Thursday, September 06, 2007


I'm in Atlanta for work and I found myself with a bunch of time to kill today. I ended up in Criminal Records where I spent way too much money than I should have, considering I'm pretty poor at the moment. Unfortunately for my credit card, they had so many amazing records on vinyl that I knew I'd be kicking myself if I didn't pick up at least a few. Here's what I thought was worth going even further into debt for: some of my favorites that I added to my little record collection.

The Decemberists - The Tain/5 Songs

Formerly separate EPs, Jealous Butcher has reissued these two releases together as the A and B sides of a 180 gram vinyl record. The 5 Songs EP was the band's first ever recording, and my favorite song "My Mother Was a Chinese Trapeze Artist" is a carryover from singer Colin Meloy's days as a member of Tarkio. The Tain is a gorgeous five part song based on an old Irish epic poem. I think it's the best thing The Decemberists have ever recorded. Listening to it really makes me miss the delicate voice of Rachel Blumberg, who is no longer in the band. And I have to mention that the cover art is done by the wonderfully talented Carson Ellis.

Buy it from Jealous Butcher Records
The Decemberists' Website
Carson Ellis's Blog: Little Green House

Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans

Another reissue, this was originally released in 2004. I love Sufjan's voice and I think this record showcases it the best. It's before he got really ornamental with all of the grandiose strings and such, so his voice just sounds so clear and raw. I usually listen to "To Be Alone With You" on repeat because hearing it once is never enough for some reason.

Buy it from Sounds Familyre Records
Sufjan Stevens on MySpace

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

This is one of the records that our kids will discover someday. It's so close to perfect that I almost wish Jeff Mangum's whereabouts remains a mystery. I don't see how he could top Aeroplane. If you haven't heard this yet, I can't recommend it highly enough. I can't think of any other songwriter whose lyrics are visually descriptive in quite the same way. Listening Oh Comely is like watching a stop animation video of a vine growing mixed with stark images of a dirty trailer park.

Buy it from Merge Records

In general blog news: hopefully soon we'll have a place to host some MP3s and a new layout too. In the meantime, I have to figure out how to get these records into my suitcase somehow...

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