Disclaimer: I am 46 years old and I very rarely listen to new music and I avoid leaving my home as much as possible. This means that much of what I’m aware of comes through my Facebook feed, which everyone knows is designed to make you keep scrolling, so I’m becoming less intelligent and my world is shrinking. If the reader feels my top ten things reflect myopia, tunnel vision, or the ramblings of an old man with his head up his ass, I’m sure you’re right. So here goes:
1) Terrifying cop videos.
This is where the facebook newsfeed/feedback loop really kicks in for me. I don’t intend to start discussing the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases BUT there’s a reason why Spike Lee filmed a fictional version of the murder of Eric Garner back in 1989 in his classic “Do The Right Thing”. Back in 1989, you’d have to live in the world Spike Lee lived in to be aware that cops killing black men when it wasn’t necessary “was a thing”. So most everyone has seen the Eric Garner video but my Facebook feed (again, niche marketed to me, and I have all these anti-American pinko “friends” posting this shit all the time) has been coughing up countless videos of cops acting fucked up, and bullying and threatening, using undue force, threatening people at gunpoint inappropriately and behaving as evil machines rather than people. It used to be the case that if you were a very consistently meek and unnoticeable person you’d never be aware that cops could do such things. Here’s one of my personal favorites that resulted in a relatively “happy ending”.:
So now the squares gotta face it: cops are no less scary than the “criminal element” they purport to protect you from. Many of us have known this all our lives. So I think this trend of filming cops acting like Nazi Stormtroopers and posting it online is good for society. There is starting to be more of a real dialogue, and this is an example of how the new surveillance culture cutsboth ways.
DOWNLOAD: Bring the Noise MP3 by Public Enemy from It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
2) Delightful animal videos.
No one has time to click on every one of them but my personal experience is they always make me happy and are the perfect antidote to the aforementioned terrifying cop videos. Here’s a recent favorite:
Seriously you grumpy punks, John Houlihan from Live from the Barrage went to town on this NY exclusive FB Meme with some 800 group members. Think WFMU meets Howard Stern and that is what their Friday night podcast is like. The meme might be better but it’s the podcast is our favorite of the low-brow.
Correction: Kurt Gottschalk started the group but Houli invited us but he still gets credit for making it a thing – plus we think the podcast is the tits (yea we just said that). Not everything needs to be linear. -Ed
4) Matthew McConaughey
McConaughey is gonna have a hard time beating 2014 for his own personal best year. He’s a big muscular guy who was sooooo skinny in the AIDS movie and he’s an easy going southern party guy who portrayed an absolutely convincing functional alcoholic nihilistic genius ex-cop on the coolest new cable show. Alright, alright alright!
5) True Detective
This is my kind of TV. The coolest weirdest most intense artsy fartsy television show since Twin Peaks. This show actually caused me to start posting shit on Facebook, my theories about it and insights and whatnot. Slippery fucking slope.
6) Breaking Bad
Vince Gilligan and his posse really did this right. As of now, I believe Breaking Bad is the most perfect cable long form storytelling multiple season television show ever made. They never made a bad move and ended it in a way that was utterly satisfying. Best series ending since that HBO show about the family that ran a funeral home.
7) Tom Petty “Hypnotic Eye”
Maybe there are new people playing this kind of seriously deeply righteous tradational guitar driven rock and roll and I’m oblivious to it, please refer back to my disclaimer. If you haven’t dug into this and have ever liked Tom Petty in your life, listen to the whole thing for free right now. Mike Campbell dominates this album, more than usual, even. This album makes this year’s Black Keys album sound like Taylor Swift. And I like the Black Keys and have no problem with T.S. either.
8) Prince “ART OFFICIAL AGE”
Sort of the same deal as with Petty. Pick whatever the last time a Prince album totally blew you away and I’ll tell you this is his best thing since that album. For me it’s his best since the “unpronounceable symbol” album that opened with “My Name Is Prince”. And I sucked up the one hundred or so albums he made between that one and this one. For me what makes this album great is it just reeks and oozes of everything that has made Prince the greatest singular talent on Earth for the entirety of his recording career. Underrated.
9) Nick Cave
Nick Cave may well be the most consistently right on the money “cool” artist ever. The album he put out this year, “Push the Sky Away” is great as usual but live he’s proving to be the new Bowie as far as I’m concerned. Specifically, he has a surplus of the quality of poise that Bowie has, which is an exceedingly rare trait among rock and roll frontmen, even the greatest of which tend to be organ grinder monkeys (the Jagger/Tyler tradition). At the same time, much of his greatness is expressed through the group mind of the amazingly powerful and sensitive and idiosyncratic Bad Seeds. Bowie in his best eras had a similar thing going, where the band gets Bowie’s intention/vibe and fucking runs with it and jams the shit out of it. You want dynamics? There’s no greater range of moods, rhythms and volumes than a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds concert. I was fortunate to catch their show last summer at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. A truly magical night. Here’s an audience filmed thing from that. Dig the reaching hands and think about the end of the Ziggy Stardust concert film:
10) Scott Walker and Sunn 0))) “Soused”
I’m a long time Scott Walker fan but this was the one release I heard this year that blew my mind by not sounding like anything else I ever heard, yet hooking me in with the traditional elements of a beautiful voice, great melodies and instrumental hooks. If you’re curious you should read Tim Sommer’s piece on this, I agree with every word he says, but I’m not smarticulate (my neologism) enough to cough up this level of analysis:
And here’s the”single”:
2014? Could have been worse. 2015 holds some promise. I have total faith that “Better Call Saul” will deliver the goods at the very high standard of quality we’ve come to expect from Vince Gilligan and company. Also, my favorite fresh and current band, Radiohead, is working on a new album, so 2015 may well be a Radiohead year. My new year’s resolution is to tweet. Have a happy.
