Sunday, April 26, 2015

Let's Try Something New...

I moved to Blogger in mid-2007. I ended up making 432 posts (433 including this one!), but none in quite a while.

While I don't promise that there will be many more posts now than there were before, I can promise that all of the ones that do occur will be occurring over at my new Wordpress digs. I've even gone to the trouble of moving all of my posts over there.

To prime the pump, I'm doing another collaboration with DeathByTroggles! If you enjoy Final Fantasy VI, you'll probably enjoy it.


You're still here?

It's over. Go home.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Oh, hai 2014 best albums list!

20. Todd Terje - It's Album Time - For a long time, I wasn't sure whether I even liked this album, much less whether its cheese was one of my favorites of the year. "Delorean Dynamite" kept bringing me back to it, and while there's nothing else quite that good on here, it's quirky and fun the whole way through.

19. Have a Nice Life - The Unnatural World - Pounding and unrelenting, as per usual from Have a Nice Life. "Defenestration Song" is my new favorite song of theirs.

18. St. Vincent - St. Vincent

17. Danger - July 2013 - Short little EP of something called "Synthwave". It's fun to play in the car, even if it gets me sideways glances from Linds.

16. Phantogram - Voices

15. Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again - This reminded me of a version of stuff that I liked back in the early 2000's, without the constant dourness.

14. The Hold Steady - Teeth Dreams - It's definitely another step down from earlier stuff, but I would say that the highs ("Spinners", "The Only Thing", "Oaks") buoy the lagging middle ground.

13. Swans - To Be Kind - I didn't spend enough time with this one, I don't think. It's just so... MASSIVE. I'm sure that as I look back on this year, this one will gain ground.

12. Strand of Oaks - HEAL

11. Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World - Loud rock songs to play in the car.

10. Kairon; IRSE! - Ujubasajuba - From Finland. A sort of psych rock/dream pop/post-rock/spacey sort of hybrid. The band put the whole thing for a "pay what you want" on their Bandcamp page, so if that description interests you at all, you have no reason not to check them out.

9. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2 - I don't actually like it quite as much as the first. I still like it a whole lot, but I still think their first is better.

8. Alcest - Shelter - The first album of 2014 that stuck with me, and one I kept coming back to throughout the year.

7. Sharon Van Etten - Are We There - She lays everything bare in this one. There are times where things get honestly uncomfortable to listen to, but things like that little descending melody in the chorus of "Tarifa" balance it out well. Rates right up there with Tramp, imo.

6. Kye Kye - Fantasize - I didn't listen to another album as much as this one this year. "Honest Affection" was one of my favorite pop-ish songs of the year, even if it didn't sound particularly like much on the rest of the album, which trends to the hazy and the moody, rather than a chipper-sounding CHVRCHES.

5. Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun

4. Real Estate - Atlas - I love the guitar tones on this album. This should sound like every other blah indie pop act offering, but it doesn't.

3. Cymbals Eat Guitars - LOSE

2. Spoon - They Want My Soul - I've always liked Spoon, but this might just be my favorite album by them now. Not even the slightest wavering in the quality from song to song, but all the while taking their sound in different directions.

1. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream - "Red Eyes" is my favorite song from 2014, and the album that it got placed on is head and shoulders above anything else I heard this year.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Year in Music: 30 Most Listened to Songs of the Year

Obsessively complied by me.

30. Drake - Worst Behavior
It's a good driving tune. Full of proper aggression and braggadocio.

29. Katy Perry - Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J)
Wherein a perfectly functional song equating having sex with Katy Perry to selling your soul to the devil is ruined by Juicy J. Still, I liked it well enough before the radios started playing it 50 times a day.

28. Nico and Vinz - Am I Wrong
I find this song to be fairly bland, my wife can't get enough of it, though. I had initially laoded it into my music library for when she was around. I don't think I willingly played it a single time.

27. Todd Terje - Delorean Dynamite
One of my thirty favorites. It's what kept me coming back to the relative cheesiness of It's Album Time until the album was able to sink its hooks into me.

26. Childish Gambino - Telegraph Avenue. (Oakland by Lloyd)
A very good R&B song that's even more interesting for the fact that there is no song "Oakland" by Lloyd. Good hook, relatively cringeless rapping (no jokey stuff). I like a lot of Gambino's stuff, but this is a clear step forward.

25. Drake - Hold On, We're Going Home (feat. Majid Jordan)
Still like this song a ton.

24. Kitty - Barbie j33p
Another entry in Me. Beckwith's brand of guilty pleasure rap. It seems like she might be done with rap (opting for some manner of dancey pop, which I haven't enjoyed as much), so this era might be mercifully over. This song is still pretty clever.

23. The War on Drugs - In Reverse
Great album closer.

22. Bastille - Pompei
I don't really like this song anymore. I don't dislike it, it just feels so... calculated....or something.

21. Disclosure - Latch (feat. Sam Smith)
This, on the other hand, is a great pop song.

20. Danny Brown - Side B (Dope Song)
I'm not huge into Danny Brown's albums (they run too long, have too much meandering, etc) but when he hits, it's just crazy. This one got a ton of play as spring turned to summer.

19. Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know?
The bass line slinks around so perfectly that it ended up scoring a few commercials this year. Hard to blame them, even if it sounds a ton like "Godzilla".

18. Arcade Fire - Reflector
My favorite song from last year ends up being the only song from last year's top 30 list that also ended up on this year's.

17. Ingrid Michaelson - Girls Chase Boys
I can't really explain this, so I'm going to move to the next entry.

16. Schoolboy Q - Collard Greens (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
Kendrick's verse rules, of course, but Schoolboy Q holds his own, getting a few good punchlines ("no, it's not the west side, stick it up your south side" etc). All of it is placed on a smooth track that makes me more than a little surprised that I didn't hear this song exploding everywhere this year.

15. Sia -Chandelier
The music video is great, the song itself is great. Still haven't gotten sick of it yet.

14. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Warning
This one got me going for the album, which ended up being one of my favorites of the year.

13. Five Iron Frenzy - Into Your Veins
Most surprising comeback of 2013, which saw comebacks of Daft Punk, My Bloody Valentine, and boards of Canada? Very possibly so. Good, good album.

12. Real Estate - Talking Backwards
I really enjoyed Atlas' vibe, and this one was a highlight of it.

11. Danny Brown - Side A (Old)
Here come that old Danny Brown...all the same logic from #20 applies here.

10. Childish Gambino - 3005
I have to say, I would actually prefer a mix of this song that didn't try to beat my head in with the bass. That said, it's classic Childish Gambino, with a fantastic hook, to boot.

9. Alcest - La nuit marche avec moi
Shelter was one of the first new albums I really ended up liking this year, so I got a lot of mileage out of it. This song is obviously a highlight.

8. The Jezabels - Look of Love
I'm a little surprised at where this one is. I know I listened to it a lot, but I wouldn't have expected that I had listened to it quite this much.

7. Taylor Swift - Shake it Off
Inescapable. What's more, I didn't really want to escape it.

6. Phantogram - Black Out Days
I think this one is superior to "Fall In Love", but it seems that most disagree with me. I like the refrain and the darker sound that Black Out Days has. Plus, the remix with Danny Brown (there he is again!) is top notch.

5. Rustie - Attak (feat. Danny Brown)
Speaking of... I don't really like Rustie, but if he were to do a collaboration album with Danny Brown, I would probably buy it twice.

4. Real Estate - Had to Hear
The guitars in the beginning set the mood for the rest of the album just perfectly. The hook feels like such a huge part of the song until you think about it and realize that you only get to hear it twice.

3. Kye Kye - I Already See It
I played Fantasize for a good friend, and I knew I had him hooked about 30 seconds into this song (the album opener). Very little not to like.

2. The War on Drugs - Red Eyes
My favorite song of the year. I heard this late one night as I was laying in bed, and I could not stop listening to it. That never changed.

1. Kye Kye - Honest Affection
This isn't really what Kye Kye sounds like (most of their stuff trends more toward the moody, atmospheric "I Already See It"), but I could not get enough of this one.

So, that's that. Check back tomorrow for the album list.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Music: Top 30 Songs

For some reason, I do these without comment. A Spotify list exists for these, so get on that bandwagon right away.

 30. Joyce Manor - The Jerk
Never Hungover Again

29. Run the Jewels - Blockbuster Night, Part 1
Run the Jewels 2

28. Coldplay - Midnight
Ghost Stories

27. Sia - Chandelier
1000 Forms of Fear

26. Danger - 1:09
July 2013

25. The Bug - Void (feat. Liz Harris)
Angels and Devils

24. Vic Mensa - Down On My Luck
Down On My Luck

23. Alcest - La Nuit Marche Avec Moi

22. The Jezabels - Look of Love
The Brink

21. Kye Kye - I Already See It

20. Spoon - Outlier
They Want My Soul

19. Springtime Carnivore - Foxtrot Freak (Something in the Atmosphere)
Springtime Carnivore

18. Run the Jewels - Angel Duster
Run the Jewels 2

17. Phantogram - Black Out Days

(extra credit: The remix featuring Danny Brown is great, too)

16. Todd Terje - Delorean Dynamite
It's Album Time

15. Real Estate - Talking Backwards

14. The War on Drugs - In Reverse
Lost in the Dream

13. Have a Nice Life - Defenestration Song
The Unnatural World

12. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Warning

11. Angel Olsen - White Fire
Burn Your Fire For No Witness

10. Schoolboy Q - Collard Greens (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

9. Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting On You)

8. Panda Bear - Mr Noah
Mr Noah

7. Rustie - Attak (feat. Danny Brown)
Green Language

6. Mastodon - The Motherload
Once More 'Round the Sun

5. The Hold Steady - The Only Thing
Teeth Dreams

4. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Jackson

3. Real Estate - Had to Hear

2. Kye Kye - Honest Affection

1. The War on Drugs - Red Eyes
Lost in the Dream

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Year in Music: Top 20 Moments

Well, isn't this fun? Twenty bits of songs that are cool and awesome and stuff?

