The Antlers - “When You Sleep” (My Bloody Valentine cover)
Top Albums Of 2013 (#50-21)
Read part 2 (#20-1) here
50. Speedy Ortiz - Major Arcana
Gritty, angry, and capturing the sound of a real band in action, Speedy Ortiz' Major Arcana is the album that Waxahatchee wished they had made this year. While Katie Crutchfield stumbled in her transition from solo project to full band, Sadie DuPuis’ revels in it, owning the frontwoman position like a hardened industry veteran. With unusual guitar lines, a semi lo-fi 90’s aesthetic, and half-sung lyrics about sex and sadness, Major Arcana evokes Liz Phair in her Matador prime.
49. Julianna Barwick - Nepenthe
Think of Julianna Barwick as the antithesis of Grouper, Liz Harris’ similarly sleepy, vox-heavy ambient project. Whereas Harris (whose 2013 album The Man Who Died In His Boat is also worth a listen) evokes despair and emptiness through her hushed tones, there is something celestial in Barwick’s music. Nepenthe is an improvement on her 2011 record The Magic Place, incorporating more supplementary instrumentation (scope the gorgeous piano on “The Harbinger”) and truly transcending the ‘new age’ gimmick that some had pegged her for on her earlier records. There is nothing pretentious or gimmicky on this record, though — only lush, ambient bliss.
48. Pusha T - My Name Is My Name
After years of rumors and delays, Pusha T's official solo debut finally arrived in 2013, and although it doesn't quite reach the heights set by the mighty Clipse, My Name Is My Name was well worth the wait. With G.O.O.D. Music ringleader Kanye West serving as executive producer, My Name Is My Name benefits from the glorious contrast of high-budget ‘nowness’ and Pusha’s classical approach to rap. Surrounded by scores of guests including Pharrell, Kendrick Lamar, and a suprisingly un-cringy Chris Brown, Pusha never lets his presence be relegated to that of a sideman. He’s always owning the moment, lurking in the recesses and maintaining the mystery, just like a true kingpin should.
47. Mark Mulcahy - Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You
Mark Mulcahy has had it rough in the eight years since the release of his last album, 2005’s In Pursuit of Your Happiness. With the unexpected death of his wife in 2008, the former Miracle Legion frontman quit touring and seemed to all but entirely disappear. He returned this year with Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You, a reflection on death and aging that finds the power pop singer/songwriter in top musical and lyrical form. No one would have blamed Mulcahy for returning with a mopey, depressing album, but that’s not his style. Instead, like Mark Kozelek did on last year’s Among The Leaves, Mulcahy incorporates humor and ironic detachment to amplify the impact of his lyrical messages.
46. Burial - Rival Dealer
Burial's latest EP Rival Dealer is a brave, overtly political statement against oppression from an artist who rarely makes ‘statements’ of any kind. It’s an admirable move for William Bevan, and thankfully it’s backed up by some of his best tracks yet. “Hiders” is emotional, almost pained ambient pop, while “Rival Dealer” seethes and hisses with more visceral anger than anything he’s previously released. It’s not quite Kindred, but it comes close; Rival Dealer is probably Burial’s second best EP.
45. Devendra Banhart - Mala
Indie Folk, Indie Pop
Stripping away all the psychedelic excess that plagued his recent releases, Devendra Banhart went insular and microcosmic for Mala, his wonderfully quaint 2013 full length. This album, which predominantly features Banhart singing in a near whisper over delicate, sparse instrumentation, shows a side of the freak folk troubadour that is as wounded as it is romantic, while still retaining a sense of humor. “Mi Negrita” is gorgeous, Spanish mixtape-core, while “Never Seen Such Good Things” is the kind of thing you’ll want to avoid putting on a mixtape unless you and your SO have a strong thing going and a similarly twisted sense of humor as Devendra’s.
44. Clipping - midcity
There are few contexts in which it makes sense to listen to Clipping, but if you find yourself alone with a big set of a speakers and a lot of suppressed aggression, give midcity a listen. Blending high velocity hip-hop flow with brutal static and harsh noise, Clipping have made the first post-Death Grips rap record, and it’s a glorious, fucked up mess. Some moments are just absurd, like the autotuned chorus of “guns.up,” but others are genuinely compelling. “get.it.,” for instance, is a riveting and tense three minutes of high octane rapping over pulsating clicks and sub bass — the best execution of Clipping’s fascinatingly obtuse musical formula.
