Music You Should Be Listening To: January 2013

Here at MoSS? we care about our readers. We know finding good new music can be a challenge. Lord knows you don’t hear it on the radio these days. Against my better judgment, I turned on the local rock station the other day and what do you think they were playing? Buckcherry. That’s right, Buck-fucking-cherry. It’s like regular “over the airwaves” radio is stuck in some early 2000s black hole that it can’t escape. So anyway, as a service to you loyal readers we’ll be sharing some music that “You Should Be Listening To.” Yes, we will still be doing the monthly mixes but we only get 5 songs each and sometimes that’s just not enough. Also, these posts will be mainly aimed at LPs/EPs and not singles.  So pay attention. We don’t want you wandering around aimlessly listening to shitty music now do we?

January 2013 has been a pretty good month for music. Normally, January is a very slow time for new music. Also, early in the year releases can be a tough for an artist with designs on landing on my uber-prestigious best of year list. In the last few years, there have been some early releases that I loved. Examples: Frankie Rose, Interstellar in 2012 , and Cut Copy, Zonoscope in 2011. Both are great records and were my favorite of there respective years for quite awhile do to the lack of competition. Unfortunately, I burned them out and was so sick of them by year’s end that they both struggled to crack the top 10 on my list. Maybe some of this January’s releases will fair better with so much more competition for air play.

Earlier in the month, we had a few interesting releases by:

feFree Energy, Love Sign – Just plain old good time rock. I heard them described once as “Trans-Am Rock”…seems fitting. Wish I could have made it to their show last weekend at RIBCO. Heard it was good. Maybe next time around.

Key Track(s) – “Electric Fever” ,“Girls Want Rock”

lmLily and Madeleine, The Weight of the Globe EP – These girls are like 19 and 16 and can write and sing like this? I was just trying to figure out how to play an F-Chord at that age (I still fake it a bit on that one and use my thumb on the low E). Vocals sound a lot like the group First Aid Kit. Their songs kind of remind me of The Swell Season with their use of guitars and piano. Check out Lily and Madeleine’s  Bandcamp page and think about supporting them with a purchase.

Key Track(s) – All five songs are good.

While those releases were good, today’s the day I’ve had circled on my calendar. Four albums came out today that have me excited:

dtDucktails, The Flower Lane – This one surprised me. I was never a big fan of Ducktails in the past. The last LP was fine but never really kept my interest. Pitchfork streamed this record for free last week and I couldn’t stop playing it. The mastermind behind Ducktails is the guitarist for Real Estate so there are some similarities between the two but this record stands up well on its own. Chris’ former pretend girlfriend Madeline Follin from Cults even makes a cameo on my favorite song from the record “Sedan Magic.” They are coming to Iowa City in April, may have to check out the show.

Key Track(s) – “Sedan Magic”

tsTegan and Sara, Heartthrob – Much like Vampire Weekend’s upcoming album is likely to be Chris’ 2nd favorite album of the year, this one is a shoo-in for a #2 spot on my list since their previous two records had that title in 2007 and 2009. This time the ladies changed up their style a bit and released this synth-pop gem. It took me a few listens to warm up to the new direction. At first, it seemed like an attempt to cash in with a Katy Perry-ish type record. Hidden behind those up-beat hooks they have some seriously dark and painful lyrics. In a way it is a perfect pop record but with some depth behind it.

Key Track(s) – “Closer”, “Now I’m All Messed Up”

lnLocal Natives, Hummingbird – iTunes streamed this record last week and I liked it right away. It’s not like much else out there today. Chris is way better at expressing in writing why a record is good. Usually, I just go by the feel of it. This one feels good to me. Some of the songs sound like long lost Jeff Buckley tunes so maybe that’s why.

Key Track(s) – “Breakers”, “Colombia”

brBleeding Rainbow, Yeah RightSolid release that I haven’t had the chance to really dissect yet. They streamed it at Pitchfork last week but the Ducktails album made me forget about it. I was really looking forward to this one too. It was supposed to be out last October but they delayed the release. Usually, that’s not a good sign but I’ve listened to Yeah Right and liked what I heard. It’s definitely worth checking out if you like distortion filled shoegazey type stuff.

Key Track(s) – “Pink Ruff”

Can’t wait to see what next month brings us. It’s going to be hard to beat last year as Chris dubbed it the “Best February Ever”.

