Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shoeshine Boys are the Intellectuals of The Subordinate Masses


"Windows" - Rocco Deluca.  This may be Mr. Deluca's entry fee into how the Elliot Smith Veneration Society. A pretty piece with an understated lo-fi slide about some magical realm where you can float around like a ghost looking at everything.  Either that or the windows are his girlfriend's eyes.

"No Sleep" - DZ Deathrays.  Every cool band has a "No Sleep" song or have it in an album title.  Motorhead, Beastie Boys, Stiff Little Fingers, Wiz Kahlifa and all the covers thereof.  And now, may we hear a round of applause for 2012's "No Sleep" song.  This one features a slightly detuning guitar as the hook (or at least its my hook, your results may y'know vary).  There's a funny low-rent video to go along with it.  Comes off a fine similarly titled EP.

"Boomerang" - Miniature Tigers.  This comes off M. Tigers noteworthy new album, MIA PHARAOH.  I've already spoken of the fine attributes of "Female Doctor."  This is a pop  mixture of elements from every of the last five decades - Beatlesque harmonies, 70's electric drums, 80's Brit-pop psyche, some 90's electronics and 00's Afro-pop bass and rhythm guitar line.  It's a mixture that goes down real smooth and all the burps taste like cherry.

"Dead Oaks" - Now, Now.  A short building throbber about a long trip to see someone.  It wastes little to get there.

Spoek Mathambo

"Let Them Talk" ft. Yolanda - Spoek Mathambo.  Wow, what a great song from this S. African Sub-Pop artist.  Mixes rap with electro and grime.   A feast for the ears, play loud and directly into your aural cavity.

"Ice Wharf" - Work Drugs.  Apparently recorded on a beach on the Cayman Islands, it certainly captures the laid-back beach feel even if the song is about a "summer of trouble" back in London.  Crickets and a second voice provide the only accompaniment besides the guitar.  Makes me want to quit my job, cash in my savings and head down there.

"Oblivion" - Grimes.  It's hard not to like what the Canadian has laid down on this track and one or two others from her new long player.  Maybe I'll even grow to like the other cuts as I expect its going to keep on resurfacing.  Call it laptop-waif.

"Leonard" - Sharon Van Etten.  Ms. Van E slows it down a bit in this song, puts it into a country bluesy 6/8 about some guy in some waypoint on her journey for whom she appears to hold a mysterious fascination.

Ting Tings

"Guggenheim - Got It Right Mix"   - The Ting Tings.   Explosive remix of one of the better songs on their sophomore record.  Starts off with a Lou Reed style narrative about some guy and the girl he cheated on with.  As a result, as explained in the chorus, the wronged woman first considers revenge but then realizes it was just as much her fault and instead of pining about a failed affair, she's going to aim higher and get into a venerated art museum.  Or something like that.

"Holding Teeth" - Princeton.  Another cut from a sophomore album.  Orchestral rock(?) - mallet instruments, strings, lite percussion and that Earlimart style vocals are put to fine use.

"Fatherland" - Mr. Dream.  Crazy stupid and as dumb as great garage anthem rock can get.

"Break My Spine" - Backwords.  Folky piece about what's like to be the subordinate in a relationship.  "I love it when you break my spine."

All links go to Spotify.  All photos link back to original owners and are compliant with their license.

Eventually most of these songs will get into the often updated "Top Songs of 2012" playlist

Thursday, March 22, 2012

That is EXACTLY why I've put together this eulogy

Sat 2

"Andrew in Drag" - The Magnetic Fields.  If this is the state of homophobia in 2012, we have less to fear than the vast multi-wing conspiracy would like us to fear.  Disregarding the whimsy and the ability to find a hundred words that rhyme with "drag" (except for that f-word), the hetero acceptance of his love for another hetero is probably only admitted in his subconcious but only 30 years ago, this would be cause for self-castration or at least a Movie of the Week.

"In The Yard" - Bowerbirds.  While much of the album put me to sleep, I think this has one of the prettiest choruses released this year.

"Apple Pie" - Nelson Can.  Absurdist rock at its finest.  Plus there's whistling and it's not a pretentious as Andrew Bird.

"KILL KILL KILL" by Vacant Fever Limited Edition 7" EP (500)

"Kill Kill Kill" - Vacant Fever.  Drugged out wheezer that would go well on your next mix tape built around Rob Zombie's gore fetish.

"The Shakedown" - Yellow Ostrich.  Near perfect proggy floor shaker that suggests this band might have more populist aspirations.

"Brave Women" - Baby Eagle and the Proud Mothers.  A more shambling, quiet version of Mountain Goat's confessional testimonial rock.  Also, less pompous than MG's last three albums.

"Phone Home From The Edge" - Dinowalrus.  If I could do somersaults in my car while driving, this song would be responsible for me doing that and losing control of my car and causing a 28 car pile-up, the bastards.

"HEART" - Oberhofer.  While I couldn't stand to look at them too long while they were on Jay or David a few nights ago, this is a state-of-the-art indie pop concoction that deserves some listens.

