Music You Should Be Listening To: February 2013

Before I get started on the February music post I wanted to share something with you loyal readers. I realized something about myself today… I have a super power. Can I shoot laser beams out of my eyes? No. Do I have retractable Wolverine-like titanium claws? No. My power is the ability to predict when a shitty song or group will be playing on your radio. You need proof?  Here it is…

Exhibit A

When I was 16 some friends and I sneaked onto the local golf course after dark with a golf cart key and case of beer. (You can imagine the hijinks that followed) After a few cold ones, I remembered that I brought a little portable radio. A debate immediately started amongst us underage drinkers about which station to choose. One guy wanted the local pop station. My response was something like this. “Fuck that station. All they ever play is that “I Want Money” song.” The song I was referring to was this piece of shit by Calloway.

To prove my point, I grabbed the radio and tuned it to the station. Everyone was amazed when “I Wanna Be Rich” was actually playing. To celebrate my newly unleashed powers we danced around high fiving and chugging beer.

Exhibit B

When I was in my early 20s, my girlfriend and I were driving around in her car. She wanted me to change the channel from the alt-rock station I loved to a classic rock station. I said, “No way. I don’t want to hear some shitty Journey song.” (I used to dislike Journey more than The Eagles if you can believe it. Don’t get excited Don Henley. I’ll always hate you. Since then I have realized the awesomeness of Steve Perry. I’m working on Chris. He still hates Journey.) Then I started singing the lyrics to the song, “Feeling that Way/Anytime.”

As I spun the dial over to the classic rock channel, the exact lyrics I was singing started playing over the speakers. My girlfriend was astonished and a little freaked out. Clearly, I had honed my skills and was now THE song predicting force in the universe.

Exhibit C

For some reason today, I started thinking about how the regular radio sucks and how I haven’t had to use my powers since I got satellite radio in the mid 2000s. I decided to test myself on the way home from work to see if “I still had it.” My plan was to turn on the local rock station as I was driving by Iowa City. What band’s song would be playing? I used all my song predicting muscles and came up with Incubus/Linkin Park. I didn’t pick just one because I can’t tell them apart and they are both equally shitty. As I rolled past Iowa City’s ever mysterious B’jaysville Lane, I turned off my satellite radio and tuned over to 94.1 KRNA. This is the awfulness that was playing.

Linkin Park. I still got it.

Anyways, I started thinking about how I could finally use this super useful skill. This is how. Take my advice, turn off your radios and listen to these MoSS? approved February releases.

m b v album coverMy Bloody Valentine, m b v

Yes, the unthinkable happened and MBV announced via their Facespace page that they had a new record and website. The website immediately crashed and I wore out my computer’s refresh button until I was able to download the album. Chris already shared some thoughts on the record so I won’t go on too long about it. I will share this…The night of the release as I was constantly refreshing and battling the dreaded “403 Server Error”, I read a lot of comments on the MBV Facebook page. The best comments were by younger fans. They didn’t really get the excitement of us older dudes. One kid posted something like, “the only people that care about this album are middle-aged white dudes in the suburbs.” He nailed my demographic for sure. I don’t think he was 100% correct but m b v was certainly the biggest thing to happen in my world of music in a long time.

Key Track(s) – All songs are A+. Chris has described this album as the second coming of Christ. Yeah, it’s that good.

cocaine 80sCocaine 80s, The Flower of Life

The Frank Ocean collaborator came out with this EP a few weeks back and I’ve had it on steady rotation ever since. It sounds like what I wanted the last Frank Ocean record to sound like. The Flower of Life is full of life while Ocean’s Channel Orange seems sluggish.

That’s a short list but February is the shortest of months now isn’t it? Fine. If you need more, check out these albums I haven’t had a chance to listen to enough to comment on. At least it’s not Linkin Park.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, II

Parquet Courts, Light Up Gold

Iceage, You’re Nothing

Beach Fossils, Clash the Truth

Chris’ last-minute post-script suggestions

I’m on board with many of Todd’s suggestions, and I’ll add two more albums I’ve been spinning (digitally speaking) lately:

Grouper, The Man Who Died in His Boat

OK, so you can’t really understand a lot of what ambient/noise musician is singing but when she uses her voice as another instrument, what does it really matter? Gorgeous, haunting vocals float over simple strumming and echoing tunes to create quite the mood. Good nighttime music.

