Monday, December 30, 2013

Hot Mix 2013: #90 to 81

| Hot Mix 2013 on Spotify |

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

90. Yo La Tengo “Well You Better”
YLT got surprisingly efficient this year on record, although their live shows are still somewhat sprawling (still closing with epic bangers like "Pass The Hatchet I Think I'm Goodkind"), suggesting that Fade (at only 46 minutes) might have simply been a one-off. “Well You Better” is 2013's “Mr. Tough,” meaning it's the catchy 60s soul number. “You better make up your mind before it's too late.” Fun singalongs with Ira.

89. Good Throb “Culture Vulture”
In the hypothetical scenario where John Peel is given five guesses to correctly identify the year this record was released, we'd wager he probably would not have nailed it. “Culture Vulture” is ass-kicking authentic UK punk rock from actual punks who are so cool that they don't even have to tune their guitars (or learn how). The B-side reveals two more songs that are just as good. Probably the best punk release of the year. They should tour with Bat Cave.

88. Travis Porter featuring Jeremih “Err Damn Day”
The chorus takes a minute to get through, and it simply reeks of summertime stoner lethargy. One time the sun turned around and gave me a thumbs up. And then a car flipped over, but not sure if it really flipped over or if I just saw it flip, ya know. Puff puff pass. Learn it, live it, lovin' in the summertime, ridin' with the top down. Too lazy to get up. Call out sick again. Fuck all night, smoke all day. Roll it and pass it, here's another classic...

87. Kanye West “Guilt Trip”

Yeezus's sequencing places this song as a barrier, closing out the dark and emotionally destructive middle section, appearing after “Blood on the Leaves,” just as the emotional wall topples. The swirly ascending keyboard patches in “Guilt Trip” show the remnants of these crumbling walls floating away while Kid Cudi (still one of the worst singing voices in popular music, but used tastefully in this context) repeats “If you loved me so much, then why'd you let me go, whoa whoa? Let me go, whoa whoa whoa?”

86. Robert Pollard “I Killed a Man Who Looks Like You”
English Little League marked what appears to be the end for the reunited “classic” Guided lineup (R.I.P. 2011-2013). Four albums, an EP and a decent string of 12 or 16 non-album b-sides were definitely enough to satisfy the diehards. But when the boys began to dissipate, Bob wasted no time returning right back to solo material with Honey Locust Honky Tonk, arguably his most satisfying solo record of the 2010s so far. We agree with the comprehensive “best of” list that placed the curiously country-sounding 1-minute-53-second “I Killed a Man” within his 10 best solo tracks. We also agree that it kinda sounds like R.E.M. (in a good way).

85. Lady Gaga featuring R Kelly “Do What U Want”

The logical sequel and conclusion to "Paparazzi" arrives with Gaga's all too brief (1-song) return to strong hooks. It sounds like she cherry-picked an instrumental from the Drive soundtrack and wrote a dope vocal melody over it. Also congrats to R. Kelly for always peein' on people. NEVER FORGET.

84. Ty Segall “Sleeper”
The compression mics generate such a loud acoustic guitar strum, and suddenly we understand this guy better than ever. 1970s UK rock from the likes of T.Rex, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie have actually been informing his songwriting far greater than the 90s throwbacks the initial reviewers had assumed. We're not typically impressed by Ty Segall's varieties of vanilla, but we want to be. He's shown so much potential, and he might be at that point, so close to hitting his stride. “Sleeper” is his “Space Odyssey.” It's the Ty Segall song we've been waiting for. 2014, here we come...

83. Connections “Stuck Lung”
2013 was the year unadventurous bloggers and rock writers collectively decided to get lazy as fuck and focus on the degree of 90s-ness, asking amazing interview questions such as “Do you sound 90s?” “How 90s you sound?” “What is 90s rock bands you sound like?” Ohio's Connections got stuck with the “descendents of Guided By Voices” tag mostly due to location, even though both bands pull generous influence from 60s UK garage and 70s power pop. “Stuck Lung” sounds like Cheap Trick. We're into it.

82. True Widow “Four Teeth”
Anyone who was missing dreamy, female-fronted, reverb-laden fuzz-pop didn't have to look far in 2013. It was tough to swing a dead cat in this town without hitting a Widowspeak or a Waxahatchee or a Mazzy Star reunion album. We decided to run with “Four Teeth” as our choice for 2013's best example, since it's often kinda tough to get that vocal melody unstuck from one's auditory cortex. (Also Relapse Records must be diversifying. Interesting choice for a signing from a label primarily concerned with deathmetal.)

81. Omar Souleyman “Warni Warni”
We have no idea what he's singing about, but one reviewer on the Singles Jukebox called this song “an ode to romantic obsession.” Omar doesn't get enough credit for releasing one of the druggiest, most psychedelic sound experiences in recent memory, likely without the assistance of any narcotic consumption. On our end, we're hearing The Chemical Brothers and Prodigy (believe it or not) fused with a series of bizarre hypnotic trances, like 4 or 5 simultaneous iDoser tones recorded 20 times as loud. His 2013 LP has raised our curiosity about his earlier lofi stuff, which is supposedly even better.

| Hot Mix 2013 on Spotify |

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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hot Mix 2013: #100 to 91

Stupid brain, you go squish now.

I think we're supposed to only embed Bandcamp shit now. If we can find the song on Soundcloud, we'll post a link.

Spotify are a bunch of dumbasses, but we ignored their shittiness and started a dope playlist anyway. You can listen if you want:
| Hot Mix 2013 on Spotify |

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

100. Trinidad Jame$ “Female$ Welcomed”
This might have placed much higher had it not been for the awkwardly inserted dubstep-flavored coda section. While this portion of the song might have worked wonderfully as its own separate thing, it kinda kills the dopeness of the initially established beat that starts “Female$ Welcomed,” where Jame$ explains the issues with his side bitch, main bitch and main ho all collectively deciding at once that they ain't feelin' him no mo. Rough times for the hood rich.

