Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hot Mix 2012: #70 to 61

Hot Mix 2012 on Spotify

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

70. Frank Ocean “Sweet Life”
We’ve given up hope for a Neptunes-resurgence despite their continuing appearances in our Hot Mixes over the years. (“Trouble On My Mind” in 2011, “Fun Fun Fun” in 2010, “I’m Good” in 2009, “Us Placers” in 2007, Hell Hath No Fury in 2006, and various appearances from every year prior. The only year they missed completely was 2008, which is better than a lot of other people can say.) For this reason, we were happy to learn that Pharrell is partially responsible for the early-80’s Stevie Wonder homage “Sweet Life” (acting as a companion-song to “Super Rich Kids,” the song that follows on Channel Orange) divulging the blinding effects of materialism to someone unreachable. “Why see the world when you’ve got the beach?”
| Soundcloud | Youtube |

69. Beak> “Liar”
“Claustrophobic” is probably the best term to describe Beak>’s sophomore release which arrived on Bandcamp unexpectedly in late-June. Their first record is one of our favorite albums of the past decade, and we always assumed they were a one-off project. So it became a total surprise when this immediately turned into (possibly) our favorite full-length of 2012. It’s truly the best kraut-influenced record since the early-70’s spawned all of Can, Neu! and Faust’s best full-lengths. “Liar” sounds like it could be used during a Sesame Street segment demonstrating the process of some sort of bizarre factory-produced item, like Halloween masks or something.

68. Pile “Grunt Like a Pig”
Yet another 7/8 jam. (Animal Collective’s “Moonjock” is also in a much slower 7/8. Could this be our official time signature of the year? Both songs use it with a similar cadence to Radiohead’s “2+2=5” and one section of Tool’s “Forty Six & 2” but that’s just music nerd shit that literally no one ever cares to hear and so we’ll move on...) One of Pile’s signature strengths lie in their ability to build tension through enormous dynamic changes. However, “Grunt like a Pig” immediately stood-out for us as NOT using this motif, instead plowing through the muck and filth with some serious-ass fire power for the entirety of its 3 minutes with crucial buried scream-vocals tremendously benefitting. Gimme tension fuck yes.

67. Carly Rae Jepsen “This Kiss”
2012 marked the 10th anniversary of Kylie Minogue's Fever LP (or 11th anniversary depending on your country). We hear “This Kiss” as a proper tribute to this album, specifically its classic “Love At First Sight” (also ripped off more recently by Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” and Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”). While the chorus isn’t as huge as “Call Me Maybe,” “This Kiss” feels like a more fully realized single, less labored and more carefree. (The kids disagreed, and this only reached #87, but what the fuck do they know anyway?)
| Soundcloud | Youtube |

66. Joey Bada$$ featuring Capital Steez “Survival Tactics”
Comparing 17-year-old rappers who broke in 2012: Chief Keef embraces abrasive, harsh club-elements and his singles have been described as “earworms” when they’re actually not. As for Joey Bada$$, we don’t really see anything wrong with preferring warmer production, inspired jazz and funk samples, and rappers who can actually rap. There’s an abundance of unfortunate hiphop fans who take it personally when the sound of the radio moves farther from where it was in 1994, which is not really our stance. But hopefully these people finally got what they wanted with Joey Bada$$’s 1999 (probably the most solid 90's-influenced rap album of the past 10 years) even though it has no shot of ever getting played on commercial radio.
| Soundcloud | Youtube | Hype Machine |

65. Mac Demarco “Dreaming”
The same general theme of so many pop songs throughout history, it’s likely to never get old. Searching for fulfillment, wondering if it’s possible. “Maybe I’m out of luck, maybe it’s running still.” Mac Demarco’s first album Rock & Roll Nightclub from early 2012 was full of warped jams like “Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans,” setting a neutralizing tone and helping to define his placement among singer-songwriters working strictly with home-recording technology. When “Dreaming” appeared early on his second higher-profile release only months later, the progression was obvious: Instead of more expensive methods of recording, the subject matter was suddenly deeper, without tongue-in-cheek sarcasm or (noticeable) tape manipulation. We still love his first LP, but 2 will likely be placing in our 10 favorite LP’s from 2012 (which may come as a surprise since we’re bigger fans of Ween’s pre-Chocolate & Cheese-era).
| Youtube | Hype Machine |

64. Action Bronson & Party Supplies “Steve Wynn”
Let’s all fully understand how fortunate we are to be alive during the era of the greatest fat ginger rapper of all time. We give much mad props to Action Bronson for completely not giving a fuck, straight-up candy-gobbling and blunt-puffing in his videos. That’s some #yolo shit right there. The bass sample inserted by Party Supplies is a big part of what pushed “Steve Wynn” into our 2012 favorites. This is the one where the music pauses for the line “long as she got big nipples and a tan face.” Well done, sir.
| Soundcloud | Youtube |

