I just realized that the only three bands I've been listening to all week are from the land of Canada! More specifically, all of these amazing punk rock bands are from the city of Vancouver, BC.
1.) WHITE LUNG: Last weekend, I went to the Rifflandia Festival in Victoria, BC. The best thing I saw there was the heavy, fast destructive punk rock band White Lung. I met two really nice, local teenage boys (I forgot that British Columbia's drinking age is 19!) at the show, each buying an armload of merch. They told me that they'd showed up early for Fucked Up, but were now in love with White Lung. WL's Facebook bio describes them as "three wicked witches and a greedy miser" and the album I've been listening to is called It's the Evil, so now I want to think of them as the punk rock incarnation of King Haggard from the Last Unicorn. Except, instead of King Haggard trapping unicorns in the ocean, I'd like to imagine that White Lung are trapping the souls of 19 year old boys.
2.) NÜ SENSAE: I've been obsessed with the Nü Sensae album Sundowning all summer, ever since Kelly O wrote about them in June. Except, I haven't seen them play yet, because they played at Capitol Hill Block Party at 4 pm and I was distracted by Father John Misty's dance moves. They also played an 11 am(?!) set at the Toyota Free Yr Radio Stage at Bumbershoot when I was still sleeping. Luckily, they play Hollow Earth Radio October 12th. I don't want to miss them for another bogus reason, but eventually hope to see them in a dark, filthy basement show at the proper show time (1 or 2 am please).
3.) THE EVAPORATORS: Super fun Vancouver pop punkers in the Evaporators play tonight at the Funhouse! Don't blow it!
Phil Freeman at Burning Ambulance has compiled a list of the top 50 saxophonists. (Note: The saxophone is not even in my top-10 of favorite instruments, but respect to all the greats, innovators, and virtuosi.) A contributor to The Wire and many other publications, including Alternative Press (where I edited his reviews for some years in the ’90s and early ’00s), and author of the book Running the Voodoo Down: The Electric Music of Miles Davis, Freeman knows his stuff.
His top 10 is pretty damn solid, although I’d place Pharoah Sanders (#20) in there, for "The Creator Has a Master Plan" alone, and I'd rate Henry Threadgill higher than 30. Have a gander at the whole list and learn some things… and, if you're feeling feisty, argue about omissions and rankings.
Burning Ambulance's Top-10 Saxophonists
01 Sonny Rollins
02 John Coltrane
03 Charlie Parker
04 Ornette Coleman
05 Peter Brötzmann
06 Anthony Braxton
07 Sam Rivers
08 Albert Ayler
09 Dexter Gordon
10 Joe Henderson
The Sept. 2012 issue of MOJO—with that mad synth wizard David Bowie on the cover—boasts a feature on the 50 greatest electronic records. The list includes a lot of indisputable essentials, but as with any litany of this nature, there are some head-scratching omissions. I’d include something by Vangelis, Conrad Schnitzler, Boards of Canada, Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, Steve Reich, Porter Ricks, Basic Channel, Jeff Mills, and Shackleton [see clip after the cut]. At least. You may find some puzzling oversights, too. Also, the mag didn’t even pick Oval’s best album; that would be 94 Diskont. Ah, whattayagonnado?
To read the piece, you have to buy a physical copy of the publication (it sells for $10 in the US and comes with a nice CD comp featuring cuts by Can, Plastikman, Throbbing Gristle, Renegade Soundwave, Pan_Sonic, Non, and others from the Mute Records stable, as chosen by Daniel "The Normal" Miller). But MOJO has posted a Spotify playlist here if you want to sample the music it has commemorated.
Chunklet writer Ben Johnson has posted an informative history of the grunt in rock music at vice.com. I agree with most of his choices, but of course there are some omissions, which may or may not be glaring, depending on your listening experiences.
For one, Edwin Starr's "War" [see clip after the cut] is simply the bomb of gravelly emissions. For another, Joe Tex's feral gutturals in "I Gotcha" have to be here, too (Quentin Tarantino's got my back on this one). For yet another, the Birthday Party's Nick Cave has emitted his share of top-shelf grunting; maybe include "Release the Bats"? What other memorable grunts need to be in this pantheon? (I know I'm forgetting some crucial ones, damn it...)
Only 100? The eminence behind The DJ Gospel must've been in a charitable mood. Anyway, he/she has compiled 100 reasons why you make his/her time behind the decks miserable. Peruse and act accordingly.
Here are the ones with which I sympathize or despise most:
15. Your requests aren't any where near the format the DJ plays.
22. You make silly poses at the DJ like you are DJing.
27. You keep trying to tell the DJ your life story while we are mixing.
34. You spill a drink on the DJ equipment.
51. You don't know the song just the number on the CD.
54. Your idea of good music isn't.
70. Your requests are more like demands.
98. You ask the DJ to play something you can dance to.
Maybe the DJs out there in Line Out land can add some pet peeves that didn't make it into the horrible hundred.
