Monday, January 30, 2012

Japandroids update

from 4 minutes ago...



"Hank Is Dead"

Awesome new video!

Monday, January 23, 2012


We finally found more excuses to use the "Gifs" tag.

Start your week with the right attitude.

T.Scene Newsletter: Jan 2012

We haven't written as much about "t.scene" in a while, probably because the term has lost some specificity in the past few years... We used to sporadically post T.Scene news on the Geocities version of this web journal.

But we'd like to bring it back officially as of this post, partially because we're self-absorbed and we like to write about our bands and our friends' bands, but mostly because T.Scene has unexpectedly become VERY active of the past few months, which has been sparking our interests.

So this will be the first post in what hopefully becomes a monthly feature that we're titling "T.SCENE NEWSLETTER" (in conjunction with T.Scene releases), a new feature-ette with news & info on unsigned bands who we just happen to be friends with. It will mostly include straight-up news and not as much sarcasm. And we'll BOLD certain words to make it look more official.

Our top story at this hour is the "8TH ANNUAL BERFEST," coming next weekend to Brooklyn, Boston and Danbury. Its curators set up a badass lil website listing all the bands and venues: The roster includes artists who appeared in Hot Mix 2011 (i.e. GRASS IS GREEN) and a few who appeared on our T.Scene comps (i.e. HOVERAL).

The second night of Berfest is surely Boston's hottest ticket for this coming Saturday (we're not joking about that). But it also (sadly) will include a "farewell" set from OVLOV, who last week announced "indefinite hiatus." Also prior to officially calling it quits, they unleashed one last EP onto Bandcamp comprised of two unreleased studio tracks that were frequently performed in their live sets...

Here's the hot new posthumous Ovlov...

"Chicken Coop" was one of their first songs from 2008, while "Small Voices" started appearing in sets as early as February 2010. In case anyone's starving for other non-released Ovlov tracks, Youtube has live performances of "Gargamel" and "Car Commercial" as well as covers of Fountains Of Wayne's "Sink To The Bottom" and Nirvana's "Been A Son."

Day 3 of Berfest should prove exciting as well, with planned reunion-sets from HOME MOVIES (who have performed sporadically since 2008) as well as a reunion from HOVERAL, marking their first live-set since February 2003...

T.Scene has been planning on hosting a Hoveral compilation at some point, and there's a good chance it's coming in 2012... Get ready for that. In the meantime, Bernie's official demos collection is still available (as long as Mediafire doesn't get raided by the feds). ("Bernie [demos]" is essentially "Hoveral's early demos" prior to their switch from a 4-piece to a 3-piece, and their name-change, in the fall of 2000.)

Along with Ovlov's recent split-up news (as well as similar split-news from T.Scene fav's QUILTY and CASIOROSSI), Northampton's GRAPH played their final two shows last weekend in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, but not before unleashing one final EP for the kids, happily titled "EP 3," which rules since it appears to actually be their 5th EP (unless we're missing something)...

Here's the hot new posthumous Graph...

In happier news, a new addition has arrived to the T.Scene family in the form of SPEEDY ORTIZ (currently including former members of Quilty, Graph and Ovlov). Now a 4-piece band, their first ever set as a 2-piece from November 2011 was recently uploaded to Shea Stadium's blog. We posted a link to the set back on December 30th. We hope to post copious show announcements from these guys in future T.Scene Newsletters, but for more frequent updates we recommend liking them on Facebook.

THE SMOOTH HANDS have joined forces once again, lovingly embracing for the first time since god-knows-how-long-ago (probably 3-4 years) for a Christmas EP. It's obviously no longer Christmastime, but The Gift Horse will surely be treasured by every young child with sparkling eyes for future Decembers...

In celebration of the new release, they've also uploaded their gorgeous 2005 LP I Love You So Much onto Bandcamp: All joking aside, this is probably the magnum opus of the entire T.Scene catalog... Like "top albums of the 2000's" kinda shit. But don't tell them we said that. (R.I.Y.L. Daniel Johnston, Guided By Voices, songs about relationships, porn). At some point in 2012, T.Scene also plans to release a live LP from The Smooth Hands taken from a set in 2007. The package (hopefully) will also include a bonus live set from their one-time-only collaborative performance with TATER NO! (one of those bands where all the songs were about cats).

Coming in February (if all goes well) we just might have some info on LOWT IDE's long-awaited 5th LP Tag Sale (in the works since late-2009), as well as news on DEAD WIVES' forthcoming live EP.

That's it for this hour... Once again, we'd love to make this a monthly feature, and we hope none of our friends hate us too much for writing about their bands. WORD UP.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5 Seconds of Every #1 Billboard Hot 100 Hit From 1993-2011

Not complaining, just observing... But you can totally tell which songs AnthonyDC has heard before and which ones he didn't recognize... Fun game, count how many you don't recognize, the one with the lowest number wins...

5 Seconds of Every #1 Billboard Hot 100 Hit From 1993-2011 by AnthonyDC

Old Fangs


Please Say Something

The soundtrack on its own is basically unlistenable, but this is still one of the best shorts we've seen yet...


Word... This is the short with The Swirlies. The 90's nostalgia was a big part of why we dug this one, honestly, but it's also a funny story...

