Jan 2 2012

Quarterly Review – October-December 2011

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

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Dec 28 2011

The Top 50 Albums of 2011 – 30-21

30. The Lonely Island – Turtleneck and Chain

I would like to say it was a long process determining whether or not this was one of my favorite albums of the year, but its placement pretty much nulls that. Cred be damned, this was a no-brainer for me. It’s smart, it’s funny, the production is pristine, and the comedic, cameo-filled results reveal these guys worked a lot harder on this sophomore release than we would guess.

29. The Black Keys – El Camino

I was admittedly worried our favorite Akron duo was releasing a follow-up to the huge hit Brothers too soon after their inevitable breakthrough. Would they pull a Kings of Leon and give us limelight-influenced, second-rate dreck? In hindsight, I feel stupid for thinking such a thing. The Black Keys have their shtick down, and they’re able to tweak it ever so slightly for an interesting effect, but never a disappointing experience.

28. Big Black Delta – LP1

Jonathan Bates has been the leader of Mellowdrone for years, but in 2010 he took some time off to experiment with an electronic-based project. He collaborated with M83, released some singles, and garnered enough hype for a full-length. The result is a spell-binding, futuristic take on the subdued, reticent sounds of his primary project.

27. Middle Brother – S/T

This Partisan Records supergroup turned heads at SXSW this year, and the group’s debut gives each each songwriter their fair share of time to shine. Deer Tick’s John McCauley, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith, and Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez deliver a promising debut of collaborative songs and infectious melodies.

26. Gross Magic – Teen Jamz EP

The cover may give one an urge to watch Saved By the Bell reruns, but the EP itself is more of a distorted, lo-fi take on the dirtier works of bands like L7 and other early 90’s greats. Whooshing sounds, piano clinks, and loud-ass guitars envelop the listener on this introduction to a band to watch in 2012.

25. Ringo Deathstarr – Colour Trip

Austin’s very own delivered a more approachable take on the deafening sounds of My Bloody Valentine and other formidable shoegazers. The sound is here, but the mood is all too different; cacophonies of sound give way to catchy melodies and casual lyrics. Those wishing to mope might want to look elsewhere, because you might be more inclined to dance.

24. Sebastian – Total

Some would say Total is derivative of superior work, and it’s too little too late for a producer who had been hyped since 2007, when this sound was in full swing, but has just now released his first full-length. And I wouldn’t argue with any of that. But while Daft Punk scores Disney movies and Justice errs in creating prog rock, Sebastian gave me my French house fix I so desperately needed.

23. Jeff the Brotherhood – We Are the Champions

After a well-deserved amount of praise for Heavy Days, the Nashville guitar-and-drum duo churned out a victory lap. That’s not to suggest We Are the Champions is exactly the same album, though the raucous vibe we’ve come to adore is present. There are new ventures here, including a dynamite foray into new wave mixed in with good old fashioned garage punk.

22. Cold Cave – Cherish the Light Years

If you were looking for Love Comes Close Part 2, you were likely disappointed in this challenging follow up. More Bauhaus than “Bizarre Love Triangle,” Cold Cave have reinvented themselves by channeling their dark side to another great era of 80’s rock, and the results grow on you track by track.

21. Ford & Lopatin – Channel Pressure

One look at that awesome album cover should give you a sense of what you’re walking into – Channel Pressure is probably the strongest homage to the sounds of the 80’s in recent memory. But this isn’t merely a replication of the Miami Vice – subtle structure and hidden surprises lie within repeated listens. Dark instrumentals, upbeat synth pop, and total freak-outs galore, there’s never a dull moment here.


Dec 21 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 100-51

100. The Strokes – Under Cover of Darkness

When the band sticks to what they know, they sound great. Angles is a hot-and-cold album, but this is the first of two tracks that showcases the former.

99. Born Gold – Wrinklecarver

Originally released as former project Gobble Gobble, nothing has been done to this track in terms or re-mixing or mastering, but it just sounds better in context within the new album Bodysongs.

98. St. Vincent – Cheerleader

Another highlight from Strange Mercy – here Annie Clark shows off her knack for start-stop surprises around what sounds conventional at first, then grows to be beautifully unusual.

97. Drake – Lord Knows (featuring Rick Ross)

The snare hits, the booming bass, the background vocals, that “Just Blaze!” intro, the use of the phrase “Murdercedez Benz.” What’s not to love here?

96. Wiz Khalifa – The Race

One of the more down-tempo tracks on the fun Rolling Papers, Wiz drops a chill-out anthem for the end of the night when you just wanna light one up and take it easy.

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Oct 3 2011

Quarterly Review – July-September 2011

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

Continue reading


Sep 14 2011

Five MP3s You Must Grab 9/14/11

      1. Active Child - Playing House (Chad Valley Remix)

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      2. Slow Animal - Heatwave

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      3. Colleen Green - Rabid Love

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      4. Pandr Eyez - Little Bit

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      5. M83 - Midnight City (Big Black Delta Remix)

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Aug 13 2011

Culture Greyhound Podcast 8/13/11

Every Saturday, I post a 15-20 minute podcast featuring some tracks I’ve been jamming the previous week, as well as some commentary and random musings from yours truly. Enjoy!

Tracklist:

Big Black Delta – Huggin’ and Kissin’
Yelawolf feat. Lil Jon – Hard White
Male Bonding – Tame the Sun
Air France – It Feels Good to Be Around You


Aug 9 2011

Currently Digging: Big Black Delta

Back in high school, deep in my discovery of the FM-based WOXY web stream, I ran across a pretty excellent song from a band called Mellowdrone, a track called “Fashionably Uninvited.”

That was way back in 2003, but apparently Jonathan Bates and his crew in Mellowdrone have been making music nonstop since, releasing their latest LP in 2009. However, lately, Bates has gone solo with a new project called Big Black Delta, which sounds less like the guitar-based mellow rock of his main project and more like the electro-based, New Order-loving flavor the kids are into these days, akin to Cold Cave and Hooray For Earth. Bates has the sound down, yes, but he adds vocal effects and experimental textures to it for a downright unique, and sometimes foreboding, atmosphere. Tracks like “Huggin’ and Kissin'” and his collaboration with M83 for the Tron: Legacy remix album best display this, and are instant highlights.

Check out the snazzy BBD player below, featuring singles and all of the new EP1; all the tracks are available for free download at the Big Black Delta website.