With the Blue Angels zooming above our city and terrorizing our eardrums in their annual display to reassure us that America's collective penis size is indeed still impressive, it occurred to me that we need to compile a list of the best songs about planes.
Songs about planes generally have an inspirational, soaring quality and the topic's motivated a lot of great music. Here are my top 3 tunes: Nazz's "When I Get My Plane," Swervedriver's "Planes Over the Skyline," and—hey, obviousness!—the Byrds' "Eight Miles High."
Surely you've been waiting for eons to tell the world your favorite songs about aircraft. Don't hold back. (Also, fuck the Blue Angels with a rusty propeller.)
Some have laughed at him carrying cat litter, some have chuckled at him listing off his book collection. His tough guy demeanor makes the joking easy, and his spat of onstage histrionics make him a guy people love to loathe. But when it comes to the classic era of the Misfits, it can't be denied that he wrote some of the best songs ever.
My personal favorite is the second side of the Horror Business single, which includes a seamless segue between "Teenagers From Mars" and "Children In Heat." Really though, I can't think of a Misfits song that I don't like, save for the post Danzig-era stuff, which really isn't even the Misfits.
So here's our chance to decide which is the best of all of those songs. Then when future generations interweb search for their introduction to the Misfits, our list will appear and guide them gently. I personally think that Danzig's lunkhead behavior is actually a brilliant performance artist ruse which will appear as highlights on a limited edition DVD eventually.
Alt-country singer songwriter Brandi Carlile, from Ravensdale, Washington is top-seller in the NW this week...
TOP 10 NW MUSIC FOR WEEK OF 6/4 - 6/10
Compiled by the City of Seattle Office of Film and muisc, from figures at Sonic Boom (Ballard) and Easy Street (West Seattle and Queen Anne)
1. Brandi Carlile - "Bear Creek"
2. Fresh Espresso - "Bossalona"
3. Caspar Babypants - "Hot Dog!"
4. Head and the Heart - "Head and the Heart"
5. Brandi Carlile - "Live at Easy Street"
6. Pickwick - "Myths + 2"
7. Thee Satisfaction - "Awe Naturale"
8. Absolute Monarchs - "1"
9. Fleet Foxes - "Helplessness Blues"
10. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - "Vs. [Redux]"
Blogger Sean J. O’Connell (who used to freelance for me when I was music editor at OC Weekly) has compiled a useful primer for jazz neophytes to get a quick grounding in the genre. O’Connell is a jazz keyboardist himself and a learned scholar of the music, too.
While it’s impossible to do jazz thorough justice in a mere 10 titles, O’Connell adequately introduces noobs to some crucial, not always obvious, works. Of course, everyone will point out glaring omissions, but the piece offers provocative stimuli for rigorous debate. (No Alice Coltrane, Don Cherry, or Mahavishnu Orchestra?!?! Blah blah blah yadda yadda etc.)
Mr. O'Connell's 10 steps to jazz literacy are: Sarah Vaughan’s Live at Mr. Kelly’s, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers’ Free for All, Ray Bryant’s Alone With the Blues, Ambrose Akinmusire’s When the Heart Emerges Glistening, Jaco Pastorius’ Jaco Pastorius, Duke Ellington/Charles Mingus/Max Roach's Money Jungle, Miles Davis’ A Tribute to Jack Johnson, Thelonious Monk/John Coltrane’s Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery w/ Wynton Kelly Trio’s Smokin' at the Half Note, Dizzy Gillespie’s At Newport.
Paste has posted a list of what it perceives to be 20 of the most important music writers who are also musicians. The Stranger’s Brian Cook (Russian Circles) and ex-Stranger writer Zac Pennington (Parenthetical Girls) made the list, but, sadly, Trent Moorman (every hiphop group in Seattle) and Larry Mizell Jr. (Don’t Talk to the Cops!) did not. But the latter two are in good company, as David Toop (Ocean of Sound author and excellent experimental composer) didn’t merit inclusion, either.
In the new issue of Wax Poetics (#50, all redesigned and stuff), the Roots’ drummer Questlove has 33 reasons why Prince should be considered a hiphop artist. Not all of his arguments are convincing, but they’re never dull, and you have to admire Questo’s obsessive Prince Rogers Nelson scholarship/knowledge. Here's a passage about Prince's sole credentials:
Unusual footwear is the most definitive rebel statement one can make in hip-hop. Some take the strings out, some rock mismatched, and with a better budget, some can rock just about anything. But it takes a true man to rock heels with confidence. Hip-hop can posture all it wants, but to get yo chick stolen from a dude looking like him is a hurt piece.