Sample a song from the new album, used in this YouTube video to soundtrack some random VHS footage:

Veronica Falls, Waiting for Something to Happen

If you like Slumberland bands (the record label, not the furniture store), you can’t go wrong with this quartet of Brits. I heard the band’s debut from 2011 and thought it was pretty cool, but the second album has really hooked me. Jangle pop and boy-girl vocals galore. If you’re going to listen to Grouper as you lay yourself down to sleep, Veronica Falls makes for great tunes first thing in the morning. VF is playing in Chicago in about two weeks; I’d love to sneak away for a MoSS? Pit report. (Alas, parenthood and what not…)

Check out “Teenage” below:

I might be in the minority here, but based on the two or three songs I’ve listened to so far, the Shout Out Louds album Optica sounds pretty cool to me.

MoSS? Madness 2012: The Round of 64

The match-ups for the round of 64 are set. Dexy’s Midnight Runners survived a late rally by Right Said Fred to earn the last #16 seed. Dexy will be going up against the Beatles in the first round. Can they pull a spectacular upset over “The Fab Four”?  It won’t be easy, but your votes could move them on. All four regions’ match-ups are ready to go. Please make your selections below.

More Road Trip Revelations

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. Today was one of those days with 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 four hours alone in the car though, I tend to have a few random and mostly moronic thoughts. These are just a few of the revelations I came away with on the road today.

Bon Iver is Pretty Awesome

I have never been a big fan of the 2011 darlings of indie rock. I always found the high register singing of the lead man Justin annoying and indecipherable. Why do you sing so high that no one understands you? The music was always pretty good but I couldn’t get over the vocals. Bon Iver’s song “Towers” played several times on my favorite SiriusXM channel today and I fought the urge to skip it.

I asked myself: “Hey Todd. Wasn’t your #4 Album of 2011 Future Islands, On the Water?”

My answer back: “Well, actually it was my #5 Album of 2011. Why do you ask?”

My response to me: “Doesn’t that have some pretty shitty and distracting vocals?”

My response back to me responding: “Touché. By the way, you smell terrific today my handsome friend”

So I realized that I need to get past the vocals and just enjoy the music. Who cares about lyrics anyways? Kurt Cobain is considered a genius and no one new what the fuck he was singing either. Here’s the video for Bon Iver’s “Towers”.

Catherine Wheel Should Have Been Way Bigger

I had a couple of Catherine Wheel CD’s in the early 90’s but didn’t give them much airplay. There were a few go-to tracks that I would play on occasion but that was really the extent of my listening. After flipping to the classic alt-rock channel I heard Catherine Wheel’s “Black Metallic”. Holy balls, that song is good. With oozing soft vocals and washed out guitars, it’s a 7 minute long shoegazer’s wet dream. I don’t know what I was thinking back then. I totally missed the boat on these guys. Check it out for yourselves.

Women Text While Driving

I’m not trying to be sexist here. I’m just going by scientific data gathered firsthand with my genetically superior man-brain. Several times today, I noticed that if you roll up to a car driving slowly in the fast lane, it is usually some ditzy dame texting. She’s probably texting her friends about getting her period, not getting her period, the perfect lipstick or that bitch Kathy from accounting that she knows ate her yogurt from the office refrigerator.


So quit the texting while driving all you batty broads out there! 10 and 2 baby doll. 10 and 2.

I Am Very Self-Conscious When I Rage Against the Machine

That’s right. I only rock out with no inhibition until another car drives up along side me. Then I react as if it’s a police car and I have a warrant out for my arrest. (Just act natural and no one will know you were Steve Perry’ing your way through the na na na’s at the end of  “Lovin’,Touchin’,Squeezin’”).

This is actually contrary to most opinions of what you should do if you are cruising around town with a warrant and you see the police. Most people will tell you to turn up your radio and belt it out like you haven’t a care in the world. Then the police will think, “There’s no way that could be the serial killer we’re looking for. He’s much too carefree. Carry on sir. Godspeed.”

All in all it was a pretty good day.  Plenty of tunes. Plenty of dangerous texting. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and wave. I might just stop my Steve Perry impersonation and wave back.