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Best of the 00s: Bobby Bare Jr., Boredoms, Burial

Posted by September 5th, 2010 No Comments »

Best of the 00s: Gabe Joins the 21st Century
Part 8: Bobby Bare Jr., Boredoms & Burial

Nada Co-founders Matt and Gabe are listening to 197 of the music press’s picks for “best albums of the 00s” for a series called Gabe Joins the 21st Century.

Bobby Bare Jr. – Young Criminals’ Starvation League
#35 on Nada’s list

Gabe: Bobby Bare Jr. comes off like a genuine, good natured, funny, sweet dude who no doubt has some demons but lives and breathes music. His songs blend dibs and dabs of rock, pop, country and soul but come out sounding like nothing other than a Bobby Bare Jr. song. “I’ll Be Around” and “The Ending” are #1 country hits in a parallel, better universe.  “Monk At The Disco” and the cover of The Smiths’ “What Difference Does It Make” are cute. Best of all for music geeks may be “Dig Down,” wherein Bare ruminates on how all his songs sound “deriviative and mundane” because “the Beatles devoured all there was to be found.”  What citizen of the Alternative Nation could fail to love his paean to the Pixies:

“Black Francis, Black Francis you were the last motherfucker out
Grabbing all the good stuff and leaving no doubt
That if rock and roll dies its not my fault
I do the best with the leftovers I got”

BBJ’s leftovers are plenty good enough for me. I sleep better at night knowing that the chances are excellent that out there in some bar in some city in America, Bobby is doing his part. Grade: LOVE

Matt: When this hit in 2002 it felt like the musical confluence of everything I held dear. An alt-country singer/songwriter with a tongue-in-cheek delivery and punk spirit who covers the Smiths and counts the Pixies as one of his biggest influences? Yes please. With a stunning voice and serious Nashville chops, twangy Bobby Bare Jr. ballads like “I’ll Be Around” and “Mehan” make him a standout with the No Depression set, but it’s oddball tracks like “Flat Chested Girl From Maynardville” and “Monk at the Disco” that make he and his music so memorable. There’s not really anything else you can compare these unique musical creations to; there’s enough country shuffle to ground them in that influence, but there’s also a healthy dose of quirky, Beatle-eque pop and Dr. Suessian playfulness. He’d be equally at home opening for Ween, X or Waylon Jennings. Grade: LOVE

Who want's to share some lamb's blood and dance in the shadow of a zephyr?Boredoms – Vision Creation Newsun
#39 on Pitchfork’s list

Gabe: This is not one of the best albums of the 2000s. Per wikipedia, release date was 27 October 1999.

Ah, on futher review, Vision Creation Newsun was released in Japan in 1999 but not in the United States until 2001. Still, that type of U.S.-centric attitude isn’t going to help Pitchfork get in the pants of that cute little hipster girl it met at the Animal Collective show.

Anyhoo, even using the 2001 release date, Vision Creation Newsun is probably not one of the best albums of the 2000s. The record is over an hour’s worth of basically seamless instrumental tracks with an occasional word yelped out here and there. I never listened to prog rock, but listening to Vision Creation Newsun is exactly like I always imagined it would be like to hear something like Yes’ Tales from Topographic Oceans. I actually didn’t hate it, especially the part about 45 minutes in where it rocks a little bit. I’d tell you what track it was that I liked, but unfortunately the songs are identified by symbols rather than words and my keyboard doesn’t have a button for “little squiggly line with another sort of egg-shaped thing attached.”  Grade: DO NOT LIKE

Matt: I dunno, when it comes to avante-garde, psychedelic pagan ritual soundtracks scored by crazy Japanese performance artists, this is definitely my favorite of the lot. I’m more partial to “horse shoe/head phone looking thingy” though. Grade: LIKE

We are way too stupid for this albumBurial – Untrue   
#41 on the Pitchfork list

Gabe: Another headscratcher. Thirteen tracks and I’ll be damned if I can tell one from another. Lots of bleeps and bloops and samples and this and that and the other. The genre is called “dubstep,” apparently, and this must be one outstanding dubstep album since it gets a Metacritic score of 90 based on 23 reviews.

This whole deal reminds me of Art History 203 –  Abstract Expressionism. When the professor told me how wonderful and innovative and unique the paintings by Kandinsky, Pollock, Rothko, et al were, I totally believed her. But all I could see what a bunch of random blobs of paint. Grade: DNL

Matt: On Untrue, Burial’s model seems to be thus: combine simple, skiddish beats with a warm, airy synthesized layer and incomplete R&B vocal samples. That said, for a boy raised on loud, distorted guitars, this is surprisingly engaging for the first few songs. About halfway through it all starts to sound the same, though. Untrue would make for nice background scoring for an outdoor mushroom trip, were those skiddish beats not so enervating. Grade: DNL

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