Tord Och Tord

Looking for excuses to use the "animation" tag.... We don't have any Sundance 2012 coverage, so instead we'll just post clips from some of the animation shorts we saw over the past 3 years.... There was this one where they used The Swirlies in the soundtrack that we're specifically searching for, but in the meantime here are some other fun clips...

Tord och Tord Trailer from Niki Lindroth von Bahr on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hot Mix 2011 (Big List)

Skip the lame blurbs. Check the big list. "Hot Mix 2011" On Spotify

| #100 - 91 | #90 - 81 | #80 - 71 | #70 - 61 | #60 - 51 |
| #50 - 41 | #40 - 31 | #30 - 21 | #20 - 11 | #10 - 1 |

100 LMFAO "Sexy And I Know It"
99 Crash Of Rhinos "Closure"
98 Earl Sweatshirt "Dat Ass"
97 Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera "Moves Like Jagger" / Maroon 5 "Never Gonna Leave This Bed"
96 Radiohead "Bloom"
95 Big Talk "Getaways"
94 Pill "Ridin' On Dat Pole"
93 The Horrors "Endless Blue"
92 Wild Flag "Electric Band"
91 Slices "Modern Bride"

90 Fucked Up "A Little Death"
89 Milk Music "No Life"
88 The Cars "Sad Song"
87 Cave "W U J"
86 Ke$ha "Blow"
85 Kreaayshawn "Gucci Gucci"
84 Radiohead "Separator"
83 Toro Y Moi "Still Sound"
82 Jonny "Candyfloss"
81 The Strokes "Under Cover Of Darkness"

80 Pusha T featuring Tyler The Creator "Trouble On My Mind"
79 Ringo Deathstarr "Day Dreamy"
78 Dope Body "Enemy Outta Me"
77 Chris Brown "She Ain't You"
76 Bombay Bicycle Club "Bad Timing"
75 Adele "Someone Like You"
74 Yuck "Rubber"
73 Avril Lavigne "What The Hell"
72 Rebecca Black "Friday" / Pharrell "Fun Fun Fun"
71 Iceage "Broken Bone"

70 Broken Water "Normal Never Happened"
69 Frank Ocean "Thinking About You"
68 Kavinsky "Nightcall"
67 Panda Bear "Slow Motion"
66 Metronomy "She Wants"
65 The Weeknd "High For This"
64 Smith Westerns "Only One"
63 Diehard "Barflies"
62 Meek Mill featuring Rick Ross "Ima Boss"
61 Beyonce featuring Kanye West & Andre 3000 "Party"

60 Grass Is Green "Tongue In Cheek"
59 Radiohead "Little By Little" / "The Daily Mail"
58 Wilco "I Might"
57 Jay-Z & Kanye West "That's My Bitch"
56 Katy B "Movement"
55 Curren$y "She Don't Want A Man"
54 Pet Milk "Phantom Lovers"
53 Rob Crow "Prepare To Be Mined"
52 Jill Scott featuring Anthony Hamilton "So In Love"
51 Rival Schools "Choose Your Adventure"

50 Gotye "Easy Way Out"
49 Passenger Peru "Your Hunger"
48 Real Estate "It's Real"
47 Jamaica "Short and Entertaining"
46 Milk Music "Beyond Living"
45 Foo Fighters "Rope"
44 M83 "Midnight City" / Neon Indian "Fallout" / Hooray For Earth "No Love"
43 The Drums "Days"
42 Fabolous "You Be Killin' Em"
41 Ringo Deathstarr "Other Things"

40 Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi featuring Jack White “Two Against One"
39 Tyler The Creator featuring Frank Ocean "She"
38 Action Bronson "Get Off My P.P." / "Albino Gorilla"
37 Bon Iver "Perth"
36 Neon Indian "Polish Girl"
35 Metronomy "The Look"
34 LMFAO "Party Rock Anthem"
33 Drake "Marvins Room"
32 Frank Ocean "Songs For Women"
31 Nas "Nasty"

30 Rival Schools "Shot After Shot"
29 A$AP Rocky "Peso"
28 Jay-Z & Kanye West "Why I Love You"
27 Foster The People "Pumped Up Kicks"
26 Mr. Dream "Trash Hit"
25 Yuck "Holing Out"
24 Big Sean featuring Nicki Minaj "Dance (A$$) (Remix)"
23 The Drums "Book of Revelation"
22 Guided By Voices "The Unsinkable Fats Domino"
21 Frank Ocean "Novacane" / Jay-Z & Kanye West featuring Frank Ocean "No Church In The Wild"

20 The Horrors "Still Life"
19 Broken Water "Heart Strings"
18 Yuck "The Wall"
17 Smith Westerns "Weekend"
16 Frank Ocean "Swim Good"
15 Fucked Up "The Other Shoe"
14 Azealia Banks "212" / "Liquorice"
13 Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats "I'm Here To Kill You" / "13 Candles"
12 Tyler The Creator "Yonkers"
11 Merchandise "Kill The Light"

10 The Drums "Money"
09 Lil Wayne featuring Rick Ross "John"
08 Neon Indian "Hex Girlfriend"
07 Ringo Deathstarr "Do It Every Time" / "So High"
06 The Go! Team "Buy Nothing Day"
05 Katy Perry "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)"
04 The Weeknd "Wicked Games"
03 Yuck "Get Away"
02 Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats "Ritual Knife"
01 Jay-Z & Kanye West "N***** in Paris"

