-porch', folksy person, a relic of the past, both by the media and by himself through music and lyrics. However he is a graduate of FSU's film school. it seems like he is playing the aforementioned aspect of his personality up a lot, he couldn't possibly have remained that removed after 4-8 years at a huge university.

I also saw him opening for Ugly Casanova before I had heard any Iron & Wine records. He seemed very conceited, he kept on asking the audience to 'quiet down', a somewhat selfish and ridiculous request in a club setting (not to mention that the only noise was conversation-level talking).

Despite all this I still enjoy his music sometimes, but it's not pure genius and it doesn't explore a wide range of feelings or musical ideas.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, flawless.
I find it hard to understand how the (very few) detractors of this album don't see/hear the simple beauty behind this album. No, none of the songs demonstrate any kind of show-offy virtuosic skills (*I* can play many of the songs, which says alot) ... but technical complexity is not the same thing as beauty. The Postal Service and the Shins are the only two recent bands who have had the same effect (not that they sound anything like Iron & Wine). The comparisons to Elliott Smith and Nick Drake aren't about a musical similarity. Indeed, if Iron & Wine were simply Nick Drake all over again, I wouldn't love this album as much - not because Nick Drake isn't one of my favorite musicians, but because it wouldn't be as origina). Iron & Wine is breathtakingly beautiful in a similar way as those artists - as shockingly original as them, but still wholly original. ... Read more

8. Woman King
list price: $8.98
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Asin: B00070DLAO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 618
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Can prolific, heartfelt singer-songwriter Sam Beam do any wrong? The title track to this six song EP continues much in the same vein as 2004’s exceptionalOur Endless Numbered Days. Recorded with Red Red Meat alum Brian Deck, Woman King subtly opens the sonic palette up to include more percussion, piano, and wait is that an electric guitar? "Grey Stables" and "Evening on the Ground," have gorgeous fiddle playing, while the pacing and multi-limbed percussion of those songs and "Freedom Hangs Like Heaven" are very Allman Brothers (that’s a good thing.) It’s not all slowly stewing nouveau Southern rock, however.The sweet, vocal-fueled "Jezebel" would easily have fit on the first album, while the lovely ballad "In My Lady’s House" demonstrates further why siblings should sing together, as Sam and sister Sarah hit ideal harmonies. --Mike McGonigal ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars immediately warm and recognizable, like a long lost memory
It's really difficult for a musician to develop a distinct sound, and then to progress from record to record in such a way, that your 'sound' continues to grow and change without losing the elements that made it so unique and personal in the first place. Sometimes, if you like a band enough, you don't mind if every record sounds the same, ten more songs that sound like the last ten songs you absolutely loved can only be more of a good thing, right?

But it's the folks who do manage that delicate balancing act of moving forward but remaining true to their original vision that continue to truly inspire and blow me away. Iron & Wine happen to be one of those bands. After two full lengths and one ep in about two years, this newest ep takes Iron & Wine's hushed melancholia, with its gently strummed guitars, Sam Beam's whispered/sung breathless vocals, sweetly miserable arrangements, and brings the songs' emotional urgency to the fore, where before it was only hinted at lyrically and alluded to in minor key melodies and bleak lyrical imagery.

This new batch of songs is much more aggressive in tone, reflected by more percussion, more propulsive tempos and a bigger reliance on different instrumentation (violin, piano, etc.) adding a sonic veil of death and despondency to this already mournful / melancholy song cycle. But even without these changes, there seems to be no end to Sam Beam's songwriting genius. Every song is a new dreamlike world, populated by pain and sorrow, hope and happiness, love and loss, immediately warm and recognizable, like a long lost memory from your childhood, or a song you already love and cherish, but at the same time each song is a wholly unique new musical discovery full of unlikely melodies and gorgeous musical landscapes that stick with you, as if the song is an experience you lived through and remember, catchy, timeless and totally unforgettable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just trying to weigh in
I'm not in the mood to write tonight, but this EP is solid.It's too bad that Iron & Wine don't get more attention.

5-0 out of 5 stars Review of Woman King at
The written word succeeds best when it is not approached as a narrative, but when it is approached as a mosaic of images and actions which when put together, form a complete idea, emotion, story. Poetry is essentially brief glimpses of a scene or emotion, painted or sculpted in words with a pleasing rhythm, pleasing brushstrokes. Novels can do the same thing but on a much larger scale, and usually employing more of a focus on a resulting narrative.

And because he approaches composing songs from a somewhat different angle than perhaps most singer/songwriters do, Sam Beam (aka Iron and Wine) is one of today's most talented lyricists - not because he writes stories in his songs, but because his songs paint pictures with brief images that serve as intimations to some grander, ambiguous idea behind what he is showing you.

Iron and Wine's most recent release is the six-song EP, Woman King. The songs on the record deal with some of Beams favorite images - the shapes of sleeping women, the wings of birds, a delicate noise of countryside.

Miami-based Beam taught cinematography and screenwriting at the college level for some time, and there is no hiding his photographic sensibilities in the structures of his songs. Polaroids of his imagination would be velvet and watercolored.

At once brilliantly intimate in his acoustic guitar and soft voice, Beam invites the listener to enter a surreal world on his new EP - more successfully on Woman King than on any of his previous records. Having already recorded the delicious Our Endless Numbered Days in the studio setting two years ago, Beam shows a new comfort in the ways of a studio as opposed to tracking over instruments himself - as he did on his first two releases.

The new record begins with the title track. Beam sings a call-and-response between images of an old, glorified South - "Blackbird claw, raven wing/ Under the red sunlight/ long clothesline, two shirt sleeves/ waving as we go by" - and a chorus which proposes the idea of a woman taking on the role of a king - "Hundred years, hundred more/ Someday we may see a/ Woman king, sword in hand/ Swing at some evil and bleed."

The record moves on to "Jezebel," a sweetly sinister ballad about the Biblical Queen of Israel who tried in the most evil of ways to impose her heathen beliefs on those she ruled. In Beam's world, however, Jezebel is shown as a helpless and lost individual being chased by a pack of dogs, metaphors for perhaps gods or perhaps her people. Beam asks, "And who's seen Jezebel?/ She went walking where the cedars line the road/ Her blouse on the ground/ Where the dogs were hungry, moaning."

Read the rest of the review:

5-0 out of 5 stars more to love from sam beam
My only complaint about this EP is that it is not a full-length cd.I could definitely stand to hear more new music from Iron and Wine.This EP is decidedly different from his previous releases, mainly because the recording itself sounds neater and cleaner than the old-record quality of Creek Drank the Cradle.In "Woman King," we witness a very striking beat in the background, created not by drums but what sounds like sticks beating on a wooden table.Then there is the sweet-sounding "Jezebel," which is reminiscent of earlier works, except for the subtle background vocals.On the whole, Beam uses a lot more instruments in this recording than in previous ones.In addition to the stock acoustic guitar and banjo, this recording uses drums, hand drums, tambourine, maracas,cowbell, the lovely backing vocals of Sarah Beam, piano, keyboard, and yes, even electric guitar.The songs themselves range from toe-tapping country blues, to the gentle folk ballads that are characteristic of all Iron and Wine albums.While fans are sure to be shocked by the blatant burst of distorted guitar in "Evening on the Ground," it does not detract from the song.Though Beam may be making a break from his more traditional roots, the aura of Southern-tinged folk is still very present, and the banjo is still there.The EP is a refreshing change of pace for those who are familiar with his prior releases.Beam's music continues to forge a fresh path in the underground, creating albums that seem to transcend the flow of American music and bring us back to its roots.

5-0 out of 5 stars By Imaginary Correspondent Joe
The written word succeeds best when it is not approached as a narrative, but when it is approached as a mosaic of images and actions which when put together, form a complete idea, emotion, story. Poetry is essentially brief glimpses of a scene or emotion, painted or sculpted in words with a pleasing rhythm, pleasing brushstrokes. Novels can do the same thing but on a much larger scale, and usually employing more of a focus on a resulting narrative.

And because he approaches composing songs from a somewhat different angle than perhaps most singer/songwriters do, Sam Beam (aka Iron and Wine) is one of today's most talented lyricists - not because he writes stories in his songs, but because his songs paint pictures with brief images that serve as intimations to some grander, ambiguous idea behind what he is showing you.

Iron and Wine's most recent release is the six-song EP, Woman King. The songs on the record deal with some of Beams favorite images - the shapes of sleeping women, the wings of birds, a delicate noise of countryside.

