Thursday, December 26, 2013

Top 10 African-American County Comptrollers

Haha you idiots. I hooked you with the title and now you have to look at my stupid list. I'm not even putting them in order this year. Read em and weep.

John Wizards - S/T

First up and oh so hot! Thanks to Paco for the tip. This is the most catchy and fun music thing of the year.

Eluvium - Nightmare Ending

Easily the best Eluvium album.

Sean McCann - Music For Private Ensemble

A yearly fixture on my lizt. Maybe his best yet? Or maybe it's not? So many layers! So epic! So many instruments mostly played by Sean hisself! How awful is that cover though? Yeah pretty awful.

Deep Magic - Reflections of Most Forgotten Love

Lots of best albums yet by my old faves this year.

Aquarelle - August Undone

You know I'm a sucker for lush, vibrant drones. This hits the spot.

Jerusalem In My Heart - Mo7it Al-Mo7it

Give me a break. Just listen to this. Serious jamz.

Julianna Barwick - Nepenthe

Oh man what a beautiful dream! A clear step up from her already awesome first album.

Julian Lynch - Lines

A seriously underrated guy I think. Real nice tunes.

Oneohtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven

It's great. Nothing else really sounds like this.

Tim Hecker - Virgins

Ol' Timmy never really puts out a bad album, and this is up to his usual standard. Everyone likes virgins, right? Also did you know he's getting his Ph.D. in the subject area Urban Noise?

Also I loved Daft Punk, but you already know about that, right?

Top Albums of 2013 According To Math

From the Law Offices of Babip, Pecota, Vorp, Eckstein & Rice

I wanted to do something different for my albums list, seeing as how I haven't done one in 3 or 4 years, and also because I love stats and math. tracks most of what I listen to so I decided why not go with my top ten most listened albums of the year -- I know it'll reward stuff that came out earlier in the year, but to be honest most top album lists err on the other side, celebrating stuff that was dropped recently and bumping stuff that got overplayed over the summer down a few notches. So maybe I'm balancing things out this way. Namaste? Whatevs.

(Also, I love pop music. Does that need a disclaimer? Who knows. This is the internet.)

1. Lorde ~ Pure Heroine
This one wasn't even close, especially if you count The Love Club EP she released in the spring. I loved Lorde this year. Really minimalistic at times. Really poppy, too. A better songwriter than she ought to be at her age. And when I first heard Royals on the radio it was like this:

2. Widowspeak ~ Almanac
I really fell for Widowspeak hard in the first half of 2013. Female singer. Check. Dream pop melodies. Check. 90s guitars. Check+. Um, you know I worship Mazzy Star, too, right? This album was possibly made just for me.

3. Lord Huron ~ Lonesome Dreams
I tired of this album really quickly, but for three months in early 2013 it was the best thing on the planet. I hate it when I do that to records, because this one is still pretty good. They got tagged as sort of Fleet Foxes-ish, which is a shame because they're doing some great new wave / Paul Simon inspired stuff, too. And you know I'm a sucker for Graceland.

4. Jai Paul ~ S/T

I have Plett to thank for this. If I still followed Pfork I might have caught it earlier in the year, but these demos weren't on my radar until much later. The fact that they shot up to number four in a relatively short time should tell you something. Another artist with some throwback sounds that reminded me of the best of the 1980s. If Prince and Frank Ocean and James Blake make you weak in the knees, check it out.

5. Daft Punk ~ Random Access Memories

No excuse for this not ranking higher. Other than that of the 233 times I listened to Daft Punk over the past 12 months only half came from RAM. Priorities, dammit!

6. Kacey Musgraves ~ Same Trailer Different Park
2012-13 will go in the books as the years I rediscovered country music. Musgraves writes really simple songs with really catchy melodies and no more than three or four chords a piece. And she's like 12. Okay, 25. Whatever. She also wrote a song for Nashville, which boasts Buddy Miller and T-Bone Burnitt as music supervisors. There's some serious cred there is what I'm saying.

