Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Flaming Lips - Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

The Flaming Lips always seem to pull off interesting and fantastic covers of whatever and whomever they try to tackle.  Yesterday, the band released into the ether, a faithful(ish) yet very Lips-sounding version of The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" because of course they did.  Listen below and have the happiest of New Years!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Author & Punisher

Yesterday, i mentioned that i love end of year lists because without fail, i'm always clued into something i might have otherwise missed.  The trend continues (again with an album Shawn Baker recommended).  Author & Punisher's "Women & Children" is a sloppy mess of noise, yelling, and distorted keyboard and guitar effects, stirred together in an intoxicating batch of industrial mayhem.  To put is short, it's fucking awesome.  Listen to "In Remorse" below and grab the album here.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Found Vinyl: Bob Darin - Commitment

Digging for vinyl, i recently unearthed a late era Bobby Darin record.  For "Commitment," Darin shortened his name to Bob, donned a hat, and lost the big band sound that made him famous.  On the album, Darin takes on folk and psych, at times coming off like some country-fried version of Dylan.  That's not a bad thing, it's just leaps and bounds away from "Beyond the Sea" or "Mack the Knife."  It's cool to see an artist whose work is defined by one particular sound take a gamble and tread in different waters.  Take a listen to "Me and Mr. Hohner" below.

And here's "Song for a Dollar."

And finally, here's "Light Blue."  Dig on that funky organ.

Ultimately, the album was probably just an attempt to cash in on the changing waves of popular music in the late 60's, but it's still an interesting and entertaining listen.

The Callas

Oh, end-of-year-best-of lists, how you cascade me with heaps and heaps of music i somehow managed to miss out on earlier in the year.  Such is the case with Greek art-rock band The Callas.  The foursome's "Am I Vertical?" LP was produced by Bad Seeds/Grinderman member Jim Sclavunos, and the record is full of angular, cutting avant garde rock tunes.  They sound like some alternate dimension version of The Fall, and we, as a planet, need more bands that garner comparisons to The Fall.  Get the album from Inner Ear and watch the video for "East Beat" below.

Much thanks to Shawn Baker for the heads up on these guys.  Check out his favorite albums of 2013 here.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings - Goldfinger

I am a sucker for Bond theme songs.  Always have been.  Always will be.  So, it should go without saying that i was stoked to find out that soul revivalists Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings covered Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger" for Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" soundtrack.  Listen below.

Friday, December 27, 2013


Toronto band ALVVAYS make sunny, sing-songy garage pop to dance in your socks in your living room to.  And we all need to do more dancing in our socks in our living rooms.  It's good for the heart.  Good for the soul.  The quintet worked with Chad VanGaalen, Graham Walsh (of Holy Fuck), and super indie producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.) on their upcoming full length.  Look for it early next year on Royal Mountain.  In the meantime, take a listen to the instantly enjoyable "Adult Diversion" below.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


After all these year's, Richard Donner's "Scrooged" is still one of my favorite Christmas movies...a fun take on "A Christmas Carol."  Plus, Bill Murray.  Watch the trailer below.

Low - Little Drummer Boy

It's always a hit or miss bag when some indie band decides to record a Christmas record.  In 1999, Low absolutely killed it.  Their take on "Little Drummer Boy" is still one of my favorite things ever.  Listen below.

Darlene Love

Before i take a short Christmas break, just thought i'd post some excellent Christmas jams to while the next few days away.  First up is "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," a fantastic girl-group-wall-of-sound tune from Darlene Love.  I think the first time i ever heard it was in the opening to "Gremlins."  Listen below.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

John Denver and The Muppets

John Denver and The Muppets.  Without a doubt, my favorite Christmas album ever.  Nothing else comes close.  Watch and listen to Denver and Rowlf the Dog sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" below.

Friday, December 20, 2013

David Bowie and Bing Crosby

What's Christmas without a little Bowie-Bing team up?  The 1970's duet between the two legends is still kind of an oddity, but worth a watch/listen anyway.  Watch the video for "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" below.