99. Sungod “Gas is Better than Gas”
The vaguely familiar goth-keyboard intro explodes into a monstrous orgy of delay pedals and wah-fills. Their song titles and artwork suggest Sungod may be similarly obsessed with the same big-bang space-time theories that fueled the themes of their progressive psych forefathers, circa 1970 (albeit with less nonsensical spoken word passages). Their LP Contackt probably looks just as dope synched along with the final 23 minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey as “Echoes” ever did.

98. Lil B “Love N Hate” / Lil B “Eat”
Lil B's recent adventures include maintaining his 2012 announcement of a long promised mixtape starring his adopted cat Keke. He was also privileged enough to witness a dude drinking gasoline on the day before Halloween, to which he responds "protect the children." Then just four days ago, he dropped a massively based 101 track mixtape called “05 Fuck Em,” which include rare freestyles over System Of A Down's “Toxicity” and several allusions to “greatest unsigned rapper,” getting signed, and becoming a billionaire. The challenge of narrowing his 2013 output (nearly 180 based jams) down to one is not only impossible, but oddly rewarding. We settled on two jams, both from Pink Flame (probably his best mixtape of the year): “Love N Hate” (because it sounds like the dirtiest of dirty West Coast 90s) and “Eat” (because it's fucking amazing).
"Love N Hate":
"Eat" (video):

97. Selena Gomez “Come & Get It”

A voice more na├»ve than Rihanna's gets to sing on a song clearly intended for Rihanna. Selena benefits hugely, as her less ambitious party-mode proved far more admirable than Miley's “I do what I want” schtick.

96. Vampire Weekend “Everlasting Arms”
Album of the year? Oh puh-leeze. Don't these guys still wear Abercrombie polos like it's 1999-2006 all over again? (Remember when Fat Joe thought it was cool to wear pink polos? LOL what a turd.) As much as we'd love to ignore VW based on the overextended exaggerations of their virtues (which has nothing to do with the music itself), we simply can't ignore good ideas when they're blatantly staring us in the face. And yes, this time it's all about the warpy keyboard patch in “Everlasting Arms,” probably the highlight of this entire record. Much like the hugeness of the drums in “Giving Up The Gun” from 2010, sometimes just one inspired production aspect is all it takes to turn dime-a-dozen blandness (ie, VW's songwriting) into genuine dopeness. So far, they've nailed it at least once on each of their releases.

95. Justin Timberlake “Tunnel Vision”
An album chock-fulla “Tunnel Vision”-caliber dopeness might not have surpassed JT's last 2 LPs, but probably would have been more widely appreciated. Unfortunately, Timbaland confirmed what we had all been dreading: He's lost the midas touch, a big part of what made the two volumes of 20/20 Experience such a disappointingly labored bumout with (mostly) lackluster beats to showcase “Jut Timb” bending over backwards for widespread acceptance. If he's so concerned about getting everyone to like him, and if his SNL skits are (probably) his most appreciated recent performances, it might be in his best interests to consider joining the SNL cast as a weekly employee. We highly doubt anyone would complain. (He's already funnier than Andy Samberg without really trying.)
Whoa, this song has a video?

(P.S. ICYMI, the “Tunnel Vision” single arrived with probably the most awkwardly-unsexy-while-trying-to-be-sexy cover art in recent memory.)

94. Little Big League “Brackish Water”
While the music suggests a heavy sadness, vocal strain towards the end of this song reveals frustration and urgency. Long after the point when hope is lost, you'll do anything for closure, but it's just not gonna happen. So just keep drinking until another opportunity arrives. That's the best most of us can do these days. She sounds like the singer from The Sundays, except we're pretty sure we like Little Big League a lot better. The guitar tones are pretty massive too, reminiscent of Ringo Deathstarr's recent output. (That's a good thing.)

93. Cave “Shikaakwa”
We got into the habit of calling these guys “Cave from Chicago.” In a year with no new output from Beak>, Cave's new record can safely secure its title as “best kraut-influenced release of the year.” We decided upon “Shikaakwa” as the standout mostly due to tasteful inclusion of flute, a very tricky instrument to include in this type of music. It's like playing minesweeper... One wrong step and you may turn into Aqualung, "Colour My World," or (even worse) Firefall.

92. Action Bronson & Party Supplies “Jackson Travolta”
As it turns out, we're huge suckers for the little “Cousin Brucie”/“CBS-FM” tags inserted by Party Supplies. It's probably our favorite element within Blue Chips 2. (Is that lame?) We're not sure of the source for this otherwise outstanding soul-sample, but the Eddie Hazel singed guitar shred at the end raises some suspicions. All throughout BC2, Action Bronson remains as fun and playful as ever, completely justifying the blessing that covers his Son-of-Ghostface vocal chords.

91. California X “Pond Rot”
The mammoth mutant cyclops continues smashing mountains to bits, but he's learned to enunciate his English slightly better than on last year's “Sucker” b/w “Mummy” 7-inch, a record that turned out to be the “preview” for what was to follow. “Pond Rot” is when cyclops takes a nap next to the pond and has nightmares. It includes (probably) the most massive riffs on Cali X's self-titled, and (arguably) among the most intimidating of an entire year's worth of giants.

| Hot Mix 2013 on Spotify |

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

Hot Mix 2013

Fuck, we almost forgot about Hot Mix 2013.

We haven't been posting much because we suck, but our OCD tendencies sorta force this to happen every year whether we like it or not. We are disappointing and horrible people, and we will die lonely.