When I first saw the video for “Celebration,” I was so pissed I wasn’t invited. I would’ve totally bumped asses with all of those people singing and dancing and drinking and smoking in the park who look like better-dressed and more tattooed versions of...





Broken Beats
Echo Beach
Call me an old butt crumb, but I never, ever want to hear Horace Andy’s voice backed by that generic dubstep “wubba wub wubba” ever again. Actually, I’m wondering if a bit of research wouldn’t reveal that “dubstep” actually translates to “butt crumb” in some language that we have yet to unearth. I would love to go to a club and hear people shout out “They’re really dropping the butt crumbs” once the party gets going.

Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors (Deluxe Edition)
Purple Ribbon/Def Jam
OutKast is the fucking best. Best friends, best flows, best beats, best songs. When they won the 2004 Grammy for Album of the Year, it was the best because the good guys won. The split-up, with André freaking out to become the Dennis Rodman of rap while Big Boi stayed gangster, was the best, too, because diversity is the best. Most of this album veers a little too much toward progressive pop and R&B territory, but it’s still the fucking best. I swear.

Jesus Piece
When I first saw the video for “Celebration,” I was so pissed I wasn’t invited. I would’ve totally bumped asses with all of those people singing and dancing and drinking and smoking in the park who look like better-dressed and more tattooed versions of what was happening in Compton driveways in the 90s. Despite Chris Brown being there with his bleached head emanating creepy woman-beater vibes, it looked like such a good time. I hated myself for watching it in sweatpants while eating a chef’s salad from Au Bon Pain. But it’s winter, and something tells me The Game doesn’t do winter. Motherfucker always sounds like he’s having a better time than everyone else, and he has every right to be proud of that.


Chimera Music
If you like Yoko Ono, it’s pretty likely we won’t be friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fascist. I judge people on a sliding scale. On a scale of 1 to 10, if a person likes Yoko from a 1 to a 4 then dude is somewhat mentally stable and has trustworthy taste. Anything over 5, and this so-called human being is a shit tortellini that needs to be deposited in a toilet that flushes straight to hell. Mystical Weapons is the project of Sean Lennon and Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier, and their sound is like an auditory representation of this scale and occasionally veers all the way in either direction. But mostly it hovers around the middle. So everything’s OK, I guess.

Northern Lights
Not too long ago, I got sick as shit for a full week and couldn’t do a damn thing. I couldn’t clean my house or take a shower or work. All I had the energy to do was sit and listen to music and then eventually sleep. On one of these days, my girlfriend came over to take care of me. She brought me a whole bag of soup, oranges, juice, and various other kinds of healthy bullshit. She sat on the couch with me, and even though I was sick and felt like two-legged demonoid snakes were spawning in my chest plate, every song that came on my stereo made me want to fuck her more and more. We knew we couldn’t fuck, because I was sick, so eventually she just went home. Kate Boy’s “Northern Lights” was the straw that broke the boner. Isn’t it weird how being ill makes you horny?

Remember that part in The Fifth Element where that blue tentacle-dread alien lady sings at the opera and it’s all autotuned and freaky? I bet the people who made that feel dumb now that everything on the radio sounds like that and we’re nowhere close to 2250 yet. And even worse, instead of a blue thing from another planet it’s two people from Montreal.

Innovative Leisure
Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements meditates on the positive benefits of instrumental music. I read a lot of spiritual books. Whatever. Regardless, Don Miguel was right. I listened to this album while compiling a list of odd fetishes for fun. They included eproctophilia (arousal by farts), erotophonophilia (arousal by murder), and sitophilia (arousal by food). While Jason Chung oohs and aahs on some tracks, and Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead lends her voice to “Eclipse/Blue,” overall the album is an elegantly unspoken, relaxing remedy to get you through your workday without taking more Klonopin than recommended by your doctor.

Clean-cut boys who look like they were carved and smoothed from a stick of thoroughly churned butter can make dreamy, scenic albums that come with hardback books and a blanket to wipe off your stomach after they come on it midpicnic in the park. That’s what they were born to do. This album is the follow-up to Becoming a Jackal, which won awards for being a well-crafted piece of music that you can put on while very aggressively enjoying a very nonaggressive day.

Lady from Shanghai
For 35 years, Pere Ubu have been releasing Ubu-ish records that are so consistent it makes me poop in my thong every time. It’s kind of amazing how little they’ve changed their sound in 35 years considering that they are an artsy weirdo band. In hindsight, do you ever wonder whether all of that FUBU clothing crap was just an elaborate piece of performance art by these guys? None of that really matters because I love the way Pere Ubu sounds. I also think that Frank Black stole his singing style from David Thomas.

We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic
Foxygen remind me of every classic-rock and 80s artist I’ve ever liked. While this means they don’t necessarily have a unique sound, it also means I’m going to listen to the music they make as long as they make it like this. I’m sure that’s something that bands hate to hear, but bands should also be used to listeners being weird fickle babies who prefer to drink breast milk out of a bottle for no good reason.