Let's dig in!

20. DJ Snake - Turn Down For What (feat. Lil Jon)
The first time...

Eventually (read: the second or third time you heard it), you realized that this was a thirty second song turned into a three and a half minute excuse for the gloriously stupid music video. The first time that hook hits, though... fucking fantastic.

19. Kitty - Barbie J33p
"I'll send you up in the air, wingardium leviosa"

I'm a sucker for a Harry Potter reference in a club rap song, I guess.

18. Swans - Just a Little Boy (For Chester Burnett)
That laughing...

The first time I heard the laughing in this song, I was sort of dozing off a bit, and it completely terrified me. Even now, it puts me ill at ease for the duration of the song.

17. Kairon; IRSE! - Swarm
The swarm arrives

Never let it be said that the post-rock crescendo is dead. "Swarm" ends up being quite generous with them, giving the listener several. It's the big one before the (fake) comedown, though, that really pushes the limits on it. Adding several elements beyond the standard "ever louder guitar and drum buzz" that most examples stop at.

16. Saor - Children of the Mist
Bring in the flutes!

It's like they always say. Black metal just isn't black metal without an extended flute breakdown nine minutes in.

15. Spoon - Rainy Taxi
"I had no good news"

 Britt Daniel's voice is generally top notch, but something about the way he delivers the line "I came home last night; I had no good news" sounds so damned cool against the driving beat and menacing bassline of "Rainy Taxi".
14. Run the Jewels - Blockbuster Night, Part 1
Doing deeds and dashing / Mike delivers coffee

"I deal in dirty work / Do the deed and then dash, ditch 'em"
"Top of the morning, my fist to your face is fucking Folgers"

The first is by El-P, the second by Killer Mike. Both lines are pretty much completely awesome.

13. Dum Dum Girls - Are You Okay
"I'm reckless at night, I'm sorry for days"

The lingering feeling of unease that's been building throughout the song finally spills over over the narrator admits she might never be over what's eating at her. That wouldd be enough, but the fact that the song kicks into pure 80's goodness on the spot just seals the deal.

12. SZA - Warm Winds (feat. Isaiah Rashad)
"...gardens, flowers, warm winds"

I like the first half of "Warm Winds" just fine, but the second half melts into a hazy reminiscing blur ("Sometimes I bite my lips and close my eyes just to pretend it's you"). For all the hype around Isaiah Rashad's album (and it does have its highlights) this is my favorite thing that he's been a part of to this point.

11. Calvin Harris - Summer

So help me, I like this song. The abrupt twang the punctuates between the crazy revved-up EDM hooks only amplifies that enjoyment.
10. Sia - Chandelier
"like a bird through the night"

The moment that the best Top 40 song of the year turns from being a pretty damned good song to being something else entirely. Her voice gives me chills even today. (the "I'm holding on for dear life" post-hook bit is also aces).

9. Sharon Van Etten - Your Love Is Killing Me
...and it's apparently a very painful death

Break my legs so I won't walk to you
Cut my tongue so I can't talk to you
Burn my skin so I can't feel you
Stab my eyes so I can't see
You like it when I let you walk over me
You tell me that you like it
Your love is killing me

8. Angel Olsen - White Fire
"When you don't know that you're wrong..."

"...or just how wrong you are."

7. Todd Terje - Delorean Dynamite
Release 1 / Release 2

I had a hard time choosing between the first release (1:09 in), where the song pays off the proceedings with a pretty nifty hook, or the second one (3:27), where you realize that the first hook was just a decoy to build the real thing off of.

6. Sharon Van Etten - Traifa
The little saxophone bit

It isn't much, but the descending three note saxophone melody works just perfectly in the chorus to my favorite song off of Are We There.

5. Alcest - Délivrance

I always forget how early this part comes in (four minutes in), and how long it lasts (about six full minutes!) For a solid six minutes, from the "built up to almost Explosions in the Sky proportions" swell to the ending, where only Neige's voice remains, Délivrance's back half is golden shimmery goodness.

4. Rustie - Attak (feat. Danny Brown)
"I ain't gotta say shit"

There are so many parts in this song to love ("got the game on lock like we changed the key", or even better "I'ma m--I'ma maniac"), but the one that towers over all of them is the ending, where Danny Brown's forceful flow evolves into shouting, which evolves into a swaggering roar. "I AIN'T GOTTA SAY SHIT, TELL YOUR BITCH TO SUCK MY DICK." works better in context, I promise...

3. Vic Mensa - Down On My Luck
"Fuck that get down"

Great song, great video... great buildup to the instrumental hook.

"Hands up, flip a finger to 'em...fuck that get down"

2. Swans - Bring the Sun / Toussaint L'Ouverture
The sun is brought

Post-Rock does not corner the market on big swelling crescendos. This one starts light, with Michael Gira chanting "bring the suuuuun" as the song starts building and building until you think it can't possibly get any bigger, lest it explode.

At that point, you are roughly halfway through the explosive climax of the first half of the song.

1. The War on Drugs - Red Eyes

The most cathartic moment (well, "moments", since it happens twice) in music since I don't know when.