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MoSS? Monthly Mixtape: January 2013

101

Side A : Todd’s Picks

1. Solange, “Losing You”

2. Haim, “Don’t Save Me”

3. Wampire, “The Hearse”

4. Youth Lagoon, “Dropla”

5. Lily and Madeleine, “These Great Things”

Side B : Chris’ Picks

1. Colleen Green, “Time in the World”

2. Iceage, “Coalition”

3. Bird Call, “Phantom Limbs”

4. Glass Theory, “Take Your Time”

5. Burial, “Truant”

Today’s Random Song in My Head, “Brimful of Asha”

songstuckinmyhead1Today was a nice easy day at work. No stress. No deadlines. I even got off a little early. It would have been the perfect day if I hadn’t heard “Brimful of Asha”, by obscure ’90s alt-rockers Cornershop, while driving to the office this morning. Curse you satellite radio! If you don’t remember that little ear worm, check it out below.

I had that song in my head for the better part of the morning. I always wondered what it supposed to be about so I did about 30 seconds of research on Wiki. Here is the gist: “Brimful of Asha”  is about a singer from India named Asha Bhosle. She sang about a billion of the songs featured in Bollywood musicals and was never on camera because they have the Indian movie stars lip-synch. Apparently, no one in India seems to mind lip-synching. (Maybe Beyonce should look into the Indian culture. She’d feel right at home.)

So there you have it. Mystery solved… I guess. Who fucking cares really?

The line that gets stuck in my head the most is in the weird bridge part.

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
everybody needs a bosom
Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
everybody needs a bosom

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
everybody needs a bosom

Nice sentiment but not really that practical. Not unless you have one of these bad boys. It’s the perfect Valentines gift for that special someone.

Bosom for a pillow Bosom for a pillow

Sick Day Diversions. (Or: The Top Three “Sore Throat Songs” of All Time)

Sick DayToday, I’m stuck at home with a sick kid. For the last eight years my wife was a stay at home mom. Was.  She started a new job last week (Ca-Ching$$$) and can’t take time off yet, so the barf cleanup duties fell on my shoulders. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m happy to share the load while my wife gets adjusted to the new working sitch (Ca-Ching$$$). It’s actually nice to use a sick day and not be the one projectile vomiting. Although, I am crossing all my fingers and toes that I  don’t catch whatever swine flu my daughter has right now.

So far the gig has been fairly easy. At first, I just put on a few movies for her watch, mopped up a puke or two, and generally just sat around waiting. Once it appeared she was feeling better, I dusted the house. Then, I did some laundry. Next, I caught up on a couple episodes of Sons of Anarchy. I’m only on season one so NO SPOILERS. (I sure hope they kill that Opie guy though. I know, I know. He’s not the rat and didn’t actually turn on the MC, but I find him annoying) Then, I played FIFA 13 for a bit. There were many exciting and well played matches. After I’m done with this post, I will be taking Stoke City to the Champions Cup Finals. Let’s Go Potters!!!

Anyways, in my boredom today I was inspired by my daughter’s scratchy throat. I started thinking about songs that sound as though the singer either has a sore throat or will after he’s through singing. So, in honor of my first daddy-daughter sick day, I’ve made a list of the those songs. (A silly exercise for certain, but I really am bored.)

#1Axl Gun n Roses, “Welcome to the Jungle”

Axl Rose may be the most famous of the “Sore Throat Singers.” As a younger man he pulled of the high pitched singing with little effort. As an older man he struggles a lot. Check out this video I found. It flips back and forth between young and old Axl. Very eye-opening.

#2 Eric Cartman, “Come Sail Away”Cartman

This is still funny as hell but I can’t help but think that Trey Parker’s vocal cords had to be fried after singing it.

And the #1  “Sore Throat Song” is…

#1 Cinderella, “Don’t Know What You Got (Til It’s Gone)”Sucrets

That power ballad needs a lozenge. While doing some research on Cinderella lead singer Tom Keifer, I found out that he blew out his vocal cords shortly after their 3rd record. Not very shocking. Also not shocking, that fact that he blew his vocal chords out again in 2008 during a reunion tour. What I do find shocking is that Cinderella was actually touring in 2008.

So there you have it. The Top Three “Sore Throat Songs” of all time. I hope that reading this post has helped relieve your boredom as much as writing it did for me. I also hope you were at least slightly entertained. But mostly, I hope that the next time my daughter vomits, most of it makes it into the toilet and not onto the floor.

Pazz and Jop is a stupid name, says Music or Space Shuttle? co-founder

pazz and jop logo

I look at the Village Voice Pazz and Jop list every year, just because I am a list junkie when it comes to music. Even though it comes from something as uber-hip as VV, the Pazz and Jop list gets the opinions of something like 500 voters. 2011’s top album, Tune-Yards’ W H O K I L L, only showed up on 19 percent of ballots; Kanye’s 2010 disc set the high-water-mark by appearing on 37 percent of ballots.

