Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 10/5/12
Thanks to everybody who tuned in and/or placed requests during my radio show last night! It was, as usual, a lot of fun for me. This was an especially eventful week for new music, so I had a lot of stuff to choose from. I hope you enjoyed my picks. Check out the full playlist immediately below, and stream the available tracks via Spotify at the embedded link at the bottom.
- 1. Titus Andronicus - “Ecce Homo”
- 2. Built To Spill - “Distopian Dream Girl”
- 3. The Replacements - “Color Me Impressed”
- 4. The Mountain Goats - “The Diaz Brothers”
- 5. Yo La Tengo - “Stockholm Syndrome” (Requested by Tortipouss)
- 6. The New Pornographers - “The Fake Headlines”
- 7. King Tuff - “Hit & Run”
- 8. Title Fight - “Secret Society”
- 9. Hum - “Stars”
- 10. Elvis Depressedly - “Exhaustion Prevails” (Requested by eniloj)
- 11. The Hold Steady - “You Can Make Him Like You”
- 12. Big Star - “Thank You Friends”
- 13. The New Pornographers - “If You Can’t See My Mirrors”
- 14. Now, Now - “Thread”
- 15. Sidewalk Dave - “Happiness Is An Art: We Must Learn While We’re Apart”
- 16. The Killers - “A Matter Of Time”
- 17. Efterklang - “Dreams Today”
- 18. 10,000 Maniacs - “Hey Jack Kerouac”
- 19. Kiran Leonard - “Dear Lincoln”
- 20. LCD Soundsystem - “Tribulations” (Live at Madison Square Garden, 4/2/11)
- 21. Morrissey - “Let Me Kiss You”
- 22. Desaparecidos - “The Happiest Place On Earth”
- 23. Hostage Calm - “Brokenheartland” (Requested by thomyorke-ismyhalloweenthemedurl)
- 24. Converge - “Aimless Arrow”
- 25. Warsaw - “Warsaw”
- 26. Mount Eerie - “Through The Trees Pt. 2” (Requested by sausagespookies)
- 27. Port St. Willow - “Put The Armor On The Mantle”
- 28. Jesu - “Brave New World” (Requested by withlugosi)
- 29. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - “Their Helicopters’ Sing”
Stream via Spotify:
Spook Houses - TRYING (2012)
Dave Benton in a man of ambition. As a student at SUNY Purchase, he balances his academic work with running an indie label called Double Double Whammy, producing and mixing music, booking shows, and playing in at least two bands: LVL UP, who released the excellent SPACE BROTHERS LP last year, and Spook Houses. With SPACE BROTHERS, Benton helped create a bizarrely infectious pop/rock oddity — 23 minutes of brief, stylistically varied pop. With Spook Houses, Benton seems to have a wider vision. On the appropriately named new LP Trying, he and his band attempt to actualize that ambition. In no uncertain terms, Trying is Spook Houses’ pitch for the next Great American Indie Rock Record.
Did they succeed entirely? Perhaps not, but you have to give them credit for trying. On the surface, at least, all the hallmarks of such a record are present on this album. At 32 minutes, it’s still brief, but it’s significantly longer than anything Benton has been involved with in the immediate past. It’s got the multi-part mini epics (the introductory “Try Pt. 1 / Pt. 2” and the closer “July ‘09”), the acoustic asides (“Old Folks”) and a reckless guitar smash of a lead single called “American” that kicks ass in all the ways a punk song bearing that name should. It’s even got a classic four-chord song (“Bad Sound”), which hammers that tried-and-true progression back into relevance out of sheer distorted rock catharsis. Sonically, Trying worships past Great American Indie Rock artists, incorporating guitar theatrics from Modest Mouse, vocal sensibilities from Built To Spill, and that indomitable New Jersey grit from their fellow Jerseyites Titus Andronicus. “Whoa” choruses are shouted. Horns, harmonica, and heavily layered guitars are incorporated. On ”Search For,” Benton drops lines like “Nothing makes an asshole out of one more than love” with nothing but raw, sincere conviction. For better or worse, this album scans like the latest edition of Anthemic Indie Rock By Numbers.
