Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Mixtape 2K10

Every year, I make a Christmas mixtape for family, friends and Internet friends. And if you're new here, there's an embarrassment of riches to be had: a four year back catalog of themed mixes. Kaboom.

It Feels Like Christmas Again — 2010 Christmas Mixtape

Year-end lists coming soon. Stay tuned, nerds.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Retroactive Rebuttal: Loney, dear. — Loney, Noir.

You know how sometimes you look back on an older review and think, "That sh*t still hurts." And three years later you still want to say something about it? Boom, the Retroactive Rebuttal category is born thusly.

I don't know what inspired me to buy Loney, Noir in the first place (besides all the most benevolent and beautiful forces of the universe), since the review was mostly composed of hilarious little jokes by one of Pitchfork's cleverer writers, peppered with a few backhanded compliments and punctuated by a big stinky 6.6 rating. The "review" ended with this gem: "After all, even the comfiest blanket chafes if someone's giving you an Indian burn with it." (As opposed to the ending I had hoped for, in which the reviewer gets his fixed gear bike shoved up his ass wheel-first.)

Loney, Noir is lots of fun. But not just the kind of fun that you smile and bob your head to as it jangles along, glockenspiels a-ringing. It's the kind of fun that makes you smile, fills you with hope and makes you wonder if you might start crying at any moment. It's simply gorgeous. Heartbreakingly so. I still get lumps in my throat sometimes when I listen to it. Loney, Noir just slays me.

I might be crazy, but there are some records that I am very, very careful how much I listen. Because I don't want them to lose their specialness. Loney, Noir is one of those. But sitting here listening to it again as I write this (and am gleefully distracted from writing this), I can tell you that it's still magic for me. And unless you're made of wood or something, I imagine it will be for you too.

Loney, dear. — I Am John
Loney, dear. — Hard Days

And now that I'm posting this, I'm remembering what made me buy the record. It was this video:

And this one (it's a two-video post!):


Monday, November 29, 2010

Sin of Omission: The Octopus Project — Hexadecagon

I've been a fan of The Octopus Project since I laid ears on 2007's Hello Avalanche. I've got a soft spot for good electronic music, and they found it faster than a swarthy ethnic lover.

They brought some obvious looping business to the party, as well as some analog synth, guitar, live drums and this adorable Donna Reed-looking girl playing a theremin. It veered effortlessly from frenetic and squelchy to smooth and lovely. So far, so awesome.

I would liken the evolution between Hello, Avalanche and Hexadecagon to that of Dan Deacon from Spiderman of the Rings to Bromst. A little less noisy, even prettier, more organic and — at the risk of sounding like a pretentious mustache blogging about music — more mature.

I don't know what Pitchfork thought about Hexdecagon, because they didn't deign to review it. They straight ignored it. Which is weird, because they had nice enough things to say about their first two records. It's also quite unfortunate, because sometimes a non-review is almost worse than a bad or lukewarm review — because it seems to send the message that a record is irrelevant. Or at least less relevant than whatever Best Coast and Wavves are saying on Twitter about Katy Perry, anyway. Neat.

The Octopus Project — Fuguefat

BONUS: The too-precious-to-omit "Wet Gold" video from 2009's (also snubbed) Golden Beds EP.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Rebuttal: Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. — Record Collection

I've been aware — and passively respectful — of Mark Ronson for a while now, but mostly uninterested. By that I mean: what he does he does well, it's just not for me.

I recognize how expertly-produced that Amy Winehouse record was, but I don't much care for the sixties throwback stuff. Lily Allen's Alright, Still ... same situation — technically excellent, but that ska/reggae business just makes my wiener soft. And then when his previous solo album Version came out, boasting a tracklist of neo-soul covers of "clever" and "unexpected" modern pop songs, I rolled my eyes so hard I think I heard something pop.

All that to say: I wasn't expecting much (anything) from Mark Ronson and the Business Intl's Record Collection. But as it turns out, no previous Mark Ronson enjoyment is required here. It sports a completely different aesthetic from anything he's been associated with in the past. It's all synthy and fun, all pop and hip-hop. No horns, and way easy on the soul schtick. And this pleases me.

Pitchfork damned Record Collection with a middling 5.4, which I don't get at all. I haven't decided yet how much time I'll devote trying to reason out why they say the foolish things they do in reviews, but off the top of my head this one probably suffered due to its being a major label release, Mark Ronson's being too damn handsome (and successful) and maybe too accessible. Who the hell even knows.

What I know is the thing is just a lot of fun, and should not be dismissed as a 5.anything. Pffft. Below is one super-rad music video and one mp3 so you can see how right I am.

Mark Ronson & the Business Intl. — You Gave Me Nothing