Every 16-year-old skate rat with a zit factory for a face and a dense thicket of unwashed pubes needs a guardian angel, and for that, God dooked this dog-log straight onto LA. If you think you might fit his demographic, steal the keys to your mom’s certified preowned Toyota Sienna, and scoot on over to the nearest Best Buy. Then go to Crate & Barrel, pick up a classic black-serrated chopper, and cut your face off.
Ever since I illegally downloaded this record, I’ve been guzzling codeine and popping MDMA like a sorority girl at Ultra. It’s made me realize a handful of fun facts about this strange world: 1) Future is my favorite rapper; 2) Future perfect isn’t a tense, it’s a sentence fragment I should consider revising; and 3) I can’t feel my dong when I pee.
In the high school cafeteria of the music industry, MIA doesn’t sit at the table, she sits on it, spread-eagle. She’s unfazed by the popular kids, and so far removed from the normal drama of homework and friends we can’t help but sorta wonder if she’s even listed in the official registrar. She’s never been “nice” to us, of course—she’s never been “nice” to anyone—but one time she wordlessly plucked a french fry off our lunch tray and slid it between her plump lips and licked the ketchup off like it was Don Juan’s dick. It was at that moment we realized we never wanted to mean something to someone more in our entire stupid lives.
Free Your Mind
I remember sitting on a plush couch at a Cut Copy concert in 2005. I was about 20 years old, I’d been treating my body like a landfill for weeks, and I’m pretty sure I had a “dime piece” on each arm. I vaguely remember the frosty chill of the raspberry vodka in my hand, and the suppleness of kangaroo leather against the nape of my neck. Now I’m sitting in an office listening to a song actually, literally called “Walking in the Sky” off an album actually, literally called Free Your Mind, and you should really see my face right now. Just take one look at my goddamn fucking face, pussy.
BEST COVER OF THE MONTH
No Love Deep Web
Death Grips are like that psycho girl you dated in college who was the first person to ever tongue your butthole. It felt better than being on ketamine in space, but it came with the price of explaining to your parents why the nice girl you’ve been spending so much time with puked in their imitation Mycenaean vase. The Grips felt like life-changers when they dropped, but by now, we’re kinda over it and are ready to date erudite women who are sweet and do yoga and shit.
JAWN F. KENNEDY
Sometimes I feel like the rules of punk changed before I was old enough to play. It must have been sick 25 or so years ago to skate around all day, boozing, using, and listening to Melvins while spray-painting the words fake abortion clinic on anything that moved. This record is equal parts perfection and mind-numbing idiocy, but at least they’re touring with new material instead of trotting out the sort of ATP nostalgia trip that’s somehow considered acceptable these days.
I really hate this. I don’t know what Bad Religion is thinking, but there’s no such thing as God. All this music and culture are distractions from the very real horror of human violence and depravity that squirms like a bed of writhing snakes under society’s civil veneer. Law and order is a collective dream we can awaken from at any time. Soon there will come a day when the poor and downtrodden will no longer be placated with food stamps; instead they will sup on your entrails and blood, boiling your premature babies in a cauldron of bullion and duck fat. You’re dialing 911, but I have different numbers: 9mm, 12 gauge, and AR-15. It’s gonna make The Turner Diaries look like The Wizard of Oz.
BRADLEY “DIRTBOMB” BANKS
Matt Pryor is the guy from the Get Up Kids, and this record is called Wrist Slitter. Low-hanging fruit, I know, so I’m just going to take the high road and say this album does not, in fact, make me want to slit my wrists. It kind of just sounds like another Get Up Kids record, which just makes me want to cut up this CD so I can stab the members of said band in the larynx so their creative afterbirth can’t hurt anyone else.
Back to Land
While I listened to this album, I made a mental list of the dumb things that it reminded me of. Fast-forward to an hour before deadline, and since truly being capital-F Funny is harder than fisting a pigeon, I decided to cut out the middleman and present the list to you, unedited: the fake band from a commercial for dick pills played through a cheap reverb amp; a much more boring version of the Brian Jonestown Massacre with less money for drugs and gear; a weak, shitty fart on weak, shitty acid.
BLANCHE BLANCHE BLANCHE
A couple years ago, I stumbled across an insane music video for a song called “Talk Out Loud” from some Vermont freako band with a hilarious name. It was shot on a VHS camcorder from the 1800s and featured a sea of disembodied heads, a poorly framed tarp, and some lanky V-neck-wearing ding-donger wielding a keyboard as a shield. It was an absolute masterpiece of brain-dead, interstellar Casio pop, and I watched it a million times. But remember that time in high school when you were tricked into putting “Come On Eileen” on a mixtape because Napster told you it was a Clash song? I’m pretty sure a similar thing happened here, because these songs are a field of severed baby scrotums away from the one I remember by a band that was supposedly the same as this one.