43. Ovlov - Am
After a fake breakup, the Connecticut noise rock trio Ovlov returned in 2013 with a monolithic full length on Exploding In Sound. Am leans closer to the ‘noise’ side of the noisy power pop aesthetic that they established on their previous releases, but it also makes room for more sonic diversity than their past material had displayed. Cuts like “Grapes” and “The Well” are blown out, Dinosaur Jr.-worshipping anthems, but “Where’s My Dini” is the highlight — the eerily quiet eye of this noise rock storm, featuring Speedy Ortiz’ Sadie DuPuis on guest vocals.
42. Kacey Musgraves - Same Trailer Different Park
25 year-old Kacey Musgraves is redeeming radio country one wounded trailer park ballad at a time. Same Trailer Different Park is an album that utterly rejects the pretentious distinction between ‘alt-country’ and ‘mainstream country,’ embracing hi-fi production value and traditional tropes but imbuing them with the kind of intimate humanity that the best country music has always expressed. This is neither a retread of ‘classic’ country music nor a soulless Nashville pop regurgitation; rather, it’s a bold, ambitious, and remarkably mature pop country record from a rising star of the genre.
41. Washed Out - Paracosm
The fact that Ernest Greene is still making music as Washed Out in 2013 is pretty funny, and the fact that it’s still consistently solid is even funnier. It’s so easy to make fun of chillwave as a short lived, insubstantial musical trend that Washed Out’s sustained commitment to the sound over three prominent releases seems all the more earnest. Paracosm is not meant to be a particularly ‘meaningful’ album, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable one. At its best, on tracks like “Paracosm” Greene seems to channel the breezy sweep of the Avalanches’ beloved Since I Left You, acoustic guitars, harps and all. There’s not much else to say about this record, so I’ll let the title of the lead single speak for the work as a whole: It all feels right.
40. Foxygen - We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Foxygen's third full length is among 2013's most immediately lovable albums, the kind of record that you can throw on in just about any context and enjoy thoroughly. Mining the classic sounds of the psychedelic ’60s, We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic is a reverent romp through your dad or granddad’s record collection — not exactly an original sound, but an enjoyable one nonetheless. It helps that Foxygen really commit to it; “San Francisco” is a lovely homage to the duo’s home city, while “No Destruction,” with its generation-defining line about Brooklyn, might go down as a classic in its own right.
39. Sigur Rós - Kveikur
Sigur Rós' latest LP Kveikur sadly flew under the radar this year, probably because people didn’t seem to know what to make of it. The clanging, monolithic Kveikur is the third in a series of Sigur Rós LPs that sound nothing like each other, and this one is a particularly harsh departure from the soothing ambience of last year’s Valtari. Nevertheless, despite its almost metallic grit, Kveikur retains the band’s identity, from the orchestral guitar swells (this time, with extra distortion) to Jónsi Þór Birgisson’s inimitable coo.
38. Camera Obscura - Desire Lines
"Just give in to the night," Tracyanne Campbell sings on the second track of Desire Lines, Camera Obscura's fifth album, “This is love, feels alright.” This kind of passive, melancholic acceptance defines the tone of Desire Lines, the Scottish band’s most relaxed album yet. This is a record full of smooth textures, saxophone lines, and gentle, soulful yearning for stability. Of course, they still make time for some “French Navy” style fun every once in a while; “Do It Again” is catchy, silly, and endearingly risqué.
37. My Bloody Valentine - mbv
The announcement and release of mbv still feels like the biggest musical surprise of the year, as I was sure it would be when it all went down in February. The album had been teased for so long that it seemed like it would never come, existing in a kind of limbo state along with, like, Detox. When the agonizingly slow download finished and mbv finally arrived on all our hard drives, it felt like a ‘real musical event’ — a rare thing, these days. I’m not sure if anyone would have been too surprised if the album wasn’t good, but it’s definitely surprising that it turned out to be great. These songs had clearly been gestating for some time, waiting for Kevin Shields and co. to nail them down and get them on tape — real, analog tape, of course. In the 22 years since the release of Loveless, nobody has truly been able to replicate that record’s sound or improve upon it in any way. It’s appropriate, then, that My Bloody Valentine themselves were the first to adequately respond to the shoegaze discourse that they initiated in 1991.
36. Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap
Underground Hip-Hop, Cloud Rap
Acid Rap is a monumental, multifaceted beast of a mixtape, at once a joyful celebration of youth and a wary, cautious look at the ephemeral present and troubling future. Look no further than the second track “Pusha Man,” which seems to switch halfway through from a lighthearted song about the lucrative benefits of drug dealing to a fearful, paranoid lamentation about how “everybody’s dying in the summer.” Between these extremes, Chance The Rapper explores love, nostalgia, and the simple pleasures of life as a 20-year old in Chicago. Despite his young age, Chance handles all of it with grace and poise, suggesting good things for this young rapper in the future.
35. Superchunk - I Hate Music
Indie Rock, Power Pop
Superchunk's latest full length I Hate Music appears to take its name from my favorite song on The Replacements' first LP Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash. There’s a nice bit of circularity there — one pop-leaning punk band, now in their 24th year of operation, paying homage to one of the greats in that field, a band that made their existence possible. Superchunk are now indie rock legends in their own right, and they still rule as much as ever. Despite its title, I Hate Music is a revenant celebration of rock, manifested everywhere from the Jackie Mittoo-referencing 2nd track to the gloriously harmonized chorus of “Trees of Barcelona.”
34. Darkside - Psychic
Art Pop, Electronic
Psychic is perhaps the best late-night driving album of the year, a murky dirge of synthetic waves punctuated by piercing guitar slaps that evoke a noctural urban landscape in the not-so-distant future. I’ve been looking for an album that makes me feel like the Drive soundtrack did for a minute, and with this record, I think I found a successor. You might know Nicolas Jaar from his solo work, but there’s something about the organic element that guitarist Dave Harrington brings to the mix that elevates Darkside beyond the sum of its parts.
33. Beyoncé - Beyoncé
Obviously this album is a huge event, loaded with hooks and stacked with hi-fi, hyper-relevant production. All Beyoncé albums are like that. What makes this self-titled release so much better than her previous work is how uniquely singular it feels. It’s an intimate insight into the life of an unrivaled pop superstar that feels completely sincere, uncheapened by the glam and glitz of the paparazzi or the cheapening influence of the industry, expressed purely on Beyoncé’s own terms. Her impressive back catalog displayed time and time again Beyoncé’s chops as a singer and poise as a celebrity figure; Beyoncé, by contrast, displays her humanity.
32. Mikal Cronin - MCII
The fact that MCII was the first record I thought to put on my turntable after finishing my last final exam for this semester speaks volumes about its transcendental qualities. This is timeless pop music in the vein of Matthew Sweet and early Weezer, rife with enormous earworm choruses and rich arrangements, scientifically crafted to lift the listener into a stratosphere of major chord bliss. People like Mikal Cronin can keep making records exactly like this forever and I will always love them. Keep it up.
31. Flatbush Zombies - Better Off Dead
This tape is sort of like vintage, Bastard-era Odd Future with more of a 2013 sensibility and probably a lot more staying power. Flatbush Zombies may be aggressive, gravel-throated, and perhaps deserving of the ‘horrorcore’ designation, but their scope is too wide and their convictions too strong to come off as a gimmick. Their brand of shock rap is particularly effective when they shoot for the political, as on the opening track “Amerikkkan Pie,” which plays out like a followup to Ab-Soul's “Terrorist Threats” from last year's Control System.
30. Cass McCombs - Big Wheel and Others
Contemporary Folk, Country
Cass McCombs' latest record is an incredibly solid showcase of his talents as a singer/songwriter, as well as his remarkable taste as a curator of arrangements. The songs on Big Wheel and Others range from sublime alt-country wisps (such as both versions of “Brighter!” included here) to nine-minute dirges (“Everything Has To Be Just-So”) all while retaining a thematic and musical unity of philosophical musings and wan aesthetic overtones. There were a lot of double albums this year, but Big Wheel… is perhaps the best — a thoroughly coherent, consistently great hour and a half of stimulating folk music.
29. Rhye - Woman
Michael Milosh and Robin Hannibal’s formerly anonymous collaboration Rhye made the year’s most tender, sensuous album, as well as one of its saddest, when they dropped Woman in March. This sparse, deceptively organic R&B record sounds like the ghost of an unforgettable romance, all passion and heat reduced to the cold grayscale of the album cover. It’s hard to reconcile that by the time the record’s over, but sometimes taking a moment to relive the past helps, you know?
