Welcome to January 20th, 2017. Welcome to the future.
I believe music offers the power to heal scars, ignite fires, prop up lost and weary souls. I’ve always resisted doing a weekly recommended column because there are just so damn many. Everyone has a record to recommend. But I’m not everybody. You’re not everybody else.
I’ve consistently promoted the notion that Pitchfork is not the quality controllers of the alt-whatever music business. Now more than ever, in fact, I believe that Pitchfork is off it’s f’ing rocker. Find the voices in music blogging and bl-gging that resonate on your frequency. Discovering new music is not a solitary exercise done in the dark corners of your room while nobody is looking. Discovery is a collaboration between dozens… nay… hundreds of different voices. I read three or four blogs every week. From those investigations and my own haphazard listening, I’ll bring forth at least one record per week that’s worth your time. Maybe it’s not your new favorite. And that’s perfectly fine, but I guarantee it’ll be at least worth the time. You won’t have to be that person wandering around lamenting that nobody releases good music anymore. They do. It’s here. I’ll share it with you.
30Hz New Music Radar: Cherry Glazerr
L.A. noise pop outfit loves a good guitar drone with splendid cacophony, but Cherry Glazerr also can’t resist a great hook when the mood strikes.
Cherry Glazerr released a debut album in 2014. Since then, however, Clementine Creevy’s bandmates jumped ship. The new lineup consists of Creevy, Tabor Allen on drums and Sasami Ashworth on synths. The revamped trio brings a more focused brand of self-aware cherry-stained punk-pop that totters on the bring of self-control. It’s loud, guitar-driven music for square-ish punks.
Sample tracks:Nurse Ratched, Trash People, Humble Pro
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 100101 102 of my favorite tracks from 2014 have been weighed and measured. The 30Hz Top 100 Songs of 2014:
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?
This new album from the Chapel Hill band Lost In The Trees has been out for a few weeks now, but this title track to the record still has me in a trance. I can’t get enough and yet it affects me every time. It’s haunting and somehow hopeful. Although the record never hits another high quite like this, the rest of the tracks are solid, top to bottom. Lost In The Trees has been good band for some time, but this track could easily be considered their masterpiece.
Lost In The Trees: “Past Life”
And if you want to take a step back, here’s the track that first put the band on my radar back in 2010, performed for NPR as one of their Tiny Desk Concerts:
You might have heard me plug the band Fanfarlo on here in the past (here, here and here). If not, no worries. I’ll catch you up. I dig Fanfarlo. Now that we’re up to speed, I should let you know that Fanfarlo released a new record today called Let’s Go Extinct. It’s a more unified sound than their past records — though everything they’ve done all hinges around the kind of mid-tempo pop music perfected by the Talking Heads. Let’s Go Extinct could be read as a kind of concept album, but I haven’t had enough time with it to really consider whether that notion carries. What I will do is share one of my favorite tracks off the new record. Here’s their video for “A Distance.”
As of January 1st, Netflix booted a bunch of old classics from the streaming roster. The Great Train Robbery, The Long Goodbye, A Shot in the Dark. Old ones out. New ones in. I’ve surveyed the list of newcomers and can happily report that there’s plenty of new goodness to keep you entertained.