Category Archives: 30Hz Music

The 30Hz music-related ramblings

Record Store Day 2015

Record Store Day 2015

Time for my obligatory Record Store Day 2015 post. I’ll even phone it in.

I’m not wild about Record Store Day this year. I’m not plotting and planning and scheming how to get those elusive gems that I’m sure will walk out the door after the first few customers. At this point, I participate in Record Store Day for tradition and to support local vinyl shops. There’s no one disc that’ll get me out of bed before the sun comes up to get in line and wait for the 8am open. It’s the activity. It’s a morning that belongs to me. No familial obligations, no place else I need to be… I’ll talk records, buy records and then go home and play records. I’ll tell the 5yo about my morning and she’ll question me with the full powers of her 5yo logic.

Participating record shops open at 8am. Gone are the midnight opens. The RSD organization really needs to lift the ban on the midnight opens. They really put the kibosh on a great experience for forcing participating stores to open in the morning. The queue’s more congenial and the wait less tiresome. There’s far better conversation at 1am, more reason to stand around and chat. At 8am everyone’s a bit crabby because they’ve been standing in line since 4am or something stupid like that.

Part of the thrill is having no clue what your store is going to have available. And no matter how much you study the list in preparation for that dash through the stacks, nothing ever goes to plan. You’ll find some stuff you never knew you needed, guaranteed. But since I like to have scuttled plans, here’s my wishlist for RSD15.

 

30Hz Record Store Day 2015 Wishlist

 

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Sun Records Sampler Volume 2:

Picked up Volume 1 last year. Great selection of tunes and the Sun Records catalog runs deep. And since I’m a completist, I’ll just keep picking up every damn release they come up with.


 

 

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Thai Pop Spectacular: 1960-1980

One of the great joys of RSD is picking up oddities like this. These two ladies will slot in nicely next to my Nippon Girls records of Japanese pop hits.


 

 

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Willie Nelson – Teatro

This is essential Willie. I don’t have this on vinyl. A clean copy would be a lovely thing. This might be my most wanted item for RSD15.


 

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Music to Drink Beer To (compiled by Dogfish Head)

I drink a lot of Dogfish Head and eat at their brew pub in Delaware each year. I don’t see why having music to drink Dogfish Head by could be a bad thing. The track list boasts Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, A Tribe Called Quest, Muddy Waters, Iggy and the Stooges, Uncle Tupelo… etc.


 

 

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Frank Sinatra – Songs for Young Lovers

One of Sinatra’s greatest records. I’ve got a lot of Sinatra on vinyl… but not this one.


 

 

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Jurassic Five – Quality Control (The Wood Box)

It’s Jurassic Five! In a wood box! I love Jurassic Five and the wood box means classy.


 

 

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Bernard Herrman – Psycho

BHerm on vinyl is always essential. Some of his trademark work right here. Scare the neighbor kids off your lawn.


 

 

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Side by Side – “Walk On By”

Each year the RSD brains come up with a series of Side-By-Side releases, 7″ singles with two artists who covered the same song. To me, this is the most interesting of the 2015 releases. Dionne Warwick and The Stranglers doing “Walk On By.”


 

 

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Country Joe & the Fish – Together

Coincidentally I just got into listening to Country Joe after picking up the Zachariah soundtrack. It’s seems little bit like fate that they’ve got a RSD15 release then. Don’t mess with fate, boys and girls.


 

 

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Simple Minds – Celebrate, Live from the SSE Hydro Glasgow

As a Simple Minds junkie, I can’t pass up a 2 x colored, clear vinyl live album. I can’t. I might try, but if it’s in the store, it’ll be in my grasp. Come over. I’ll play it for you. We’ll have a Simple Minds jam session with everything they’ve ever recorded. On vinyl. We’ll have gin rickeys. I dunno. What do you drink while listening to Simple Minds? Maybe Dogfish Head has some suggestions.