“Someone’s Got It in for Me” Single
To be honest, this Lower record is the first time I’ve heard any of these silly runic Danish bands. So if you’re one of those people who are knees-deep in Iceage and Vår, you’ll probably think this review is pretty JV (and, pssst, you’re probably a make-believe Nazi). I’ll admit that this record is good enough for me to feel like I should’ve been ironically goose-stepping with you all along. Hope you’re OK with a Jewish person doing that.

Bad News
Almost Ready
Australian punks are the best punks. This is because they drink the blood of kangaroos, which makes them all “hopping mad” and really good at pogoing. Does this mean that kangaroos are the punkest of all animals? I dunno, but I am sure those fuckers will kick you in the face something fierce, with or without steel-toed Docs. They definitely get some kind of props for that.

Yeah Right
These guys used to be called Reading Rainbow, and then Carrie Brownstein told them that their band name sucked, so they changed it. I know one of the indie-band Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt heed the words of CARRIE BROWNSTEIN, thou shalt have no other GOD but CARRIE,” but at least when their name was Reading Rainbow, pleasant childhood associations of eating Fig Newtons in front of the TV softened their generic harshness. Now it’s just annoying.

Hello Love/Goodbye Sexual
Music doesn’t always have to be so complicated. Drum on the meat of your thigh while waiting for your girlfriend to get out of the shower. Sing a string of lyrics in a full-throated way, having no real clue what the words you just said meant or whether they were even the right words to the song. Hum a jingle from an annoying commercial while thinking about how much you hate life. This New York band took a different approach and decided to coat eardrums with the stuff tourists hope to be sniffing and scraping off their clothes for weeks after their return home. The Young Things sound big and clean and like something that you can’t just absorb in one sitting. Stand-up developing adults. Then Har Mar Superstar pops up in “Goodbye Sexual,” and it’s like the masturbating worm in the candied apple.

Sub Pop
This album sounds like what I imagine the inside of a bunny (as in Peter, not Playboy) disco after-hours may sound like. Optimism loiters on in the mirthful valley the Ruby Suns first trod a few years ago, but vibes definitely did corkscrew much harder into demure electronic music with this release. Christopher makes me feel guiltier than past Ruby records, like a chemical hangover. You have fun dehydrating your brain with it, so the resulting arid headache throbs a bit lighter. It’s worth it.

The Flower Lane
Some of my favorite, most comfortable memories take place in the backseat of my parents’ car, in the late 80s, as we drove down the freeway at night in Southern California. They’d crack the windows and let the warm night air siphon in the smell of asphalt mixed with magnolia blossoms, which always seemed to happen just as something amazing by Ocean Blue or Spandau Ballet started playing on the radio. This album makes me want to quit my job and live in a car. And actually, if I’m being honest, it makes me want to be a car.

Langsom Dans
Modern Outsider
On my way to a weekend at the mountain cabin my grandma left for my sisters and me in her will, I stopped at a remote gas station where I met these two really nice guys. They were both soft-spoken and had kind eyes. The taller one, a brunette with rugged movie-star looks, leaned against their dinged-up but well-maintained pickup, filing his nails with the end of a quarter. The shorter, stockier one went inside to pay for the gas and buy a few containers of lubricant (for some sort of machinery, I supposed) and a camping blanket. When he returned with the supplies, he placed them in the back of the cab and then shook my hand and asked me what brought me out toward Brokeback Way. I told him that I had heard the mountains near Granny’s cabin offered spectacular views of sperm whales. This made them upset for some reason. I listened to this album as I drove out of the station, wondering whether those two dudes were gay.

The Bears for Lunch
Fire I’m on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, watching small waves crash against the starboard side while seagulls honk overhead. The sun is starting to set, and everything is awash in a perfect hue of pinkish orange. I’m content, raising a Corona to my lips while adjusting my T-shirt in the salty breeze. I look down at my beautiful wife, all bosom and flowing locks. She smiles as the sun glints off her shades, laughing as the boat rocks and I spill beer across my shirt. That’s when we realize we just hit a fucking rock and we’re sinking. We try to bail it out, but inevitably the water pulls us under in slow motion. My wife’s serene face jolts with terror. I slide across the deck and grasp her, nestling us into a small pile near the hatch. I wipe away her tears with my fingers and kiss her forehead. I take another long pull from my beer and squeeze her tighter than ever before. We are going to drown, and we will sing songs off the new Yo La Tengo album till we do.

Ex Tropical
Hardly Art
People from Australia have such a hard-on for this misty little mix of Americana that blends motor-oil-stained work shirts with thrift-store-worn Billy Joel albums. Ex Tropical sounds like it’s being milked out by a guy who’s waited his whole life to take a girl to the DQ for an Oreo Blizzard, and that’s refreshing.