(My freshman year roommate used to see that Crosby probably thought he was singing with some strange woman.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Black Christmas

What better way to celebrate the season than by brutally murdering a bunch of sorority sisters.  Bob Clark's 1974 Christmas slasher flick "Black Christmas" is an absolute classic (let's all just ignore the crappy 2006 remake).  Watch the full trailer below.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Weird Al - Christmas at Ground Zero

Holy crap!  Christmas is in one week!  Now, while Halloween is probably my favorite holiday, i still love the Christmas season, despite corporate America's attempts to deaden us all just a little bit more every year.  So, for the next few days, i'll be posting some of my favorite Christmas stuff...music, videos, movie trailers, the works.  Let's kick it off with the video for Weird Al Yankovic's "Christmas at Ground Zero" from the 1986 album "Polka Party."  Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Black Lips - Boys in the Wood

Raucous Atlanta garage rock act Black Lips are back next year with new album "Underneath the Rainbow."  It features Patrick Carney of The Black Keys on the boards.  The record's not out until March on Vice, but listen to "Boys in the Wood" now below.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Some Notes on Making a Mixtape

I wrote an essay about making a mixtape over at Joup.  I think it's pretty good.  You should go read it.

Favorite album covers of 2013

With all of the great music that came out this year, it's high time i spent a second to get to what really matters...cool album art.  I picked my six favorites of the year.  Check them out below.

Arcade Fire - "Reflektor" 12" single

Bookhouse - "Ghostwood" LP

Dawn of Midi - "Dysnomia" LP

"The Deadly Spawn" OST reissue from Mondo

Fuzz - "Fuzz"

Troller - "Troller"

Found Vinyl: Rosemary's Baby - Love Songs by Rosemary's Baby

I cannot find much information about this 1985 release from the industrial, experimental band Rosemary's Baby.  The first thing that really drew me to it in the first place is the cover of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate.  At first i thought that maybe "Love Songs by Rosemary's Baby" was some sort of bootleg of music from the film or some weird Polanski audio.  But no, it's actually a decent mid-80's electronic/industrial album.  Listen to the slightly grooving, mildly menacing "See Woman See Human" below.

"The Power of Love" moves in a much different direction.  The song screeches and buzzes for fifteen minutes.  A collage of feedback, noise, drone, strange sounds, and ominous hum.  Listen below.

Why am i just finding out about this record now?  I got into Coil and Throbbing Gristle back when i was in high school, and Rosemary's Baby would have been a welcome addition.  For fans of industrial, experimental, or just weird music, find this record.

Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound

The ridiculously awesome and consistent Numero Group is releasing another collection of unearthed and rare gems, this time as a collection of soul, funk, and R&B jams from Minneapolis called "Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound."  This is the same scene that birthed Prince...which is really the only thing you need to know.  Expect a silky smooth and sexy good time.  Turn down the lights, pour yourself a cocktail, and listen to Mind and Matter's "No One Else Can Do It to Me Baby" below.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My 100 favorite songs from 2013

I decided to go with 100 songs this year because frankly, there were just too many jams that had to be included.  So, here they are in absolutely no particular order.  I just wrote them down as they came to me.  As per usual, one song per artist.

If anyone reading this feels so inclined to put all of these songs onto one massive playlist and then send it to me, you will get my well deserved thanks and possibly a high five.

Let's get to it:

1. Deafheaven - "Vertigo"
2. Grouper - "The Man Who Died in His Boat"
3. Fuzz - "This Time I got a Reason"
4. Suede - "Barriers"
5. Angel Olsen - "Sweet Dreams"
6. Sally Shapiro - "Starman"
7. Wampire - "The Hearse"
8. Schuh, Pink, and Cowboy - "Cloak and Dagger"
9. Benoit Pioulard and Foxes in Fiction - "Ground Glass"
10. Troller - "Tiger"

11. The Knife - "Full of Fire"
12. Colin Stetson - "To See More Light"
13. My Bloody Valentine - "Only Tomorrow"
14. Jacco Gardner - "Clear the Air"
15. Iceage - "Morals"
16. Mark Kozelek - "Like Rats"
17. The Haxan Cloak - "The Mirror Reflecting"
18. Revelator - "Net of Gems"
19. Wear Your Wounds - "Adrift in You"
20. Georgiana Starlington - "Gust"

