PHW - The December 2010 Playlist

MP3 :: On the Inside / Britches

MP3 :: Girlfriend / Ty Segall

MP3 :: Decisions (ft. Yuksel Arslan)

MP3 :: Bow Echo / Great Elk

MP3 :: Never Follow Suit / The Radio Dept.

MP3 :: Still Sound / Toro Y Moi

MP3 :: Artichoke / Pandit

MP3 :: Stamp / The Rural Alberta Advantage

MP3 :: Swim Club / The Cave Singers

MP3 :: Eating An Ocean / Wynn Walent

MP3 :: Little Brown Haired Girls / Frankie Rose & the Outs

MP3 :: Artificial Snow (Bedroom Version) / Atlas Sound

MP3 :: I Do Not Care For The Winter Sun / Beach House


[video] Kanye West - "Monster" (ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, & Bon Iver)

Here’s the official video for the supernatural, star-studded My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy jam.


[Catching Up w/ 2010] Frog Eyes - Paul's Tomb: A Triumph

As 2010 draws to a close, I’m still playing catch up with some of the records that I missed or slept on over the past 12 months. The fact that I’m only now getting into Frog EyesPaul’s Tomb: A Triumph is one that I have no excuse for. I posted both of the songs Dead Oceans made available as free downloads back in February and March, and one of which, “Flower In A Glove”, made such an impression and stuck around enough to earn a place in my Top 20 of the Year. Their last album, 2007’s Tears of the Valedictorian, was a personal favorite that year. How I never picked up the rest of Paul’s Tomb until last week is beyond me. But am I ever glad I did.

Anyone who’s listened to Carey Mercer, either in Frog Eyes, as part of his Swan Lake side project with Dan Bejar and Spencer Krug, or in his quieter solo project Blackout Beach, is probably well aware of the intensity with which Mercer attacks each syllable he sings. He’s known to roar, howl, and yelp like a lunatic, and on Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph he holds nothing back. It’s a 45 minute vocal death charge – raw, manic, reckless, and utterly unnerving. The fact that his band plays every note with such a distinct and disarming volatility only elevates the whole thing.

I love what Coke Machine Glow had to say recently on the supposed difficulty of this record (which, in all honesty, most likely kept me away for so long), in their “Albums of the Year” list (#5, btw) - But once you’ve an ear in the door, listening—just try and turn it off. Every song. Every goddamn song. It’s a fucking miracle, the way Mercer, in the hands of Frog Eyes, takes something so raw and unattractive and executes it with such blissful, unapologetic beauty. So here it is, easily one of the year’s best rock albums, finally getting the props I should have given it months ago.

MP3 :: Flower In A Glove

MP3 :: Lear In Love

(from Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph. Buy here)


Introducing: Britches

Hailing from St. Louis, Britches is a 3-piece act (with mad photoshopping skills) who play a screechingly loud, cacophonous brand of hard rock that I don’t usually associate with the Midwest these days. (Though that’s probably more my being under-informed than any reflection on the current Midwest scene). The songs on Demo, their new free EP available on bandcamp, draw as much, if not more, from noise/experimental bands like Liars or even This Heat as much as straight up indie-rock. “White Noise” fucks with the delicate electric guitars of Radiohead’s “No Surprises” and “---‘s Trash Can” is flat out menacing. My favorite though is “On the Inside”, which opens the record and positively soars, finding the band using their noisier tendencies and strong melodic sense in equal measure.

MP3 :: On the Inside

(from Demo. Download here)


[Catching up w/ 2010] Ty Segall - Melted

Ty Segall’s Melted is one of the 2010 releases that I missed out on completely when it dropped back in the summer. I’ve only caught up with it recently after seeing it on various year end lists over the past few weeks. Melted has some of the most primal, ferocious rock & roll you’ve heard all year over its 30 blistering minutes. It’s almost as ugly as the cover art would suggest. Yet Segall never lets the noise overpower the hooks - Melted is full of sparkling and gritty garage-rock melodies. “Girlfriend” is the perfect place to start – walls of fuzzy guitar, handclaps, snarling vocals, and the most amazing one-note piano solo ever.

