Apr 15, 2013

Never Run Away

I missed this originally, but this is a pretty cute way to send a promo track out into the world. Anyway, this gives me the opportunity to talk about how amazing Kurt Vile's new record is. I was already really into this guy thanks to the tracks I checked out from Constant Hitmaker and Childish Prodigy (I believe "Freak Train" was the first song to hook me), but the excellent Smoke Ring For My Halo from 2011 elevated me to full-on fan status. And now, well, I think I just might cross the line into obsession soon, if my first couple of plays of Waking On A Pretty Daze are any indication. I think this record pulls together a lot of disparate strings in his discography, creating the sort of classic-rock inspired opus he was always bound to unleash. This sounds bigger and brighter than the early lo-fi stuff, but also a lot more "rocking" than the super laid-back Smoke Ring vibe. Don't get me wrong, Vile is still a super chill guy, as many of the lyrics will attest, but this finds him up off the couch and, however reluctantly, out in the world. One of things I love best is how relatable his lyrics are, even if they are barely the sober side of late-night stoner reflection, there's an existentialist depth that reveals Vile to be a much smarter guy than his detractors might want to acknowledge. But really, it all comes down to those killer, epic guitar jams. If you're already a fan of his work, you've no doubt already had this on repeat. If not, this would be a great place to start.

Apr 11, 2013

"Words and Guitar"

It's been a bit of a hectic week for me, so here's some vintage Sleater-Kinney for us.

Apr 10, 2013

Anticipating The Terror

For a band that I was ready to write off completely after 2006's messy, over-produced At War with the Mystics, the Flaming Lips have bounced back in a big way to regain their status as one of my favorite rock bands (despite Wayne Coyne's best efforts to convince me otherwise, I still think he's an asshole for that Erykah Badu thing). Anyway, Embryonic was a hugely exciting album for me, one that soundtracked some really difficult moments in my life and ended up as my album of the year for 2009. All of their "wacky" experiments since haven't really moved me one way or another, although I thought their take on Dark Side of the Moon with Stardeath and White Dwarfs was quite fun and there were enough moments on the Heady Fwends thing to keep it interesting. I had high hopes for this follow-up, but that Super Bowl commercial that featured "Sun Blows Up Today" had me afraid they'd slid back to their post-Yoshimi populist nadir. But, as it turns out, that isn't even really on the album proper and, judging from the four minute teaser video up top, there is little to worry about. The band is still definitively in a relatively "outre" period. It'll be tough to match, let alone top, Embryonic, but I'm encouraged to hear them try.

Apr 9, 2013

Ashley Monroe & an ex-Friend of Tom

It's rare that I seek out a new country album, but I couldn't pass up on something new from one-third of Pistol Annies without giving it a shot. And, damn, after hearing this one I'm fairly certain that I've been overrating Miranda Lambert's contributions to the team. Monroe trades in exactly the kind of country I like and, sadly, the kind I rarely hear when I flip the dial over to a modern country station. Hers is all down on your luck ballads and honky-tonk stompers, the kind that would've slotted in on playlists better in 1978 than they do today (particularly that fine duet with Blake Shelton - a guy I've never really given much shrift before). If you remain skeptical, give a listen to "Two Weeks Late", "Weed Instead of Roses", "You Got Me" or "You Ain't Dolly (And You Ain't Porter)" and be convinced.

Also, I'm glad for this weekend's very minor Twit-beef with a certain comedian for not only reminding me to spend more time on this blog, but for giving me more views than I've gotten in a long time. The whole thing was actually quite funny and unexpected. Comedian made a string of mostly unfunny jokes about easy targets that fell pretty far from his normally pretty hilarious wheelhouse and I called him out for them, never thinking in a million years that a comedian of his stature would even read, much less respond, to a lazy tweet from a guy with a whopping 55 followers. But I was wrong and, much like a disappointing number of people that spend a lot of time on social media, he quickly revealed himself to be surprisingly insecure and a bit of a bully. Not that he said anything particularly harsh, nor untrue, just thought it was funny to see a professional comedian taking time out of his life to make fun of a nobody like me. Ah, well. It was mostly disappointing because I've been a big, big fan of his radio show for nearly a decade now and I was excited for him because he seems to be on the verge of breaking through to a whole new level with some new projects he's been involved in. All in all it just serves as a reminder on two fronts; 1) Twitter isn't always just shouting into the void as it can feel for most users without thousands of followers, and 2) celebrities, no matter their stature or fanbase, are only human and, sometimes, disappointingly so.