Hot Mix 2011: #10 to 1

"Hot Mix 2011" On Spotify

| #100 - 91 | #90 - 81 | #80 - 71 | #70 - 61 | #60 - 51 |
| #50 - 41 | #40 - 31 | #30 - 21 | #20 - 11 | #10 - 1 |

10 The Drums “Money”
The “economic climate” theme overshadows a less obvious one about separation, or a blockage from expressing affection. Obstacles get in the way, and “there’s nothing to be done.” Obstruction. #UNFAIR The Drums said “Money” was inspired by the basslines in The Wig, who they called “The poor man’s New Order.” Also, “I want to buy you something, but I don’t have any money” is our new favorite horrible pickup line since “You must work for UPS, because I swore I saw you checking out my package.”

09 Lil Wayne featuring Rick Ross “John”
More like an apocalyptic/Halloween song to us, as opposed to "Getting pumped before the big boxing match" music. "John" is a Rick Ross song (originally titled "I'm Not A Star") with vocals added by Lil Wayne, which we feel was a huge improvement from the original. We assumed a Roman-numeral appeared towards the end - “YMCMB Double M / We rich forever” - as another faux-illuminati shoutout, but turns out that it stands for "Young Money Cash Money Billionaires” and the “double M” is “Maybach Music” which is way less exciting than we'd hope for, but either way it's fun as fuck for screaming along while blasting in the car.

Also, congrats to Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj for being the most active participants in our least favorite rap trend of the year, removing the word "like" from metaphors, which Kanye West has defended by labeling it "hashtag rap." Here are our picks for the most infuriating offenders:
  • "Have it your way: BURGER KING"
  • "Ima hang you out to dry: TOWEL RACK"
  • "I like to keep my drinks real cold: FREEZER"
  • "She wax it all off: MISTER MIYAGI"
  • "Here's another hit: BARRY BONDS"
  • "I still turn heads: POLTERGEIST" (wrong movie asshole)
  • "I keep her runnin' back and forth: SOCCER TEAM"
  • "I lay 'em down: TEMPURPEDIC"
  • "She's all over my skin: LOTION"
  • "I got her: GROCERY BAG!" (Actually this one is good because it makes no sense.)

  • 08 Neon Indian “Hex Girlfriend”
    Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space... Staring into the stars & making out forever... The Cure’s influence on Neon Indian doesn’t get enough credit as one of the main reasons his appeal has been so widespread, with “Hex Girlfriend” as probably his trippiest moment yet.

    07 Ringo Deathstarr “Do It Every Time” / So High”
    The droning, distortion and delay borrowed by RDS wouldn’t mean much to anyone if they didn’t have awesome songs to back up their ambitions. Normally we break ties within the top 10, but the start of this album is so strong that it’s just about impossible to break apart tracks 2 and 3, surely among the best shoegaze since Loveless. Go team Ringo.

    06 The Go! Team “Buy Nothing Day”
    The lost Phil Spector epic of 1964, although 60’s pop hits normally weren’t as fragmented as “Buy Nothing Day,” which goes through individual A, B, C and D sections as opposed to a verse/chorus format. (The solo section includes additional mini-hooks that don’t appear elsewhere in the song.) The singer from Best Coast was a great choice for this; although we find her boring while singing her own songs, her innocent “untrained” aura completely syncs. Mom would like this song. P.S. Adbusters article about 2011's actual Buy Nothing Day.

    05 Katy Perry “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”

    We’d like to know how The Strokes and Phoenix feel about “Last Friday Night,” since this is probably the most money their sound will ever earn from a radio single. The use of “epic fail” initially hurt our eardrums, but it’s strangely morphed into our favorite timestamp of the year. (Once upon a time, Paul Simon wrote a song about feeling groovy, which probably sounded equally stupid in 1965.) Rhyming with “ginger ale” didn’t make sense at first either, but then about 6 months later it dawned on us that it’s commonly used to help with upset stomachs. #hangoverpart2 Congrats to the marketing genius who realized this had “summer jam” written all over it and put a hold on sending it to radio until May 2011, nearly a full year after Teenage Dream’s release date.

    04 The Weeknd “Wicked Games”
    Nasty, organic raunch... “Motherfucking” is used just often enough in the lyrics that they essentially translate to straight-up dirty sex-talk, complying with ultra-porno production. But “Wicked Games” isn’t simply throbbing boners pounding juicy vag... It’s the darkest sexual encounter of your life. The ultimate sin. In a year with an unprecedented plentiful abundance of ultra-darkness in our pop music, The Weeknd achieved the absolute blackest.

    03 Yuck “Get Away”
    In case anyone hasn’t noticed, we disagree with Yuck’s “90’s-retro” tag, which was invented by rock-journos and was never confirmed by the band themselves beyond their list of influences, which just happens to include Yo La Tengo and Dinosaur Jr. But we do agree with the reviewers who reacted to its youthfulness: They sound like they've just discovered that loud guitars can help mend a broken heart; throw on "Get Away", and you're back in high school, headphones on in study hall, pissed at the world, breaking pencils as you use your desk for a drum. (source) Now it all makes sense... It doesn’t “sound 90’s” nearly as much as it “sounds like high school,” but these reviewers all went to high school in the 90’s, so they can’t tell the difference. Case closed.