The 2012 album approached Kanye heights, and it’s a real shocker…some guy who goes by Frank Ocean topped the list with his Channel Orange. Who saw that coming?!?

channel orange cover(Before I go on about Pazz and Jop, can I ask once again what’s so great about Channel Orangeespecially when you consider just how amazing Ocean’s 2011 “mixtape” Nostalgia, Ultra is? That album is far more interesting and alive; I find Channel Orange to be boring by comparison. Where the fuck were all you people last year? I was at the front of the line, putting Nostalgia #2 of 2011, and Todd wasn’t far behind at #6. So I really wanted to like Channel Orange. Look at my top 3 discs of 2012: sophomore efforts by the xx, Sleigh Bells, and Best Coast. I don’t automatically jump ship after the debut…but I just don’t hear the greatness of Channel Orange.

Anyway…)

Given the huge number of voters and the obvious diversity in tastes, I thought it would be fun to line up our top 20 albums of 2012 against their rankings in Pazz and Jop.

Some more background…

  • Somewhere between 1,500 and 1,600 albums received at least one mention. (Channel Orange had 170 mentions.)
  • Kendrick Lamar was #2 (126 mentions) and Fiona Apple was #3 (101 mentions). No other “Century Club” members.
  • The highest ranked album with single-digit mentions: #72, Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland, Black Is Beautiful (7 mentions)
  • Van Halen’s new album came in #146 with 4 mentions

As you’ll see in the following side-by-side comparisons, a few of our favorite 2012 albums could have used our ballot. That’s right: some of our favorite albums didn’t get a single Pazz and Jop mention. #dafuq

Chris vs. Pazz and Jop

  1. The xx, Coexist (Pazz and Jop: 49)
  2. Sleigh Bells, Reign of Terror (Pazz and Jop: 60)
  3. Best Coast, The Only Place (Pazz and Jop: 98)
  4. A Place to Bury Strangers, Worship (Pazz and Jop: n/a)
  5. The Avett Brothers, The Carpenter (Pazz and Jop: t79)
  6. Sigur Ros, Valtari (Pazz and Jop: t-336)
  7. Crystal Castles, (III) (Pazz and Jop: t-116)
  8. Beach House, Bloom (Pazz and Jop: 10)
  9. Tame Impala, Lonerism (Pazz and Jop: 6)
  10. Diiv, Oshin (Pazz and Jop: 108)
  11. Burial, Kindred (Pazz and Jop: 59)
  12. Frankie Rose, Interstellar (Pazz and Jop: 128)
  13. El Perro Del Mar, Pale Fire (Pazz and Jop: t-1361)
  14. Wild Nothing, Nocturne (Pazz and Jop: n/a)
  15. Japandroids, Celebration Rock (Pazz and Jop: 4)
  16. Colleen Green, Milo Goes to Compton (Pazz and Jop: t-710)
  17. The Men, Open Your Heart (Pazz and Jop: 50)
  18. School of Seven Bells, Ghostory (Pazz and Jop: t-710)
  19. Lone, Galaxy Garden (Pazz and Jop: 237)
  20. Black Moth Super Rainbow, Cobra Juicy (Pazz and Jop: n/a)

I know Todd was surprised by my placement of A Place to Bury Strangers at #4; apparently the nation shares his assessment. Can’t believe my #14 (ranked even higher by Todd) didn’t rank; Black Moth Super Rainbow not landing a mention at all less surprising but still odd to me.

Todd vs. Pazz and Jop

  1. Eternal Summers, Correct Behavior (Pazz and Jop: t-185)
  2. Wild Nothing, Nocturne (Pazz and Jop: n/a)
  3. Japandroids, Celebration Rock (Pazz and Jop: 4)
  4. Seapony, Falling (Pazz and Jop: t-710)
  5. Frankie Rose, Interstellar (Pazz and Jop: 128)
  6. Best Coast, The Only Place (Pazz and Jop: 98)
  7. Paws, Cokefloat! (Pazz and Jop: t-1253)
  8. The Sea and Cake, Runner (Pazz and Jop: n/a)
  9. Tennis, Young and Old (Pazz and Jop: t-308)
  10. Diiv, Oshin (Pazz and Jop: 108)
  11. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange (Pazz and Jop: 1)
  12. Beach House, Bloom (Pazz and Jop: 10)
  13. Michael Kiwanuka, Home Again (Pazz and Jop: t-170)
  14. Hospitality, Hospitality (Pazz and Jop: 134)
  15. Echo Lake, Wild Peace (Pazz and Jop: n/a)
  16. Nude Beach, II (Pazz and Jop: t-356)
  17. La Sera, Sees the Light (Pazz and Jop: n/a)
  18. The Men, Open Your Heart (Pazz and Jop: 50)
  19. Sleigh Bells, Reign of Terror (Pazz and Jop: 60)
  20. Heems, Nehru Jackets/Wild Water Kingdom (Pazz and Jop: 137)

How the hell Wild Nothing got ZERO mentions is beyond me. Todd might lose his shit when he sees this. Nude Beach, coming in tied for #356 on Pazz and Jop, shares that distinction with Lionel Richie. La Sera should have a mention, right?

