Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

And 2015 is done.  Just like that.  Whatever you decide to do tonight, just be sure to be careful out there.  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Still catching up on some stuff that i missed the first time around in 2015, and i completely forgot that we got a new record from Godspeed You! Black Emperor earlier this year.  Much thanks to my brother for reminding me with the band's latest, "Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress," for Christmas last week.  The album feels more brief and direct than previous efforts, but still packs the dark, dense, and heady punch the band is known for.  Get it from Constellation Records and listen to an excerpt of "Peasantry or Light! Inside of Light!" below.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Wished Bone

Enjoy some Wished Bone, hushed and lo-fi, Appalachian-tinged folk music for earlier morning hours of calm.  Listen to "Witty Boys Make Graves" below and download the "Pseudio Recordings" EP here.

Monday, December 28, 2015

RIP Lemmy Kilmister

It's always strange to see those pass away that for some reason you thought would live forever.  RIP Lemmy Kilmister.  Listen to some Motorhead tonight.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Honey Radar

Really digging on the lo-fi vibes right now.  Here's a new one from Philadelphia's Honey Radar called "Kangaroo Court," from the band's "Giraffe" EP, a short blast of warbly, crackly, psych-tinged bedroom pop.  Listen below and grab the record here from Chunklet Industries.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Car Seat Headrest

Well, it's that time of year again when i start to come across all of the excellent music that i missed out on earlier this year for whatever reason.  And Car Seat Headrest is truly some excellent music.  "Teens of Style" consists of a collection of re-recorded songs from the last four years compiled for release on Matador, and pulls from seemingly every cool band from the 90's, with Guided By Voices being the most obvious and prevalent.  If you're gonna ape somebody, it might as well be GBV.  Listen to "Something Soon" below.

Friday, December 25, 2015

It's Christmas Time, Mr. Falcon!

Before the day is over, give Retro Promenade's Christmas compilation, "It's Christmas Time, Mr. Falcon," a spin.  Synth-pulsing, neon-tinted wonderlands to help you digest and rest.  Listen to Jaunter's "Carol of the Bells" below and download the whole album here.

LCD Soundsystem - Christmas Will Break Your Heart

A new song from LCD Soundsystem!  A Christmas song from LCD Soundsystem!  And the word is they're reuniting for some shows next year!  Listen to "Christmas Will Break Your Heart" below.  That is all.

Radiohead - Spectre

So, apparently at one point in time, Radiohead was the front runner for the theme song for the latest Bond flick, "Spectre."  They didn't get it.  And that's a shame.  But, they saw fit to share it last night, and it's pretty darn good.  Take a listen to and download below.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Movie Trailer Week: Scrooged

If i only get to watch one Christmas movie during the season, it's going to be "Scrooged" every single time.  So, Merry Christmas everybody, and will you please...stop...the god...damn...hammering!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Movie Trailer Week: Gremlins

Because what is Christmas without having your mother attacked by a little monster hiding in a Christmas tree?  Part horror flick, part comedy, and part anti-Christmas narrative, "Gremlins" is still an absolute gem.  Joe Dante is one of the most underrated filmmakers to have ever graced image to celluloid, and he deserves way, way more props for his contributions to the cultural zeitgeist.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Movie Trailer Week: Edward Scissorhands

Long before Tim Burton was a hollowed out shell of himself, he actually made good movies...good, quirky movies that felt helmed by an auteur.  Burton had a voice, and an aesthetic, and some recurring themes addressed in all of his films.  And he actually made a couple of near-flawless classics in his early career as well ("Beetlejuice" and "Ed Wood," i'm looking in your direction), but my very favorite will probably always be 1990's "Edward Scissorhands."  It finds Tim Burton at his Tim-Burtoniest, has one of the most amazing film scores ever put to tape, courtesy of Danny Elfman, and it takes place at Christmas.  Watch the trailer below.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Movie Trailer Week: Die Hard

Hey guys!  It's Christmastime, and all week long, i'll be posting trailers to my favorite movies of the season for your viewing perusal.  Some of these may be actual Christmas films or they may just take place on Christmas.  Either way, these are the movies i want to watch while waiting for Santa to show up.  First up is one of the greatest action movies ever made.  Watch the trailer for John McTiernan's "Die Hard" below.  Ho Ho Ho!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Favorite Movies of 2015

 I love movies.  I wish i could go out and see more of them.  So, this list is kind of short.  I only made it out to see a handful of films this year (the reality of having a toddler), i have yet to see "The Martian" (a film i'm fairly certain would make the list), and "Star Wars" and "The Hateful Eight" are not on the agenda until next week or later, so here are my favorite three movies of the year...of the small sample i got to see.