28. Pissed Jeans - Honeys
I probably didn’t listen to enough punk music this year, undoubtedly in part due to living in a dorm for the past four months, but what I did hear was pretty great. Pissed Jeans' Honeys was one such album, a superficially straightforward, lyrically barbed hardcore record that sounds like a considerably better version of Ceremony circa 2010. With humorous, ironically detached lyrics about corporate America, drugs, and the ‘male gaze,’ Honeys is one of the best, most self-aware punk records in recent memory.
27. Mark Kozelek & Desertshore - Mark Kozelek & Desertshore
Folk Rock, Slowcore
After a few years of relentless, solitary touring and albums characterized almost exclusively by the sparse sound of guitar and vocals, it seems that former Red House Painters frontman/Sun Kil Moon mastermind Mark Kozelek is ready to play nice again. His two most notable releases of 2013 were both collaborations — one, with The Album Leaf's Jimmy LaValle, and another, with his former Red House Painters members in Desertshore. With its lean running time and muscular, full band arrangements, the Desertshore collaboration edges the other LP out. Kozelek sounds poised, articulate, and in command of his life, even when he’s singing tearjerkers about his pet cat dying.
26. Baths - Obsidian
Baths followup to 2010’s glistening Cerulean is an experiment in darkness, a deliberate, thrill-seeking descent into a seemingly impenetrable chasm of despair. Will Wiesenfeld takes us on that journey throughout the jet-black Obsidian, teasing lines about suicide and sexual frustration with his distinctive falsetto gliding over ominous, sterile beats and synths. It’s a little too over-the-top to scan as sincere, but Wiesenfeld pulls it off with artistry and behind-the-boards ingenuity, doing more to evoke genuine pain through his production than through his oddball lyrical choices.
25. Savages - Silence Yourself
London’s Savages might base their entire sound on a previously established post-punk aesthetic that has been ‘revived’ at least twice since its conception, but what they lack in sonic originality they make up for in commitment. Blackened post-punk might not be a ‘new’ outlet for rage or frustration at society’s ills, but it certainly seems to suit Jehnny Beth and co. as they hammer out just under 40 minutes of clanking, shrieking, monochrome punk just as Siouxsie intended.
24. Milo - Things That Happen At Day / Things That Happen At Night
The dual EPs that Milo dropped simultaneously on January 1st, 2013 are so equally good and so necessarily complementary that I had to include them both on this list. The Hellfyre Club rapper has released other material since Things That Happen At Day/Night came out, but these are the releases that I keep coming back to — together, around 50 minutes of philosophically inspired, politically motivated cloud rap with enough self-effacement to keep the pretense of ‘philosophy rap’ in check. Guest spots from Safari Al and Busdriver provide a nice change of pace, but it’s Milo himself who shines the brightest here, a versatile and dynamic rapper who seems to fluctuate between ‘level-headed’ and ‘completely neurotic’ at the drop of a hat.
23. Iceage - You’re Nothing
Post-Punk, Hardcore Punk
The success of Iceage over the past three years has me convinced that if you want to succeed in punk rock, forming a band full of guys who look like male models will help you a lot. My lowkey obsession with frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt aside (come on, you know you have it too), the band’s sophomore LP You’re Nothing is a marked improvement over their unsteady 2011 debut New Brigade. The band sounds more confident, more bitter, and somehow even more like teenagers than they did on their last album. Furthermore, by expanding their scope to include both lightning-speed ragers (“Coalition”) and piano ballads (“Morals”), they reach an unexpected level of sonic diversity that gives little indication as to what these Scandinavian punks will try to pull off next.
22. Sky Ferreira - Night Time, My Time
Like My Name Is My Name, the debut full length from pop singer/songwriter and model Sky Ferreira was a long time coming but totally worth the wait. As a whole, Night Time, My Time is by far the most coherent and consistently good release that Ferreira has ever dropped, nearly 50 minutes of mostly incredible darkwave synth pop anthems broken up by a few experimental palate cleansers. The production, by it-boy Ariel Rechtshaid, is rough, loud, and just unvarnished enough to make sure that these tracks won’t end up on the radio in any meaningful capacity — a last ‘fuck you’ to the label that caused this record to be so delayed. There’s nothing quite as good as “Everything Is Embarrassing” here, but about 6 or 7 tracks come very close.
