Killer Mike is so smooth and fluid, yet hard at the same time. He’s like a nanostructured amorphous solid, or Slimer with a boner.
HOPE FOR AGOLDENSUMMER
DAWN GOLDEN AND ROSY CROSS
Out of the Basement, Out of the Box
1) This is the kind of music they would use during a movie montage showing the strong female lead “getting shit done.” 2) I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this playing at a fancy pool party thrown by adults who have savings accounts and get those neat color filters for their pool lights.
Master of My Make-Believe
AtlanticIf you’ve swallowed the hype and are expecting the soundtrack to “Let’s tear this fucker down!” on Santigold’s second album, you will be disappointed. At times she tries to shelter herself from the shitstorm that follows all sophomore albums with a lyrical shield made of scrap metal from hip-hop and reggae clichés. The truest moments are in the space between the lyrics, like the “Hey, hey, hey” on the stirring “This Isn’t Our Parade.” The single “Big Mouth” supposedly mocks Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, which just reminds me that Katy Perry exists. Cool it with the music-snob bullshit and give the thing a goddamn smiley already.
DEL THE FUNKY HOMOSAPIEN AND PARALLEL THOUGHT
Parallel Thought Ltd.
Not sure if backpacker rap is the same thing as stoner rap, but I feel like Del gets pigeonholed for making at least one of those (maybe both). This record gets a little Native Tongues-y with the jazz and chill-out samples, but dude deserves credit for making hip-hop that doesn’t make me feel like I need 200 milligrams of MDMA and about 8 million shots just to keep it down. He also deserves credit for sticking with that honker of a name nearly two decades past the point it wasn’t corny. I mean it.
Killer Mike is so smooth and fluid, yet hard at the same time. He’s like a nanostructured amorphous solid, or Slimer with a boner. If he were to pull up in his car in front of my place of business right now, I’d take a knee at his wheel like they do at football games when a player’s been injured. It would be the only way I’d know how to fully express the sentiment “You killed it, black man.”
CRUCIFIED BY THE CFCF
Daps Is there a Guitar Center kit that comes with “Ariel Pink” presets and a publicist?
A Joyful Noise
Columbia A Joyful Noise still has the same basic sound the Gossip had before they dropped the “the,” but there’s a little less grit. Electric crunch swapped for gentle synths, less howling, and more falsetto. There’s also a noticeable absence of head-shaking anger and an increase in finger-wagging diva ’tude. Maybe Beth Ditto is getting old. Or maybe she’s just trying to sound like Madonna.
Lefse A cloying shot at Panda Bear by the Akron/Family drummer. The press release says this record is “what Buoy refers to as ‘Tropicore.’” Tropicore just sounds like an empty glass of orange juice.
Germ I’ve invented the perfect venue for this album: an extremely air-conditioned bar called Onyx. It’s populated by 40-something LA “industry” types with wizened skin and stupid hair, and the decor is minimalist brushed steel and leather meets poor-ergonomic-value furniture. Everything is really low to the ground so the patrons are perpetually uncomfortable, which forces them to try really hard to appear otherwise.
Oh, great, a new French electro album. Like I didn’t have enough musical options to get herpes to.
Fan Death I wish the 90s had been as good as the stuff coming out of the 90s revival. I was there, and the 90s were a cultural shitshow. You had four years of Nirvana and then a million years of the bands they influenced, which meant Nickelback. You know who has a Kurt Cobain tattoo? Fred Durst. That’s what Nirvana wrought in the 90s. Why did it take so long for their influence to produce good music?
FAN DEATH FAN
Fat Possum There was a time during high school when I, as a young goth, would go to the weekly downtown Wednesday-night street fair in my town and walk around in a velvet cape purchased from some store with a name similar to The Werewolf Cave. The air smelled like fog machine and stale incense, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I went down on my first gothic vagina. Those times were beautiful, and this album takes me right back to them.
Kill the Kool
In the Red The Spits are a Ramones-core synth-punk band from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who are too ugly to ever make it moderately big even though they make some of the poppest songs about hating everyone ever. This is a sold-out tour LP they made for their last tour and it collects most of their recent singles. I’d say go find it on eBay, but I just checked and it’s not up there, so if you want this record your best bet is to go fuck yourself.