*As not recognized by Rolling Stone.
This is somewhat old news, but I just recently came across the Dec. 8, 2011 Rolling Stone in The Stranger’s editorial bathroom (the place where mainstream publications go to die inglorious deaths). This issue contains a list of what that venerable magazine thinks are the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. As a repository for conventional wisdom, the list is archetypal Jann Wennerite orthodoxy.
The top 10 might as well be carved into Mount Rushmore, so sure are the mag’s contributors to the list—dozens of guitarists, band managers, and RS writers, most of whom are older than you—that this is THEE TRUTH, a truth set in (Rolling) stone since, oh, 1979. Those 10? Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Eddie Van Halen, Duane Allman, Pete Townshend. Yes, yes, these guys all rule in some way, but this litany is about as surprising as finding out a strident homophobe is a closet case. Next thing Rolling Stone is going to tell us (again) is that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the greatest album of all time. Roll over, Ben Fong-Torres, and tell Greil Marcus the news.
The overall thrust of this top 100 is conservative, with blues and blues-based rock guitarists from the US and UK dominating things. (Tangential thought: Was Ted Nugent excluded because of his ultra-right-wing political views? I’m thinking yes.) Of course, most of these musicians are indisputably crucial, but the panel’s experts totally short-change prog, jazz, and fusion’s six-string stars. I appreciate appearances by Frank Zappa (#22), Robert Fripp (#62), and John McLaughlin (#68), but there are a plethora of guitarists in those realms who also deserve recognition.
While about 67 percent of the musicians included in this survey surely are important and worthy, some crucial innovators and distinctive masters were left out. Some of the omissions are downright shocking. Of course, all such lists are subjective, but an established musical source such as RS carries a lot of weight, flaws and all. I would like to take this opportunity to counter its received opinions with an alternate viewpoint.
In response to Rolling Stone’s canonization exercise, my sonic soul mate Explorateur and I brainstormed our own top 100 (and then some). The boldfaced names are those who we think really got shafted. Surely we forgot some key players, and surely you’ll tell us about your picks in comments, but this is our attempt to present a list that can stand headstock to headstock with ol’ Rolling Stone’s. (Note: The order’s kind of random after #30.] Deep breath…
01 Kevin Shields [My Bloody Valentine]
02 Sonny Sharrock
03 Helios Creed [Chrome]
04 Dennis Coffey
05 Pete Cosey [Miles Davis, Cadet Records session player]
06 Manuel Göttsching [Ash Ra Tempel]
07 Michael Rother [Neu!, Harmonia]
08 Phil Manzanera [Roxy Music, 801]
09 Jimmy Nolen [James Brown]
10 Andy Gill [Gang of Four]
11 Michael Karoli [Can]
12 Larry Coryell
13 Sigi Schwab [Et Cetera]
14 Terje Rypdal
15 Sir Richard Bishop [Sun City Girls, Rangda]
16 Phil Upchurch [Cadet Records session player]
17 Yamamoto Seiichi [Boredoms]
18 Campbell 2000 [aka Ryan Shinn, Hovercraft]
19 Brad Laner [Medicine]
20 Curt Kirkwood [Meat Puppets]
Pete Cosey with Miles Davis
What Makes Nancy So Great By Sidney
3 Beautiful figure
4 Great sense of humour
5 Makes extremely interesting conversation
7 Has beautiful eyes
8 Has fab taste in clothes
9 Has the most beautiful wet pussy in the world
10 Even has sexy feet
11 Is extremely smart
12 A great Hustler
I'll personally never stop loving their fucked up love story. Never...
...that this year's Pazz & Jop Music Poll is dominated by women—and WITHOUT anyone getting all "it's the year of the woman!" about it.
#1 Album: tUnE-yArDs, w h o k i l l
#2 Album: PJ Harvey, Let England Shake
#1 Single: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"
#2 Single: Beyonce, "Countdown
#3 Single: Nicki Minaj, "Super Bass"
(Bonus: #4 Album is Wild Flag, #6 album is Adele's 21.)
Congratulations, humanity! (Especially all who voted for w h o k i l l—for that record to top this poll gives me faith in the future.)
The results of Pazz & Jop, the Village Voice’s annual music critics poll, hit the WWW this morning, and .007 percent of the world’s abuzz over the outcome. Josh Bis broke the news earlier, and in this space I’d like to elaborate just a tiny bit about my ballot. 2011 was the year I contributed a minuscule speck of gray matter to the music-journo hive mind with my inclusion of Shabazz Palaces’ Black Up, which placed #10 in the album poll. I am a shameless sellout. But I don’t feel bad about it, because Black Up is a once-in-a-lifetime explosion of hiphop genius that deserves every iota of hype it’s garnering.