Beta Love
Ever heard a song in a Sony Bravia TV commercial and then google “Sony Bravia TV commercial song” and realize a lot of people had looked up the song that way, and in fact the top comment on the YouTube video for said song was “Sony Bravia”? This album is hella catchy in a way you’ll initially hate. But in the end you’re just like, “Fuck it, I’m googling the song from that iPad Mini commercial.”

The Lost Tapes
United Artists
These tapes weren’t really lost; Can just never shared them with us before because these guys understand the virtue of patience. This is coupled with the fact that Holger Czukay could just randomly select one tape from the piles of live recordings strewn about his house, slap some cover artwork on it, and it’d still be better than 90 percent of the diarrhea people are making now. Ergo, this three-disc set could have easily been two discs, and I’d still probably feel like I was getting more Can than I could handle on one album.

Captured Tracks
I always liked Widowspeak and thought they were going places, but I didn’t think they were capable of what they did on this album—a BIG record. Every song is a hit and has made me cry at least twice. If you’ve heard Widowspeak, this will come as no surprise, except it’s fuller and lusher and doesn’t sound like it was recorded on some college student’s computer. Although this record doesn’t much sound like Fleetwood Mac, the cover photo will almost definitely remind you of Rumours, and Molly Hamilton sort of looks like Stevie Nicks. I think a lot of lazy music journalists will say that they sound like Fleetwood Mac. And they do a little but not a lot.

Somewhere Else
Dear Søren Løkke Juul,

You’re kind of like a Nordic Neil Young with these high-pitched folkie vocals that echo across a sad bastard soundscape of synths. I love the “ø”s in your name. I want them to cøø øut øf my møuth while I ride you like a Danish Warmblood. Let’s go to Christiania and smoke some hash. Then we’ll bike to Tivoli, ride the carousel, and stuff our food holes with strawberry pudding before a fingerbang sesh in the haunted house. Or we can just braid each other’s beards. Whatever you want, really. I’ll do it all, just for you.


Blood Oaths of the New Blues
Imagine that barfy face is you, dropping chunks with cameras recording your every spew in 360 degrees like The Matrix. But instead of being a person barfing in a movie scene that somebody slowed down, the lethargic and time-lagged manner in which you barfed is just how it came out. So, like, you started out saying, “I think I’m gonna throw up,” and then you started to puke and it took 40 minutes. You were just stuck there going, “Oh man, this is gross, this is gross. I’m barfing, oh man, oh jeez. When’s it going to stop?” I imagine there’d be waves where for a little while you’re like, “OK, I’m OK, I can do this, I’m OK,” and then all of a sudden you get intensely re-grossed out until you realize that you’ve already been puking forever and it’s impossible to get more grossed out because what are you going to do? Puke because you’re puking while slo-mo puking? On the bright side, your neck would get really sore and after a while you’d just start playing Words with Friends. This album is like that except the barf is the vocals kicking in after you had accordions for dinner last night.

Warner Bros.
Look. I’m a girl who likes to put her face on other girls’ faces and crotches. Does it even matter what I think about this album or if I actually listened to it? Sorry, Quin twins—I can’t hear you over my girlfriend’s inner thighs pressed against my ears.

Petra Goes to the Movies
There’s this thing happening now, where kids have to find new sounds and music rebellious enough to shock a generation of parents with Black Flag and Wu-Tang records on their shelves. Going up to your room and thoughtfully blasting an album that sounds like your eighth grade drama teacher singing in the shower will just about do it.

Instrumental Tourist 
Mystical drone/ambient/experimental-electronic sages Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) team up to coax assorted digital magic out of synthesizers and other digital apparatuses, only to slice, sort, restructure, and reassemble it with computers, probably while conducting some sort of pagan ritual. The outcome? Only the best deep and hard nighttime-car-ride soundtrack since, oh I dunno… probably Slowdive’s Pygmalion.

Hello Exit Harmony
Questions & Answers
You know, I realize some bands think that including the word “cum” in their name is an easy way to get people to listen their music. But if I could offer these convoluted spermatozoa a lesson, it would be this: It’s a major letdown when you name yourself after jism and your music is so self-absorbed and jagoffy that it completely subtracts from its initial jizzy intent. Guys, soothing horn and 70s “space rock” have never made anyone come, ever. This was proved 40 years ago. Time to move on.

Passage to Morning
Students of Decay
Alex Cobb, the guy who runs Students of Decay records, and who was formally known as Taiga Remains, has released an intoxicatingly gorgeous album with Passage to Morning. And I’m being literal here, listening while intoxicated is ideal. So take a few bumps of K, balance it out with a line of MDPV (tan Stuffmonger recipe, of course), and wash it down with two heaping tablespoons of lean. That’ll get your mind primed just right to soak up elements of Harold Budd and Cocteau Twins, inverted and slowed to a vaporous drift. I know these ambient records can scare the casual listener of guitar-based music because you think you’re missing out on the rawk. But I say try it out, especially when vocals may distract you from the matter at hand (i.e., while you’re fucking).