Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today's "Best Song Ever" Now In A New Spot

I have relaunched my Today's "Best Song Ever" from many years ago over at a new blog. Come by and check it out at:

Here are posts about Superchunk and today's post about the Louvin Brothers.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Most Anticipated Albums of 2011

With 2010 behind us we are set to begin a new year.

After a particularly strong '10 season one might be inclined to expect the worst out of the coming months. Here are 10 reasons to be optimistic or maybe to get your knives out.

1) Wild Flag - TBA
Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss join forces with the perpetually underrated Mary Timony(Helium), I await with baited breath. Search them on Vimeo for some hard proof of their impending awesomeness.

2) Destroyer - Kaputt
The safest bet on this list. I've heard it, it's beyond solid. If you've dug into Bejar's last two 12"s you'll be incredibly satisfied with this slab.

3) Fucked Up - TBA
Somewhere in Canada one of the best bands of our time is working on a "rock opera" which was the subject of some characteristic band jousts around subject matter. With that currently settled I'm putting this on here with the hopes that this will be done and released next year. Don't let me down guys.

4) Jay Electronica - Abracadabra: Let There Be Light
Its a little dicey to bet on Jay-Z's Roc Nation roster. For every Kanye West there's been three Memphis Bleek's. But this Jay already has a great series of singles and mixtapes to his name. So here's hoping for big things.

5) The Wrens - TBA
Ok, I've been let down before. I'll probably be let down again. But I've heard the new material, so it exists. Come on guys.

6) Jay-Z and Kanye West - Watch The Thrown
"So Appalled" and "Monster" are album highlights on Kanye's batshit-crazy and for me uneven 2010 album. Here's hoping Jay can balance Kanye out a bit. (Not that I'm holding my breath.)

7) Dr. Dre - Detox
This can't be worth the wait. Looking forward to putting it behind us though. I guess it could be good.

8) Hunx and his Punx - TBA
2010's excellent compilation Gay Singles wet my appetite for this theatrical garage punk band. Hoping this year's full length debut is nearly as fun.

9) Radiohead - TBA

10) James Blake - James Blake
Loved James Blake's EPs and am sure there will be some solid stuff on his full length.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Best of 2010: #1 Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks

It happened in the mid July heat. Days before I’d see an excellent set by Ted Leo and his mighty Pharmacists at the Siren Festival. I dropped the needle on my copy of The Brutalist Bricks, as I had done several times a week since it’s March release. Everything went as it should, at first. But then… “No one lives for ever love, no one’s wise to try, to try, to try, to try, to try…” I had worn this LP down, old school style. Like your parents did to their Born To Run and Perry Cuomo. Thankfully the record sounds nearly as good exploding out of earbuds. (Thanks also to record companies being wise enough to offer free downloads with the far superior but also occasionally fragile LP format.) That’s when the record leaped from an early favorite to the clear front runner for album of the year, and it tightened it’s grasp for the rest of the year.

The Brutalist Bricks was never likely to top many year end lists. It’s not colossal in it’s commercial reach. It doesn’t upend rock and roll convention. What it is, is a batch of songs, most among the best of Ted Leo’s incredibly fruitful career. But Ted Leo is a workhorse, and the buzzy fly by night world of blogging(not to mention the even more depressing world of corporate magazine music typists) is often bored by consistency. So bored sometimes, that they might not notice an ever-present artist’s second renaissance.

Something in these songs seems to capture the feeling of the moment. Politics abound on the album. Somehow Leo name drops corn subsidies and Congressional pork in punk songs, and never settles for over simplified sloganeering. Instead these songs seem to understand the complexities of the issues piling up on our collective shoulders. They also provide excellent accompaniment to sooth your anxieties about the government and the economy, about the Tea Party lunatics and high unemployment.

The whole record, packed though it is with worries seems to suggest that there is reason for optimism. “Bottled and Cork,” easily one of the brightest rock singles of the year, finds common ground with Yankee doubting foreigners through life’s great equalizers, love and booze. “Even Heroes Have To Die” suggests our living isn’t futile, even though our time might be finite. The album ends with genuine End of the World 2012-style angst on the song “Last Days.” Leo demands we live for the moment even as he assumes that rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated.

Optimism seems like as good a reason as any to ware through a nice piece of vinyl. I’ve rarely heard a rock record balance a sense of intimacy without dipping into pathos or self serving confessions. Ted Leo has no time for that bunk, he has a lot to expound in forty minutes. I wonder what my year might have sounded like without The Brutalist Bricks. It seems stark. No record on this list, clearly no record this year, comes this close to where I am right now. Since I can’t sing, play guitar or write a song, I look for records that don’t just speak to me but in some way speak for me. Every once in a while I get one.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best of 2010: #2 Das Racist - Sit Down, Man

While the phrase “hashtag rap” made the rounds on some blogs in discussing Drake’s punchline delivery style, Das Racist were hash tagging within hash tags and essentially dumping entire Wikipedia pages on listeners all year. Yes, the “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” guys.

Sit Down, Man is the better of two mixtapes DR released this year, that could come to define a new strain of underground rap or could just turn into a once in decade landmark hip-hop release in the vein (and possibly on the artistic level of) Paul’s Boutique. Big words, for sure. And while the wide array of beats from a veritable who’s who of new and established producers does not quite match the sample overload of the Dust Brothers, Das Racist are easily matching the Beasties’ classic for ideas per minute.

