So Much For The Afterglow

Band: Everclear
Album: So Much For The Afterglow
Best song: “Everything to Everyone” is very catchy.
Worst song: “Hating You For Christmas” is as dumb as the title suggests.

Recency bias is a funny thing. Because I want to rewrite my own history, I tend to claim my high school years were soundtracked by a combination of underground 80s/90s punk (Big Black, Naked Raygun, Rodan, Fugazi, etc.), classic rock/punk (The Who, the Kinks, Beatles, Clash, etc.), prog (mostly Genesis, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and King Crimson) and, eventually, era-appropriate indie rock (this is where my love of Smog, Tortoise, June of 44 and the like started). That’s certainly the vast majority of the story, but it is not, shall we say, the entire story. Read More »

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Band: Banks
Album: Goddess
Best song: “Brain” is brilliant.
Worst song: “Warm Water” is not my favorite.

I first came across Banks because of her acoustic cover of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” that was splashed across every music blog in the world over the summer. Being a huge fan of that song, I listened to that cover hundreds of times, along with the acoustic version of Banks’ song “Brain” recorded during the same session. Read More »

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Some Heavy Ocean

Band: Emma Ruth Rundle
Album: Some Heavy Ocean
Best song: “Run Forever” is the most-played song on Spotify and is a great song. Really, I like every song on the album a ton. “We ARe All Ghosts” is my current favorite, but that changes weekly.
Worst song: I’ll cop out and say “You Card the Sun” is the worst, because it’s an interstitial.

I meet a lot of people who say they “love live music” and I’m not totally sure what it means. I imagine some of it is because they want to support local and touring bands, but mostly I think it’s because it speaks to an idea of being hip and “in the scene.” And people like to go out or whatever. I guess. Read More »

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Band: Dolly Parton
Album: Jolene
Best song: The title track is definitely a classic.
Worst song: “Lonely Comin’ Down”

It’s less of a thing now, but when I was growing up and hip hop was a younger art form, a lot of white people would answer questions about music taste with some variation of “I like everything, but rap and country.” Of course, this is almost always an absolutely ridiculous lie; most of these idiots were not listening to Dizzy Gillespie, Mozart, Bellini or Glenn Branca. Indeed, “everything” is a bad thing to describe one’s taste in anything.

This has changed some as hip hop has become the preeminent popular music format for my generation. But, the circles in which I run continue to devalue country music. It’s definitely been written — probably on Twitter, though who knows? — that the intelligentsia of American music thinking completely devalues country music with the notable exceptions of a few classic artists (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, etc.) and the old notion of No Depression country music (for my generation, definitely). Read More »

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Safe as Milk

Band: Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band
Album: Safe as Milk
Best song: “Abba Zaba”
Worst song: “Autumn’s Child” is not much.

Almost everybody knows, or has an image of Frank Zappa in their head, but I bet you most people could name maybe one song out of the 70 records that guy put out.

Marc Maron said the above whilst record shopping with the fine folks at AV Club. Maron’s a very astute dude and few things he’s said have been more spot-on than that. Maron’s ex-girlfriend’s dad was an extrmeemly prolific artist and a personality on which so many things hang, but how many of us know his music?

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Band: Deafheaven
Album: Sunbather
Best song: The title track
Worst song: “The Pecan Tree” is the weakest song on a fine album. In fact, it’s still a very strong song.

A man screaming is not necessarily music, right? You you saw a man on a corner in your town yelling about rich people in the sun, you’d think he was nuts, right? Like, that guy is crazy. I’m not sure it matters how nice his button-up shirt looks or if he’s wearing gloves, for some reason. If you can’t identify the words he is saying, but he’s screaming over a wonderful soundtrack… Does that make it music?

If the answer to the final question is “no,” then I have to ask: What the fuck am I to make of Deafheaven’s Sunbather?

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Blurred Lines

Band: Robin Thicke
Album: Blurred Lines
Best song: I didn’t listen to the album.
Worst song: See above.

This piece is adapted from a series of emails, social media postings, notes and the like from the summer of 2013. I’m not enumerating anything anyone else already said more eloquently elsewhere — really, though, that’s the entire nature of this space. It this post seems dated, so be it.  Read More »

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In Utero

Band: Nirvana
Album: In Utero
Best song: “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter”
Worst song: Probably “Milk It”

There’s a saying that any single person’s favorite Saturday Night Live cast is the one from when that single person was in high school. I tend to think that fits with music, as well. We’re 14 years out of the intensely formative second decade of my life, but I continue to fall down into the comfort of music from the 1990s. I started playing the drums in 1992 and the guitar in 1995. I became someone who lived and breathed music around this time and that falls almost entirely on Nirvana.  Read More »

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You Follow Me

Band: Nina Nastasia & Jim White
Album: You Follow Me
Best song: “Odd, Said the Doe”
Worst song: “Late Night”

Though I never played it in earnest, hockey is my first memory and something I cherish. I’ve probably watched more football and, most certainly, played more baseball (and softball and tee ball) by miles. And I know way more about baseball and cared about it most vehemently for a number of years (my teenage years). Read More »

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Band: The Denison/Kimball Trio
Album: Neutrons
Best song: “The Traveling Salesman” is a classic.
Worst song: “Issa”

I mentioned this in the Stereolab bit, but when I developed my first passionate interest in music, I was totally open to anything. Well, anything that fit into the parameters of “on a local label or something that was distributed by Touch and Go records.” That led to tons of music that would become some of my favorites — June of 44, certainly — and some that I’d ignore for the rest of my life. Girls Against Boys comes to mind, as does Killdozer and, to a lesser extent, Brick Layer Cake.  Read More »

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