MP3 :: Girlfriend

(from Melted. Buy here)


[Catching Up w/ 2010] How To Dress Well - Love Remains

I’ve spent the past two weeks catching up with some of the records that I either slept on this year or missed entirely. How to Dress Well’s debut Love Remains falls into the former group – it’s one I’ve had for a few months but have only recently devoted some time to. HtDW is the solo project of Tom Krell, a guy with a sick falsetto (clearly reminiscent of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon) who writes lithe R&B slow jams and records them on the cheap – full of crackling clicks and hisses. But where some bands use lo-fi recording as a gimmick, the lack of sonic clarity is perhaps the most vital component on Love Remains, allowing the music to come across, as intended, as if they were being drawn out of the deepest corners of childhood memory. The result is a ghostly, highly intimate listening experience and unquestionably one of the most unique albums I’ve heard in ages.

MP3 :: Decisions (feat. Yuksel Arslan)

(from Love Remains. Buy here)


[video] The Sweetbriars - "Virginia, This Christmas"

Continuing the theme of the day, here’s another atypical Christmas song. This one is courtesy of The Sweetbriars and is one that I’ve posted before, but now it’s got a new, perhaps Cee-Lo Green inspired video. So I hope you’re not illiterate. “Virginia, This Christmas” may sound like a direct descendent of a handful of your favorite clean cut holiday classics, but lyrically, it takes some left turns. Pick it up over at iTunes and play it for your grandma.


[mp3] Atlas Sound - "Artificial Snow"

Since it’s been so long since we’ve heard anything new from Bradford Cox, the prolific Deerhunter/Atlas Sound front man decided the time was right to drop 5 different versions of an original holiday themed song on his blog. “Artificial Snow” mines some pretty bleak childhood memories though, not your typical carefree Christmas jingle. Here’s one of the versions, check the others out here.

MP3 :: Artificial Snow (Bedroom version)


[video] PJ Harvey - "The Last Living Rose"

PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake drops February 15 through Vagrant.


[video] Girls - "Heartbreaker"

Girls - "Heartbreaker" from The Tearist on Vimeo.

It’s doubtful that this one is an “official” video (seems a bit too “SFW” for Girls!), but it sure does the trick. It comes via Weekly Tape Deck and features scenes from “Chelsea Girls” by Paul Morissey and Andy Warhol. The achingly wistful “Heartbreaker” is from Girls’ new Broken Dreams Club EP, one of my favorite releases of the year. After you watch, head over to WTD for the MP3.


[mp3] Bright Eyes - "Shell Games"

Saddle Creek released “Shell Games”, a cut from Bright Eye’s upcoming The People’s Key, today, as well as giving us a look at the fiery artwork. The new album drops 2/15/11.


[guest post] 2010 in Review, Vol. 9 - Great Elk

(Paul, right. Photo cred)

Paul Basile is one half of the creative team behind Brooklyn (by way of Alaska, by way of Long Island) indie/folk/rock band Great Elk. I’ve been friends with Paul since he was about 16, collectively obsessing over most of the same bands ever since. But that’s neither here nor there. If Paul was a complete stranger I’d still blast Great Elk’s incredible 5-song EP for anyone who’d listen. After playing around NYC for a few years, first by himself and later as part of the short lived but much loved Here Lies Pa, Basile and guitarist Patrick Hay formed Great Elk. Their first full year together was quite eventful. They dropped the EP last spring, got some nice attention from Paste and Magnet, packed Mercury Lounge a handful of times, and toured all over the Northeast. Check out two seriously great songs from the EP, and then read what Paul had to say about the music he loved (and didn’t love) this year:


MP3 :: Bow Echo

MP3 :: Vibrations

(from the Great Elk EP. Buy here)



Traditionally, I've avoided contributing to year end music lists of any sort because the fact is, for a guy who purportedly loves music, I really don't listen to it that much. I did, once, for a long time. But these days I find that I have little hunger for new music. I don’t really know why that is. I know musicians who actively avoid music for fear it will influence their ‘pure inner voice’ or something but I don’t buy that. Maybe I’m just content to continue ripping off the same artists I was 5 years ago.

