#9 on the 2012 Musical Bacon Calendar
Heaven by The Walkmen
A few years ago, a friend of mine described to me what we all should do when determining the best bands of all time. The criteria is simple: have they come out with four drop-dead amazing albums? If a band hasn’t come out with four amazing albums, then they can’t make the cut. If you think about it, it does a good job of narrowing the field. U2, the Talking Heads, R.E.M., Radiohead, and obviously the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin all qualify. (This is by no means a comprehensive list, so please forgive me for leaving off your favorite band.) Neutral Milk Hotel (makers of my favorite album of all time), Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, and Fleet Foxes are disqualified due to a lack of material. And then there’s a gray area of prolific bands with questionably “amazing” albums. How do the Mountain Goats rate? Built to Spill? The Decemberists? These are the questions that keep me up at night.
Now let’s talk about Heaven, the seventh studio album by The Walkmen. I love The Walkmen. They seem to flounder in relative obscurity, cranking out amazing album after amazing album. The last two albums, You & Me and Lisbon, are fucking great. And this new one, Heaven, is worming its way into the permanent playlist as well. Bows + Arrows, from 2004, is still one of my favorites, but I don’t think of it as “amazing.”
The Walkmen are so close to joining the short list. I often find myself wondering why so few people appear to have listened to this band. What about you? Heard of them? Listened to them? Why not? Do so. NOW. This is modern day rock & roll at its finest.
Lots of quiet moments pepper the album Heaven, much like you’d want the real Heaven to sound like. Check out this other video, for “The Love You Love,” also from the new album, for a prime example of the awesome lows.
Guitar-driven, straightforward, beautiful. It really doesn’t get this consistently great in modern-day rock & roll.
10. State Hospital EP by Frightened Rabbit
11. A Thing Called Divine Fits by Divine Fits
12. Some Nights by fun.
13. Tramp by Sharon van Etten
14. Fear Fun by Father John Misty
15. Love This Giant by David Byrne and St. Vincent
16. To The Treetops! by Team Me
17. The Master: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood
18. There’s No Leaving Now by The Tallest Man On Earth
19. Transcendental Youth by The Mountain Goats
20. A Church That Fits Our Needs by Lost In The Trees
21. Hospitality by Hospitality
22. Free Dimensional by Diamond Rings
23. History Speaks by Deep Sea Diver
24. A Different Ship by Here We Go Magic
25. Negotiations by the Helio Sequence
26. Moms by Menomena
27. The Sound of the Life of the Mind by Ben Folds Five
28. Shields by Grizzly Bear
29. Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun by The Wooden Sky
30. Fragrant World by Yeasayer
31. Reign of Terror by Sleigh Bells