Miniature Tigers

"Female Doctor" - Miniature Tigers.  Carole King Fender-Rhodes piano creates both the groove and the hook to this angst funk ode to someone's girlfriend and medicator.

"Skin Warming Skin" - Laura Gibson. Another gem from Ms. Gibson's album.  What?  Are we up to three cuts featured here so far.  This one is even slower and mellower than the last two if that's possible.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pro-Bullies, Unite

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These are the tunes that have been schlocking my werld.  Dig!

"Into Giants" - Patrick Wilson - Never heard of this guy until now but he creates a piece of chamber pop here that rivals few.  I'm kind of reminded about what first drew me to Shearwater's early stuff and there's a bit of Earlimart here.  So, very pleasing to the ears.  It's a teaser for an upcoming album which I'm definitely going to be looking out for.

Regina Spektor

"All The Rowboats" - Regina Spektor.  I've always been somewhat standoffish on the cutesy pie stuff coming from Ms. S but this might cause me to reallocate my black balls into someone elses bag.  They say she has "discovered" drums and indeed with the exception of the wierd  electronic sample that opens and closes the track, this has a great drum chart but I also like the classical piano and strings break (around 1:20) here as well.

"Jesus Is My Girlfriend" - Jesus Is My Girlfriend.  A chick blues punk-roots thing.  On a scale from one to one hundred this has a full out 95 sneer score.  Singer has a great cigarette voice, not too much of a croak but just there under the mix.  So, is Jesus a trannie friend, a strangely named girl or just random blashpemy?  Can Jesus be a girl much less a girlfriend?  Comes off their 2012 full length.

"Under Control" - Good Shoes.  I really want to hate this pop-punk band but the tunes are too damn good even if they shamelessly steal left and right.  The last time I poached from this LP, the targets were the Strokes - here the victims are Franz Ferdinand, which is good since that band has not put out anything of worth since 2005 anyway.

Y La Bamba!

"Squawk" - Y La Bamba.  Kind of an oddball song for the rest of this posting but a fine harmonic folky singing feat  and the dig the Latin percussion that kicks in the second verse.

"Lightshow" - Plants and Animals.  Kind of a quintessential Canuck indie rock anthem here.  yeah, it's been out forever but now you can listen to the rest of the album (assuming you didn't download the leak, you sneaky monkey).  Since its now an official release, it should get some sort of nomination for the cool songs of the year list.  Great bashy jamming for a trio is heard between verses.  Good full sound overall for a trio.

Teen Dreamz" - Po Po.  Haven't heard a good industrial track in awhile but this caught my ear during a recent listening jag.  It's actually a two-part song - a slower introduction complete with sirens, big machine things  slowly pounding and then that segues into a saddened electronic atmosphere, fleeting reverbed out disturbed vocals flying through, synths playing the role of sirens and anchored by lo-fi drums and percussion.

"Nightmare Voodoo" - Royal Baths.  About the closest comparison I can come up with is the low blues shuffle championed by Grateful Dead in the Pig Pen era.  A sort of B horror movie set to music.

"Time Time Time" - Evander Owens.  Some mid-tempo laptop chill that seemed a cut above the rest thanks to the detached phlegmatic vocals.  Worth checking out even my description doesn't really make a case for it.

"Replicate" - Disappears - Steve Shelley's new band picks up where Sonic Youth left off more so than any other the other Yute's solo projects.  Although that's not entirely correct as this isn't a "solo project" but more like Steve adding to a band that's getting onto its feet (two albums prior to this release), just like he did so many years ago.  And the Philip K. Dick references are back but the guitar playing is almost conventional with leads that make for groovy hooks.

"Be Brave Go On" - Big Sir.  This album keeps on spitting up gems from its multi-colored chill pop heart.  This has a counter-intuitive rhythm section line that provides the repeatable groove and is a bit of a hook in itself - like the Spektor track, this has a fantastic unconventional break at 2:16 which sounds almost like a church hymnal.  If more tracks keep emerging from this album it might need consideration in the records of the year category.

"The Way That You Are" - PT Walkley.  Like Watson and Spektor above, here's another singer-songwriter pop masterpiece.  Very Beatlesque and yeah that's not a word.  It appears to be a teaser from an upcoming record.

First Aid Kit live

"I Found A Way" - First Aid Kit.  Not as lovely as "The Lion Roars" but with a decent interval, this comes up fresh and worth jumping into the heavy rotation.  Like their hero, Emmy Lou Harris, this puts their dulcet vocals into a more country setting but keeps the minor key folk element.

"Lovely Bones" - hollAnd.  Like so much in my playlists, I hear something and gets thrown into the playlist and I either grow to hate it or love it.  There's something about the pulsing beat and the chorus that reminds me of a band from the 80's (Meat Puppets?) but I can't put my finger on who or what song it is.  Drives me crazy but no reason to flick this off the playlist.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oh, my death car

In my death car

More excursion into recently released music...

"Generals" - The Mynabirds - Garage punk anthem for a protest.

"For Awhile" - Mansions on the Moon - This is a chillout dream-pop style single that has a degree of stylization and warmth to distinguish it from the pack.