Anyway, I not-so-gracefully dodged contributing to this series last year so I decided to put some real thought into 2010 and me and music. Not surprisingly, I don’t have much to say about music that came out this year (not much that’s positive, anyway) but I’ll say as much as I can about what I have been listening to, whether it’s of this 365 days or not.

I’ll start on a negative note with the obvious things that did come out in 2010 which are some of the records that I assume a lot of people will be talking about in these sort of things. In fact, I’m just going to lump a few albums together - The Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, The National’s High Violet and Band of Horses’ Infinite Arms are the three records I was excited about at the start of this year, before they were released. These are three bands that came to my attention somewhere between 2004 and 2006 and seem to have held my attention pretty well since. As I watched them move from Funeral to Neon Bible, Alligator to Boxer and Everything all of the Time to Cease to Begin, I think I believed I was witnessing three bands at the beginnings of important legacies in rock music. Certainly, that may still be true but all three of them left me disappointed me this year. In all fairness, I didn’t even try to like BOH’s newest effort. It was obvious to me after a couple listens that them boys have lost their balls. Was he serious with that Bartles and James shit? Shouldn’t that be a line from an early Gin Blossoms song or something?

The thing is, with Arcade Fire and The National I really did try. Damn, I can even hear myself defending them before friends who were hating a few months ago. But despite serious and honest efforts, those records just never sank in with me. I don’t dislike them, but knowing that I’m going to see them all over “Top Ten” lists in a few weeks bugs me. Both records sound good and sound distinctly like Arcade Fire and The National, respectively. The Suburbs sounds to me like filler from an earlier, superior, Arcade Fire album. Every song on High Violet makes me wish I were listening to Boxer, or even better, Alligator. I think it’s just that the songs aren’t as good.

The funny thing is that if I had to pick a “Top Ten” from this year those two albums would be at or near the top. As I said earlier, I’m not paying a whole lot of attention these days.

So what do I like that was released this year? I’m pretty into The Tallest Man on Earth. The Wild Hunt has probably gotten nearly as much play as anything in my house in 2010. My wife and I both love Beach House’s Teen Dream too.

If we were still playing cassette tapes at home the one we would have worn out this year is Blind Pilot’s 3 Rounds and a Sound. While this Portland, OR folk outfit’s debut was released in 2008 it’s only in the last 10 or 12 months that I found it. In some ways I think my love of this record marks a reversion to some younger version of my self as a music listener. Blind Pilot sounds much more like something I’d have listened to when I was a Birkenstock wearing 18 yr old in the 90’s (Jim knew me then) than anything else that gets frequent play on my iPod. At first, I only begrudgingly liked it, in spite of all my 21st century indie-rock pretenses. Sonically, the album’s foundation is a nylon string guitar and brushes on a snare drum. Add bass for a song here, some horns for a chorus there and some occasional coloring from strings, a banjo or an accordion and you’ve basically got it. The strength of 3 Rounds and a Sound is its consistently strong melodies. The genius of it is that there’s nothing to get in the way of them. This is by no means ground-breaking stuff but at a time when so much of the music I’ve listened to in the last few years seems to be getting tired (or sounding like variations on the same few themes) it’s been refreshing to soak up some well done, completely unpretentious folk rock.