Das Racist are nothing if not hyper aware of their perception as Rap outsiders and they play to it. “White Kids play this for your black friends/Black friends smack them.” Das Racist know they're legit, but they don’t expect anyone to understand that. So it goes, they let their rapping do the talking. (Which your dad might say: “is kind of what rap is, no?”) The barrage of references alone can make your head spin. These guys rap like people who get lost in Google land as often as your favorite office drones.

Musically too Das Racist are pushing the conversation forward. To see beats by indie-rock leaning up and comers like Keepaway and Chairlift, to established taste makers Diplo and El-P, and even a beat from Drake associate Boi-1da all on one release further shows the scope of influence being incorporated into the Das Racist world view. It’s honestly the most cutting edge hip-hop shit of the year, goofy as it all may be.

In some ways, Das Racist have spent the past 12 months rehabilitating their image. It’s the kind of rehabilitation that on paper seems impossible. Running from a novelty “hit,” what some might see as a racial handy cap, reportedly disastrous live shows (including one in which they were supposed to perform Paul’s Boutique, but instead yelled over an iPod). They soldiered forward, making intellectual arguments with New Yorker writers, having “cartoon offs” with an editorial illustrator, refining a live show that is now winning raves. All this work has made them a unique and exciting cultural force. But all they really needed to “rehab” their image was this mixtape. Then again what do I know, I’m white and I have a blog.

Labels: , , , , ,

Best of 2010: #3 LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

“Dance Yourself Clean” is the best album opener of the year. It’s initial two minutes and change are mumbled and slight. Forcing you to focus, listen closer, listen harder, and then just as it’s about to lose you there is an ungodly shift in volume and a fresh pounding synth. It’s a coy musical move from a guy who knows from coy musical moves. The arresting nine minutes of “Clean” lead to the first single; “Drunk Girls.” The song almost felt like a retread of James Murphy’s lead singles from his first two records, after a few spins the apparent similarities also feel like a coy musical move.

James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem put out smart LPs. Every beat, sequencing choice, verbal aside, is earned if not upon first brush then by a second spin. You get the sense James Murphy exits in a our world with all currently available musical technology and travels back in time to a place where artists were encouraged to go bigger longer and knottier on their records. Maybe he goes back to the 70’s, but more likely he goes to a time that never existed. People reach for Eno and Bowie when talking about Murphy and it isn’t just the clear musical referencing to those artists(though it’s that too), it is the auteurist nature of what he does. It also, at this point, happens to be the fact that he’s gone from simple studio rat to expert front man and band leader.

This Is Happening may edge out it’s predecessor(Sound of Science) in every Conceivable category other than getting there first. Justifiably this is on pretty much every year end list. It’s honestly been a forgone conclusion for most of the year. Perhaps it’s because what Murphy does is what most rock critics really want to be doing. He has filled his sandbox with his favorite influences. German techno, Bowie ballads, wheezy fuzzy guitars, a seemingly endless supply of rhythmic ephemera, etc. He has all of these things at his disposal and then he finds himself in them all, over and over again, finding angles and portions of what makes him tick. And what occupies his brain is what occupies so many in the “list making community’s” collected minds.

The main subject as always are these damn kids who just don’t seem to be partying right, who just don’t seem to know what their letting get passed them. Which in the end is really a reflection on what Murphy perceives to have passed him by. Which suggests that putting this on your list is an acknowledgment that it’s passing you(me? us?) by.

Oh fuck.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best of 2010: #4 Robyn - Body Talk

I purchased both of the early Body Talk discs at Best Buy. They were only $7.99, and were some of the most satisfying music of the year. I waited with baited breath for volume three. When, instead an album length Body Talk featuring five tracks from volumes one and two each and five new tracks showed up at that same Best Buy for the disappointing price of $14.99, my rage was clear to the blue shirts trying desperately to not make eye contact with me. So (and I’m not proud of this) I downloaded what I saw as a cash grab. (The zip file was even crassly labeled “Body Talk Retail.”)

Body Talk “Retail” though, did earn it’s place. Cutting some of the fat and replacing somber “acoustic” versions of some of the Body Talk sets’ best work, made the now proper album all the better. What’s more, the five new tracks were uniformly excellent with “Call Your Girlfriend” specifically joining “Dancing On My Own” and “Hang With Me” in this year’s perfect Robyn single triumvirate. The appeal of Robyn is rooted not just in her cutting edge production and expert songcraft. It is also about how humanly she inhabits the emotions of her best songs. “Fembots are humans too,” she says over high tech beats.

Robyn is particularly engaging as a pop musician because unlike many (by far) more popular “fembots” her musical aesthetic is as personal and refined as her image aesthetic. Body Talk feels like a cohesive statement with a ton of dynamic little parts to it and Robyn appears to have complete ownership of all of it. This is no small feet in the year of Ke$ha.

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Best of 2010: #5 Superchunk - Majesty Shredding

You would have to be crazy to expect much, an “indie rock” band, though indie rock seemed to have left this sound some time ago, from the 90’s putting out an album of original material nearly a decade since their last release. There are piles of records released by bands in similar positions and none of them scratch the surface of how good this is. This year Superchunk made an album that was not only “good considering” it was just great regardless of context. A record that could potentially be the best of an excellent career.