 

30Hz 25 Best Albums of 2014

Yes. I’m delinquent. I realized just the other day that I’d never compiled my list of 25 favorite records from 2014. And since we’re now 22 days into 2015, that’s simply inexcusable. As I mentioned in my list of Top 101 Killer Jams, I felt that Oh-14 was a rather lackluster overall year. No record approached CHVRCHES status on the 30Hz totem pole. The upside to this is that a lot of records got a ton of play because I couldn’t focus on just one. I’m not going to pretend I’m doing this for the greater good. I’m not spreading knowledge or leading the tone-deaf masses to the trough of good taste. I’m merely sharing the records that caught my ear, the records that regularly found their way onto my turntable or earbuds. I hope you find something new on this list. I hope you find that new favorite band or record. If not, well, then feel free to berate me for failing to lead you to that promise land. And now…..

30Hz 25 Best Records of 2014

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The Almost Rans:

Alana Amram And The Rough Gems – Spring River; The Antlers – Familiars; Aphex Twin – Syro; Benjamin Booker – self-titled; Got a Girl – I Love You But I Must Drive Off a Cliff Now; Haley Bonar – Last War; Interpol – El Pintor; Jezabels – The Brink; Kishi Bashi – Lighght; The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Days of Abandon; Patsy Matheson – Domino Girls; The Rural Alberta Advantage – Mended With Gold; Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty; Sweet Soubrette – Burning City, Zammuto – Good Graces

I will now phone-in 25 26 blurbs for my favorite 25 26 records of 2014. Continue reading 30Hz 25 Best Albums of 2014

30Hz Top 100 of 2014 (50 to 1)

Load times on the videos forced me to split this into two posts. Carry on.

best_songs14

Rdio Playlistified:

Spotify Playlistified:

 

50. “Coffee” – Sylvan Esso

My wife and daughter, who will listen to the same song 40 times in a row and not grow weary of it, will not let me play “Coffee” in their presence any more.

49. “Problem” – Ariana Grande (feat. Iggy Azalea)

What song? There’s no Ariana Grande song here. I would not listen to Ariana Grande. Don’t ask me any more questions. (Okay, but there’s some great production going on here that has nothing to do with the artist at all. They’re all just industry puppets anyway.)

48. “Hunter” – Still Parade

I know nothing about this band! I Shazammed this track on one of the music blog shows on XMU.

47. “Weight of Love” – The Black Keys

The Black Keys scale it back for this slow burner after their far more raucous and Top-40-accessible record El Camino. It’s bit of bluesy, guitar-fueled bliss.

46. “Can’t Do Without You” – Caribou

Caribou has a way of turning simplicity into orgiastic electro-pop. Some have argued that “Can’t Do Without You” is the pinnacle of their powers. I’m sticking with “Melody Day” from 2007’s Andorra.

45. “Making Breakfast” – Twin Peaks

Looking at these guys you’d think they were just some stoners that got out of bed one morning, with clearer eyes than usual, and decided to make a record… but this is actually highly competent garage rock featuring a nifty hook. Regarding the band’s name and the potential problems with the new season of the TV show Twin Peaks, frontman Cadien James said, “Luckily, no one’s talking shit about us right now, so that’s chill. I’m pretty stoked for this show. I’m actually not feeling too nervous. I got some trust for my boy D. Lynch.” You know what? I take it back. These guys are just stoners who decided to make a record one day.

44. “West Coast” – Lana Del Ray

I read some quote from Lana Del Ray wherein she made fun of hipsters. Listen, Lana, I’m no friend of hipsters, but you making fun of them has probably opened up some space-time paradox and you’re putting us all at risk of being sucked into a parallel dimension where everyone cures their own meats and wears t-shirts with cereal logos from the 1980’s.

43. “The Hollies” – Patsy Matheson

Nifty vocal harmonies and varied instrumentalism elevate Patsy Matheson above the surging hordes of female singer/songwriters. “The Hollies” doesn’t necessarily reflect her larger body of work, which is more like thoughtful gut punches. But “The Hollies” stayed with me all year, a standout on her second album Domino Girls. For a more representative track listen to “No Contract.”

