MoSS? Best of 2012 Mixtape

MoSS Songs 2012

Side A: Todd’s Favorite Songs of 2012

1. Tanlines, “Brothers”

2. Japandroids, “The House That Heaven Built”

3. Grimes, “Oblivion”

4. Best Coast, “My Life”

5. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, “Baby”

6. Field Mouse, “Glass”

7. Frank Ocean, “Pyramids”

8. Wild Nothing, “Shadow”

9. Memoryhouse, “The Kids Were Wrong”

10. Tegan and Sara, “Closer”

Side B : Chris’ Favorite Songs of 2012

Burial, “Kindred”

Crystal Castles, “Plague”

Earl Sweatshirt, “Chum”

First Aid Kit, “Emmylou”

Japandroids, “The House That Heaven Built”

Ke$ha, “Don’t Think Twice (It’s All Right)”

Rhye, “The Fall”

Sleigh Bells, “Comeback Kid”

Tennis, “Origins”

The xx, “Swept Away”

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Still 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 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.

From the MoSS? Pit: Memoryhouse/Tiny Fireflies

an empty glass that once contained Bell's stout aleTodd and I spent the first night of March knocking back “14s” (you know, 7&7s) and the finest beverages offered by Bell’s (the stout and Two-Hearted Ale, to be specific) in the heart of The Mill in downtown Iowa City. While one could go to The Mill simply for the drinks and/or the ambience, we were also there to hear Memoryhouse, a nifty shoegazey/dreampoppy outfit from Toronto.

What we didn’t expect was a killer set by the opener, Tiny Fireflies—described on one blog as a “Chicago pop supergroup.” I don’t know about the “supergroup” classification, but the group was solid, possibly even on par with the headliners.

Tiny Fireflies proved a much more enjoyable experience compared with the last opening act we caught in Iowa City. Of course, that was Kreayshawn, one half of the odd pairing with Neon Indian. We spent a good deal of the Kreayshawn show hanging out on the ped mall or drowning our sorrows at the bar inside the lame venue, the Union Bar. (Or having senior pictures thrust toward us—OK, toward Todd—by under-21 coeds in an attempt to get drinks purchased for them.) So no, the bar wasn’t set very high, but within a few notes of the soundcheck, we knew we were in for something good.

Ethereal, jangly, low-end-driven…well, I could continue to list adjectives, but listen for yourself. The song below is called “Picture Perfect”; it’s the forthcoming single.

You’ll notice at the 30-second mark that two dudes decide to get a closer look at the performance, standing directly in front of the stage, flanking Kristine the singer. As you can see in the video, it was equal parts amusing, annoying, and unsettling?

Anyway, Tiny Fireflies played a handful of tunes; many of them had qualities that brought to mind The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, which is an OK thing to these ears. And they were excited about staying in a hotel with a pool, which was just kinda cute.

Memoryhouse didn’t disappoint when they took the stage. One of the highlights was “The Kids Were Wrong,” the second song on the recently released debut album, The Slideshow Effect. The live drums were augmented by some pounding programmed beats, giving the song some serious backbone. (I moved to get a better angle; please excuse the first 20 seconds or whatever.)

Another highlight came toward the end of the set. The guitar line winds through the Mill, and I think to myself, “How blatant of a My Bloody Valentine ripoff can you get?” until I realized they were covering My Bloody Valentine. I flipped the phone camera on about halfway through the song. (And yes, that is me yelling “Loveless FTW!” at the end of the song.)

All in all, good night out.

Memoryhouse

Tiny Fireflies

Future material for dispatches from the MoSS? Pit:

  • March 30: The War on Drugs/Dirty Beaches/Wet Hair (Gabe’s)
  • April 24: Sleigh Bells (IMU Main Lounge)
  • May 2: M83 (The Pageant, St. Louis)
  • June 11: Destroyer (Blue Moose Tap House)

Best. February. Ever.

Frankie RoseThe 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…

Reign of TerrorSLEIGH 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.

a line chart that maps out how awesome the past 31 Februarys have been in music

How did this line take its shape? The primary data is listed below.

