Friday, April 29, 2011


No Age 4ever. wtf pitchfork posted this video in their news today and it's only received 2000 views so far... There's a lot going on in this vid... don't forget No Age.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

90's Jams #10: Dinosaur Jr. "Out There" (1993)

Top 10 is where shit starts to get real... starting with some kick-down-the-fucking-door loud rock from the mighty Dinosaur. The post-Nevermind era was EXTREMELY welcoming of these guys, issuing absurd amounts of PR (such as SPIN's June 1993 "J Mascis Is God" cover story) and generous MTV spins (especially the Spike Jonze-directed Buzz Clip for "Feel The Pain"). So they definitely fit into the era nicely, and unlike the AIC's and STP's, never lacking authenticity or true talent. The nasally vocals are often cited by naysayers as Dinosaur's weakest attribute.. Well, the blues isn't always pretty, and the overwhelming melancholy of the vocals on "Out There" is anything but fake, matching the bittersweet mournfulness of the guitar sound. The common cliché of 90's rock lies in its gloominess, of which this track is surely an A+ example, with guitar solos drenched in sadness and longing... The song kicks off Where You Been when Murph was welcomed back behind the drums one more time, while Lou Barlow's bass crunches and major-5th's had been missing since 2 albums ago... In his place was fuller-sounding production, and the beginning of an era that sounded more and more like J Mascis solo-records with every album, until finally the name was changed to J Mascis + The Fog. In this regard, "Out There" was the enormously promising start to this 2nd era, lasting from 1993 until the reforming of the original 3 members in 2006.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

90's Jams #11: The Notorious B.I.G. "Hypnotize" (1997)

Shifting paradigms. In early 1997, "Hypnotize" set the tone for hiphop's next big change, visually evident in the absurdly extravagant MTV videos of directors F. Gary Gray, Hype Williams, and "Hypnotize" director Paul Hunter. By that point, rap was pop - clearly here to stay - so emphasizing street rawness was no longer necessary. By the end of the year, even Wu-Tang Forever reflected some gleam and sheen. Puff Daddy's eletro-bass sample from Herp Alpert's "Rise" resonated as audacious and forward thinking (and resonated entire apartment buildings when played at the appropriate volume), not to mention the perfect backing track for the cool and confident Biggie Smalls: "Poppa been smooth since days of Underroos..." "I still leave you on the pavement / Condo paid for, no car payment / At my arraignment, note for the plantiff / Your daughter's tied up in a Brooklyn basement..." Champagne, jet-boats, Ray-bans, and surrounded by bitches with the titties hangin' out... The man went out on top. (And that's not all he was on top of...)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

90's Jams #12: A Tribe Called Quest "Electric Relaxation" (1993)

Flowin' with the breeze... Along with its equally summery and breezy distant cousin "'93 Til Infinity," Tribe's "Electric Relaxation" rules from atop Chill Mountain, the land where everyone's just kickin' it. Between Q-Tip's vocal inflections and Phife Dawg's fun-loving and borderline-goofy presence, their playful back-and-forth verse trading with no discernible chorus (mostly about their enjoyment of females, much like "'93 Til Infinity") is so infectiously engaging that it becomes this comfy 3-minute-long hiphop world... Travelling to this is ALWAYS a good time, especially just after leaving work on Friday afternoon or with no immediate responsibilities ahead... Sometimes it's not easy to find the words for why something is so fucking perfect, and here's one of those cases...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

90's Jams #13: Foo Fighters "Everlong" (1997)

The 90's had a certain type of "adolescent dramady TV" genre that doesn't exist nearly as often these days. The great trilogy of these was The Wonder Years, My So-Called Life and Freaks And Geeks, all three of which featured nerdy male characters with immensely huge high school crushes, often presented in moments where they experienced what seemed to be hundreds of conflicting emotions all at once, extreme drama, head-voices speaking at the same time and all so quickly, emotional chemicals rushing... Musically, proto-emo was the stuff that matched this the closest in the 90's. If Pinkerton was the great musical document of this type of alt-rock, then "Everlong" was surely its "Teen Spirit" (although not as huge sounding, but surely seminal in making radio airwaves safe for the Jimmy Eat World's and Saves The Day's that were to follow). Ex-Alanis drummer Taylor Hawkins was not yet a Foo Fighter until the sessions for The Colour And The Shape were coming to a close. As a result, and contrary to popular belief, it is in fact Grohl who lays down the killer drumming on "Everlong," with all its complex subtleties intact, adding yet another layer to the already immense tension that comes with its chord structure and the subtly subdued Grohl-vox.

Also sick vid:

Monday, April 18, 2011

90's Jams #14: My Bloody Valentine "Sometimes" (1991)

"Soon," "Only Shallow" & "To Here Knows When" are normally considered the three strongest of Loveless's 11 masterpieces. For those who enjoy choosing a favorite, there's really no wrong answer, although "Sometimes" ended up turning into the least hipster-friendly choice since being tastefully used in a sequence of Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation. This is unfortunate, as it's probably the emotional highpoint of the entire record, one that was surely intended to be emotionally warping. With such an enormous wall of guitars, the high range of the acoustic strumming is nearly drowned out.. Leave it to MBV to record probably the noisiest acoustic ballad of alltime, and possibly the most powerful...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"So High"

Why is there no video for "Do It Every Time?" I don't really feel like posting videos of just album covers, so I guess "So High" works for now...

