Monday, November 24, 2008


So the other day my pal DP totally throws me the unexpected, and not entirely welcome, critical curveball: "What's your pick for album of the year?". Album of the year? How many albums have I heard this year? Could I actually muster up a "Top 10" or even a Top 5? It doesn't take much to fall out of touch with what the kids are doing, just some proactive curmudeonly ignorance, and a general line-in-the-sand intolerance for anything new. Now that I can do really well, and have been for some time - with exceptions (see here, here and here).

I struggled to come up with an answer. Should I play it safe and give him the cool & self-promoting answer, the SIC ALPS' excellent "U.S. EZ" on Siltbreeze? Or the record I actually listened to the most? "By album of the year, what exactly do you mean? Do you really mean something from 2008?". Affirmative. "Do reissues count?". Negatory. "Well, if I told you that my favorite record this year was by a band I've never seen live, who apparently feature a tap dancer who keeps rhythm with her feet in place of a drummer, and who are probably the most overtly commercial indie-rock band I've ever liked in the entire 25+-year history of indie rock, would that still count as my favorite album of the year?". I was assured that it would. I took a deep breath, I gathered my courage, and I let the truth be revealed: "My favorite album of the year is called "O", and it is performed by an Omaha, Nebraska pop band called TILLY AND THE WALL. There, I said it".

The passage of weeks since my brave admission has done nothing to dull my enthusiasm for this CD called "O" by TILLY AND THE WALL. Nay, I totally love this album - even the songs that sound like THE CARS, even the opening ballad, even the ones with obvious tap dancing in lieu of drumming (which is to say: all of them). The band is at once polished, anarchic, loud, sweet, funny, strange and bouyant, and I'd call them a 21st century of the MAMAS & THE PAPAS gone totally day-glo, high-energy and new wave. The main singer channels the ghost of Michelle Phillips in her singing, and she's got a voice to die for. Every song is good-to-great, and I can't get my favorite ones ("Cacophony", "Jumbler", "Blood Flowers") out of my head, even when I impose a week-long moratorium on listening to this thing, just so I can hear other music for a change. I suspect that well over half my regular readers will totally hate it. I bet the ones that can tolerate it will come to know and to love as I have.

There you have it, punkers: album of the year: "O" by TILLY AND THE WALL, bringing the noise from Omaha to your PC.

Play TILLY AND THE WALL - "Cacophony"

Play TILLY AND THE WALL - "Jumbler"

Download TILLY AND THE WALL - "Cacophony"
Download TILLY AND THE WALL - "Jumbler"


tim hinely said...

hey jay,
i guess no surprise that i'm one of your regular readers who digs this band (you know i go for all that wimpy pop stuff) . actually i liked their previous record, BOTTOMS OF BARRELS, more than this latest one but i do dig O quite a bit. and the one time i saw them live they were a hoot!

Plotbox said...

am i the dp in question who apparently has caused you so much consternation. i don't even remember asking!


Unknown said...

Wow! I love this Tilly and the Wall! You have officially introduced me to a great band that is brand new to me! I can't wait to hear more! Thank you!

By the way, I totally understand your anxieties when sharing your love for Tilly. We all have embarrassing guilty pleasures. I dare people to give me shit when I say that I love The Pixies and Urge Overkill.

Anonymous said...

2008 has just about enough days left to check out NZ's Surf City, and their EP/MCD on Morr Records. Got a feeling it's a sure contender for the DT-endlist.