I feel so bad for those few voices(fewer and fewer every year), who when Weezer put out a record they say things like “return to form” and “best since…” and every year what they get is a series of more confounding choices from a band that barely resembles the one these fans fell in love with so many years ago. Superchunk’s triumph made me feel worse for them this year. What they’ve done here is come back as an idealized version of themselves. The hard rocking urgency of their early albums, the catchy immediacy of their later 90’s albums, a slight nod the wider sonic palette of their last record(the under appreciated Here’s To Shutting Up), it’s all here. They’ve given fans a record they definitely didn’t expect and didn’t realize they needed.

Majesty Shredding
is pop-punk for adults without sacrificing any of the energy and scrappiness the genre requires. Every song has “best song on the album” potential. “Digging For Something,” “My Gap Feels Weird,” “Crossed Wires,” “Winter Games,” listing these songs reads to me like a brand new greatest hits package. If you know someone who excitedly downloaded and was let down by Hurley this year, Majesty Shredding is the Christmas gift you should, nay must, buy them.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Best of 2010: #6 Curren$y - Pilot Talk

“Obstacles are obstacle illusions, we don’t see ‘em.”

Curren$y should’ve been over years ago. A No Limit soldier well after that was cool, then signed to Young Money and jumped ship right before Wheezy reached critical mass, he should’ve been forgotten a long time ago. But when everyone zigged he zagged, and his gift for word play and his laid back vibe are excellent counter programming to the more bloated hip hop populating the mainstream.

Pilot Talk, grounded by the production of Ski Beatz (underused himself since his landmark work on Reasonable Doubt), is cohesive and smart where so many others are attempting to be everything to everyone. Smart enough to be backpack, but floss enough to match all the big names, Curren$y taps into post-Kanye “brain-stream hip-hop” without over selling his intellectual bona fides(ahem… Kid Cudi, Lupe Fiasco, and to a lesser extent Drake).

The rhymes here don’t unearth some new untapped subject matter, but all the hip-hop clichés are attacked from stranger, smarter angle. His “killer weed” is “Alfred Hitchcock in a zip-lock.” His raps are “Eagle Droppings, [he clarifies] Fly Shit.” He flies Jets, hangs with women, but he also downloads updates for his videogames.

Curren$y and Ski Beatz even managed to get in a Pilot Talk II before the year ran out that at least matches it’s predecessor for excellent work. But the mission statement on the first was so wholly satisfying that a sequel felt, mostly, like a much deserved victory-lap.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Best of 2010: #7 Beach House - Teen Dream

No one does languid better than Beach House. The California duo politely pack the entire aesthetic sense of Sofia Coppola’s Virgin Suicides into audio form. Not in the way that Air did on that films soundtrack, though that too. Somehow they take the Moog futurist keyboard textures of that band, the coked up high flying classic rock that balanced out the movie’s soundtrack, the lovelorn youthfulness, and the dark edges of the adult world. All that but without all the pretty young girls dying.

Here Beach House don’t blow up the store, thankfully. On their prior Devotion it seemed they’d perhaps reached the full potential of their sound but here it opens up in ways that never seemed possible. What once seemed claustrophobic and sounded undoubtedly like two people in a room attempting to sound fully orchestrated, now feels like a fully functional multilayered band who just happen to sound orchestral. The songs are better too. The triumph of songs “Norway”, “Walk in the Park”, “10 Mile Stereo”, even the staid “Zebra” almost makes their past accomplishments seem amateurish in hindsight.

The fact that this record has held as long as it has is a testament to it’s slow burn charm. “Norway” was released way back in November 2009, many fans myself included had the record before last Christmas. Here’s expecting if you put it on next year at this time it’ll still sound great.

Labels: , , ,

Best of 2010: #8 The National - High Violet

In 2010 the ennui of thousands of grump out of work or under paid, under loved (occasionally over loved), white men between the ages of 25 and 40 can be audibly identified on High Violet, the fifth album by the National. While Arcade Fire were making some sort of big statements and headlining MSG, the National were sort of saying nothing, but sonically representing everything for a particular angst ridden crowd. That’s the power of this cryptic, mopey band, and it is also their great weakness.

Around April I was feeling very much of their ilk and anyone asking what I was listening to would have been told about the National. But, as I often do, I also might have said it’s not for everybody. In fact, I can’t recall myself telling anyone who bothered to ask unequivocally that they would love the album, in spite of the love fest I was having with Matt Beringer’s baritone at that point.

And I still love this album. The slow burn opener “Terrible Love” feels trite until you realize how little it’s giving up. If this were a Springsteen song we’d be expected to follow narrative and character, instead we’re left with repeated non-descript fragments, open to inferring whatever “spiders” you may or may not be walking with.

Musically the National are all at their best. There’s the subtle groove of “Anyone’s Ghost”, the chiming melodies of “Lemonworld”, the doom and gloom peak of “Conversation 16.” Really, there’s hardly a bum note on the whole thing. (A lot of bummed notes though.) Who knows, you might actually like it.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Best of 2010: #9 Women - Public Strain

In an age of atmospheric rock bands who forgo the rock part, and regular rock bands who can’t create a mystique for the life of them, Women have stood apart. This is mostly because so much of their music is built on the a back and fourth conversation between a tight as hell pop rock rhythm section and a pair of divergent adventurous guitar players. (I wonder if their dust up this past fall was along those battle lines, for the sake of the story it should be.)

