Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best of 2009: Short-Form Achievements

Ah, it's that time of the year again. It's time for us to gather, and share the things we like and berate the things we didn't like. Well, I'll be doing more of the former (I'm trying to keep the negativity to a minimum, but we'll see how long that lasts). I liked some EPs and singles this year, and I would like to share what they were with you. I didn't really decide on any sort of hierarchy, so here's a simple list:

Singles and stuph:

THE SHACKLES - "Broken Arm" b/w "Funeral Shroud"
(Sweet Rot Records)
Five and a half minutes of tight, well crafted power pop split over two songs. A fun and catchy, but, more importantly, promising start from a relatively new Seattle band.

ABE VIGODA - Reviver
(Post-Present Medium)
LA art-punks continue to move toward accessibility. Reviver sounds like an epilogue to their breakout 2008 album Skeleton without simply sounding like a retread of old ideas. It's well-paced, alternating between frenetic and placid, most of the time within the same song. Plus, it has a killer cover of "Wild Heart" by Stevie Nicks.

NO AGE - Losing Feeling
(Sub Pop)
I wasn't much of a No Age fan last year when Nouns dropped, but I'm glad I gave them another shot. For two dudes, they sure get a lot done over the course of four songs. The record is equal parts frenzied punk rock, anthemic psychedelia, and lush, reverb-soaked dream pop. Fun for the whole family. The video to "Losing Feeling" is one of my favorites too.

REAL ESTATE - "Suburban Beverage" 7"
(Underwater Peoples Records)
A meandering mess of reverb and guitars over hushed vocals and a bouncy bassline almost represents Real Estate's mission statement. The A-Side clocks in at six-and-a-half minutes (it runs at 33rpm) and really only has one verse but it exemplifies the early sound of the band. It sounds two beers and a few puffs deep. The two tracks on the b-side, "Black Lake" and "Old Folk" are solid as well.

SPIDER BAGS - "Teenage Eyes" b/w "Eileen" 7"
(Odessa Records)

Twangy garage rock from Chapel Hill (by way of New Jersey?). The best thing from the South to come from the North in a long time. Rowdy without being abrasive, and catchy without being boring. Fun stuff.

Remember to stay tuned for the upcoming "Best Of" lists for albums and compilations/reissues from this year, and the daunting "Best of 2000-2009" list.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December 9 2009

I saw Ted Leo the weekend before this show. Titus Andronicus opened up for him (and the Pharmacists). Both acts fucking killed it, as usual. Granted, I haven't been to an absurd amount to live rock and/or roll show, but this is the second time I've seen these two together, and it was even better than the first time. If you have a chance to see either, or both, do it.

A vague winter theme during this show. Not a lot of new stuff.

Here's this week's stuff:

** = Plucked from the WHUS new bin, for your listening pleasure.

#. title - artist - release - label - year (this is specific or vague as the information I have at hand)

1. The Sun's Gonna Shine in the Morning - Dennis Diken with Bell Sound - Late Music - Cryptovision **
2. Shy - A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Ashes Grammar - Mis Ojos Discos **

3. Don't Have to Be So Sad - Yo La Tengo - Summer Sun - Matador - 2003
4. Hoarfrost - Sonic Youth - A Thousand Leaves - Geffen - 1998
5. Under a Winter's Spell - Black Hollies - Casting Shadows - Ernest Jennings - 2008
6. Listen, the Snow is Falling - Galaxie 500 - This is Our Music - 1990
7. Snowstorm - Galaxie 500 - On Fire - 1989

8. Flight of the Feathered Serpent - Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport - ATP/R **
9. All My Friends - John Cale
10. Winter Warz - Ghostface Killah (ft. Masta Killa, U-God, Cappadonna, and Raekwon) - Iron Man - 1996

11. Blackberry Song - Kurt Vile - Childish Prodigy - Matador **
12. I Can't Wait for Winter - Sean Smith - Sean Smith - 2005
13. Snowsuit Sound - Sloan - Twice Removed - Geffen - 1994
14. Blue - Emily Jane White - Dark Undercoat - 2007
15. Snow Days - Real Estate - Real Estate - Woodsist **

Stay tuned for the top of 2009 list.

December 2 2009

Okay. I can't find about a month's worth of playlists, but there isn't much missing.

The Vivian Girls/Real Estate/Math the Band/My Heart to Joy show went fine. A few things about the show:
1) Real Estate killed it, and I'm kind of surprised the kids liked them as much as they did
2) Math the Band is pretty fun
3) Hardcore bands are apparently kind of dense, self-important, and difficult to deal with
4) Vivian Girls still put on a good live show. They even switched instruments this time
5) Good times.

I had a trainee. He played some Melvins and Boris. Some other stuff I wasn't really into. Kid refuses to use headphones, will probably be way too loud or way too soft if he does his own show. He'll learn.

All of a sudden, the kids felt the need to squat in on my show. I don't mind too much, but it can get distracting. I don't want to name names, but maybe it'll show one or two of them how to do it (zing!).

Anyway, here's the show from December 2, 2009. It wasn't my best mix, but it wasn't bad.

** = Plucked from the WHUS new bin, for your listening pleasure.

#. title - artist - release - label - year (this is specific or vague as the information I have at hand)

1. Cousins - Vampire Weekend - Cousins single - XL **
2. Crystal Ball - The King Khan and BBQ Show - Invisible Girl - In the Red **

3. Penpals - Sloan - Twice Removed - Geffen - 1994
4. Flagpole Hill - Blacktop - I Got a Baaad Feelin' About This (Reissue) - In the Red - 2003?
5. All Consolation - White Denim - Fits - Downtown ** (song was kind of sucky, and the CD stopped working half way through)
6, Returning to the Fold - The Thermals - The Blood, the Body, the Machine - Sub Pop - 2006
7. When I Died - The Thermals - Now We Can See - Kill Rock Stars - 2009

8. Mind Eraser, No Chaser - Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures - Interscope **
9. Arms Against Atrophy - Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances - XL - 2009
10. The Birthday Wars - Oxford Collapse - Bits - Sub Pop - 2008
11. Even Heroes Have to Die - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks - Matador **
12. 1, 2, 3, Partyy! - Mission of Burma - The Sound, the Speed, the Light - Matador **

13. Tambourine - Little Girls - Concepts - Paper Bag **
14. Blackberry Song - Kurt Vile - Childish Prodigy - Matador **
15. Green Truck - Sunset - Gold Dissolves to Gray - Autobus **

16. For Falling Asleep - Etienne Jaumet - Night Music - Domino **

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


After finals.

Seriously, I'll update after finals.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'll update with playlists and some other cool stuff tomorrow! I swear!