1982

  • Ozzy Osbourne is arrested after urinating on The Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas

1983

  • “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)

1984

  • 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

1985

  • 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)

1986

  • Absolutely nothing of worth happened, although March 1986 saw Master of Puppets, Black Celebration, 5150, Please, and the single “Live to Tell”

1987

  • 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

1988

  • Jacko buys Neverland
  • Leonard Cohen releases I’m Your Man

1989

  • Um…well…David Coverdale weds Tawny Kitaen

1990

  • Billy Idol badly hurt in motorcycle accident, sees role in The Doors minimized
  • Shake Your Money Maker (sweet); Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em (ayyyiiiii)

1991

  • James Brown released from jail after high-speed, two-state car chase
  • Dinosaur Jr. releases Green Mind

Courtney, Dave, and Kurt1992

  • Vince Neil becomes a race car driver
  • Kurt Cobain marries what’sherface
  • Tori Amos releases Little Earthquakes; Pantera unleashes Vulgar Display of Power; “Bohemian Rhapsody” gets new life via Wayne’s World soundtrack

1993

  • Oprah interviews Jacko, we learn about his whitening disorder
  • 2Pac dares white people to buy his second album (Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.)
  • Radiohead puts out the album they’d probably rather forget
  • 311 releases Music
  • Duran Duran comes back with the VH1 crowd via “The Wedding Album”
  • Joey Lawrence puts out an album (whoa!)

1994

  • Shannon Hoon gets thrown out of the American Music Awards
  • Green Day drops Dookie; Pavement puts out Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

1995

  • Tommy Lee marries Pamela Anderson
  • Jewel launches her pre-poetry career by releasing an album

1996 (possibly the most eclectic data in this collection)

  • Former Milli Vanilli band member Rob Pilatus is hospitalized when a man hits him over the head with a baseball bat in Hollywood, while Pilatus is attempting to steal the man’s car
  • Take That split up!
  • Prince marries Mayte Garcia
  • Snoop beats a murder rap
  • 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me receives a middling review from some nerd in the Iowa State Daily

1997

  • Phish Food is born; Jacko’s first son is born;  the Spice Girls’ chart-topping career is born
  • Blur releases the album with the “Whoo-hoo!” song
  • Anal Cunt releases I Like It When You Die (sounds charming)

1998

  • Elton John knighted
  • Neutral Milk Hotel puts out that seriously overrated In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (it’s good, but c’mon…)

1999

  • Gov. Jesse Ventura declares “Rolling Stones Day” in Minnesota
  • Eminem drops Slim Shady LP; Roots go with Things Fall Apart

2000

  • Santana wins 8 Grammys
  • The Cure releases their last good album to date (Bloodflowers)
  • Smashing Pumpkins release that MACHINA piece of crap

2001

  • Manic Street Preachers play Cuba
  • Jack Johnson releases Brushfire Fairytales
  • Los Embarasados allegedly release Tem Graca por Nome on Feb. 30 (according to Wikipedia)

2002

  • U2 performs at the Super Bowl
  • Britney Spears puts out the Crossroads soundtrack; Norah Jones releases the inexplicably popular Come Away with Me

2003

  • Lana Clarkson found dead at Phil Spector’s pad; he’s eventually found guilty of second-degree murder. His wall of sound will have bars on the windows for 19 years
  • A fire at a Great White show kills 100, including one of the guitarists
  • 50 Cent talks about gettin’ rich or dyin’ tryin’

Janet's wardrobe malfunction2004

  • The wardrobe malfunction seen by millions
  • Billy Corgan blogs his feelings about D’Arcy (“mean-spirited drug addict”) and James Iha (Pumpkins’ breakup was his fault)
  • Kanye is a college dropout, according to his debut album’s title

2005

  • Blink-182 goes on hiatus; Korn guitarist quits after finding God
  • Bloc Party releases the excellent Silent Alarm

2006

  • One for the history books: White Lion bassist James Lorenzo joins Megadeth
  • Belle and Sebastian release another lame album (The Life Pursuit)

2007

  • Chris Cornell tells Audioslave he needs to be emancipated because of musical differences
  • Bloc Party spends A Weekend in the City; Explosions in the Sky release All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

2008

  • Beach House releases Devotion

2009

  • Bone Thugs n Harmony crashes MySpace by posting a new song
  • Pains of Being Pure at Heart release stellar debut; the brothers from the National curate Dark Was the Night; the Black Keys singer had enough time to put out a solo album

2010

  • “We Are the World” is remade for Haiti benefit
  • Joanna Newsom spends three discs enjoying the hell out of people (Have One on Me)

2011

  • Yuck drops Yuck; lots of disappointments (Bright Eyes, Radiohead, PJ Harvey)

As you can see, February 2012 is clearly the best February ever. It’s science. AND SLEIGH BELLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!