3. Bone Tomahawk
A western/horror/cannibal hybrid of a flick with a terrific cast, shot subtly and assuredly, and featuring some brutal violence.  It's like it was made just for me.  Check out my more in depth review over at Joup.

 2. Mad Max: Fury Road
So often when a movie receives the kind of hype and anticipation that George Miller's return to the world of "Mad Max" did, the end result is usually a combination of unmet expectations and one big unhappy let down.  All of these reboots and years-later sequels that keep budding up to wet our nostalgic whistles over the last few years inevitably end up that way.  But not "Mad Max."  It met all expectations, lived up to all the hype, and then full throttle charged past it all to, i dare say, rival and surpass the originals.  "Fury Road" is everything an action movie should be, but it's so much more than that: a return to practical film making, balls to the wall stunts and set pieces, a whole immersive world to get lost in, and some strong feminist themes that Hollywood should take some notes on.  Watch this movie right now!

1. Inside Out
I'm not a very emotional person, but every once in a while, a film can really hit me hard, evoking a misty eyed response, hugs all around.  "Inside Out" is an absolutely beautiful movie, a piece of cinematic art.  It made me want to go home and hug my son.  It made me want to hug my wife.  It made me want to go and hug my mom.  It gave me a better appreciation for all my family, all my loved ones, all my friends.  An animated family movie of what it is to be human, what it is to have empathy, what ties each and every one of us together as voiced by a bunch of comedians, and it practically brings me to tears.  My wife and i got to see the movie on a rare date night, my sister in town visiting for the week and more than happy to watch the boy, and we left the theater riveted, moved, holding hands.  I loved this movie.  I want to show it to everyone and make them love it too.

So there you have it.  Three films worthy of your time and personal libraries.  Here's to seeing more next year...if i get the there are about to be two kids running around here.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Favorite Album Covers of 2015

I'm running through my compulsion to present list after list to you.  I cannot be stopped.  Here are my favorite album covers from the last year, the kind of stuff that should be on the wall of a museum somewhere, or neatly filed away on my record shelves...

5. Eartheater - R.I.P. Chrysalis
The symmetry here just sets my mind at ease...even if there are some disturbing images in the mix (grubs emerging from horse orifices).

4. Sexwitch - Sexwitch
I'm not really sure why i like this album cover as much as i do.  It's simple, but it's also kind of creepy...just like me!

3. Robocop OST
Jay Shaw's artwork for this reissue is gorgeous.  It makes me want to watch the film.  It makes me want to get a print of it and hang it in my house somewhere.

2. Run the Jewels - Meow the Jewels
Come on.  It's the Run the Jewels emblem, but with kitty paws and a collar instead.  It's adorable.

1. Blanck Mass - Dumb Flesh
The cover to the latest effort from Blanck Mass is just so visceral, what appears to be rolls of fatty flesh cascading against each other in an almost hypnotizing fashion.  It's kind of ugly.  It's kind of gross.  It's also kind of sexy.  I can't look away...

Hooray album art!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Favorite Non-2015 Songs of 2015

With as much new music as i listened to this year, there was plenty of older stuff to discover for the first time as well.  These older nuggets were jamming through my earholes all year long, and they are all amazing in their own ways.

John Cale - Big White Cloud:  I had never really delved into much of the former Velvet Underground member's catalog, but with my first real taste being the delightful, lush, and dreamy "Big White Cloud," from 1970's "Vintage Violence," it seems i have decades of stuff to uncover and enjoy.

Wizzard - Everyday I Wonder:  I got into the wonderful world of Roy Wood and Wizzard a couple of years ago when i heard "See My Baby Jive" for the first time.  It was one of those moments when you feel like you've discovered your favorite artist ever, but somehow i missed out on the 1974 song "Everyday I Wonder" from the "Introducing Eddy and The Falcons" LP.  The song embodies everything rock n' roll that had happened up to that point...and then some.

Vivien Vee - Higher:  Cheesy 80's Italo Disco featuring Goblin's Claudio Simonetti?  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!

Bonnie Beecher - Come Wander with Me:  A haunting folk track taken from an episode of "The Twilight Zone" and performed by a former girlfriend of Bob Dylan, "Come Wander with Me" is eerie in all the right ways, a beautiful and simple melody that stays with you for days.