All Tomorrow's Parties - Fist of Tarver of Chavez Asbury Park, Nj
Here’s a couple photos from last night. I wish I had a proper camera but sometimes if you just work with what you got it really is all about your timing so the rest of you can suck it. All Tomorrow’s Parties was a blast last night. Always awesome to see the 1 millionth Chavez reunion. One day maybe one day we’ll hear something new out of these men. The word is that ATP is now contracted to have the event in Asbury’s convention hall for next couple years after this weekend’s show. This works for me although I’ve always wanted to have a reason to go to Monticello, NY because the damn weather people are telling me what the temperature is there for some reason. I tried to sit through Bonnie Prince Billy but was not in mood after laughing my ass off to Reggie Watts and be run over by Shellac and Chavez. We waiting in line to watch Thinking Fellers Union. They were as quirky as I remembered them.
For the rest of the weekend I’ll need to live vicariously through everybody else who is staying down there for the weekend into Sunday when Public Enemy plays and maybe Radiohead? Holy Hell I wish I could see that double bill.
One of the more pleasant experiences to break-up all the noise was seeing Reggie Watts. The guy introducing him in this google performance is a tool but you get a good idea of his schtick. He reminds me of old school SNL so maybe one day he’ll get to do that show.
Once punk got started major innovations were happening all over the place as early as it began in the 70’s. Wire were among the musical scientists who experimented with short and long form along with kraftwerk and Gang of Four. On Tuesday April 2011 they will be playing for the first time live on wfmu’s Brian Turner’s radio show between 3-6pm est. Be sure to tune in as they resurrect punk on the airwaves. Their third album 154 is among the trilogy of their break-out experimentation that pushed what art music could be. While Gang of Four were like political mechanics and Kraftwerk the robot space makers — Wire were the sonic mixers making unique pastiches of keyboards and distortion unique from to song to song – some fast some slow. On their first album you were lucky to find anything over a minute long.
MUSIC REVIEW: The mega Girl Talk single really abuses something the Beastie Boys and other more awesome mix-ologists and hip/hop Rapper samplers started over 20 years ago. It’s a pretty masterful piece of work although I prefer DJ Red Alert (BC) Before Computers myself – that was art. So all I have to do is walk into a club connect a bunch of 15 second samples and boom chuck-ala, Boom I am done? Ok may it’s more involved but lets about talk capturing all these melodies into one bastard piece of music. I love a good mash-up and all but this is retarded. It gets you in a groove then it changes faster than a raver on crank and ecstasy with some serious memory lapse issues. Maybe it’s all those caffeinated drinks that are coming off the shelves? Would be nice if there were a theme or storyline. Something to connect the dots between jams. I am big fan of less is more and this is not it if idea is take everything that sounds cool from the creative commons bin and jam it all together. Much respect to the rapping on this and all the little pieces of music: Radiohead, Sweet Leaf, fugazi, New Order, etc Crap there are like over 500 different Artists and Musicians sampled. I was afraid this day would come.
Girl Talk is Gregg Gillis
Additional production and assistance by Frank Musarra
Mastering and assistance by Jonathan Schenke
Track Listing if you grab the separate files:
1. Oh No
2. Let It Out
3. That’s Right
4. Jump on Stage
5. This Is the Remix
6. On and On
7. Get It Get It
8. Down for the Count
9. Make Me Wanna
10. Steady Shock
11. Triple Double
12. Every Day
I like bands that randomly follow this blog’s unbranded twitter feed. hello sirs what you un-follow me already? Main thing allows me to randomly stalk a band and check them out. I liked a funny lyric in one of their tunes reminded of how punk used to self mock a lot like in Repo Man where they agree to go do some crimes and get sushi and not pay.
… There is nothing that can’t be blamed on Pakistani hackers
I would agree with their self assessment a noise-rock band from Chicago in the Touch&Go / Amphetamine Reptile tradition.
Talk about a public advance. In September the new S/T album by Pete Yorn on Vagrant records is coming out. It’s back to a older form from the sounds of the new single “Precious Stone”. Which if you tweet and follow you can download here for free. I’m interested in this record as a body of work vs. a single but here you go. It’s the new promotion model and the way things are going. The question is will the music industry ever be able to track this like a top 40 list for pop or rock? Or does a new music release really matter and can it make artists money with their tie-ins? Seems like a lot of work. Does it matter what brands they associate themselves with? Do you care?