    02 Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats “Ritual Knife”
    "Rise up from black smoke / Eyes ablaze with fire." Official “Best band / Worst bandname” combination of 2011... Blending all the loudest and best elements from “Helter Skelter,” the self-titled Black Sabbath album, Abbey Road and Hendrix should have been a more obvious combination by now, except “Ritual Knife” is a case where someone finally figured out how to do it correctly. Enough of these angry old people sitting around pissed off because “nobody knows how to rock anymore.” These people need to experience psychedelic-doom. We’re very interested in J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph’s opinions on Uncle Acid.

    01 Jay-Z & Kanye West “N***** in Paris”
    We’ve had a year to digest My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and it still sounds labored, containing great songs that mostly suffered due to bloated song-lengths and over-production. Nearly every track contained “intro” and “outro” sections, with layers that built upon each other as the songs progressed, falling in line with the most heralded LP’s of the past five years: it “sounds good,” but it’s just not fun. Ultimately, it’s the only Kanye LP that we have no desire to ever actually listen to.

    And we’re probably among the minority (the 1%?) by stating with pride that Watch The Throne is a huge improvement, but facts are facts: Hiphop is always best when it’s spontaneous, playful, and raw. And it’s not like Kanye had to sacrifice brilliant production in order to put together a spontaneous-sounding LP. The complexities are still intact, but far more subtle, and thus, easier for everyone to appreciate, as opposed to removing all subtlety and shoving the complexities in everyone’s faces. “Because I am a genius, I have ascertained that fish have gills!”

    This is why “N**** In Paris” is still getting played on rap stations every 30 minutes or so, and it still sounds amazing every fucking time. The masses have spoken. We’re having trouble remembering any verses from MBDTF, while “Paris” is probably the first single since “It Was A Good Day” that a shit-ton of people entirely memorized without trying. Not every line is classic, but about 89% of them are. Jay-Z’s verse is probably his best since “Roc Boys,” while Kanye’s is shockingly the better of the two. #CRAY #GoinGorillaz #SufferinFromRealness #FishFilet #DrugsMyDilla #MaryKateAndAshley Fuck, this might actually be his best verse, period. The production matches the tightness of the lyrics, including the slow backwards-piano chord that comes out of nowhere a few seconds before the enormous slow-dubstep coda. And of course the Will Ferrell samples included to justify the entire world of “brilliantly dumb hiphop lyrics” in less than 5 seconds, including “that shit cray.” It gets the people goin’...

    | #100 - 91 | #90 - 81 | #80 - 71 | #70 - 61 | #60 - 51 |
    | #50 - 41 | #40 - 31 | #30 - 21 | #20 - 11 | #10 - 1 |

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Hot Mix 2011: #20 to 11

    "Hot Mix 2011" On Spotify

    | #100 - 91 | #90 - 81 | #80 - 71 | #70 - 61 | #60 - 51 |
    | #50 - 41 | #40 - 31 | #30 - 21 | #20 - 11 | #10 - 1 |

    20 The Horrors “Still Life”
    We previously brushed these guys aside as more of a novelty band. But their 2011 transformation from punk-goth to psychedelic-goth seems like one of those career-defining decisions, along the lines of "Radiohead gets more depressed." The backwards guitars and horn section in “Still Life” suggest nothing short of a perfect marriage between Joy Division and Magical Mystery Tour.

    19 Broken Water “Heart Strings”
    One of our brightest “bands to watch” suggestions for 2012... Half-Sonic Youth, half-MBV, with various injections of punk and 60's garage to match the band’s personal specifications. It’s not exactly “cheering up” music, but 2011 was just that kind of year...

    18 Yuck “The Wall”
    Once again, Yuck sounds like a non-90’s band on “The Wall” - in this case, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The song presents a paradox, becoming increasingly complex in its simplicity, churning in the same 4 or 5 lines of lyric sung over and over... This all comes to a head within the last minute or so, with the vocal “screams" suggesting desperation that cuts even deeper, possibly the true "key" to this song.

    17 Smith Westerns “Weekend”
    Distorted guitars... And yet Smith Westerns don’t receive a “90’s-retro” tag. Tyler The Creator threw "Weekend" on a summer mixtape from last July, which was thoughtful of him. But from where we stand, “Weekend” sounds just as good at any time throughout the year. It sounds like the type of song that would show up at the conclusion of a "feel good" movie just as the narrator says "So everything worked out. Everything was gonna be a-ok." And then it fades to black, and this song continues playing over the credits.

    16 Frank Ocean “Swim Good”
    “I’m about to drive in the ocean / I’m about to swim from something bigger than me.” It’s hard to ignore the use of “Ocean...” Self-exploration? Escape from pain? We’re thinking this might be another drug song like “Novacane,” but if so, it’s more ambiguous and shoots way deeper and darker...

