Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 12/14/12
Sorry for not posting this earlier! I’ve been very busy lately with a number of serious obligations, not the least of which is my upcoming series of year end lists, which will feature a lot of retrospective writing. Anyway, here’s the playlist from my most recent radio show on Friday. The format for this broadcast was simple; I chose some of my favorite songs from 2012 and arranged them, mixtape style, outside of the formal structure of a typical year end list. I will, of course, be putting out a more structured Top Songs of 2012 list featuring songs that are not represented in this playlist. In fact, I purposefully left out anything that might be included in my SOTY list. Many of these, however, were very close to making the cut for the Top 25. Check out the full playlist below and stream the available tracks via Spotify.
- 1. The Shins - “Simple Song”
- 2. The Ambulars - “We’re Golden”
- 3. Parquet Courts - “Borrowed Time”
- 4. Cat Power - “Ruin”
- 5. Dirty Projector - “Gun Has No Trigger”
- 6. Desaparecidos - “Backsell”
- 7. Now, Now - “Thread”
- 8. Death Grips - “I’ve Seen Footage”
- 9. Converge - “Sadness Comes Home”
- 10. The Tallest Man On Earth - “1904”
- 11. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - “Mature Themes”
- 12. A.C. Newman - “I’m Not Talking”
- 13. Ty Segall Band - “I Bought My Eyes”
- 14. SPOOK HOUSES - “Bad Sound”
- 15. Spider Bags - “Friday Night”
- 16. Sidewalk Dave - “Happiness Is An Art: We Must Learn While We’re Apart”
- 17. First Aid Kit - “King of the World” (feat. Conor Oberst)
- 18. The Mountain Goats - “Cry For Judas”
- 19. Teen Suicide - “Give Me Back To The Sky”
- 20. SpaceGhostPurpp - “The Black God”
- 21. Burial - “Loner”
- 22. Joie De Vivre - “I Was Sixteen Ten Years Ago”
- 23. You Blew It! - “The Fifties”
- 24. Fiona Apple - “Werewolf”
- 25. Suns - “The Engine Room”
- 26. Sun Kil Moon - “Among the Leaves”
- 27. The Antlers - “Drift Dive”
- 28. Prairie Empire - “Song For You”
- 29. Mount Eerie - “I Walked Home Beholding”
Stream via Spotify:
Anonymous said: Didn't think you were into Death Grips. Do you support the way they totally flipped off Epic?
I don’t love Death Grips, but I can appreciate them in small doses. I think it’s kind of funny the way that whole situation turned out. It never made sense to me that DG were signed to a major anyway. It was pretty stupid for Epic to sign them, but it was equally shortsighted on Death Grips’ part. What kind of cooperation did they expect from a major label anyway?
Lewis and his Blog October 2012 Mix
Welcome to the latest edition of my Monthly Mix series, where I compile ten of the best new tracks that I’ve heard each month. With early college applications and lots of other work, October has very hectic for me, but it has also delivered some great new music. Check out all the previous monthly mixes from this year HERE and stream this month’s mix at the embedded link below via 8tracks.
1. A.C. Newman - “I’m Not Talking”
The New Pornographers' frontman's latest solo outing is a relatively subdued affair, featuring autobiographical lyrics and a soothing palette of AM radio instrumentation and production elements. First single “I’m Not Talking” is one of two particular highlights; its gentle synth loop quickly gives way to a warm combination of acoustic guitar and horns that highlights A.C. Newman's terrific, understated melodies. Purchase the new album Shut Down The Streets via Matador.
2. Titus Andronicus - “Ecce Homo”
The first track from Titus Andronicus' solid new album Local Business is also one of the best. It’s a wordy, high-tempo slice of existential angst that displays the band’s lean, new, 70s-punk influenced aesthetic while making it very clear that Patrick Stickles has lost none of his anger. The track’s quotability is matched only by its catchiness; Stickles and Co. went full-on power pop this time around. Local Business is out now via XL Recordings.
