Image: Dark Roasted Blend
You know that 2008 best-of list? I take it back--not gonna happen. 2008 was a rotten year for music overall and I'm not motivated to extend it any longer than necessary. But 2009--shaping up to be awesome!!! Aw, just kidding. You know better than to expect ADDed enthusiasm round here. Read on for the usual hedged rah rah and ambivalent approbation.
Tunnelvision - Here We Go Magic
Didn't really expect this coming from Luke Temple, whose previous work struck me as alright but kind of plodding guy-with-a-guitar prime-time TV drama fare. But this and "Fangela" are two of my favorite songs this year (all 13 days of it), so go figure. Temple sings a Lindsay Buckinghamesque falsetto to divine syncopated folked-up pop, and coats it with ambient drone. To make a visual art analogy, it's like an Edward Hopper/Agnes Martin mashup. Any representational/abstract tensions get canceled out by a shared appreciation for geometry and the American perspective of hard, flat, infinite space.
From Here We Go Magic (preorder), Myspace
Woodfriend - Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
A con artist approached me recently while I was wrestling with one of those barely functioning parking garage ticket validation machines. He didn't start out as a con artist, of course--he started out as an 19-year-old or so kid who wanted directions to a Metra station. The tip-off (even before he produced the "police report" about his "stolen wallet")? He said his mom had told him to ask a nice lady for help. Lady, hee hee. Nice, har fucking har. First rule of the con: Know your mark. That's when I decided he was a) working a classic angle, and b) really, really bad at it. But I listened to his spiel with fake interest anyway and almost felt sorry for him when I asked if I actually seemed like someone who would hand over money to a stranger with a lame, completely illogical story. There's a sucker born every minute, etc. Now Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson recycles just as many chestnuts--of the guitar hero variety. But I'd slip him some cash to buy drugs, sure. He's that charming, in a slack-shifty sort of way. When he yells hey like a faded Gary Glitter and slurs something about everything being ok, to a ticking cowbell, you believe--because you want to. Good cons make you care.
from Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (Amazon, eMusic), Myspace