63. Kendrick Lamar “The Art of Peer Pressure”
Outside of the context of good kid, M.A.A.D. city, this song could work well as the “trailer” to Kendrick’s “short film” (described on the album cover). It's split into four parts:
- The quickly sung 15-second intro goes like this: “Everybody, everybody, everybody, everybody sit your bitchass down and listen to this true mothafuckin story told by Kendrick Lamar on Rosecrans ya bish.”
- Immediately after this, we unexpectedly hear classic 90's Dr. Dre, made all the more amazing after realizing it's the first time Dre has produced anything with a lone-keyboard-note whistle since the days of Tupac. It sadly only lasts for one verse, but it's necessary to help the story.
- The third section abruptly changes to an even darker Outkast-style beat, when Kendrick starts questioning the loyalty of “the homies.”
- And then there’s a skit at the end, which doesn’t mean much out of context but assists the album’s story progression. (And this also gets removed for the video version.)
| Youtube | Hype Machine |

62. Big Boi featuring Theophilus London “She Said OK”
What’s the word everyone used to describe this song? Oh yeah, “languid.” Cool word, not. How about "fucking hilarious?" Do you like that word? The first line of the song is "Let me see them tittayys." Yeah, something suggests this song wasn't really meant to be taken as seriously as his previous stuff, despite the detailed soulful and subdued Atlanta-style instrumentation. Overall, we found the three bonus tracks far more satisfying than the album itself. Maybe he should stick closer to ATL-soul and steer clear of fusions with modern indie-rock, a style which sounds best separated from hiphop. His efforts seem well-intentioned, but not anything we were interested in hearing more than once, whereas “She Said OK” is the type of song we’ll always welcome. Also we've been informed that a Family Guy joke is referenced somewhere in the lyrics, but it didn’t register for us since we don’t watch that crap. We’re hoping Outkast have been storing up amazing songs for the past 9 years, anticipating the moment when their legal obligations finally allow them to work as a unit once again. We’ve been waiting forever. The kids need Outkast. They really do.
| Soundcloud | Youtube | Hype Machine |

61. Dinosaur Jr. “Rude”
We were ready to label the recent Barlow contribution “Rude” as the most Sebadoh-sounding Dinosaur Jr song since “Poledo,” but then we remembered Without A Sound which included a few Mascis-penned vocal melodies (including big hits “Feel The Pain” and “I Don’t Think So”) which felt somewhat congruent with Barlow’s writing style, helping to place “Rude” in a different light. It’s one of the biggest reminders since their 2006 reformation of how well J and Lou complement each other, while also displaying their differences in execution. Mascis does not typically lean towards “Rude’s” pop-formula-brevity (similar to 60’s-Britpop style) or drastic emotional contradictions, such as bleak lyrics (“It’s better for my health / If I don’t intrude / ‘Cause caring is rude / Nature is crude”) juxtaposed by a melodic major-key vocal melody and uptempo happy-sounding accompaniment. Halfway through, Mascis supplies a vital 8-bar solo, obliging the song’s “fake smile and pretend” theme for just a moment. The song easily places alongside “Poledo” and “Take a Run at the Sun” as one of Dinosaur Jr's most noteworthy anomalies and a standout amongst their reunion material.
| Soundcloud | Youtube | Hype Machine |

| Continue to Page 5 |

Hot Mix 2012 on Spotify

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

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hot Mix 2012: #80 to 71

For those who have been following along so far, you may have notice that we've decided to only embed songs that are on Bandcamp, because they're the only streaming audio website that loads very quickly, as opposed to Soundcloud or Youtube. Exciting stuff. Time for page 3...

Hot Mix 2012 on Spotify

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

80. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti “Baby”
Similar to Ariel Pink's 2010 album, the most straight-faced and least warped song turned out to be a faithful cover. "Baby" is originally by a band called Joe and Donnie Emerson. Who knew? (Apparently a lot of people knew right away, but we're not as cool as them.) Like Pink's previous LP's cover "Bright Lit Blue Skies," it's another lost relic revived from the AM Gold subgenre. We think the original "Baby" is still the definitive version, despite Ariel Pink's soulful vox-job. The singing is really what makes this one special.
| Youtube | Hype Machine |

79. Kanye West featuring Big Sean & Pusha T “Mercy”
The odds are very good that Hot 97 is playing either this song or "Clique" right now, since they play one of these two songs every 10 minutes or so. Which makes sense. The build in the bridge section does sound pretty great on the radio. And "white girls politickin' that's that Sarah Palin." But seriously, why so much hype? More than half of Watch The Throne is better than this song. Clearly we won't be doing it any justice by discussing it here. Read these instead:
- SPIN's #1 Song of 2012
- Pitchfork's 30th best song of 2012
- Rolling Stone's 6th best song of the year.
Yeah, we don't get it.
| Youtube |

78. Mykki Blanco “Mendocino, California”
We figured the “hiphop-song-poem” genre was dead and gone forever. “Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen” has aged horribly, and we’re apparently the only fans of Sagat’s “Funk Dat.” However, we found it striking that “Mendocino, California” descends most directly from Meryn Cadell’s horrendously obnoxious 1993 minor-hit “The Sweater Song” (partially striking us because both Meryn Cadell and Mykki Blanco are transsexuals). Regardless, we’re not even sure if this is actually Mykki’s voice sped-up from how she normally raps, but we’re assuming it’s her. SPIN's Brandon Soderberg cites 90's indie-film directors like Gregg Araki. And yes, we could easily hear this fitting perfectly on the soundtrack to Nowhere or Ka-Boom, or a lost Grand Royal 12-inch. (And the Roy Orbison reference reminds us of Gummo.) The world needs more enormous drum samples.
| Soundcloud | Youtube |