Miami-based Beam taught cinematography and screenwriting at the college level for some time, and there is no hiding his photographic sensibilities in the structures of his songs. Polaroids of his imagination would be velvet and watercolored.

At once brilliantly intimate in his acoustic guitar and soft voice, Beam invites the listener to enter a surreal world on his new EP - more successfully on Woman King than on any of his previous records. Having already recorded the delicious Our Endless Numbered Days in the studio setting two years ago, Beam shows a new comfort in the ways of a studio as opposed to tracking over instruments himself - as he did on his first two releases.

The new record begins with the title track. Beam sings a call-and-response between images of an old, glorified South - "Blackbird claw, raven wing/ Under the red sunlight/ long clothesline, two shirt sleeves/ waving as we go by" - and a chorus which proposes the idea of a woman taking on the role of a king - "Hundred years, hundred more/ Someday we may see a/ Woman king, sword in hand/ Swing at some evil and bleed."

The record moves on to "Jezebel," a sweetly sinister ballad about the Biblical Queen of Israel who tried in the most evil of ways to impose her heathen beliefs on those she ruled. In Beam's world, however, Jezebel is shown as a helpless and lost individual being chased by a pack of dogs, metaphors for perhaps gods or perhaps her people. Beam asks, "And who's seen Jezebel?/ She went walking where the cedars line the road/ Her blouse on the ground/ Where the dogs were hungry, moaning."

Next is "Gray Stables," a song which recalls misty images of Ophelia and medieval forests in its harsh tribute to a "brave lady" - "Brave lady, I could see you through the mosses/ laid, shameless in the sun...gray stables and the horses of the/ righteous/ pray daily for the brave."

Then there is "Freedom Hangs Like Heaven," an epic track which takes Beam into the rock-and-rollingest territory he's ever been, all the while talking to the Virgin Mary, "carrying her babe" whilst the oil lamps sing to her, "freedom hangs like heaven over everyone."

The best song, however, the song which let me feel the blood in my veins, is "My Lady's House." It's a short and simple, acoustic guitar love ballad, akin to the tear-conjuring "Naked As We Came" from his last album. Halfway through the ideal finger-plucks on his guitar, a piano enters and takes the song into an entirely new aesthetic. The sweeping gorgeousness of the written words are complemented by the rhythm and timbre of the voice and instrumentation to make the verse when Beam sings, "It is good in my lady's house/ every shape that her body makes/ love is a fragile word/ in the air, on the length we lay."

For those fans already familiar with Iron and Wine, the six songs on Woman King will be the logical next step in an already impressive catalogue. For those who know Iron and Wine only for his cover of the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" on the Garden State soundtrack, then the intimacy found in the soft recording for Zach Braff and Natalie Portman will only be multiplied in this brilliant EP. ... Read more

9. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
list price: $14.98
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Asin: B0000019PA
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 785
Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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Just from the opening seconds of Neutral Milk Hotel's second album, you know it's going to be special: the acoustic guitar strum is catchy beyond belief, and Jeff Magnum's intonation lends credibility even to a line like "When you were young, you were the King of Carrot Flowers." Listening to In the Aeroplane is like stepping through Alice's looking glass; you enter a fantastic new universe that, while it doesn't always make sense logically, feels like the home you never had. --Randy Silver ... Read more

Reviews (272)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Holy (...)!"
That's what you can hear someone in the studio shouting as Jeff Mangum finishes the centerpiece of this album, 'Oh Comely'. That pretty much sums up what I feel too. This is one of those albums that hits you like a ton of bricks. If you're here you probably already have a good idea of what NMH sounds like (Elephant 6 and all that) but what you might not know if you haven't heard the album is that Magnum is -much- better than his E6 counterparts.

While some of his friends in bands like Apples (In Stereo) or Olivia Tremor Control dabbled in pretensious sound collages or 60's throwback songs, Magnum released one of the classic albums of the '90s. It's a collection of arresting solo accoustic songs and horn-filled "fuzz folk" tunes. Sounds wierd I know. But the strange thing is how well the diverse sounds of this album flow together. A quiet accoustic number like "2-Headed Boy" flows into a beautiful horn instrumental which morphs into the up-tempo lo-fi masterpiece "Holland, 1945."

The lyrics hold everything together. Mangum has created something resembling a theme album revolving around World War II, Anne Frank and his own childhood. You get the feeling that this guy has a tenous grasp of reality, since the two subjects seem to blend together in his mind. The songs, taken as a whole, evoke a feel of dreamlike sadness. And if you're reading this thinking, "Ugh, a concept album about Anne Frank, how pretensious" it really isn't. Jeff is so heartfelt and honest, but not in an 'emo' way -- no weepy self-pity here. It's hard to believe an album of such maturity and honesty came from a man in his mid 20s.

I know I'm rambling here but there's a lot I have to say about this album. It's not all good. People tend to overreact about "Aeroplane", I think because they feel such a strong emotional connection to Jeff's lyrics. Even though the things he sings about are very cryptic and surreal, you feel empathy and unity with the guy. But this often makes exaggerate how good it is. "Aeroplane" is not the best album of the 90's, Jeff Mangum is not the best musician today. That said, it's still an almost unbelievably emotionally arresting and intimate collection of songs that retain an E6 style accessability and catchiness. Be prepared for this album to effect your mood and also your musical taste. When I first bought it it was the only thing I listened to for at least a week. I'm stunned that this album just came out of the wood-work. While it might not be the best album of the '90's, its definitely one of the most interesting. Everyone who likes music should own it.

5-0 out of 5 stars amazingly haunting, hauntingly amazing
i can't say enough good things about this album. the main thing i can say is that if you don't own it, buy it. this is an album that will change your life. i'm blown away by the fact that people still listen to fake music like britney spears, or meaningless punk like sum41, when this kind of music is being produced. this is, simply, magic.


the king of carrot flowers pt 1- the song that got me hooked on NMH. the song reminds me of a fantasy land; it 's about an escape from reality, something we all need. the lyrics are heartbreaking and beautiful, as is the guitar.

the king of carrot flowers pts 2 and 3- starts about with jeff crooning about jesus, and you can't be sure if he's serious or not... then the song breaks into hard, beautiful rock and fuzz guitar. uplifting, breaktaking, moving.

the aeroplane over the sea- a song about a wonderful relationship. the lyrics are true and don't try to gloss over the harder aspects of life. great acoustic guitar.

two headed boy- this song is, in a word, amazing. jeff magnum's voice soaring over the beautiful lyrics just takes me away to another place. this is how life is. this song is incredible. worth the entire price of the album alone.

the fool- perfect followup to two headed boy. instrumental, wonderful horns and drums.

holland 1945- i love this song! the lyrics are beautiful, telling a story of a girl in the holocaust. they are accented with heavy fuzz guitar and drums. this song is so upbeat, guarranteed to lift your mood. heartbreaking lyrics, but disguised by the music.

communist daughter- simply breaks my heart.

oh comely- seems to tell the heartbreaking story of a relationship in the holocaust. some of the most beautiful lyrics i've ever heard. in this song, sex is the most wonderful act on earth ("soft silly music is meaningful magical/the movements were beautiful/all in your ovaries)>. this song ends with the most moving line i've ever heard.

ghost- like holland 1945, very uplifting, with fuzz guitar, horns, drums, and guitar. wonderful singalong. makes me happy!

untitled (#10)- if you like bagpipes, this is for you. an automatic mood lifter.

two headed boy pt 2- this song has some of the most beautiful lyrics i've ever heard. they hit home, hard. beautiful, haunting, moving... breaks my heart.

get. this. album. change your life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Impossible to describe
This is a cd that no one should live matter what music you listen to you will MOST LIKELY love it. i am a hardcore punk, deathmetal and ska fan yet this cd is my love..
TWO HEADED BOY is a greeaaaaaat song rules all..thank you and goodnight

5-0 out of 5 stars Statement of.........
Perhaps best likened to a marching band on an acid trip, Neutral Milk Hotel's second album is another quixotic sonic parade; lo-fi yet lush, impenetrable yet wholly accessible, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is either the work of a genius or an utter crackpot, with the truth probably falling somewhere in between. Again teaming with producer Robert Schneider, Jeff Mangum invests the material here with new maturity and clarity; while the songs run continuously together, as they did on the previous On Avery Island, there is a much clearer sense of shifting dynamics from track to track, with a greater emphasis on structure and texture. Mangum's vocals are far more emotive as well; whether caught in the rush of spiritual epiphany ("The King of Carrot Flowers Pts. Two and Three") or in the grip of sexual anxiety ("Two-Headed Boy"), he sings with a new fervor, composed in equal measure of ecstasy and anguish. However, as his musical concepts continue to come into sharper focus, one hopes his stream-of-consciousness lyrical ideas soon begin to do the same; while Mangum spins his words with the rapid-fire intensity of a young Dylan, the songs are far too cryptic and abstract to fully sink in - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is undoubtedly a major statement, but just what it's saying is anyone's guess.

