2009 Top 50 Albums

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Creating a Top 50 Albums list is never easy.  You have to battle with what you think the world believes, and what you truly believe in your heart, to be solid jams.  We have even more trouble because we have to three writers, all who have different ideas, and we have to make those ideas fit into a neat box.  Well, we got it done, and honestly, our criteria was based on two things: how great we thought the album was, artistically speaking, and how long we listened to it without getting bored.  That’s it. It’s fool proof; you might not like it, but it’s our list, so here it is… Read more

Why? – Eskimo Snow

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Rating: ★★½ · ·

Following their critically acclaimed third LP, Alopecia, Berkeley, California’s Why? return with Eskimo Snow, a new collection of hip hop infused indie rock.

The word “new” may be misleading because the tracks on Eskimo Snow were recorded during the same sessions as 2008’s Alopecia.  One might think that songs recorded in the same session would carry familiar ties between them, and sure there are similarities, most notably singer/MC Jonathan “Yoni” Wolf’s distinct voice, but, for the most part the bulk of the similarities end there.  I guess the clearest example would be explained like this: Eskimo Snow : Amnesiac :: Alopecia : Kid ARadiohead, on Kid A, was focused with a clear vision and while Alopecia isn’t a high concept album it shares the same focus.  Yoni Wolf spits self-deprecating, acid tongued rhymes that tell tales of loneliness and depravity.

On Eskimo Snow, like Radiohead on Amnesiac, Why? offer up a much looser collection of songs, and while these songs aren’t bad they also don’t make up a very cohesive release. Wolf mostly abandons the rhymes for traditionally sung vocals.  In an interview with Pitchfork, Wolf noted that his work on Eskimo Snow was “the least hip-hop out of anything I’ve ever been involved with”.

There are several tracks, such as ‘Against Me’, ‘These Hands’, and ‘The Blackest Purse’ that are reminiscent of the bands earlier work.  I would have much preferred a tight EP, rather than this meandering album.  I am looking forward to their next release with a truly new batch of songs.

Why? will be performing Sunday, November 8th at Fun Fun Fun Fest. They take the Orange Stage at 3:50 p.m.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/03-Against-Me-1.mp3]

Download: Why? – Against Me [MP3]