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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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