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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Full Albums:

  • Childish Gambino, Camp
  • The Meters, Struttin’1
  • Atlas Sound, Parallax2
  • Pusha T, Fear of God II: Let Us Pray3
  • Gary Clark, Jr., Gary Clark Jr. EP4
  • Blink-182, Neighborhoods5
  • The Roots, Undun6
  • The Replacements, Pleased to Meet Me and Let It Be
  • Buddy Guy, Sweet Tea
  • Eddie Money, Greatest Hits: Sound of Money
  • Left Lane Cruiser, Bring Yo’ Ass to the Table
  • Lupe Fiasco, Friend of the People: I Fight Evil7
  • Tom Vek, Leisure Seizure
Random Excellence:
  • Wu-Tang vs The Beatles, “Daytona 500”
  • Slim Harpo, “Te-Ni-Nee-Ni-Nu”
  • Money Making Jam Boys, “Tear it Down”
  • Led Zeppelin, “Bring it on Home”
  • Indigenous, “Hold On”

Songs of the Week:8

  • Pearl Jam, “Not for You”
  • Public Enemy, “Brothers Gonna Work It Out”
  • Rage Against the Machine, “Bulls on Parade”
  • The Replacements, “Bastards of Young”
  • KRS-One, “Sound of da Police”

Reviews:

1. There was a line on one of these songs about not needing James Brown or The Ohio Players because you’ve got The Meters. Initially I thought it was a crock of shit and bad songwriting (because of course I need James Brown and The Ohio Players), but then I thought about rap. Literally every rapper calls themselves the best because it’s how you survive, it’s how you make your music stand apart. Indeed, these guys are right up there with the best of them (James Brown, The Bar-Kays, The Blues Brothers, The Ohio Players, etc.), but they’re good at something very different from the rest of them. It’s distinctly different and they’re doing it best.

2. This is a beautiful album, but I don’t think I want to listen to it again. It feels like parts of Interpol and The National with a hint of The Cure and a whole bunch of depression icing laced on top. It’s some kind of beautiful sadness that I can really only wallow in momentarily.

3. There is just something so goddamned weird about hearing 50 Cent rap with Pusha T for me. Maybe that’s a good metaphor in itself: Clipse was the perpetual underdog and suddenly half the litter is running with the big dogs. I mean, I’m not even a 50 Cent fan, but I’m so used to hearing Pusha rap next to people whose entire careers consist of hoping to show up on a Clipse album. It’s a good album, but I wonder how secure his career will be without Malice there to back him up. They were the Nice & Smooth, the Run DMC, the Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth of churning out another cokerap song.

4. This kid gonna make Texas real proud. Knock on wood and all, but oh my goodness, this is an independent EP and he just released an EP on Warner Brothers. I have so many high hopes even though I know he’s a blues kid. Maybe he’ll pull a John Mayer or something.

5. I think the break weathered them well. I had pretty much dismissed them, thinking I’d outgrown them; yet, this is a really solid album. I might even say it’s better than the self-titled one that came before it, but I’m not sure: both albums come from a very different place. The self-titled album was made in the midst of a lot of difficult times, and this one was made after a lot of difficult times; it’s lighter, but it still has that twinge of fear and “Oh my God, what now?” But they might finally, like their fans, be growing up–but they’re not moving on.

6. This album was kind of like a handshake buzzer: I didn’t see it coming and it shocked the shit out of me. I’ve never read any Malcom Gladwell, but one of his most important points that keeps getting circulated seems to be that after 10,000 hours of practicing something, you’re finally a professional at that thing. There’s something about this album that just drips of sheer professionalism. Sure, they do a late-night comedy show during the week where they perform bullshit songs that have become memes (or just the laughingstock of the country), but they’re also some of the biggest music nerds in existence: they perform as many music-related jokes per night as there are guests. They know music, they play music, and they’re probably one of the best bands creating music right now.

7. Who thought there would be this much dubstep on a rap album, much less on a mixtape? It’s bizarre, but somehow it’s like Lupe suddenly knows what the kids are into again. It’s like he’s got the curse of the major label letdown: he can’t perform unless he’s just rapping without a suit staring over his shoulder or something. It’s a weird problem, but at least he made some great music.

8. I created an #OWS playlist on Spotify that I blame absolutely none of you for subscribing to. I’ve been trying to walk the line between protest songs, songs that are not protests songs but could relate, and songs that just sound good. Seriously, Martha and the Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run” is more about love than a protest, but it’s been used in every Vietnam War movie and the title still fits. Also consider how “Dancing in the Street” by Van Halen (which is also a Martha and the Vandellas cover) literally has nothing to do with the protests except they name some places that have had Occupy protests. Even more embarrassingly, it’s only about two hours long. Like I’m really doing my part, showing my solidarity, by making a stupid two-hour playlist. However, they’re all songs I enjoy. So they keep getting played, and they keep slipping into the Songs of the Week. If that’s the least that playlist can do–keep me slightly aware that something’s happening here by means of a couple of songs–then it’s probably okay.

Comment:

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m looking forward to the weekend, weekend. Partyin’, partyin’. Yeah, but in the mean time, I figured I should let you know this might be the last twim until the new year. If I don’t have to, I don’t carry my laptop back to Texas, and this year I don’t have to. So let me say this: I had my ups and my downs and, for a long time, this blog’s output kind of suffered for a little bit (hopefully not in quality, but definitely in quantity). I remember I still haven’t typed up a five questions episode I’ve recorded, a thing I made a resolution to do more of. But I also remember saying that I was getting excited because a lot of good music seemed to be coming out. And I might not have discovered a lot of great new music, but rather spent a lot of time digging deeper into a whole bunch of music that is new to me, but I think that still counts. So I’ve made some promises I didn’t keep (I’m looking at you, Robert Johnson guitar book), but I kept listening to music. (Which is probably the very least I can do.) It’s something I can keep doing without stress, pain, or regret. It’s a lifelong love that I hope I never lose.

