Dec 26 2011

The Top 50 Albums of 2011 – 50-41

50. The Go! Team – Rolling Blackouts

The third album from the Go! Team is slightly more mature, but only slightly. The cheerleader chants are here, the rollerskating rap staples are alive and well, yes, but leader Ian Parton amps up the instrumentals and girl group numbers. There’s more variation, more challenging diversity, more fun. Overall, a satisfying listen from a group determined to build upon a winning formula.

49. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

The title track describes how one feels upon realizing they are not necessarily as unique as they were raised to believe, but rather discovering what machine in the world they want to be a cog for. It’s an all-too real feeling for most people, particularly Generation Y’ers, and not only are Fleet Foxes tackling it lyrically, they’re doing so musically as well, building upon their glorious, harmonious sound. The results may not give any solid answers, but they are rewarding nonetheless.

48. Green Day – Awesome As Fuck

Green Day’s second official live album predictably gives its share of live versions from their latest album, but the middle third is so satisfyingly punk and old skool you can feel the energy eeking out of your speakers. For anyone who’s never seen this band’s full throttle live show, let this serve as a reminder you need to put Green Day on your bucket list.

47. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – S/T

The Internet can provide a perfect sense of anonymity for those who wish to share art, but are a little camera shy. We’ve seen it many times over the years, and we can chalk up UMO as the latest, a band from Portland we knew very little about for a long time. What their art tells us is that they have incredible, hooky potential for the forseeable future. This is a strong, half-hour long, infectious, lo-fi debut.

46. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead

After the conceptual mess that was The Hazards of Love, Colin Meloy has reined it in and gone back to the beginning for this refreshing album. Keeping it short and sweet at 10 tracks in 40 minutes, there’s nothing here to bore. The focus of melody, the natural blending of rock and folk, and the sharpness of Meloy’s voice all blend together for one of the band’s strongest albums in years.

45. Cass McCombs – Wit’s End

Not for the faint of heart, McCombs has outdone himself with despair. If Catacombs was a tribute to loneliness, Wit’s End contains the sounds that inspired the entire concept of loneliness. He has always been one to delve into somber emotions and downtrodden structure, but here McCombs digs the hole further, albeit with his most subtle, subdued, and brilliant songwriting yet.

44. EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints

I’ve mentioned before this album has many different sounds, but you’re just going to have to listen to understand. Never have I heard someone throw so much at the dartboard and hit the bull’s eye so consistently. An album of this ambition usually is dismissed as directionless, but the one theme tying it all together is the raw, unbridled, and unafraid emotion throughout.

43. I Break Horses – Hearts

This is a disc too many people slept on. Incorporating shoegaze, dream-pop, and dense instrumentation, this new band have created a meticulous, enjoyable, and surprisingly precise debut. The flaws here, of which there are few, give a human quality to the grand soundscape the band has made, which only supports the notion I Break Horses are just getting started.

42. Teams vs. Star Slinger – S/T EP

What happens when you get a producer who specializes in ambient sounds and combine him with a rising star, high hat heavy DJ who just wants to make booties shake? One of the most interesting, fun, and repeatable EPs of the year. And definitely booty shaking. Lots of it. The sound texture and beat structure work great together here, and the chosen samples only amplify the enjoyment.

41. Dominique Young Unique – Glamorous Touch Mixtape

Dominique’s been busy, churning out three mixtapes in a year and half. This one, the strongest of her latest two, finds the Florida-bred female rapper spitting her trademark rapid-fire delivery alongside unusual beats and rock-inspired sounds. If Domination was the strong introduction, Glamorous Touch is proof this girl can rap over almost anything. It’s also proof we should keep an eye out for her in the future.

Dec 21 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 100-51

100. The Strokes – Under Cover of Darkness

When the band sticks to what they know, they sound great. Angles is a hot-and-cold album, but this is the first of two tracks that showcases the former.

99. Born Gold – Wrinklecarver

Originally released as former project Gobble Gobble, nothing has been done to this track in terms or re-mixing or mastering, but it just sounds better in context within the new album Bodysongs.

98. St. Vincent – Cheerleader

Another highlight from Strange Mercy – here Annie Clark shows off her knack for start-stop surprises around what sounds conventional at first, then grows to be beautifully unusual.

97. Drake – Lord Knows (featuring Rick Ross)

The snare hits, the booming bass, the background vocals, that “Just Blaze!” intro, the use of the phrase “Murdercedez Benz.” What’s not to love here?

96. Wiz Khalifa – The Race

One of the more down-tempo tracks on the fun Rolling Papers, Wiz drops a chill-out anthem for the end of the night when you just wanna light one up and take it easy.

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Dec 19 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 200-151

There are quiet moments, but overall this year’s song countdown is crazy upbeat; you’ve gotta be an uptight jerk not to enjoy at least some of what’s here. For the most part, this collection of songs from 2011, while decidedly less diverse than in past years, still perfectly captures my mood and preference. I’ll be counting down until Friday – feel free to browse, listen, discover, disagree, etc. I’ll publish a Spotify playlist at the end with most of the tracks on there; the rest can be found via YouTube below and on subsequent posts.

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Nov 27 2011

Sunday Night Videos 11/27/11

May 29 2011

Sunday Night Videos 5/29/11

Justice – Civilization by justice

RIP Gil Scott-Heron

Mar 20 2011

Sunday Night Videos 3/20/11

The National

Mar 19 2011

Culture Greyhound Podcast 3/19/11 – SXSW Edition Part 2

This week the second of a two-part series dedicated to SXSW 2011


Dominique Young Unique – What About Me?
Tennis – Marathon
Baths – Maximalist
Sharon Van Etten – Don’t Do It
DOM – Living In America
Thrift Store Cowboys – Silence Depends On the Dose

Mar 15 2011

Download: Dominique Young Unique – Glamourous Touch Mixtape

Before her trek to Austin for SXSW, Miss Unique dropped a new, banging mixtape. While not as sharp as last year’s Domination Mixtape, this collection is still willing and able to give you fits of booty shaking. Check it, available for free download from Dominique Young Unique’s Soundcloud.

Dominique Young Unique – Glamorous Touch Mixtape by Artjam Records

Mar 3 2011

21 Bands To See @ SXSW 2011

Spring break is upon us, and with it the finest week of the year, SXSW.  As is customary, my friends and I are gonna RAGE and make like Andrew W.K. and PARTY HARD and all that good stuff.  New parties and showcases are being announced every day, and next week I hope to have a list of my picks for ones to check out.  In the meantime, however, after the jump is a list of bands I am hoping to see this year while meandering around downtown Austin, and you should try your damndest to see them as well.

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Jan 12 2011

Top 50 Albums of 2010 – 30-21

30. Cloud Nothings – Turning On

Cloud Nothings – Morgan

29. Thw Walkmen – Lisbon

The Walkmen – Victory

28. ceo – White Magic

ceo – Come With Me

27. Drake – Thank Me Later

Drake – Shut It Down (featuring The-Dream)

26. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor

Local Natives – Airplanes

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