21. A$AP Rocky - Long.Live.A$AP
I love A$AP Rocky. He was the only non-veteran/legend/God to make a rap album this year that really felt like a ‘meaningful event.’ Long.Live.A$AP is just an awesome, consistently great, high stakes, generation-defining record with an extremely of-the-moment sound. It’s the kind of thing that might seem dated in 10 years, but that we will all look back on fondly. On a personal level, this record made a surprisingly big impact in my life from the time it leaked at the end of 2012 right until the end of the year. I formed friendships over this record, danced my heart out, and sheepishly rapped along to “Fuckin’ Problems” in numerous cars/garages/living rooms/places that weren’t ‘the club’ throughout the US and Europe. It ‘lasted’ when I didn’t expect it to at all, and for that, it deserves more praise than I ever expected to give it.
Thanks for reading. Part 2 (#20-1) drops tomorrow.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 5/31/13
Thanks to those of you who tuned in to my radio show on Friday. Here’s the full playlist, along with an embedded link at the bottom to stream the available tracks via Spotify.
- 1. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - “Shake The Sheets”
- 2. Troubled Hubble - “14,000 Things To Be Happy About”
- 3. Mikal Cronin - “Change”
- 4. The Front Bottoms - “Peach”
- 5. Weezer - “Waiting On You”
- 6. Vampire Weekend - “Walcott”
- 7. The Flaming Lips - “In The Morning Of The Magicians”
- 8. Desaparecidos - “Survival of the Fittest / It’s A Jungle Out There”
- 9. Iceage - “You’re Nothing”
- 10. Wavves - “Lunge Forward”
- 11. I Kill Giants - “Boys of Bummer”
- 12. My Bloody Valentine - “Swallow” (Requested by Brian Grochowski)
- 13. The Replacements - “Talent Show”
- 14. New Order - “Temptation”
- 15. Daft Punk - “Fragments of Time” (feat. Todd Edwards)
- 16. Vår - “Boy”
- 17. Majical Cloudz - “This Is Magic”
- 18. The National - “Graceless”
- 19. R.E.M.- “World Leader Pretend”
- 20. Told Slant - “I Am Not”
- 21. Elvis Depressedly - “Thinning Out”
- 22. 10,000 Blades - “Up North”
- 23. Pavement - “Here”
- 24. Josh Ritter - “Joy To You Baby”
- 25. An Amiable Medley - “At What Speed Must I Travel”
- 26. Eluvium - “Caroling”
Stream via Spotify:
Lewis and his Blog February 2013 Mix
I loved this February. Here in Connecticut, it seemed as though it snowed every weekend and that everybody generally expected a little less out of everyone else. It was a relatively relaxing contrast to the mania of January, and this was mirrored to some degree in the music that was released this month. Below, you can stream and read about my latest Monthly Mix, the rest of which you can find HERE. Thanks for listening, and enjoy!
1. Foxygen - “San Francisco”
A band like this comes around every couple years, but I still can’t help but love Foxygen's shamelessly revivalist take on psychedelic pop. Lots of bands through the years have made careers off of sounding like The Zombies, but few do so with such accuracy, or while having as much fun as this duo clearly does. Edging out the Dylan-aping “No Destruction” for the best song on their new LP, “San Francisco” is a touchingly playful homage to the band’s hometown. The vintage keyboard sounds warmly familiar, and you won’t be able to get those female backing vocals out of your head. We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic is out now on Jagjaguwar.
2. My Bloody Valentine - “New You”
I remember the first time I played mbv, the long awaited new album from My Bloody Valentine. Specifically, I remember feeling a tremendous sigh of relief when the opening guitar chords of “She Found Now” rang out, evoking to a perfect tee the dense aesthetic of their landmark LP Loveless. Yet the single moment of mbv that sticks with me the most is the entirety of “New You” — the lone song on which the band tips the scales from pop and shoegaze towards the former side. My Bloody Valentine were unique when Loveless was released; nobody else sounded like they did. Now, though, plenty of acts have imitated their sound. With the catchy, breezy sway of “New You,” My Bloody Valentine remind the world that aesthetic prescience wasn’t all they had in them. They are, first and foremost, a pop band; tracks like this indicate that. Buy mbv online HERE.