The Kills @ The Granada Theater in Dallas

"Pale Blue Eyes" - The Kills - This band makes it look so easy and perhaps that's the best description of a band on top of its game.  Mossheart (vocals) and Jamie Hince (slide-ish guitar) create a perfectly balanced conversation in this sort of alt-country blues ballad (let's say Lucinda Williams could cover it easily).  This comes from the Last Goodbye EP.

"Jesus Christ" - My Best Fiend - A country spiritual with indie attitude.

"Matchstick" - Amercan Royalty - Follows a construct of a jam-band song but without too much noodling and a wierd processed percussive guitar.

Blaudzun vs Reyn @Hoorn

"Heavy Flowers" - Blaudzun - Epic gloomy ballad from Dutch songwriter who named his band after a 70's athlete

"Eyes" - The Kabeedies - Happy dappy pop-punk with a great drum track.  If they didn't multi-track the bridge/break at the 1:45 mark, then I'm doubly impressed.

"Telephone" Beth Jeans Houghton - another piece of gold from Miss Jeans with on-target lyrics ("so if you're lonely / call me dear / you have a telephone / and I have ears ") and a nice acoustic drum track.  Not on her recent album but definitely belongs in your playlist.

Monday, March 05, 2012

It's pickled pepper, asshole

pickled peppers, one peck of...

More selections from my personal Top 40

"Genesis" - Grimes.  While I'm not so hot on the rest of this buzz record, I love this heaping helping of originality.

"Simon Says" - Dare Dukes with Jim White - Not exactly sure what Jim White is doing on this track but it's the best one of Dare's latest collection.  Elliot Smith fans should take note.

"Shout it In" - Dirty Ghosts - Ska's not my normal thing but this one rises above the regular stuff and has a cool little underproduced garage feel to it as well.

"Lions of Least" - Pontiak.  This is the album I was hoping for from Howlin' Rain - guitar heavy psyche that doesn't crumble into jam band land.  Nice warm self-recording feel to it, no compression, just mics up to amps and drumheads.

"Settle Down" - Yalls.  An almost perfect cut from a band with this week's best name.  Vintage electronics hybridized with organ and chanted, almost Meat Puppetish vocals.  Who-ah-whoa.

"While We're Young" - April March - from the nth reissue of this classic girl garage band album.  Worth seeking the vinyl.

"Idiom Wind" - Zammuto.  It was only a few weeks ago that I was raving about Zammuto's FucC3PO.  This is a beast of a different color yet still fresh and pleasing to these ears.  While this is Nick Zammuto's song, it's a showcase for the drummer's precise percussion.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

You Are My Happiness, Now

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Here's some of the tunes I've been listening to lately

"White Hot Gun" - The Phantom Family Halo - sick, violent and deranged no-fi masterpiece from Kentucky band reminiscent of the Touch & Go era - Laughing Hyenas, Killdozer, older Butthole Surfers.

2010 Chicago Blues Festival - Friday

"Look to the Side" - Otis Taylor - a different type of cut from the master bluesman's latest record, this could have been written by Radiohead.  That said, it bespeaks a common blues theme, the lost traveller trying to find his way home.  Question is, is the singer alive or singing as a ghostly memory to his loved ones?  Makes me wonder what it would sound like if Otis teamed up with Richard Russell for his next record.

"As Long As" - Thom Hell - McCartney-ish lite-rock tune from under-rated pop craftsman's latest.

Perfume Genius

"Hood" - Perfume Genius - Not sure exactly where I stand with Perfume Genius.  The entire album takes a patient listen with a few moments of greatness and a number of moments of meandering.  This is the "single" from boy somewhat like Antony and the Johnsons without the yodeling and more piano.  Worth further watching to see what he comes up with next.  Or is this his statement?

"Furry Skin" - Boho Dancer - just what we need - another forest waif spinning stories about magical sex in the woods betwixt man and animal.  But this features a nice drum track and good folk vocals alongside a nice bass hook.


"Origins" - Tennis - didn't like the debut record and don't really like the rest of this new album but this is a great pop song worthy of a few plays throughout your lifetime.  Has a great buzzy guitar hook, Carole King piano staccato chords setting the rhythm and even though I have no idea what she's singing about, it's probably something interesting.

"Scavenger" - Zig Zags - psyche/metal/punk smashterpiece single from LA combo.  Love how it bottoms out 2/3 through and brings it back.  Makes me air drum in my car.

"Go Ego" - Eight and a Half  - blippy, blappy glitch tune from Stills/BSS cabal.  Kinda reminds me of Postal Service but less electronic but a little more chilly.

"Sunday Calling" - Teen Age Kick - Simpleton pop-punk Richman-like raver - guitar, keyboards, bass and drums simply recorded and played but overly self-conscious about it like, say, a "K" band.

Band of Skulls

"Sweet Sour" - Band of Skulls - 'member when unenlightened stoners would sing songs about how they dig girls who are essentially damaged bitches - "sour by the minute and but cha sweetah by the hour" ---- made for some great stupid rock tunes.  This is the type of shit the USAF Rock Band can never play (or write).