On Public Strain, Women have made a record that is leaps and bounds above what was already a preternaturally unique and assured debut. Through out the record the a wash of fuzz that would feel right at home on a Fennesz record(or might even pass off as a record of it’s own) is cut through with tightly wound pop songs. “Narrow the Hall” is a furiously dark post punk. “Untogether” anchored by one of the most infectious bass lines of the year. “Bells” swelling and slight, allowing for a breath in a surprisingly chaotically paced album. Album closer “Eyesore” is a ghostly dark rock epic. With the right promotional push it could be the black light enthusiast’s song of the year.

Through out the album Women sound like a machine verging on near collapse as it pushes it's self into it’s last possible gear. Guitars sound like the strings are going to all snap apart at once, the drums heads are all going to cave in and all you’ll be left with is a bass thumping forward until it realizes it’s been abandoned. This never actually happens on this album but you get the sense, if they went one track further it would have.

Best of 2010: #10 Tyler the Creator - Bastard

This is indefensibly offensive music. Let me just say that right away. That I or anyone else likes it suggests we’re little boys with a completely debased sense of humor and a completely immature view of the world.

In my youth I found Kurt Cobain, who’s pro-queer, extreme feminist ideals I took to heart. It lead me down the road of Riot-Grrrl, occasional nail polish, Sleater-Kinney, and a general distaste for all things macho and extreme. But something funny happened on the way to the end of the last century. Rap music. For years I did moral back flips to rationalize my love of the often homophobic and possibly even more often misogynistic perspective on the finest work of N.W.A, Wu Tang Clan, Biggie, Jay-Z and pretty much anyone else you could name.

With Tyler the Creator’s Bastard, these horrible attributes are abundant and inescapable. But so too is a sense that this is coming from a place of true nihilism, not seemingly from a philosophy of specific hate. This is obviously a white liberal argument (and a very thin one at that) for some pretty vile shit. And so I won’t try too hard to sell this. I will say the beats, mostly produced by Tyler himself, are gritty, simplistic and excellent. And the rhymes are completely immersive in often unpleasant but always captivating ways.

It is one of my ten favorite records of the year because it feels strangely new. (Though it could probably be branded a revival.) In an age of hip-hop for everyone this record insists that some people hate it. It dares forward looking intellectual types to like it in spite of themselves. It’s just wicked. Hopefully both me and Tyler grow out of this shit.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Best Albums of 2010: 11 - 25 (in alphabetical order)

Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot; Son of Chico Dusty

This behemoth of an album has several missteps(clunky “rock” choruses, Yelawolf, losing those Andre 3000 guest spots) but when it’s right, it is so right that the bad stuff doesn’t stick. Big Boi gives his best performance as an MC, over an LP that can just about fill the Outkast sized hole in your life.

Hannibal Buress - My Name Is Hannibal

Hannibal Burres is one of the sharpest comedians around. A lot of people have a problem with me propping comedy records up with music, I say make your own damn list. You did? Oh. No I don’t want to read it.

The Dream – Love King

The biggest snub of the Grammys 2 years in a row, The Dream is making dynamic amazingly fantastic records. The amount of songs on here that sound like hits is astounding. The fact that most weren’t is tragic. We are depleting our love making anthem reserves; future generations will ask us “Why?”

The Fresh & Onlys – Play It Strange

The Fresh & Onlys will continue to build a sterling reputation as they construct a discography on a balance of an ever deepening palette of wide eyed pop and proto punk influences, and an intuitive and rewarding sense of song craft. Get on board now, or we’ll see you for the reissue.

Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

For a brief moment in the mid90’s alt culture was reveling in a thousand influences from a thousand directions at once. Cornershop disappeared, Beck became a sad scientologist, and Jon Spencer became a rock revival act. Gorillaz is the clearest extension of that aesthetic and this is their best work.

Grass Widow – Past Time

If you’re into mildly angular, somewhat dissonant, indie pop sung by women, your cup runneth over the last few years. So you could be forgiven for skipping these guys as also-rans. Forgiven, but sadly out of the loop on one of the best rock records of the year. Your bad.

Harlem – Hippies

Snotty, unhinged and funny, Harlem are perhaps the clearest heirs to all of Jay Reatard’s finer attributes, without the edge of psychotic perfectionist angst. Which is good because we want these guys to stick around for a while.

Lindstrøm & Christabelle – Real Life Is No Cool

Everything about this album from it’s atmospheric vocals welded onto motorific grooves to it’s title screams: Soundtrack to Asian Fusion Restaurant in Williamsburg. But it’s deliciously spicy and starchy comfort food at the same time, why fight it?

Joanna Newsome – Have One On Me

After the packaging and the shear volume of work comes into focus, Have One On Me is a really grounded album. That it’s still played on a harp by a beautiful young woman who’s distinct ears suggest she’s a mythical-magical humanoid sent here for our collective bemusement is just gravy.

