Where have I been? Not blogging, that's for sure. But that doesn't mean I haven't had my ear to the ground on your behalf, gentle reader. Despite my pending move to the Big Apple and all the attendant madness that has brought to my life, I'm still making time to find awesome music to share with you all. Enjoy!
- "Black Mozart" - Raekwon (featuring RZA & Inspectah Deck)
Well, you heard it here first (unless you heard it here first): The new Raekwon album is, in a word, dope. He set the bar high by positioning his latest album as a sequel to his best solo effort, but unlike some other Raekwon albums, this one does not disappoint. There are definitely more hard-core tracks on the album, but this one has one of the best hooks.
- "Freak Train" - Kurt Vile
I've been hearing about this guy forever, and I even read recently that he's one of Yo La Tengo's favorite artists. Despite all that, I found most of his upcoming album "Childish Prodigy" pretty repetitive (which I usually like) but there are a few standout tracks. This one and a couple others sound to me like Animal Collective after they listened to a bunch of folk albums. Or something.
- "Avalon Or Someone Very Similar" - Yo La Tengo
"Popular Songs," Yo La Tengo's new album, is fantastic. Even if you count the 3 over-10-minute jams at the end. I had a hard time picking a song from this album, so I picked 2. This one showcases their classic sound - high-pitched vocals, unassuming but pretty guitar work, a gentle rhythm that keeps things moving without getting all stressed out about it. Peaceful, but not a pushover. Like me.
- "Periodically Triple Or Double" - Yo La Tengo
Also like me, this song is a bit of a mystery. Is it jazz? Blues? "Organ-boogie?" Whatever you call it, it's a good time. It reminds me a little bit of some Belle & Sebastian songs, notably the ones with the organ. Only this one's way better.
- "TFO" - Harlem Shakes
When they're not blatantly ripping off TV On The Radio (see "Strictly Game" from their new album), Harlem Shakes have the makings of a decent band. Too bad they just broke up. Oh well. It may be sophomoric, but I love the line "we got time to waste some time."
- "Zombie City Shake" - Black Hat Brigade
Believe it or not, this is actually not a Wolf Parade side project! They get major points for the theremin on this one. And man, that guy sounds like Spencer Krug. Or maybe the other guy from Wolf Parade. Good ol' whatshisname (no offense intended). Either way, this is a fun song.
- "Psychic City (Voodoo City)" - YACHT
I dig electro-pop as much as the next guy, but it's taken many more listens than I expected to get into their latest album. With the exception, of course, of this awesome party song. [Editor's note: 2 songs with "City" in the title in 1 playlist? Far out!]
- "This Is Our Lot" - Wild Beasts
A friend recommended this band to me, and I'm glad he did. Having largely missed the heyday of this sort of music in the 80s, I'm excited to hop on the bandwagon now. If I ever have to keep a girl in a pit in my basement while I hide my junk and tell myself how pretty I am, I'll play this song in the background. (Here's a cartoon version that is much safer for work than the original).
- "Dominos" - The Big Pink
And now we come to the "super catchy" portion of the playlist. If these guys ever learned to write songs with lyrics that A) didn't betray their massive distrust of and apparent dislike for women, and B) actually rhymed, they would be unstoppable. This is the song I would play in the record store when it was time to magically sell five copies of their album, a la John Cusack. [Editor's note: I assume "Dominos" is the British spelling, but I'm too lazy to check on that.]
- "We Are Golden" - Mika
Mika strikes again! Just when I thought I was over this guy, he comes out with a new album which is supposedly some sort of rock opera/concept album about his teenage years. Or something. Whatever it is, it's catchy as hell - if you thought that Big Pink song might get stuck in your head, just listen to this one a couple times and you won't even have room in your head for your own name. [Editor's note: while it might sound like Los Campesinos is doing backing vocals on this track, I think it's just some British teenagers yelling.]