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Glasvegas
2008-10-29 12:32
by Will Carroll
Notes:
Scott Long is now blogging at NSFWsports.com.
Will Carroll can still be found at Baseball Prospectus.

I can't wait to do our annual Top Ten albums list this year. I could probably do twenty, where last year, I could barely do ten and had to stretch to find ten *great* albums. Even better, I think I've found more good music this year as the paradigm shifted somewhere along the way. I can't quite put my finger on it, but things like lala.com, iTunes' Genius function, and social networks have given us ways to find new music where radio has failed. With a couple albums left to drop that could squeeze their way in if they're not massive disappointments like the new Snow Patrol, really good albums like Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" are likely to be on the outside looking in.

I'm still in the early stages of listening to Glasvegas' eponymous debut, but I can't imagine in not being on the list. Yes, they're overhyped in Britain, but in the US, they're as likely to be Robbie Williams as they are Oasis. Listening to the album, from the glistening and heartbreaking opener to the end track, it's a giant bundle of influences, as if everything in their music collection spilled onto the vinyl. (Yes, this album just feels like vinyl.)

Right off the bat, there's an Oasis feel in their pop songs. There's also a retro, Phil Spector vibe to the ringing guitars and girl-group pop-candy vocals. There's an obvious Jesus and Mary Chain feel that some have called "Proclaimers with a delay pedal"; I'll be a bit kinder. There's echoes of anthemic early U2, influences of angst-driven early Clash, and then a whole section of Glaswegian narrative that you'll need a Wikipedia page and a translator to get inside.

James Allan's accented vocals are a love or hate proposition and the reverbed guitars you haven't heard since early My Morning Jacket or late Phil Spector are the same. And yes, the hype around the band is as big and bad as any since Take That. The thing is here, the influences and hype don't really matter when they get it right. When Allan soars into the hook of "Daddy's Gone", when the guitar kicks in on "It's My Own Cheating Heart ..", and when you find yourself singing along with "Go Square Go", all that doesn't matter. It's just simply a stunning debut that can't be ignored.

It's as likely to be noticed in the US as The Libertines, but in Friedman's flat world, who cares about borders? Great music is great music and in the niches that Facebook defines, merit trumps sales out on the long tail, right?

Comments
2008-10-29 13:34:12
1.   Eric Enders
Speaking of My Morning Jacket, their new record would be number one with a bullet on my list so far.

I haven't heard the whole Coldplay album, and am frankly not all that interested in hearing it, but the song "Viva la Vida" is one hell of a good single.

2008-10-29 19:28:02
2.   Will Carroll
Eric -- it's definitely in my top ten right now (MMJ). Agree on Coldplay. I like that they swung for the fences, but this was a "Ryan Howard" album -- there are some holes and some strikeouts.
2008-10-30 14:08:43
3.   Repoz
Will...

Glasvegas placed two songs ("Go Square Go" #3 and "Flowers and Football Tops" #21) on my dopey Indie/Undie Top 75 Songs 2007 list.

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/forums/viewthread/1134/

Good stuff...

2008-10-30 17:33:24
4.   overkill94
Just downloaded the album recently (well, most of it) and haven't given it much of a chance. All it takes is one glowing review from a person whose musical taste I respect for me to listen closer though.

I'm not sure how my top 10 would work out this year, but I'm pretty sure MMJ would be at the top as well. Fleet Foxes is way up there as well, along with Evangelicals, Vampire Weekend, and maybe The Walkmen (still needs a few listens).

2008-10-30 17:37:40
5.   overkill94
Oh, and harkening back to the last post featuring that rousing performance by Brian Wilson, my favorite impromptu performance would have to be Elvis Perkins doing his excellent anthem "While You Were Sleeping" while walking down the streets of Paris.

http://www.blogotheque.net/article.php3?id_article=3503

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