Vic Chesnutt and Liz Durrett - Somewhere:  Maybe covering a showtune, and a kind of schmaltzy one from "West Side Story" at that, is kind of hokey, but there is something so absolutely devastating about Chesnutt's and niece Durrett's slow and beautiful take on the song.  Chesnutt's ultimate demise may have something to do with that, but i find myself humming this in the quieter hours everyday now.  Go visit the always excellent Aquarium Drunkard here to listen.

What old song did you discover this year?

Favorite Songs of 2015

And now it's favorite song time!  Just in case 25 albums was not enough for you, here come...i'm not sure how many yet...songs of the year straight at your face!  These are in absolutely no order whatsoever, just getting jotted down as i think of them, hence the vagueness about how many songs you're gonna get.  And i'll be keeping with my self-imposed one artist/one song limit.  Make a playlist of the following.  Or don't.  Whatever.  I don't care.

*UPDATE* 85 songs.  There are 85 songs on this list.

1. Tame Impala - Let it Happen (probably my very favorite jam of the year)
2. Grimes - Kill v. Maim
3. Cindy Lee - Power and Possession
4. Faith No More - Superhero
5. Molly Nilsson - Mountain Time

6. Father John Misty - Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for 2 Virgins)
7. Jean-Michel Jarre and Fuck Buttons - Immortals
8. Pill - Hot Glue
9. Sexwitch - Ha Howa Ha Howa
10. Cold Showers - Plantlife

11. Anna Vos Hausswolff - Come Wander with Me/Deliverance
12. Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz (w/ Ariel Pink) - Tiger Dreams
13. Deafheaven - Brought to the Water
14. King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - Paper Mache Dream Balloon
15. Alex G - Bug

16. Mark Lanegan and Beth Orton - Your Kisses Burn
17. Small Black - Boys Life
18. ) - When We Fall
19. Casino Hearts - Bad Kids
20. Picnictyme - Burnin' Up

21. Helen - Motorcycle
22. HAELOS - Earth Not Above
23. Shamir - Call It Off
24. Kins - Little Dancer
25. London O'Connor - Guts

26. Algiers - Remains
27. Postiljonen - Wait
28. Ultimate Painting - Break the Chain
29. Destroyer - Dream Lover
30. The Parrots - I'm Not Alone

31. Starry Mountain Singers - Gordon
32. PYE Corner Audio - Stars Shine Like Eyes
33. Blanck Mass - Detritus
34. Troller - Destruccion
35. Total Babes - Circling

37. Lustre - Blossom Pt. 3
38. Thee Oh Sees - The Ceiling
39. Health - Stonefist
40. Cheatahs - Murasaki

41. Prurient - Greenpoint
42. Cat's Eyes - The Duke of Burgundy
43. Liturgy - Quetzalcoatl
44. Tei Shi - Bassically
45. Blur - There Are Too Many of Us

46. Failure - Mulholland Drive
47. Tarcar - Eija
48. Earl Sweatshirt - Grief
49. Torres - Sprinter
50. Hinds - Davey Crockett

51. Bjork - Stonemilker
52. Chromatics - I Can Never Be Myself when You're Around
53. Leon Bridges - Lisa Sawyer
54. The King Khan and BBQ Show - Alone Again
55. Waveshaper - The Ghost of Leland Palmer

56. Them Are Us Too - Us Now
57. King Woman - King of Swords
58. BADBADNOTGOOD and Ghostface Killah (w/ DOOM) - Raygun
59. Ghost Bath - Golden Number
60. Ty Segall - Mr. Face

61. Wand - Planet Golem
62. Death and Vanilla - Follow the Light
63. Beach House - Space Song
64. Kamasi Washington - Change of the Guard
65. Kendrick Lamar - How Much a Dollar Cost

66. Soko - Peter Pan Syndrome
67. Viet Cong - March of Progress
68. Myrkur - Skogen Skulle Do
69. Bell Witch - Judgement, in Fire: I - Garden (of Blooming Ash)
70. Gwenno - Chwyldro

71. John Carpenter - Night (remixed by Zola Jesus)
72. FUZZ - Silent Sits the Dust Bowl
73. Panda Bear - Crosswords
74. L'Enfant de la Foret - Amidst the Wolves
75. Kalax - Lullaby for Lovers (Falling Again)

76. Oneohtrix Point Never - Freaky Eyes
77. David Bowie - Blackstar
78. Ulaan Khol - Saltland
79. ANOHNI - 4 Degrees
80. Mass Gothic - Nice Night

81. Wild Nothing - To Know You
82. Frankie Cosmos - Young
83. Youth Code - Anagnorisis
84. Savages - The Answer
85. Foie Gras - Carcass

I think that's it.  I'll get back to you if there are more.

Favorite Albums of 2015

Year-end list time motherfuckers!  I've been doing this long enough to know that nobody reads the intro to these things, so without further ado, here are 25 albums (in alphabetical order) that rocked my socks off in 2015...

Algiers - Algiers:  A blistering mix of post-punk, garage rock, and gospel, Algiers is like howling at the moon, trading shots with the bleak and the glorious.

BADBADNOTGOOD and Ghostface Killah - Sour Soul:  Proggy jazz trio BADBADNOTGOOD are quickly setting themselves to be THE producers to work with, churning out all kinds of groovy hip-hop and remix projects into the ether.  2015 saw the group release their (to date) magnum opus with Wu-Tang's Ghostface Killah rapping over their psychedelic soul jams.  You can feel the smoke and sway in the air.  Welcome to the cool kids' table.

Bjork - Vulnicura:  Probably my favorite Bjork record since 1997's "Homogenic," the Icelandic queen's latest album is a devastating portrait of heartbreak, a record for the cold and fractured.

Blanck Mass - Dumb Flesh:  As one half of electronic duo Fuck Buttons, Benjamin John Power is still a force to be reckoned with on his solo projects.  Blanck Mass is noise and drone and electronics and glorious crescendos, and "Dumb Flesh," aside from it's excellent album cover, captures the very best that Power has to offer.

Leon Bridges - Coming Home:  What a remarkable year for Fort Worth's Leon Bridges, capturing his own brand of 60's soul revival and shunting it off to the masses.  The man channels the good stuff, and while pulling his sound almost directly from the past, manages to sound fresh and new.

John Carpenter - Lost Themes:  I have long been a proponent of Carpenter's film scores and the whole mass of bands who tread in those same sonic waters, so it only makes sense that i would be drawn to the man's first album of non-movie related music.  It's a synthy, electronic wonderland that could totally be it's own soundtrack, a score for some mutant film still living in Carpenter's head.

Casino Hearts - The Best of Casino Hearts:  I guess this album is a compilation of tracks that Jacob Rubeck has recorded over the last couple of years, so maybe it's not an actual new record per se, but it served as my introduction to his Casino Hearts project, and has been in constant rotation for months.  Lo-fi little pop nuggets, bedroom dreampop, and droney explorations through the garage, the album taps into so many of my favorite aesthetics, and is one of my favorite finds of the year.

Cindy Lee - Act of Tenderness:  Wow.  Patrick Flegel, formerly of the beloved and defunct Calgary band Women, put out two absolutely amazing albums this year under the moniker of Cindy Lee.  Bits of lo-fi scuff, crunchy noise, and delicate balladry, the songs of Cindy Lee are at once heartbreaking and all to real.  "Act of Tenderness" feels like a literal heart on a sleeve, a search for love in a sea of unrequited obsessions and romances.

 Deafheaven - New Bermuda:  Following up my favorite record of 2013 was not going to be an easy task, but the Bay area black metal/shoegaze/post rock/pop amalgamation that is Deafheaven certainly gave it a shot with new album "New Bermuda."  While still very much a record in the vein of "Sunbather," the album dials back the shoegaze fuzz a tad and really pummels the earbuds with some full on metal riffs and screaming wails...and still manages to be beautiful despite itself.

Faith No More - Sol Invictus:  Faith No More put out their first record in 18 years this year...and it ranks right up there with band's best.  I try not to get too excited when one of my bands of old reunites and releases a new record, but Faith No More just made it so damn hard not to be.  "Sol Invictus" is everything i want in a Faith No More record and more.  Here's hoping this is just the beginning of a new act.

Father John Misty - I Love You Honeybear:  As J. Tillman continues his transformation into his stage persona Father John Misty, one could easily expect the man to get lost within his own little art world, but good, true love sure can ground someone.  "I Love You Honeybear" is essentially an album about how much Tillman loves his wife...which is a whole lot.  And it's a beautiful piece of work.

Gwenno - Y Dydd Olaf:  Gwenno Saunders of the band The Pipettes embarked on a solo journey this year (actually it was last year on a limited cassette release, but finally out in wider scope this year) with her album "Y Dydd Olaf," a collection of Welsh language songs based on a sci-fi novel about world-conquering robots and human clones.  The record is soft synth pop with some serious kosmiche and krautrock undertones.  Saunders definitely dug on some Stereolab in her should we all.

