Quick Review (LP): Interpol by Interpol

Interpol
Interpol
Matador; 2010

My Rating: C

Best Tracks: “Summer Well”, “Lights”, “Barricade”

The thing is I’ve never really loved Interpol. Even their first album, generally considered one of the best debuts of the last decade, only managed to plant three tracks under my skin. They’ve always seemed way too cold and a little too pleased with themselves. That being said, I will admit that those three tracks showed a lot of promise, but at this point, Interpol is beyond becoming what they might have been. When it comes to urban indie rock noir, The National crept up on Interpol and overtook them long ago. The theme here is apparently “success,” and predictably they sound bored with it. Their sound has become tired as well. Track titles like “Always Malaise” don’t suggest the irony I assume they are intended to, and the production, though huge, sounds sterile. All in all, I think Interpol’s story will soon come to an end. When all is said and done though, I guess they’ll always have “NYC.”

Pitchfork review
Metacritic reviews

Quick Review (LP): High Violet by The National

high-violet The National
High Violet
4AD; 2010

My Rating: A

Best Tracks: “Terrible Love”, “Sorrow”, “Bloodbuzz Ghost”, “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks”

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” a wise man once said. And who is The National to argue with that? Coming off of Boxer, which made them one of indie’s undisputed heavyweights, the band apparently tried to craft something a bit more upbeat. They failed, and the result is this haunting and opaque beauty of a record. At first, it comes off like “Boxer, part 2”, but after a few listens you’ll start to pick up on singer Matt Berninger really stretching himself and the rest of the band changing things up ever so slightly. For all of the cold tones of their sound, The National have at root an Americana soul that imbues their music with a warmth and richness that most upstarts of the NYC scene can’t quite attain. For what it’s worth, I think The National have officially become what Interpol might have been with a little heat to balance out their sound: America’s own chroniclers of urban lonesome and paranoia.

The National’s website
Daytrotter downloads
”Terrible Love” video
Pitchfork review
Paste review
Metacritic reviews

Tracks of the Decade (so far)

1563_Pieter_Bruegel_the_elder_The_Tower_of_Babel-wl400There’s still more to come, but here’s a list of the Sweet Georgia Breezes’ Tracks of the Decade so far (in no particular order). What do you think of the list? What are your top 5 or 10 tracks of the decade?

Counting Crows – Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby
Wilco – I am trying to break your heart
The New Pornographers  – Myriad Harbour
M. Ward – Poison Cup
Kathleen Edwards – In State
Vampire Weekend – M79
Johnny Cash – The Man Comes Around
Built to Spill – The Weather
Neko Case – Star Witness
Belle and Sebastian – Funny Little Frog
Interpol – NYC
Wilco – Impossible Germany
Coldplay – Lost!
Ryan Adams – To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)
Fugazi – Cashout
Flaming Lips – Fight Test
Nathan – The Wind
Radiohead – Everything In Its Right Place
Rachel’s – Water from the Same Source
Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
Bruce Springsteen – My City of Ruins
The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin

Tracks of the Decade: “NYC” by Interpol

interpol_hattem_1“NYC”
by Interpol
from TURN ON THE BRIGHT LIGHTS (2002)

With New York City increasingly figuring as the all-encompassing and transcendent symbol of the modern world, it seems truly appropriate that the best song about the City of Man this decade was not Ryan Adams’ bouncy city-as-girl ode “New York, New York” but Interpol’s wounded hymn “NYC.” The Shelleyian aesthetic lumbers awkwardly forward in the swirling, echo-laden guitars and in Paul Banks’ paranoid croon, the atmosphere created serving to bring to life the nature of the city that never sleeps. Lyrically and melodically, it hints at the urban-lonesome work of Simon & Garfunkel songs like “The Boxer” and, appropriately, “The Only Living Boy in New York.” Banks sounds decisively lost in a world that is simultaneously spell-binding and terrifying. It’s as if Gershwin’s musical kaleidoscope has devolved into cold black and white hues. “New York cares” Banks howls. But for whom?