35 Albums in 35 Years: 2004

In an ongoing attempt to bleed my opinions all over your computer screen, I’m selecting one album from every year that I’ve been alive that has some sort of significance to me…and then writing about it. Welcome back to 35 Albums in 35 Years.

 

goteam2004: The Go! Team’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike

An eclectic assortment of random, scratchy, and often uncleared samples, a warm and lo-fi recording aesthetic, harmonicas, electric guitars, keyboards, tinny beats, and the bouncing, energetic, cheerleader vocals from a woman calling herself MC Ninja…there really was no way that I wasn’t going to love The Go! Team and their infectious 2004 debut Thunder, Lightning, Strike. Each track feels like an ode to life, a jumping, thumping, blaring, clapping mix of old school hip-hop beats, distorted guitar tones, and 1970’s TV commercial library music samples, a hum of familiarity that begs to be turned up to ten. In 2004, our borrowing, sampling, remix culture was well in motion, a cut and paste art form for the masses. With their indistinguishable mix of samples and live instruments, The Go! Team gave us a perfect example of what that culture should strive to produce…something that borrows from and nods to the past, but sounds like nothing else out there.

And man was it fun. The fact that this album wasn’t jamming at more parties or blaring from more car windows astounds me.

Recorded in his parents’ kitchen, Thunder, Lightning, Strike was the brainchild of Brighton resident Ian Parton, the album’s lo-fi rawness undoubtedly a result of the limited recording capabilities he was working with. Originally a solo project, a proper live band was not assembled until Parton and The Go! Team were asked to play the Accelerator Festival in Sweden. It all came together from there. And the live show is just as fun, bouncy, and infectious as the album.

“Panther Dash” kicks the record off, a swirl of rumbling drums, driving guitar licks, and a wistful harmonica melody that then collapses into the bizarro world of multiple samples that is “Ladyflash.” There are just so many, it’s fun to pick them out when you recognize them. The whole album is that way. The first one I noticed on “Ladyflash” was a clip of “Down from Dover” performed by Nancy and Lee. The opening drums on “The Power Is On” is taken from the song “Burning Bridges” by Lalo Schifrin and The Mike Curb Congregation from the Kelly’s Heroes soundtrack. “Junior Kickstart” samples “Aquarius” from Hair. “Everyone’s a VIP to Someone” has sections from Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin.” It just goes on and on, seconds of recognition here and there to spark your memory, cue the nostalgia, and put a smile on your face, all while keeping that butt moving.

And isn’t that really what it’s all about anyway?

You now have a soundtrack for your next party, a score for your next road trip, a pulsing happy beat to start your day with. If you can’t enjoy The Go! Team, then I don’t even know you anymore.

- Favorite song: “Everyone’s a VIP to Someone”
– Runner up: “Ladyflash”

Some other albums I almost wrote about instead: Arcade Fire’s Funeral; Madvillain’s Madvillainy; The Paper Chase’s God Bless Your Black Heart; Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs; Death from Above 1979’s You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine; Liars’ They Were Wrong, So We Drowned; Dungen’s Ta Det Lugnt; 90 Day Men’s Panda Park; Mastodon’s Leviathan; The Polyphonic Spree’s Together We’re Heavy.

 

Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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