Side A: Chris’ Picks
Side B: Todd’s Picks
(click play button below to sample these 5 albums)
#10. Diiv, Oshin
#9. Tame Impala, Lonerism
#8. Beach House, Bloom
#7. Crystal Castles, (III)
#6. Sigur Ros, Valtari
(click play button below to sample these 5 albums)
#10. Diiv, Oshin
#9. Tennis, Young and Old
#8. The Sea and Cake, Runner
#7. PAWS, Cokefloat!
#6. Best Coast, The Only Place
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
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”
The xx, “Swept Away”
In an odd twist of fate, your favorite MoSS? scribes bought tickets to different concerts for the same weekend. Since Chris was already booked up, I needed to quickly drum up a support crew for my trip to the Pygmalion Music Festival 2012 in exotic Champaign-Urbana, Ill. I put an ad in the local hipster paper hoping for a quick response.
Wanted: Concert support crew for middle aged pop culture blogger. Applicants must love music, fear no danger and have access to gas money. Nunchaku skills a plus but not required. Safety NOT guaranteed.
Unfortunately, response was less than enthusiastic. As a backup plan, I recruited my wife and another couple to come with us. We all piled in the MoSS? Mobile and took the long drive to Illinois. The trip to Champaign was uneventful. Directions were good and we made it to all destinations without incident. The return trip is another story. We may have taken a wrong turn and ended up 45 minutes out of our way. Now, as our group leader/driver, I take full responsibility but I do blame the Pygmalion Fest schedule. The headliner Best Coast didn’t go on until almost 1AM. I’m old. With only 3-4 hours of sleep, its a wonder we didn’t end up in Lake Michigan. Luckily, one of the top notch support crew members caught my mistake and we all remained dry.
Back to the festival. We started the night at very cool bar in downtown Urbana called Crane Alley. I can’t recommend this place enough for people visiting the area. They have like 42 billion beer varieties, B+ jambalaya and a drink called The Sex Panther. I didn’t have The Sex Panther that night. In a town full of college girls I didn’t think it appropriate since my wife was with me. The last thing I needed was excessive amounts of senior pictures being thrust my direction since apparently I am like catnip to underage coeds.
After dinner and drinks, we left Crane Alley to head over to the show at The Canopy Club. As we walked out of the bar, I heard the familiar sounds of the band Tennis. They were playing an outdoor venue as the opening act for shit-rock band, Dirty Projectors. (I swear I could burp the alphabet to bagpipes and it would sound better than Dirty Projectors). The music was coming from a parking lot about a block away so we walked over to take a look/listen. I love Tennis’ record, Young and Old, but was still pissed at them. Tennis was supposed to do a show in good old Iowa City back in July. As a matter of fact, I bought tickets to that concert the same day I bought the Pygmalion tickets. If only I had known the evil red-headed monster, Conan O’ Brien, was lurking behind the scenes to ruin everything. He booked Tennis to play on his “show watched by dozens” which forced them to cancel the show in Iowa City. No more Team Coco for me. Team Fallon all the way now baby. I was able to get a little video of them singing my favorite song from Young and Old, “Petition”.
[Disclaimer: Chris is usually the mastermind behind these MoSS? Pit posts. He takes video with his highly superior iPhone. I’ve a got a crap Android and concert video generally sounds like a rhino farting into a bass drum. Yes, my video from the evening is less than good]
We watched Tennis until it was time for us to head to our show at the world famous Canopy Club, deep in the heart of the U of I campus. Doors opened at 8PM. They scheduled 6 opening acts and headliner Best Coast was to go on at 12:45AM. This was going to be a marathon not a sprint.
As we walked in the main stage area the group Withershins was playing. They are a self described shoegaze band from right there in Champaign. We only caught about a song and a half but I really liked what I heard. They have a ’90s distortion rock sound to them. I was reminded of Dinosaur Jr, Smashing Pumpkins or Sonic Youth. Here is a link to their Bandcamp page. The new record isn’t a bad listen.
