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Archive for December, 2009

We were pleased to see that Ryan Paul’s top 5 local & national records of 2009 were published by Metro Magazine. Here’s a clip:

“As the year comes to a close, you’ve probably been inundated by year and decade end lists. We thought that you might want to hear what Twin Cities musician’s favorite albums are, rather than getting our two cents. It’s pretty hard to hone in on the local music scene, even for those of us who are attuned to national music trends. So, we used the good old Internet and got in touch with some of our favorite local artists.”

Ryan Paul & The Ardent
National
1. Grizzly Bear // Veckitamest – This album gets my best of 2009. I’ve heard all of the banter about whether or not it will last. I’ve heard all the talk about them “selling out” with Veckitamest. Frankly, I don’t care. I’ve listened to Grizzly Bear since Horn of Plenty and sister band Department of Eagles. There is certainly a difference in Veckitamest, but it is one that I have seen coming for awhile.

Daniel Rossen has been growing into his pop sensibility very slowly and the maturation grew into this record. It is an absolute masterpiece. I can’t find a single fault in it. The album lacks nothing. Can they keep it up? Surely. However, Daniel and the boys may grow into something else and I’m sure that will be just as jaw dropping as the rest of their career.

Favorite Track: “Ready, Able”

2. Jim O’Rourke // The Visitor
Jim O’Rourke has played on well over 100 records in the past 20 years, but left an 8 year gap from his last solo album. Anyone who knows me heard my excitement for weeks leading up to the release of The Visitor. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but managed to anyhow. When I got my pre-ordered copy, I nervously put it in to find that it was only one track. One 38 minute track. (This isn’t rare for O’Rourke’s noise records) This album (or song) had over 200 separate recorded parts and they were all layered perfectly. I liked how one reviewer called it “genre-hopping melange of organic and electronic influences”. I’ll even get behind Pitchfork’s statement that The Visitor “plays hide-and-go-seek with dozens of instruments, textures, and motifs before refusing to deliver the climax you might have expected”. I mainly summed it up with a dropped jaw. I have listened to it dozens of times and I haven’t even begun to soak it all in.

3. Elvis Perkins in Dearland // ST/Doomsday EP
I liked Elvis Perkins’ solo effort. “Ash Wednesday” was a great start, but it was missing something. It was missing Dearland. I’m not sure how these guys seemed to pick up on Elvis’ behind the beat writing, but they did. I am including Doomsday EP because it was recorded at the same time as the self titled album and is mainly B-Sides. I can’t wait to hear what Elvis and Dearland do next.

Favorite Track: “Shampoo”

***PLEASE SEE CORRECTION BELOW***

4. Phosphorescent // To Willie
Am I crazy to pick a cover album in my top 5? Possibly. But I feel that this particular cover album is the best Willie Nelson cover album ever done. This particular album got more spins on my player than many others on this list. Done in the same vein as Willie Nelson’s To Lefty, this album is brilliant. I knew, from the second I saw the cover, that I was going to fall head over heels with To Willie. Many have tried to cover Willie Nelson and nearly all have failed. This album plays Willie like a young Willie would do Willie. Houck spares no detail and even playing nearly every guitar solo with the melody line of the song (just like Willie). If you want to cover Willie, be Willie. Don’t try to put a new spin on the Red Headed Stranger. He is one of a kind.

Favorite Track: “Can I Sleep In Your Arms” (There are moments where I actually prefer this to the original. I know. It’s practically heresy.)

5. The Bad Plus // For All I Care
Every single time I have seen The Bad Plus play live, I have always stood in line to get in early and plant my butt in front of Dave King’s drum kit. That was, until Wendy Lewis started singing with them. The two times that I witnessed The Bad Plus (joined by Wendy Lewis), Wendy seemed to be the only force that could drive my eyes and ears from King’s wicked drumming. I happened to run into Lewis at a Dosh show in 2008 and listened to her talk about what was going on down at Pachyderm. I could not wait to hear this record. The day I picked it up, I sat in my room short of breath. Seeing them live, a friend had to remind me to inhale and exhale. It goes without saying that Dave King is masterful on “For All I Care”. I don’t need to tell you that Reid Anderson is a hell of a bass player. Ethan’s piano playing is about as dependable as his wardrobe. This is a wonderful record.

Favorite Track: “Comfortably Numb”

Local
Bad Plus // For All I Care
Brad Senne // Aerial Views
The Pines // Tremolo
Gary Louris/Mark Olson // Ready for the Flood
Peter Wolf Crier // Inter-Be

*I’d really have the Daredevil Christopher Wright album on there, but Western WI is still WI.


***CORRECTION: Klaus Voorman let me know that The Doomsday EP was not recorded at the same time as the Dearland LP. The tunes are not B-sides either.

I appreciate the correction. This is why I am a musician and not a journalist. I take things that dudes at the record store tell me as fact.

Being that they were not recorded at the same time, I am amending:

#3. Elvis Perkins in Dearland – Dearland LP
#3.5 Elvis Perkins in Dearland – Doomsday EP


OFFICIAL Ryan Paul & THE ARDENT Site

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Inspired by “Meet Me Where I Am”

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2009 was a pretty wicked year. We are really looking forward to what is in store for 2010. I’ve been meeting with our new manager from Invisible Button Entertainment and she has some amazing ideas for going forward.

We’ve been working on a video project called “Confessions”. I’d like to give you a preview of Part 6.
Here are some of my confessions about La Vita Nuova, my Jimmy Peterson story, and some of my ideas for the next year. Enjoy!

If you missed our show with Kid Dakota at the Turf, we were able to pull a video from that night as well. Some of it kind of cracks me up…

I’d also like to remind you that there are ALWAYS fresh and free live downloads from our “Live Archive” page. You can sample and download in any format you like.

Thanks for the support in 2009!

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