At last, the first edition of the weekly Rob Gordon Shuffle, where I try desperately to avoid sounding like a John Cusack monologue. Top 5 albums/songs of the week are based on handy-dandy iTunes playcounts and being awesome.
1. Doves – Some Cities
Doves are catching a fair amount of critical backlash for this one, getting a D+ from Stylus and a mere 7.8 from our friends at Pitchfork. If trimming the fat and indulgence of their last album to create a collection of concise, refreshing Britpop songs is a bad thing, I guess you can start calling me Liam.
2. Iron & Wine – Unknown Early Sessions/12.11.04 The Meow Meow, Portland OR
If you ever have the chance to see Sam Beam perform, it’s worth it for his voice alone. The records don’t even come close to doing him justice.
3. Sea Snakes – Clear As Day, The Darkest Tools
My favorite album of the new year, mostly because I ignored it in ’04. This songshould give you an idea of their sound: emotional (without the emo) electric folk, capturing a sense of space and isolation in a way that only Canadian bands seem able to do. They remind me a lot of The One AM Radio’s A Name Writ In Water, minus the electronic touches.
4. The Microphones/Mount Eerie/Phil Elvrum solo – Live At Bard College, 5.16.03
I saw Mount Eerie (or whatever Phil Elvrum is calling himself these days) twice last year and bootlegged both shows. This one destroys my personal recordings, with Phil actually playing his back catalog (“Lanterns” from Song Islands is a highlight, especially when he starts talking about how the drums in his head sound like hip-hop) in soundboard-caliber quality.
5. Damon And Naomi – The Earth Is Blue
On here entirely on the basis of their incredible “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” cover. As a long-time fan of Galaxie 500 and Luna, this is my first encounter with Galaxie’s other half and it looks like I’ve found a good place to start. “Gossamer,” “ethereal,” “feminine adjective,” etc.
The Rob Gordon Shuffle is a weekly Sunday rundown of fascinating songs and albums without any particular regard to genre or timeliness. It is absolutely not a top 5.