Catch you on the flippy-floppy and stuff.

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Full Albums:

  • Big Punisher, Capital Punishment1
  • The Ike Reilly Assassination, Salesmen and Racists2
  • The Stooges, The Stooges and Funhouse3
  • The Replacements, Tim
  • Commodores, Caught in the Act4
  • Yelawolf, Radioactive5
  • John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Crusade and A Hard Road6
  • Mick Taylor, Mick Taylor7
  • The Meters, Rejuvenation8
  • Beyonce, 4
  • Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne
  • Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  • Spoon, Gimme Fiction
  • The Weeknd, House of Balloons
Random Excellence:
  • Terius Nash, “Wake Me when it’s Over”
  • Soundgarden, “Slaves & Bulldozers”
  • Raekwon, “Wu-Gambinos”
  • The Knife, “Heartbeats”
  • Kanye West, “The Joy”
  • Animal Collective, “My Girls”

Songs of the Weeks:

  • The Roots“Get Busy”
  • Left Lane Cruiser, “Justify”
  • Queens of the Stone Age, “Turning on the Screw”
  • Jay-Z, “Public Service Announcement”
  • Big K.R.I.T., “Country Shit (Remix)”

Reviews:

1. I think it’s funny Big Pun will probably go down in history as a one-hit wonder thanks to the popularity of “Still Not a Player.” It’s a great song, but some other hits just as big would have solidified this album as something the kids need to look up. (I think what I’m saying specifically is that “Twinz” is crazy good lyrically and musically, but it’s also incredibly dark. Terror Squad, “Taster’s Choice,” and other exciting things probably made this one very unapproachable for non-gangster rap fans.) This is a surprisingly good album that reminds me of Notorious B.I.G. and the Wu-Tang Clan. Sure, that’s probably because of his sex skits and when he name-checked “C.R.E.A.M.” about a third of the album, but it’s a nineties rap album that blends in with the best nineties rap albums.

2. This is probably going to be the worst review I ever write. I was busy and stressed at work–despite knowing full well that this was a thinker of an album. Something to play a couple of times and listen to a lot. But I was so focused on my work that I spared none of my focus on his lyrics. I heard a lot of rock with all the classic trappings–distorted and jangly guitars, horn sections and an angry singer–on an album worthy of a revisit and a serious listen.

3. This was another set of albums deep in the heart of my extreme focus. However, I was surprised that I might have only really enjoyed “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Which terrifies me. They have the kind of hype behind them that positions them as the meeting point between The Ramones and The Rolling Stones. Like they’re part-garage-rock gods and part-heroin-addled punk and rock geniuses. I just felt like they were unorganized, but talented musicians. And I know that’s not what I’m supposed to feel, so I feel weird about it and generally try to soothe my apprehensions with another hit of “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”

4. When I first picked up a bass and wanted to play every funk song in existence, how did I not get to these guys? For some reason, I was working my way through the early Red Hot Chili Peppers’ and Led Zeppelin’s discography. This albums totally fills that funky hole in my heart with a whole bunch of awesome.

5. This might be yet another one of the most bleak albums of the year. I feel like there’s a reigning theme in rap right now, where people finally make it but know nothing’s still okay. Whereas in a lot of rock music right now, the focus is on how awesome things are or how awesome things are about to be. I think it’s a bizarre dichotomy because getting to the mainstream in either genre requires a whole lot of struggle. But with this album, the struggle’s palpable. It’s something very real that demands to be reckoned with–like he’s daring you to pull the headphones off or something. Just don’t.

6. Oh man, what a guitarist. It feels like albums full of the bluesiest blues out. Like, you might never remember the lyrics because it’s the same songs that every good blues musician plays. And the solos are just as hard to differentiate because they’re all so good.

7. I was beyond shocked to find out this album isn’t even in print anymore. I was pretty sure it was going to be good because the only time Mick Jagger and Keith Richards ever gave him a writing credit was for “Ventilator Blues,” probably my favorite Rolling Stones song of all time. So I had high expectations and was pleased that Taylor delivered. But keeping this album out of print feels like a crime. Let them listen to aural cake, etc.

8. When I heard the closing song, I was baffled. How did I know this? Wasn’t this a Red Hot Chili Peppers song? It’s sure as hell funky enough to be theirs, but…my God. They covered it. George Clinton had them cover Sly and The Family Stone and The Meters…and I let that slip past me. Now, probably about ten years too late, I find the music they were tipping their caps to, like “No, seriously: Go listen to them. We do.” So I need to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers (of the eighties. Because they’re like Whitney these days, right? D.O.A.? And I’m not talking about an awesome Van Halen song.) and welcome The Meters into my personal discography. Christ, my college band used to cover “Cissy Strut” about five years ago and I didn’t even bother to look into them back then. I’ve wasted so much time not listening to them.

Comment:

I sincerely apologize for the extreme lateness. My life as of late has been a whirlwind of nonstop activity. It’s exciting and fun, but holy shit do I hate waking up during the week. I need so much more sleep than I’ve been getting since before I went on vacation. Everything’s like a game of catch-up where I’m the tomato trying to get to the front of the vine. I’ve been getting crushed, but add some sugar and vinegar and I just might turn out okay. And that’s your ketchup pun of the week. Keep on keepin’ on and tip your waitresses.