7. Neko Case ~ The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

Neko lives in Vermont, so I like to pretend we're neighbors. She might be Canadian, I forget. Her voice kills me. With daggers. End of discussion.

8. Autre Ne Veut ~ Anxiety
Whoa! Now there's some Sharebarn love from Paco. Gotta give credit where credit is Drew. (Gotta love Drew.) Give 2013 a few more weeks and this one keeps rising. I keep talking about throwback tunes to the 80s or 90s, and Autre Ne Veut have that sort of old-school luster, but they're most definitely a product of the the modern age. This is an album that only could have come out in 2013. Catchy as hell and sort of a revelation.

9. Yo La Tengo ~ Fade

No really, it's a great album. I'm old, okay, I get it. Sometimes old people albums creep into my lists. But easily their strongest set of songs since Summer Sun. Remember how I like dreamy pop? You forgot already?! What are you, a goldfish? Oh, you are? How are you even on the internet?

10. Chance the Rapper ~ Acid Rap

Does this redeem me? So a 20-yr-old released my favorite hip-hop album of 2013, I guess. I didn't expect that. I do really love fun-time, party rap. So in a year where everyone else played the rap game super serious, it makes sense. The rise of Lil Wayne and then Drake really turned me off for a while. But the pendulum swung back alright. 2014 could be a really good year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Keep it trill.

Here we are, y'all. The end of 2013. To some, this year was written to be the best year yet. For others, probably not. And now it is my esteemed pleasure to extend to you my top 9 traxxx (plus BONUS) of this year, this once around the sun. Can you even be sure that you can even be ready? Hey, at least we aren't going to prison!

In no particular order:

Can't Stop, Miley Cyrus, Bangerz.
Please just stop pretending you hate her. Just stop it. Remember her version of Jolene? It's good. Just like this song, but in a different way. Also, stop pretending you don't want to *be* her. I want to have a gold vampire-esque grill. I want to eat 100$ bill sandwiches on white bread. And, if I'm totally serious, and I am, I want to adopt the mantra: It's our song, we can sing if we want to/It's my mouth, I can say what I want to. Don't pretend that doesn't resonate with you? AND the beat gets that body movin'. You know?

All of Me, John Legend, Love in The Future.
It's been a goddamned hot minute since I've been so in love with a love song. I can't even handle it. Please ignore the super corny, in-any-other-context-these-words-would-be-crazy-lame lyrics. Please. Because what this is about is his sincerity and that amazingly beautiful falsetto. And right in the middle of the clichés, he'll say something like: You're my downfall, you're my muse, my worst distraction, my rhythm and blues. Or maybe those ARE clichés, but I feel them. I really feel them. Maybe any artist who has a muse feels these words and with that piano, holy shit. Remember what it's like to love this hard? Do you?

Royals, Lorde, Pure Heroine.
You knew it. You knew this song was made for me and people like me. This song rocked me hard during the dying summer. And I get it - we'll just go ahead and accept where we are and what we're given. The video is really sexy, too. (Do you guys remember music videos?) Try to not sing this song. Try.

Black Skinhead, Kanye West, Yeezus.
Can I go ahead and put it out there: This isn't my favorite album. It's abrasive. It's right up in your face. Some of the beats are steeped in dissonance (New Slaves). Goosebumps, but in the crazy way. It makes me feel insanely weird for being a white person. Which, hey, I think white people deserve every now and then. On the heels of that, let me just say, this is exactly why this whole album is important. I'm still deciding on the whole Yeezus movement, I mean, it's good and great and relevant. And Black Skinhead hits me in ways not many songs do. Give me more time. Fuck up your whole afternoon shit, you know? He does that.

Back to the River, Lily and Madeleine, The Weight of the Globe.
Are you ready to get your heart ripped out right through your ear canals? Sometimes I'm depressed and all I do is listen to this song over and over and over and over again. I write with this song in the background. I feel this song. They are poetry; together, they are the poetry that created the first musician. And, as I sit and eat up their songs, I am the first ears to hear beauty.

