Starting what is sure to be a phenomenal year for everything Animal Collective related, Person Pitch by AC drummer Panda Bear is the first essential album of 2007. His previous solo LP, Young Prayer -all acoustic strumming and moaning, all tracks untitled- bears little resemblence to this: a stunning cacophony of reverb-soaked Beach Boys harmonies that just melt into your conscious, impossibly upbeat and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The standout track, though hard to choose, is Bros, a twelve minute waterfall of beautiful noise that sucks you in until you're singing along to words you can barely understand amid the crashing guitars and loops. Completely unique.
OK, first off, ignore the other dude's review. If you have an unslakeable desire for clever recontextualisation, look elsewhere. This album is a banger from start to finish, not something you listen to with a glass of cotes du rhone. It's an unbeatable party mix c/o non-DJ Gregg Gillis, over a hundred killer samples sewn together in under an hour, the perfect mix for todays ADD afflicted youth. Mashups aren't usually a lasting source of enjoyment, but Night Ripper has a rythmn and flow that makes it really feel like a proper album despite the frankenstein reality of its creation. It won't last forever, but you'll be able to wear out a copy before mashups aren't cool anymore.
If you were to scan over Craig Finn's lyrics detailing the youth of America's massive nights of sex, drugs, and getting 'messed up on the music', you might think Boys and Girls in America, The Hold Steady's third album in as many years, is a cautionary tale. Listen to the album, though, and you'll find the tales of drunken kids transformed by Tad Kubler's music into an air-punching celebration of what it is to be young and stupid.
This is an incredible example of words and music merging so perfectly together, colliding, contrasting, expanding and complimenting each other like on no other rock album I've heard in many a year. Whatever reservations you may have about Finn's nasal… Read more