Spring Songs EP
For four songs, this is a pretty wacky ride. It starts off with what sounds like Hot Water Music in the midst of puberty and then lapses into some out-of-shape, slowed-down, spare-tire-stomach jams. Seriously, guys, if your band is named after one of our most primal sports, you’d better be in fucking tip-top physical condition. This sounds like the recording was made in between scarfing a huge plate of poutine at noon and the inevitable food coma that follows two hours later.
BEST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Surrender to the Fantasy
I used to use this band as my alarm clock throughout my mid-20s. That was a dark time for me. I remember one summer morning when I woke up and slammed my alarm clock on the nightstand while coughing cigarette butts out of my mouth. I stumbled into the living room to see the remnants of the jar of peanut butter I’d scarfed the night before—not by smearing it on bread, or even using one of the knives lingering in the petri dish that doubled as my sink, but by sticking the TV remote into the jar and licking the peanut butter off the buttons like a hobo. I remember feeling like Magik Markers were my only friends, and looking back I’m pretty sure they were.
In the Red
Sometimes when I’m listening to Drake’s lyrics, I’m all like, “Oh, for fuck’s sake, this is totally something my mom would say.” Not so with these dudes. Sure, they could be talking about white-wine spritzers and alimony, but who the fuck can tell? They’re loud, they have unintelligible lyrics, and they named their band after a diaper. Drake can go shit his pants standing and then suck a good man’s dick.
Vancouver is cool because if any of your stuff gets stolen you can just bike over to the Downtown Eastside Open-Air Thief Market and buy it back from a toothless crackhead for a shiny toonie or whatever the fuck they do up there. What sucks about Vancouver is there are a bunch of IT guys pretending they’re in bands, which is the long and short of this piece-of-trash ensemble. I hope they choke on a gooseberry, or even a snozberry if you want to get all whimsical about it. That said, if you’re in Vancouver, say hi to Glenn from Beatroute. His bands are worth listening to, plus he hosts karaoke parties that look like The Apple.
P.W. Elverum & Sun
Have you ever wandered so deep into the woods that it took you hours of following streams that at first led nowhere and then, eventually, to your escape? That’s how all the other Mount Eerie albums sound. Pre-Human Ideas still sounds like getting lost, except this time you’re in the Viridian Forest (you know, from Pokémon), and all you can hear for miles are the robot voices of a million SmarterChilds and unanswered Missed Connections. It freaks me out and, honestly, breaks my heart a little bit, but I don’t hate it because sometimes getting your heart broken is exactly what you need to realize you’re a twat.
I want Swearin’ to soundtrack everything I remember about my favorite road trip. Such as: we were driving from New York to Ohio, we only stopped for snacks, and we learned you could drink beer in the car without God teleporting a cop onto the asphalt. If you’re into it, promise me you’ll play this album over and over until you learn all the words. Promise me you’ll cry a little bit if you feel like it, because everyone else is passed out in the backseat anyway, and who gives a rat’s sack.
What Makes Us Glow
The state51 Conspiracy
This one goes out to all the dorks into getting dick-slapped by Portland. Why don’t you go get a kiosk at your local farmer’s market, hippie? What other cheap jokes can I make about the Northwest? Swiss chard tastes like burned paper, cassette tapes sound like shit, and kickball is for adults who wish they were still babies. Have a nice life, idiots. We’re canceling distribution in Oregon. [Editor’s note: this band is from London.]
SORE EROS AND KURT VILE
Jamaica Plain EP
Care in the Community
I’ve never heard of Sore Eros, but I’m definitely familiar with Kurt Vile. Wakin on a Pretty Day was great—it really changed the way my mom paced her morning mall walks, plus it referenced Air Bud 2: Golden Receiver. This new EP was actually recorded 13 years ago, when Vile was in his 20s and working as a forklift operator in Philly. Props for him for getting out of Dodge, but this album is so goddamn boring it gives us yet another reason to hate the City of Brotherly Pud. (Just in case you’re wondering, the first two items on this list are “bars close too early” and “literally everything else about Philadelphia.”)
Gilded Pleasures EP
The only two things you need to know about this band are that their name is a slang term that means “gross vagina,” and they created their own genre called beach goth, which is at least a step up from other made-up genres like rapegaze and frat punk. #SeapunkForever, though. #SeapunkForFuckingEver.