Wild Beyond Belief
Trash King Productions Satan’s Satyrs sing about nudity, the Dark Lord, motorcycles, and skinheads lighting other skinheads on fire. Their latest LP sounds like if Venom went live to tape for Estrus, and the recording reminds me of the first Warzone seven-inch played through a boom box on a Sunday.
The Only Place
Mexican Summer I’ve been avoiding this band, and now I know why. How many ways can one remind us they love boys and California? Keep in mind I am a New Yorker who mourns winter when it becomes too hot to wear leather pants without developing Jim Morrison-style stink crotch. If you’re looking for something “new” in the same vein as those O.C. soundtracks you adore, this is all you, buddy.
EVANS THE DEATH
Slumberland I always thought the Cranberries were for smoking cigarettes and drinking Diet Coke in a Land Rover, but the other week when “Dreams” came on at a warehouse rave everyone flipped out and sang along. This band’s extremely well positioned for the gold rush.
HLR Man, imagine being a lady. Just walking around everywhere with your hips and breasts and asses and midlength curly hair all gently bouncing in step; wearing a dress or some shit. Imagine having a sweet, high-pitched lady-voice and getting together with a couple of other women and some guitars and making your slightly different voices all sync up as tautly as your periods, then snuggling all up together in a big gorilla’s nest of blankets and pillows while something noninformative is playing on the TV. What a life. I guess there’s the whole “rape thing” to deal with, too, but let’s not split hairs here: Girls got it pretty fucking made.
Hardly Art Instead of spending 80-some-odd words dancing around the fact that this sounds more or less exactly like Sonic Youth, why don’t we both be adults about this and I’ll just say go ahead and say buy this shit if you like Sonic Youth. Or Magik Markers.
BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE
A I like how everybody’s problem with this band is they saw the lead singer kick someone in a movie. Nobody can deal with assholes anymore. As late as the 80s and 90s you still had human ogres like Norman Mailer and El Duce roaming the earth, commanding if not respect from most people, at least a healthy curiosity about whose clock would get cleaned next. Now everybody’s so averse to confrontation they’ll tweet a 1,000-word jeremiad against the guy who cut in front of them at the bank before saying, “Excuse me, sir.” It’s actually made it kind of an amazing time to be an asshole. Last night, this girl at the next table over kept yammering on about some holistic pyramid-scheme crap that’s supposed to heal cuts, burns, and cancer with the power of the ocean, and in lieu of making fun of her loudly, barking “SHUT UP,” or simply not caring, I went straight to flipping pennies at her chest, safe in the knowledge that her living shrug of a boyfriend would do absolutely nothing about it. Which he did. Hail the New Asshole Dawn.
All of Us, Together
Lefse I don’t know. I don’t have enough room on my iPod for more of this kind of stuff. And Teen Daze sure have a lot of stuff. I guess it’s pretty good if you’re watching a visualizer or maybe tripping while staring at an aquarium.
When I See the Sun
Numero Group Codeine stand as a simultaneous testament to just how much smack people were doing in the 90s and just how thoroughly emasculated and depressive you had to make yourself look in order to get laid back then (provided you didn’t have any smack). I still can’t fully process how they were able to make lyrics that read like they were cribbed from a 14-year-old girl’s poetry journal sound completely not-hilarious, or how any of these sad men could keep time to a single snare hit every ten seconds without some severe chemical assistance. A little bummed the label didn’t include the Peel Session of “Broken-hearted Wine” in this otherwise comprehensive box set, but I guess I can find other reasons to kill myself next time I’m even slightly a bit hungover.
GEOFF BARROW AND BEN SALISBURY
Invada Geoff Barrow runs this label and four other bands, including fucking Portishead. He put out the Drive soundtrack vinyl. Now here’s a one-off buddy jam he made with the guy who soundtracked The Life of Mammals, and it’s a cold-synths fantasy homage to the Judge Dredd comics that’s as dark and minimal as a red dot on your forehead.