42. “Mother & Father” – Broods

This New Zealand electro-pop act teased us with a 2013 EP and followed it up with a strong full length that showcases their command melody. I never thought much about Georgia Nott’s vocals until hearing her isolated on the video below without any production. The girl can sing, yo.

41. “Black Moon Spell” – King Tuff

King Tuff (Kyle Thomas) does not prevaricate around the bush. He’s going to play you some guitar and anything else that happens is just gravy.

40. “Kelly” – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Has any indie-pop band been as consistent as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart? Sung by Jen Goma from A Sunny Day in Glasgow, “Kelly” is the indie-pop ideal. Sweet without being saccharine and melodic without falling in love with its own whimsy — or worse — perceived importance.

39. “On the Rocks” – The Rural Alberta Advantage

I’m still not sold on the advantage of rural Alberta, but as long as this band wants to try to convince me, I’ll allow it.

38. “Alexandra” – Hamilton Leithauser

The frontman for the Walkmen goes full crooner, because you should never go half crooner.

37. “Violent Shiver” – Benjamin Booker

This New Orleans guitarist cites The Gun Club, Blind Willie Johnson and T. Rex as influences. He just might be better than all of them. A tremendous blues guitar talent with the ability to crossover into the indie and mainstream.

36. “Queen” – Perfume Genius

This is a ballsy performance from one of the most exciting emerging artists. Perfume Genius wears his heart on his sleeve and challenges us with every disjointed chord.

35. “Sun Went Black” – Springtime Carnivore

A springtime carnivore gets the young, tender meat. Springtime Carnivore (aka Greta Morgan) is far less menacing but proves with this track that she’s got some teeth to go with the pop-sensibility.

34. “After the Disco” – Broken Bells

The album just laid there and died, limp and unwanted… except for this killer jam.

33. “Rather Be” – Clean Bandit (feat. Jess Glynne)

I found this track on somebody else’s Best of 2014 list. If you want to know more about Clean Bandit or Jess Glynne, there’s a search bar right up there in the top right corner your browser.

32. “Beggin For Thread” – Banks

Banks >>> Lorde.

31. “Algiers” – The Afghan Whigs

I remember you guys.

30. “Dripping Down” – East India Youth

The best track on electro-artist William Doyle’s Total Strife Forever is a complex and emotional little ditty that shot up my charts toward the year’s end. I really want to call him “East India Yute” as per Joe Pesci’s character in My Cousin Vinny.

29. “Busy Earnin'” – Jungle

I’ve had an itch for some new “Daytime Disco” since the last Poolside record. Jungle is doing some heavy scratching and hitting all the right goddamn spots.

28. “Small Window” – Luluc

Slow, sad and seductive. Luluc takes some sweet ass time getting where it’s going, but once they get there… it’s heavenly. Dive into the record and just let it wash over you.

27. “Two Weeks” – FKA Twigs

Wait. I know this one.

It’s been two weeks since you looked at me / Cocked your head to the side / and said I’m angry.

Also something about a Chinese chicken.

28. “Somebody’s Talking” – The Preatures

Hey 30Hz, this one should be higher. Jerk. Damn catchy tune.

I’m sorry. I thought I should knock it down a few pegs since The Preatures made a surprise Top 10 appearance last year.

That’s dumb.

You’re dumb.

It’s my list. I can be as f’ing arbitrary as I want.

25. “The Natural World” – The Cymbals

Early in ’14 Cymbals released The Age of Fracture to little fanfare before that album then disappeared from the rader entirely. Opens with a lazy bit of melodic synth that could have been the centerpiece of a Pet Shop Boys jam before escalating into catchy hook that sounds like some lost Dogs Die In Hot Cars. Speaking of disappearing entirely, what the hell happened to Dogs Die In Hot Cars? That was a great record. Don’t let The Cymbals disappear like Dogs Die In Hot Cars.

