i like year-end lists. i learn a lot from them, oftentimes, and it's fun to hear other people talk about stuff they love instead of the usual bullshit, gossip, and negativity. but i'm just not very good at 'em, cuz 1. i'd hafta write over a period of two weeks or so, constantly revising (like john cusack in 'high fidelity' when he does that top 5 for the paper) to get at anywhere NEAR everything and 2. i have no idea what was released or filmed or recorded or written this past year, nor do i care. i have a decent idea of what i personally found out about, tho', so here's a little list of that, musicwise, in no particular order, done in as much time as it takes to look around my bedroom and type.
pygmy shrews you people can all go straight to hell mocnik grabbed this for me and it's taking its premier spin on the turntable as we speak. more worthy of being on wantage than the egyptian and i think i like it even better than that supremely focused mess. harkens back to the killer house-show days of the mid-'90s while being anything but retro and taking a fair amount of those bands to the cleaners. of course they've now broken up.
primitive calculators the world is fucked one of my fave tracks ever is their weirdo let's-leave-the-vocal-off version of "pumping ugly muscle" on the dogs in space sdtk but man oh man oh man oh man on their very first long player this long-defunct aussie postpunk destruction unit fucking pulls it ALL out. this thing burns like nothing else - the ugly and glorious newer faust stuff even pales in comparison. whitehouse without all the stoopid schlocky hatespeech, and a fair bit of actual chops. recommended for everyone - the world would be a better place if this took avril levigne's place on racks at targets everywhere.
lorde pure heroine of course as with all pop musick i heard "royals" first at a drag show but the story behind this record is as great as the record itself, which balances familiar modern-pop melodies with honest production, heart-on-the-sleeve songwriting and a somewhere-between-indie-and-top-40 vibe. earworms everywhere and nothing so cringe-inducing as to make one run for the needle. beyoncé should've taken note.
nymph new millenium prayer i am now even more pissed that i missed them over 100 years ago at carbar since this lp is nigh-on effin' perfecto. hippie bleeps and bloops trade back and forth with free skronk, both overlayed with yoko wails of the highest caliber; droney jams encompassing riffs on every era since their invention focus and unfocus into a plethora of other modes and styles - but strikingly, nymph never lose their identity. magnificent, beautiful, & inspiring.
anna ranger swimming and crawling over 1000 years ago freddie free gave me a cd of this full-band studio session, and the lp is finally out. the mastering is SUPERB - it may seem like a no-brainer that the vinyl sounds better than a cdr but that's so often not the case, and this one is particularly gorgeous. for those uninitiated, anna ranger mine jangly, morose, dancy territory that wouldn't make them outta place on factory, sarah, or even merge records, but their incredibly sporadic show and release schedule (and now the fact that they live in different towns) keeps them from getting a fraction of the attention they deserve. a truly original take on seemingly threadbare musical and lyrical themes that's so personal at the same time it's so detached…just an all-around beautiful thing. i'm glad we've got 'em, even as rarely as we do.
jessie j "price tag (shux remix)" the album she released this past year is fantastic but it's this older single that spent the most time blasting out of every speaker i had access to. the original is a surprisingly fresh version of an overused modern melody and structure ("umbrella", et al.) with unintentionally ironic lyrics, and is a great song in its own right, but the remix replaces all the duffy-isms with booming mid-range rock drums and brostep wub-wubs and slays everything in its path. cyndi lauper of the now (as if the woman herself isn't).
christian prommer drumlesson zwei some kinda worldwide percussion maestro is our mister christian but hell if i knew that, i just thought this looked interesting for eight bucks at halfprice. and interesting it is. other side of the dawn of midi coin, an acoustic attempt at covering electronic numbers, and whether yr familiar with the originals or not, this is one great listen that's not gonna grow old anytime soon. which brings us to…
dawn of midi dysnomia album of the year. some of the band's talk of leaving rhythmic space to be filled in by yr consciousness or whatever is a little less than fully realised but that doesn't change the fact that a band in fucking 2013 - an IMPROV JAZZ band! - made one of the most crucial, riveting, mind-blowing and mind-numbing compositions OF ALL TIME EVER. more krautrock than krautrock, more minimal than minimal, you couldn't handle this on strong acid. but give it a try.
misfits meet the nutley brass vinyl reissue with two bonus tracks. if you don't know what this one is, what the fuck are you doing here??