5-0 out of 5 stars Greatest Album Ever
This is my favorite album of all time. Better that Chiastic Slide, better than the Mollusk. This is it. I bought it on a whim having only heard the Amazon clips. I was hooked. This is the album that I put on less then an hour after my first and only girlfriend broke up with me less then two hours ago in my apartment. This is one of the few things in life that actually makes it worth living. Thank you Jeff. ... Read more

10. The Moon & Antarctica
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Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 727
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars If you own it already, you're not missing out.
First of all, to the major-label-cynical idiots, this album was originally released on Epic to begin with. The label it is on has nothing to do with the content, and the fact that this is their fourth proper album and an appropriate step in their evolution is the more important consideration to make. Moving on.

This album is absolutely transcendent. I listened to it when I first bought it about two years ago and had my likes and dislikes, but upon maybe my thirtieth or fortieth listen, the significance and meanings hit me.

Each song on this album is a piece of a greater puzzle. Sure, if someone tells you to buy this album and you go and download "The Cold Part" and "What People Are Made Of," you're not going to be thrown back in your seat. This is an album in the truest sense of the world, not a collection of radio-ready songs, and the imagery from the production and the sequencing on the album is truly amazing.

Is the re-release necessary? Very debatable, but I feel it isn't. The album's emotional and appropriate end is definitely at its original point, after "What People Are Made Of," and not after a retread of "Tiny Cities."

If you don't already own this album, do not hesitate to buy it, it is an album that fans of any type of rock music will appreciate and love, not just indie fans. If you already own this album, look at your wallet and see if you can justify $15 for average re-treads of songs you already know and love. Five stars for the original album, minus one for the value/necessity quotient.

5-0 out of 5 stars Their Best!!!
Grant it, I'm a newbie when it comes to Modest Mouse...But I don't care, i love this album. I bought this one when it went on sale at a certain store...It came with "Good News for people who love bad news" for $15. Can't beat that. I had heard songs of the album before but I couldn't pass up a deal like that. Thus fueling the corporate monsters even more... this is hands down my favorite modest mouse album so far, but I love all of their albums for different reasons. Each one is different but still modest mouse, Isaac Brock has a very interesting voice that has improved over albums, not to mention he is a great song writer...For years Primus has been one of my favorite bands, I just love wierd bands that aren't afraid to try something new,and modest mouse is the first band since them that I've heard that are just masters at creating ecclectic and eccentric alternative music...

5-0 out of 5 stars A great CD with some small additions for a cheaper price!!!
One of the greatest CDs of all time IMHO...this version is the better of the two, who cares if Epic's producing it, it's going to be much cheaper...and the extra tracks are noteworthy, but not necessarly great!

BUY, unless you already have the other version, and if you don't buy this one!!!

1-0 out of 5 stars superflous
they dont need a major can you improove a great cd like that.we dont need it-

1-0 out of 5 stars Completely Superfluous
First off, let me begin by pointing out that I love this album; it definitely ranks among my top 10 and to this day is still on heavy rotation on my CD player. When a new, remastered addition was announced, I was initially intrigued---how on earth could they improve what was already a phenomenal album? The answer: changing the artwork and including four lackluster radio sessions. To my ears, there is hardly change enough to warrant the purchase of a new, second edition for those of you who already own the first. And this is a conclusion I've reached after comparing the albums side by side, on what is generally considered a top-notch stereo. Yes, some of the guitars are louder, and some of the vocals are more foregrounded, and some of the texture and nuance in a song or two is accentuated---but enough so to justify this release? Definitely not. For those of you expecting a new-fangled, much-improved record, you'll be sorely disappointed as I was, not only because it lacks any substantial difference, but also because obscure rarities from the M&A sessions---Calculus Man, for instance---should have been included. M&A is still a great record. It is so great, in fact, that this re-release seems silly and superflous. ... Read more

11. Skittish / Rockity Roll
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our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0006FO8SO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1465
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As the lead singer and songwriting force behind Soul Coughing, M. Doughty combined a slam poetry, ironic sensibility with jam band-ish, arty Downtown grooves. That group was an apex of smart stoner rock. Since the mid ‘90s Doughty has gone it alone, and his first release for ATO combines two self-released solo recordings that flirt with the sublime. Recorded in a single day in 1996, Skittish nicely replicates his solo performances, minus witty banter. "Real Love/ It’s Only Life" collapses a Mary J. Blige song into a Feelies tune, so of course it’s perfect pop. The 2003 EP Rockity Roll is just as stripped-down as Skittish, but electronic drums and keyboards dominate the mix. Mike has become a beautifully mournful, smart-ass singer-songwriter in the vein of Richard Thompson. Doughty’s voice is a tightly controlled, slightly nasal croon that sounds like he learned to sing by listening to trumpet solos off old bebop records.Rejecting the term "folk" for what he does, Doughty prefers his own phrase, "small rock." Surely, it’s more restrained, slower and less flashy than Soul Coughing. It’s also much better. --Mike McGonigal ... Read more

12. The Sunlandic Twins [Bonus EP]
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Asin: B0007X9TUW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3301
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Hailing from Athens, Of Montreal have carved their own niche in the indie-pop world, establishing themselves as a uniquely twisted band that thrills fans with compelling live performances, delights critics with their constant innovations and refinements, and continually showcases their musical evolution that culls together influences as varied as Brian Eno, Television, Prince, and The Shins. "The Sunlandic Twins" is their most cohesive and adventurous record to date. It plays out like an electro pop opera. Beginning buoyant and opalescent, traversing a labyrinthine Neptune, and climaxing in blackout darkness one only discovers in warm solitude. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent, but has some rough
Ok, I admit.there are a few good points on the album, but as a whole, I find it difficult to really groove along with it.the previous one was utterly fantastic, but something seems to have changed between then and now (only a year mind you).To be honest, nothing in the song has any particular hook except, maybe, So Begins Our Alabee in which the entire sung part is the hook.Beyond this and The Party's Crashing Us, nothing caught my ear.Oh and why 3 instrumentals?I have no problem with them if they grab onto you like "Coquelicot, Claude and Lecithin Dance Aboard The Yacht" or the tail end of "The Hopeless Opus", both found on "Coquelicot Asleep In The Poppies", but none of those found on this record is really that memorable.All in all, ok as background music, but not so great to focus your attention on.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Real Thinker, Not A Stinker
Well, well, well. A bit of a turn-up for the books here, folks.A change in style for the band most likely. This album is a more instrumental effort from Kevin Ba(r)nes, who appears to have taken over the whole band. Anyways, it's good. Not as many riffs and hooks as their previous efforts, but overall it's a helluva lot smoother on the nerves than Coquelicot and, to a lesser extent, S.P.I.T.A. Perhaps one for the novices, eh? I'm intrigued, I must say. Requires a few more listens, methinks!

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Pleased - Cannot Wait To See Them Live
I am a two year old fan and what strikes me right of the bat is Kevin Barnes' voice reminds me of Brendan Benson (by the way, I cannot stand his new album).Benson and Barnes both have a fascination with 60's sounds, but Of Montreal really has the creativity to make each song very entertaining; each instrument playing off odd cues and such.I would consider it a poppy record like The High Llamas on speed.My favorite songs are definitely I Was Never Young and The Party's Crashing Us.There is not one bad song to me.

3-0 out of 5 stars A fun album full of good melodies, but weak everything else.
There are plenty of obvious virtues to this album.The guitar rings of 60's pop, and every song has a fun, well formed melody which can't help but remind me of Piper At The Gates of Dawn era Floyd.On the whole, The Sunlandic Twins sounds like a more upbeat dance-pop take on psychadelia.It has a few huge drawbacks, though.Beyond a nice melody and a general fun sound, there isn't much depth to the album, and the songs are very homogeneous.With the exception of the last track, which has a lo-fi sound and is carried by it's bassline, there's little or no variation in this album's sound.Some people will like this album a lot, and others will be immediately underwhelmed.If the idea of retro-pop with a slightly higher tempo and lots of synthesizers intrigues you, maybe you should consider buying this album.Otherwise, skip it.