My other favorite album of 2010 is even older. Neil Young’s On the Beach came out in 1974 and was the highly anticipated follow-up to Harvest. When it hit it seems that folks were pretty shocked by its rawness in comparison to its beautifully produced predecessor. It received rave reviews and die hard fans loved it but it never had the commercial success of Harvest. The record was taken out of print in the early 80’s, appeared on cassette only briefly and then wasn’t released on CD until 2003. Its rarity made it a highly sought-after, all but forgotten nugget from what were undeniably Young’s best years. I stumbled upon On the Beach a few years ago but it’s only in the last six months that I’ve really dug into it. This is an album best listened to from top to bottom but highlights include “See the Sky about to Rain”, “Motion Pictures” and “Ambulance Blues”.

Some other things I like that I think you should listen to (most of which came out this year)… Secondstar – Teeth, Wynn Walent – Eating an Ocean, Casey Shea – Love is Here to Stay, Jessi Robertson’s single, “Half Moon”, Matt Singer – Live at The Warehouse, Monuments – Monuments.



[mp3] Cut Copy - "Take Me Away (Thee Loving Hand remix)"

Australian electro-pop pioneers Cut Copy are releasing the follow up to their acclaimed In Ghost Colours this February. Zonoscope, along with its very cool artwork, drops in the U.S. on 2/8, and you can get a free download of bouncy first single “Where I’m Going” below. Today the band made Thee Loving Hand’s (Tim Goldsworthy, producer of In Ghost Colours) extended, hypnotic remix of album cut “Take Me Over” available as another free download. Follow the link to Cut Copy’s website to check it out:

MP3 :: Take Me Over (Thee Loving Hand remix)



SONGS of the YEAR - 2010

Here’s a list of my favorite songs of 2010, with no artist appearing more than once. Otherwise Titus Andronicus would have 3 songs in the top ten. Hope you like the same music as me in the exact same order:

1. Titus Andronicus

“A More Perfect Union” (mp3)


2. The Tallest Man on Earth

“Love is All”


3. Sleigh Bells

“Rill Rill”


4. LCD Soundsystem

“All I Want”

LCD Soundsystem - All I Want (Live) from Big Ass Lens on Vimeo.


5. Kanye West

“Runaway (ft. Pusha T)”


6. Arcade Fire

“The Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”


7. The Radio Dept.

“Heaven’s On Fire” (mp3)

The Radio Dept. - Heaven's On Fire from Thal on Vimeo.


8. Four Tet x The xx

“VCR (Four Tet remix)”

The xx - VCR (Four Tet remix) by Four Tet


9. French Kissing

“Oh Suzanne” (mp3) (Year in Review guest post)


10. Broken Social Scene

“Meet Me in The Basement”


11. Deerhunter



12. Tennis

“Marathon” (mp3)

TENNIS - MARATHON from Chocolate Bobka on Vimeo.


13. Botany

“Feeling Today” (mp3) (Year in Review guest post)


14. The Walkmen

“Angela/Surf City”

The Walkmen Angela Surf City [1 of 3] from Ray Concepcion on Vimeo.


15. Japandroids

“Younger Us” (mp3)


16. Joanna Newsom

“Baby Birch”


17. Janelle Monae

“Tightrope (ft. Big Boi)”


18. Great Elk

“Bow Echo” (mp3)


19. Weekend

“Coma Summer” (mp3)


20. Frog Eyes

“A Flower in a Glove” (mp3)


21. The Black Keys / “She’s Long Gone”

22. Beach House / “Walk In the Park” (video)

23. Cee-Lo Green / “Fuck You” (video)

24. No Age / “Glitter” (mp3)

25. Why Write? / “Burning Holes” (mp3)

26. Women / “Eyesore” (mp3)

27. The War on Drugs / “The History of Plastic” (mp3)

28. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti / “Round and Round” (mp3)

29. The National / “Terrible Love” (video)

30. Phosphorescent / “The Mermaid Parade” (mp3)

31. Justin Townes Earle / “Harlem River Blues” (mp3)

32. Vampire Weekend / “Taxi Cab”

33. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists / “The Mighty Sparrow” (mp3)

