I always think of the Sonic Youth as the band with as many guitars as they had sounds, feedback and melodies all packed into this noise jam that somehow made sense together.
This is sort of pretty slick video with a flying guitar and disco lights which is miles and decades away if you compare it to the gritty videos they did in Evol era Richard Kern. I know this is his solo work but none the less always great to see and hear the caliber of musicians like him making such relevant music and actually just shooting the video himself. Humbled.
Continuing, overall this year was a bountiful one musically with our best of list deserving 13 great albums. Yeah! Shit I cut a bunch just because they would have only eeked in based on the merits of previous releases but in fairness we all have our internal logic (See part I for our Best 2010 Album guidelines) which makes these lists so much fun. So please share yours. We’ll have a separate year in review post about the things that sucked and rocked in the music industry and only go into a few reasons why the music on these records is worthy of your time and money. What I would like to see is a Web Blog equivalent of a Grammy but that whole scene is more splintered. The VMA’s are a joke. So who knows. Might be too many disparate choices. I am interested to know what’s on your list though. Without further ado here’s 2K10 year’s best of albums!
6) Elvis Costello – National Ransom
Some of my favorite pop songs have been written by Costello from This Year’s Model and his whole 70’s era. This one is good old Americana rock and roll with just enough roots and blues to make it a tasty album all the way through and he’s a Brit! Great playing on here making it a great dinner party record to sip some whiskey to with a blaring fire with friends. I can hear the smoke and smell the cinder burning.
Listen: Download MP3: National Ransom [Buy]
5) The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
This is Jersey pride stinging you in the face. These are the rock stories of youths gone wild in the suburban and urban streets. The ability to tell the tales and paint pictures is what catapults this band’s scenes in the tradition of Springsteen and Dylan. Yup close as classic rock as you’ll get without sounding too melancholy for the 60’s. Much respect.
4) Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks
It’s about time that Jersey’s native son is on a New York label again like Matador. Hopefully there will be many more releases like this one. He heaves his voice and modish riffs like he has a millions songs to give and no concern for the future. The record has a nice live feel minus all the emo hand clapping so lets hope that he see’s some bucks so he can keep making music like this for us.
Listen: Download MP3: Gimme The Wire MP3 [Buy]
3) Tame Impala – Innerspeaker
This is one of those bands that came out of the blue for me. Ripped it up in all sorts of interesting ways. They sort of remind me of British Sea Power in their big rock compositions but more Revolveresque vocally with these interesting dream groove space jams. Big Bonham drums that just power you into the future with flanger effects, phasers and small stones. This is near perfect psychedelic rock.
Listen: Download MP3: Desire Be Desire Go [Buy]
2) Male Bonding – Nothig Hurts via Subpop The right mix of trashy bass, Melody and sing-song guitardness is up in this English bands tunage produced by John Agnello. At their heart they remind me of fIREHOSE but sound nothing like them. They use reverb like any proper British group of record geeks should. I don’t know… try it in case you haven’t already. This band has heart.
Listen: Download MP3:All Things This Way [Buy]
1) True Love – ¡Pas Net! via Mainman Records
Besides the fact I’ve known these guys since forever and the various groups they were each in before. They have never faltered to deliver quality rock-and-roll that nods to just the right amount of genres and musical stock. Any lame metaphor would not be perfect enough. They put a lot of care in their pop-rock which is alla The Creation, Nada Surf, Sweet, Bowie,gbv and feel free to insert any weird 70’s references. All three in this trio can sing and play an instrument which makes for better bubblegum chewing for us all at the risk of biting our lips in sobering retarded awe. This is fantastic marathon beer drinking rock music without breaking a swet. A sobering experience for critics and in my humble opinion this is what albums should be like from a start to finish. When it’s over you want more and you don’t know why. This one reaches the finish line breathlessly.
Listen: Download MP3:Bitter Wine [Buy]
Download Bonus: Here’s a track from their first self titled LP. If you don’t like this something is seriously wrong with you and I don’t think we can be friends.
Listen: DOWNLOAD MP3: Over The Rainbow [Buy]
I’ve been on eMusic since they began and have dealt with their changes and growth throughout the years. Always linking to them for almost every post in hopes of inspiring a purchase for other rabid music fans. This new deal with Universal Music Group is not a great one. Although the numbers sound good(250,000 addition to catalog) the fall-out is bad for fans of what got the digital music club there in first place.
Emusic was always been the one place you could get a true read on what was being offered in Indie music land. Now with Merge Records gone a whole slew of awesome labels
under the Beggars Group which includes Rough Trade, 4AD, Matador, XL, among others there is little in a way of choice.
It will be interesting to watch the Emusic charts for sure but One of the key things(ok actually there are several) with emusic was that the cost of entry was low so you could sample several new bands all the time.
