My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. Today was one of those days with quite a few hours of windshield time. I don’t mind too much. It gives me time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly listen to great music. So, on days like today I sit back, relax and turn up the tunes. After many hours alone in the car though, I tend to have a few random and moronic thoughts. These are just a few of the revelations I came away with on the road today.
Even My Beloved Sirius XMU is Guilty of Massive Repetition
One of the reasons I bought satellite radio, besides the variety, was because I was sick of the repetitive crap on regular radio. I’ve noticed that over the last few road trips my favorite station, Sirius XMU, is terribly repetitive at times. There must be a quota on certain songs because they get played a lot. Ever since Wild Belle took SXSW by storm, their track “Keep You” has been played almost hourly. It’s a great song but come on, let’s not ruin it.
Another song on ridiculous rotation is Tanlines “All of Me”. Over a 10 hour period, I ran a test to see how long it took to them to play “All of Me” after I tuned into the station. Here are the results in the S.H.I.T. scale “Songs Heard In-lieu of Tanlines”.
At no time did they NOT play “All of Me” before I turned the station. So I make a plea to the Sirius XMU DJ’s, “Please, take it easy on the repetition. You’re killing songs for me before they’ve had a chance to live their natural life span…….Fuckers”.
Nothing Oozes Class Like a Set of Fake Testicles on the Back of Your Truck
We’ve all had this experience. You know you’re super cool. Your friends know you’re extra classy. How can you let strangers know this same information while driving your truck around town? Why, trailer hitch testicles, that’s how!
It seems like I’ve seen a million pairs of these truck nut sacks hanging low lately. Here is one I saw on my trip today.
Is this meant to be cool? Is this meant to be funny? Does this guy know he just upped the Hillbilly Coefficient on his truck by an exponential rate? Was the Calvin & Hobbs sticker with Calvin peeing on a Ford logo too highbrow? It just seems spectacularly dumb to me. Maybe I am missing something…nope it’s dumb.
2012 Has Been the “Year of the Women” in Indie Rock
Last year, almost all of my favorite albums were made by male artists. Class Actress’ Rapprocher was the only album by a female artist to make my Top 10 and Cults barely squeaked into the Top 20. This year is totally different. The women are stepping up their game. Frankie Rose, Tennis, Grimes, Mr. Little Jeans (odd name for a solo female), Sleigh Bells, Memoryhouse, Blouse, Field Mouse, 2:54 and Wild Belle have completely taken over my playlists. Granted, some of these are male/female duos, but the dudes are hiding in the background while the chicks are up front kicking ass.
There have been a few dude rockers that have fought there way into my iPod. Bear in Heaven, Tanlines and the aptly named The Men have had short stints in my ever-changing “Love That New Song Smell” playlist. Very few have stuck as long as the women. Congrats ladies. Keep it coming. Hey guys! Wake up! You’re looking bad in 2012.
Van Halen’s “Eruption” is Still Bad-Ass
I flipped to the classic rock channel today and was greeted with the opening guitar lick of Van Halen’s “Eruption”. I turned my car stereo up as loud and these 37 year old ears could take and air guitared along with Eddie just like the old days. It was exhausting, but Eddie and I can still pull off one of the best guitar solos in rock history. Revisit all the Van Haleny goodness below.
All in all it was a pretty good day. Plenty of tunes. Plenty of low hanging trailer hitch testes. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and wave. I might just stop my Eddie Van Halen air guitar and wave back.
The shortest month of the year is often one of the quietest in terms of musical awesomeness. There’s usually little love for the ear canals within two weeks on either side of Valentine’s Day.
2012, though…I don’t know if it’s the Mayans’ prognostication or just some happy accidents, but music blew up in February.
Van Halen returns with Diamond Dave. This is how things should be. (Not that the album is anything to write home about, but DLR belongs in Van Halen.)
Burial puts out a half-hour EP of beats that retain classic Burial traits AND manage to sound as fresh as ever.
Frankie Rose (seen at right in that sexy shot) puts out Interstellar, an album that would have dominated its release date if not for…
SLEIGH BELLS! REIGN OF TERROR! THE ALBUM CONTAINING “COMEBACK KID” AND “BORN TO LOSE” AND “CRUSH” AND “DEMONS” AND “D.O.A.” AND EVERY OTHER INCREDIBLE TUNE WITHIN THIS COLLECTION OF DOMINANCE (except “Road to Hell,” which is the closest thing to a clunker they’ve ever made).
Sleigh Bells also hit SNL on Feb. 18 and, most importantly to yours truly, announced on Feb. 28 that they’ll play a show in Iowa City this spring. #FUCKYEAH
The Sleigh Bells/Iowa City news hit the same day School of Seven Bells completed its trifecta of incredible albums by releasing Ghostory, while Memoryhouse put out a full-length album just two days before a scheduled show at The Mill (a.k.a. a night out for the Music or Space Shuttle? lads).
If this month is indeed a 10 (or, in Spinal Tap terms, 11), how do previous Februarys stack up in terms of music?
Naturally, I’ve made a chart.
How did this line take its shape? The primary data is listed below.
Ozzy Osbourne is arrested after urinating on The Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas
“Menudomania” comes to New York as 3,500 screaming girls crowd Kennedy Airport to catch a glimpse of Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, who are playing six sold-out shows at the Felt Forum
Michael Jackson’s Thriller album hits #1 on the US charts, the first of 37 (non-consecutive) weeks it would spend there on its way to becoming the greatest-selling album of all time
Sonic Youth releases Confusion Is Sex;U2 wages War (but Styx did release Kilroy Was Here and Kenny G deployed G Force)
Elton John marries studio engineer Renate Blauel (lulz)
Recovering from the scalp burns sustained a month earlier, Michael Jackson wins eight Grammy Awards out of twelve nominations, breaking the record for the most Grammys won in a single year
The Smiths release The Smiths; I receive my first cassette (the Footloose soundtrack) for winning the St. Pat’s Grade School spelling bee
Well, we got the following albums: The Smiths, Meat Is Murder; Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair; Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston (I just poured some out)
Absolutely nothing of worth happened, although March 1986 saw Master of Puppets, Black Celebration, 5150, Please, and the single “Live to Tell”
The first five Beatles albums are released on CD
Again, no good new albums, although March shone once more with The Joshua Tree, Among the Living, and Sign o’ the Times
Jacko buys Neverland
Leonard Cohen releases I’m Your Man
Um…well…David Coverdale weds Tawny Kitaen
Billy Idol badly hurt in motorcycle accident, sees role in The Doors minimized
With all the buzz of new releases by indie rock heavy weights like Sleigh Bells, Lana Del Rey and Frankie Rose, one release was a bit overlooked. Nada Surf quietly put out a new album in late January called The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy. If you paid attention to alternative music in the mid 90’s then you are probably familiar with their most famous song “Popular”. Refresh your memory below.
After “Popular” the band struggled for a few years and were on the verge of becoming another one hit wonder. They had a resurgence in the early 2000’s after the release of Let Go and built themselves a loyal fan base myself included. Since then they have released several very solid albums. In fact, one of my favorite records of the last 10 years is Nada Surf’s The Weight is a Gift. The song “The Blankest Year” from that record was my anthem of ’05. Give it a listen. It’s only 2 minutes long. You can squeeze it in.
Yesterday I realized the new album was out(I can’t believe it’s been out 4 weeks already. I’m slipping) and quickly downloaded it. The first listen was pretty much what I expected. They have had one of the most consistent sounds over the years. After subsequent listens I found myself really enjoying it. It’s not going to knock Sleigh Bells or Frankie Rose from my “Top 10 Albums of 2012 So Far” list, but it is pretty damn good. The band made a conscious effort to have more guitars and drums for a louder in-your-face feel. I think it works. Their last record Lucky suffered from too many slower songs in my opinion. I was disappointed to see that Pitchfork gave them a pretty bad review. They basically called the new record “Dad Rock”. Here’s the quote I disliked the most.
“At a moment when indie rock could probably use a little kick in the ass, Nada Surf seem to have the right instincts, just maybe not the spleen to pull them off. Harder and faster isn’t necessarily a young man’s game, but it isn’t really Nada Surf’s either.”
I think that maybe they are catching shit for being too consistent. So if you are bored during this cold February weekend, give Nada Surf’s The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy a spin. Let me know if Pitchfork is right and I am turning into a Dad Rocker. Or if your are too busy to listen to the whole thing, you can check out their new single “Waiting for Something” below.