Sunday, December 31, 2006

Great moments in the letter "D".
Just a couple random bits of genius to help you celebrate the grisly death of the year 2006. First is the b-side to The Dismemberment Plan's What Do You Want Me to Say? 7", "Since You Died", a track that's been sitting un-listened-to on my computer for months. I finally checked it out yesterday and hoooooolllly shit. It sounds like The D-Plan covering something off Tweez, its incredible. You can get the whole 7" off eMusic (thank you DeSoto) if you're so inclined, but if you feel iffy about signing up and paying for things, I understand.

The Dismemberment Plan - "Since You Died" (from What Do You Want Me to Say?)

The second thing is from a band that recently sent me a friend request on Myspace, probably because we both listed "Grunge" as a descriptor of our things that we do. The important thing here, though, is that they're a Brazilian power-violence band that loves the Meat Puppets (the painting to the left is a Curt Kirkwood). Its not often that I get a request from a band that totally rules--they generally come from a group of human losers or from a band that's from one of the two cities in Russia that I've set foot in, who have an EP called "Gays Vs. Cops". Actually, that only happened once. Anyway:

Descendencia - "Nao Ha Valores" (streaming)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Walkmen Shmalkmen.
It didn't seem like much on paper, but The Walkmen's re-make of Harry Nilsson's 1974 album, Pussy Cats (itself maybe not the greatest idea on paper), works exceptionally well as both a loving homage to Nilsson and his booze pals, and as a sort of one-last-blowout dedication to their now-defunct privately-run Brooklyn recording studio, Marcata. Its a shame, too, because the production and performances are top-notch, maybe the best I've ever heard from these guys--and they've had nothing but great recordings, if not always great songs, from the get-go. Plus, there's something to be said for taking a crazy idea and going all the way with it, just for kicks. There's also something to be said for sweet Ian Svenonius cameos, particularly on their version of Nilsson's version of "Save the Last Dance". My only gripe is that their take on "Don't Forget Me" isn't quite as awesome as Jonathan Fire*Eater's from a while back, which I'm farily certain you can find on the CD version of the When the Curtain Calls For You single, but NOT the 7" version.

The Walkmen feat. Ian Svenonius - "Save the Last Dance" (from Pussy Cats)
The Walkmen - "Mucho Mungo/Mt. Elga" (from Pussy Cats)
Jonathan Fire*Eater - "Don't Forget Me" (from When the Curtain Calls For You)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fish Fury.
It snowed a little today, so let's do this. These are some no-brainer picks for best Coke Rap records of the year, the ones that (ahem) cracked the top 10 of '06 lists in every publication in the universe (well, maybe not every publication). But that's only because they were seriously great in a field that gets more baffling every year. Ghostface's Fishscale was my favorite on the grounds that he is fucking hilarious and raps like no other human on Earth. Two words from him--"banana nutrament", "metal lungees", "tits project", etc.--trump most rappers' entire careers. Listen to him say, "I'm ready to fuck Catwoman or something", among other nuggets:

Ghostface feat. Raekwon - "Kilo" (from Fishscale)
Ghostface - "Underwater" (from Fishscale)

Clipse weren't exactly slouching either, and came through with a sophomore effort that hit as hard or harder than the unquestionably great mix-tape shit they've been dropping for the last couple years. I only deducted points from them for throwing some major duds on Hell Hath, which ironically were (I think) two of the songs released as singles ("Wamp Wamp" and "Trill"). The remaining songs will have you bouncin' and looking at the drug trade as something really fun to hear about--because it is really fun to hear about, and Pusha T. and Malice are the most engaging MCs in the game right now. Pharrell and Chad kind of nailed it on this record, too.

Clipse - "Dirty Money" (from Hell Hath No Fury)
Clipse - "Hello New World" (from Hell Hath No Fury)
DJ Benzi & Evil Empire - "You'll See (Dainjah Remix)" (from We Got The Remix)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"Thanks a lot!"
If you're an insane Harvey Milk fan, this was basically the best year of your life, or at the very least the best year of your life since sometime in the mid to late '90s. They released a new album, Special Wishes, that annihilated absolutely everything in its path (including critics' ability to put it on their year-end best-of lists, apparently) and a companion 7" to that album containing the best Leonard Cohen cover on a B-side probably ever. They also re-issued their fucking heaving monstrosity of genius (Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men) that had been criminally out-of-print for about 10 years, got the deluxe DVD treatment from Chunklet with Anthem, and played some, I can only assume, mind-melting shows to people who had the foresight to start living in and around Georgia and New York City. And its maybe worth mentioning that, for me, they went from being an old, kind of weird band from Athens with a sweet Thrones vibe to being one of my favorite bands of all time, from any genre, in a single year. Its a tough thing to explain, but these guys SMOKE (in every sense of the word!) and these are my picks for some of their smokingest moments of 2006:

