Tag Archives: music

People say they like Best of Lists…2012 version

16 Dec

PJ Harvey-Let England Shake
This is the first PJ album that did not make me wish she would return to the power-trio Rid of Me, angry Ms. Harvey I love so. Adventurous sampling and instrumentation, hypnotic songs, and thematic lyrics made it the album of the year.

Kurt Vile-Smoke Ring For My Halo
Vile is the new Tom Petty according to some, but in reality he’s just continuing the absurd roll he started with Constant Hitmaker. There’s just so many great lazy slurred Americana songs on this album, that it’s almost a greatest hits collection.

Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi-Rome
Ennio Morricone meets Air meets the earnestness of Norah Jones. Oh and it’s also Danger Mouse soundtracking an imaginary 70s Italo film, which makes for a great listening experience.

Jessica Lea Mayfield-Tell Me
Very young, absurdly talented, and came out with an album that reminded me of an electro-sexual version of Lucinda Williams.

The Go Team-Rolling Blackouts
There are few albums I listened to more than this oddly enough. The saccharine explosion, scrappy raps and punchy horns are every thing you expect from this band, the long-lasting appeal of the songs are still a surprise though.

Yes you like Galaxie 500, yes you like Yuck. Like the album, a couple of super-memorable songs mixed with some perfectly ok, that sounded far better live, which helped me understand the greatness far more.

Cloud Nothings-Cloud Nothings
It was consistent, indie pop goodness, which made for an album that didn’t have a single song I didn’t like on it. And new Albini-esque single No Future/No Past only enhances its power.(Yes this song is on the next album, but still I’m rating and I’m allowing it to boost the score.)

Regina-Soita Mulle
I don’t know Finnish, but the wistfulness and smoothness of this album just works so well. A welcome surprise.

Girls-Father, Son, Holy Ghost
I didn’t like this when I first heard it, but once I realized that the band isn’t so shoegaze and more from The La’s school of jangle pop I got it. It’s a bit top heavy, but also has one of the best first sides in a long time.

Kanye West and Jay Z-Watch The Throne
Finally a hip hop album that you can roll out to! Enough shitty rappers, backpackers, and skaters/rappers. I want something that embodies the arena-rock era of hip-hop in the same way Toys in The Attic by Aerosmith does. And like Eli they deed it.

Wild Flag-Wild Flag
Carrie Brownstein is the lead on everything(no one stops her rock moves, seriously), the players are all pros, and it’s a great big 70’s rock out. That’s more than enough to get on this list. Something Came Over Me, could be my favorite song of the year as well.(It’s top 5 at least)

Biosphere- N-Plants
Strange coincidence and context aside(the album is about Japanese nuclear plants pre earthquakes), this was a really great ambient album in a landscape where those albums don’t come along that often. Fits beautifully with great IDM and ambient records of the past, so it must be good.

Those Darlins-Screws Get Loose
I just like how they sound like The Runaways sloppier more drugged Southern cousins. This album continued the great tongue in cheek madness of the last album, just with more rock and less country which always=win.

Laura Marling- A Creature I Don’t Know
She is a folk star, on her way to being a folk icon. Why don’t you have this album? Oh because you’re American, and we don’t respect her like we should. At least this album sounds like she’s having some fun finally.


Cover Version: Take Your Head Off My Shoulder by Blake Babies

25 Oct

Juliana Hatfield is one of the most star-crossed singers of modern times. Seriously, she should’ve been the biggest star in the world, and I’m far from the only one that said that. Even in her heyday, people exalted her genius on magazine covers and critical acclaim. And then between the universe conspiring against her and her general own fragile sensibilities something would happen to just stop all of her momentum. I mean “My Sister,” “Universal Heartbeat,” “Spin the Bottle”, all stand as classics of the era. There was an awkward cuteness and plucky attitude that worked so well on record that an array of pretenders (Veruca Salt) totally xeroxed each step and attempted to make it their own to far more acclaim.

But then I discovered something…

Juliana Hatfield wrote a lot of great songs before that…on a cluster of albums that I didn’t really know about until a few years ago. I mean sure I had heard she was in some band called Blake Babies, but how was I to know they had actually been a fairly prolific recording and touring band? Well I suppose it’s my job to know these things…but part of the greatness of being really into music is discovering things you don’t know about. Even things you should…

How was I to know that with a bit of backup in the form of jagged yet poppy guitarist John Stohm and damage dealer and drummer Freda Love, that Juliana Hatfield seriously punched with the great indie rock bands of the day, and made every one count. In fact she almost sounds strong with her girlish pitchy voice that’s trying to rise up and free her soul of the entire daily shit that brings her all this emotional baggage. Of course it’s a battle she’ll lose, like anyone that lives and dies by their sensitivity, but man does it make for some great songs.