24. “Maidenhead” – Protomartyr

“Maidenhead” christens Protomartyr’s Under Color of Official Right like a shattered bottle of champagne. A earwormy bass line surrenders to a wall of guitar and droning vocals from frontman Joe Casey. This post-punk band from Detroit borrows from Joy Division and Nick Cave and delivered a timeless slice of Motor City garage rock.

23. “I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)” – Bret McKenzie

We may never see any new music from The Flight of the Conchords (though Bret and Jemaine are planning a return to HBO in some form) and Bret’s ode to Lite AM/Lionel Richie/Michael McDonald for the Muppets: Most Wanted only makes me pine for their return even more. Damn you, Bret.

22. “The Wheel” – Sohn

Sohn, aka Christopher Taylor, Viennese-based English ambient/electro artists made a name for himself by working with Lana Del Ray, BANKS and Rhye. That’s gravy, except his 2014 record Tremors might be better than any of them.

21. “Chandelier” – Sia

The song details “the demoralisation and rationalisation of alcoholism through the typical thought process of a ‘party girl’.” Works for me. I dig it because Sia just destroys the vocals in the chorus.

20. “Fiona Coyne” – Saint Pepsi

“Oh darling, won’t you believe me? I’ll love you till the record stops… the record stops.”

A sunny electro/disco jingle with nothing but happy vibes and the above bit of creative lyricism from Ryan DeRobertis.

19. “Class Historian” – Broncho

Elton John playing a sweet ass toy piano made of chickens.

18. “River” – together PANGEA

I’d never heard of these Los Angeles-based garage rockers until I discovered this track two weeks ago. You’ll have to excuse me because I’ve got three together PANGEA records to dig into.

17. “Repeat Pleasure” – How to Dress Well

2012’s Total Loss was a near perfect record. What is This Heart? proves that success was no fluke. Some of the best neo-soul music over the last handful of years has been produced by twentysomething solo white guys. How to Dress Well. Autre Ne Veut. The world confuses me sometimes.

16. “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” – Chromeo

I’m hesitant to call this a “club banger” because I don’t go to “clubs” and the only “bangers” I really know are Irish sausages.

15. “I’m Not Part of Me” – Cloud Nothings

Part of me just wants to hand Cloud Nothings the banner for Greatest Garage Band in the History of Evar. Can we get that made up? What’s that cost at Kinko’s nowadays?

14. “Left Hand Free” – Alt-J

Though the new Alt-J record disappointed me a bit… two singles, surrounded by filler… this track confounded me with flurries of cryptic, nonsensical lyrics and a slick little backbeat and I kinda love it.

13. “Happy Idiot” – TV On the Radio

This song was almost too perfect so I docked it a few points. C’mon TV on the Radio, you can do worse than this.

12. “OOO AAA” – The Cathedrals

Hey, I just heard this great song on XMU.

What’s it called?

OOO AAA.

Ooooh aaah?

No. OOO AAA.

Well, that’s stupid.

So it goes.

11. “Champions of Red Wine” – The New Pornographers

I am pro-red wine. That means I’m a champion of red wine, and therefore this song is about me. Brill Bruisers is also the best New Pornographers record since Electric Version.

10. “Pools” – Glass Animals

When I first listened to this record it made a sound akin to the air deflating from a latex balloon and then I heard “Pools” and it still sounded like pfpfpfpfftttttttttttttt…… except now I can’t delete it from my iTunes and it’ll continue to take up space because “Pools” is excellent and I’m obsessive about keeping full albums in my collections. Even digital.

9. “Do It Again” – Röyksopp & Robyn

Play “Do It Again” again, Sam.

8. “There’s a Revolution” and “Did We Live Too Fast?” – Got A Girl

You can’t make me pick. Don’t make me choose. I wrote about Got A Girl already so you might as well just read that instead because Dan the Automator retweeted it.