    15 Fucked Up “The Other Shoe”
    “Dying on the inside / Dying on the inside / Dying on the inside / Dying on the inside / Dying on the inside / Dying on the inside” over a seemingly endless pummeling of (dare we say “epic”) chord-changes. With a few years hindsight, the great sprawling double-LP’s of this era - such as The Suburbs and David Comes To Life - will be embraced among rock historians just the same as The River and London Calling. In the meantime, songs like “The Other Shoe” are Fucked Up’s answer to a pop single. 2012 totally needs more songs like this.

    14 Azealia Banks “212” / “Liquorice”
    Favorite song of 2011 with the c-word (12 times by our count). Crush of the year. All her strengths in under 3:30. With so many hugely memorable hooks, who needs a chorus? You couldn’t ask for a better introductory single. Her new kickass jam “Liquorice” leaked 2 weeks ago, just before year’s end. It’s too good to not include it here, although 90% of this placement is all about our love of “212.”

    13 Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats “I’m Here To Kill You” / “13 Candles”
    Side B of Blood Lust contains crazy-ass super powers. At the party, you don’t play Side B of Blood Lust towards the end of the night after everyone’s wasted as fuck. And it’s not “let’s get this party moving” music. Side B of Blood Lust is the secret weapon. You pull this shit out right in the fucking middle of the party, right when shit’s about to get REAL AS FUCK. Tony Iommi? J Mascis? They would love this album just as much as every old dude who’s stuck in 1985 or earlier, longing for the days when rock music kicked serious ass. Sadly, none of these people will ever hear the best psychedelic pop-metal album of the last 20 years, and we hope to be proven wrong on that prediction...

    12 Tyler The Creator “Yonkers”
    Dank, squirming, gruesome production... The music morphs over the stagnant drum beat like Gregor Samsa morphing into an insect. Tyler gets to yell about his obsession with Adventure Time and cinnamon, and he indulges more into his Eminem obsessions by going off about his deadbeat dad (no one cares... maybe he should rap about Earl instead), as well as the first of his many empty (yet poignant) threats to Bruno Mars. Anything but derivative.

    11 Merchandise “Kill The Light"
    Our most anticipated LP of the moment is probably the next release from the dark, noisy and 80’s-goth sounds of Merchandise. They posted an unheard 2008 demo on their blog a few weeks ago. With such a fat bassline, this is probably the most Cure-sounding thing they’ve done yet, which got our attention VERY quickly.

    | Continue to Page 10 |

    | #100 - 91 | #90 - 81 | #80 - 71 | #70 - 61 | #60 - 51 |
    | #50 - 41 | #40 - 31 | #30 - 21 | #20 - 11 | #10 - 1 | reunion rumors

    Big news from unreliable sources, but if either of these sketchy-ass links are worth anything...

    New Post: New Music "New Clothes, New Shoes"

    More news about Pill from RapFix.Mtv.Com:

    Two weeks ago the Atlanta MC hopped on Twitter and expressed his frustration with his label. Many believed that Pill’s tweets were aimed at Rick Ross and his Warner Bros. distributed-label, Maybach Music Group, but that isn’t exactly the case. Pill revealed to MTV News that he was never technically signed to MMG even though he was featured heavily on MMG’s Self Made Vol. 1. The rapper’s contract he says was directly with Warner. "I never signed any paperwork with Ross. It was just my deal was over at Warner already," Pill revealed to MTV News Tuesday.

    So the full-length that we've been endlessly waiting on is due to legal/record label issues? LAME. He hasn't even released one LP yet. Save the drama for yo mama.

    On the positive-side of things, a new Pill mixtape called The Epidemic is scheduled for release very soon.

    In the meantime here's Pill's new video, showing the lonelier and more paranoid aspects of hustling:

    Pill - New Clothes, New Shoes (Official Video) from PIDoubleL on Vimeo.

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Hot Mix 2011: #30 to 21

    "Hot Mix 2011" On Spotify

    | #100 - 91 | #90 - 81 | #80 - 71 | #70 - 61 | #60 - 51 |
    | #50 - 41 | #40 - 31 | #30 - 21 | #20 - 11 | #10 - 1 |

    30 Rival Schools “Shot After Shot”
    Remember Jimmy Eat World? We assumed Rival Schools' comeback single was a forgotten track from the same era that produced albums like Clarity and Designing A Nervous Breakdown, but the band have confirmed that all 10 songs on 2011's Petals are recently written material. If they can tap into their old ways so effortlessly, this gives us hope that a Quicksand reunion would blow minds apart.

    29 A$AP Rocky “Peso”
    Slooow-burn. We appreciate the codeine-swag thing, but really this song is here because of the hypnotic beat. Lava-lamp psychedelia. Welcome back, New York hiphop. We missed you.

    28 Jay-Z & Kanye West “Why I Love You”
    We love love love the back-and-forth rhymes between Jay and Kanye, and the chorus is fun to scream/sing along. However, like many of 2011’s best songs, the major flaw was its coda. Neither weak nor unnecessarily elongated like the year’s worst culprits, the last 30 seconds of “Why I Love You” was still an awkward way to close Watch The Throne. It kinda sounds unfinished or leading up to an anticlimax...

