Saturday, April 10, 2010

Long Drive Home/Quarterly Round-Up

2010 is off to a bang, and my what a bang it is going to be when it's all said and done. In less than 90 days, I will be back in Tennessee with Boston in the rearview mirror. It's kind of sad, but not really. In truth, it's a relief and exciting to know that for the 1st time in 12 years I will be settled in one place with some permanence! For our cross country trek (Oregon Trail-style!), I couldn't think of a better soundtrack than what 2010 has already delivered. Can't wait to see what the rest of this year holds (IN EVERY ASPECT!).

Here are my favorite records for
the 1st Quarter of 2010:

(that I have PURCHASED)

Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
I've already spoken ad-nauseum about this one. It's great. Enough said. It's the follow up that Fleet Foxes still hasn't released.

: Local Natives - "Sun Hands"

Harlem - Hippies
This AZ band via Austin is keeping my love of garage/retro rock alive. Their major indie debut on Matador is step up from their last outing, Free Drugs. Matador Records a stalwart of American Independent Labels is under the Beggars Group that also owns stake in Rough Trade, XL, 4AD, and the now defunct Beggars Banquet. All those labels are putting out some of the best music available right now. Harlem is the latest addition to a long list of legends in independent music.

Download: Harlem - "Gay Human Bones"

Surfer Blood - Astro Coast
Is surf rock back? I think so. It is rising up along the same lines with the flower punk. Surfer Blood is NOT surf rock, though. It is something like a bastard child of the Pixies/Breeders with My Morning Jacket (don't attach too much to the MMJ reference - I say that only b/c the singer has vocals that are reverbed out the wazzoo - he is NO Jim James)
***THIS JUST IN*** - They are going on tour with Pains of Being Pure at Heart and will be coming to the Hi-Tone in Memphis and the Bottletree in the big, salty 'Ham. So you better get off your couch and check out what should be an amazing show. THERE!

Download: Surfer Blood - "Floating Vibes"

Spoon - Transference
One of my favorite bands is back for more with less. Scaling things back for a more raw/rough sound than 2007's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Transference is more along the lines of Gimme Fiction without going fully minimalist like Kill the Moonlight. (I still like Ga and Girls Can Tell the best!)

Download: Spoon - "Mystery Zone"

Vampire Weekend - CONTRA
Saw the ol' VW last week at the Orpheum. I feel like I've seen it all. It felt like your umpteenth Dave Matthews Band concert in High School. I fear the next time I see them will be like the one DMB concert I saw in college (snore........). Regardless, the show was excellent and fun. Contra is of the vein of if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Little studio tricks are toyed with (autotune), but it is still Vampire Weekend plain and simple. Spring has arrived and I believe it is time to put on my boat shoes!

Download: Vampire Weekend - "Giving Up the Gun"

She & Him - Volume 2
Zooey and M are back to sugarcoat your brains out! These little ditties are sappy as all get out, but they are good in their own simplicity. So, channel Phil Spector producing a Judy Garland/Patsy Cline duet album, put on your retro clothes (girls grab your favorite thrift store skirt and flats), prepare for a deadpan delivery and get lost in what sounds like music for a 70's Disney cartoon (Robin Hood, I'm looking at you....).

Download: She & Him - "In the Sun"

Let me tell you what let me down so far:

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
The Soft Pack
BOOO! You could do better!

There is plenty of awesome other music that came out that I really like but haven't gotten around to purchasing, yet:

The Morning Benders - Big Echo
Dum Dum Girls - I Will Be
Los Campensinos - Romance is Boring
Beach House - Teen Dream
Happy Birthday - Happy Birthday

and on and on........

There is also a lot coming out soon to be fired up about:

New Pornographers
The National
Avi Buffalo

and more!

It's gonna be a great year for us and for music!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bad Kids - Kids Like You and Me

Last week, I finally got to see the Black Lips in concert. They blew my socks off in 2007 with their live album from Tijuana and Good Bad Not Evil. They have come through Boston at least 4 times since we have been here - missed 'em every time... No more. I also finally graced the infamous Middle East in Cambridge. So many times I was gonna go to a show and.......nope. Done and done. Both were great! I was way late to the dance even in 2007. While I was in dental school in Memphis, R.A. Weinstock, the beatnik scenester in our class would always tell me to meet her and her crew at the Buccaneer in Midtown. King Khan and BBQ show were always playing there, and little did I know that the Black Lips were often in tow. I never made it - still bums me out, but I still have my King Khan/BBQ mix tape cassette that she gave me in the stereo to this day. It always warranted a trip to Goner Records in Cooper/Young. In the 00's, King Khan, the Black Lips, et al carried the torch the Brian Jonestown Massacre carried in the mid-90's. The flower punk, garage rock, drug scene, 60's soul revival is alive and well. It's basically like Sam the Sham being backed by the Shangri-La's. Watching these guys play, it feels like you have been transported to the sock hop diner on acid (really wouldn't know...).

On Pitchfork this week, they are streaming the documentary, We Fun, that follows the music scene in Atlanta circa 2005-2008. The Black Lips are primary players along with Deerhunter, Mastodon, the Selmanaires, and many others. I love a good music doc. It is in the vein of DIG!, except no rivalries or sadness. It's just people hanging out at house parties, clubs and talking about the scene (and how hey have a severe distaste of the scene in Athens). Check it out HERE if you like music.

Black Lips New Years Eve at the end of We Fun