Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Got a new computer in January and for the last 4 months I've been loading up the iTunes, 1723 songs and counting. I thought I'd post some "Sort By Play Count" rankings because it's actually very accurate to what my favorite tunes have been so far this year, and I like how 4 out of the top 5 all ended up being records by great lady singers of today. Of course, these are not necessarily the albums I've listened to the most because I still listen to lots of LPs and CDs and whatever. Anyway: 

1. CELEBRATION  Electric Tarot (9)
2. CRAZY DREAMS BAND War Dream (7)
3. KURT VILE He's Alright 7" (7)
4. THE BREEDERS Last Splash (5)

6. (tied with 4 spins each, in alphabetical order) EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING Rush To Relax , JAY TEES & BRENTFORD ROCKERS "Buck Town Version", KURT VILE Childish Prodigy, KURT VILE God Is Saying This To You, KURT VILE Live on WFMU, KURT VILE & THE VIOLATORS The Hunchback EP, LOW THREAT PROFILE s/t, LUNGFISH Pass And Stow, LUNGFISH Sound In Time, NAMELEZZ PROJEKT Winter, Alchool, Benflogin, NO BALLS Come Clean, SARCOFAGO "INRI", SCISSOR GIRLS We People Space With Phantoms, SCORPIONS Fly To The Rainbow, SWELL MAPS A Trip To Marineville, U.S. GIRLS Go Grey, WELTON IRIE & SOUND DIMENSION "Chase Them (Ver.)"

CELEBRATION's Electric Tarot project is an ongoing concept where the band is recording a song for each card of the Tarot deck, and then posting them online for free. When they decide to release an album or EP of the songs, or some of the songs, they will do so on vinyl, and so on... sort of a slowly evolving internet-only concept album, and you can hear and/or download what they've done so far at the website. Sounds cool to me, especially if it keeps leading to beautiful and majestic rock songs like "I Will Not Fall," with its suspended and then surging yearning, beautifully sung by Katrina Ford. I've been clicking on this song over and over... 9 plays on iTunes and several more on YouTube itself, where I first came across it, I think via the indefatigable Arthur Magazine webpresence. Like this:

I definitely got swept up into the new CRAZY DREAMS BAND album, or pulled into its undertow, right when it came out and on through doing the interview for the new ish. Haven't listened to it so much in the last month, just once or twice, but both times it immediately got me right back in the thick of it.

GROUPER's last full-length Dragging a Dead Deer Up A Hill was her best one yet, but the 4 newer (?) songs (aka the Vessel EP) on her side of a split LP with ROY MONTGOMERY are yet another huge leap forward/inward into hushed/chilled quietude... this time mostly backed with solo electric piano? Roy side is also great, a 18-minute in-concert solo guitar raga.

Oh man, THE BREEDERS Last Splash. Can you believe that album? Did you know it went Platinum less than a year from its release date? I wonder if they really made a lot of money with that... we all know record companies aren't necessarily quick to pay... but I digress from the main point, which is that Last Splash is an album of beautiful rock music that a million people have heard. I like it better than Pod (but I do need to revisit Pod). Got it back out to spin "Divine Hammer" a few hundred more times (meaning I guess 5) and I love that song just as much as I ever did. In the process, I remembered how much I also loved every other song too, especially the fever dream free fall opening number "New Year"and the surging, album-framing King Crimson riffage of "Roi" and "Roi (Reprise)." (After all roi does mean king.)

Still lots of KURT VILE getting played around here. What can I say, the songs are as good as the sounds are as good as the songs are as good as the sounds. It doesn't happen as often as you might think. All of his records have been good so far, they really have, and the 7" on the Matador label, released with his Childish Prodigy full-length, really is a perfect three songs... and none of it is on the LP. The A Side, "He's Alright," is included as a bonus track on the CD version, and it's another dreamer in the "Space Forklift" vein, but in a more major key, with lyrics getting into new brotherly places ("The silhouette kid swinging on a swing/Scrapes his knee and blood it brings/He shows his friends he's alive as he brags and he jives... hey/He's alright, he's alright, he's alright.........yeah"). On side 2 we start with one of Vile's trademark Frip Jobs, that is a short interlude for heavily treated electric guitar, and this one, "Farfisas In Falltime," is one of the most beautiful and dense ones yet. Last song is another KV trademark, the wry and sweet solo country-style acoustic number, this one called "Take Your Time." Some fine post-Jansch guitar playing going on here.

Reggae hasn't gotten a huge foothold yet like it has on my old computer's iTunes. But it will. Most played track so far is JAY TEES & BRENTFORD ROCKERS with "Buck Town Version", the B-side of a Studio One 45 release of "Buck Town Corner" by the Jay Tees. Can't find a youtube but maybe this link still works.

My favorite LUNGFISH album is Sound In Time but my favorite song is "The Trap Gets Set" from Pass And Stow. (Actually it might be "To Whom You Were Born" from Sound In Time...)  

No idea how the NAMELEZZ PROJEKT got in there but they're a "black metal/alternative" two-man band from Brazil that chooses goofy names for their demos, not to mention their band. I mean, I know where I got the mp3s, I downloaded them on a whim from The Cosmic Hearse, I just don't know how they got ranked so high. Wait, I know why it is... because whenever this weird-ass 21-minute demo comes on shuffle, I never turn it off or jump ahead. Ever. No matter how inept a drum hit, how thin and boring a guitar tone, how meandering the song construction... I just can't turn off their crude 2-man basement riffage. It's entrancing. They really do create a unique sound together. Always trust in the Hearse... for example, one of the best appreciations of Cirith Ungol ever written...

NO BALLS is a Brainbombs side project, I think? Don't have this record, only the mp3s. (I would like to point out that out of the 20 records mentioned above, I do physically own 9 of them, which I think might actually be a high percentage for this day and age.) It's okay, not bad in the Brainbombs' repetition/grind department, but frankly what it seems to be missing is their deadpan shock vocals. Not as good as Coloured Balls, anyway.

I am digging the U.S. GIRLS album. A notable step forward from her first, which was also good. Also dug this interview on Pitchfork... don't miss the embedded video for "Red Ford Radio" -- both song and video are great.

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