Thursday, July 25, 2013


When I go on to two things are guaranteed to happen:
1) In the span of one hour, I am going to walk away with 10-15 albums I had never even heard of before that I need to listen to immediately
2) I am going to hate myself and the music I listen to

It has got to be one of the most toxic environments on the internet, everyone is so high on their own dicks and the obscure drone/noise they listen to and they will tell you how lame your music is. Now, it's (mostly) all tongue-in-cheek and pretty funny at first, but the constant negativity eventually creeps into my head when I spend a few days on the site. I start thinking while listening to music, "Is this cool? Is this obscure enough? Do I like this only because it is manufactured to my taste like a Big Mac is manufactured to taste delicious? Am I challenging myself with this record?"

Isn't that fucking nauseating? I eventually break away from the site and remember that we like music because we like it, and everything else is bullshit.

After the cycle described above, I am still left with the 10-15 new albums I never knew existed, and there are always some gems amongst them. Here are the best finds from this month's foray into the /mu/ shithole:

Sigur Rós - Kveikur

Did you know Sigur Rós released a new album this year? I had not even the slightest. Kind of goes to show how tired this band had gotten, perhaps. Thankfully, the band has shifted their sound on this one, albeit not as drastically as many would have you believe. On Kveikur, the band sounds more aggressive at times, almost noisy, but still retain that good ol' Sigur Rós whineyness that we all love. If you liked Sigur Rós before, there's a good chance you will love this album. If you weren't a huge fan before, this one isn't going to sway you too far.

 Deafheaven - Sunbather

This is being called a cross-over black metal hit, bringing non-metal fans over to the... pink side. The tracks on here are around 9 minutes in length, so there's enough time in each song to squeeze in parts I love with other parts I don't care for. But all-in-all, I think this is a solid release. I tried unsuccessfully to get into black metal last year, so I can safely say this is the best black metal album I've ever heard. So that's something!
Deafheaven - Dream House

 Melt Yourself Down - Melt Yourself Down

This album is funky as shit! It's got electro-noises, awesome tribal drumming, and the funkiest saxophone riffs that will make you think you are on acid. No, Mom I've never taken acid. But check out this album to see what I mean. However, by the end of this album, I was mentally exhausted. I hope that was just due to the number of new albums I was charging through and not so much the album's fault. Because it is damn fun.
Melt Yourself Down - Fix My Life 

Dirty Beaches - Drifters / Love is the Devil

This album is really weird. When I first heard it, it sounded as if he were playing in a subway tunnel 100 yards away. Everything is really muffled, and half the songs are ambient pieces. I haven't listened enough to really develop an opinion, but oftentimes my favorite albums just leave me with a "what the hell was that?" feeling after I heard it the first time, so I am excited to revisit.
Dirty Beaches - I Dream in Neon

The Drones - I See Seaweed

This album rawks. This band has a "fuck it we'll do it live" feel to it. It's kind of like Wilco with a punk vibe (that's really the worst analogy, but it's all I can think of at the moment). I am really optimistic for this album to get many, many listens in the near future. It's probably my favorite album of all the ones I mentioned in this post. I don't have much to say yet because this one probably deserves it's own write-up.
The Drones - I See Seaweed

Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus

I didn't find out about this one on /mu/. In fact this was one of my most highly anticipated albums of the year. Unfortunately, due to /mu/'s onslaught of so many new albums, I haven't given this one the attention it deserves. I can tell you it feels somehow even more massive than the previous two albums from this duo, and my head bangs hard when I listen to it. My first impression is I enjoy Tarot Sport more, but it was gonna be hard to top that one in my head anyway. Check this one out if you love obliterating your eardrums.
Fuck Buttons - The Red Wing

Monday, July 15, 2013

Kurt Vile - Wakin on a Pretty Daze

This album is really blowing me away right now. I think a large part of that is how much this album took me by surprise. I heard Smoke Ring for my Halo when it came out and didn't really think anything of it. When this one came out I never even gave it a listen. However, I was watching Anthony Fantano's top albums of 2013 (so far) and Kurt Vile made the list. So, I figured I'd give it a spin and I immediately fell in love upon hearing the first track.

Wakin on a Pretty Daze sounds to me like Destroyer's Kaputt with a western flair, which is an awesome combination.

I've only listened to this album all the way through twice, so I don't have much else to say aside from: "Wow."

Be sure to check this one out, even if it is a whole two months old.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Charles Mingus - The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

I tried really hard to get into Jazz last fall. Pictures of jazz musicians alone make me want to like this genre.

Try to tell me that isn't the coolest thing you ever saw. And I didn't even search google longer than 5 seconds to find that.

However, try as I may, I just can not get into jazz. There are a handful of albums I can play in the background as I sit in my smoking chair (which is the name I've given my office chair for the purposes of this fake story) listening to the rain pattering on the window (or the A/C whirring above me) where I think to myself: "All riiiight daddio".

But really, there aren't any albums where I am eagerly looking forward to listening to them. In large part, a lot of jazz just kind of sounds the same. That could be my untrained ears hearing trumpets, saxes, and pianos and not knowing what to listen for, but nevertheless, jazz was forever trapped in the "get-to-know-you" stage and never in the "omg-I-love-this" stage.