    27 Foster The People “Pumped Up Kicks”
    #studlydudes #donjohnson #indierockdreamboats The band got its name because the lead singer’s name is Foster. (Gross.) The outro is about two minutes too long. Also, whistling is the anti-handclaps. (Handclaps are super-fun, which means whistling is anti-fun.) “Young Folks” could’ve been huge if Peter Bjorn & John looked like The Backstreet Boys. With that said, even though the vocal effect on the verses sounds like shit, we still love the first 2:30 of “Pumped Up Kicks” enough for it to place here: #1 The “hair’s on fire” part (totally underrated), #2 Awesome hazy keyboard lightly seeping into the intro section, and obviously #3 the earworm chorus. Apparently the lyrics are about going on a hipster killing spree, or something... But thanks to their marketing and promotion - suggesting anything but sincerity - they might as well be singing “Give me just one night, una noche” for all we care...

    26 Mr Dream. “Trash Hit”
    “Rock journalists are failed musicians.” We’ve been hearing that a lot lately. Mr. Dream are actually successful at both... 2 of the 3 band members have written for Pitchfork. “Trash Hit” and “Walter” are probably the two songs on their newest album that merit The Jesus Lizard comparisons. “Winners” even suggests some Big Black influence, although the last song on their album is way too similar to Shellac’s “A Prayer To God” to not raise suspicions. Either way, we’re happy that rock’s balls are finally growing back. Death to the glockenspiel. Praise Jesus.

    25 Yuck “Holing Out”
    We’ve begun taking offense to the “retro 90’s” tag because most rock-journos seem to use it with a scoffing undercurrent, quietly projecting negative connotations. Yuck’s songwriting and production are no more influenced by 90’s rock than a large majority of current widely-known indie-bands. It’s odd to us that the only ones singled out also play loud guitar chords...

    “Holing Out” is the one song on Yuck’s self-titled where we stopped for a second and thought “Wait a sec, this one actually sounds 90’s.” The chorus modulation is our favorite part, straight-up Yo La Tengo/Dino Jr awesomeness. (By the way, YLT and Dinosaur have both been around since the 80’s and are still releasing music, so singling out their sound as 90’s just makes reviewers sound ignorant.)

    24 Big Sean featuring Nicki Minaj “Dance (A$$) (Remix)”
    #HotAssBeatClap #HAMMER! We haven’t heard a massive-beat/massive-lolz combo like this since Ying Yang Twins whispered “Wait’ll you see my dick.” We’re guessing Big Sean and his producer-bros were all “stoned off their ass” in the studio at 4AM when out of nowhere they just all started chanting “ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS,” cracking themselves up, clapping and headbanging, and started cracking up even more when they realized it had hit potential. That part when Nicki Minaj is like “Wakikiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” is the real Nicki. She should stick to more stupid fun shit on her guest-spots instead of obnoxiousness like the uber-lame fake-British accent that kicks off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Bunghole. We never really enjoyed her before she freed herself from the “I’m trying way too hard” motif.

    23 The Drums “Book of Revelation”
    We assumed there was something deeper here than “another song about religion” but The Drums confirmed that it’s pretty much about aetheism. But how can we be sure? There’s no way to know?! Also The Drums are American. (LAME.) Regarding "The Book of Revelation" itself, it wouldn't have been 2011 if we didn't have at least 3 instances when "the end of the world" was supposed to happen. Too much excitement. Maybe 2012 will be boring. We can only hope...

    22 Guided By Voices “The Unsinkable Fats Domino”
    GBV are still drunk. Bass player bro ate shit on Letterman the other night, and the show producers were all like “we can make it look like that never happened” but instead the band was like “nah bro, leave it, that shit’s LMAO.”

    21 Frank Ocean “Novacane” / Jay-Z & Kanye West featuring Frank Ocean "No Church In The Wild"
    Odd Future always fronts. Tyler often raps about weed and coke, but he can’t touch the stuff due to medical conditions. Frank also fronts on “Novacane.” Songs about “pain” don’t score hits on hiphop stations as often, but “Novacane” might have been the beginning of a new trend where rappers and singers are preferring to discuss drug use itself as opposed to “we got pies flyin out da spot!” and “just bought a caddalick!”

    It wouldn't surprise us if Kanye was directly influenced by "Novacane" when "No Church In The Wild" was getting put together, since the two are so similar in texture. The druggy/psychedelic guitar sample has a tendency to get stubbornly brainlodged.

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    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Hot Mix 2011: #40 to 31

    "Hot Mix 2011" On Spotify

    | #100 - 91 | #90 - 81 | #80 - 71 | #70 - 61 | #60 - 51 |
    | #50 - 41 | #40 - 31 | #30 - 21 | #20 - 11 | #10 - 1 |

    40 Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi featuring Jack White “Two Against One”
    We were surprised to learn that Jack White actually had nothing to do with the songwriting on the Rome LP. He owned the vocal performance so hard that it was tough for us to tell the difference. It sucks that White Stripes called it quits this year, but if the past few years have been any indication, Jack should continue appearing in our “best of the year” as long as he keeps up with more badass collabs like this one.

