It’s getting close to that time of the year where I make my way back to LA, where I surgically bolt my sunglasses to my head and breathe in the smoggy sunshine like I’m huffing paint fumes. Even if there’s no other reason to look forward to it, it’s one of the few times a year since I moved out to Chicago that I get to plant myself behind the wheel of some kind of car and drive aimlessly — sometimes for 50-mile stretches across fields of waving yellow grass, sometimes in 10-foot sprints wedged between other disgruntled motorists. Either way, it’s worth it. Continue reading
Category Archives: Albums
Moon Duo: Shadow of the Sun
I’m a big fan of stupidly simple songs. I could listen to something drone for days on end, sober as a nun, and still have a gospel to preach about it. I suppose it’s one of the perks of growing up near an airport — you learn to appreciate when noises ebb back and forth between background and foreground. You learn to daydream along with a soundtrack. Continue reading
Compilation: Citrus City, Vol. 1
Yesterday was a good day. I serendipitously stumbled upon this compilation yesterday (along with a TON of other really great new and newish tracks) and it’s been one of those time when I’m amazed at how much great stuff people are putting out there completely under the radar.
Citrus City Records and their compilation is giving me serious flashbacks. My life as a music listener has been dotted with that intense and weird shame/excitement combo that comes with a fantastic comp full of unknowns. “Who the hell are all these amazing artists and why haven’t I heard of them before? I’ve got work to do — things to binge listen to.”
Flashback: The Raspberries
I’m on some kind of weird 70s kick as of late. Anchored by my long-time love affair with the Bowie Berlin Trilogy, it’s now progressed through an array of strange and obscure figures to emerge back in the mainstream with AM radio gold. That means snaking through the druggy proficiency of Todd Rundgren, the tragic history of Badfinger, and finally landing on The Raspberries.
Michael Rault: Nothing Means Nothing b/w Still Not Sad
Canada seems pretty cool. I trawl through a lot of new and old artists on a daily basis, and Canadian groups always seem to catch my ear in one way or another. Poutine is also great. Oh, and maple syrup. Love me some maple syrup. Continue reading
Big Hush: Wholes
If you’re looking for a reason to feel superior, buying cassette-only releases is definitely the way to go. It’s right on the line between old-fashioned and just plain ridiculous, but also, it’s still pretty neat to hear. I’ve gotten a few over the past few years, and I can confirm that you’re not buying tapes for the sound quality. It’s either because of borrowed nostalgia and assumed cultural superiority (see above), or because you like hearing thick analog warping coming from the shitty tape deck you’ll inevitably be using to play your cassettes because the rest of humanity has realized how antiquated magnetic tape is.
I’d like to think I’m in the latter group, but I think my water-damaged copy of the Bee Gees Greatest Hits puts me in both categories. Barry Gibb’s corrupted falsetto sounds like a beautiful pile of satanic feces, though. Continue reading
Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”
Three or four years ago, summer guitar pop songs were harder to come by, but they were always refreshingly different from the Great Chillwave Bubble of 2010. You have so many options to choose from these days, that it can hard to find a gem. Blah, blah, market saturation, you get the idea.
It took a long while, but after years of treating the music of my Indonesian background as little more than a curiosity, I’ve finally started to see how great it can be. I no longer say words like “dangdut” or “kroncong” with a grimace. (Now it’s more of a beaming smirk.)
As far as Japanese noise experiments go, I’m pretty unversed. Appreciative, but unversed. But when OOIOO‘s new album dropped with the title Gamel — as in “gamelan,” the traditional Javanese percussion orchestral ensembles — my eyes lit up. To me, gamelan music is like the bagpipes of southeast Asia. Ugly and annoying, but a sacred link to the past, and a fixture at ceremonies where people wear too many layers of clothing for a tropical third-world country. No one listens to gamelan music by choice unless they’re smug assholes looking to make a point.
Jerry Paper: Fuzzy Logic
You might remember the day that I vomited links all over your computer speakers. At least 23 readers reported short circuits caused by whatever gastric robo-fluid spewed forth from the miniature speaker cones. I’m almost positive that at least one person tried playing everything in the post all at once, which resulted in a laptop that kept scrubbing and kept turning the hot water but still… couldn’t… get… clean. Poor lappy.
One of the culprits was a new EP from Jerry Paper, International Man of Misery, which was the follow-up to 2012’s Vol. I, which I loved more than watching incompetent drivers trying to parallel park. Yes, it was that good. Continue reading
Waste Not, Want Not: LINK BARF
ONE MONTH’S ABSENCE MEANS ONE MONTH’S ABSENCE’S WORTH OF LINK BARF. OLD: BARFED. NEW: BARFED. LET’S GET BARFIN’.