77. FNU Ronnies “Cut to Ribons”
Projectile-vomit scream-singing at its finest. The first song on this album is fittingly titled “You Don’t Look So Good,” which really sets the tone for the "all things vomit" that follows, with "Cut to Ribons" as track 2. It sounds like all the stuff that happens after "one too many." Do you ever find buttons in your vomit when you know you haven’t eaten any buttons?
| Myspace |

76. Kendrick Lamar “Cartoon and Cereal”
Few people might care about this, but we love how many non-album tracks are appearing in Hot Mix 2012. It's something like one-third non-album-tracks (maybe more), which is a lot. In the case of "Cartoon and Cereal," we're assuming it was intended to be included on Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, but they were unable to clear the cartoon samples, and had no interest in changing the song after it was finished. It's perfect as it is - enough that we're able to ignore our bias against "conscious hiphop" - so good call Kendrick!
| Soundcloud | Youtube |

75. Hospitality “Monkey”
When Paul Simon was on The Dick Cavett Show, he spoke about the psychology of key changes and why they subconsciously seem refreshing for listeners of pop music. He played two verses of a then-unfinished (now very famous) song that may seem effortless to casual listeners but includes no shortage of texture and detail. When the B-Side “Monkey” was briefly reviewed among Pitchfork’s "Best New Tracks," the writer referred to their approach as “somewhat proggy,” even though the songwriting in “Monkey” is no more progressive than Of Montreal or Stars or Spoon, bands who would have never been labeled “proggy” 7 or 8 years ago. As opposed to “prog,” “Monkey” comes a lot closer to displaying the delicate pop-writing technique explained by Paul Simon. We also like the super-dreamy jangle guitars framing the vocal melody, and the nostalgic instrumental coda.
| Soundcloud | Hype Machine |

74. Hooking Up “Bitter”
2012 was the year we kept discovering our new favorite bands who ended up splitting by the year’s end. Free Lunch, Bat Cave, Red Dwarf, Graph, Thank You Mr. Keating... It doesn't end there. Hooking Up’s split was especially frustrating after hearing their near-perfect Groin Pains EP from January of this year. “Bitter” recalls a young Lou Barlow and Jason Loewenstein yelling distorted obscenities into a 4-track recorder on Sebadoh III, captured in essence by the cover image of the dude on skates.

73. Fat History Month “There Goes The Sun”
While "Bad History Demos" continues floating around on cassette and online as we anticipate the proper version of this album, its lofi sludge still cut deeper than almost any other rock record of 2012. It’s not “Blues” in the classic sense, but at the moment we’re having trouble thinking of a better sonic comparison than Leadbelly, whose recordings were mostly just one guy singing in a room by himself taped with primitive 1930’s recording technology. Sean’s voice is clearly not anything like Leadbelly (closer to the guy from Helvetia) but the aura of this particular recording is such a blow to the gut that we can’t think of anything closer at the moment. We’re hearing its kickoff track “There Goes the Sun” (possibly the sequel to 2011’s “Here Comes the Sun”) as deep meandering transience. The sun possibly returns in the second half of the song, but either way it’s just gonna disappear in a few more hours.

72. Action Bronson & Party Supplies “9-24-11”
And speaking of fat history... (Cool transitions today.) Well we looked it up on Wikipedia, and it turns out that nothing significant at all happened on 9-24-11. Although that might not be the case for Action Bronson. Perhaps it was the day he recorded this song? It's possible he doesn't remember himself, since he appears to be baked out of his mind, fucking up the lyrics 4 or 5 times. But they left it in anyway, because fuck it. Who needs perfectionism these days? It still ended up among the highlights of the grittiest hiphop release since Wu-Tang’s mid-90’s run of solo releases. (Grittier than Madvilliany.) No joke.
| Soundcloud | Youtube |

71. Broken Water “Underground”
Muddy weighty overdrive distortion tries to sink us into quicksand, but the song's momentum is too intense, propelling us straight into orbit, blasting across lightyears of stars in under three minutes. Joe "Weirdo" Rockcrit sez: "I liked this band better when they were called Sonic Youth." PFF. We scoff in Joe's face. The production suggests far more than this, and the girl singer sounds closer to Belinda from My Bloody Valentine than Kim Gordon. And more importantly, these songs are killer. Broken Water are our new Olympia heroes. Tempest is solid as fuck. Don't sleep on this one!
| Soundcloud | Youtube |

| Continue to Page 4 |

Hot Mix 2012 on Spotify

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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hot Mix 2012: #90 to 81

Seriously, why are we doing this right now... This is hell.