3. Donovan Wolfington - “Hell”
The new single from New Orleans-based five piece Donovan Wolfington is just as punk rock as the name “Hell” suggests. It’s loud, brash, full of riffs and shouts, and is indebted as much to the past decade’s great garage rock bands like Japandroids as it is to the emo revival rabble. Download the single for free on bandcamp and look out for Donovan Wolfington’s debut LP Stop Breathing on Broken World Media in the hopefully near future.
4. Converge - “Sadness Comes Home”
Believe the hype: the new album All We Love We Leave Behind from hardcore legends Converge could very well be there best record yet. For an indication of this, look no further than “Sadness Comes Home,” which features the most punishing guitar riffs I’ve heard in ages along with frontman Jacob Bannon’s signature shrieks and shouts. It’s the most compelling post-hardcore record I’ve heard in at least a year, and it’s available for purchase from Bannon’s label Deathwish, Inc.
5. Cerce - “Weary”
While legends like Converge are slowly getting even better with age, excellent hardcore newcomers this year seem to be springing right out of the gate. Cerce is one such new band, and they dropped their official debut EP last month on bandcamp. “Weary” is one of the best tracks, featuring frontwoman Becca Cadalzo delivering incendiary, barb-toothed lyrics in her distinctively shrill voice. The track also has a pretty stellar breakdown, if that’s what you’re into.
6. Hostage Calm - “Woke Up Next To A Body”
Hostage Calm's latest album Please Remain Calm is everything that the group has been building up to since they released their first demo in 2007. On “Woke Up Next To A Body,” the record’s immediate standout track, the Connecticut group blends winsome power pop melodies with a punk rock backbone to make one of the catchiest, most loveable pieces of Ted Leo-worship this side of Shake The Sheets. Please Remain Calm is out now on Run For Cover Records.
7. Sharon Van Etten - “Sychophant”
Although Sharon Van Etten's new album Tramp did not manifest her ambition as precisely as I had hoped, the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter has still had a very good year. The fact that her b-sides and bonus tracks have been nearly as good as any of the material on the album indicates this. “Sychophant” is one of my favorite songs to come from the Tramp sessions — an electronic dirge with eerie, Radiohead-reminiscent atmospheric noise and backing vocals. Tramp is available now via Jagjaguwar.
8. Death Grips - “No Love”
Today, Death Grips officially parted ways with their major label Epic, who released their album The Money Store earlier this year. All of this came after the band unexpectedly leaked their new LP No Love Deep Web to the internet, complete with an erect penis on the cover. I would think that this method of release and flagrant opposition of the label’s wishes was obnoxious if it weren’t for the new album being so good. The five-minute “No Love” is one of the best and most pummeling tracks, featuring MC Ride’s distinctive shout-babbling and Zach Hill’s aggressive live electronic drumbeats. Download No Love Deep Web for free HERE.
9. Kendrick Lamar - “Compton” (feat. Dr. Dre)
In the context of rapper Kendrick Lamar's amazing modern classic good kid, m.A.A.d. city, the closing track “Compton” is a celebratory validation of a life of hardship and hard knocks. On its own, however, the Dr. Dre-featuring banger is simply an awesome party song, featuring self-aggrandizing lyrics and an awesome talkbox solo that unmistakably harks back to Tupac's “California Love.” Pick up Kendrick's new LP now from iTunes.
10. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - “Gig Life”
Fans of the CT-based atmospheric emo group The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die will have to wait until 2013 to hear their full length debut Whenever, If Ever, but this track should hold us over until then. Though brief, the gentle folk song “Gig Life” is one of the more touching moments in TWIABP’s ever-growing discography. The band recently pressed it to vinyl in a limited edition 7” /50 run, so try to get a copy of it if you see them on tour!
Thanks for reading and listening! November’s mix will be up at the end of the month.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 5/4/12
On last night’s show, I paid tribute to the late Adam Yauch (aka MCA) by playing some of my favorite Beastie Boys songs over the course of my two-hour airtime. Check out the full playlist below, and stream the embedded playlist below via Spotify.
- 1. Dum Dum Girls - “Bhang Bhang, I’m A Burnout”
- 2. The Antlers - “I Don’t Want Love”
- 3. fun. - “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)”
- 4. Beastie Boys - “Johnny Ryall”
- 5. Beastie Boys - “Egg Man”
- 6. The Men - “Turn It Around”
- 7. PS I Love You - “Facelove”
- 8. Sparklehorse - “Rainmaker”
- 9. Japandroids - “The Night Of Wine And Roses”
- 10. Beastie Boys - “Pass The Mic”
- 11. Death Grips - “I’ve Seen Footage”
- 12. At The Drive-In - “Arcarsenal”
- 13. Flying Lotus - “Do The Astral Plane”
- 14. Beastie Boys - “Paul Revere”
- 15. De La Soul - "Plug Tunin’"
- 16. Holy Ghost! - “Wait And See”
- 17. The Hold Steady- “Most People Are DJs”
- 18. Nana Grizol - “Less Than The Air”
- 19. Beastie Boys - “Sabotage”
- 20. Beastie Boys - “Time For Livin’”
- 21. Hallelujah The Hills - "Hungry Ghost Extraordinaire"
- 22. The Spinto Band - “Oh Mandy”
- 23. River City Extension - “South For The Winter”
- 24. Spider Bags - “Blood For You”
- 25. Beastie Boys - “Nonstop Disco Powerpack”
- 26. Joy Division - “Shadowplay”
- 27. Grandaddy - “Jed’s Other Poem (Beautiful Ground)”
- 28. Bright Eyes - “Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh”
- 29. The Microphones - “Headless Horseman”
//Stream via Spotify://
Lewis and his Blog April 2012 Mix
Of the four installments in the monthly 10-track mix series that I started at the beginning of this year on Lewis and his Blog, this one has been the hardest to put together. I listened to so much great new music this month that it was very difficult to choose just ten songs to represent all of it. Nevertheless, I think I did a pretty good job. This is easily my favorite monthly mix that I’ve made so far, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do. Stream the embedded mix below or the click the picture above to listen to the mix via 8tracks.
1. Japandroids - “The House That Heaven Built”
When Japandroids debuted this track from their new album Celebration Rock at the beginning of the month, my already dangerously high excitement level for new Japandroids music reached critical mass. Now that the album has leaked and “The House That Heaven Built” has had time to settle into the Japandroids canon, I’m still convinced: This might just be their best song yet. With an explosive chorus, pristine power pop riffage, and more hooks than you can shake a stick at, I don’t think that anything I’ve heard this year has made me want to yell and pump my fist while crowdsurfing more than this track. Pre-order Celebration Rock now from Polyvinyl Records.
2. Screaming Females - “Expire”
With Steve Albini at the helm, the New Jersey punk trio Screaming Females may have upped the production ante on their rich new album Ugly, but its best moments reflect what they’ve always done best. On “Expire,” frontwoman Marissa Paternoster howls and wails like a post-punk legend while she and her bandmates craft a swirling, angular brand of garage punk with inflections of surf rock. Add in a monstrous guitar solo and a killer chorus, and you’ve got a single that seems primed for the coming summer months. Ugly is out now on Don Giovanni Records.
3. St. Vincent - “KROKODIL”
Coachella crowdsurfing aside, this is a song that nobody expected St. Vincent to make. In a complete reversal of the steely, reserved art pop that she crafted on last year’s rather middling Strange Mercy, Annie Clark absolutely cuts loose on “KROKODIL,” her new single released on 7” vinyl for Record Store Day. The track is angry, brash, and most importantly fun, all three of which are qualities rarely displayed in the music of St. Vincent. Hopefully this is an indication of things to come for her.
4. People Who Love People - “The Dirty Misogynist Gets His Wings Cut Off”
On their new record Disappointment: The Album, the Connecticut group People Who Love People remind me a lot of Andrew Jackson Jihad, if Andrew Jackson Jihad had tried to make Knife Man back when they were just getting their start in 2005. It’s rife with vaulting ambition, radically varied on a song-to-song basis between different styles, and undoubtedly good, but it plods along with an endearing quality of inexperience and youthfulness that can neither be overlooked nor dismissed. Still, they certainly do craft some great songs on here. In particular, the harmonica-punctured, drum machine powered, distortion fest “The Dirty Misogynist Gets His Wings Cut Off” is a great highlight. That reminds me — this band is great with song titles. Download Disappointment: The Album HERE.