I could go on and on about how the song “Out There” is one the most fantastic hit/non-hits of the 80s.There’s no reason that song shouldn’t slot in on classic radio between “Here’s Where The Story Ends” by The Sundays and “There She Goes” by The La’s. The jangly opening chords, the produced drums that appear on like every record of the era, it all just sounds like pop greatness. And then there are those depressing harmonies that belie the cheeriness of the song itself. Only Juliana Hatfield could create an anthemic moment out of a self-exaltation like “I know it’s stupiiiiid” and make it sound like the kind of truth you’ll believe and sing, but never actually follow.

This resignation stands in total contrast with the earlier Blake Babies track “Take Your Head Off My Shoulder.” Again Juliana and co tell us just how much she both loves and is fed up with love. But, in this case the whole starts with a simple old-school 50’s rock and roll intro as opposed to the Byrds-ish chime used so effectively in “Out There.” Freda Love seems shot out of a cannon, with a quick simple rhythm that just lets Juliana go off. She just vents in these brilliant rhymes, all hyped up almost out of breath until the chorus…

That chorus, which of course is a take off of “Put Your Head On My Shoulder” by Paul Anka. (Even though when Blake Babies do it, it kind of sounds like a warped version of the Leif Garrett cover) It’s a revelation. Seriously, what is potentially less punk than Paul fucking Anka? Second it’s the kind of feminist irreverence that the impending Riot Girl movement would try to refine into rock and roll defiance, and here’s this pitchy singer from Boston being lovelorn but actually sticking up for herself. None of the new wave girls stood up for themselves, not even Aimee Mann. And all the punks and post-punks never really admitted to being in love. They might allude to it, but they always wanted to show they were as tough as the guys.

“ Take your head off my shooooulder. I’m asking you to. I’m tired of all your charm. I’m tired of waiting on you.”

But, Juliana Hatfield loves. I mean really loves. And in one of the best sub 2-minute songs ever, right there with “Three Girl Rhumba” by Wire and “Beverly Hills” by The Circle Jerks, she wants you to know just how much she loves and that because she loves, she will not be taking shit anymore. Rarely have truer words of self affirmation been spoken.

Yes backlogged news

21 Oct

Mazzy Star is back!!! Oh wait actually they never technically broke up according to Hope Sandoval. With the recent dream pop revival of the past few years and a successful solo tour by Sandoval herself, now might just the time for a return. However if they tour, I’m expecting them to play moments from all three of the previous albums.(ok an all Among My Swan show would be the top.)

This should be the big news of the week, but of course everything got trumped by The Stone Roses “return.” Now I quote this, because I’m still not sure Squire and Brown can make it 6 mos without getting into another fight again. I’m also not sure Ian can sing all the old songs…However, I want it all to work. Every person in England wants it to work. And a selected brilliant group of American tastemakers want it to work. If you haven’t heard the first album, drop what you are doing and do it now. So great news.

CSS-La Liberacion

21 Oct

CSS second album took all the great cleverness of album one and turned it into a badly wrtiten moody late 80s college rock mess.

And yet album number three, La Liberacion also feels sloppy…but sloppy in the good way. In fact the title track is one of my favorite singles, because it sounds like Menudo makes a punk record. Whereas the other tracks kind of sound like Menudo makes a new wave album.

(Yes I know Menudo actually made a new wave record,  which is noteworthy because it contains “Hold Me,” a bonkersly awesome underrated single of the period.)

Anyway, the album is ok, containing such platitudes as “I Love You. I Love You Too.” Much of it falls in the perfectly ok but forgetable category which places it in stark contrast with the title track and Lovefoxx’s recent turn with Kavinsky on the Drive Soundtrack.

So the new Justice album…

21 Oct

Audio Video Disco seems to take an array of unhip influences such as AC-DC, The Alan Parsons Project, Yngwie Malmsteen and attempts to fuck them into Daft Punk records. Surprisingly the album works because it forgets the rules of Moroder and turns their french disco into something that could easily be soundtracking Tron and the denouement performance in Revenge of The Nerds.

But, seriously it’s kind of a good album, I found myself actually enjoying the experience, there’s some earnestness within all that grandiose cheese and quite frankly any band that tries to make their synths sound different deserves respect in this Foster the People(yes they really are the Jesus Jones of modern times) laden dancefloor era.

For a band that could’ve written themselves into irrelevant…I find myself willing to vouch for Justice’s ability to bring the good times. Will it just napalm the dance floor? Probably not. That may be exactly why I like it…But, then again like the creators of this album I also have an array of Yngwie and Alan Parsons on my iTunes.

