Sep 7 2012

New Music: Ben Folds Five, Kanye West, The Joy Formidable

-Yeezy has dropped another banger from his G.O.O.D. Music comp, which drops later this month. This one’s a doozy, featuring Jay-Z and Big Sean, and a pretty hilarious shout-out to West’s lady of the moment, Kim Kardashian, a “superstar all from a home movie!” Listen at Pitchfork.

-Ben Folds Five just gave us a track from their new album, but they’ve already delivered two more. The Sound of the Life of the Mind will be released September 18th. Listen to “Sky High” and “Michael Praytor, Five Years Later” at Consequence of Sound.

-The Joy Formidable’s new album isn’t set to be released until January 2013, but we already have another taste called “Cholla,” which you can hear below.

-Finally, a trio of ambitious British DJs have completed what many have tried for years: discovered and compiled every sample from the Beastie Boys’ seminal album Paul’s Boutique. The hour-long mixtape is as sprawling and awesome as the original inspiration, and is aptly dedicated to the sorely missed MCA. Read more and listen at Consequence of Sound.

Jul 16 2012

Quarterly Review – April-June 2012

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

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Jun 7 2012

Some Videos I’ve Been Digging Lately

Feb 9 2012

Watch: Jay Z and Kanye West – N****s In Paris

The video for Yeezy and Hov’s relentless smash hit from last year is here….and it might give you a seizure, apparently. Other than that, it’s pretty excellent. Watch at your own risk.

Dec 30 2011

The Top 50 Albums of 2011 – The Top Ten

10. tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l

Merrill Garbus has always been known for oddball melodies and quirky arrangements, but the growth shown on this spectacular album is spellbinding. Memorable, inviting, disarming, and purely inventive, this standout is unlike anything anyone in music is doing right now, and is an un-arguable example of the unique power of the musicality of tUnE-yArDs.

9. The Weeknd – House of Balloons

The addiction to partying, to tripping, to rolling, to getting wasted and blackout obliterated has never been so perfectly soundtracked than in this promising debut. The hollow feelings, the numbed experiences, and the utter craving to do it all again to forget about the last time is captured here. Dark, demented, honest, and with the worst intentions.

8. Araabmuzik – Electronic Dream

The title of this introductory mixtape is certainly appropriate – like the blurred drive home after a night of partying, the triple-time drum machines, 90’s era female vocals, and repeated reminders that “you are now listening to Araabmuzik” blend together like the final dance at the club, or the final steps to the bed.

7. Terius Nash – 1977

He’s proclaimed himself the Love King, but for his free mixtape, The-Dream chose not only to name it after the year of his birth, but opted to use his real name as the moniker of choice. Why? Because the Love King isn’t bragging much this time around. Lamenting on heartbreak, personal turmoil, and soulful anguish, this is the most introspective effort from Nash to date.

6. Jay Z/Kanye West – Watch the Throne

A collaboration of this magnitude certainly wasn’t going to meet the overhyped expectations it was given. With that out of the way, while nothing revolutionary, Watch the Throne is certainly memorable. It’s not even a collaboration, but a competition. Who can out-rap the other? It’s a battle of braggadocio rhymes and quick wit, and it’s entertaining all the way through.

5. Born Gold – Bodysongs

Freak pop might fit, but that’s more akin to the psychedelic work of Flaming Lips. No, Born Gold (formerly Gobble Gobble) is more futuristic ADHD pop. Chaotic electronic noise and stuttered, effected vocals surround the magnificent melodies of this group’s surprisingly strong debut. A joyous proclamation of computer-glitching defiance throughout, it might give you a fabulous headache.

4. Drake – Take Care

What a short, strange trip it’s been for Drake, who has evolved from a hashtag-rapping former actor to the most interesting, downbeat, and flat-out real rapper in the game right now. Take Care is the best rap album of the year because its mixed-emotion honesty is overwhelming, its beats are curiously addicting, and its mood is so powerfully smooth. Pristine production amongst contradictory, conflicting verses, this album is simply sublime.

3. Hooray For Earth – True Loves

Quite possibly the most overlooked album of 2011, Hooray For Earth are delivering subtle, yet undeniable unforgettable electronic jams for the undeserving masses. Everything here, from the hooks of the title track, to the gradual grandiosity of “Sails,” to the fist-pumping madness of “No Love,” is a winner.