Off! – The First Four EPs

Off! like all great hardcore have an agenda. They are reviving a dead horse beaten to death by a thousand misguided teenagers. They are riding it into the indie-blogosphere and murdering kids with glasses. We thank them.

The Radio Dept. – Clinging to a Scheme

This band has been around for years but apparently never sounded like this beautiful dreamy Swede pop before. So I’m off the hook on hearing their early records. A stunning debut.

Sleigh Bells – Treats

Everything but “Rill Rill” already sounds dated. Here is your incredibly loud First half of 2010 time capsule. Lest We Forget.

Tyvek – Nothing Fits

Hardcore with a Yelp rather than a Growl. Better than that statement suggests, I swear.

Vampire Weekend – Contra

These guys should actually be MORE popular than they are. The songs are great and the music is smartly subtly multicultural. Well I guess that explains it.

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Too long, too ambitious, too full of its self, but then too good to be ignored. Kanye is as witty as ever, and guest verses from Nicki Minaj and Pusha T are among the best by anyone this year. Skip the extended instrumentals.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm Writing Elsewhere


I'm sorry non-existent readers. I've been blogging over at the new Pop Tarts Suck Toasted (

Also I tweet a lot:

Come find me at these places.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The National 'High Violet' Review - Originally Posted on Pop Tarts Suck Toasted

Vanilla as a flavor(and as a euphemism for a certain taste of art or personality) is underrated. There is something about clean, solid, reliable, singular taste that often is far more satisfying than all the bells, whistles, hyphens and sprinkles you can add to a sound or a sundae. Many people have found the National with their steady tempos and low melodic range to be too vanilla(or in the case of our editor often outright boring). I however have always marveled at their particular flavor of indie rock.

This is plain guy rock that understands the working class frankness of Springsteen and the baroque charm of early R.E.M. It takes the urban clatter and conversational vocals of the Velvet Underground an combines it with the austere layered arrangements of big league postmillennial indie(re: Arcade Fire and Sufjan Stevens). If this is vanilla it is because the National have taken the sums of their parts and made it into a solid flavorful whole that is as singular a sound as any American rock band has hit on in decades.

High Violet has all the things you expect from the National, really the only things you expect, and somehow is still able to bowl over expectations. Matt Beringer still mopes and smirks at the nuances and nuisances of modern relationships and dead end jobs. (A great charade considering Boxer has sold 350k copies and he's allegedly happily married.) The band uses their instruments as nuch for atmosphere as for melody and rhythm.

While the steady build of fans and press coverage assures that this will be the National's biggest album yet, it is also worth noting that the record also owns more of it's 4AD pedigree than any of their previous records. "Anyone's Ghost" plucks along with a surprising post-punky bounce. "Terrible Love" is practically drowning in spacey noise; the Cocteau Twins would be proud. Almost all of the songs hint at the broken everyman melodrama that the Red Housepainters once traded in(but then that's nothing new). The seeping influence of minimal composers and noise sculptors is obvious and acts, to keep the Springsteen comparison going, much the way Phil Spector's Wall of Sound did for the Boss. It deepens the frank simple sons making them just the right balance of epic and ghostly.

For me the album highlight is "Lemonworld" a song that could have felt like a miserable dirge but ends up feeling sweet and breezy(if a bit somber). The drums find a place between groove and texture, the guitars chime making the subtle melodic shift between the verse and chorus seem nearly like a genuine pop moment. The lyrics veer from cryptic to weirdly specific, and are ultimately as relatable or inscrutable as you choose to hear them.

The sound of the National is at first hard to parse. Rock bands often wear a new sound or idea like flair on their coats, or feather boas. It's ornamental and ultimately superficial. Everything the National does has been puréed so that it can pass muster in the tight frame of "what the National do." The results are most definitely not boring, they are in fact one of the tightest most original sounds in modern rock. High Violet is their current high water mark and my current pick for the best album I've heard all year. Get it, enjoy it with some Häagen-Dazs.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pancreatic Cancer, Stop It, You Could Be Next!

Check it out.

Kate Spencer who performs and teaches improv is trying to do her part for Pancreatic Cancer. Check it out and see what you can do to help!

Labels: , , ,


Today is your last day to get $5 tickets to Midevenings with Jay Miller at Snug Harbor tomorrow night. Doors are at 7:30pm. Lot's of excitement and surprises.

Get some tickets!

Here's Jay and Casey appearing on the Staten Island Comedy Show:

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, June 14, 2010

2 Things: new Les Vinyl, Safety and Desire

These should really be separate posts but I've already blogged Les Vinyl a few times recently and I feel a little silly just posting to promote myself.

Myself: I will be in a play with a number of people with far more serious acting/theater experience than me July 14th and 15th. Details at THIS LINK!

And here's a trailor to let you get a feel for how intense this thing is gonna be:

Les Vinyl: Have an EP that's coming out in a few months for FREE, digitally. One of the things I'm most looking forward to is their increased use of the lovely voice of guitarist Jenny Miller. Here's a hot track Live at Marie's Gourmet who BY THE WAY make amazing food. (I usually order the White Pie with Breaded Eggplant.)

Untitled from Michael on Vimeo.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, June 03, 2010

RIP Pop Tarts Suck Toasted

Pop Tarts Suck Toasted is closing up shop. Over the past few years my brother has built quite the following with his music-blog and he's even allowed me to contribute. He'll continue to post to his "Microblog" and will be contributing to a number of other sites.