I loved it. They also did a great job of championing new bands that were not part of any of the aforementioned labels who otherwise would never be on their radar unless Emusic bubbled them up and gave them a chance.
Now songs are anywhere from 79 cents to 49cents! Where they used to be half that and then half that before. Still cheaper than iTunes standard 99cent or 1.29! but man have they made up the difference. I’m not going to get into a long cost analysis but the analogy is consitent with the target crushing your local mom and pop shop. Imagine if your cool local indie suddenly started charging you more suddenly unilaterally for everything. No more nice price. And even more if it was popular! WTF. Should you not pay less if something is popular? Not more. We obviously are not privy to the exact offer that the indies rejected if any. Their statements reference terms but that is the confidential stuff.
Another disturbing thing is that because it’s a download site and you went back to grab a copy of something because it got corrupted the prices you see are the new ones. Does this mean I have to rebuy? Well it seems that is the case. The whole advantage of having a download site like emusic is that you could go and get a copy of your file in case you wanted to post some of your work computer vs your home machine.
So basically as of Nov 18th some of the cooler independent labels won’t be available for some time. Emusic will need to do some serious price-point re-tinkering with their system to bring back the labels that have said no thanks. Hell even create a different set of charts because lord knows I don’t want to see Kenya competing against Matt and Kim or whatever.
On the other hand this is great news for insound and the other independent download hotspots and maybe make other cool shops like ubiquity records update their cart system or if amoeba music expanded theirs? It creates an opportunity for music fans to utilize the blogs and go direct if possible but where do we send them? Merge Records right now has a great online store but that’s just one label. So they umbrella an pool their resources? Ironically, the one band I always wanted to get some tunes from was Sonic Youth and now their awesome back catalog is part of the defection. So now what?
If mog.com were smart they’d add a ecommerce layer so if somebody really wanted to own something they could; but lets see if their new app is cool enough. Last.fm can’t because of the sheer conflict using itunes data scrobbler and who knows what is in store for ping.fm.
SET 1: The Guest MC is Rick Sanchez and I am right there in the front row drinking beers and peeing in-between the bands, sometimes maybe in a cup. Thankfully the live stream exists so I can check the scene over the weekend. Catching some great performances and then sleeping it off during the day For Matador’s 21st Birthday bash, Liz Phair is sitting next to me drinking fancy drinks next to the pool as Lester Bangs compares the 60’s to 90’s and how Nirvana Fucked it all up for us. We were our inflateed market with so many clubs to choose from we could not even conceive of having to play some place so desolated like Brooklyn, ever!
Here’s my playlist of tracks that rockED beyond recognition: Our Boys Will Shine Tonight by Chavez(Pictured above) originally this track was from Ride The Fader then later appeared on the double CD comp Better Days will Haunt you. The original is an amazing LP recorded by John Agnello at Water Music mostly in Hoboken. If you are guitar geek you own this record. Thankful having seen them live a few times from their days at Brownies and beyond. [Buy] Flavor by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion from Orange. I have memories of listening to this record and opening up the windows in the middle of day and drinking beers with my roommates. This record is another guitar marvel. [Buy Some JSBX] Schizophrenia by Sonic Youth from the epic exorcism record Sister. I first heard these guys in 1987 in highschool and quickly baught up every release pretty much moving forward up until Dirty. Saw them at CBGB’s one summer before Day Dream Nation came out and they played the whole record live from front to back and it was one of the most memorable live experiences that I will never forget. Once this record made it onto playlists it was over. Years later they would sign to DGC and tour with Nirvana making fun of the whole situation in the movie The Year Punk Broke in 1991. No Life Singed Her by Pavement from Slanted & Enchanted. This is the epitome of slacker rock. The apex of drunk and loose. Never would an indie band reach such heights maybe for the exception of on Icky Mettle. The tunes are melodic and mindful of their recklessness neatly sown together by the melodies of Stephan Malkumus. [BUY]
Bonus: The Helicopter Spies by Swell Maps from Jane From Occupied Europe. Totally influential and you will totally get hooked.
LATER POST: See this interview excerpt from GQ on @Stereogum with Steve Albini talks about being tasteful in rocknroll when asked about the Sonic Youth jump to DGC. Did they fuck it all up for the of us? Albini blames the suits.
I’m not sure how you train for this? But I’m going to start now! Tix go on sale July 5th for Matador’s 21st Anniversary birthday bash. I would not even begin to comprehend how you pick a headliner out of this crazy line-up: Belle and Sebastian, Cat Power, Cold Cave, Earles & Jensen, Fucked Up, Guided By Voices, Harlem, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Kurt Vile, Pavement, Shearwater, Sonic Youth, Ted Leo And The Pharmacists, The New Pornographers, Yo La Tengo, chavez…