the points s/t the real sex bob-omb, the times new viking that's worth listening to for more than a track or two, i'm yet to hear ANYONE shouting about the points outside my own personal bubble but as if that's ever been a condemnation of any particular groop's badassery…
i am the center '80s-centric 3lp comp of mostly independently-produced new age musicks. constance demby was the only person i'd heard of glancing at the tracklisting at the shop (yes, someone bothered to order this in - thanks steve!). excellent in-depth booklet, fantastic sequencing - and tho' i was worried a little that three records would hardly be enough to provide a decent overview of a music that leans so often in an extendo direction (and maybe, indeed it isn't - i can only imagine what else is out there based on other stuff i have that didn't make the cut), i'm incredibly pleased with this comp far above and beyond the fact that anyone would even bother to do it in the first place.
the lees of memory "we are siamese" b/w "open your arms" perhaps they'll just keep writing songs with already-used titles but who gives a toss when they're this fucking crucial. the two guitars in superdrag reconvene to write only shoegaze songs (yes. yes they did.) and the results are STAGGERING. (perhaps you see what i did there.)
puerto rico flowers 2, 4, 7 pretty much the find of the year, bandwise, for me - kevin from pink reason mentioned them in passing and after tracking their stuff down they've rarely left the player. (apologies in advance for the five or six songs i've written that completely rip them off.) proof that the speed of the music doesn't dictate the emotional intensity, and an argument that ripping off cure synth lines can actually sometimes work.
radon picked up the little 45 book at autonomy's house and eventually found my own copy. tracked down the reunion lp and some of the older stuff (on youtube)…damn. DAMN. DAMN DAMN. naked raygun and mid-period gov't issue have an unholy post-embrace/pre-getupkids boychild in gainesville - but the coup here isn't the fine musical line they tread so expertly, it's the way the records, whether you have any history with them whatsoever, provide such a sense of place - it's as if the music itself is hollowed out and filled with indian summer post-show somehow-you-can-gloss-over-all-the-weirdness-and-oof-of-yr-teenage-years-and-just-vibe-on-the-eerie-good-stuff voodoo. somebody KEEP THIS SHIT IN PRINT WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?
matias aguayo ay, ay, ay totally THE find of my last trip to other music, a predominantly beat-boxed (if you will) "techno" album that's as life-affirming as anything ever cut to wax. "rollerskate" is my track, currently. look it up.
helm silencer ep far less ambient than other stuff i've heard of his, gnarly samples get even more gnarled (reportedly) by a gnarly four-track and loop into oblivion. one of those productions that is so damn gratifying and disorienting that you can't even get jealous about it.
katy perry prism far from perfect, but easily the pop album of the year. weird, big tribal drums all over the first side and EVERYONE else in pop needs to take a page outta katy's book of lyric-writing. miley and the aforementioned beyoncé, we really are listening, it really does matter, and yr shit lyrical content is ruining otherwise-decent records. STEP IT UP OR AT LEAST OVER.
the creatures hai! in which siouxsie and budgie actually make an entirely percussion-based album again, instead of the location-specific jet-set alterna-whatever of the last two. as i always say, if it takes a kodo drummer to make yr music vital again, GET THE KODO DRUMMER…
mary ocher and your government "man v. air" she has but one song so far with this double-drummer project and already i've put it on three mixtapes. keep an eye out for wherever she takes it.
vacation candy waves lp+45 i've come to terms with the differences between vacation's full-body-assault live shows and their sizzly, over-reverbed recordings, tho' it has helped that their records just keep getting better. honestly, though, it doesn't matter how songs this fucking good are presented. special mention to their shellshag cover on the shitty city 7" - a gleaming highlight of their recent live shows.
crooked bangs crooked bangs dunno why a group from austin revels in such spirited gloom or sings in french half the time, nor do i care. best atmospherics this side of…
mother of fire feral children where one song ends and another begins is beside the point, which makes this album's similarity to their last a non-issue. if anything, this one's a little more…unnerving, tho' no-one would ever've accused MoF of being a relaxation aid, all drones aside. a better amalgamation of ease and unsease, rough and smooth, i doubt any of us'll ever find.
and lastly (for now), my long-delayed realisation that st. vincent, regina spektor, & kimbra are totally worth listening to was trumped only by the discovery that a thousand commercials on youtube can't overpower the butterfly-inducing greatness of THIS:
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there's other stuff. but gimme two weeks to edit it in. hahahaha…