King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - Paper Mache Dream Balloon:  Modern garage rock bands seem to be the ever-prolific bunch, and Australia's fantastically named King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard certainly fall into that routine.  While 2015 saw the release of two albums from the seven-piece, it was the later release "Paper Mache Dream Balloon," an album recorded with no electric instruments," that really cemented what this band is capable of.  Minus all the fuzz and noise, and you've got some brilliantly crafted pop songs, and a group of musicians ready to try anything, to pick up any instrument and learn it on the fly.

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly:  So much has already been written and said about Kendrick Lamar's masterpiece, there's nothing i can add to the fold that would shed any new light on the material.  In full honesty, i was way late to the party on this one, only having recently begun to listen and dissect it's layers of jazz, funk, and hip-hop history, and i feel like a fool for that.  Lamar is as original and thoughtful a voice as your liable to get in hip-hop or any other genre of music.  He's special.  And we all know it.  Even Obama.

The Next Peak Vols. 1-3:  Three volumes of music covering, remixing, reimagining, and inspired by David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" as performed by a whole slew of electronic artists and synthesizer enthusiasts?  Yes please.  I cannot get enough of this.

Molly Nillson - Zenith:  Germany's Molly Nilsson crafts dreamy, floaty synth-pop that retains a darker edge due to her almost baritone-ish vocal delivery.  "Zenith" sounds like a younger Nico making music with John Maus.  It's spectacular.

Oneohtrix Point Never - Garden of Delete:  Daniel Lopatin is a sonic pioneer, constantly exploring the very boundaries of electronic music and then pushing it even further.  Each album listens like an adventure, like something new and exciting.  "Garden of Delete" is just the next evolutionary step.

Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper:  Noah Lennox's work as Panda Bear is increasingly becoming my go to for synth-psych-sample experiments, even more so than his work with Animal Collective.  His solo albums are beginning to eclipse those of his long-running band.

Shamir - Ratchet:  Let's dance everybody!  Shamir's "Ratchet" is a hodgepodge of hip-hop, R&B, electronica, and pop as brought to us by some high-voiced kid from Las Vegas.  Leave your sexual orientation at the door and just get on that dance floor.

Soko - My Dreams Dictate My Reality:  Weirdo mutant pop seems to be breaking its way into our ears and hearts this year, and for my money, the best is from French singer-songwriter Soko and her sophomore effort.  Featuring assists from Ariel Pink, "My Dreams Dictate My Reality" bounces all over the place, trading in kitschy synth-pop one moment and drifting off into cool, psychedelic airiness the next.  This is music for strange road trips.

Tame Impala - Currents:  The latest record from Tame Impala is kind of remarkable.  "Currents" is essentially an homage to 80's pop rock, featuring layers of synthesizer and bouncy beats, but maintaining the band's psych-rock sound that put them on the map to begin with.  This is as perfect a pop album as you're likely to get in this year or any year.

Viet Cong - Viet Cong:  The soon-to-be-renamed Viet Cong put out what is probably my favorite record of the year with this self-titled effort.  Cold and ragged edges surround this gnarly post-punk record with occasional forays into everything.  Live, the band is thunder, but on tape, they're more succinct, almost hitting krautrock-like moments of precision, before falling apart in a scratchy caterwaul.  Just like the earlier-mentioned Cindy Lee, Viet Cong sprung from the ashes of the gone-too-soon band Women, thus proving that there is something wonderful in the air in Calgary.

Anna Von Hausswolff - The Miraculous:  I probably could have made a whole list of albums indebted to dark folk and black metal, but i'll just focus on the sophomore album from Sweden's Anna Von Hausswolff instead.  Combining those aforementioned genres with some classical and chamber pop notes, "The Miraculous" feels cinematic in scope...dark and beautiful music for dark and beautiful imagery.

Wand - Golem:  Another band that put out two records this year, LA's Wand are all the best parts of garage rock: raucous licks, bombastic drumming, glammy melodies, and a sense of psychedelic inertia that threatens to blast you into the nether regions of the cosmos.  This is music to blaze and shake to.

Kamasi Washington - The Epic:  And finally we have the massive album from Saxophonist Kamasi Washington.  The aptly titled "The Epic" is almost three hours of soulful jazz, a cornerstone kind of record that draws its inspiration from everything that came before it.  There are notes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Vince Guaraldi, and so on, and we are all the better for it.  Maybe the kids are listening to jazz again.  I don't know, but goddamnit, i sure am.

So there you have it.  I capped myself at 25 records, but, like everybody who makes these kinds of lists, i could have easily thrown on a bunch more.  Better luck next year Lustre and Bell Witch.