Spotify playlist has been updated:

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

90. Nicki Minaj “Starships”
Easily detestable for detractors of modern pop trends, “Starships” seems purposely disjointed, stuffing 3 or 4 ideas that have little to do with each other into a 3-minute-30-second radio single. It starts with an intro of Katy Perry with Ke$ha sung over it, followed by 30-seconds of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” with Britney Spears’ “Til The World Ends” sung over it, followed by an LMFAO drop, and then it all repeats. Nicki Minaj herself strangely becomes the song’s most crucial solidifying factor and possibly an apt description of how ADHD and fucked up her brain gets. Not long after realizing this, we said “fuck it” and gave in.
| Youtube | Hype Machine |

89. Guided By Voices “Billy Wire”
When it comes to GBV, there’s no quantity over quality issues. It simply wouldn’t be a true reunion of the classic line-up if they actually cared enough to narrow their three 2012 full-lengths (and numerous non-album tracks) down to an all-killer 14-song record. Firstly, it becomes more of an adventure for the listener, and more of a revelation when locating those brand-new instant-classics. Second and more importantly, GBV are so drunk that they might misjudge and exclude a great song or two. Let's not risk the possibility of forgetting “Chocolate Boy” or “Keep It In Motion” when assessing this year's best jams. “Billy Wire” turned out to be our 2012 favorite mostly thanks to the chorus modulation reminiscent of Cheap Trick-flavored 80’s power pop.
| Youtube |

88. The-Dream featuring Pusha T “Dope Chick”
“Dope Bitch” vastly benefits from the inevitable radio edit. Like many songs that placed in "Hot Mix 2011," “Dope Chick” similarly fails to wrap things up about 60 seconds sooner than it should. But regardless, we still love the sick 90’s-beat and the line “Cocaine persona, marijuana, wish she would light trees.” No complaints when this shows up on the radio.
| Soundcloud | Youtube | Hype Machine |

87. California X “Sucker”
Huge both in song-length and overall sound, “Sucker” entices the fist-in-the-air scream-along, although phonetically screaming should suffice in this case, since we have no idea what words they’re singing, but you can sorta make out the syllables. It doesn’t matter though; Colossal cyclops mutants as mammoth as “Sucker” don’t usually speak English, but rather make loud deep grunty noises that sound like they could possibly be words. Smash mountains to bits.

86. Frank Ocean “Pyramids”
His understated coolest-dude-ever vocal performance is unjustifiably the least lauded aspect of “Pyramids,” but it’s easy to understand why. It sounds like two separate songs that need each other to become complete, and as a result, the multi-part experimentation drew early comparisons to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, except “Pyramids” is far more rewarding than anything on that album.
| Soundcloud | Youtube | Hype Machine |

85. Animal Collective “Moonjock”
Elves working hard in the factory. Santa’s workshop? Maybe we’re only thinking of that since Christmas just passed. But we received a trippy “seven dwarves” aura from “Moonjock.” The abrupt ending is when the boss descends from his office to make sure his slaves aren’t having too much fun. Time signature appears to be 7/8, which doesn’t surprise us nearly as much as the lack of dumb airchair journalists with no clear concept of progressive-music pulling out the “prog” card.
| Hype Machine |

84. King Tuff “Anthem”
Our favorite lazy-summer rock record of 2012 kicks off with the confusingly titled “Anthem,” which is either purposely trying to sound like an anti-anthem due to its brilliant slack elements or is genuinely the sound of Kyle Thomas accidentally stumbling across huge riffs and deciding “okay, that’s good enough,” totally unaware of how enormous it all sounds. The song trades waltz stomp-verses with an instrumental 4/4 chorus. No one in the band, including Kyle Thomas, notices until months later, at which point he decides it sounds sort of anthemic, and decides “Anthem” might be a good enough title. Does this possibility make any sense at all? No. No it doesn't. Ignore everything we just said.
| Soundcloud | Youtube | Hype Machine |

83. Pools Are Nice “Brother (Song For Friends)”
Technically from the second half of 2011, but they’re an unsigned Connecticut band so forgive us on the late discovery. They had two 2012 releases since then, but “Brother” still stands out, tremendously benefitting from lofi (possibly analog) distorted production carefully supporting a simple verse leading into a simple singalong chorus. Summer singalongs. Less is more.

82. YN Rich Kids “Hot Cheetos & Takis”
Two major points:

#1 With respect to Chief Keef and all the Pitchfork writers going nuts over “I Don’t Like,” Keef is the Collective Soul to Waka Flocka’s Nirvana. That said, “Hot Cheetos & Takis” – a Youtube novelty hit with no radio airplay and sung by children - is laughably the best post-Flockaveli rap single to date, and better than anything on Waka Flocka’s 2012 full-length. This sound has hit the wall, and it’s time to move on. (It’s also refreshing to hear this type of hiphop without a dumb calling-card drop like “Brick Squad” or “Maybach Music” appearing 2-3 times. It’s not funny and it’s not fun.)