(My actual rating:5.5/10)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Listenable Of Montreal Album Yet.
I'm a hardcore Of montreal fan and have been for some time.I originally fell in love with them after hearing the whimsical tunes on "Gay Parade."Since then, Of Montreal's sound has changed a little, first heard in "Satanic Panic in the Attic."This album continues that trend.

For fans like me that loved the old whimsical "circus music" of "Gay Parade" and "Coquelicot...", there may be a little disappointment before all the nostalgia is knocked out of you by the sheer joy that this album will bring to you.The electronic side of Of Montreal that appeared on their last album is even more prevalent on "The Sunlandic Twins" as heard in "So Begins out Alabee," "The Party's Crashing Us," and "Oslo In The Summertime".Most of the whimsical lyrics and nature of Of Montreal's songs have been traded for an awesome indie pop sound, but never fear, the harmonies you've grown to love are still there and this album isn't going to stop you rom smiling.

The album, though different from previous OM albums, is the most listenable album yet.It's obvious that kevin Barnes' time spent in the studio was not wasted.(Amazing that he did it all in about a year.) ... Read more

13. Black Sheep Boy
list price: $15.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0007UDCBC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5526
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The band's name comes from an obscure Russian story and the album title comes from a song by fallen '60s folk hero Tim Hardin, but the haunting music here is purely the Austin collective's own. Like tour partners the Decemberists and soul mate Alasdair Roberts, Okkervil River deals primarily in dark string instruments and even darker poetry. "Some nights I thirst for real blood/ For real knives/ For real cries," singer Will Sheff sings on opening track, "For Real," signaling that his appetite for southern gothic muder ballads remains as strong as ever on the group's fourth album. The sinister "So Come Back, I Am Waiting" and "Black" confirm this suspicion. Less country, more Arcade Fire--whatever that means--Black Sheep Boy paradoxically also finds the band at its most commercially ambitious. Here, the slow death rattle of previous releases slowly gives way to explosive choruses and actual gore. --Aidin Vaziri ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars i love will sheff.
Clever lyrics, addictive melodies.I love songs off of past albums, but as a whole, this album is Okkervil River's most cohesive and polished yet.I purchased it a couple weeks ago and I'm completely obsessed with it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Why oh Why? Is it pitchfork?
I do hate to be the one person who gives a bad review for an album that everyone seems to enjoy. Granted I'm giving it three stars because I haven't actually heard the whole album, I've just heard one song that I suppose they're releasing as a single (where the whole band hits a collective chord as mr. eyes closed and serious yells along with them on the emphasis) as well as seeing their set before the Decemberists show.

I hadn't ever heard of Okkervil River, even being a pretty avid local Austin person...maybe that ignorance just proves that I'm not that avid, who knows? Anyway, I thought they were terrible. They had great instrumentation, but just absolutely failed to use it in any kind of interesting way. And I realize that this is not fair to rate them live after not really hearing them thoroughly...again that's why I've given them the benefit of the doubt with three stars.

...but then I listened to that single off pitchfork recently, a song they played live, and it was actually worse from the studio. And I am taking into account that I might really not like them at all because of Pitchfork, who compared the singer to Jeff Mangum, AND Colin Meloy. I hadn't even heard the Decemberists until that day, and I was absolutely sold with their show...but then again I'm horribly attracted to Petra Haden, so maybe that's it. But comparing OR's singer to either Mangum or Meloy is a horrible overstatement. Both of their writing summons up such a unique experience in itself...and compared it to him?!? Yes, I'm a godspeed/mt. zion/montreal person in general, or at least tend more to strings, and don't take kindly to lyrics (for the most part) and I still like Neutral Milk Hotel and the Decemberists...and pitchfork compares OR to them? Ah! OR is the exact kind of band that they over rate and show a clear favor to: Arcade Fire, Fiery Furnaces, Super Furry Animals or whatever they are. The foremost is probably the best, but they were in front of animal collective for albums of the year? AHH!

Look how many rhetorical questions OR and pitchfork have spawned right now! I'll give them three stars because this might be biased because of Pitchforks doing, but I do feel that I abhor them. I'm also not one for singer who close their eyes while talking to crowd and do the equivalent of cursing during a toast. At least the Decemberists came on afterwards. I really feel like they deserve much less that three stars, I'd like to get into fractions. But to be (slightly) fair, I'll leave it at three since 25% of my opinion is based on impression alone.

3-0 out of 5 stars More subtle than 'Golden Dreams,' a little boring
I was surprised, after purchasing the album, at all of the raving reviews. I listened to the album several times and decided it was a flop compared to previous efforts. I was wrong; the more I listened, the more sense it made, but I still don't agree that it's their best yet. Golden Dreams was less personal, less melodramatic and a far more thrilling ride. Scheff's vocals are at their peak when he's loud, either outright yelling or belting out souring climactic melodies. His voice crackles and wavers seemingly off-key on four-fifths of this album through the quiet sections. The loud songs remind me uncomfortably of the Counting Crows. The album as a whole seems rather bland to me and the only high point is the second-to-last track. It's a good album, but it's not the big break-through album I was expecting from them.

I was just as excited to see them open for the Decemberists (in Seattle) as I was to see the headlining band. The concensus among my friends: the Decemberists blew them off the stage. I was disappointed. I think Okkervil River had an off-night.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fairly stunning
I recently read an article suggesting that music is increasingly valued for its association with other media, and less for its stand-alone merits. It's not enjoyed for itself, but consumed in relation to other things.

Part of this is fallout from vertical integration; pop is hawked through big films, videos, or ads. Like it or not, the experience of The Shins becomes emotionally rooted in our experience of "Garden State." Meanwhile, club electronica and "dance rock" are no good by themselves--they require "being there" amidst a grinding mass of sweating people to produce a visceral effect.

Consequently, it's getting tougher to find music that produces its own discrete sensations and entertainments, removed from other (visual) sensory input.

Yet this is exactly what Okkervil River does, and what they've gotten better at doing with each subsequent album. Though the narrative efforts are a bit more obtuse on this record than on previous releases, each track still carries a stunning ability to reach into your chest and shake hands with your guts. Moreover, they're evocative of internal visual experience on par with a great work of fiction. In sum, these guys should have a neurotransmitter named after them.

As others have mentioned, "Black" is a particular standout with its screaming catharsis. The other songs, however, never lag far behind. Throughout, Sheff's wedding of sharp poetics and soaring harmonies pack a rattling wallop totally intrinsic to the music, and the music alone.

In an era of frenzied convergence in the realm of entertainment, it's good to know that music as a project still has the capacity to shake our cores both intellectually and physically.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bring back the mandolin!!!!
I too was at the Okkervil River/Decemberists show in Houston, and it's true Okkervil River put on a better show (and that's coming from a huge Decemberists fan). That night openned my eyes to Okkervil River. Previously, I had known them, and liked them somewhat. I liked "Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See", and loved a few tracks from there. While I liked the album, I feel it was a little poorly executed. In some parts instruments were out of tune together, and often Will Sheff's vocals were off key. But it was still a pretty good release.

That's basically the awareness of Okkervil River I went into that show with. After the show I bought their first album.

Fast forward ahead 2 weeks, I pick up "Black Sheep Boy" and subsequently wonder how the **** I didn't pick this up that night instead. This album is really damn good! It's a bit less folk/alt-country then their previous releases, which is actually the only part that bothers me. There is no mandolin! I think some of Okkervil River's best songs feature the mandolin. "West Falls" (my favorite Okkervil song), "Dead Dog Days", "Okkervil River Song", "Seas Too Far To Reach" & "Yellow" all feature the mandolin and are great. That negative aside; One giant emphasis that people should be aware with this album lies with Will Sheff's absolutely brilliant lyrics. If people thought Colin Meloy's storytelling was a high enough precedent for this year, I feel he's now been surpassed...