Poor some out for a hell of a blog!

Check out his good bye.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Check Out Les Vinyl

In an effort to direct more attention on one of my favorite local bands I'm blowing the dust off of the ol' blog.

Check Them Out On Hype Machine!

The band is Les Vinyl and if you're into Built to Spill or Pavement, they may be up your alley.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

If you've...

...accidentally stumbled over my blog looking for "new content" well here it is:


Pledge to the WFMU Marathon!
My friend Paul explains why you should do this here.

Also Follow me on Twitter I'm way more active there.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


This season the show will be BIGGER! and BETTER! It's in Snug Harbor in a beautiful little theater so all you folks who never got a seat at Martini Red finally get to sit down. And don't worry drunkies we'll have a bar as well.

Buy Tickets here. Check out our promo below.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Hey ya big bullies at Google and the record companies. My brother is just promoting your act better than you can. Lay off!


Labels: , , , ,

Monday, October 05, 2009

Irrational Fears

My friend James Harris made a list of irrational fears to launch his new blog .

Here's my list:

1) Do to the recently return to popularity of Eminem we will need to deal with another cultural moment for D12.

2) That James Harris will eclipse me in blog popularity, as he already has in comedian popularity. (This is irrational because this is the first post I've done in months and it's only because he posted one.)

3) Where The Wild Things Are turns out to be a depressing two hour episode of H.R. Puffinstuff.

4) Condoms breaking.

5) The presidency of Barak Obama, the new moon landing? Think about it.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Midevenings with Jay Miller

True I never post anything on this blog anymore. True that this has already been posted all over the place. However, I want to get the views on this thing as high as possible. So watch it, tell your friends.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Kilgore Trout Is Dead

Kilgore Trout is Dead

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 28, 2009

the tipping point. (presented lower case)

there are more people available on facebook chat than aim. heads will roll.

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 27, 2009

Win Some Lose Some

I had a McDonalds' Double Cheeseburger today. It had an extra patty on it. At no extra cost I enjoyed a McDonalds' Triple Cheeseburger. Everything was going great.

Then I was chased 2 blocks by a huge pitbull someone just let off it's leash the dog was bark and pouncing at the back of my legs. I have been violently mugged twice but this was the scariest thing to ever happen to me.

No great closer. Just wanted to share.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The greatest piece of musical journalism ever.

I just though about the greatest piece of musical journalism I've ever read. It was back in the heady days of 2003.

Labels: ,

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pavement Reunion

Wow! And I thought I had nothing to Blog about!

Pavement, only my favorite band ever, have been hinting at getting back together. I have it on good authority that the following events have offered Pavement ungodly amounts of money to reunite:

- Ben Gibbard's Bachelor party. Ben has offered $12 million but insisted that they only play songs from Terror Twilight assuring that his and everyone else's minds will not be splattered on the walls of the strip club after being completely blown.

- Bonarroo Ontario. Canada's version of the hippy fest. Fun fact: do to trade complications they didn't even need to license the name!

- Feed Gary Young Benefit. I don't see this one happening.

- All Tomorrow's Parties NY. You're probably surprised that with Flaming Lips and Animal Collective already booked this would be happening. They actually just want Pavement to stand around handing out flyers for next year's show, which they would be headlining, under a different name.

- MTV Video Music Awards. An all-star tribute to 120 Minutes featuring The Happy Mondays, They Might Be Giants, Mazzy Star and Korn(reuniting with original guitarist Head).

- Leonard Cohen World Tour 2008. Pavement have been asked to back the singer songwriter for his tour of only the most famous opera houses on the globe.

- The Obama Inaguration. Along with the reunited Fugees. That's Barak's musical wheelhouse.

- An all star tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival. Interestingly this seems to be the most likely one. Playing alongside Jeff Beck, 3 Doors Down, Travis Tritt, Throwing Muses, Drive By Truckers, Lee Scratch Perry, The Headlocks, Jewel, and The Stringcheese Incident. Seriously, when tickets go on sale just buy them, they will be added to the bill.

Labels: , ,

I haven't blogged all week!

I have nothing interesting to say about planes in the Hudson or the Golden Globes. Anything worth saying about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been said a million times before and can be simplified pretty easily: irrelevant.

Why would I waste your time?

Oh, I like Arthur Russell all of a sudden. Couldn't be much later on that train I suppose.

Saw Frost/Nixon Ron Howard's best movie if you ask me. (But I generally hate him as a director.)

Hmmm... top 5 things of my week:
5. Hospitals - Hairdryer Piece An awesome slice of atmospheric noise with pop burried deeper than you once thought humanly possible. Came out last year, good discovery for me though.
4. Mickey Rourke's Golden Globe In your face Sean Penn.
3. Vitamins Been sick all week, vitmains might be a false hope but when you can't breath at night you take what you can get.
2. 30 Rock and The Office Haven't watched them yet but my heart swells knowing they are on my DVR awaiting my eye's embrace.
1. Weekends It's here!

So yeah, big show tonight...