But you know what? That’s really not such a bad thing. Indie rock at large is in a lyrical lull right now, with bands like DIIV espousing insubstantial and lazy lyrics and shrugging it off as “atmospheric.” Even in Spook Houses’ home state of New Jersey, bands like Real Estate (whom I actually quite like) are hiding genuine lyrics under a veil of reverb. I’ve been craving for someone to shout “this dream’s all I got to keep me going” at me like Benton does on “American” for the better part of a year. 2012 needs a jolt of votive sincerity, and this album offers it up, spade after revivalist spade.
On the worst days, Trying sounds like a rushed attempt by a very young cadre of musicians to purposefully make something beyond their means and years. But when Trying is at its best — when the fall air begins to nip and you’re driving up the Garden State Parkway blasting “Bad Sound” at full volume — it’s hard not to buy into the pitch at least in that moment. There is deeper meaning here, along with individuality and creativity, but it’s hid under an enjoyable sheen of well-performed idol worship.
For instance, although many of the songs on Trying appeal to that same feeling of uneasy nostalgia that Built To Spill’s There’s Nothing Wrong With Love so perfectly captured in 1994, Dave Benton doesn’t actually sound much like Doug Marsch. However, like Marsch, he does have a unique voice that listeners will either love or hate — an nasally tenor that frustratingly spends too much time on tracks like “Try Pt. 1” in its lowest possible register. When he’s singing quietly like he does on that song, Benton’s lethargic voice has the ability to suck any trickle of emotion out of everything. When he raises it, though, wrenching himself up amidst crashing cymbals and blaring guitars in the shouted chorus of the album highlight “Witching Hour,” the listener feels compelled to rise up with him.
That particular moment in “Witching Hour” is indicative of a truth that Benton spends some time grappling with in the lyrics of Trying: effort, though innately difficult, begets more effort. Although Benton plainly lays out exactly what he’s trying to do on this album at the beginning of “Try Pt. 1,” Spook Houses seem to be trying in a more general sense throughout the record, as if the effort to live a more productive life and “search for a new kind of light” inspired the whole band to invigorate themselves musically. That vigor comes through on Trying, and even though they never quite find resolution in his efforts, the band’s hard work does pay off. Though flawed, Trying is an impressive and well-realized piece of work. If Spook Houses can sustain their ratio of ambition to effort, their future work could be even stronger.
Edit: I inaccurately credited Dave Benton with singing on “Try Pt. 1/ Pt. 2”. Band member Colin Alexander is responsible for singing on a number of tracks on Trying, in addition to Benton himself.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 7/20/12
- 1. The Mountain Goats & Kaki King - “Black Pear Tree”
- 2. Frank Ocean - “Thinkin Bout You”
- 3. Built to Spill - “Hindsight”
- 4. Fang Island - “Make Me”
- 5. Baroness - “March To The Sea” (Requested by rainbowsrillusions)
- 6. Japandroids - “Sovereignty”
- 7. The Men - “Open Your Heart”
- 8. The Olivia Tremor Control - “Courtyard”
- 9. The Hold Steady - “The Sweet Part Of The City”
- 10. The Mountain Goats - “Jam Eater Blues”
- 11. Jens Lekman - “If You Ever Need A Stranger (To Sing At Your Wedding)”
- 12. Into It. Over It. - “Where Your Nights Often End”
- 13. Girl In A Coma - “Their Cell” (Requested by blueshadedays)
- 14. Dirty Projectors - “Just From Chevron”
- 15. Xiu Xiu - “I Luv The Valley OH”
- 16. Tame Impala - “Apocalypse Dreams”
- 17. Frank Ocean - “Forrest Gump”
- 18. Passion Pit - “Constant Conversations”
- 19. Burial - “Archangel”
- 20. Balam Acab - “Expect”
- 21. Autechre - “Gantz Graf”
- 22. Nine Inch Nails - “Terrible Lie”
- 23. James Blake - “Limit To Your Love” (Feist cover)
- 24. LCD Soundsystem - “Someone Great”
- 25. Simon & Garfunkel - “The Only Living Boy In New York”
- 26. The Mountain Goats - “Satanic Messiah”
Stream via Spotify:
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 6/29/12
Thanks as always for tuning in to Left of the Dial last night on WNHU. Last night’s broadcast included a lot of new tracks, a number of which will appear on my June 2012 mix. That mix will be up later today on the blog to stream via 8tracks. If you missed the show last night, you can stream the playlist on Spotify at the embedded link below. Unfortunately, a lot of the tracks aren’t available on Spotify, but it’s the best option at this point. I guess you’ll just have to deal. Anyway, if you’re really interested, I’ve provided individual links to stream each one of the songs that weren’t available on Spotify.