Harvey Milk - "The End" (from Special Wishes)
Harvey Milk - "The Old Revolution" (from I Got a Love 7")
Harvey Milk - "The Lord's Prayer" (from Courtesy and Good Will Toward Men)

Simple things that have a name.
The other group of scraggly weirdos who vaulted out of nowhere into gold-star status in my mind was Dr. Dog. Try to resist the video for "Fool's Life"! Its nigh impossible. I didn't take good (or, y'know, any) notes on what I listened to everyday this year, but I think I can safely say Dr. Dog was on the agenda for anywhere between 250 and 300 days out of a possible 365 (or...366? I don't know.). They were the hardest working Beatles-y '70s lite-boogie band in show business, if show business consisted entirely of my drive to and from work and the couple of hours(?) right after I get home when I go through my daily internet routine. Easy Beat was the first big obsession, followed by the scrappy but kind of even more jaw-dropping Toothbrush. The icing on the cake was this past fall's Takers and Leavers EP, which featured a handful of songs that I didn't think I needed to hear until I heard them and then tried to go a couple days without hearing them. And then the ice cream to go with that cake was their track from the Fast Food Nation soundtrack. February 27, 2007 can't come soon enough, for real.

Dr. Dog - "Goner" (from Takers and Leavers)
Dr. Dog - "Worst Trip" (from Fast Food Nation: OST)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Alright, so here's the place where I'm going to talk about music that I think is absolutely 100%, black-card-era worth your time, and for my first post I thought I'd talk about two undisputed champions who have some connection to Christmas (for me anyway). Also, I don't have a server per se, so the track links go to a corresponding SendSpace page where you can download them. Major apologies for not letting you sample these jams, but like I said these are 100% guaranteed. Throw your card down, WALK THE FUCK OUT! And begin!

So yeah, Chavez. I took a chance on these guys back in the fall of 2005, after falling in love with Matt Sweeney and Bonnie "Prince" Billy's collaborative effort, Superwolf, and doing a little bit of accidental research on Sweeney. I got a copy of Gone Glimmering, listened to it a little bit, thought it was pretty good, and mentally lumped it in with the other slightly-before-my-time alt-rock that didn't feel super cringe-y (a group that includes Dinosaur Jr and Jawbox's Novelty and...that's probably it). But it wasn't until I was working on Christmas Day (a feat I'll be performing again this year), driving down totally empty streets, delivering ExpressMail® packages to bewildered families ("You guys work on Christmas?" "Yeah. Well, I mean...I do.") in the middle of fucking nowhere (much love to Stanley, Middlesex and the 3 or 4 other open fields I visited), and blaring Glimmering on repeat that it hit me hard right in the face how much Chavez completely destroys. And thanks to Better Days Will Haunt You--a two-cd, one-dvd complete re-mastered discography released a couple months ago on Matador--you can have their awesomeness and hilariousness (they made the two best videos and the one best promotional film ever made) smash you in the face, too, and you won't have to work on Christmas to do it...or have it done to you, I guess. To get you going on what I hope is a disturbing obsession with these guys, I've got one track from Glimmering ("Laugh Track" aka my song of the day for Christmas '05), and the one previously unreleased track from Better Days ("White Jeans"), as a favor to any other Chavez completists who, like me, went scouring at some expense for every random track they could find in '06 until they already had everything on the discography before it came out. So that's really a favor needs to go back in time, but anyway:

Chavez - "Laugh Track" (from Gone Glimmering)
Chavez - "White Jeans" (from Better Days Will Haunt You, Disc 2)

Wait. Santa. Do Not Enter.
Servotron is, simply put, the greatest pro-robot, anti-human surf punk band of all time, HANDS DOWN. They are also responsible for the name of this particular blog, and are the fantastic machine-sympathizers with synthesizers behind the truly inspired There is No Santa Claus 7". I spent way too much time trying to explain why I like Chavez and now I'm tired, so for some starter info on Servotron, go here. And when you read about them dressing as robots, it'll be important to envision this and this. It'll also be important to rock the crap out of these tunes:

Servotron - "Christmas Day of the Robot" (from There is No Santa Claus)
Servotron - "Servotron Sonic Evaluation of the Christmas Season" (from There is No Santa Claus)
Servotron - "People Mover (Maximum Velocity Wedway Mix)" (from Spare Parts)

That's it for now, but look out for daily posts on my favorite songs from my favorite records of the year (though not necessarily from records that came out this year). Exciting shit!!