It’s that time of week again, folks — the end of week, and time to get your jam on. (We tried it out twice a week last week, and felt that once a week was quite enough, and made for more appealing playslists...) The ongoing listening series otherwise known as The Well-Played List features the most listened-to songs, albums and artists of the week as submitted by the CL Music Team along with a rotating crew of tastemakers — local music promoters, record store and venue owners, music fans and scenesters, DJs, musicians, and a radio personality or two; check the past several week’s worth here. Audio and video included, along with any applicable show information. And on that note, what are you jamming this week? Tell us in the comments…
Phantogram, Voices (2014) The duo has all the elements I like in an electronic band: sexy female vocalist, equally mesmerizing male counterpart, a sweet mix of shoe-gazy haze, trip hop scuzz and synth fuzzy grooves. Sophomore full-length Voices - out Feb. 15 on Republic Records - is already sounding like a winner. Can't wait to dig a little deeper into this one; stay tuned for a review... and listen "Fall in Love" below.
After a graciously-accepted plethora of Gift Certificates for Christmas, I treated myself to this wonderful Ultravox collection (see picture at left). The Albums 1980-2012 is a beautiful remastered 9-CD box set of Ultravox's complete outings (the Midge Ure-era), including the live releases Monument and Return To Eden. So far, it's treating me nicely. "One Small Day" video below.
Mark Kozelek & Jimmy Lavalle, Perils from the Sea (2013) Mark Kozelek (of Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters) and Jimmy Lavalle (The Album Leaf) make a surprisingly stellar team on this collaboration. Lavalle's layered subtlety is an ideal accompaniment to some of the most thoughtful lyrics Kozelek has created to date.
Three bands that I've been wearing out lately because of their retro vibe and love of reverb and fuzzy guitar riffs:
Surf City, We Knew It Was Not Going to Be Like This (2013)
Boogarins, As Plantas Que Curam (2013)
Night Beats, Sonic Bloom (2013)
INFINITE SKILLZ | Emcee; promoter/owner/main dude, B.A.S.E. Inc. Music
Kendrick Lamar, "Kurupted" (2009) Kendrick Lamar's (previously unreleased) track recently fell across my laptop. If you like alpha male hip hop (I do), it is at least worth a listen but I'm not sure it has ANY replay value. I want to like Kendrick more but this song isn't helping.
Awkword, "Go" featuring Maya Azucena, Slug (from Atmosphere) & Joell Ortiz (2013) A better option might be this track, which has an upbeat chorus from Maya Azucena. Way better beat courtesy of Domingo and a lot less chest pounding. Besides, as we found out with the whole "Control" verse fallout, a few bars from Ortiz cures any common case of the Kendrick.
Constant Mongrel, Heavy Breathing (2013) Once again Australia does it best with these art damaged post-punk brooders. Everything moves forward at a steady, snappy 4/4 and a near constant clean guitar jangle is offset by some incredibly menacing basslines. Despite thick layers of instrumentation everything feels incredibly spare and sounds as though it was recorded on a shoe phone - nevermind that, this is the kind of music that causes discomfort and unease in the best possible way.
Gino and the Goons, Play Loud (2013) If you don't know Gino and his merry band of Goons (and it's hard not to, they've been around for the better part of forever), you're missing on one of our area's finest rough garage-trash gems. Did I mention lo-fi? This thing is no-frills brash and loud, frequently off-key and even more frequently awesome. Keep an eye on local music schedules and make it a point to catch these guys; you'll be hard-pressed to find a more obnoxiously enjoyable local band.
The Julie Ruin, Run Fast (2013) Kathleen Hanna was one of my first musical and feminist icons, so whenever she releases a new project, I have to check it out, even if it now takes me a few months instead of a few days (like back in high school) to do so. Run Fast is an upbeat dance-punk album that takes elements from Hanna's last three musical projects and smashes them together; unfortunately, the elements used are not the strongest from her repertoire. Gone is Bikini Kill's shrill, in-your-face, snotty abrasiveness that felt like such a revelation when I was younger. Also gone is Julie Ruin's lo-fi, made-in-the-bedroom-closet charm. Le Tigre's music-as-political-art is not here, either. What remains is a catchy album made with a full band (including Kathi Wilcox, from Bikini Kill). It's nothing I can't listen to more than once, but not necessarily something I'd want to listen to on repeat for hours, either. It's good to put on to get through a mid-moring slump at work or to blast while cleaning the house, maybe. After gaining an upswing after a bout of Lyme Disease, Hanna has said she just wanted to make a fun, fast-tempo album with her friends, and with Run Fast, she achieved her goal. Vieo for "Oh Come On" below.
You Blew It!, Keep Doing What You're Doing (2014, Top Shelf Records) Arguably one of the most anticipated records of 2014. It leaked last week in advance of the official release and spread like wildfire throughout the digital world, bringing the Orlando outfit's jangly alternative rock to the masses. YBI! has received great reviews from the almighty Pitchfork (a 7.6 for the latest), so it's high time to jump on this bandwagon. Tampa is familiar with YBI!; they headlined SubAp's anniversary party last year, which won a Best of the Bay award. Don't miss them when they come back to town. This record is a follow up to Grow Up, Dude and the band clearly took their own advice and learned some lessons that they recount in detail through the clever and informative lyrics on their new record. I've listened to it about 30 times and I love every song. You will, too. Listen to the track "Album of the Year Album" below, then stream the whole album here.
Robyn Hitchcock, "One Long Pair of Eyes" (1989) Excited about next the show next Thurs., Jan. 23, at Palladium Theater, and wanted to share my love of his eccentric genius — on display to full effect in this tune, from 1989's Queen Elvis (A&M Records). "On the black Fellini sails / Tattered rags that hangs on nails reminds me / You the mistress of your chair/ I the sergeant of your hair — you blind me."
I went back and listened to Vitalogy — terrific stuff — then dug out some Soundgarden (Badmotorfinger, their second best after Superunknown), which led to The Melvins' Houdini and Mudhoney's Superfuzz Big Muff.
Grunge may have become a dirty word, but a lot of the stuff that came out of Seattle in the late '80s/early '90s — whatever you care to call it — was pretty damn great...