The best of show is definitely "For Real". Everything about this song is great: the lyrics, the music, the structure and so on. The latter part of the song builds to climatic peak that is just amazing. Seriously, you must hear this song. I love Will Sheff's stories of criminals. They're novel and never really out of line. And on this song he is basically living with homicidal thoughts in his mind. "So Come Back, I Am Waiting" is an 8 minute song about someone who eventually escapes capture from some serial killer. This is another truely amazing song and it highlights another great aspect to this album: how melodic the singing of Will Sheff has become. On this album, he creates some wonderful melodies with his vocals, more often than not over powering the instruments, which is a brilliant task. "Song Of Our So-Called Friend" is a song about rejection. It's another great song with great lyrics but I really feel this song could have been even better with a damn mandolin! "Get Big", "A Stone", "A Glow" and "A King And A Queen" are more examples of Sheff's vocals creating better melodies then the band's instruments, which are putting a really great show themselves. "The Latest Thoughs" & "Black" are the more upbeat, louder tracks of the album. And finally: "In A Radio Song" is a slower paced, melodic song filled with various experimental noises throughout.

Overall, this is perfect, and by far Okkervil River's best release. It is one of the best releases, period, this year. I hope with this release they get the giant recognition they now deserve. And I hope something incites them to bring back the mandolin! I won't be too surprised if this grows to become my favorite release of the year. ... Read more

14. Mellow Gold
list price: $18.98
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Asin: B000003TB2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5970
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

Far more than a novelty jester, Beck is a musical anarchist and bummed-out street prophet whose audience will squirm and thrill to the slacker delta blues of "Whiskeyclone" and urban nightmares like "Truckdrivin Neighbors Downstairs." --Jeff Bateman ... Read more

Reviews (58)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you don't like Beck; Buy this record
Hang on loosley people...I know I'm going against the grain here, but hear me out...Simply put, if you are unsure if someone is your Soul mate; Buy them a copy of Mellow Gold...If your meant to be, the future will take care it's course (on the good foot)...This Album is THE Beck album to own! If you want to, go ahead and remove the Radio classic "Loser" altogether from the track listing and you still have a great Album. If your looking for unique songs to add to that perfect mix CD, this album is packed with Nuggets & Doozies such as "Pay No Mind", "Wiskeyclone", "Truck Drivin Neighbors Downstars"...that will blow listeners away and make her/him fall in love with you...Why do you ask? Because, this album is completely original, yet sounds familiar and like a old friend...(snooring...blacked out on your couch). And remember, The DJ is a Con Man

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm a loser baby! So why don't you kill me?
Mellow Gold is a very odd album. It contains very odd music as well as very odd lyrical material. In the hit song, 'Loser' Beck sings, "In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey." This pretty much gives the gist of the entire album. No song sounds the same yet they are all oddly similar.

Though Beck's signature sound comes along with the album, it is vastly different from any of his other material. It contains some very dark songs (Mother....., Truckdrivin' Neighbors Downstairs), some light, happy songs (Pay No Mind, Nitemare Hippy Girl, Sweet Sunshine), and some just plain weird songs (Soul Suckin' Jerk). It's because of the musical diversity on the album that I like it so much.

So if you are a fan of Beck's latter material, namely Odelay, be wary in buying this album because though in my opinion it has some of his best material, the general public might think differently.

5-0 out of 5 stars Becks best all around album and one of the best of the 90s.
I must have played this album at least 50 times in the last 3 years its that good.Back in 1994 Beck was one of the most unusual and original songwriters around.There hasnt been a record written mostly about pure nonsense since Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart.Yep songs like Truckdrivin Neighbors Downstairs(my favorite song right now),Whiskey Clone Hotel City 1997 and even the radio friendly Loser have some pretty unusual lyrics.The vocals and music itself is also great to back it up.I wont write anymore because my fingers are getting sore so go out and buy this for yourself.

4-0 out of 5 stars Beck in the day.
There's a fine line between stupidity and genius. That's what I think when I listen to this album. It's almost indescribable. Lyrically, half of it's absolutely crazy, which is intentional and part of the fun. Musically it's all over the place, somewhere between the "Beastie Boys" and "Neil Young". But all of these things are what make this so incredible. So many things in a blender still make a tasty treat. This is kind of THE essential "Beck" album really. It's kind of the middle ground between "Midnight Vultures" and the excellent "Sea Change", both of which came years later. I guess it's one of those things you just have to hear to believe.

5-0 out of 5 stars must have..
v. v. dark, almost like a modernized chant in some songs with his low voice and scratchy guitar riffs. i love loser, i know so cliche but i have memorized almost every word its probably my fav. song, not only on the album....
buy this cd i am so serious. ... Read more

15. Mutations
list price: $13.98
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Asin: B00000DHYK
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4757
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan's Best of 1998

It's unfortunate how much attention has been paid to how this album was recorded--quickly, without the same level of studio fuss that marked Beck's breakthrough album, Odelay. That's a shame because our favorite chameleon has pulled the neatest trick of all: he's dropped the lyrical schtick that sometimes marred his sonic wizardy, leaving listeners to wonder if he even believed in the music he was playing. That's not an issue here. At times, he sounds like Ray Davies updated for the '90s, stripping himself bare with lovely, simple songs that linger long after they've supposedly ended. Beck may have made his initial mark with "Loser," a clever but insincere admission of inferiority; he's more likely to be remembered for the similar but more heartfelt confession of "Nobody's Fault But My Own." --Keith Moerer ... Read more

Reviews (214)

Most wouldn't call this one Beck's best album, but it's my personal favourite by Beck. The songs are generally laid-back although there's too much going on in them (and they're just too good) to be considered background music or easy listening. "Nobody's Fault But My Own" in particular is one of Beck's best, most moving songs (at least for someone who can relate to it). It's sooo dreamy, with exotic instruments such as sitar enhancing the mood.

Above all, this is an art album, Beck's forte, and Beck's typically off-the-wall imagery goes hand in hand with his pastiche of crazy sounds and styles. I won't gush about every song, but they're all great. Even the Bossa Nova "Tropicalia," my least favourite, is irrepressible.

Beck's lyrics are ambiguous enough to leave the songs open to wide interpretation, yet they're still so moving, like the delicate "Dead Melodies." Also worth noting is the unlisted bonus cut (whatever it's called). It's almost a conglomeration of everything he's done in the past. The only song that rocks on MUTATIONS, it rocks in a quintessential alt-rock fashion. At the same time, it's loaded with all kinds of musical noises including a Butthole Surfers' style "birdy interlude" and more transformations than you can wrap your mind around with one listen . . . (note to self: Beck is a genius!)

Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beck Makes It Fresh & Cool With "Space-Age Folk Rock"
Beck Hansen's most accessible disc to date all but defies comparison. It's a little Donovon, a little early Bowie and some Beatles' white album tossed in for good measure. But these similarities do not overpower - They wash in and out with the ebb and flow of one genre morphing into another. For Mutations, Beck has put aside the discordant hip-hop of "Odelay" and goofy Gen-X snicker-snicker of "Mellow Gold". Languid vocals and a hypnotic mood prevail over rich layers of acoustic arrangments, twang, psychedelia, synths, sitars and even bossa nova. Like a travelogue into his subconscious, "Mutations" tours Beck's psyche, his influences and varying moods. Songs like "Bottle Of Blues" and "Canceled Check" are catchy, hummable ditties, while "Cold Brains," "Nobody's Fault But My Own" and "We Live Again" mesmerize with their introspective meanderings. Seems that America's most adorable geek has grown up. Lest you think he takes himself too seriously, Beck's grotesque imagery and clever musings sting with irony. Somehow, though, he still maintains a sincerity that distinguishes himself from the hipster wannabes out there trying to smirk their way onto a Rolling Stone cover.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not his Best Piece of Work...
Not Beck's best album. Sounds too much like the Beatles, the Mama's and the Papa's, etc. However, there are a few songs on there that sound more original, i.e., Cancelled Check, etc. I feel his best work is on Odelay.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beck minus overproduction = Beautiful Music
Why didn't he get here sooner? Odelay and Mellow Gold are good albums but could have been much better had he ditched the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, additive heavy production. This is where he really shows his colours for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Influences a great way
I read someone else's review--"music to go to sleep to." What an underhanded comment! I think the reviewer meant it well, but I can't agree. The aptly titled MUTATIONS is a collection of songs, each showcasing a different genre of traditional euro-american music (or personal influence), altered or mutated by Beck here in the modern day. Many think this is his least cohesive effort, but I believe it is a collection of very different songs, all held together by a truly giffted performer. Call it a collage--an attempt by Beck to introduce you to each of his musical influences (with a little of that patented "Beck" twist). One thing missing from this mellow output that we saw on STEREOPATHETIC and ONE FOOT--the production quality of this CD is excellent. I almost miss the raw quality of his earlier "folk" sounding recordings. Evrything here is clean and polished. And once again, he astonishes me with incredibly insightful lyrics. Ther are a few weak tracks on this CD, but the good ones are by far his best recordings to date ("Cancelled Check," "Bottle O Blues," "Diamond Bollocks," "Tropicalia," "Nobody's Fault But My Own"). Songs that can make you laugh, then cry in the same breath. Truly amazing. ... Read more