3. The Postal Service - “A Tattered Line Of String”
So it turns out that this is indeed a ‘new’ recording. Like Desaparecidos, who also broke up about ten years ago and reunited recently, it doesn’t seem like The Postal Service have changed all that much in the interim. One thing is notable: “A Tattered Line of String” isn’t quite as sad as anything on Give Up, but with a melody as good as that which Ben Gibbard sings, it’s hard not to embrace his improved happiness. This song will appear on the forthcoming Give Up reissue, which will be out April 9th on Sub Pop.
4. Atoms For Peace - “Ingenue”
In light of the relative disappointment that was The King of Limbs, is Thom Yorke’s new project Atoms For Peace better because it’s not Radiohead, or does it just seem that way? These are the kind of annoying questions that I have to worry about. You don’t, though! Just enjoy this cut from AMOK, which is out now on XL Recordings. By the way, the band just released a video for this track which playfully echoes the now-iconic clip for The King Of Limbs’ “Lotus Flower.” “Ingenue” definitely favors aesthetics over pop sensibility, but it’s still hard to deny the catchiness of that synth hook.
5. Giraffage - “All That Matters”
Needs, the latest tape to drop from San Francisco producer Giraffage, is definitely one of the most notable hazy, sample-based pop albums of this early year. As Gorilla Vs. Bear points out in their premiere stream of the new album, the highlight is definitely “All That Matters,” which features an unmistakable sample of Ready For The World's “Love You Down,” which Giraffage masterfully twists into something fragile and intimate. Download the tape for whatever you wish to pay via Giraffage's bandcamp page. Needs is out now via Alpha Pup.
6. Kitty - “☠DEAD❤ISLAND☠”
Consider me a convert. Kitty (née Pryde) released a new EP called D.A.I.S.Y. Rage earlier in the year and I’ve actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Kitty seems remarkably self-aware and also refreshingly unwilling to play into her audience’s expectations. From a lyrical standpoint, tracks like “☠DEAD❤ISLAND☠” are a lot less cutesy and juvenile than her previous material, and her rhyming capabilities seem to have improved a lot too. British producer WATER serves as a foil to Kitty’s aimlessness, driving the track forward with a propulsive beat. Download D.A.I.S.Y. Rage from Kitty’s bandcamp page.
7. LVL UP - “Graveyard”
Can Purchase NY be considered local to a Connecticut kid? If so, my favorite local band has delivered a terrific single with “Graveyard,” which will appear on their forthcoming (and perfectly named) Extra Worlds 7”. “Graveyard” is faster, more urgent, and ultimately better than anything they’ve done up to this point, with the exception of maybe one track from their 2011 SPACE BROTHERS LP. It’s 2013 and indie rock is great! Preorder Extra Worlds from Double Double Whammy and you could win a test press copy!The 7” drops April 6th.
8. Julia Brown - “Library”
Julia Brown formed out of the ashes of the explosive punk band Teen Suicide, who broke up last year. The new group is decidedly less abrasive, but the lo-fi aesthetic that they employ on their debut album To Be Close To You is similarly harsh. Lead single “Library” is the album’s best song, and perhaps the lone moment when the band manages to craft a pop melody so brilliant that it completely transcends the limitations of the production. I’ve been humming this melancholic gem for close to a month now, and it doesn’t stand any chance of going away soon. To Be Close To You is out know on Julia Brown’s bandcamp.
9. Baby Grand - “Una”
I wanted to shed some light on this Connecticut group because I fear that they have been gratuitously overlooked even within the local community. Baby Grand (which comprises some members of Cold Snap, whom I’m seeing tonight in New Haven) is a hard-to-pin-down rock band with a lyrical focus that is only matched in intensity by their atmospheric heft. I like to think of them as a more melodic, more accessible version of Self Defense Family, whose frontman Patrick Kindlon sounds like a less melodically capable version of this band’s frontman. Their latest and best EP, Victoria, was unceremoniously released earlier this year, and it deserves way more credit than it’s getting. Listen to “Una” or just download all three songs for free at their bandcamp page to see what I’m talking about.
10. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - “Higgs Boson Blues”
Aging singer/songwriters seem to be doing pretty well overall in the two thousand-teens, but Nick Cave might be besting all of them. He released a terrific album in 2010 with Grinderman, but the new LP from his old band The Bad Seeds is even better. “Higgs Boson Blues” is the massive, 7 and a half minute centerpiece of the new record, entitled Push The Sky Away. Look out for Cave name dropping Hannah Montana, moaning over a choir’s backing vocals, and generally expressing himself exactly like the scary, depressed, manic old man that he is. It’s perfect. Purchase Push The Sky Away from Cave’s website.
Thanks for listening to this month’s mix. Happy March!
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 2/15/13
Thanks to everyone who tuned in and the people who made requests during my radio show last night on WNHU. Check out the full playlist below, and stream the available tracks via Spotify through the embedded link at the bottom. Tune in again next Friday from 6 to 8 PM for another live broadcast.
- 1. The Thermals - “I Might Need You To Kill”
- 2. David Bowie - “A New Career In A New Town”
- 3. Broken Social Scene - “Fire Eye’d Boy”
- 4. By Surprise - “Criteria”
- 5. My Heart To Joy - “Giving My Hands Away”
- 6. Sondre Lerche - “Modern Nature” (Requested by anonymous)
- 7. LVL UP - “Graveyard”
- 8. Elvis Costello - “No Dancing”
- 9. Cymbals Eat Guitars - “…And The Hazy Sea”
- 10. Yo La Tengo - “Paddle Forward”
- 11. My Bloody Valentine - “Who Sees You”
- 12. Ducktails - “Sedan Magic”
- 13. Foxygen - “Shuggie”
- 14. Serge Gainsbourg - “Ballade De Melody Nelson”
- 15. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - “Push the Sky Away”
- 16. Cat Power - “Metal Heart”
- 17. Beat Happening - “I Love You” (Requested by dbldblwhmmy)
- 18. LVL UP - “Nightshade”
- 19. Infinity Crush - “Sleeping In On A Snow Day (In 2011)”
- 20. Julia Brown - “Virginia”
- 21. Teen suicide - “Falling In Love”
- 22. Perfume Genius - “Normal Song”
- 23. Giraffage - “All That Matters”
- 24. Elvis Depressedly - “Cry Babies”
- 25. The Tallest Man On Earth - “Wind and Walls”
- 26. The Decemberists - “Odalisque”
- 27. The Comsat Angels - “Independence Day”
- 28. Crystal Castles - “Suffocation”
- 29. Destroyer - “Downtown”
- 30. LCD Soundsystem - “Great Release”
Stream via Spotify:
I made a mix for today. Fourteen songs for February 14th. Stream it at the embedded link below or download the whole thing HERE. It’s all properly tagged and ordered and everything. I made it for both my heartbroken followers and my happily coupled followers, but mostly for the heartbroken ones.
- 1. Jens Lekman - “I Know What Love Isn’t”
- 2. Julia Brown - “Library”
- 3. Bright Eyes - “Loose Leaves”
- 4. Morrissey - “I Am Hated For Loving”
- 5. Midi & The Modern Dance - “Where Do You Think I Belong?”
- 6. My Bloody Valentine - “New You”
- 7. Teen Suicide - “Falling In Love”
- 8. Sky Ferreira - “Everything Is Embarrassing”
- 9. Dirty Projectors - “Impregnable Question”
- 10. Bob Dylan - “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”
- 11. Christopher Owens - “Everywhere You Knew”
- 12. Chet Baker - “It’s Always You”
- 13. Cat Power - “Color and the Kids”
- 14. Waxahatchee - “I Think I Love You”
Anonymous said: Thoughts on Shoegaze?
I don’t know if I can summarize my thoughts on an entire genre of music very well, but I guess I’ll try. I like shoegaze. It’s a pretty broad-fitting term, but I really like a lot of the aesthetics that bands labeled as ‘shoegaze’ create. I think what shoegaze does/has done in a general sense is push the boundaries of how dense music can be, but I think that the best shoegaze records (My Bloody Valentine's Loveless and Have a Nice Life's Deathconsciousness come to mind immediately) still retain a sense of dynamics. They’re heavy and sonically assaulting, but there are also some really tender and relatively quiet moments as well. I like that balance. On some days, “Sometimes” is my favorite My Bloody Valentine song.