5. Death Grips - “Hacker”
I’m still not sure if I really get Death Grips, but I’m certainly fascinated by them. Their new album The Money Store might not be the perfect record that some (*ahem* Anthony Fantano) have touted it to be, but it’s a vast improvement over their 2011 mixtape Exmilitary that leaves me wondering whether I can truly enjoy this band that I previously ruled out. “Hacker” might be the album’s most immediately appealing track (although not strictly the most immediate) because it manages to find balance between the fucked up mythos of the group and their actual musical talent. “Gaga can’t handle this shit.” Neither can any of us. Purchase The Money Store from Epic Records via Amazon HERE.
6. El-P - “Oh Hail No” (Feat. Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire & Danny Brown)
I wrote about this new El-P track yesterday in my review of his new album Cancer For Cure, so I’ll spare the details here, but suffice to say that this track is a huge banger and a definite album highlight on a record filled with raw, motormouthed rap and vicious mechanical beats. El-P and up-and-comer Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire are in top form here, and although I can’t say I’m a fan of Danny Brown’s verse from a technical perspective, that guy certainly knows how to make a song his own. Cancer For Cure is available for pre-order from Fat Possum.
7. Sufjan Stevens & Rosie Thomas - “Here I Am!”
After a very disappointing collaborative EP with his new group s /s / s, I’m happy to say that Sufjan Stevens has earned my trust again with his new Record Store Day 7”. It turns out that he just needed to do a little work with his longtime collaborator Rosie Thomas in order to get his groove back. Although Sufjan is still operating in that weird auto-tuned electronic style that he’s been obsessed with since 2010’s The Age Of Adz, his lyrics on this new track hit a lot closer to home than anything he’s done since the All Delighted People EP. Thomas’s vocals (also auto-tuned) are a nice treat as well.
8. Suns - “Crocodile”
Bolstered by the addition of a dynamic new guitarist, the Connecticut group Suns stepped their game up to great effect on their new LP The Engine Room. Released a few days in advance of the album, the single “Crocodile” is the best track — a dynamic, pulsating song that slithers about in the reeds before explosively pouncing in its incendiary final minute. That last conflagration of guitar noise, bitter screams, and propulsive drumming might be my favorite isolated minute of music that 2012 has given me. Download The Engine Room from Suns’ bandcamp page.
9. The Act of Estimating As Worthless - “The Things We Remember”
In my review of The Act Of Estimating As Worthless' new album (the title of which is even longer than the band's name), I focused on “The Things We Remember” as the album's centerpiece — a lush, nostalgic song that captures the dusty ruminations and memories of the album within its ~3 minute running time. Although the track works best in the album's context, it stands up well enough on its own, thanks in part to its instrumental dynamics. Echoing Mount Eerie, the song begins quietly and soon burns up in a pyre of distortion. The twin vocalists play it cool throughout the whole piece, and go down calmly in the flames. Download the new album HERE.
10. Sigur Rós - “Varúð”
Sigur Rós' new album Valtari has earned the distinction of being the only Sigur Rós I can listen to in full while falling asleep at night. The only remote impediment to the washed out, ambient atmosphere that hangs over Valtari comes in the form of “Varúð,” the sole track on the new album that approaches the level of cathartic grandeur of their earlier material. Although the Icelandic group may only try to craft a post-rock crescendo once on Valtari, it’s clear that they still know how to do it well — “Varúð” features a breathtaking instrumental buildup that rivals Sigur Rós’ most angelically heavy past work. Preorder Valtari from Sigur Rós’ website HERE.
Thanks for reading and listening to this month’s mix! As always, feel free to stream and read along to any of the past monthly mixes by clicking the “Monthly Mix” tab towards the left of this page. Otherwise, just click HERE. Enjoy!
threecreation said: Any reason you disliked Death Grips? I dont really understand why it was incredibly praised either, but I get the shock value of it. Thats probably why it was so high up on peoples top 10 lists, but regardless, UR OPINIONZ! TELL ME EM!
Yeah, that was basically it. Shock value over actual substance. Exmilitary was definitely a powerful and unique record, but it never really resonated with me beyond that. It was disappointing because Anthony praised it so highly and I tend to trust his word, especially hip-hop records.