7. “Past Life” – Lost in Trees

Certain songs transfix and paralyze. Whenever I hear “Past Life” I tend to stop what I’m doing and listen, as if for the first time. All productivity slows to a halt. Lost in Trees has been good in the past, but this is the best Lost in Trees has ever been.

6. “Lazaretto” – Jack White

On “Lazaretto” Jack White should be the villain in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because he f’ing shreds.

Get it? Because the antagonist in TMNT is Shredder.

5. “Archie, Marry Me” – Alvvays

“Archie, Marry Me” found its way into a Ben Gibbard live set at the Seattle Arts Festival. If this isn’t the seal of indie-approval, I don’t know what is. The Death Cab frontman sat solo at the piano and played a stunning down-tempo version that showcased Alvvays talent for lyricism. Sadly, only a short clip exists on the Interwebs, but that it happened at all must have been the capper on Alvvays’ breakout year.

4. “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” – Run the Jewels

The second collaboration between El-P and Killer Mike dropped from the heavens, a momentary defibrillator reviving ballsy, old school hip hop. The album also boasts my favorite rap song of the year – “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” featuring Rage Against the Machine’s Zack De La Rocha. There really wasn’t another rap record that came close to Run the Jewels in 2014.

3. “Go” – Grimes (feat. Blood Diamond)

Grimes wrote “Go” for Rihanna to sing. Rihanna turned her down. Indisputable proof that Rihanna is a dunce, but a brilliant dunce; Grimes doesn’t need any other cooks in the kitchen.

2. “Red Eyes” – The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs dresses down perfection with natural simplicity and grungy minor chords. They’re still channeling the Boss on their own terms, twisting Springsteen’s version of Americana into a reflection of our misbegotten new millennium.

1. “Seasons (Waiting On You) – Future Islands

Despite previously delivering two brilliant records, Future Islands failed to achieve any crossover notoriety. Their fans remained of the indie variety – devout and vocal, but lacking that mainstream megaphone and soapbox. 2014 proved to be the year that put Future Islands on the map. “Seasons (Waiting On You)” immediately dominated the blogosphere and independent and alt-rock radio outlets such as XMU, KEXP, etc. And then they appeared on David Letterman where frontman Samuel T. Herring dropped a legendary performance on an unsuspecting studio audience, prowling the stage like a jungle cat and growling the refrain. As of December 15th, the video of that performance had garnered over 3 million views. This isn’t Taylor Swift territory, but we can’t all be Taylor Swift. Fans of this “new” band should do themselves a favor and give Future Islands’ 2010 record In Evening Air a listen. I’m still shocked it didn’t get more play upon its release. There’s always time to make amends.

A radio staple for months and remixed dozens of times… yet I’m still not done with this song. The catchy hook, soulful warbling and synthy introducation made this one a keeper. Make sure to track down the reinterpretation of “Seasons” from the experimental jazz group BadBadNotGood who isolated Herring’s soulful warbling and transformed Future Islands into pitch-perfect 1970’s soul.

30Hz Top 100 Songs of 2014

Lately, I have been weighing the cost/benefit of cloning. The Rumble suffered this year due to a certain Bond-ian syndrome that’s taken hold of my extra time and writing life, those precious, wee hours when I’m not arguing with a 2 year old (about everything) or discussing My Little Pony minutiae with the 5 year old. The good news here is that I’m nearly done with the first draft of my James Bond manuscript of more than 80,000 words. Huzzah! Bad news. Now I need to send some feelers out for publication and start work on revisions so the Rumble will likely still suffer from content jealousy. Somewhere along the way, I listened to a metric crap tonne of music in 2014. And I have to admit that the year merely whelmed. I found the usual handful of albums to adore (nothing swept me up like CHVRCHES’ The Bones of What You Believe), but few standout tracks to call “legit jams.” The last two years have spoiled us all for new music. 2014 brought us all back down to earth. Unless you’re Iggy Azalea, Taylor Swift or Lorde, all of whom were last spotted soaring somewhere near Uranus. Maybe Neptune. Even more damning of 2014 is that I found reason to put two of those artists on my list. (Ugh.)