Quick remastered blog review.

16 Oct

Foster The People are just the Jesus Jones of dance rock/post-post punk/disco punk/whatever discographers decide to call the last decade of bass heavy rockish bands.

Ok They Got This Wrong:The Worst 90’s song is

7 Sep


I’m sorry Rolling Stone readers you got it wrong.(of course you are Rolling Stone readers in 2011 so I am not surprised) Barbie Girl by Aqua is a bad song, but at least people have some semi fond memories of it. And at least the chick singer was hot. And there is no possible way that it is worse than this song which no one ever requests, sings at karaoke, or potentially enjoys with fondness as it passes across the airways at a shitty Starbucks.

Seriously, you and I both know there is nothing more neutered or absurdly shit as the Spin Doctors. Two Princes is the most Godawful of the lot…watch it at your own risk.

Official Congrats To PJ Harvey On The Mercury Prize

7 Sep

I’d say the Mercury Prize gets maybe one out of three right and even then if you look at their shortlist, they tend to choose the year’s better British records pretty well.

However, score one for the music fans today. Now I’m not saying Adele isn’t a great singer, because if you go back to many rants from 2007/2008, you will recall me saying how great 19 was as an album.

Many of you will have also heard that I kind of hate 21, her new album. First off, I hate albums whose whole tonal message is “Giiiiiirl, my man is so bad to me and yet I looooove him!” (This message is also known as the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack  and every country album by a female artist not named Loretta Lynn.) Here’s a thought, how bout not dating a guy who’s such an asshole. It worked for Tina Turner and she=legend!

My two main problems with the 21 album are in fact that

1)21 has become that album that chicks who know nothing about music rep as an album that PROVES they have good taste in music…

2) There is no Mark Ronson production work…which basically leaves a super talented singer to sing behind spare beats that would make Florence and The Machine blush.(and while I’ve supported Florence for years, she will never be a naturally talented as Adele. In fact after her first single I compared her to our Mercury Prize winner, who we’ll get back to later.) Mark Ronson made the late Winehouse sound even greater, Duffy sound half credible, and Nikka Costa a potential world beater with his funky-nouveau 60’s influenced productions full of sass and brass. If you don’t believe me, you can watch the brilliant Cold Shoulder video…which channels a cool Shirley Bassey vibe instead of being all emo and underproduced.(you can google this because this post really isn’t about her)

Now lets get to the WINNER, who is also  the first two-time winner of the Mercury Prize which is none other than PJ Harvey. For 20 years she’s stomped, rocked, and taken chances all over the musical landscape culminating in this fantastic album. Let England Shake really is the best album of the year for scope, risk, memorable songs, and playing to the artist’s strength. Maybe it’s time for all those PJ haters and those that left the bandwagon post Songs of The City to reappraise what’s really going on in modern times! There’s no doubt that this album ranks among her finest achievements and is THOROUGHLY deserving of the Mercury this year!(It is also worth checking out the video version of the album which is in fact on youtube, it’s a cool achievement.)

PJ Harvey-Written On The Forehead

PJ Harvey-The Words That Maketh Murder

The Cheerfully Wistful Friday Night Videos

4 Sep

Title says it all.

Los Campesinos-International Tweecore Underground

Sarah Records never meant anything to me! may be one of my favorite tongue in cheek kiss offs ever…Los Camps certainly are still getting it done, even though this is an old one.

The Cardigans-Sick and Tired

How can Spotify not have Life btw?  They need to get on that because rarely has a missing album on there upset me more! Anyway this is when they were all young and pretty and still doing depressing songs with an absurd amount of sunnyness.(Not to mention the hilarity of doing a lounge version of Black Sabbath…)

Marden Hill-Curtain

I think my pal Gosey Wales will appreciate this most, since he might be one of like 5 people in America that actually owned the El Records compilation. This may be the only song Marden Hill did that was good, but hey one is better than none.


Ok secretly Sarah Records meant a lot to me… One of the best choruses of the 90s…”I’m not sure what’s that’s for, but I’ll use it. This my art now, falling apart now, for looooooooove.”

On Random Play: Bass Drum Of Death-GB City

1 Sep

Simple effective rock and roll. Wheel not reinvented though. No synthesizers appearing=victory and points in its favor. I like the band, it’s a perfect compliment to your already ballooning collection of Japandroid and Wavves albums. I could prattle on, but I’m doin this Christgau style. If you are seriously tired of the current synth-pop badness, you should get it.

Best Track:Heartbreak Kid