The next band up was Zeus. A classic rock influenced outfit from Toronto. That’s in Canada. These guys look and sound like they were transported here from 1971. I downloaded their new album Busting Visions to listen to during the trip and really enjoyed most of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t particularly think they were that great live. Don’t get me wrong. They were fine. I just wasn’t feeling it at that point I guess. They did play a fun cover version of the Genesis song “That’s All” but other than that I didn’t find them too memorable. Take a look/listen for yourself with the shitty video I took of them doing their song “Are You Gonna’ Waste My Time?”.
After Zeus was Hospitality, an indie pop group from Brooklyn. That’s in New York. I was pumped to see them but nearly missed the show. The support crew and I were having drinks and gabbing in the upper level seats at the Canopy Club when I heard some music coming from the lobby. Apparently, they decided to alternate acts from the main big stage to the small intimate stage in the front. I quickly got down there and was able to shoot this short shitty video of “Friends of Friends” until the rest of the horde arrived and got in my way. Enjoy!
They did put on a great show though. I enjoyed their self-titled record but the live show sounded even better. They even played a few new songs. Judging by the crowd reaction during those songs, the follow up LP is going to be good.
Once again, this was all happening at times that I am normally in bed. So, I needed a pick me up. Luckily, my top notch support crew smuggled in some mini vodka bottles and we knocked back a Red Bull and vodka.
Next up on the main stage was Lord Huron from Los Angeles. That’s in California. This was a band I was on the fence about. I have their EP Mighty and listen to it on occasion but they are not a go to band in my iPod playlists. Lord Huron’s music is full of vocal harmonies and amazing percussion and they definitely showcased that during the live show. Here is my shitty video of “The Stranger”.
After Lord Huron was Laetitia Sadier. She was playing in the front lobby area. I familiarized myself with her music before the show and was not a fan. So the crew and I stayed in our upper deck seats and knocked back yet another Red Bull and vodka while the roadies set up the Best Coast stage. Reports from the hipsters that sat behind us were positive about the Sadier show. Again, I was less than interested.
1AM. Finally Best Coast time. After a long night of music and drinks we were all ready for the show to start. Apparently, Bethany from Best Coast had a similar evening because one of the first things she mentioned in between songs was the lateness of the showtime. She also admitted that she may have had a few too many libations and was struggling not to get sick on stage. Now that’s the Rock and Roll lifestyle baby! You couldn’t tell based on her performance though. They played a mixture of old and new songs and they all sounded great. Here is my shitty video of the “The Only Place”.
Later on, the booze may have started kicking in because she started forgetting song titles. I did get shitty video of her arguing with a kid in the front row about a song title. I believe her exact words were, “Fuck that. I said it wrong! I’m sleepy!”
Hey kid! Don’t fuck with my girl Beth!
After that she started forgetting song lyrics. They actually started the song “Bratty B” over because she screwed up the words. I caught some shitty video of the 2nd attempt at “Bratty B” and subsequent apology before the next song, “When I’m With You”.
She ended the show with “Boyfriend” and hurried off the stage with her hand over her forehead. I was certain there would be no encore. Most of the crowd filed out of the main stage area. I was in the front lobby waiting for the female support crew members to use the bathrooms when I heard the much smaller crowd in the main room cheer. Best Coast was back on stage. Boot and rally! They played a one song encore. A cover of the Nirvana classic “About a Girl”. I didn’t take any shitty video of the encore as I just wanted to enjoy the final song.
It was a long night but well worth the it. You can’t beat fun with great music and great friends.
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.
Todd’s February Picks Chris’ February Picks
Field Mouse “You Guys are Gonna Wake Up my Mom” A Place to Bury Strangers “So Far Away”
Bear in Heaven “The Reflection of You” Yuna “Live Your Life”
Beach Fossils “Shallow” OOoOO “No Way Back”
Frankie Rose “Night Swim” Princeton “A Remembrance of Things to Come”
Tennis “Origins” Hospitality “Betty Wang”