16. No Wow
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Asin: B00078XKDE
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2422
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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On their sophomore release, the Kills come on like a post-punk version of Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter--with "hate" tattooed on one hand, "love" on the other. Lyrics reference the two to the extent that there's even a song called "I Hate the Way You Love" (plus a slow version, "I Hate the Way You Love, Pt. 2"). Similarly, VV (Alison Mosshart) sings like a cross between PJ Harvey and Christina Martinez (Boss Hog). And yet, despite lines like, "Get the guns out" ("Love is a Deserter") and "Lost a lot of blood" ("At the Back of the Shell"), No Wow is too catchy to be a bummer (must be "love" asserting its presence). VV and Hotel (Jamie Hince) make their songs move and groove with a minimum of fuss, mostly just some grubby guitar, unobtrusive drum machine, and Suicide-like electronic pulses. Mitchum would surely approve. --Kathleen C. Fennessy ... Read more

Reviews (16)

2-0 out of 5 stars A - HA
You know those douchebags that wear 100 dollar pants and try really hard to look cool on melrose ave. This is what it would sound like if they made music. It's cheesy as hell and its equally as shallow. They will have about the same longetivity as the trendy clothes and big sunglasses they wear. I can hear this playing at urban outfitters everywhere.

2-0 out of 5 stars The bore, the snore!
It was through hearing the single 'The Good Ones' on a local non-comm station, that I was inclined to pick this up.The song presentation is a moody and thick dirge.Rude vintage guitar tones fuzz-smear their way into melding the bottom end with the vocals resulting in a single insistent ZZZZVOOOOBBB!! of a sound.Being recorded in the midst of the analog heaven at Sear Sound in New York had everything to do with that.Certainly the best tools were on hand to deliver the classic warmth this disc provides.

It took approximately one-point-two listens to this disc to nail down exactly why "No Wow" falters as a whole.The Kills have managed to fill an entire album with exactly the same song- over and over and over.Producer John Agnello should have exposed this fact to the band.The culprit is that the verse vocal phrasing is identical on every song.Rudimentary one or two bar ascending or descendingmelody phrases take place within only a single octave directly result in nothing but boring-begets-grating-becomes-"didn't I just hear this song?"-insanity.

Having walked into a club in Detroit where the Kills were playing I can say that my feelings were immediately corroborated by the crowd reaction.Mostly there because the media hype said they should be, the audience were a disinterested lot at best when confronted with this drum machine powered (oxymoron?) 2-piece.At present there seems to be a glut of this guy/girl thing going on now too whether it be the Raveonettes, White Stripes, or even Ani DiFranco.

As a point of fact, there's a new service that the major labels are beginning to use called 'Hit Song Science' from Germany.The service analyzes the waveforms of songs and then compares them to songs that have been past hits.We all can speculate why this would be a bad, bad thing for the music industry.Was it used here?Don't know, but it sure sounds like it.There are rumors to the fact that those responsible for that first Norah Jones disc used HSS in the process and unfortunately that disc suffers exactly the same fate. Let's hope this is not a trend to come...the sound of this band and recording had promise.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bumpy & Grindy
This album fits the bill if you're looking for some catchy alternative rock in today's polished, superficial music world.The Kills exhibit skilled, art-type rock that is melodic and yet abrasive.

NO WOW starts out with lots of WOW on the song "No Wow", shifts into poppy-type overdrive on "Lve Is a Deserter" and "Rodeotown", a single ("Good Ones") and "I Hate the Way You Love".Those are some highlights, but the album pulls you into playing through the entirety.Enjoy it for the ride it is!

5-0 out of 5 stars No wow? Plenty of wow IMHO
This is one of the best albums I've heard for a good while. I've heard the first single to be released, the incredibly catchy 'Good Ones' a bit on the radio and I ended up buying the album. That was a great impulse buy; the entire album has the same, minimalist guitar and drums and the odd mix of vocals but without ever becoming repetitive or samey.

The two singers are a hell of a combination. At times VV has a voice with a fallen-angel quality before sounding like someone who has been at the Gauloises far too much while Hotel (the man) provides great support vocals. Not quite backing vocals, but I think it's fair to say that VV's voice carries the album more.

In short, it's a great album. Yes, it's a bit of PJ Harvey, White Stripes and Echo thrown in a blender, but I really couldn't care less. Go. Buy. Now.

3-0 out of 5 stars cool
Now here's a pretty cool band.
They're not quite original as they sound like a mixture of pj harvey (4 track demos album) with yeah yeah yeahs but they're still cool. ... Read more

17. This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About
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Asin: B000003L1P
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1115
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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Frontman Isaac Brock's claim that he's being stalked by his own alter ego was not the first bit of evidence that Modest Mouse isn't your usual pop band. Witness the entirety of this 1996 indie debut from the Washington trio that inspired a major-label bidding war. This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About finds Brock cruising with cohorts Eric Judy and Jeremiah Green (plus an occasional cellist) through a landscape of intoxicatingly original lo-fi tunes. Sure, Brock's early vocals make Nikki Sudden sound like one smooth crooner, but their strained quality offset the primitive elegance of his guitar work, giving a passionate vulnerability to "Breakthrough," "Custom Concern," and other treatises on life in the lost lane. --Bill Forman ... Read more

Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars Where it all started...
For Modest Mouse fans, it all started here, with 16 delicious slices of rustic guitarplay, trailer-spat philosophy, and an ear for both sweetly touching melodies and cacophonous abrasion. The controlled chaos of their sound is perfectly captured by the opening salvo of "Dramamine", a waltzy, floating dream of a song that led to inevitable comparisons with Built To Spill, while the following "Breakthrough" is a stomper, all buzzsaw guitars and shouty choruses that led to inevitable comparisons with the Pixies. Don't let such comparisons dissuade you from one of the most hearteningly fresh rock records of recent times, however. It's the schizophrenic welding of the two tendencies that makes for such frenetically enjoyable listening, particularly the rusty guitar sound, Jeremy Green's terrific drumming (check "Exit Does Not Exist" for proof), and a hazy, out-of-time feel that puts this startling debut up there with the very best off-the-beaten-track rock music of all time. Not to mention Issac Brock's throaty, lispy rasp of a voice which, throughout each song, invests more emotional, energetic intensity and fragility than a thousand Frank Blacks. This is a wonderful record, not least for being the jumping-point for one of America's finest bands.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Roaming, Isolated, and Neurotic Sound
Modest Mouse changed my life. Well, that may be a bit of a hyperbole, but I am truly grateful to have been introduced to this band. I have never been a fan of avant-garde/indie rock; my music taste has typically been one of hip-hop, electronic, trip-hop, classic rock, jazz, and classical. This band was introduced to me by a friend, and initially I couldn't stand them (Isaac Brock's whiny voice). However, a few songs would play on random mode in iTunes, and I slowly grew accustomed to them. Modest Mouse rocks.

This is probably one of the most appropriately titled albums I have encountered in a while. It really manages to give you the feeling that you're out on an open road without anything substantial to think about. And that's not a bad thing. It's a distant and wandering sound. Long Drive can sound incredibly neurotic, with their twangy and chaotic guitar rhythms along with Brock's unstable voice. But the genius of MM is that the neurotic sound all falls together and manages to make sense, beautiful sense. Long Drive isn't nearly as polished or accessible as The Moon and Antarctica or Good News for People Who Love Bad News, but in no way does that discount the greatness of Long Drive. I recommend this album without any real reservations. But as one should do with any music, listen to this album without projecting any preconceived notions about what good music should sound like.