This whole album sounds like a contrived attempt at all the in-between moments in Radiohead songs that you don’t even notice until you have a sick day or something. Like, you’re in bed or cleaning and you’re out of good postclassical ambient bands, so you throw on Kid A and think, Holy fuck, Radiohead isn’t a bro meme at all! And then you realize that I hate you, fuckface.
When I was a teenager, I was this weird art lesbian in a small farming town who became very good at the internet during those early, lonely days. One of my crushes passed Poor Aim: Love Songs to me, and it did that life-changey thing that music used to do to us when we were teenagers. But this self-titled album is all growed-up and super annoying. No warmth or tiny, secret vibes. I guess that girl is in a long-term relationship now or something. It’s chill, though. And remember, kids: all love dies eventually.
I would guesstimate that there are several hundred lucky girls across the globe who’ve done it (“it” being defined as “at the very least an OTPHJ”) with one or more members of One Direction. These girls are probably hoping that their super meaningful tryst has been immortalized on 1D’s second record—’cause that’s what the title suggests, right? And how cool would it be to be the subject of, or at least a fleeting, semen-stained mention in, a pop song?! Little do they know their moment has already been committed to tape. One Direction has been advised by their legal team to record every single sexual encounter they have with their groupies (whose IDs are naturally checked by security in advance). This is to avoid potential lawsuits, allegations of rape, etc.—I’m sure you understand.
TAYLOR TAYLOR TAYLOR
Remember when Kelis came out with rainbow-colored hair, shouting like a vengeful banshee? I miss that Kelis. Now that she’s disembarked from the EDM bandwagon and is hanging around her local taco truck with Dave Sitek, there’s a chance she’ll be great once more. But then again, this record was supposed to come out over the summer, and then she said September, and now it’s November, so there’s a very big chance that when this eventually comes out it will be severely dry and overcooked. Ba-dum-tsssssh.
WORST COVER OF THE MONTH
HEIDECKER & WOOD
Some Things Never Stay the Same
Little Record Company
I almost gave this record a Barfy because Tim Heidecker makes me really uncomfortable. Yes, he’s a comedic genius on par with Voltaire or John Maynard Keynes, but I’m also pretty sure he’s the type of guy who calls customer-service lines on the backs of potato-chip bags so that he can relish some kind of fleeting human interaction while he touches himself (under the pants, over the briefs). Oh well, you win some, you splooge some.
If I could have lunch with one person on the planet, it’d be the awesome new gay-abortion pope. But my second choice would be R. Kelly, who I actually did meet earlier this year. All the other music writers out there had to wonder what his latest opus sounded like, but Kells himself showed it to me and it blew my mind all over my face and neck. Its quality proved one thing: there is no father to R. Kelly’s style (he is, however, everyone else’s father, in the musical sense and also in the he-probably-fucked-your-mom-and-he’s-your-dad sense).
WORST ALBUM OF THE MONTH
People used to get all mad at Avril Lavigne because she didn’t know who the Sex Pistols were, but seriously, who cares? I can’t think of many things that are more punk than not knowing who the Sex Pistols were, and frankly, “punk rock” isn’t even a real thing. All I’m saying is that there are way better reasons to hate (or love, depending on your point of view) her, and one of them is the number she did on her ex-husband, that dude from Sum 41. Have you seen him recently? He looks like Richard Dreyfuss’s bloated corpse weeks after he was shot trying to escape a death camp, which makes her the Goebbels of the third floor of the mall.
THE SPACE LADY
Susan Dietrich, a.k.a. the Space Lady, a.k.a. my galactic wet dream, was this weirdo homeless dropout busker chick who drifted between Boston and the Bay Area back in the 70s, supporting her draft-dodging husband and three kids by playing zonked-out space-themed psych covers in a winged Viking helmet. Most street musicians have a story like that, but most of them also make music that belongs in the environment where it was conceived: a quaint little town I like to call “Covered in Human Turds and Boxed Wine in the Dumpster Behind Carl’s Jr.”
DINAH SHORE’S TOOTHED OVARIAN CYST
Ah, hell yeah. Hell. Fuckin’. Yeah. I bet this four-disc survey of Minneapolis pre-Prince boner jams will set you back like $80 or something, but I got it for free and my girlfriend’s been thanking me for it ever since by reenacting scenes from Body of Evidence. Last night we threw this fucker on, and I rocked her until four in the morning sans protection, pausing only briefly to switch positions from the “Jiminy Stick-It” to the “Ferdydurke.” And to think, all this time I thought the only way to fix a broken relationship was to pork someone else every now and then.