Thanks again for tuning in, and be sure to catch next week’s program, on which I’ll be playing tracks from some of my favorite artists performing at the Pitchfork Music Festival in two weeks.
- 1. The Hold Steady - “Constructive Summer”
- 2. Jawbreaker - “The Boat Dreams From The Hill”
- 3. Titus Andronicus - “Titus Andronicus”
- 4. Spirit Night - “Kerouac”
- 5. Ty Segall Band - “I Bought My Eyes”
- 6. Built to Spill - “Distopian Dream Girl”
- 7. The Promise Ring - “Perfect Lines”
- 8. Milkshakes - “Kalabar’s Revenge”
- 9. Donovan Wolfington - “Spencer Green”
- 10. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - “I Will Be Okay. Everything”
- 11. DIIV - “Doused”
- 12. Jens Lekman - “Your Arms Around Me”
- 13. The Smiths - “What Difference Does It Make?”
- 14. Literature - “ESQUIRE ESQUIRE”
- 15. Tilly and the Wall - “Love Riot”
- 16. Fiona Apple - “Werewolf”
- 17. Destroyer - “Savage Night At The Opera”
- 18. Mister Heavenly - “Diddy Eyes”
- 19. Baths - “You’re My Excuse To Travel”
- 20. Milo - “The confrontation at Khazad-dûm”
- 21. WHY? - “Sod In The Seed”
- 22. Nana Grizol - “Tambourine-N-Thyme”
- 23. Spider Bags - “My Oh My”
- 24. Jens Lekman - “Waiting For Kirsten”
- 25. The Helveticas - “Streetlight”
- 26. Jose Oyola - “I’m The Cloud”
- 27. The Human Fly - “Moth”
- 28. House Of Wolves - “There She Goes”
- 29. David Bello - “Rubberneck”
- 30. Into It. Over It. - “Pontiac, MI (Acoustic)”
- 31. Jake Shaker - “Let My Ocean Floor, Eternal”
Stream via Spotify:
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 8/26/11
Last night’s show was a lot of fun. In addition to playing a good selection of new music from the new Circle Takes The Square EP, the new Cymbals Eat Guitars record, and Stephin Merritt’s Obscurities compilation, I spotlighted some of my favorite Conor Oberst music in lieu of Bright Eyes’ show in Brooklyn on Wednesday. Due to the hurricane, Bright Eyes has cancelled a number of dates including their show with Titus Andronicus in Mountain Park tomorrow.
Check out the playlist from last night’s show below with youtube links for each song.
- 1. The Feelies - “Moscow Nights”
- 2. Bright Eyes - “Arc Of Time (Time Code)”
- 3. The Format - “She Doesn’t Get It”
- 4. Los Campesinos! - “There Are Listed Buildings”
- 5. The 6ths - “Yet Another Girl”
- 6. The Modern Lovers - “Astral Plane”
- 7. Cymbals Eat Guitars - “Definite Darkness”
- 8. The Dismemberment Plan - “The City”
- 9. Bright Eyes - “Triple Spiral”
- 10. The Rapture - “How Deep Is Your Love?”