5-0 out of 5 stars Breakthrough
To put it simply this cd surprised me. Upon knowing of the band for almost 6 years I decided to purchase The Lonesome Crowded West earlier this year on somewhat of a whim. The cd blew me away, it monopolized my cd player for a good part of two weeks before I could intergrade anything else into rotation. Growing quite fond of that cd I figured I would wade a bit deeper into Modest Mouse knowing they were a multifaceted and very unique band as opposed to the impression i first got, which was that they were good but just good playing loud songs such as my first exposure to them (s*** luck being that first song). So in my search for another Modest Mouse cd I picked this one for people say this is more close akin to the lonesome crowded west then later attempts. I still didn't believe that it could reach the standard TLCR had previously set but I bought it anyway. I was blown away by how diverse the emotion on this album truly is, listening to this album is like taking a trip through the human emotion with indie guitars, multi textured songs, eclectic song topics and quite possibly the most infectious quirky and less than mainstream vocalist since the days of the pixies, violent femmes and Dinosaur Jr. just to name a few. Every track on this album is no doubt easy to listen to and flows with the whole mood of the album, but stand out tracks are as follows 2,3,5,6,7,11,13,14,15,16, which is more than 75% of the album I'm aware but those are the tracks I find myself flipping to when not listening to it in its entirety. Over all this album is a great place to start if your getting into Modest Mouse, steer clear of good news for people who love bad news. This album will prove to you how great this band truly is and just how diverse music can be when its not being manufactured in the mainstream molds that most bands come out of these days. Sure they are mainstream now and have changed their sound some to fit in with their mainstream contemporaries/rivals, but they were once an amazing, somewhat bizarre, but none the less catchy indie rock band. Enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars fate brought me to it
After searching countless record stores for this cd I finally found This is a Long Drive... a few nights ago at Borders...BORDERS! I thought that nothing could top Lonesome Crowded West, and I was proved wrong. This is truly a masterpiece, each track is its own little world you can listen to countless times and still be lost in the amazing riffs and beautiful lyrics. Even if you're not a Modest Mouse fan (and if you aren't, something is wrong with you man) this cd is a necessity.

5-0 out of 5 stars How Do They Do It?
Will someone answer that? How do you come up with picks and riffs like this? And don't even get me started on the lyrics. It really kind of dissapoints me this softer, poppier direction they've done with Moon/Antartica. Hopefully Good News will be a return to the genius stuff like this.

Best Songs:Lounge, Beach Side Property, Exit Does Not Exist. ... Read more

18. Four Songs
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Asin: B00015EKKU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5456
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (26)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not that different from other offerings
From the opening notes of "It's Only Fear," you know exactly what you're going to get from Alexi Murdoch's debut EP, simply entitled Four Songs: simple acoustic (with some minor accompaniment) songs with oh-so-earnest lyrics of self-discovery. Exactly the kind of thing that I'm getting really burned out on--especially since I became a music reviewer and everybody that owns a guitar is releasing an album these days.

I'm sorry, but am I the only person that thinks that "Orange Sky" is getting way too overplayed on independent radio? Now, I don't mind the occasional long song (I am a fan of progressive rock, after all), but at least say something interesting or have some amazing music--either moody ambience or rocking solos. But "Orange Sky" takes over six minutes to get to its point, mostly because Murdoch continually repeats his one-line chorus over and over again--and that's not to mention how the verses all start with the same repetitious two lines. Unfortunately, in the end, all I get is out of it all is that he loves his siblings. Well, great, but he could have said that is one line in another song. An example of "show, don't tell," I guess.

"Blue Mind" is nice, especially that strumming and patting of the guitar rhythm. There is some banjo that peeks in occasionally, and Murdoch's Scottish lilt comes into play a little bit, even though I think he's trying to hide it most of the time. "Song for You" is probably the best song here. The genuineness that grates on the other tracks is delivered here with a smoothness that belies its origins. Also, the level of instrumentation increases throughout to make it more intense throughout its relatively short (for this record) running time. It's really a sweet song that I respond to emotionally.

Despite all the negativity, I do truly admire Murdoch for sticking to his guns of independence in the face of having loads of money flashed before his eyes in the form of studio record contracts. He has decided to his preferred method of distribution for Four Songs and is steadily at work on a full-length LP that, I'm sure, will satisfy everyone who loves this album so much.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best "find" of 2003
Heard "Orange Sky" on KMTT (local Seattle Radio) and both times I heard it it stopped me in my tracks. Saw Alexi live twice and he was great. The songs are beautiful and quiet and simple. Alexi gives you time to listen and reflect on the music. It will take your breath away. I can't wait for the next songs! BUY THIS CD - you will like it.

PS: Some compare Alexi Murdoch to the late British singer-songwriter Nick Drake.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hurry With Another CD!
This CD is just beautiful and I just can't get enough. I hope he is writing more songs even as I write this because I can barely wait for his next work. I have never written a TV show but I wrote "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." and told her she should get him on. That's how wonderful I think Alexi Murdock is.

1-0 out of 5 stars Stick with Nick Drake
Don't waste your time with this. Yes, Murdoch bears a superficial resemblence to Nick Drake. But the mimicry rings false & hollow. Not to mention that the 4 songs in question aren't even close to the quality of Drake's leftovers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect EP
I first heard Orange Sky on the OC soundtrack and the song stopped me in my tracks. I had to have the ep and to say the least I was not let down. This is a tie for album of the year with Damien Rice's O. ... Read more

19. Exile in Guyville
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Asin: B000040JF0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3938
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (77)

4-0 out of 5 stars I can feel it in my bones...
his album is a hit-or-miss case. I have friends who can't stand it, and I have friends who love it and claim it in their Top 10 of all time. It's worth listening to just to see where you stand. There isn't much debate about whether or not Liz can sing...she can't. She had to take singing lessons for her latest album. So ignore her voice...its whining, its monotone, it cracks, and it sounds like she was singing in her garage. That's also one of the strong points to those people who loved this album so much. When Liz's voice cracks, its usually because of the emotion in it. That's generous, given she doesn't really show much emotion...but she does deliver angst, longing, despair, guilt, and a little raw hatred. Her lyrics are witty, yet sometimes simple, but what her voice fails to deilver, her words do. Take the warnings of parental advisory seriously...she doesn't edit her feelings at all. It took me a long time to love this album. The songs don't work the first, oh, let's say 10 or so times you hear them. But if you think you hear something in her style, then listen some more. Memorize the songs...because they will grow on you, and infect you, and take you over. This is an ideal album for someone who just got out of a relationship. It runs the full range of emotions about breaking up...longing, hope, anger, guilt, despair, anguish. But ultimately the real charm of this album lies in its simplicity...most of the songs feature Liz as the sole musician. The songs seem as if they were recorded by Liz, her guitar, and a tape recorder (and actually, most of the songs came right from the demo tape that got this album recorded). The production quality may disapoint those looking for a studio-hyped album with richly woven melodies. I personally thought that the power and the charm of the album came from the fact that it was nothing more than Liz, stripped down to nothing but herself and her guitar. You'll either love it or hate it. But those who love it never take it out of their CD players.

5-0 out of 5 stars This CD changed my life.
I first saw Liz Phair perform in 1993 at Treno's in Urbana, Illinois. She was an opening act (along with the Coctails) for the now-defunct Urbana-based band Corndolly. At that time, Liz was singing and playing guitar in the middle of a room full of people; I couldn't hear her at all. Therefore, when I saw "Exile in Guyville" on the shelf at the record store, I figured I'd buy it just to see what I'd missed. From the first listen, I was hooked. It rarely left my CD player, and the tape I made for my car nearly wore out. That next academic year, I was working on my master's thesis. I was three months late submitting it for approval, and I blame the delay entirely on this album. Late at night, when I should have been working, I would play "Exile in Guyville" and absolutely disappear into the lyrics. Each of the songs stands well on its own, but together, they make up an album worth more than the sum of its parts. This CD truly is a work of genius.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Truly "Mesmerizing" Album
What an absolutely wonderful album! I was afraid that I wouldn't like it at first, but from the opening notes of 6'1", I was hooked! Every song on here is a gem and hooks you, especially the opener, "Soap Star Joe," "Never Said," and "Stratford-on-Guy." MUCH better than her latest and completely the opposite of it. Word of warning: If you don't enjoy indie-type music, minimalist arrangements, garage-type production, or lyrics that actually make sense beyond the usual Britney Spears type stuff, then this one isn't for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars All They Say It Is
What is wrong with America? Besides Bush and taxes, it's our country's taste in music. In 1993, an amazing album came out. It was Exile In Guyville. Despite the press and MTV both intervening to help this album, it only sold 296,000 copies. However, that's an amazing figure for an indie release. I think it should have sold 20 times as much. Liz Phair is the reason for Alanis (whom I LOVE) Jewel, and most recently, Avril Lavigne. My favorites are: 6'1, Dance Of The Seven Veils, Never Said, Flower, Gunshy and Stratford-On-Guy. I plan to buy Whip Smart in the next few days, but Exile In Guyville is amazing no matter what. No wonder it's considered one of the best albums ever made. I love her new songs, but I also love the folksy stuff that marks this album. Can't we love both? I think so. Critical acceptance is important, but Liz Phair has given me and a lot of other people reason to believe that she deserves more commercially. The amazing quality of this album says that. I think that had it been released in 1996 or 1997 at the height of the girl-in-rock movement, it would have sold more copies. But then she would have been accused of riding the wave. I prefer her as the brave fearless leader that started it all and got no credit, because it makes this album more special than it already is.