    39 Tyler The Creator featuring Frank Ocean “She”
    2011 was the year the word “swag” lost its swag. We can all thank @fucktyler for that. "Swag" also superfluously appears in "She," possibly the creepiest and most sinister-sounding single of 2011. With a beat like a severely warped R. Kelly slow-jam, it sounds like eating out a chick while tripping on mescaline. Truly unique, much like its video. Tyler is without question his own biggest fan, proven by his Twitter account where he often posts his own lyrics, like “You So Mothafuckin Gorgeous” which partially assisted in reminding us of this song’s existence a month or so after GOBLIN’s release. From that point forward, the bizarre keyboard hooks were brain-lodged for at least a month. Say what you want about Odd Future, but they produce some of the most unexpectedly musical and well-structured hiphop in recent memory.

    38 Action Bronson “Get Off My P.P.” / “Albino Gorilla”
    Such an amazing year for hiphop... A year when a fat ginger dude seems lined up to be the next Ghostface Killah. And to help matters, the samples REALLY sound like RZA. We especially love the tambourine in “Get Off My P.P.” Underground is coming up from behind in a big way. We mentioned this often in last year’s list also, but it wouldn’t surprise us if the next underground revolution starts taking-over very soon. All we need is “The Nirvana of Hiphop” which we assumed was OFWGKTA, but over the past year they started to seem more like hiphop’s Fugazi. Either way, abundance of fresh talent gets us psyched. (We can't find "Albino Gorilla" streaming anywhere, but it's on the official Hot Mix 2011 Spotify playlist!)

    37 Bon Iver “Perth”
    Except for “Perth,” the songs on Bon Iver’s 2011 album aren't particularly memorable after the first listen. However, we still haven’t shaken the memory of “sitting at the computer and crying” due to being completely unprepared, since no one told us this was the most emotionally-drenched LP since Sigur Ros’s "parenthesis" album. Apparently, people really love crying, because this dude got fuckin REAL paid in 2011. Great job Bon. You made everyone cry, and then you took their money. There’s a word for that... I believe that word is ASSHOLE.

    36 Neon Indian “Polish Girl”
    We’re not sure if it’s “Polish” like a girl from Poland, or if it’s “polish” like furniture-polish. Or maybe it’s intended to be mysteriously ambiguous. In either case, we love Neon Indian for being possibly the first artist to incorporate 8-bit Nintendo patches for something deeper than gimmickry. Subtle Nintendo noises effortlessly flow through some druggy shoegaze. Also we love tape-warp. MORE TAPE-WARP.

    35 Metronomy “The Look”
    We’re not sure if it’s “Metro-Nomy,” like when Wesley Willis used to sing “This band played at The Metro / About 3000 people were at the show / The jam session was awesome / The show was a knockout.” Or if it’s like “Metronome-y,” like when N*E*R*D used to sing “You were the heart I owned / the beat just like a metronome.” Shit... We’re running low on ideas here. “The Look” was another one of those songs like “Pumped Up Kicks” where the outro went on for too long, although we like the outro in this case, so whatever...

    34 LMFAO “Party Rock Anthem”
    Does he say “Led Zeppelin?” LMFAO wins because they wrote one of the most enormously gigantic choruses of the decade. It’s fucking so awkwardly massive that everyone was like, “great, now that we have this huge chorus, what do we do with it?” Simple enough answer: You party all over it, with the option of crazy dancing, preferably like LMFAO dances in their videos, although Andrew WK-esq headbanging is also acceptable.

    33 Drake “Marvins Room”
    Kavinsky, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd... Drake fell right in line, getting super-dark on his tribute to late-night drunk-dialing. Most of the song sounds like he might actually be exuding universal emotion, easy to relate for anyone who’s experienced “the one who got away.” But then at the very end, he adds “I’ve had sex four times this week, I’ll explain / Having a hard time adjusting to fame.” And it’s at that exact moment when “Marvins Room” becomes Drake’s Pinkerton, although Pinkerton’s lyrics were bizarre enough that many people didn’t initially realize Rivers Cuomo was writing about his own life, whereas Drake is more blunt and direct, and as a result, more annoying. (Compared to “Marvins Room,” Pinkerton is as cryptic as “Heart Shaped Box.”)

    It may also go without saying that Drake is embarrassingly desperate to gain street cred. His “life” and the “problems” he sings about are pretty much all bullshit. No one should be proud to include him in their “best of the year.” We very much want to hate him, but we can’t deny this as one of the definitive songs of 2011. Maybe he’ll jump the shark next year. We can only hope.

    32 Frank Ocean “Songs For Women”
    “I couldn’t play guitar like Van Halen.” So instead, he steals your girlfriend singing like like Frank Ocean. “Songs For Women” was our introduction to Frank just prior to Nostalgia, Ultra getting posted as a free download. He was initially described to us as Odd Future’s answer to Drake, except Drake’s a fucking nerd who tries too hard, whereas Frank exudes copious coolness and charm. He can even make chicks laugh with his silly “la da dada daaaaa.” Elsewhere, we found that Frank is also a misunderstood rebel without a cause. But when he needs to lay it down for the ladies, you know it’s on. LIKE LA DA DADA DAAAAAAA

    31 Nas “Nasty”
    We wish Nas would drop singles like this more often. He hasn’t been this on-point since “Made You Look,” which was like, what, 9 years ago? Sick beat too. “The actress that played Faith Evans.” Also we can’t believe it took Nas this long to release a song called “Nasty.”

