Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

jack white : love interruption (stream)

the man is putting out a solo album. first taste here.

bowerbirds : in the yard (mp3)

another beautiful song from upcoming the clearing. good chance this album will end up as one of my favorites of the year.

bowerbirds :: in the yard

sharon van etten : tramp (album stream)

the voice on this one. listen here.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

s.mouse : slap my elbow (video)

summer heights high fans might recognize a face here. only song i ever want to hear at da club.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

chairlift : i belong in your arms (mp3)

if you like the stream below, grab the single for free for a limited time at itunes.

Friday, January 27, 2012

chairlift : i belong in your arms (stream)

very 80s and very nice pop jam by chairlift.

memoryhouse : walk with me (mp3)

another hazy one from canada's memoryhouse. if you liked any of the other songs, you'll like this one.

wild nothing : nowhere (mp3)

pretty different than the stuff on 2010 favorite gemini but really pretty nice.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

norah jones + danger mouse

pretty excited about this. i'm a big (100% not ironic) fan of norah jones. and i like what danger mouse tends to bring out of the artists he produces (i know i'm in the minority, but i really liked his work on the black keys attack and release).

shuffle surprise : please baby please by david bazan

hidden gem.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

hospitality : friends of friends (mp3)

just barely hear a hint of tune-yards in here. it's a good jam, though.
hospitality :: friends of friends

lost in the trees : red (stream)

it has sort of an emo-y feel, but still good.

andrew bird : eyeoneye (stream)

first taste of new album, break it yourself, which drops 3.6.12.

arctic monkeys : you and i (ft. richard hawley)

motorcycles. rock. roll.

the lumineers : ho hey (stream)

thanks to andrew and ashley for the tip. rec'd if you like edward sharpe, head and the heart.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

albums of 2011

hey gang. i also wanted to throw up my "favorite" albums of the year. the albums that stand the best chance of making my list are the ones that manage to maintain the most consistent mood from song to song. the most uniform "vibe" if you will. take a look at the list below. all are available on spotify or grooveshark, and all are worth a listen. anything you can believe i left off?

my morning jacket :: circuital
their most cohesive album to date.

fleet foxes :: helplessness blues
this was 3/4s of a perfect album. take out the lyricless "the cascades", the whiny "lorelai", the forgettable "someone you'd admire" and that last movement of the otherwise phenomenal "the shrine / an argument" and this would have been my favorite album of the year.

james blake :: james blake
a breath of fresh air.

smith westerns :: dye it blonde
a breath of fresh retro air.

bon iver :: bon iver, bon iver
a lot of people were displeased with this record. i'm not sure why. aside from "beth / rest" (and let's be honest, here, that song just doesn't work), there's not a weak track on the whole album.

beirut :: the rip tide
after the flimsy march of the zapotac / holland split, i was starting to worry about our boy. but not worried now. outside of "sante fe", every one of these songs was a keeper, and the live show behind this album was one of my all-time favorites.

st. vincent :: strange mercy
an incredible album full of deeply buried hooks. better after each listen.

washed out :: within and without
when chillwave broke, i was sure that toro y moi was going to have all the staying power and washed out was going to be all washed up (see what i did there?). but while toro y moi's underneath the pine underwhelmed me, this album really impressed me. and while it was most definitely still "chill", the songs were solidly crafted efforts, not just woozy samples buried under tape hiss.

caveman :: coco beware
favorite album by a newcomer. french kicks meets the walkmen.

clams casino :: instrumental mixtape

zola jesus :: conatus
favorite album by an artist new to me. super melodramatic.

destroyer :: kaputt
favorite album by an artist that doesn't usually do it for me. also, best album that could pass for adult contempo of the year.

julianna barwick :: the magic place
haunting and calming and ethereal earthy and heavenly and earthly all at the same time . still don't quite know what to make of this artist, but there's no denying this album.

honorable mentions
kurt vile :: smoke ring for my halo
real estate :: days
the rapture :: in the grace of your love
grouper :: a / a
the antlers :: burst apart

julianna barwick : never change (mp3)

recommended if you like grouper, feeling like you're inside a cloud.

juliana barwick :: never change

st. vincent : cheerleader (conan)

the intro is a nod to elvis costello's first snl performance. now you know.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012

of all the songs i gave to my dad, these were his three favorites.

antony & the johnsons :: knockin' on heaven's door (bob dylan cover)

radiohead :: reckoner

the black keys :: my mind is ramblin' (junior kimbrough cover)

happy birthday, big guy.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

songs of 2011

hey gang. if you've been with us for awhile, you know that i know that you know about all my problems with year-end lists. but in case you don't, this is what i wrote when i did my "songs" post back in 2009:

i didn't want to title this "BEST songs of 2009." mostly because i have no idea what would make a song "the best." or for that matter, what would even make a song just "good." good how? is it good compared to other songs of 2009? is it good compared to other songs in general? is it contextually important? is it musically progressive? is it technically complex? is it a new genre? a reimagining of an old genre? does it add to the value of popular music? is it culturally relevant? will it last? i don't know. i only know what i like. and i only know what i like right now. some of the songs and music that i listened to relentlessly at the beginning of this year haven't been listened to in months. some songs that i listen to relentlessly right now may sound boring in a few months. some songs i'll never listen to again, and some will still be spinning for years to come. it all just seems a little arbitrary.

so i guess what i'm trying to say is that this will ultimately just amount to a list of songs from the year 2009. placed in no particular order. of some possible importance. some may be musically and melodically complex. some may be barely more than the human voice. some may be from new genres. some may be from bent genres. some may be plain 'ol radio pop. they will all be songs i like. i hope you like them, too. i'll include some writing where appropriate, in case you're curious as to why i've included them or what i think of them.

so there you have it. this year i'm going to put streams of each of the songs below them, in case you'd like to listen while reading (edit: blogger stopped working when i tried that, so instead, there are links to streams). i've also created a spotify playlist with these songs on there (but note there are couple songs on my list not available on spotify). let's go!

james blake :: the wilhelm scream
this song/musician/album did to me in 2011 what skinny love/bon iver/for emma did to me in 2008. the voice is everything.

dirty beaches :: lord knows best
sounds like a demo the national's matt berringer might have wrote while blasted. especially because of berringer's knack for being able to put at least one line in each song that just rips your heart out. here, "lord knows best that i don't give a damn about anyone but you."

the national :: exile vilify
speaking of the national, there's this. another homerun by berringer and crew. maybe the most consistent band working right now.

the strokes :: under cover of darkness
i don't think i saw this song on any "best of..." lists that i saw this year, which i thought was kind of surprising. it's another great single in an already hearty list of great singles for the band. post-post-punk radio rock ear candy.

fleet foxes :: grown ocean
this was the "cornerstone song" on the album, for me. it's the song that held the album together. that opened the album up.

cut copy :: take me over
feels like drinking on balmy nights.

my morning jacket :: holdin on to black metal
a weird and awesome santana-tinged song by the only band from this era that could pull it off.

kurt vile :: baby's arms
i know i said i don't like to play favorites with songs and these lists, but this may be my favorite song of 2011. just flawless. “baby’s arms” bears the trademarks of Vile’s strongest work: hypnotically dynamic fingerpicking, Dylan-esque sing-speak vocals, and atmospheric beeps, bloops and flourishes that transport the listener to some astral plane far far away.

kurt vile :: runner ups
another classic kv jam. too good.

arctic monkeys :: the hellcat spangled shalalala
although the new album didn't quite hit me as hard as humbug did (i know i'm in the minority, but i still think it's their best album), this song is just a knockout. dark and poppy, sharp and shaggy, and full of alex turner's trademark lyrical turns.

real estate :: it's real
another cornerstone song. opened up the band for me. those whoas.

picture plane :: real is a feeling
“real is a feeling” starts with a lone synth line somewhere in the distance, coming closer and closer, and while your brain is slowly starting to pick apart the melody…BOOM. the tinny 808s and surging bass line slip right past that spongy grey matter in your hatrack and your body just starts moving. it’s a beautiful thing. don’t fight it.

beyonce :: countdown
i mean, come on. just the best pop song that radio stations actually played in 2011. no question. the best song that beyonce has ever written. and if the radio format doesn't change much in the next eight years, this is a strong contender for "best pop song that radio stations actually play" of the decade.

m83 :: midnight city
best pop song that radio stations didn't play in 2011? i would say so. like every good M83 song, “midnight city” comes replete with skyward synths, stadium-sized drums, ghostly layered vocals weaving in and out of the atmospheric haze, and a catharsis-loaded chorus. but there is something else here, as well. something new. while as emotive as any of M83′s previous work, “midnight city” seems to trade out some of the band’s trademark melancholia (think “teen angst” or “you, appearing”) for dancefloor euphoria. and the results are incredible. also, there is a sax solo.

m83 :: new map
best song outro of 2011. starts at three minute mark.

the drums :: money
the upside to being one-trick ponies is that you get really good at that trick. that bass line.

st. vincent :: cruel
a great song from an album full of great songs. that siren voice.

gem club :: twins
whispered vocals, spindly cello, and piano so soft you can hear the key strokes. best sad song of the year.

diy :: keep shelly in athens
feels like a song you would expect to hear inside a bar in the movie bladerunner.

the horros :: still life

feels like a song you would expect to hear at the end of a john hughes movie. the highest of compliments.

dum dum girls :: coming down
sometimes the three right chords are the three right chords. play ‘em straight and sing from the heart.

tune-yards :: the bizness
the best dirty projectors song not by the dirty projectors.

austra :: lose it
that voice. something about this song is just so beautifully eery. i couldn't get enough of it this year.

lana del rey :: video games
just so much hype and hate surrounding this poor girl. to be honest, i'm not super interested in any of it. it's just such a good song (and a pretty great video). here's to hoping she doesn't license the song to grey's anatomy.

gil-scott heron and jamie xx :: i'll take care of you
a surprisingly complimentary mash.

the shimmering stars :: i'm gonna try
a perfect pop song excellently crafted to fit snugly within the late 50s/early 60s am radio pop parameters, this song could have floated over the airwaves half a century ago, fitting seamlessly between tunes by buddy holly and the zombies. aside from that opening lyric about wanting to kill everyone.

unknown mortal orchestra :: ffunny ffrends
like playing a warped 45" that's been left in the sun.

drake :: headlines
definitely did not and am not buying in to the hype on this album, but this song is a jam.

the streets :: trust me

i've never been sadder about a musician's trajectory than mike skinners'. not because i think his albums got progressively worse, but because i think that he thought his albums got progressively worse. what a sad way to end your career. but this song is just so so so good. one of my favorites. "now that things are costing nothing is any of it good? come and love me read my nothings blogging with the flood."

happy new year

here's to hoping 2012 sucks a little less than 2011.