21. Club 8 - "Kill, Kill, Kill"
22. Cold Cave - "People Are Poison"
23. Solar Bears - "Cosmic Runner"
24. Kylesa - "Unspoken"
25. Midnight Juggernauts - "Ballad of the War Machine"
26. Carnivores - "Pillow Talk"
27. Phantom Love - "Lotus"
28. Feuerbahn - "Triumphwagen"
29. St. Lucia - "Before the Dive (CHVRCHES remix)"
30. Phosphorescent - "Song for Zula"

31. Sigur Ros - "Brennisteinn"
32. Pharmakon - "Crawling on Bruised Knees"
33. Milk Music - "I've Got a Wild Feeling"
34. Deerhunter - "Monomania"
35. Kurt Vile - "Wakin' on a Pretty Day"
36. HAERTS - "All the Days"
37. Chelsea Wolfe - "Fight Like Gods"
38. Daft Punk - "Contact"
39. MGMT - "Alien Days"
40. Savages - "She Will"

41. Conan - "Beheaded"
42. Tempers - "Strange Harvest"
43. Temples - "Shelter Song"
44. Bombino - "Imuhar"
45. Ghost B.C. - "Waiting for the Night"
46. Peter Gordon and Factory Floor - "Beachcombing"
47. Postiljonen - "When All the Wild Things Die"
48. Man's Gin - "Deer Head and the Rain"
49. Tree - "The King"
50. Boards of Canada - "Reach for the Dead"

51. FMLYBND - "Electricity"
52. Morne - "New Dawn"
53. Outfit - "I Want What's Best"
54. Forest Swords - "The Weight of Gold"
55. Haleek Maul - "Lobo"
56. Mood Rings - " The Line"
57. King Khan and the Shrines - "Darkness"
58. Lustmord - "Chorazin"
59. Bookhouse - "Laura Palmer's Theme"
60. Locrian - "Two Moons"

61. Diarrhea Planet - "Kids"
62. Rob (featuring Chloe Alper) - "Juno"
63. Ellery James Roberts - "Kerou's Lament"
64. Ovlov - "Where's My Dini?"
65. Jagwar Ma - "The Throw"
66. Ariel Pink and Jorge Elbrecht - "Hang on to Life"
67. Tropic of Cancer - "More Alone"
68. Marie Davidson - "Esthetique Privee"
69. Gauntlet Hair - "Bad Apple"
70. Antwon - "Dying in the Pussy"

71. Windhand - "Woodbine"
72. BANKS - "Waiting Game"
73. White Poppy - "Who Are You"
74. Dawn of Midi - "Nix"
75. Black Hearted Brother - "(I Don't Mean to) Wonder"
76. Fort Romeau - "Stay True"
77. Wolvserpent - "In Mirrors of Water"
78. Ejecta - "Jeremiah (the Denier)"
79. Lustre - "Green World"
80. Ty Segall - "Sleeper"

81. Russian Circles - "Memorial"
82. Arcade Fire - "Reflektor"
83. Danny Brown - "ODB"
84. Helen - "Dying all the Time"
85. Odonis Odonis - "Are We Friends?"
86. Arnold Dreyblatt and Megafaun - "Home Hat Placement"
87. Bill Callahan - "The Sing"
88. The Men - "I Saw Her Face (acoustic)"
89. Gems - "Medusa"
90. David Bowie - "Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich mix by James Murphy)"

91. Lazerhawk - "Massacre"
92. Androgynous Mind - "Knock on my Door"
93. Thee Oh Sees - "Toe Cutter - Thumb Buster"
94. Purple Pilgrims - "Earthly Heaven / Joon"
95. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - "Higgs Boson Blues"
96. Action Bronson - "Pepe Lopez"
97. The Stranger - "Where Are our Monsters, Where Are our Friends?"
98. bEEdEEgEE - "Flowers"
99. Death Grips - "Whatever I Want (Fuck Who's Watching)"
100. Charli XCX - "You (Ha Ha Ha)"

I probably could have come up with even more songs, but i've gotta go make dinner.  Get to listening!

