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 29 2011

The Top 50 Albums of 2011 – 20-11

20. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Age tends to wear and tear a group into writing lamentations on nostalgia, love, family, and life – apparently aging has the opposite effect on Foo Fighters, who have released their loudest, RAWK-iest album since The Colour and the Shape. And the songwriting in at its finest hour since One By One.

19. Gillian Welch – The Harrow & the Harvest

After years, Welch has finally returned, now a primary elder statesmen, with a new album that quiets the naysayers and gives the fans exactly what they wanted. There’s no shortage of emotion here, nor is there lacking of reserved brilliance in melody, balance in structure, and perfect respect to tradition. Best folk album of the year, no contest.

18. Givers – In Light

Simple indie pop wrapped in a blanket of wise intuition and progressive approach. In what should sound like an album full of throwaway 3-minute ditties, Givers transform an overdone sound into a borderline-epic affair full of tempo changes, wavering moods, and consistent unpredictability. And yet, it all feels like a challenging puzzle you’re putting together slowly, but surely.

17. Yuck – S/T

Fuzzy grunge and disarming melodies are the tale here. We can sense this London group loved their flannel, but so did Candlebox; the difference here is not pure derivative formula, but unique arrangement and a knack for knowing what works. We admire grunge’s finest for their abrasive, angsty mood – Yuck goes deeper to find what works not as a method of looking back, but moving forward.

16. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Belong

For those wondering if Pains were a one-note, twee-loving band, think again. The sound is bolder, the scope is grander, and the melodies? Worthy of some of the best written this year. Choruses stick like rubber cement, shy vocals peer out from aggressive guitars, and the ambition just keeps growing as the record plays on.

15. The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love

Like contemporaries Cut Copy, while everyone around them struggles to meet the expectations of an overcrowded genre, the Rapture takes their time to craft an impeccable album. And that’s exactly what happened. The group’s fourth album is effortless, confident, and a reminder of what everyone else is missing.

14. Cloud Nothings – S/T

2012 may be a sharper, more mature turning point for Cloud Nothings, but until then we have this self-titled debut – a fun, noisy romp through great hooks and haphazard punk licks. Six months from now we may find this effort somewhat naive compared to the growth the band has done in future albums, but for now it’s simply charming.

13. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

No one has ever said Annie Clark wasn’t a gifted songwriter, but what she had in ambition she lacked in accessibility. That is, until now. Clark has found the missing link between her unique approach and a larger audience. Crafting some of her most memorable tunes, St. Vincent has kept that bold brilliance we’ve come to adore.

12. The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar

In a time full of clean, quiet indie, this Welsh group provides the fix for loud and brash. The sound of this debut disc is mighty, and the melodies accompanying the in-your-face noise loom just as large. Joyous anthems are wrapped around chaos, providing optimism amongst today’s apathy and nonchalance.

11. Neon Indian – Era Extrana

Psychic Chasms was a delightful acid trip, an introduction to one of the sharper chillwave pioneers. Era Extrana proves that pioneer has staying power, even if his original subgenre doesn’t. The aural wooziness of his debut is heightened here with dark undertones and enticing refrains. If you feel weird after listening, just know that’s the whole point, as it’s always been.


Dec 24 2011

The Top 20 Remixes of 2011

Compared to the past couple of years, I was underwhelmed with the number of awesome remixes I heard in 2011. Not that they weren’t out there, I just didn’t mosey upon them. So if by chance you don’t see one of your favorites listed here, send it my way or comment, by all means.

Regular readers will not be surprised to find a plethora of Star Slinger on here; he’s one of my favorite current producers. There are others here as well, and he doesn’t get the top spot. Also it should be noted, for those uninitiated, that I’m a big club and house fan, so other styles are likely under-represented here. I enjoy dance music, but I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about it. Like most of my year-end lists, this is basically just a ranked list of remixes I heard that I enjoyed. YouTube links are provided, and listening to these tracks loudly is highly encouraged.

20. Star Slinger – Dumbin’ (Diplo Remix)

19. The Rapture – How Deep Is Your Love (A-Trak Dub aka Dub For Mehdi)

18. Escort – Cameleon Chameleon (Club Remix)

17.

      1. Trombone Shorty - Do To You (Star Slinger Remix)

16. Jamie Woon – Lady Luck (Hudson Mohawke’s Schmink-Wolf Refix)

15. XV – Swervin’ (Clams Casino Remix)

14. Tyson – Out of My Mind (Star Slinger Remix)

13. Star Slinger – How Will I Copulate (Moranis Mashup feat. Whitney Houston)

12. Aaliyah – Are You That Somebody (Hudson Mohawke Remix)

11. James Vincent McMorrow – If I Had a Boat (Star Slinger’s R ‘n’ B Thug Mix)

10. Gold Panda – Marriage (Star Slinger Remix)

9. Ra Ra Riot – Too Dramatic (The Kids Are Radioactive Remix)

8. Pony Pony Run Run – Hey You (Star Slinger Remix)

7. Alex Winston – Sister Wife (Star Slinger Remix)

6. The Go! Team – Apollo Throwdown (Star Slinger Remix)

5. Rizzle Kicks – Down With the Trumpets (Star Slinger Remix)

4. Coldplay – Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall (Swedish House Mafia Remix)

3. Childish Gambino – Freaks and Geeks (Star Slinger Remix)

2. Bingo Players – Cry (Just a Little) (Kids at the Bar Bootleg Remix)

1. The Joy Formidable – Whirring (Innerpartysystem Remix)


Dec 23 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – The Top Twenty

20. Wiz Khalifa – Roll Up

Delivering sing-song verses, that trademark stoner laugh, and a chorus you’ve memorized by the second time you’ve heard it, Wiz Khalifa might be one of the laziest rappers on Top 40 radio. But that’s exactly the point. He’s not some uptight, eccentric, crazy ambitious, domineering figure. He’s that pot-smoking friend who’s down for whatever, and if your down, he’s down. The most casual summer jam of the year.

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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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Dec 19 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 200-151

There are quiet moments, but overall this year’s song countdown is crazy upbeat; you’ve gotta be an uptight jerk not to enjoy at least some of what’s here. For the most part, this collection of songs from 2011, while decidedly less diverse than in past years, still perfectly captures my mood and preference. I’ll be counting down until Friday – feel free to browse, listen, discover, disagree, etc. I’ll publish a Spotify playlist at the end with most of the tracks on there; the rest can be found via YouTube below and on subsequent posts.

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Nov 20 2011

Sunday Night Videos 11/20/11

Black Lips – “Raw Meat” from Urban Outfitters on Vimeo.


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 24 2011

Culture Greyhound Podcast 9/24/11

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:

The Rapture – Children
Summer Camp – Better Off Without You
The Joy Formidable – Cradle (Fang Island Remix)
Body Language – You Can (Star Slinger Remix)


Aug 15 2011

Five Upcoming Austin Shows I’m Pumped For

9/19 – Two Gallants @ Mohawk

10/1 – Cymbals Eat Guitars/Hooray For Earth @ Emo’s

10/12 – The Rapture @ La Zona Rosa

10/21 – Battles @ Emo’s

11/4-6 Fun Fun Fun Fest @ Auditorium Shores