#2 “Hot Cheetos & Takis” is among the most interesting commentaries on America’s ongoing obesity epidemic. Apparently Hot Cheetos are deliciously addictive and getting banned from schools nationwide ( due to poor nutritional value, health concerns (as the spiciness and red dye can hurt children’s stomachs), excessive red fingerprints, messiness, and the spread of germs encouraged by kids sharing the small plastic bags. We have no idea what Takis are, but apparently they taste rull good.
| Soundcloud | Youtube |

81. Two Inch Astronaut “Ain’t I Look Pretty To You”
From one of the most cohesive split-releases in recent memory, partially a result of Mike Thomas’ dual-role as recording and mastering engineer, all 4 songs present an unexpected bonding of genetics between Two Inch and Grass is Green (perhaps an unintentional reflection of the title "Split Dicks"). Our other favorite TIA song from 2012 (“What’s Next” from Red Pancake and the Dark Energy and also featured on our very own Slut Life cassette compilation) left us bewildered that they possibly still haven’t heard Supergrass’ I Should Coco LP. However, “Ain’t I Look Pretty” displays a notable progression leaving us all bonerfied and psyched for their 2013 release.

| Continue to Page 3 |

Hot Mix 2012 on Spotify

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

Hot Mix 2012: #100 to 91

OCD wins again. The Hot Mix had to get done.

Since Soundcloud changed their embed code, "Hot Mix 2011" and "2010's Greatest Hits" now look a lot uglier than they did a year ago. So instead, we might only post URL's, which is probably better because it won't tremendously slow down anyone's computer.

Do you love Spotify as much as we do? Our sick playlist will also be unveiling the results in real time:

So let's do this...

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

100. Young Jeezy featuring Jay-Z & Andre 3000 “I Do”
Strangely fascinating despite its numerous shortcomings, we wouldn’t be surprised if “I Do” were dropped from the last 3 or 4 Young Jeezy releases before finally earning a spot on his 2011 LP: The sped-up samples sound very 2004. Phoned-in Jay-Z and Andre verses are both exhausted, although Andre throws around a few inspired moments before completely weirding-out everyone with an awkward description of how hot his unborn daughter’s going to look when she’s a teenager. Also, “I Do” was recently nominated for a Grammy, unsurprisingly, since older (white) musician types usually prefer “safe” family-friendly behind-the-curve hiphop. #toothfairy
| Soundcloud | Youtube | Hype Machine |

99. Black Pus “Neurotic Knife”
The Blob meets The Creature From The Black Lagoon at a bar one night. They fall in love and fuck for 9000 years. These are the noises they make while they’re fucking.

98. Silversun Pickups “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)”
Ultimately, only “Bloody Mary” and “Mean Spirits” came close to matching the “big-bang expanding universe” shoegaze-y grunge-y awesomeness of the first 2 half-brilliant/half-okay records, with “Bloody Mary” benefiting from their newest album’s only instantly catchy chorus.
| Soundcloud | Youtube | Hype Machine |

97. Pinback “Denslow, You Idiot!”
Call us dummies if you’d like, but we’ll admit it took us nearly two years of returning to 2007’s Autumn of the Seraphs before realizing its place among the very best of the 2000’s. Upon its release, only the quirky and playful “Good To Sea” immediately revealed itself as “instant classic" (which is not very helpful for "end of the year lists" but as long as nobody else minds waiting, neither do we). As for their most recent batch, “Denslow” is the quirk-ball we grew to love first.
| Soundcloud |

96. Here We Go Magic “Make Up Your Mind”
Their normally non-Devo elements made it all the more surprising when they decided to drastically turn up the Devo knob for one song. We kinda wish more indie-rock bands would do this.
| Soundcloud | Youtube | Hype Machine |

95. Lil B “California Boy”
Who would've thought Lil B's first attempt at a "rock" song would sound like acoustic J Mascis + The Fog fronted by Wesley Willis? Nice example of awesome-song-disguised-as-shitty-song (or possibly the other way around, we’re not exactly sure) which seems to be the (#BASED) basis underlining Lil B’s entire catalog and rock-star image. Karaoke DJ’s, take notice: Very fun to (badly) sing along (in the car or otherwise). (P.S. BasedGod also released an outstanding #rare "classical" album last Spring. Also of note is the I'ma Eat Her Ass *Video* EXCLUSIVE.)
| Youtube |

94. Pussy Riot “Putin Lights Up The Fires”
This appears to be their last release to date, which we incorrectly assumed was the jam they played at the Orthodox Church in Moscow, resulting in their worldwide infamy and incarceration. Outside of political context, its blistering rawness caught our attention. Better than we expected. No idea what words they're singing, but the song clearly packs just as much anger, urgency and sarcasm (assuming sarcasm exists in Russia) as “Rise Above” or “Anarchy In The UK.” Keep fighting the good fight.
| Youtube | Hype Machine |

93. Guided By Voices “Roll of the Dice, Kick in the Head”
Forever drunk and still completely fucking with pop structure, somehow placing three key modulations in under 42 seconds (although we might be hearing that wrong). Also remarkable, it completely rules despite being one of those songs that feels like it took 42 seconds to write.
| MySpace |

92. Grass Is Green “Dance Punk Revival School For Kids”
A fairly intense two minute balls-trip: arms reach out of the walls although they don’t actually grab anything; whispers creep from behind. Two minutes later they all disappear. While the majority of Ronson shows Grass Is Green progressing into unfamiliar territory beyond their first two releases, we hear “Dance Punk” as accumulating all of their best early moments into one enormous exclamation point.

