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.

Aug 24 2012

New Joy Formidable – “Wolf’s Law”

Here’s a new track from one of my favorite bands at last year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest, the abrasive, yet hook-laden Joy Formidable. The track is called “Wolf’s Law,” and the corresponding video has….you guessed it….a wolf in it. The band’s playing some festival dates in lands far far away but no word on a new album just yet.

Dec 29 2011

The Top 50 Albums of 2011 – 20-11

20. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Age tends to wear and tear a group into writing lamentations on nostalgia, love, family, and life – apparently aging has the opposite effect on Foo Fighters, who have released their loudest, RAWK-iest album since The Colour and the Shape. And the songwriting in at its finest hour since One By One.

19. Gillian Welch – The Harrow & the Harvest

After years, Welch has finally returned, now a primary elder statesmen, with a new album that quiets the naysayers and gives the fans exactly what they wanted. There’s no shortage of emotion here, nor is there lacking of reserved brilliance in melody, balance in structure, and perfect respect to tradition. Best folk album of the year, no contest.

18. Givers – In Light

Simple indie pop wrapped in a blanket of wise intuition and progressive approach. In what should sound like an album full of throwaway 3-minute ditties, Givers transform an overdone sound into a borderline-epic affair full of tempo changes, wavering moods, and consistent unpredictability. And yet, it all feels like a challenging puzzle you’re putting together slowly, but surely.

17. Yuck – S/T

Fuzzy grunge and disarming melodies are the tale here. We can sense this London group loved their flannel, but so did Candlebox; the difference here is not pure derivative formula, but unique arrangement and a knack for knowing what works. We admire grunge’s finest for their abrasive, angsty mood – Yuck goes deeper to find what works not as a method of looking back, but moving forward.

16. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Belong

For those wondering if Pains were a one-note, twee-loving band, think again. The sound is bolder, the scope is grander, and the melodies? Worthy of some of the best written this year. Choruses stick like rubber cement, shy vocals peer out from aggressive guitars, and the ambition just keeps growing as the record plays on.

15. The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love

Like contemporaries Cut Copy, while everyone around them struggles to meet the expectations of an overcrowded genre, the Rapture takes their time to craft an impeccable album. And that’s exactly what happened. The group’s fourth album is effortless, confident, and a reminder of what everyone else is missing.

14. Cloud Nothings – S/T

2012 may be a sharper, more mature turning point for Cloud Nothings, but until then we have this self-titled debut – a fun, noisy romp through great hooks and haphazard punk licks. Six months from now we may find this effort somewhat naive compared to the growth the band has done in future albums, but for now it’s simply charming.

13. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

No one has ever said Annie Clark wasn’t a gifted songwriter, but what she had in ambition she lacked in accessibility. That is, until now. Clark has found the missing link between her unique approach and a larger audience. Crafting some of her most memorable tunes, St. Vincent has kept that bold brilliance we’ve come to adore.

12. The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar

In a time full of clean, quiet indie, this Welsh group provides the fix for loud and brash. The sound of this debut disc is mighty, and the melodies accompanying the in-your-face noise loom just as large. Joyous anthems are wrapped around chaos, providing optimism amongst today’s apathy and nonchalance.

11. Neon Indian – Era Extrana

Psychic Chasms was a delightful acid trip, an introduction to one of the sharper chillwave pioneers. Era Extrana proves that pioneer has staying power, even if his original subgenre doesn’t. The aural wooziness of his debut is heightened here with dark undertones and enticing refrains. If you feel weird after listening, just know that’s the whole point, as it’s always been.

Dec 24 2011

The Top 20 Remixes of 2011

Compared to the past couple of years, I was underwhelmed with the number of awesome remixes I heard in 2011. Not that they weren’t out there, I just didn’t mosey upon them. So if by chance you don’t see one of your favorites listed here, send it my way or comment, by all means.

