our hopes become a starting pistol
My favorite (and most listened-to) album of 2003 was Electric Version, the sophomore LP from Canadian supergroup the New Pornographers. Not suprisingly, I was pretty excited for this year's solo debut from frontman (Carl) A.C. Newman, the 34 minute indie-pop gem The Slow Wonder. Here's what Pitchfork had to say (best new music, natch) back in June:
Newman worked through his more angular pop leanings in the mid-1990s with Sub Pop indie rockers Zumpano and is now the primary songwriter in The New Pornographers. To place The Slow Wonder's aesthetics in terms that The New Pornographers fans will understand, these 11 tracks blend Mass Romantic's clipped frenetics, Electric Version's spacious tenderness, and the agile twists and turns of Zumpano, effortlessly humbling all three. On The Slow Wonder, the hooks crack apart and multiply, accruing additional catchiness the way the pumped muscles of a spinach-stuffed Popeye give birth to crops of testosterone-filled goose bumps.
I was able to catch Newman & his new band play the Triple Rock upon my return from NYC back in August with Jim B from How Was The Show & good times were had. They opened with this song, which may be my favorite from The Slow Wonder (Jim emphatically thinks "The Town Halo" is the disc's best song). It's Carl Newman, the master or power pop, so of course it's catchy as hell, but it may be one short, simple, pointless lyric that really does it for me: "Do-re-mi innocent, AAAHHH!!!" I can't help myself.
"On The Table" is the third track on The Slow Wonder, and Matador Records is kind enough to also be hosting mp3's of its first two:
MP3 A.C. Newman - "Miracle Drug"
MP3 A.C. Newman - "Drink To Me Babe, Then"
I found the following list over on A.C. Newman's Matador page & decided to make it a little more interactive (aka clickable):
10/05/04 — Carl's October favorites
1) Arcade Fire - Funeral. So good.
2) The WB. They have been throwing thousands and thousands of dollars at me in the past few weeks. Best station ever.
3) Classic Pineapple and Coconut Juice from Voila Juice in Emeryville, CA. I can only find it at Mollie Stones on California St. here in SF. I couldn't feel that 6.0 quake near Paso Robles. I'm a little disappointed.
4) Stroopies. They're this Dutch syrup waffle trashy delicacy. They only have them at Andronicos.
5) Getting recipes online. It seems so obvious now.
6) The Croque Monsieur at Zazie on Cole St. & the gingerbread pancakes too.
7) Frog Eyes - The Folded Palm
8) Neil Hamburger live at the Hemlock Tavern.
9) Almost anything at Mama's on Washington Square in North Beach, but be prepared for some lines at this popular SF breakfast institution.
10) The Zagat restaurant guide, although they want a ridiculous $8 for the Zagat restaurant map. It's a pamphlet. Pamphlets are free.
11) "Butterflies Are Free" by The Free Design.
12) Sealab 2021. It's actually really funny. Laugh out loud funny.
13) Freaks & Geeks DVD box set.
It's Carl Newman's handy little guide to San Francisco, CA. Use it wisely.
Track 01: The Arcade Fire - "Wake Up"
Track 02: Frou Frou - "Let Go"
Track 03: The Walkmen - "The Rat"
Track 04: Interpol - "C'mere"
Track 05: Franz Ferdinand - "Jacqueline"
Track 06: The Killers - "Somebody Told Me"
Track 07: Junior Boys - "Bellona"
Track 08: Kings of Convenience - "I'd Rather Dance With You"
Track 09: The Go! Team - "Bottle Rocket"
Track 10: Belle & Sebastian - "Your Cover's Blown"
Track 11: TV on the Radio - "The Wrong Way"
Track 12: Metric - "Succexy"
Track 13: The Fiery Furnaces - "Tropical Iceland" (single version)
Track 14: Apostle of Hustle - "Energy of Death"
Track 15: The Mountain Goats - "Palmcorder Yajna"