My playlist containing every track in iTunes from 2014 has 7 days worth of music in it. And that doesn’t even count all the stuff I check out on Spotify and dismiss. But even with all that listening, it’s blind, dumb, stupid luck when a certain song catches my fancy. Consider how much music is released each and every week. The music from major labels, indie labels and everything in between. Some songs are unavoidable. Some songs I hear once, a chance meeting during My Old Kentucky Blog’s noontime hour on XMU. Great songs get left off my list every year just because I first heard them in the wrong frame of mind. There are dozens, nay hundreds, of equally worthy songs that just didn’t catch my fancy when the fancy was loose. I always make an effort to value visceral enjoyment more highly than intellectual appreciation when selecting and ranking these tracks. In a couple of instances over the years I’ve come to regret this plan of attack. Honesty will condemn me before all 100 101 102 of my favorite tracks from 2014 have been weighed and measured. The 30Hz Top 100 Songs of 2014:

Best Songs of 2014

Rdio Playlistified:

Spotify Playlistified:

101a. “Boom Clap” – Charlie XCX

For whatever reason I’ve decided that Charlie XCX has more individual talent than all of the other naked and bouncy pop stars I dismiss without a second thought. I blame her first record, which was actually quite good. Though I like the new one too. (Shit. Am I a Charlie XCX “fan”?) Oh, and this song’s featured in a movie about cancer-ridden teens, so it’s, like, deep, right?

Continue reading 30Hz Top 100 Songs of 2014

30Hz Recommended: Got a Girl

Got a Girl is hip-hop producer Dan the Automator and actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Does this reek of She & Him? Yes. Yes it does. Are you tired of Zooey Deschanel? Probably. This is not She & Him. Now let me give you five six seven reasons you need to pay attention to Got a Girl.

Got a Girl 30Hz Recommended

1. Dan the Automator produced one of the greatest hip-hop records in history: Dr. Octogon’s Octogonecologyst.

 

 

2. The collaboration between Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Dan the Automator came after their meeting on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Dan contributed to the soundtrack and, Mary Elizabeth, of course, starred as Ramona Flowers. If there’s one thing we should all know by know, it’s that only brilliant things come from Scott Pilgrim. Here’s Romona and Roxy’s battle, just because:

 

3. Got a Girl has also created these deliciously retro/mod performance art videos as teasers for the upcoming record. Do I completely understand how this is going to sell more records? No. But maybe that’s not the point. All I know is that I felt compelled to watch all of them. MEW is porcelain perfection in high contrast black & white, and Dan the Automator as Mad Men-era sophisticate sipping wine, drinking scotch and schilling fake cologne strikes a chord untapped by anyone other than the Most Interesting Man in the World. Visit the Got a Girl website to view all of the videos. Here’s one I find especially topical. MEW and vinyl:

 

4. Mary Elizabeth Winstead first showcased her pipes singing a cappella in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. Quentin Tarantino has excellent taste in music. By the reflexive property of approval, Quentin Tarantino approves of MEW.

 

5. The Got a Girl Instagram. This might overlap with #3, but I’m okay with that. It’ll give me a reason to check my Instragram feed again.

 

Got a Girl Instagram

6. MEW said their intentions were to marry “French 60’s pop, Jane Birkin… and Dan’s sensibility, which is his beats and a little bit of that low-key hip-hop vibe.” If all you know about French pop music from the 1960’s is Gillian Hill’s “Zou bisou bisou,” let’s add another name to that list: Françoise Hardy, perhaps the most enduring of all the artists to come out of yé-yé (the French “bubblegum” pop) artists.

 

 

7. Got a Girl is really, quite f’ing good.

 

Quick link to Amazon for ordering artists featured in this post: