This is the first of what I plan to make a weekly wrap-up post. We are a small, albeit passionate blog. As such, we cannot possibly cover all of the artists that strike our fancy. Nor would it prove healthy to attempt to do so. I will use this weekly post as an opportunity to share quality content from other blogs and musical sources. The posts will typically be features, in-depth interviews, etc. In other words, you likely will not find any “New Hot Song” posts here.
There will be no rhyme or reason regarding genre or order of the selection. Just hoping to pass along some of the more interesting articles that I read each week. My mother always told me to share with my friends. With that in mind, check out the links below.
Author: Kelsey Simpson
Description: Humorous interview with Television guitarist Richard Lloyd. The strummer speaks on the definition of “punk” and his role in one of the genre’s most influential bands. Catch him this Friday at The Melody Inn in Indianapolis. Highly recommended start to race weekend.
Link: Changes at WLFY
Author: Zach & Hank
Source: We Listen For You
Description: WLFY might be my favorite music blog. This week, the authors announced that they will be changing the blog’s format. As a duo, WLFY has decided that they are finished “playing the blog game.” Beginning Monday, they will only publish one post per day, in the hope that quality trumps quantity. I am thrilled to see where this shift in focus takes these cats.
Link: CoSign: Conveyor
Author: Harley Brown
Source: Consequence of Sound
Description: An interview/preview of Brooklyn’s Conveyor, surrounding the release of their debut, self-titled LP. Interesting look at a band worthy of your attention.
Author: Eric Harvey
Description: An in-depth look at Smokey Robinson’s underrated 1975 album The Quiet Storm. The writer attempts to assess The Quiet Storm‘s position in the pantheon of all-time great R&B and Soul albums. The piece offers insight into the state of popular African-American music in the middle of the 1970s.
Author: Jon Rogers
Source: Musical Family Tree
Description: MFT has begun a new series of posts entitled “Weird and Wild.” The first installment takes a look at the “experimental, digitally manipulated soundscapes” of Chicago Bulls Hat. This Indiana-based electronic duo offers up some auditory food for thought at an alarming pace.
Author: M. Garner
Source: Aquarium Drunkard
Description: I’m a big fan of this semi-regular installment on Aqua Drunkard. “Scratch the Surface” examines the influence that album art has on the listening experience. KISS has always been a band that is as interesting to watch as hear. Their 1975 album Alive! is no exception. Don’t miss the comment section beneath the post, where AD reader Nelson offers up an interesting rock n’ roll factoid.
Author: Abby Ross
Source: Knox Road
Description: A short think-piece on the use of music as self-medication.
Curated by Rob Peoni
New music comes at us fast. If an idiom for the ears existed similar to drinking from a fire hose then I would try to act smart and type it here. I would consider myself an addict to new releases. Betty Ford does not have a program for these ears. I try to go into every listen with an open mind. After the last track is played I always try to leave time for reflection. As I sit here and reflect on my internal listening system I discover some standard habits that I would like to share with you. Bringing these behaviors to light is somewhat of a healing process for me. These are the steps I have identified that I routinely make to show how much I really like an album.
I am proud to be a contributor to this blog, because we do not post on Stinkers. I hate negative posts. There is too much other good music to write about and I would rather promote the good rather than the bad. The Stinker gets played one time. Most of the time this is my fault. I go into the digital purchase knowing that it really is not my thing, but buy into the hype. The more blogs that post about it the more I feel like I have to give it a shot. Just so I can make it completely clear, this was not the case with Lana Del Rey. I thought she sucked all along and still believe that her music is atrocious. As I digress, I tend to believe that hype gets the best of my addiction and always treat it as a learning experience. The album grows old and becomes irrelevant in the depths of my iTunes library.
Yes, this is a direct reference from the Tom Hanks film ‘That Thing You Do!’. While these cats might have appeared to be more than a one hit wonder, they were not. The movie was named after the song that made them relevant and the only track that viewers of this film remember. The Oneder is tricky. Typically, I hear the first single from my friends on Sirius XMU. I dig into it and turn it up every time it comes up in my car. My next step is to track when the band’s LP is going to be released. Often, a month passes and excitement hits me as I awake on that Tuesday morning. The Oneder is like that friend who comes up big in the beginning and then leeches off you until you realize that they suck. The Oneder gets a few opportunities to be heard, but with every play I realize that the only song that matters is the one that you heard from the beginning. I appreciate the efforts of the Oneder, but do not purchase its next release.
This is where we start to dig into the good. The Transfer is relevant, but it works to earn my respect. Simply put, this album entertained me enough times that I decided to transfer it over to my iPhone. I need to this album with me at all times. Whether I play it in my car, at work, or am introducing it to a friend the Transfer needs to be mobile. I made a huge mistake that I will soon correct when I upgrade my iPhone. Opting to save $100 I went with the 16 gb version. This is just not nearly enough space for addicts like myself. I want to be able to store Transfers both new and old. Managing my Transfers is one of the most difficult parts of my week because I always have to make cuts. Cutting a former Transfer does not mean I am done with it, however it just means that there is something newer out there that needs time. Right Peyton?