34. Spoon / “Trouble Comes Running”

35. Big Boi / “Shutterbug (ft. Cutty)” (video)

36. Shearwater / “Castaways” (mp3)

37. Best Coast / “The End”

38. Marah / “Within the Spirit Sagging” (video)

39. Sam Amidon / “Relief” (mp3)

40. The New Pornographers / “The Crash Years”

41. Earl Pickens & Family / “True Too”

42. Soft Black / “We Scatter Light” (mp3)

43. Suuns / “Organ Blues”

44. Millionyoung / “Calrissian” (mp3 – follow link)

45. Crystal Castles / “Not in Love (ft. Robert Smith)”

46. La Sera / “Never Come Around” (mp3) (video)

47. James Blake / “CMYK”

48. Here We Go Magic / “Collector” (mp3)

49. Seapony / “Dreaming” (mp3)

50. David Shane Smith / “Creatures” (mp3)

51. Girls / “Heartbreaker” (mp3)

52. Evenings / “Still Young” (mp3)

53. The Roadside Graves / “Liv Tyler” (mp3)

54. David Dondero / “Wherever You Go” (mp3)

55. Wild Nothing / “Summer Holiday” (mp3)

56. Cotton Jones / “Glorylight & Christie” (mp3)

57. How to Dress Well / “Decisions (ft. Yuksel Arslan)” (mp3)

58. Neon Indian “ “Sleep Paralysist” (mp3)

59. The Drums / “Let’s Go Surfing” (mp3)

60. ceo / “Come With Me” (mp3)

61. The Spend / “Gills (Dry)” (mp3) (Year in Review guest post)

62. The Vaccines / “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” (video)

63. Frankie Rose & The Outs / “Little Brown Haired Girls” (mp3)

64. Sharon Van Etten / “Love More” (mp3)

65. Pantha du Prince / “Lay In A Shimmer”

66. Disappears / “Magics”

67. Banjo or Freakout / “Left it Alone” (mp3)

68. Das Rascist / “hahahaha jk?” (mp3)

69. Magic Kids / “Summer” (mp3)

70. Wakey! Wakey! / “Got It All Wrong”

71. Delorean – “Stay Close” (mp3)

72. Perfume Genius / “Learning” (mp3)

73. M.I.A. – “It Takes A Muscle”

74. Beach Fossils / “Youth” (mp3)

75. Coma Cinema / “Her Sinking Sun” (mp3)

76. Harlem / “Friendly Ghost” (mp3)

77. Reading Rainbow / “Wasting Time” (mp3)

78. Tokyo Police Club / “Breakneck Speed”

79. Wynn Walent / “Eating an Ocean” (mp3)

80. The Capstan Shafts / “Quiet Wars” (mp3)

81. Free Energy / “Bang Pop” (video)

82. Meursault / “Crank Resolutions” (mp3)

83. Male Bonding / “Year’s Not Long” (mp3)

84. Secret Knives / “Black Hole” (mp3)

85. Bikini / “American Mourning” (mp3)

86. Damien Jurado / “Arkansas” (mp3)

87. Dum Dum Girls / “Jail La La” (mp3)

88. jj / “Let Go” (mp3)

89. Toro Y Moi / “Leave Everywhere” (mp3)

90. The Hold Steady / “The Sweet Part of the City”

91. J. Tillman / “Diamondback” (mp3)

92. Out Like Lambs / Bred to Bug (mp3)

93. Kurt Vile / “In My Time” (mp3)

94. Los Campesinos! / “Romance is Boring”

95. The Acorn / “Restoration” (mp3)

96. Memoryhouse / “Lately (Deuxieme)”

97. Quiet Ligts / “Twice Today” (mp3)

98. Slow Animal / “theFUNsun” (mp3)

99. Paper the Operator / “The Pendulum” (mp3)

100. Stars / “Fixed”

101. Grant Gilman – “Homewrecker” (mp3)