91. A Place To Bury Strangers “So Far Away”
These guys build their own guitar pedals deep in a haunted abandoned mental institution, so it’s no surprise they’re able to easily pull-off such authentic sounding “wall of amps in a church” noise. Of course, none of this would matter if they didn’t also have great songs, with “So Far Away” among their 2012 highlights. (We possibly lied about the mental institution part.) Also they receive an A+ for the cool fadeout.
| Youtube | Hype Machine |

| Continue to Page 2 |

Hot Mix 2012 on Spotify

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Xmas tips

Lay off the jerktonium.

Try out these classic xmas vids...

Christmas Caroling from TheState on Vimeo.

Ten Nice Songs from 2012 Reissues

A decent year for reissues... Nothing on par with Back To Mono or the Nuggets boxes, but decent.

10. Blur “Beetlebum (demo)”

From Blur at 21. Lofi 4-track versions of many of their familiar songs were included.

9. Smashing Pumpkins “Isolation” (Joy Division cover)

From the Mellon Collie reissue. We hope you'll forgive us for not having the time to listen through all 21 discs of Blur's boxed set, or all 6 discs of the Mellon Collie-era outtakes. We just kinda cherry-picked what looked interesting from the enormous lot. Expanded Mellon Collie could be described as "grossly bloated," similar to Terry Jones in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life seconds before his explosion scene. Although this Joy Division cover isn't bad.

8. My Bloody Valentine “Good For You”

From EP's & Rarities 1988-1991. Kevin Shields uncovers recording of the pedal that makes it sound like a chainsaw. P.S. Can't believe so many suckers actually fell for that old "hey guys, we just finished the follow-up to Loveless, should be out next week." A+ trolling once again. And would you lookit that, another one just showed up today...

7. Spontaneous Overthrow “All About Money”

From Personal Space: Electronic Soul 1974-1984. Who has time to worry about financial issues while floating around outer space in the UFO of love? Will somebody throw these dudes a few bucks please?

6. Tim Maia “Ela Partiu”

From The Existential Soul of Tim Maia. The Brazilian Bill Withers lays it down for the ladies. We have no idea what words he's singing, but we suspect she came at least twice.

5. Jerry Green “I Finally Found the Love I Need”

From Personal Space: Electronic Soul 1974-1984. Astronomy engineer tries his best to fix a jam in his intricate apparatus while ignoring some immense heartbreak. Funk soul brotha.

4. My Bloody Valentine “Angel”

From EP's & Rarities 1988-1991. Formerly titled "Belinda's Song" and likely pulled from the Isn't Anything sessions, the 3 or 4 newly uncovered gems were among the best surprises in this year's MBV reissues since they were previously only available as low bitrate mp3s. The songwriting's clearly not as hot as the officially released songs we've been hearing for years (even though the coda-section on "Angel" approaches incendiary), but it still sounds just as awesome thanks to the long delayed mixing and mastering precision.

3. Toro y Moi “Best Around”

From June 2009 EP. We love the possibly-intentional drum fuck-ups placed throughout, and the catchy dope singalong at the end, sounding a lot closer to the analog warmth and not-giving-a-fuck atmosphere of Neon Indian's early tracks than the more recent chillwave directions of dudes like Washed Out.

2. Sleep “Dopesmoker”

From the Dopesmoker reissue. Nothing reissued from Floor this year, although the brutal torturous attack of "Dove" played a big part in preparing us for all 63-minutes of "Dopesmoker." Completely stop caring. Smoke the entire ounce over the course of an hour. Give up, and let the suffering just dig into you.

1. Can “Graublau”

From Lost Tapes Box Set. We all knew Can secretly had at least one more true epic stored deep into their stash of treats. Arguably, "Graublau" is as good as any of the best garage jams from Tago Mago, playing off rhythm-section attacks and radio-box noises, forming into a drone for the ages. The noises boxes grow their own intelligence and are communicating before its done.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 #1: Jack White "Freedom At 21"

Hype Williams: Still the one classic 90's video director who remains as relevant as ever. Between "Stupid Hoe" and "Freedom at 21," we had no other choice but to award Hype as our "video director of the year" (if that means anything). For this Jack White clip, he incorporates all the same structure as his most classic hiphop promos - wild color contrasts, lens morphing, experimental frame-rates, general excitement - typical of all his best work, rolled into into an unexpectedly badass rock video. As much as we want to be tired of Jack White, he keeps surprising us year after year, with this rockstar moment shining brighter than anything he's done since at least a half-decade ago.

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012: More honorable mentions

For those who don't know, this isn't a strict Top 10, and some of the honorable mentions might actually be better than the videos that actually made the list, although the numbered Top 10 are the ones we have the most fun watching. However, these also rule...

Liars "Brats"
Strangely enough, this is exactly what we'd expect from Liars videos based on their album art (more so than previous Liars videos). We're pretty sure the hunter and anthropomorphic bunny are intended to emulate a couple famous cartoon icons, but we'll let you decide. Also bunny's weird human ass makes us kind of uncomfortable.

Frank Ocean "Pyramids"
Mostly included for the absinthe. Fancy Frank.

