Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Top Five Tuesday:
Don't Look Back!

Last year's Pitchfork Music Festival was a damn good time, but let's not kid ourselves, Sonic Youth playing Daydream Nation was the selling point. Why else would Friday have been the first day to sell out? Oh, right, Slint was there too. How could I forget? Oh, right, the pot brownies. Anyhoo, the Range Life staff had a blast discussing which albums we'd love to see played in its entirety, and with the announcement of the 2008 Pitchfork Music Festival (hopefully) coming sooner than you might think, I thought it might be fun to rekindle the discussion. But before I go on, here are some ground rules I made up for myself. 1). The band must currently be in existence, so no Neutral Milk Hotel playing Aeroplane, and as far as I'm concerned no Loveless either (they haven't re-formed quite yet). 2). No bands that have already played a Don't Look Back show, which means no Sonic Youth playing Sister (as fucking cool as that would be), and no Belle & Sebastian or Cat Power either. Honestly, making these two rules only made my job easier, but feel free to play by your own rules when you make your own top 5 (which you're going to do in the comments section, right?)

On your marks.
Get set.

5). Modest Mouse performing The Moon and Antarctica
Lets forget for a moment that Modest Mouse kinda suck now, and remember that at one point in time Modest Mouse pulled off quite a feat in releasing major label debut that not only didn't suck, but was actually pretty fucking brilliant. These days, the band is content sticking with playing the same two songs from this album in concert ("Paper Thin Walls" and "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes"), but judging by the response these two songs get each and every time, I'm inclined to assume that there are other rabid fans of this album who would just love to hear them play more. Now, I could just as easily have said Lonesome Crowded West, but for that to really work they'd have to lose a drummer, kick out Marr, and play in a 300 person club. Why? Because the older songs sound like shit when played by the current, bloated Modest Mouse lineup. The Lonesome Crowded West was charmingly skeletal and lo-fi, and there's no need to have six or seven people on stage to play "Out of Gas." At least by playing Moon, they could keep their band intact, and probably do some really cool, spaced-out guitar work to tracks like "Stars are Projectors" and "Alone Down There." Plus, I really wanna hear "A Different City" live.

4). Blonde Redhead performing Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons
How is this album not considered a classic by now? It was even left off Pitchfork's Top 25 Touch and Go albums, in favor of Pinback? A !!! single!? Please tell me they were joking. Regardless of what the Fork or anyone else thinks, I'm quite fond of Melody, almost to the point of obsession. Much like the Flaming Lips did the previous year, Blonde Redhead completely re-invented themselves, trading angular, art-punk noise for actual melodies, finding a new identity along the way. Like Moon and Antarctica, this is another album that gets poorly represented in concert, which only leaves me wanting to hear it more.

3). Flaming Lips performing The Soft Bulletin
I'm convinced that the Soft Bulletin is the reason why Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons hasn't been given the credit it's due; after all, Soft Bulletin was first, and it is probably a better album. I mean, "The Spark that Bled" alone is reason enough to list this album ahead of just about anything else. With The Soft Bulletin, the Flaming Lips turned down the guitars, altered their lyrical approach, and finally started to write some actual songs, some damn good ones at that. Don't get me wrong, albums like In a Priest Driven Ambulance and Transmissions from the Satellite Heart are great rock albums, but The Soft Bulletin is just a great album. Period.

2). Radiohead performs Kid A
I could probably substitute this album with Ok Computer and be just as happy, but if I were given the choice I would have to go with Kid A. For starters, Kid A is absolutely seamless, and in my opinion has a better ebb and flow than its predecessor, and every song, every chord, every sound, is in its right place. Additionally, I also cherish the live versions of every Kid A song I've heard, from the hard charged re-working of "National Anthem" to the manic panic of "Idioteque." That, and its also pretty much a flawless album, but you already knew I felt that way.

1). Sigur Rós performs Ágætis Byrjun
You're probably shocked. Don't be. I have as long of a history with Ágætis Byrjun as I do every other album on here (by the way, has anyone else noticed that all 5 albums I've chosen were released in 1999 or 2000. What a great couple of years for music, huh?), and I love it inside and out. Ágætis Byrjun is the kind of album that haunts you - in a good way - when you're sleeping, on drugs, kissing girls, taking walks, watching a good film, eating a sandwich, fucking, whatever. Falling in love with Ágætis Byrjun is like Odysseus trapped on Calypso's island; you're heroic, in great shape, immortal, and fucking a Goddess each and every time you listen to this album. Why ever stop? Not only is this album beautiful, but Sigur Rós just slay these songs live. Jónsi Birgisson is one of the few singers that just simply doesn't falter, and the swells of bowed guitar and Amiina's strings are nothing if not heard live. If there was ever an album that was just begging to be heard from start to finish on a beautiful early summer night, Ágætis Byrjun would definitely be the one.


The Moon said...

I love Sigur Rós but I am not sure if Ágætis Byrjun really feels right to me for this style of show...? I don't know?

The Moon and Antarctica on the other hand would be fantastic!!!

So far the ones I've thought of are...

~Mogwai~ Young Team
~Olivia Tremor Control~ *either album
~The Microphones~ The Glow Pt2
~Failure~ Fantastic Planet
~Grandaddy~ Under the Western Freeway
~Pavement~ Crooked Rain or Slanted and Enchanted
~Q and not U~ No Kill No Beep Beep
~The Notwist~ Neon Golden
~Massive Attack~ Blue Lines

Femme Fatale said...

I don't know. All of these are fantastic choices.

This is another band that kinda sucks now, but Wilco playing Yankee Hotel Foxtrot would be pretty phenomenal.

Moon, I totally agree with the OTC idea. Unlike NMH, this one would be far more feasible, I think.

It's far too soon for this one, because at this point in their career you can hear much of the album live anyway, but in a few years hearing Arcade Fire play Funeral would be pretty rad.

SonicRyan said...

Keeping in mind that I gave myself some rules to make it easier, choosing a top 5 still wasn't easy. Wilco definitely was under consideration, as were Yo La Tengo (pick any album starting with Painful and ending with Nothing Inside Out, and I'd be okay with it), Bowie, and Beck (Odelay, in my opinion, would be a blast to hear from beginning to end in concert).

The Moon said...

I wanted to say Bowie but I wasn't really sure if he would be willing to do a show like this??? but I guess in the same token there has already been talk of Pavement playing a DLB and Mr Malkmus has pretty much refused... but I still put them on there...

I totally agree with Mr. Sonic, Odelay would be fucking tops!