That is, everything except The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady by Charles Mingus. I had read online that this was "2nd tier jazz", meaning it's tough to get into unless you have learned to appreciate "tier 1 jazz". For example:

Tier 1: Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Tier 2: Charles Mingus - The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
Tier 3: Miles Davis - Bitches Brew

While this album is pretty different from any other jazz album I've heard, I don't believe it to be difficult to get into. Unlike most other jazz albums, it has less of an emphasis on solos. Improvisation is all over this album, but everyone is doing it at the same time, which feels more natural and less formulaic. The album has this life about it that isn't replicated on any album I've heard in any genre. The solos this album does have feel planned, and less "mashing on keys and hoping something decent comes out".

If you have any interest in jazz, and especially if you don't, I recommend checking this album out.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Oneohtrix Point Never

No one told me that while I was in Bolivia OPN announced that he's releasing a new album on Oct. 1st!!!!

It's called R Plus Seven, and I couldn't be more excited.

Until then, we can just listen to his version of "I Only Have Eyes For You" on repeat.

Gangsta, Numbers on the Boards, and Lady

Yesterday I found a "Best Songs of 2013 (so far)" playlist on Google Music. It was pretty impressive how broad of a range the playlist covered (did you know Black Sabbath had a new album this year? Neither did anyone else), but that also means the majority of it was shitty music (did you know Black Sabbath had a new album this year?). There were a few songs that were nowhere near my radar that really blew me away.

First and foremost, "Gangsta" by Kat Dahlia. This song CRUSHES! Kat Dahlia's voice is like Rihanna's but with way more attitude. Kat has two other songs on Google Music that I could sample, but unfortunately one was terrible and the other was alright. But this song dude... get on it.

Next up is a song from Pusha T called "Numbers on the Boards". I wasn't looking at my phone when this came on, but I immediately knew it was Pusha when he started. Pusha's style makes him one of my favorite rappers (and is a large reason why Hell Hath No Fury is my favorite hip-hop album of all time). The beat on "Numbers on the Boards" is just nasty. It's got a constant, in-your-face bassline with computer glitches and this sample of a crowd cheering that really pushes the song to the next level. 

Last was a song called "Money" by Lady. It's not the best song of these three by any stretch, but the album that accompanies it is really great. The album has a 70s groove to it that sounds like an album-full of "Fuck You" by Cee-Lo. Yeah, Cee-Lo tried making that album, but it sucked. Lady really nails it song after song. It's one of those albums where you think to yourself, "Damn, this is fun as hell! There's no way they can keep up this energy throughout the entire album without sounding lame." But, much to my enjoyment, every song sounds fresh, fun, and never repeats itself. 

Daft Punk, if you are reading this (I have one reader in France, so I think it's safe to assume it's one of you), this is how you make an album that glorifies the past without sounding corny and/or awful. To everyone else who loved Random Access Memories and wants to continue the funk, pick up Lady's self titled debut.

Monday, July 1, 2013

June Catchup

While I was out of the country for 3 weeks, a lot went down in the music world. Let's get caught up!

First and foremost, we witnessed the sixth coming of our lord Yeezus. I saw Kanye perform "Black Skinhead" and "New Slaves" on SNL last month, and I was immediately so excited for his new album. It sounded like Kanye had been listening to a lot of Death Grips. Kanye brining Death Grips' sound to the mainstream is essentially my wet dream. Yeezus is an awesome album. It's catchy when it wants to be, and grating when it wants, too. The lyrics definitely won't blow you away though. I enjoy the lyrics on this album in the same way I enjoyed watching the third Twilight movie. You know, the one where a vampire bites a baby out of Bella. It's also the movie where a grown(ish) man falls instantly in love with a baby the second he lays his eyes on her. The same hilarious-train-wreck is all over the lyrics on Yeezus. My favorite lines:

"You be ballin' in the D-leagues, uh / I be speaking swag-hili"
"In a French-ass restaurant / Hurry up with my damn croissants!"

Lyrics aside, this album is straight awesome. I also just found out that Arca, who released my 8th favorite album of 2012: Stretch 2, helped produce 4 tracks on here! All of the songs on here are spastic, erratic, yet still have that woe-is-me-soulfulness that Kanye is so great at. Yeezus will surely end up in my top 5 favorite albums at the end of the year.

Kanye West - New Slaves

The other big music news I missed was the release of a Fuck Buttons single titled "The Red Wing", off their forthcoming new album. This song is AMAZING! It sounds like the Fuck Buttons thought to themselves "ok, we made our devastating album (Street Horrrsing), and our victorious album (Tarot Sport), let's make one that sounds fun for a change". This song is really hard not to overplay. I would hate to be tired of it by the time the album comes out at the end of the month.

Fuck Buttons - The Red Wing

I also missed a free(!) release of a Killer Mike/El-P collaboration titled Run the Jewels. I haven't had time to download it for myself, but I heard it this past weekend and it BANGS! As if I needed to tell you that this duo (the creators of my 9th favorite album from 2012) were a match made in R.A.P. heaven.

Also, it looks like this Thursday will see the release of a new Jay-Z album, Magna Carta Holy Grail.

I am so glad to be back in the states!