"Buy Nothing Day"

90's Jams #15: Nirvana "In Bloom" (1991)

No matter what any Yngwie worshiping douchebag has the say about it, "In Bloom" contains the most intense guitar solo of the decade, perfectly contrasting its "children's nursery rhyme" chorus, so catchy that the posers and the fakes simply can't resist joining in, even though they don't know what it means (and only one song after they demanded "entertain us..." The nerve of those kids...) They like to sing along to the extent that the song was on fucking Rock Band for Christ's sake. One of the best parts of that "Classic Albums: Nevermind" special was Butch Vig isolating the Cobain/Grohl 2-part vocal harmony and displaying how well their voices blended, not unlike George Martin back in 1992 on The Making Of Sgt. Pepper isolating the Lennon/Harrison/McCartney 3-part vocals on the title track. To bring it full circle, "In Bloom" is the sarcastic (aka Gen-X) version of The Beatles, which ended up being exactly what its video intended to emulate. The video was huge of course, not only winning "Best Alternative" at the VMA's, but also being specifically cited in Hugh Gallagher's "Seven Days And Seven Nights Alone With MTV" article for Rolling Stone as the one video that was played so often that it nearly drove him over the edge. (I remember reading it in 7th grade and it kinda freaked me out...)

We already posted the MTV version a while back for the "20 best music videos ever" thing, so here's the low-budget Sub Pop version from 1990...

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Plant Man"

We previously posted Elastica's "Connection" and considered Del Amitri's "Roll With Me" in hopes to find those rare moments where B&B may have commented on the entire video.. And surprisingly, I think we may have found yet another! Of course, PLANT MAN! The song's only like 1:55, and I'm pretty sure the whole thing is here, minus a few seconds of the outro...

In the second half when Butthead mentions Nickelodeon and then Beavis starts saying "heyyyy Butthead!" I assumed Mike Judge was making a reference to You Can't Do That On Television's locker jokes, but then I remembered that Mike Judge only references shows from like the 60's and 70's so that wouldn't have made any sense...

90's Jams #16: The Cure "Pictures Of You" (1990)

Much like the "Personal Jesus" entry, serious ass cheating was involved in order to get this into the 90's Jams: Disintegration was released in '89, with "Pictures Of You," the 4th and final single, released in March '90. One version of the single includes a 12-inch remix version which is 30 seconds longer, but the edits are not as good. One version includes the shortened 4:45 single edit, which removes most of the intro. So we are definitely referring to the 80's album version (sorry about that) but it WAS released as a single during the 90's, and so it's here on the 90's Jams.

The distinction is kinda huge though. Disintegration is one of those albums where its atmosphere is key to the whole record, with The Cure's trademark lengthly intros serving as an entrance to a world of darkness and layers upon layers of dense production. Its intro is the most important moment of "Pictures Of You," an elongated plunge into longing and regret in the midst of a shower of bleakness, appealing beyond the teenage emo types who once ate up this shit and started dying their hair and all that fun stuff... Robert Smith was approaching 30 when he wrote "Pictures Of You," and its subject matter within the context of its album sounds as though it's from a 30-year-old perspective, a grim reminder that wisdom doesn't necessarily alleviate sadness. But once again, it's the world created by its production that makes this record so special.. Expensive stereos with really good speakers become worth their pricetag for songs like this.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

albums from 2010 that were nice

I didn't get to post this yet...

#20 Japandroids "No Singles"
#19 Liars "Sisterworld"
#18 Various Artists "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" (Movie soundtrack)
#17 Big Boi "Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty"
#16 Kanye West "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"
#15 OFWGKTA "Odd Future Present Radical"
#14 Superchunk "Majesty Shredding"
#13 Caribou "Swim"
#12 The Arcade Fire "The Suburbs"
#11 Waka Flocka Flame "Flockaveli"

#10 Robyn "Body Talk"
#9 Happy Birthday "Happy Birthday"
#8 DJ Drama & Pill "1140: The Overdose"
#7 Oneohtrix Point Never "Returnal"
#6 BEAK> "BEAK>" (2009)
#5 Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti "Before Today"
#4 No Age "Everything In Between"
#3 Tyler The Creator "Bastard"
#2 Merchandise "Strange Songs (In The Dark)"
#1 Earl Sweatshirt "EARL"

And also Big KRIT, Deftones, Sun Araw, Free Energy, Flying Lotus, N*E*R*D, Pet Milk, Broken Water, Crash City Saints, Morning Benders, Wolf Parade, Harlem, MellowHype, Surfer Blood, Male Bonding, and I guess I would even put Nachtmystium in there but really only because I feel like justifying the $18 I spent on the vinyl...