My next flirtation with being in lockstep with my colleagues occurs at #74, with Demdike Stare’s Tryptych, an epic, hauntological electronic masterpiece making a surprisingly high appearance. I am a shameless sellout. It was also fulfilling to see such near-misses from my list as Danny Brown’s XXX (#28), Oneohtrix Point Never’s Replica (#35), Clams Casino’s Instrumental Mixtape (#61), and Peaking Lights’ 936 (#106) come in at fairly lofty positions.
Surprisingly low on the scale were such worthies as Ty Segall (#100), Thee Oh Sees (#103), the Field (#111), Rustie (#113), Battles (#122), and the Dirtbombs (#170). (If you’re into schadenfreude, the Head and the Heart’s self-titled album limped in at #172. Even my beloved weirdos Psychic Paramount (#132) and Andy Stott (#157) ranked higher. Booya! If you’re into WTFs?, Sun Araw’s monumental Ancient Romans checked in at #276. Outrageous!)
As for the “Singles” chart, my top one was #68, Burial’s “Street Halo.” I am a shameless sellout. Other than that, though, my top songs of 2011 didn’t share much overlap with other music scribes’. Shabazz’s “Swerve” only reached #226, and shit gets really long-tail-y with this chart, as any song qualifies as a single in VV’s game. Most of my babies tied for last with one vote each at #604. Boo hoo.
Scanning the top 20 albums, I see a handful that I wouldn’t kick out of bed (the Roots, EMA, Kurt Vile, PJ Harvey, St. Vincent, Shabazz, of course), but most of the entries leave me apathetic. However, looking at the P&J top 20 singles, I feel as estranged from the mindset of my peers as I’ve ever felt. (Are we even the same species?) Still, ultimately, I am a shameless sellout. (Please read my motherfuckin' ballot, kthxbye.)
Meanwhile, Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" came out on top of the singles ballot, just ahead of Beyoncé's "Countdown", Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass", M83's "Midnight City", Jay-Z & Kanye West's "Niggas in Paris", and six hundred other songs from 2011. Dig into all the results (all of that data is available, just begging for all sorts of deeply geeky statistical interpretations), peek into individual critical affections (including the mystery reveal of the other half of Dave Segal's ballot and my own curious definitions of what counts as a single), and deep thoughts about what it all means at Pazz & Jop.
update: so much data wrangling at needlebase.
The Awl has collected from "43 music writers, editors, critics and assorted Awl music lovers... the most played songs in their digital-music libraries, as counted on iTunes or Spotify accounts." For example:
Amanda Dobbins, New York Magazine
“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele, 1748 plays
Caryn Ganz, Spin
"’Till the World Ends" by Britney Spears, 58 plays
Sasha Frere-Jones, The New Yorker
“Katy On A Mission” by Katy B/“Tangerine” by Led Zeppelin, play count n/a
That "n/a" is a cop out, SFJ! And sorry to hear about your breakup, Amanda (there can be no other reason to listen to a single Adele song 1,748 times, right?).
I wish I had one to share, but I don't have my home computer here to check. I only remember one time years ago, when a coworker borrowed my computer and discovered while browsing my iTunes that Kelis's "Milkshake" was my most played song. I didn't even know the thing was keeping track. Dang you, technology!
If you aren’t opposed to the term “Supergroup,” it would totally apply to newish Seattle band Boom City. There’s Eric Howk of the Lashes, Cristina Bautista of Visqueen and Paxil Rose (and her own impressive solo project), Burke Thomas of Vendetta Red, Pris, and Megasapien, and Nils Larson of the Greatest Hits. Put them together and BOOM! You’ve got Boom City, who play pounding and gleeful power pop laden with keyboards, harmonies, and a little attitude. Are you the type of person you likes it when other people describe things as “It’s like _________ on steroids”? Okay, then it’s like the Ramones on steroids. With guitar solos. And more than three chords. That comparison actually doesn’t work. One should never say “It’s like _________ on steroids.” Anyway! They're great! And their debut EP, a sampling taken from their upcoming full-length (which they plan to release this year), was recoded by Eric Corson and John Roderick and mixed by John Goodmanson. Look at all the names that were dropped in this paragraph! Good names, too. Boom City is destined to be great. Fuck it, they already are great. In 2011, it became apparent that Seattle’s music community has folk, alt-country, hiphop, heavy rock, metal, and hardcore covered, but good ol’ pop has taken a bit of a hit (RIP Visqueen). Well Boom City are bringing it back. And thank god for that.
You can download their EP for FREE right here.