As with any list, take it with a grain of salt. Pazz and Jop’s album list has Taylor Swift at #17 and Carly Rae Jepsen at #40.

And Wild Nothing got no mentions.

#dafuq

MoSS? Presents… Albums to Watch for in 2013

Albums 2013

Seems like every website is putting together a guide for upcoming album releases in 2013. Why should MoSS? be any different? We aren’t going to bore you with an endless list of shitty albums coming out this year. Instead, we are just going to share a few of our most anticipated albums.

Todd’s Most Anticipated Albums of 2013

January is a big month for me because four albums I’ve been not so patiently waiting for are being released.

Free Energy, Lovesign [Free People]. This one’s a real guilty pleasure for me. The songs can be sort of cheesy but they are catchy as hell and these guys don’t try to be anything but straight up rock and roll.

Bleeding Rainbow, Yeah Right [Kanine]. The band formerly known as Reading Rainbow.  I guess if you name your band after a beloved PBS children’s show, you can expect lawyers to come knocking at some point. Anyway, they are back with their 2nd LP. It was supposed to be released in October 2012 but was pushed back. I am hoping the delay wasn’t because the record sucks.

Local Natives, Hummingbird [Frenchkiss/Infectious]. Another group hoping to avoid a sophomore slump. I’ve heard two songs from it and both are pretty good. If the rest of the album is as good, then they should have a record of the year contender on their hands.

Tegan and Sara, Heartthrob [Warner]. I really loved the last two Tegan and Sara albums. The ladies released a single “Closer” from Heartthrob last fall and they revealed a much more dance/pop oriented sound. At first I hated it. Eventually, as my family (and its placement in my Top 10 Songs of 2012) can tell you , I wore that MP3 out.

There are a few albums I’m excited about being released this spring. The album I am most anxious for is…

Youth Lagoon, Wondrous Bughouse [Fat Possum]. I missed the boat way back in 2011. Youth Lagoon’s first LP, The Year of Hibernation, came across my desk at MoSS? HQ but I ignored it. Since then, I have listened to that record more often than several of my Top 10 of 2011 selections. Maybe this one will make the 2013 Top 10.

Other releases I’m hoping for…

Phoenix, TBA [Glassnote] 

Neon Indian, TBA [Mexican Summer]

I Break Horses, TBA [Bella Union]

Small Black, TBA [Jagjaguwar]

Release I am always hoping for but will probably never happen…

Pixies, TBA [4AD]

Chris’ Most Anticipated Albums of 2013

I don’t know why I am buying into Kevin Shields’ promises anymore, but supposedly we are getting a new My Bloody Valentine album sometime soon. Of course, Shields said it would be out before calendar year 2012 concluded. And he’s said numerous times before that something would soon follow up the 1991 masterpiece Loveless. Yep, the 1991 album. But there seems to be some concrete talk this time. Bassist Debbie Googe spoke about the album, even though she made it sound as though Kevin is channeling his inner Billy Corgan and handling a lot of the instrumentation himself. And one of these times it has to be the real thing, right? So I’ve got this to look forward to…possibly all year long (and beyond).

Also:

Toro y Moi, Anything in Return (January 22). I really liked Causers of This but was slightly disappointed by the 2011 release Underneath the Pine. I’m hoping for a return to greatness with Anything in Return.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, II (February 5). I loved UMO’s first album in 2011; here’s hoping album No. 2 is even better. Led Zeppelin and Crystal Castles set the bar pretty high for albums titled II, though (as did Chicago, for that matter).

Iceage, You’re Nothing (February 19). Another band that released a wonderful, economic debut in 2011. Frankly, if Iceage simply releases another 12-song, 24-minute blast of dark punk, I’ll be satisfied.

Junip, TBA (April 23). Jose Gonzalez never fails to deliver.

The Weeknd, TBA (?????). If you believe his Twitter feed, Abel is dropping a new album in 2013. I’m still a huge fan of House of Balloons and found the other two parts of Trilogy to be interesting at worst and quite excellent at times, so I’m in on more Weeknd.

Also, without comment:

The Joy Formidable, Wolf’s Law (January 22)

Tegan and Sara, Heartthrob (January 29)

Sally Shapiro, Somewhere Else (February 26)

Rhye, Woman (March 5)

Marnie Stern, The Chronicles of Marnia (March 19)