The Rob Gordon Shuffle: 3/07-3/13

1. Archer Prewitt – Wilderness
Pitchfork gave this exactly the right review. Prewitt goes effortlessly from section to section to section without regard for standard verse/chorus quotas, turning what could’ve been a drab songwriter album into something exciting. I’ve been falling asleep to this album all week, but I mean that in a good way.

2. Phoenix – Alphabetical
“Everything Is Everything.” Guilty pleasure city. I definitely got my dance on to this the last time I was alone in my room. ‘Nuff said.

3. Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine
I’m not even sure what version I’m listening to at this point, but if this thing ever comes out, it’s the album of the year. JB tones it down just enough (no “Walking Through Walls” guitar solos) and Fiona writes the best songs of her career; mature, sophisticated, and heartbroken, but this time she’s soldiering on. “Not About Love” is the first track and my personal favorite. Of course it’s about love, but it and the whole album are really about Fiona: she’s all grown up. Alanis Morissette is on the phone with Glen Ballard as we speak, trying to feel less inadequate. “Glen, we’re still re-recording my one good album, right? People will still care? Glen? Hello?”

4. Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy/Tahiti 80 – Fosbury
If any more music leaks this year, I’m calling a plumber. Bad jokes aside, I’m seeing Okkervil River twice in the next two weeks (on their own tomorrow and opening for the Decemberists next Friday) and Down The River Of Golden Dreams was one of my favorites of 2003, so I was super-excited to grab this yesterday. Sonically, it’s very similar to their last record, but the band takes more chances and already it seems much more dynamic. Tahiti 80 are a band who would be huge in the States if they ever put out another album; Fosbury isn’t due here until September. The copy I’m listening to is the Japanese version, but it still makes Jamiroquai look like a cover band. It’s much less Queer Eye For The Coldplay Guy than Wallpaper For The Soul – instead, it’s a lot more rhythmic and full of energy and amazing falsettos. I hope this is the new dance-punk.

5. Radar Bros. – The Fallen Leaf Pages
I reviewed this for the paper this week (coming Thursday), so it’s been on high rotation. It’s a good album with a few really nice moments, but at best it’s a decent Eels/Grandaddy/Beulah album, and I already have great albums by those bands.

Next week will probably include Bloc Party and the Decemberists as I prep myself for concerts and Spring Break. Only time and the Rob Gordon Shuffle will tell.


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.