Regular readers will not be surprised to find a plethora of Star Slinger on here; he’s one of my favorite current producers. There are others here as well, and he doesn’t get the top spot. Also it should be noted, for those uninitiated, that I’m a big club and house fan, so other styles are likely under-represented here. I enjoy dance music, but I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about it. Like most of my year-end lists, this is basically just a ranked list of remixes I heard that I enjoyed. YouTube links are provided, and listening to these tracks loudly is highly encouraged.

20. Star Slinger – Dumbin’ (Diplo Remix)

19. The Rapture – How Deep Is Your Love (A-Trak Dub aka Dub For Mehdi)

18. Escort – Cameleon Chameleon (Club Remix)

17. Trombone Shorty – Do To You (Star Slinger Remix)

16. Jamie Woon – Lady Luck (Hudson Mohawke’s Schmink-Wolf Refix)

15. XV – Swervin’ (Clams Casino Remix)

14. Tyson – Out of My Mind (Star Slinger Remix)

13. Star Slinger – How Will I Copulate (Moranis Mashup feat. Whitney Houston)

12. Aaliyah – Are You That Somebody (Hudson Mohawke Remix)

11. James Vincent McMorrow – If I Had a Boat (Star Slinger’s R ‘n’ B Thug Mix)

10. Gold Panda – Marriage (Star Slinger Remix)

9. Ra Ra Riot – Too Dramatic (The Kids Are Radioactive Remix)

8. Pony Pony Run Run – Hey You (Star Slinger Remix)

7. Alex Winston – Sister Wife (Star Slinger Remix)

6. The Go! Team – Apollo Throwdown (Star Slinger Remix)

5. Rizzle Kicks – Down With the Trumpets (Star Slinger Remix)

4. Coldplay – Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall (Swedish House Mafia Remix)

3. Childish Gambino – Freaks and Geeks (Star Slinger Remix)

2. Bingo Players – Cry (Just a Little) (Kids at the Bar Bootleg Remix)

1. The Joy Formidable – Whirring (Innerpartysystem Remix)

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 22 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 50-21

50. Surfer Blood – Miranda

To whet our appetite in between LPs, Surfer Blood released a rocking little EP featuring this excellent little tune.

49. Starsmith – Lesson One

Another band I know little about, but this played nonstop in my car last spring. A great ode to the unrequited and the ones that got away.

48. Cloud Nothings – Understand At All

Another catchy lo-fi power pop rocker from this group’s self-titled debut. Enjoy it while you can, because the follow-up promises to be darker and more ambitious.

47. Kreayshawn – Gucci Gucci

This Internet sensation crept onto FM radio with this undeniable, absolutely fun track. Bonus points for rhyming “over me” with “ovaries.”

46. Born Gold – Decimate Everything

My first introduction to the newly named Born Gold, and I was immediately hooked. There is a remarkable gift here in making the unorganized sound so irresistible.

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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 20 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 150-101

150. Drake feat. The Weeknd – Crew Love

This is the first of many times for both these artists on the list. Here the Weeknd provides his eerie tortured-party R&B before the beat drops and Drake laments.

149. Cass McCombs – County Line

McCombs brings another signature somber note in his trademark melancholy falsetto. One of my favorites from Wit’s End.

148. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

The first verse of this track more or less describes my life right now – realizing we are not unique snowflakes but small cogs in a machine we don’t know about yet. Simple, yet poignant.

147. The Joy Formidable – Magnifying Glass

From the maniacal laughter to the thumping stomp of that chorus to those wailing guitars, Joy Formidable claim the throne as the loudest new band of 2011.

146. YACHT – Dystopia

A play on an old R-rated cheerleader chant becomes a boogie-worthy ode to the end of the world. In typical Yacht fashion, it makes you wanna dance around the flames.

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Dec 10 2011

Culture Greyhound Podcast 12/10/11

Every Saturday, I post a 15-20 minute podcast featuring some tracks I’ve been jamming the previous week, as well as some commentary and random musings from yours truly. Enjoy!


Kendrick Lamar – A.D.H.D.
Roadrunner – Spinning
Guards – Do It Again
The Joy Formidable – A Heavy Abacus
Kendrick Lamar – No Makeup (Her Vice)

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.

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