Ariel Pink "Only In My Dreams"
Looks EXACTLY like the type of thing that would randomly show up on MTV2 back in 1998. Part of us wants to say "this is the type of critique that only we would notice," although the VHS-nostalgia inserted at the beginning gives us a hint that this may be intentional.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 #2: Andrew W.K. "It's Time To Party (Sound Effects Only Version)"

We posted the "song" version a few months back incorrectly assuming it was the "sound effects only" version. However, "sound fx version" is the true jam, even though it's not technically a music video without the song, but if you know the song well enough, you can play it in your head while the video is progressing, which has possibly never been attempted with a music video prior to "It's Time To Party."

So basically this video describes a typical day in the life of AWK. Decent premise.

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 #3: High On Fire "Fertile Green"

Trying to grasp exactly what's going on in this. Youtube description explains: "The video follows the story of Balteazeen, the Christ Twin, who sacrificed himself to give Jesus life. Forever hunted, he roams the slaughterhouse of Time, searching for answers to the riddle of his own existence...

A strange but fair enlightenment, albeit not what we got out of this at all. High On Fire's more aggressive approach to stoner-metal adds a layer of mysterious darkness to the animated hallucinogenic simulation, all non-linear and dreamlike.

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 #4: Tame Impala "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards"

Apt song title, since the animation makes it feel like we're hearkening back old-school psychedelic stream-of-consciousness often seen during throughout the early 90's on MTV's Liquid Television. (For example: P.S. Holy fuck, this archive is outstanding. MTV finally did something right.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 (HM): Action Bronson: "Bird on a Wire" / Action Bronson "The Symbol"

Our 2nd Honorable Mention comes from Action Bronson. "Bird on a Wire" is notable since it's the first time we've been able to see how enormously huge this guy truly is, which makes him all the more amazing. In a year when Fat Joe and Jonah Hill both lost weight (fuckin sell outs), here comes fat fuck Action Bronson who does not give a FUCK, smoking blunts while walking down the street and eating ice cream, taking his time n shit. Who the fuck cares... You only go around once.

The video for "The Symbol" rules also... In fact, Bronson had a pretty consistent run of videos this year, including these 2 along with "Steve Wynn," "Hookers at the Point," "Hot Shots Part Deux," and a couple others. It's been years since we've seen such a consistently awesome run of videos from a single artist.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 #05: The Alchemist + Oh No (Gangrene) "Vodka & Ayahuasca"

You learn something new everyday... According to Wikipedia, World's Widest Police Videos has actually been off-the-air since 2001 and just returned to Spike TV in May 2012. We assumed this was one of those shows like COPS that's simply always existed (although it just won't be the same in 10-30 years when John Bunnell inevitably retires).

As for "Vodka & Ayahuasca," the premise is the most simple out of everything in this Top 10 so far. So yeah, no spoilers this time...

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 #06: Jack White "Sixteen Saltines"

"Sixteen Saltines" is fucking chaotic. The first time we watched it, we noticed some Gummo qualities, which made this an immediate top 10 contender. More recently, we took special notice of a very non-Gummo moment when a kid starts levitating in the middle of an inner-city basketball game. It also didn't immediately hit us that all the crazy characters in this video are high school age and younger.

We decided to do some digging and found Pitchfork's write-up, revealing the man responsible for this video: AG Rojas, who just happens to be the same guy who directed Earl Sweatshirt's equally Gummo-esq "EARL," a video that we wrongly assumed was directed by Tyler The Creator.

This is good news. We mentioned just yesterday that we've been searching for "the next big names" in music video directors, and this guy is apparently so DL that he doesn't yet have a wikipedia entry, thus making it all the more difficult to discover what other videos he's done. We will get to the bottom of this, don't you worry...

EDIT: Okay, that took about 30 seconds. All of his videos are at his Vimeo page:

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 #07: Nicki Minaj "Stupid Hoe"

We posted this on Super Bowl 2012 when "Nicki [finally] won us over." 10 months later, this seems like a distant memory. Apparently there was a time prior to "Stupid Hoe" when we weren't feeling her shit quite as hard.

Hype Williams always seems up for a challenge. This time around, he wisely contrasts the song's immense density with (seemingly) simple shots, each associated with a solid bright color. (Hype's video for "Crush On You" uses a similar motif, a strange coincidence since rumors speculate the lyrics of "Stupid Hoe" are pointed directly at Lil Kim. More like LOL Kim, am I right you guys?)

As for Nicki's performance in the video, she's still doing that thing where you wanna say "hey she actually looks kinda hot in this part," and then her face turns into the cover of eels' Beautiful Freak LP and that blue-balls feeling starts to settle in. (Ouch.) She also morphs into a lion (scary!) followed by the quick back-and-forth climax which may induce convulsions (yet strangely easier to watch than the instant-seizure pop video of the year).