4-0 out of 5 stars Almost a five...
I first gained interest in Liz after hearing the catchy(but overplayed)"Why Can't I?" on the radio. Then, I heard she used to be an indie rock queen, and after reading all of the five-star reviews on here, I decided to buy it. My first reaction was: What a monotone voice! I'm so dissapointed! But I started listening to the lyrics closer. I decided my money hadn't been wasted after all. The best songs are: Help Me Mary, Glory, Canary, Mesmerizing, #### and Run, Girls Girls Girls, Divorce Song, Flower, Johnny Sunshine, and Stratford-on Guy. "Never Said" seems to be a favorite of many people, but I find it mediocre. Take the Parental Advisory warning seriously, because she never edits her feelings. Sample Lyric: Every Time I See Your Face, I Get All Wet Between My Legs. But that can't mask the album's greatness. Buy It! ... Read more

20. Rejoicing in the Hands
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Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Music for a Country Porch
Despite their disdain for the mainstream media's tendency to hype up young bands as 'the saviours of rock & roll' (i.e., Franz Ferdinand, The Strokes, The White Stripes, etc.), the indie media always seem to be on the look out for their own 'next big thing'. Though occasionally a band, it is more often some sort of subgenre, where a couple of noteworthy releases have critics proclaiming some given year to be the year of some given subgenre. Last year was apparently the year of dance-punk, a conclusion spearheaded largely by The Rapture's mediocre-but-acclaimed-anyway debut. This year, surprisingly enough, is being touted as the year of neo-folk. With newly made indie superstars like Iron & Wine and Sufjan Stevens putting out great follow-ups to their breakthrough releases, the indie media has rushed to herald every new poppy or slightly psychedelic folk release as proof positive of their determination that this genre is just now hitting it big. Devendra Banhart is among this supposed tidal wave, and though he's apparently part of this year's big thing, he seems more concerned with all things small in some year long passed. Armed with just an acoustic guitar and his voice (though production does add in some other more atmospheric instruments from time to time), this young, homeless, traveling minstrel doesn't really deal with any of the big topics. Simple joys, simple friendships, and unassuming loves populate his songs, which find their home in the earthy glee of Appalachian folk. While listening to Devendra croon, one's mind is filled with images of yellowed pages from old Bibles and rolling up your own tobacco to smoke down by the lake. It's serene, heartfelt music for a time and place that, for the most part, has long passed, consumed in the arrival of goliath Wal-Marts and 'pimped out' Honda Civics tearing down country roads. Though his instrumental and lyrical content are very pleasant, I can see Devendra's voice becoming something of a dividing point among listeners. For some (including myself), the Southern, bluesy vocals adds a charming sort of character that blends perfectly with music that sounds like it could have been recorded 80 years ago. For others, Devendra's croaking vocals might evoke images of a withered muppet that has hit the moonshine still one too many times. Hopefully, more people will embrace the prior opinion, for while Devendra Banhart might not represent some revolutionary force exploding onto the music scenes, he makes pleasant music that is, simply, enjoyable.

5-0 out of 5 stars The New Face of Folk Music (5/5)
Devendra Banhart is still new to the world, which finds most people comparing him to a surplus of other musicians. However, Banhart has quickly proven that, contrary to comparison, he possesses his very own unique style that easily sets him apart from any singer/songwriter on the planet (past or present). His voice is so unique that he will find himself in a similar league with some of music's all-time great distinctive voices.

His ability to create charming images of a surreal world with his abstract lyrics, abnormal time signatures, and inimitable vocals is like no other current artist today. On his previous albums, this was heard through his ghostly recordings on four track recorders and answering machine messages. These were songs never meant for public consumption until his friends convinced him that it'd be a good idea to let them loose. So, Michael Gira (Swans and Angels of Light) took control of these recordings and released them "as is" on his self-managed Young God label. Accolades have been strewn about Banhart's feet since.

One of the principal qualities that made these early recordings of Banhart's so unique is how they effortlessly sounded like they came from another era. If you didn't know they were recorded within the last five years, you'd swear they were the lost tapes of Robert Johnson's next-door neighbor. But with the release of Rejoicing in the Hands, Banhart entered an official studio to record fifty-some songs. There is a decidedly cleaner sound than on the lo-fi recordings of before. Some of the new songs will appear here and the rest will make it on to a separate album or EP to be released in the next year.

Banhart certainly is prolific at what he does. He's also very dedicated to making his art as perfect as possible, regardless of how bizarre it may appear. During the song "Todo los Dolores" he makes a mistake with the Spanish lyrics, but quickly recovers and shows that his work is very serious. Once he regains composure and begins his "1-2-3-4" intro, it's time for business again.

Banhart's lyrics are not only on par with what he has currently accomplished, but music schools around the world should study his guitar work on this folk-rock masterpiece. With the addition of the studio effects Devendra has been able to add different elements to his songs. Rejoicing in the Hands has a more current vibe than Oh Me Oh My and Black Babies, but the charm and unique qualities are still very much in tact. If anything, it has allowed his music to become more greatly appreciated by the casual listener. "Insect Eyes," which is also the best song of Banhart's catalog, has the addition of bass and "Autumn's Child" contains piano. Both of these instruments are exclusive to this album so far, but subtly add a substantial depth to the songs.

Besides being one of the most interesting artists to come out of the singer/songwriter genre in recent memory, Devendra Banhart is proving that the self-reliant style of the folk artist is something that is sadly being overlooked. If anyone can single-handedly bring this back to the forefront, it will be him. He's already every bit as important as Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Jackson C. Frank, or any of the other artists who have influenced his art. Only his music speaks more clearly to this generation.

The idea that he can transcend his influences makes Devendra Banhart well worth your time and attention. And if you've appreciated any of his work thus far, you'll be extremely happy with what Rejoicing in the Hands has to offer. Perhaps only time will tell, but it could very well turn out to be one of the great timeless folk albums. And anyone who can sit down in such a short period of time and write this many unique songs has to have something abnormally genius working inside.

5-0 out of 5 stars Completely Amazing
I've read reviews that say this music is music to put on in the background of a party. If that happened, I'd be the guy with his ear the speaker, breathing in Devendra's beautiful sound. He would be stunning even if he only sang. His voice operates on levels that seem above us humans. But his voice isn't the only great thing about Devendra. The guitar picking on this album is to be marvelled at. It ebbs and flows like it comes from another world. This album is simply amazing. And if you like this one, I thoroughly recommend his first CD. It doesn't have the dubbed-in extra instruments, but that just makes it better.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good
If you found Oh Me, Oh My a bit out there/creepy/wierd you will probably find this album much more accessible. More melodic and easier to listen to. Excellent overall.

5-0 out of 5 stars "like an old folk song. that youve never ever heard.....
...still you know every word."
yeah this album is amazing. i loved the energy of the first album. but i kinda wrote banhart off as a lo-fi for lo-fi sake artist. and i was really suprised to hear such a clean recording. and the sound still has some major atmosphere. trust me. this guy is no fluke. his song writing is only getting better. and his lyrics are just insainly rad. he is a true artist. a creator. this album goes good with:
rain/ thunder/ lightning
old/ new friends
candle light
camping...desert or forest.
porch sitting
tree climbing
bare feet
dark alleys
broken glass
pointy teeth
cold skin
buy this album. listen to it. and be glad that there are still people coming out with such amazing creative energy. amazing indeed. ... Read more

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