And...it's my favorite albums of 2013

Year end lists are always an endeavor.  While they are fun to research, rate, and write, man do they take up some time.  I should be Christmas shopping or something...contributing to my local economy...rather than cluttering up webspace with yet another pop culture opinion.  So without further ado, and because no one demanded it, these are my top 20 albums of 2013 (in alphabetical order) and a song from each.

Boards of Canada - "Tomorrow's Harvest":  2013 was a year of returns (Bowie, Suede, QOTSA, etc.), and electronic duo Boards of Canada picked it right back up as if they hadn't been silent for the last eight years.  The new album feels dark, sometimes ominous, and cinematic throughout.  These guys need to score a movie ASAP.

Daft Punk - "Random Access Memories":  Speaking of electronic duos we haven't heard from in a while, those crazy Frenchmen in Daft Punk had a pretty stellar year.  A well received modern disco album with a slew of guest spots both new and hip (Pharell, Panda Bear) and classic (Georgio Moroder, Paul Williams).  This is one of those rare albums that sounds synthetic and organic at the same time...and best of all, it's fun.

Deafheaven - "Sunbather":  After some consideration, bay area black metal band Deafheaven produced my favorite record of the year.  The group combines the gritty aesthetic of black metal with the soaring soundscapes of post rock and really just knocked it out of the park.  Formulas are meant to be messed with people.  Genres are meant to be turned on their ears.  This album is amazing, and it got me back into metal.  Kudos.

Death Grips - "Government Plates":  Noisy, experimental, punk rock, hip-hop act Death Grips continue to amaze me with every new release.  They are damn near impossible to pin down, impossible to categorize, impossible to equal.  No one else sounds like Death Grips...and they are prone to releasing their albums online for free, so go get you some.

Jacco Gardner - "Cabinet of Curiosities":  Psychedelic pop rock is alive and well, and leave it to a cat living near Amsterdam to create an album that captures the sound, textures, and wonder of 60's psych rock so perfectly.  I also caught Gardner a couple of times during SXSW this year, and his live show does not disappoint.

HAERTS - "Hemiplegia":  Last year, dream pop act HAERTS won me over with their first single.  This year the band continued to string me along with an amazing EP.  Here's looking a 2014 for an actual full length of dreamy pop bliss.

Horseback - "A Plague of Knowing":  Kind of cheating a little bit here with a compilation of older works, singles, vinyl only releases, collaborations, and one-offs, but those older works are something.  Horseback manages an everything but the kitchen sink approach to metal.  There are bits of black metal, psych rock, prog, krautrock, drone, and Americana in there music, and it's amazing to hear so much of it in one place.

Iceage - "You're Nothing":  Danish punk rock kids continue to rule the world with their combination of hardcore, post punk, and general bad attitudes.

The Knife - "Shaking the Habitual":  In 2006, Sweden's The Knife got me back into electronic music after a long absence with their excellent album "Silent Shout."  The duo tinkered around and experimented with various projects and sounds (an opera anyone?) over the years since, culminating in the weird and insane three-record album that is "Shaking the Habitual."  I don't really know what else to say about this record.  You just have to sit there and listen to it from start to finish uninterrupted.  Hell, do it twice.  It's a lot to take in.

Kylesa - "Ultraviolet":  2013 was a banner year for metal bands, and the latest from Savannah, Georgia's Kylesa was an awesome palette of crunch and riffs.  This is headbanging in your garage kind of music.  I love it.

Lazerhawk - "Skull and Shark":  This digital release from Austin's Lazerhawk is a ridiculous synthesizer opus to horror soundtracks from the 80's.  It's stupid and goofy and some of the funnest music i've heard all year.

Locrian - "Return to Annihilation":  Locrian blend experimental hum and drone with metal, often creating an almost chamber effect, like druids chanting and praying to some noise rock deity.  It's atmospheric.  It's haunting.  It's ugly and beautiful.