WALTER THE WOBBIT
Out of the Game
Decca/Polydor I want Rufus Wainwright to spit in my mouth. I want to bathe him. While I’m drying him off, we don’t even have to speak if he doesn’t want to. This is how unhinged of a fan I am. His last album, Songs for Lulu, I reviewed as “Album of the Decade.” I was ready for this album to be great. It’s not. It’s terrible. And my heart is broken. The only theory I can offer is that his new sober life as a father, and a soon-to-be husband, has sent his muses running for the hills. Rufus, get back to being heartbroken, get back to watching the sun rise with an overflowing ashtray between you and a new naked body each morning. Here is my number: 917-539-3963. I will be that body/ashtray.
THE SPRING STANDARDS
Parachute Shooter I would love the shit out of this if I were a middle-aged woman coming home after “a long day at work” before drinking “some wine” and watching Mad Men and thinking about Don Draper plowing me like “a harvest.” It’s not a bad album—I just think at least one member of the band needs to develop some sort of semicrippling addiction by the next one or at the very least buy a distortion pedal, because if this album sounded any more like a hug it would have arms.
That Time I Dug So Deep I Ended Up in China
Girlie Action Looking for the right background music to add some pizzazz to your Windows Movie Maker videos about your love of “haute couture”? This album has just what you’re yapping on about.
Slumberland These guys have probably heard the Smiths a time or two, and yet somehow this makes me want to cruise down the highway in a convertible that I don’t have now and probably never will. But I can dreeeeeeam!
HOPE FOR AGOLDENSUMMER
Life Inside the Body
Every time I eat soy or tofu mushed into the shape of a burger or chicken wing, I always think about how I wouldn’t mind eating soy or tofu if it tasted a little more like a burger or chicken wing. Similarly, I wouldn’t MIND listening to muff-diver music if only it didn’t always sound SO MUCH like muff-diver music. Backstory on this group is that they deliver babies in people’s homes when they’re not plucking their lesbian banjos. Neither of which I mean sexually.
Thrill Jockey If they made a Friday Night Lights-type show entirely about doing heroin, this would be the soundtrack. A++++
NED HEPBURN MOUNT EERIE
P.W. Elverum & Sun Whenever a long-term personality-cult rocker puts out a new record it seems like the only reason to say you don’t like it is to troll the fans. In this case, all the Elverum fans I know are growing a redwood or are great artists, so I’ll leave them be. (Sound of gentle chimes.)
Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection
Katy Perry’s pretty, but she’s not really a singer or a dancer. Madonna’s not a great singer, but she can dance, and she had the right mixture of talent and mediocrity that she was both special and relatable to yearning but boring suburban girls. Lady Gaga is the starlet of now and beyond because she’s actually in control of what she’s doing, plus she’s talented. Katy Perry makes me sad because she is a step backward and her music is really shitty, even for pop. If pop is great, it doesn’t need explanation. You just say, “Candy tastes good.” But this candy doesn’t taste good. It tastes sad and stiff. It tastes like she’s struggling to stay in tempo while the producer angrily claps his hands in time on the 30th take of “California Girls.” The sexuality feels forced and fake like she’s some Operation Monarch CIA sex puppet. With Lady Gaga or Rihanna I get the sense that they’re genuine pervs who like getting porked. Katy Perry seems like a very wholesome, normal woman, and I don’t feel like her fun party persona is working.
Best of Perception & Today Records
BBE Enough with the fucking funk and soul comps already. What is this, my dad’s second wedding?
Soundway There are a bunch of kids in Monterrey who make this slowed-down, super-stoney cumbia music that’s basically the Mexican version of chopped ’n’ screwed and which sounds terminally fuuuuuucked. This ain’t that, though. This is your standard Mexican-restaurant-sounding shit from Colombia that Señor Coconut fans can pick up to mark their severely retarded passage into adulthood. Bonus cringe points for the cover of “Another One Bites the Dust,” dudez.
Soft Abuse Record nerds love freaky New Zealand things because they’re obscure, but also “good” in pretty normal terms. Case in point, the new Pumice, an album of “laboriously crafted” songs bowled right down the center of its country’s underground style guide. This guy’s been doing basically exactly this by himself since 1991, but this time there’re more than 100 copies of the record.