Friday, January 09, 2009

Sean Penn Continues To Be Charmless

Perhaps to reaffirm what an impressive actor he is Sean Penn, receiving an award for his incredibly charming portrayal of Harvey Milk, decided to show just how charmless he continues to be at the Critics' Choice Awards. He dissed Mickey Rourke! (Who rightfully should've been accepting the award for his gut wrenching turn in The Wrestler.)

Penn: "At heart this is a beauty contest, so I had an advantage."

You're taking a dig at the dude's horribly deformed face?! That's what bloggers do Sean. Tsk tsk tsk.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Come see Mancrush!!!! Next Weeek!!!!!

Labels: , , , ,

The Worst Thing That Could Ever Happen

The NY Mag Vulture Blog has reported that AMC still hasn't agreed to give Mad Men creator/genius/god-like television force Matthew Weiner whatever he has asked for. This is no less than a full on cultural crisis and requires immediate bipartisan government intervention. Any politician that keeps quiet during this period should be held responsible for the collapse of all that is good and significant in the world.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Someone Let R. Kelly Piss On Them

It's his 42nd Birthday!!!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Only 5 Blogs That Matter

So it's been proven over and over again that blogging doesn't matter. If it did matter the following would be all you would ever need.

5. Matablog - The label that made me an indie-rock fag and ensured my alienation from literally everyone in high school continues to insulate me from the outside world with snarky opinions and updates on seemingly literally all of my favorite bands going(Times New Viking, Jay Reatard, Fucked Up).

4. Letters To Your Former Employer - With the economy in disarray we can expect to have a lot more fodder for this expertly conceived blog. Hilarious, topical, occasionally seedy.

3. The Unblinking Ear - My Staten Island blogging competition would begin and end with The Unblinking Ear if he ever wrote about(or even acknowledged) Staten Island. As is no one does except Ben Johnson, but he has to share his blogs with a variety of people whom I cannot condone or condemn.

2. WFMU's Beware the Blog - The best radio station in the world has a blog befitting it's reputation. DJ's post wonderful articles on a diverse array of audiophile friendly topics. Several of the most interesting 2008 year end lists can be found on the blog right now!!!

1. New York Magazine's Vulture - The best pop-culture blog on the internet. Uniquely specific and detailed episode to episode coverage of television, culture news, mp3 roundups, and much more.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Second Opinion: ABBA vs. Lykke Li

Below is an impromptu conversation started as a result of something Tim Duffy didn't agree being said publicly by someone(in this case his brother/blogger Patrick Duffy) that Tim can reach by instant message.

3:35 PM
me: i just realized you called lykke li "perhaps the catchiest music to ever come from sweden", um abba?!?!?!?!
Patrick: hence the perhaps
me: no perhaps ABBAAAAAAAA
Patrick: yes, it was meant to be a comparative statement to elicit just this response
it captures just how catchy she is that she could be considered on that same plain
Patrick: listen, we all know and love ABBA but it's time for someone else from Sweden to shine through and not just for their quirkiness
me: fuck you, i can't believe you're doing this
Patrick: I'm not doing anything
I'm trying to help sweden
they need to stop relying on the reputation of abba
me: you reallymight have alienated me forever i hope you're happy
Patrick: Tim, I love ABBA just as much as you do
me: no
Patrick: but this is absurd
me: you
Patrick: Lykke Li is a perfectly acceptable swedish pop star
maybe it's time to come down off your high horse
and accept other swedish bands and artists
you were able to move past Klee weren't you
me: i do, but aaaaaaaaaaaaabbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Patrick: no one even remembers ABBA anymore
they think they were covering the village people
me: i'll fucking end you
Patrick: the last time you said that I had a bruise under my chine for a week
but yeah, ABBA are relics
it's time to move to the future
me: you're a fucking relic!
you're a fucking ghost!
you hear me!?
a fucking ghost!!!!!!!!!!!!
Patrick: having the time of your, dance, dance...they go so well together
Abba could totally open for Lykke Li

6 minutes

3:54 PM
Patrick: that was fun
we should do it again sometime
me: fuck you

Disclaimer: It might be easy to write Tim Duffy's opinions off, as the parallels between his love of Abba and Tom Scharpling's of the Best Show on WFMU are similar and he also co-opted Tom Scharpling's "You're a ghost!" refrain. To some extent I suppose you'd be right, but co-opting the truth is always a good idea isn't it?

Labels: , , , , ,

Kim's Underground on St. Mark's is Closing!

How sad. I always loved that I could bounce between Kim's and Other Music to check pricing and just general record availability. Now where will I browse when I decide I want $1 pizza for lunch!

I went today, everything is 30% off, got The Unblinking Ear's record of the year Celebration by Thomas Function, Portishead's Third, and a Jonathan Richman 7" that is recent and probably crappy but I really liked the song title("You can have a cell phone that's ok but not me").

Labels: , ,

Mancrush Video/New Year's Show Preview

Casey: i watching the clips last night
i have ideas of how i'll edit it
i'm gonna just piece together what's funny
create a build
like have the crazy stuff later on
cut out any pauses or drags
me: good
we can pause and drag live
Casey: right

Mancrush at Martini Red(372 Van Duzer Staten Island, NY) 10pm this Wednesday December 31st(New Year's Eve)

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

House Music, A Poem

ump-tst, ump-tst, ump-tst, ump-tst

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dear Pitchfork,


It's not funny anymore. Grow up.