2. Primus – Green Naugahyde

Since frontman Les Claypool has remained active, it’s hard to believe it’s been twelve years since Antipop, but our favorite alt-funk oddballs pick up right where they left off, bringing instant career highlights reminiscent of all the brightest spots of their catalog. It’s not exactly forward-thinking, but when the funk is this solid, who cares?

1. M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming

While not as completely cohesive as the shorter Saturdays=Youth, Anthony Gonzalez managed to out-epic that album, a feat many surmised would be impossible. Then again, what’s more epic than a dream-pop double album exploring the concept of childhood slumber? And with that concept comes feelings of excitement, innocence, comfort, and imagination. There’s a lot to take in, but repeated listens will deliver the ultimate reveal: Gonzalez is brilliant, and this album is remarkable. Near flawless, completely enjoyable.

Dec 23 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – The Top Twenty

20. Wiz Khalifa – Roll Up

Delivering sing-song verses, that trademark stoner laugh, and a chorus you’ve memorized by the second time you’ve heard it, Wiz Khalifa might be one of the laziest rappers on Top 40 radio. But that’s exactly the point. He’s not some uptight, eccentric, crazy ambitious, domineering figure. He’s that pot-smoking friend who’s down for whatever, and if your down, he’s down. The most casual summer jam of the year.

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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 1 2011

Grammy Predictions: Bon Iver is No Arcade Fire

Grammy nominations are in, and Kanye’s been snubbed again. I mean, it’s nice and all that Yeezy leads the pack with seven nods, but no Album of the Year? No, instead that goes to….Bruno Mars? Oh, Grammys. Missing the mark….at least there’s something consistent in the music industry.

The aforementioned Mars earned six nominations, few of which he will win; Foo Fighters got the same amount, being deservedly recognized for their best album in years. But Adele, also in the six category, is the artist who will clean house this time around. She’s the perfect safe, AC-friendly, Grammy-loving, overrated nonsense the world rallies around. Like Taylor and Norah before her, Adele will bore us to tears with each tearful acceptance speech. God, please let Yeezy get up there and start yelling.

And then there’s Bon Iver, who scored some notable categories, including Alternative Music Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist (which in Grammy terms means “first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist”, so….yeah….can you say “arbitrary?”). So of course already he’s being hailed as the next Arcade Fire, who upset Grammy Nation last year by winning Album of the Year. Which was amazing and awesome. Unlike Bon Iver’s new, underwhelming, undeserving, overrated second album that’s ALREADY making everybody’s year-end list.

Here’s the straight poop: while Arcade Fire may have pulled the underdog bit last year, it’s not happening this year. I’d be surprised if Bon Iver walked away with anything at all. Alternative’s going to Radiohead. Record and Song are going to Adele, as is everything else. So who gets the BNA curse? It’s either the Band Perry (who I wouldn’t mark off right away, the Academy has shown in the past they love this lethargic style of country….remember Lady Antebellum?) or it’s going to Nicki Minaj, who has just blown up this year. So sorry Justin Vernon, you’re no Win Butler.

Radiohead, Skrillex, Lil Wayne, Foster the People, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Mumford and Sons round out the top nominees, and Daft Punk received recognition for their score to Tron. Also, I think I saw Fleet Foxes in the Folk category somewhere. So yeah, don’t let the nominations cloud your thinking….just because it seems like who they pick has been improving, who they actually award has not. Same as it ever was….I’m getting bored just typing this. February can’t get here sooner!

Oct 3 2011

Quarterly Review – July-September 2011

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

Continue reading

Aug 22 2011

Kanye: The Musical?

Kinda wished I lived in Australia right now. Sydney University’s Cellar Theatre is hosting a three-night production dedicated to the one and only Yeezy, or as they describe it on their Facebook page:

This is a story of a struggle against the man to become the man. It’s about a guy who took a shot at the throne and didn’t miss. This is the tale of Kanye.

The obviously tongue-in-cheek production takes you on a journey of the life of the divine spirit who gave us “Jesus Walks:” “From humble beginnings writing beats for Jay-Z to the top of the pops remixing Daft Punk.” Tickets range from $3-$6 (that’s dingo dollars, or whatever money is down there), and if I were an Aussie, I would be attending for sure. If the man himself hears about it and has a sense of humor, like he (kind of) did with South Park’s “Gay Fish” gag, maybe we could see this showing in more places. In the meantime, you guys bring your YouTube credentials for the rest of us!