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    Hot Mix 2011: #50 to 41

    "Hot Mix 2011" On Spotify

    | #100 - 91 | #90 - 81 | #80 - 71 | #70 - 61 | #60 - 51 |
    | #50 - 41 | #40 - 31 | #30 - 21 | #20 - 11 | #10 - 1 |

    50 Gotye “Easy Way Out”
    This reminded us of “Freetime” by Kenna (keeping with the 2001-nostalgia). A reviewer on The Singles Jukebox - a song-review site compiled by too-cool-for-school pop-nerds - notes the appropriate sequencing on Gotye’s LP with “Easy Way Out” sounding like it ends about 2 minutes too early, signaling a relationship that's ended too soon and leading into the record’s most popular song, the indie-harp male-female-duet “Somebody That I Used To Know” which hit #1 in Australia earlier this year.

    49 Passenger Peru “Your Hunger”
    From the ashes of Pet Ghost Project comes Brooklyn’s Passenger Peru. We don’t know a lot about this band, but if the impressive half-LP on their page is any indication, they will be worth getting to know over the next year. (Our thanks goes out to Exploding In Sound for keeping us informed.)

    48 Real Estate “It’s Real”
    Sometimes a song just “sounds” nostalgic even though it doesn’t evoke any specific memories or time-periods, such as Supertramp’s “Take The Long Way Home” or Washed Out’s “Feel It All Around.” “It’s Real” seems to be the same type of song, delivering pensive melancholy along with vague nostalgia. “Sometimes I feel that I don’t know the deal...” Yeah, same here...

    47 Jamaica “Short and Entertaining”
    Following in the path of bands like Phoenix and Tahiti 80, Jamaica are another distinctly French pop band who named themselves after a spot on the globe where it just happens to be hot all the time, with their production value placing emphasis on pristine clarity. Jamaica differs slightly in their stance toward incorporating distorted muddy guitar patches and hints of the same type of dissonance that wouldn’t be out of place on a Nirvana b-side.

    46 Milk Music “Beyond Living”
    Milk Music’s stock began to soar just slightly, after they unexpectedly received a profile on Pitchfork a few months back, so congrats to their promotion manager or whoever set that up. They totally deserve it, and we’d be incredibly happy if this lead to more awesome bands from Olympia receiving similar treatment in 2012. (Broken Water anyone?)

    45 Foo Fighters “Rope”

    Man, we’re so stoked man... The whole gang’s back together again. Well, except for that Sunny Day Real Estate drummer dude, but no one remembers him. The woop-de-doo Grammies and Rolling Stone really loved this album for some reason, even though “Rope” is its only awesome song, and probably their strongest single since “The Best Of You.” Which reminds us, we were unaware that "The Best Of You" was such popular meme topic... (We’re also happy to report back from our associates that Foo Fighters are still one of the best arena bands, and still opening live sets with “This Is A Call" as of November 2011!)

    44 M83 “Midnight City” / Neon Indian “Fallout” / Hooray For Earth “No Love”
    The universally beloved “Midnight City” sure is a doozy. Golly, what a humdinger. It has the same soft-loud structure as “Kim & Jessie” from 3 years ago which is also a great song that lots of people thought sounded 80’s when it actually didn’t. (Using 80's synths does not equal "authentic 80's.") And check out these sick stats: Pitchfork's #1 "track" of the year. PopMatters #1 best song of the year. Paste's #2 best song of the year! Yowza. While we thoroughly enjoy M83, we don’t really get why this is “song of the year” material as opposed to most other positively-reviewed chillwave singles like “Fallout,” or any recent chill-keyboard-indie like “No Love.” From where we stand, both are very strong singles, and just as good as “Midnight City.” (Kudos to SPIN's Charles Aaron who not only similarly tied the song at #12 with another chill-synth single, but was also somehow correctly able to identify the 80s-synth as a Korg.)

    43 The Drums “Days”
    “Days go by...” Isolated.. Singular bass-guitar notes carry about half of this song. Singalong chorus. Much later, we learned The Drums are not from Europe, and to make matters even more frustrating, we learned they’re American. Also they’re LP wasn’t exactly “solid,” while it did produce three of the year’s best singles, which very few bands can say. “Good sounding” albums without memorable songs aren’t worth as much to us as bands like The Drums who can get our attention with a handful of great singles.

    42 Fabolous “You Be Killin’ Em”
    #NICE. Among the hottest beats of the year... More 90’s beats plz. And it would’ve placed higher had it not been for “the shitty boring coda section,” another strange hiphop trend in 2011. #Shoe-icide. Also, weird video... The hot chick played by Kanye’s bald ex-girlfriend literally “kills” people (or something).

    41 Ringo Deathstarr “Other Things”
    When people hear bands like Yuck or Japandroids and say “hey these bands must be way into 90’s-nostalgia because the songs have loud guitars,” these same people should stop reviewing music because they clearly have a very bad memory about what music during the 90’s actually sounded like. Ringo Deathstarr remembers... They were there. And they helped to prove 2 things: #1 Songwriting chops DO matter, since 90’s songwriting sounds different from most current songwriters. And more importantly, #2 if you’re actually gonna go for a “90’s” sound, production is key. With that said, “Other Things” is our favorite 90’s jam from 2011.

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