If you were at one of the SPIN 25 live shows (Smashing pumpkins, Flaming Lips, BLack Keys) this week in NYC that were broadcast live you also got a download card (if you took one) and could grab four free music tracks from zync.hipdigitalstore.com (totally a banal url but whatev) some of the models handing out the cards were hot but I mostly witnessed people not taking the hand-out. Obvious catch it’s a Amex credit card acquisition program looking to hook up another generation with buying power. I might be over qualified but if you don’t have credit probably a good way to start your trek into adulthood and get some music. Then again the chick who had fallen down outside from the nitrous oxide balloon hit is probably not a good candidate but that won’t show-up on her credit report.
These choices bring up a couple questions. How would you prefer to support your favorite artists? I’m ok with the Zync model because you know the Lips got paid to drive you to get some sponsored downloads (at least I hope) and see them do their thing live in a smallish venue. Much like iTunes did in the early days of those bottle cap promotions with Coke. Or was that Pepsi? Or does it matter? Truth is 10% of world cares how they get their music and even that guess is a generous one but question is how do we expand the branded model. There is so much great music out there and to support Lady Gaga does not make any fucking sense at all. It’s a better practice to change the model of ripping of artists when we can although i don’t see myself downloading anything above the line (ever!). Sure this blog posts free downloads but it’s to hook you into the deeper quest to share culture and support by making the point of entry as easy as possible and turn you onto stuff you might like.
Try some of these jems in your mix this hot summer. Haven’t really had anytime to make a podcast so you’ll have to make your own. I’ll call you up on the phone and mumble a couple things about any of these bands after I’ve had a few beers. Do you sense a theme? Do it to impress the ladies.
Hot Tub by Full of Fancy – Killer distorted bass playing on this. This jersey band is really coming into their own. These girls know how to partay. Check out some more jerseyrock on the nj underground.
I Will Be by the Dum Dum Girls s/t – Great shit, Riotgurl throwback but not as low-fi but just as likable despite all the reverb. It’s the fem fatale version of Obits.
All Things This Way by Male Bonding From Nothing Hurts – Dig this Brit-Rok band. “Produced” by John Agnello to boot. If you like We Were Promised Jet Packs you might like these guys because they are more fIREHOSE and husker du in their approach. At least IMHO.
Little Red Corvette (Cover by you know who) by Montagna & The Mouth To Mouth from L’avenir. This is the closer on this record and it really caught me by surprise since I first listened to it in reverse. This track came-up first. You should try that some time if your’ into ignoring bios and other liner notes.
The Go Getter by The Black Keys from their new one Brothers. Is it me or does everything sound like its a soundtrack for Treme? Distorted and un-pretty groovy sounds on this one posing as down and out New Orleans street music. It works for me.
ALBUM REVIEW: Something brilliant about how simple good songs can make the recording process sound deeper than it actually is. Joe Pernice’s latest effort Goodbye, Killer has horns and some 12 string strumming held together in a easy and balanced mix. Think Harvest but not as reverb drenched as previous Pernice Brothers records but with equally Honest lyrics make up the crackle in this home schooled american pop-music. The harmonies are as decent as the lyrics. Guitar play is what you would expect; and that is what you get. This Pernice record is like sober and clean shaved Whiskeytown.
I like bands that are born out of boredom the right way vs lost emo kids pretending to be wolves. The Enthusiasts are proud suburbanites brought-up the right way by annoying their neighbors making rockn’roll even gilfy grandmas could admit to liking. We encourage you to help them in their quest to keep their amps fuzzed out, cigarettes lit and their city dreams by getting yerself their IN THE CITY debut 7″ from infirmary phonographic. So what if I’m giving you one of tracks here. it’s much cooler way to impress the girls by spinning the wax. Both sides are great. We particularly like the spaced out jam at the end of My Two Worlds. The A side is about.. well going to the city. Enjoy.
Album Relistening Review: the Good Earth by Feelies is like returning to memories of your first love. Thanks to Bar/none for this on cd! Featured on vinyl all the time on my podcast it’s nice to have a shiny version. Thanks to Amoeba in Berkeley for having a copy for me this xmas. This record was originally out on cayote records in 1986 and remember picking this lp up because Peter Buck(REM) was involved somehow with this jersey based band. Years later I had the pleasure of catching them live at a super club in Princeton in the early 90’s before disbanding and now apparently reuniting for awhile. All you wanna be folk crooners should aspire to this level of melody with out too much emphasis on the poetics. Their debut in Crazy Rhythms is great too don’t get me wrong but this softmore release was a lot smoother production wise for me and not as derivative to their obvious influences. What makes it really grea still to this day is that the vocals don’t over ride the simple and fast open riffs like bad pop music does. The guitars remind me of jersey fields somehow (maybe it’s the artwork). When the jams kick in it’s at the sonic level of the velvet underground for sure without being too noisy and just using mostly clean and well toned guitar melodies. ahh bliss.
If you this you might dig new bands like: Point Juncture, WA (folky and handmade sounding one of the singers Amanda has killer sense of melody | choice mp3 link coming | last.fm The Librarians (more smiths sounding in a coctue twins kind of way) | mp3 link coming BUY SOME FEELIES