90's Jams #17: Pavement "Summer Babe (Winter Version)" (1992)

Pitchfork's most recent efforts at canonizing the 90's resulted in some minor controversy after their questionable decision to award the "song of the decade" to Pavement's "Gold Soundz," one of the great singles released from their 2nd album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. As often the case with the internet buzz never being satisfied with anything, issues arose... Is this really "song of the decade" material? Is it even the best song off its album? Some investigation became necessary, as locating previous accolades of this track through internet searching has proven somewhat difficult...

  • John Peel's listeners voted "Gold Soundz" as the #22 best song of 1994 in his annual "Festive 50" countdown, the 2nd highest ranking track from Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain after "Range Life" which came in at #14. (Amazing countdown, by the way.)
  • "Cut Your Hair" has proven itself as the critics' favorite from Crooked Rain, appearing in several "best songs of the 90's" lists since the decade's end. As far as we can tell, "Gold Soundz" appears in only Pitchfork's list, at #1.

  • No one from Pitchfork bothered confirming how this ended up happening. In all likelihood, Pavement scored more staff votes than any other band or artist but without 1 song towering over the rest. This makes sense as Pavement's legacy was a hugely impressive string of brilliant LPs and EPs, but without the type of songs that could easily have been huge on any format besides college radio and 120 Minutes. But I could understand Pitchfork's take on this whole thing.. Nirvana gets all the credit they deserve and more. But a "best of the 90's" list without Pavement is pretty much worthless. Albums-wise and career-wise, and considering they started in 1989 and ended in 2000 without sucking even a little, they ARE the band of the decade. And yet, they're usually at #4 or #5, but never #1. And fuck, they deserve it, so why the fuck not?

    While certainly well intentioned, Pavement's #1 placing would have been much more well-received from readers had they chosen a different song. And despite its popularity, "Cut Your Hair" wouldn't have gotten the job done quite as well as what's probably their 2nd most popular favorite among critics lists, the accidental slow-motion explosion called "Summer Babe" which was re-recorded for their first LP Slanted And Enchanted, and is possibly the loudest song to combine all of their best attributes: They probably went to college after leaving their parents in the suburbs, so they understand what debt is like... They're just like us. They played and sang like they were drunk. When they rocked, they kicked so much ass. When they were sad, they were really, really sad. They were confident. The lyrics are so fucking cool, even though sometimes they were way too cryptic and and often probably about nothing.. "Ice baby, I saw your girlfriend, she's eating her fingers like they're just another meal.." Damn that shit's good.. but huh?! And of course, the catchy part where they repeat a bunch of phrases.. "Everytime I sit around I find I'm shot.." And the hi-hat in this rules as well..

    "To be played at maximum volume."

    90's Jams #18: Souls Of Mischief "'93 Til Infinity" (1993)

    So here it is.. Probably the greatest backpacker hiphop sample of alltime, and possibly the best West Coast beat, period. Yeah, that's correct.. These dudes are West Coast. It's easy to forget that sometimes, especially considering this was released within the pinnacle of gangsta rap's popularity, when the extreme warmth of a beat like A-Plus's production of "'93 Til Infinity" was so entirely in the opposite direction, sonically closer to Jungle Brothers or Tribe than Dre & Snoop. "Warmth" is kind of an understatement.. It's such a loving embrace, a continuous breeze of summery and wholly welcoming chill vibes. It sounds chill, so they made a song about chillin' ("We gonna up you on how we just chill...") complimented by a plethora of playful two-syllable rhyming schemes. The awesomest summer days always come to an end, but "'93 Til Infinity" could stay stuck in your head for weeks, and be welcomed for every last minute of it. Ridiculously infectious.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    90's Jams #19: Radiohead "Let Down" (1997)

    I’ll be the first to dismiss any pseudo-intellectual douchebag who might refer to a record as “Orwellian,” although in the case of OK Computer, I would be that douchebag. The term signifies contradictions of enormous magnitude, which Radiohead laid out in layman's terms 6 years later by kicking off Hail To The Thief with a song titled “2 + 2 = 5.” “Let Down” wasn’t the first case of dark and vicious lyrics accompanying such lovely arrangement and vocal melody, but the two have rarely remained such polar opposites while blending so effortlessly. Brilliant songwriting aside, what sets this in its own plane has so much to do with Nigel Godrich’s A+++ production job. Those bleeps and bloops at the end of "Let Down" have been officially listed as one of the reasons why headphones were invented.

    90's Jams #20: Bell Biv Devoe "Poison" (1990)

    As mentioned in a previous entry, the classic trifecta of New Jack Swing would not be complete without "My Prerogative" and "Motownphilly." But "Poison" was its most massive and defining moment. With nearly a musical or lyrical highlight every few seconds, it's hard to keep up.. A brilliantly paced 4 minutes. AIDS was hugely topical in 1990, somewhat reflected in the lyrics by what many would consider misogynist, although no more than on The Chronic or nearly every hiphop album that followed it over the next 20 years. Dark, gritty, sinister.. Packed with enough hooks to receive VH1 airplay.. The snare drum.. the bassline.. There's almost too much going on in this song. With something to prove after New Edition, holy fuck...