It’s overdone, it’s cliché, and by the time December is over everyone is sick of reading them, but I confess, I love them. I’m talking about year-end best-of lists. Really, does anybody care anymore what a bunch of music writers think are the best records of the year? Is it important? Not really, I think we all just like to see who’s list best fits with our own. I’ve read a lot of these lists over the years and while I never really match up perfectly with any one writer or publication, I find that Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune is consistently sensible in his tastes. Check him out here, or check out the podcasts from Sound Opinions, his radio show with Sun Times writer Jim DeRogatis.
Anyway, I’m kicking off my own look back at 2009 with my nomination for best project of the year: Beck’s Record Club
Beck’s fantastic new website describes the project:
“Record Club is an informal meeting of various musicians to record an album in a day. The album chosen to be reinterpreted is used as a framework. Nothing is rehearsed or arranged ahead of time. A track is put up here once a week. The songs are rough renditions, often first takes that document what happened over the course of a day as opposed to a polished rendering. There is no intention to ‘add to’ the original work or attempt to recreate the power of the original recording. Only to play music and document what happens.”
So far the project includes folks like Wilco, Nigel Godrich, Devendra Banhart, Leslie Feist, Jamie Lidell, MGMT, and Joey Waronker. Beck posts the recordings track by track over a period of time. To date, Beck and friends have covered The Velvet Underground and Nico and Songs of Leonard Cohen in their entirety. Currently. the first four tracks of Skip Spence’s Oar album are posted. For the record, Diana is amazing. Check out this stuff for yourself and see what you think. I love covers in general, but to have talented groups of musician reinterpret an entire album makes for interesting listening.