- 11. Circle Takes The Square - “Enter By The Narrow Gates”
- 12. Bright Eyes - “Pull My Hair”
- 13. High Pop - “Seaweed”
- 14. Built To Spill - “Reasons”
- 15. Desaparecidos - “The Happiest Place On Earth”
- 16. Make Wave - “Say Fiesta” (Requested by Nadnerbreyd)
- 17. Titus Andronicus - “Joset Of Nazareth’s Blues”
- 18. JEFF The Brotherhood - “Hey Friend”
- 19. Neutral Milk Hotel - “Oh Sister”
- 20. The Mountain Goats - “Up The Wolves” (Come, Come To The Sunset Tree version)
- 21. Bright Eyes - “From A Balance Beam”
- 22. Big Star - “In The Street”
- 23. The Rolling Stones - “Wild Horses” (Requested by David Grimm)
- 24. R.E.M. - “Half A World Away”
- 25. Red House Painters - “Down Through”
- 26. Scott Walker - “It’s Raining Today”
- 27. The Replacements - “Androgynous” (Requested by Matagot)
- 28. Idaho - “Impaler”
I probably won’t have a show next friday (September 2nd) because I’ll be at the JEFF The Brotherhood show at The Space in Hamden CT. More information about that show can be found HERE.
Built to Spill - Perfect From Now On (1997)
This album sounds like a hurricane. Speaking of which, does anyone know when this thing is supposed to hit Connecticut?
Built to Spill - There Is No Enemy (2009)
Oh my god. This album is absolutely incredible. Dark, deep, and just mindblowingly powerful. Every few months since it came out I rediscover how great it is. The last two songs in particular are two of the best Built to Spill songs ever and that’s really saying something. I think “Things Fall Apart” is actually my favorite Built to Spill song. Leave it to a band that’s been around for close to 20 years to release one of their best albums this late in its career, and to have one of the best songs ever on it as well. Wow.
One of my only regrets about seeing Built to Spill live back in September was being unable to hear “Things Fall Apart” live. I remember that they did play “Oh Yeah”, another one of my favorites from the album, which was a great surprise though.
Built to Spill - There’s Nothing Wrong With Love (1994)
Listening to this album really takes me back to the end of summer/beginning of the school year. That was a strange and very important time in my life, and for nearly every major event in those two months or so, Built to Spill was there as a soundtrack. I even saw them live during that time on September 3rd. I’ve listened to this album the most out of all their releases.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 4/22/11
Last night’s radio show on WNHU went pretty well. I played tracks from a number of my Record Store Day purchases, as well as new music from By Surprise’s new record Mountain Smashers, my current favorite album of 2011, which I reviewed HERE. Below is the playlist, complete with youtube links when available. Next Friday I probably won’t have a show, because I’ll be seeing Ted Leo (solo) with Drew O’Doherty and Omeed Goodarzi (of Midi & The Modern Dance). They’re playing an all-ages show at The Space in Hamden. More information about that show can be found HERE.
- Smashing Pumpkins - “1979”
- The Decemberists - “Calamity Song”
- R.E.M. - “World Leader Pretend”
- Tom Waits - “Step Right Up”
- Sufjan Stevens - “I Walked”
- Animal Collective - “Did You See The Words”
- Built to Spill - “I Would Hurt a Fly”
- Guided By Voices - “Watch Me Jumpstart”
- By Surprise - “Realometer”
- Ted Leo and The Pharmacists - “Bottled In Cork” (click through for an awesome music video featuring a cameo from Titus Andronicus’ Patrick Stickles)
- Low - “Majesty/Magic”
- Red House Painters - “Make Like Paper”
- The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - “Even In Dreams”
- Algernon Cadwallader - “Horror”
- Titus Andronicus - “My Time Outside the Womb”
- Pixies - “Gigantic”
- Nana Grizol - “For Things That Haven’t Come Yet”
- By Surprise - “Daggermouth Is Playing At My House”
- Joan of Arc - “The Infinite Blessed Yes”
- Maserati - “Cities”
- James Blake - “To Care (Like You)”
- Bright Eyes - “Poison Oak”
- Morrissey - “Now My Heart Is Full”
So, I stopped by Redscroll Records in Wallingford for Record Store day earlier. I posted a video about my experience on my personal blog just now. I’d appreciate it if my followers would follow this blog as well. Thanks a lot. This kind of thing is going to get posted on my personal blog from now on, as opposed to this blog.