Gas Pedal, Sage the Gemini, Gas Pedal.
Just shut up and let it do what it's intending to do. This isn't an important song. Duh. I know that. But can I just be entertained? But can I just love a song about big asses? But can I just love a song that is screaming for remix after remix after remix? Yes, I can. Also, I'll be damned if this video isn't totally dope. (I did just say "dope", I hope that's okay).

Get Lucky, Daft Punk, Random Access Memories.
If this isn't on your list, you a damn fool. Okay, maybe overplayed. But, for good reason, you know. I dare you to not shoulder dance to this track, y'all. You can't do it. Throwback feel to the 70s mixed in with essential contemporary. And yes, I think Daft Punk is essential. Do you even know what I mean?

Tom Ford, Jay-Z, Magna Carta Holy Grail.
Yeah, Hov, Yeah, Hov. You chumps knew this was a shoo-in. And why do I even love this? I don't know what it's like to be rich, even though after listening to this whole album, I get a feel for it. It's hard, isn't it, Jay? (I do know what it's like to be Flush Outta Riesling, tho) This album is on the other end of the spectrum vs. Yeezus. It isn't really socially relevant or important, I mean, not many of us can relate to spending all our euros on tuxes and weird clothes... but it's catchy, and you know what, I'll sing the fuck out of it.

Step, Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City.
Here's a spoiler alert: this is my top, tip top, cream of the crop, album of the year. It's extremely difficult to exclude ONE track to croon about. Seriously. But since I HAVE TO, this is the one I choose. This is riding around in the country, singing loudly, windows down summer time laid back beats. This is a heart, bleeding so perfectly right into the fourth track. And then, the fifth, and so on and so on. I mean, goddamn. Im not sure these songs could be perfected any more. This is it. This is the one. This is the winner.

Other notable traxxxxx that aren't new:
Runaway covered by Oberhofer, Whatever You Like covered by Anya Marina and Come Live with Me by Ray Charles.

Monday, December 16, 2013

7 Christmas Songs That Don't Suuuuuuuuck

Okay, I like Christmas music, sue me. NO REALLY. Sue me, I dare you. I have lawyers for fingers and it will be such a delight for them to get their briefcases out and write down some notes. You have NO IDEA how long it's been since they're taken notes.

BUT JONNY, Christmas music suuuuuuuucks, you say. Okay, maybe. Not if you love Enya though. If you do love Enya then you are the kind of fool who can get around Christmas pretty easy.  But I made the case for Enya a while ago. This is about 7 Christmas songs that aren't Enya, who do not suck, unless you think they do, but they don't, so you are probably wrong. It's okay. I was wrong about Elysium. I thought it was going to be an awesome movie. It wasn't. At all.

Hit play then meet me after the HTML code.

1. Low - Just Like Christmas ~ Okay, this is a pretty simple song. It's warbly. It's an original. Is good.

2. Bon Voyage - Holly Jolly Christmas ~ This is Jason Martin and his wife, Julie. I like their stuff. I told Jason once at Cornerstone he should make am entire Christmas album. He talked about how he drives trucks 9 months a year so he can afford to tour the other three months. It was sad.

3. The Raveonettes - The Christmas Song ~ What, you don't like the 60s? I can't help you.

4. Starflyer 59 - A Holiday Song ~ What is this like a Jason Martin blog or something? Well, you could do worse.

5. Pedro the Lion - I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day ~ Proof positive that sad-sack-o-crap Christmas songs are probably the best of all possible birds.

6. Sarah Masen - Heaven's Got a Baby ~ Original Christmas songs can be rly good. Esp if they're sung by beautiful little bbies like Sarah Masen.

7. Rosie Thomas - Christmas Don't Be Late ~ I don't know how she did it but Rosie made this terrible terrible Chimpmunks song into an amazing gospel number. No joke. This is gorge. A gorge of beauty. Jumped by Evel Knievel in 1986.

Leave your favorite Christmas song in the comments! Or don't! No skin off my stomach! haha!