Also there's a milli-second shot where she's holding a plastic container of cut-up pineapple which is cool because pineapple rules. Health-nut.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 #8: Odd Future "Rella" / Odd Future "Oldie"

The "Rella" video seemed polarizing among OFWGKTA followers. Either way, it speaks volumes about how fucking bizarre these guys are (or at least how bizarre Tyler is, and how far the other members of the crew are willing to participate in his ideas). Hodgy's first verse nicely sets the tone as "indescribable," preparing us to follow around Domo Genesis for a minute or so as he slaps bitches across the face and robs children of their ice cream delight, until he sees his prized goal bitch: Tyler the Centaur. Will Domo slap the king bitch, or tumble back down the mountain? Edge-of-your-seat madness.

One month later, Odd Future wisely decided to neutralize this chaos with "Oldie," a seemingly spur-of-the-moment opportunity seizure (shot, edited and premiered all in the same day). It may be a while again before literally every crew member can all be present in the same place at the same time, especially considering that Frank Ocean's name now seems to be surpassing the Odd Future brand itself.

So the Terry Richardson photo session was unexpectedly taken hostage and coupled as a videoshoot, which is initially exciting in itself, but the individual performances and the party-vibe are what truly makes this one so special. They're human after all.

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 #9: Trash Talk "Slander"

One dude gets fucked, leading someone else to state "this dude's fucked," and then later on someone drives a motorcycle over someone's face. A crowd-surfer uses an actual surfboard. Also the very first shot of the video shows an upside-down car on fire. Very accurate cartoon emulation of all Trash Talk concerts. (And the concerts are normally less than 2 minutes long.)

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 #10: Boody & Le1f "Soda"

This one's not too hard to figure out. You take Boody... You add some Le1f... Don't even bother shaking them up though because either way the chemical reaction of these two mighty forces is just gonna explode in your face upon contact.

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 (HM): Scott Walker "Epizootics!"

Okay, so it looks like somehow we got stuck with the name "Lickity Slick Vid Clips" instead of "Best music videos of the year." No problems here.

And it looks like an effort was made to note the lack of "go-to" directors and bands that normally tie the loose ends, rounding out our "best videos" special.

We mentioned a list of these go-to's in a previous entry, although we neglected to mention Hammer & Tongs who unfortunately announced their split in 2012.

The freshness of the best 90's and early-2000's video directors doesn't seem as though it's getting supplanted by any young modern filmmakers. For whatever reason, short films and animation shorts are viewed as the preferred launching pads.

Our first Honorable Mention bares resemblance some of the more bizarre or "arty" shorts that might be screened at Sundance, more so than it resembles a music video. Scott Walker sings about someone who's frightened by Hawaiian people while showing slow-motion shots of a creepy-looking Hawaiian girl who possibly has rotting teeth. There's a quick flash of a pig's face. And then later, an uncomfortable shot of a daddy-long-legs chillin' next to someone's navel area. These visuals would be meaningless or even ugly on their own, but instead they depend on the song, providing a vital compelling aura.

Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012 (Bonus)

A few bonuses tried to sneak in earlier today...

Prolly shouldn't be on sleeping drugs while writing this, so if any of this seems redundant just ignore and we'll be back to normal by tomorrow.

YN Rick Kids "Hot Cheetos & Takis"
DAME JONES and his rich kid squad tried to hit us up with some HOT CHEETOS & TAKIS. We're already linked to this video but here it is:

PSY "Gangnam Style"
Earlier today, PSY made the enormous mistake of backing down from his brilliant anti-American sentiments from back in 2004. But his video is a few days short of breaking 1 billiion Youtube views so we'll forgive him:

Danny Brown "Grown Up"
One of those videos where a kid pretends he's the rapper and walks around lipsynching, except this time it has charm and the kid does a good performance so it's a-okay:

DAAP "Headache"
These dudes got a headache this big. They have a dilemma and are unsure how to get it straight.

M.I.A. "Bad Girls"
M.I.A. is all like "let's go off to the desert and shoot a video there where we could easily get murdered by like the taliban or some shit, and we'll have like the best time ever man." And everyone's like "hell yeah."

The Death Set "They Come To Get Us"
This video from The Death Set is contain a shot from Troll 2 which is pretty much the only reason why it's here.

Farrah Abraham "On My Own"
Farrah Abraham plays in a park with her daughter, and halfway through the video it's revealed she's at her baby's daddy's tombstone.

Porn For Kids 2012

Is this really gonna be the title of "best videos of 2012" special? I mean we could just be horrible lame and boring and title it "best videos of the year" and then just pull out the poison berries.

Okay, since the berries are slick, we're gonna change the name to "Lickity Slick Vid Clips 2012." Cool new rule.

It may be worth mentioning that the usual ringers who round up the years best videos have all but disappeared over the past 12 months... Were was Gondry? Spike Jonze? Cunningham? Jonathan Glazer? Jonas Akerlund? Shynola? Mike Mills? Samuel Bayer? Or the artist who normally throw together the most absurd displays as of late... Gaga? Rammstein? They're nowhere to be seen. It took some digging, but we're found some nice vids. Hopefully they'll live up to the hype...

Friday, December 7, 2012

"Hit Me"

We weren't planning on posting anything tonight, or at all anytime soon... "Hot Mix 2012" is still somewhat in limbo, although we might be able to start "videos of the year" within the next day or so, so at least there's that.... BUT WAIT A SEC...

STOP THE FUCKING PRESSES........ Mystikal is back???!