This is a record where possessing a digital ownership feels hollow. This record has grown on me and grown with me. This is an album that I can hear the next song beginning while the current is ending. The Memento is taken under consideration when building my best of list at the end of the year. These records are called the Memento because it has earned a vinyl purchase. These records are typically heard and obtained in the digital format initially, but are good enough to justify the double purchase. Mementos never grow old. They gain credibility over time. These are the records that I hope to introduce to my children. I own an entire shelf filled with Mementos. They all have stories and have earned added value in time. These might not be the best recordings to the majority, but are the most meaningful to me personally. They are a collection of souvenirs through song. A powerful reminder for why I listen to so much music.
As we close the doors on the first quarter of 2012 I wanted to take a step back and reflect on what I consider Transfer worthy and potentially Memento earning. These 12 recordings left the biggest impact on me during my listening experience in Q1. I have covered most of them on this blog, but believe they deserve one more opportunity to be recognized as we quickly move towards the first half of the year. Take a second to slow down and enjoy a snippet of what I have been holding on to this year.
Daniel Rossen: Silent Hour / Golden Mile EP – “Golden Mile”
Doe Paoro: Slow to Love – “I’ll Go Blind”
Hospitality: Hospitality – “Betty Wang”
Jessie Baylin: Little Spark – “Love is Wasted on Lovers”
Nite Jewel: One Second of Love – “Autograph”
Oberhofer: Time Capsules II – “Heart”
Written by Brett McGrath
10. The Roots ft. Big K.R.I.T. – “Make My”
I catch a lot of grief for my lack of hip-hop coverage on this blog. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the genre, I just don’t think I listen enough to justify writing. I won’t bother attempting to explain why “Make My” is a significant contribution to the genre. All I can say is that this is the best damn hip-hop song I have heard in quite some time. In fact, undun, is also on my short list for top albums of the year. So there.
9. The Strokes – “Machu Piccu”
The Strokes’ long-awaited, fourth full-length release, Angles, received mixed reviews from the indie scene at large. Particularly a pesky Chicago blog that I often find myself annoyed and disagreeable with. For years, crictics bitched and moaned about the fact that The Strokes were really just Julian Casablancas. So the boys finally put an album out that represented a team effort and everyone shrugs? I don’t get it. Though Angles failed to make my Top 10 albums of the year, “Machu Piccu” was the track that I found myself returning to most often. Play it loud. It’s better that way.
8. Real Estate – “Out of Tune”
Real Estates’ fall release Days has been slapped with a near universal stamp of approval. Though those types of mass agreement tend to send me running for cover. I have to say, I agree with the masses. This fall release is perfect for a long drive. Though Days tends to mesh together into a single thought for me, I’m particularly drawn to “Out of Tune”. The track is a sleepy, slow roll that requires no deep thinking. It’s just great music, and you know it from the first note.
7. White Denim – “Street Joy”
Austin, TX’s White Denim satisfied my desire for the type of guitar driven jams that I feel the indie scene is lacking with their 2011 release D. The band fits a more traditional rock band formula that falls neatly within my comfort zone. Ironically, “Street Joy” is the one track from the release that doesn’t fit that model. Here, the boys employ a simple recurring acoustic guitar over an ethereal synth line. The song plays like a dream, and what a sweet dream it is.
6. Surfer Blood – “Drinking Problem”
Surfer Blood’s Tarot Classics was another EP that narrowly missed my Top 5 list. For me, “Drinking Problem” was the strongest song on the release. The subject matter was relatable for me. John Paul Pitts sings of not giving a shit about the problems that arise from his substance dependent friends and their various vices, saying “At least I know who my friends are.” Amen brother.
5. Fleet Foxes – “Lorelai”
I missed out on Pitchfork Festival in Chicago this year. Instead, I spent the bulk of the weekend camped out in front of my computer, watching via the interwebs. I can honestly say that Fleet Foxes’ headlining performance was one of my favorite concerts of the year. Chills ran down my spine as Robin Pecknold conquered the Chicago indie scene with staggering renditions of songs from their 2011 release Helplessness Blues. Though my initial enthrallment with the album faded throughout the year, my love for “Lorelai” never left.
4. The Beach Boys – “Heroes and Villains”
The first time I heard this particular version of “Heroes and Villains” was in the opening scene of 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Those of you that understand the love I feel deep down in my loins for this movie, know that an immediate musical bond was made. The song reappeared on the long anticipated release of The Beach Boys’ original Smile recordings this year. The album is a treat, and this track is a masterpiece.
3. Dirty Gold – “California Sunrise”
Very few songs have the ability to transplant a listener directly into beach front vacation mode. “California Sunrise” is certainly one of those songs. San Diego teens Dirty Gold’s debut ROAR just barely missed my list of Best EP’s from 2011. I don’t think I’ve ever played this song for a group without someone chiming in to ask, “Who the hell are these guys?”
2. Paul Simon – “Rewrite”
I like to consider myself a writer above all else. Good or bad is debatable, but when someone asks what I do, my response is inevitably: I write. I think that’s why I found this Paul Simon track so endearing. Complex, repeating tribal rhythms underscore flawless songwriting on this one. Here, Simon leads his listener on a meditative journey through the mind of an aging writer who has never found a draft he didn’t wish to change. Like the best poems, every one of “Rewrite”‘s words serves a purpose.
1. tUnE-yArDs – “Powa”
What to say about Merrill Garbus? She’s a tough cookie to put into words. To use a cop out, you really have to hear it. I would recommend you start with “Powa”, arguably her most accessible track. Garbus’ unfathomably wide vocal range is on full display, allowing the listener to nearly forget that she is singing, quite graphically, about a woman’s most primal sexual desires. Watch below:
Written by Rob Peoni