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Records of the Year 2008

In the name of efficiency and beating the big boys to the punch I present an un-notated year end records list. I may elaborate in the next few days but maybe I'll just let it speak for it's self.

10. Deerhunter - Microcastle
9. Zomby - Where Were You In 92?
8. The Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life
7. High Places - High Places
6. Brownwater - Brownwater EP
5. Air France - No Way Down
4. Harvey Milk - Life... The Best Game In Town
3. Jay Reatard - Matador Singles 08
2. Beach House - Devotion
1. Times New Viking - Stay Awake EP

Labels: , , , ,

Songs of the Year, Year End Mixtape Tracklist

Maybe I'll like post mp3s or write something about these songs at some point. These are in mixtape and not quality order.

1. Times New Viking "Pagan Eyes"
2. Little Boots "On Repeat"
3. Lil Wayne "A Millie"
4. Ninjasonic featuring Vivian Girls "Go Tell The World (Remix)"
5. Deerhunter "Never Stops"
6. M83 "Graveyard Girl"
7. La Roux "Quicksand"
8. Air France "Always Collapsing At Your Door"
9. Beach House "Gila"
10. Vampire Weekend "M79"
11. Jay Reatard "No Time"
12. The Magnetic Fields "Too Drunk To Dream"
13. Brownwater "The Brown Green Lantern"
14. Heartsrevolution "Digital Suicide"
15. T.I. featuring Rihanna "Live Your Life"
16. The Mae Shi "Run to Your Grave"

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Best Record Art of the Year

Do people even make record sleeves anymore? Well, yeah some do. Some just give you a jpeg. Still artwork associated with album is alive and well, just look!






Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Unpopular Opinion

As a guy who recently alienated both family and friends making a 9/11 joke in the Staten Island Advance perhaps I am the wrong person to say something. However, I can't stand idlely by while a very funny moment on SNL is treated like a hate crime. Fred Armisan's Governor Patterson is pretty hilarious if you ask me(and anyone else who was in the room with me at the time). It's so over the top that I think to take offense is imature.

Seriously, is the governor's disability supposed to insulate him from a little teasing. It's a cartoon. Like Mr. Magoo. A cocain loving Mr. Magoo.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

10 Things I Will Not Evaluate Before Year End List Season

This is my first public list of the season. It's the most wonderful time of the year!

10. Kanye West '808s and Heartbreak' - Kanye regularly appears on my year end lists and this album is controversial. From the sound of things I'm a fan, too bad it won't be making any year end lists.

9. The Wire - I never watched The Sopranos either.

8. Iron Man - My favorite comic book super hero makes a movie with the always entertaining Robert Downey Jr. Where was I?

7. Gossip Girl - OMG! I've seen an episode of this and I have a sense I'd like it, in that Degrassi kind of way. It's gotta be better than Heroes.

6. The performances of Kate Winslet. I cannot imagine myself seeing one of the two incredibly stark movies Kate Winslet is in right now.

5. Slumdog Millionare - This movie sounds so charming. Too bad with a recession and the holidays I will be so apprehensive to see a movie that it will have to wait.

4. The Wrestler - This comes out on Christmas. The window between boxing day and New Year's is so small.

3. Deerhunter 'Weird Era Cont.' - I love Deerhunter, for some reason though Emusic my legal music resource only has the first of the two album set.

2. Jazz, Theater, most fine art, Literature - If it wasn't for low-brow I wouldn't have no brow.

1. The Dark Night - Anyone heard anything about that new Batman movie? It looks like it could be good.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 08, 2008

Shaolin Reprasent!!!

The Onion is dropping some serious S.I. science today!

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 05, 2008

Free the Juice!!!

Let's send OJ a cake with a file baked into it.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


(The below is a translation of a message I recieved to my work email. The original in Japanese is below. I'd love your thoughts.)

Lu is still talking younger sister thigh thigh construction has been behind a sister ~
Blind to tell you squint called cockroaches sister ~
Lu Tungou after the construction of what is good fuss!
Japan now have been exposed in roach before .... there is enough to be indecent construction

In order to prevent leaks, so add a password


露後臀溝有什麼好大驚小怪ㄉ !


Labels: , , , , , , ,

Victory By Any Other Name Would Be A Loss

I am a liberal democrat. Anyone who reads this blog should know that. But believe me when I say I am thrilled that the better man won the Georgia run off yesterday. Or the better named man at least.

Jim Martin may well have been a good moderate democrat in the senate, but could he ever weild the power of a man named Saxby Chambliss? How many people could? How would it look when a "Jim Martin" tried to hold is own? Wouldn't ever sour note coming from his mouth just strike the ear like the empty words of a man who could literally be anyone in America? The shear blandness of it all meant this win was a must in the Saxby Chambliss column.

Some will say this victory was Georgia stating their lack of support for one party government, some will say that when Chambliss won the first time around(without getting a Georgia required 51% of the vote) it was already over, some will say that for minorities and lower income Georgians the election ended last month. Well they will all be wrong. The victory of Senator Saxby Chambliss has nothing to do with ideology, political calculation, coincidence, or even the will of the voters. It just so happens that the name Saxby Chambliss is indominable.

Labels: , , , , ,