Lustmord - "The Word As Power":  If you only buy one dark, experimental and droney record this year, Lustmord is probably the way to go.  Combining ambience, drone, and some middle eastern textures and chants, "The Word As Power" feels like being lost on the winding streets of some mysterious, ancient metropolis, shifty eyes everywhere.

My Bloody Valentine - "mbv":  I don't think anything really needs to be said about this one.  Twenty two years later, we finally get the follow up to one of the best and most influential albums of all time.  And it still feels like a natural progression despite the two plus decades that passed.  (Also, the most insanely loud live performance i've ever seen and heard in my life.)

Phosphorescent - "Muchacho":  Phosphorescent's 2013 release "Muchacho" is the sound of getting wasted on the beach with locals you just met last night, calming, melancholy, but ultimately exactly where this old heart is meant to be.

Postiljonen - "Skyer":  Dreamy, ethereal synth pop for the masses.  These Swedes may as well go ahead and just create music for John Hughes movies that don't exist.  Flashback pop.

Savages - "Silence Yourself":  Post punk had a bit of a resurgence this year (similar to the one in 2002 when Interpol's first album came out).  Dark and aggressive, with nods towards Joy Division and Siousxie and The Banshees, Savages makes my blood run grey.

Tree - "Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out":  Sometimes you just gotta listen to straight up gangsta rap.  Tree hails from Detroit, his raspy voice complimenting the laid back beats and different array of samples that bump and click throughout this awesome (free!) mixtape.

Troller - "Troller":  Kind of cheating again as the debut album from Austin's Troller actually came out last year on a limited cassette run, but i didn't hear these guys until early this year when the album was reissued onto vinyl.  Troller make moody, darkwave synth pop, Gothic and gorgeous.

Wolvserpent - "Perigaea Antahkarana":  As i mentioned earlier, 2013 was the year i got back into metal, and a big part of that was the latest release from Wolvserpent, a black metal opus that feels like getting back to nature.  The band's music is dark, organic, atmospheric, and sweeping.  It's like wailing against the heavens.

So there you have it.  I'd be remiss if i didn't ask for your favorite albums of the year.  Did i miss something vital?  Something epic?  Something damn near awe inspiring?  If so, clue me into that stuff immediately.  Keep an eye out for my favorite songs of the year very soon.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Saol Alainn

Here's a little slice of fragmented electro-pop from LA artist Saol Alainn.  "Nostroke" pops and hums and warbles its way right into the center of my cold, dead heart, a pulse starter and head bobber.  Watch the video below and get the limited 7" from the always excellent No Recordings.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Burial - Rival Dealer

Over the last couple of years, enigmatic producer Burial has release a handful of 12" EP's, sometimes collaborative efforts (Four Tet, Thom Yorke, Massive Attack), always seemingly out of nowhere.  His latest, next week's "Rival Dealer" comes out just in time for Christmas.  Listen to the title track below and get the record from Hyperdub.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


It's cold outside.  I had a long day.  Here's some cold, noisy minimalist post punk out of LA from Deathday.  Listen to "No Future" below and get the EP from Mannequin.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Smoky, bleary krautrock from Copenhagen, the cats in Pinkunoizo create a ridiculously good swirl of sound and beat, music for an odd, yet lazy afternoon.  Get "The Drop" from Full Time Hobby and listen to the sprawling "Necromancer" below.


If "Man of Steel" taught me anything, it's that you shouldn't buy into the hype of a well put together trailer.  Last year's teaser had me so pumped for a film that was ultimately disappointing.  I really don't want to go through that again.  And...so we have the trailer for this May's "Godzilla" reboot...and wow!  It looks amazing.  It looks fun as hell.  Don't get your hopes up though.  Let's wade together cautiously.  Oh, who am i kidding?  Get those hopes up and smash some buildings!  Godzilla!

Watch the trailer below.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime

Faith No More's 1995 album "King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime" is one of my favorite albums of the 90's...and unfortunately it gets a bad rap.  Way, way underrated.  Read my opinion about it over at Joup.