Hey everyone! Chris here. I just got back from shopping at Redscroll Records in Wallingford and picked up some great records for Record Store Day!
Here’s what I got:
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die - Josh Is Dead (2011)
Panda Bear - “Last Night at the Jetty” b/w “Drone” (2010)
Dirty Beaches - “Sweet 17” b/w “True Blue” (2011)
Low - C’mon (2011)
Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances (2008)
Animal Collective - Feels (2005)
Built to Spill - Perfect From Now On (Deluxe Edition) (1997 - Reissued 2011)
Algernon Cadwallader - Algernon Cadwallader (2008)
Did any of you guys / girls shop at a record store today? What did you get?
While You In Reverse will always be my favorite Built To Spill record, there were some great gems tucked away on 2009’s radar-evading There Is No Enemy. A song like “Done” captures the band and leader/singer Doug Martsch at their best - mining a lot of substantive material out of a repetitive, churning, and evolving series of riffs. I like how these songs deteriorate and build back up, fuzzing out into bleak angular landscapes and back into melodic pop without letting you see where the seams are.
There Is No Enemy was a top 10 record of 2009 for sure.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 1/14/11
Yesterday’s show was my first two hour show on the main radio stream at WNHU. I enjoyed the extended time and having the new time slot, and I thought it went pretty smoothly, despite some computer issues at the very beginning. Here’s the playlist from last night -
- 1. Built to Spill - Randy Described Eternity
- 2. Andrew Jackson Jihad - Heartilation
- 3. Algernon Cadwallader - Some Kind of Cadwallader
- 4. The Love Language - Lalita
- 5. Lou Reed - I’m So Free
- 6. Scott Walker - Mathilde
- 7. Bob Dylan - One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)
- 8. Husker Du - Chartered Trips
- 9. Hour of the Star - Rootbeer and Running Shoes
- 10. Carissa’s Wierd - You Should Be Hated Here
- 11. Joan of Arc - This Life Cumulative
- 12. Fucked Up - Son the Father
- 13. Daft Punk - Robot Rock
- 14. Surfer Blood - Floating Vibes
- 15. Love - Alone Again Or
- 16. The Flaming Lips - The Gash
- 17. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - Round and Round
- 18. The Beach Boys - God Only Knows
- 19. Bright Eyes - Shell Games
- 20. Elvis Costello - (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
- 21. The Stone Roses - This Is The One
- 22. Beach House - Zebra
- 23. The Magnetic Fields - Long Vermont Roads
- 24. Animal Collective - Turn Into Something
- 25. Galaxie 500 - Tell Me
- 26. Sharon Van Etten - Save Yourself
- 27. Bruce Springsteen - Streets Of Fire
Song of the Day Number Fifty Three
I saw Built to Spill in September here in New Haven, and was blown away by the tenuous yet vicious guitar interplay that the band maintains live and on record. Though most of their set was culled from more recent records, the inclusion of the song “Stab” from their 1994 album There’s Nothing Wrong With Love generated a tremendously positive response from the crowd. From the first words and gently strummed guitar of Doug Martsch, the crowd went understandably crazy. Like many great Built to Spill songs, “Stab” begins simply and devolves over time into a sprawling array of guitar leads, each one with its own distinct tone. Martsch’s solos are incredible emotional but never pretentious, and their complicated, distorted brilliance makes me wonder why he is not universally considered a true ‘guitar hero’. Tracks such as this make There’s Nothing Wrong With Love one of my favorite albums of the 90s, and Built to Spill one of my favorite bands.
“Car” by Built to Spill
This may just be the greatest song ever written.
I wanna see it when you get stoned on a cloudy, breezy desert afternoon.
Gorgeous, incredible song, one of the best indie rock songs of the 90s, etc., etc.
Need I say more? I listened to this for the first time in a while the other day… totally blown away. There’s Nothing Wrong With Love is a nearly flawless album.
“I wanna see movies of my dreams”