To conclude January, we have collectively put together a list of tracks that caught our attention this month. We’ll probably do this monthly until we inevitably forget about this blog 6-8 months from now.
Here’s how this is going to work. All songs that hadn’t been added to Spotify will be embedded in this post for your listening pleasure. Everything that I was able to find has been assembled on a playlist that can be found HERE
The Strokes “One Way Trigger” – God damnit people, they’re trying. Somewhere around the turn of the century, The Strokes crossed an imaginary line. On one side, mostly forgotten about “The” bands of the era (The Vines, The Hives etc), Maybe they weren’t forgotten, but they definitely were by me. (This distinction has prompted me to sort through NOW vol 6-8, and let me just say – that’s been a lot of fun.) On the other side, rock & roll immortality in the same realm as Radiohead. The Strokes ended up in the latter, perhaps unfairly. Since then, they’ve seen their critical acclaim start to plateau, if not erode. THE POINT IS that The Strokes are a good band that struggles with expectations of progression. It’s a bummer to hear how un-discernible Julian Casablanca’s falsetto is on this track. Can we all just collectively hope – for music’s sake – that they hit their stride again?
Marnie Stern – “East Side Glory”
Yo La Tengo – “Ohm”
Fade wasn’t vintage Yo La Tengo, personally, but this will totally do. I went to Hollywood for the album release show at Amoeba and knew I’d hear “Ohm”. I’d just watched them play a performance of it on Fallon that was vintage Yo La Tengo, so I was looking forward to being in the room for this one. All credit in the world to Amoeba for putting it on — and to be fair i’ve never seen Yo La Tengo live –but it felt really static in there. The sound was kind of rough, and everybody was separated in rows by 5’ walls of LPs. It was hot and bright, and just generally uncomfortable. So uncomfortable in fact, that my girlfriend toed the line of a sober blackout during “Little Honda”. We took to some fresh air for about 15 minutes when I could hear the chord progression from “Ohm” through the window. She recovered some time around this point, and we went back inside and thumbed through VHS for 2 hours. She scored me NBA Superstars vol. 1-3, actually. Makin’ motherfucking memories, you guys.
Wampire – “The Hearse”
Menomena – “Toomer”
There’s something happening here that didn’t fit in on Moms, obviously, since it was recorded during those sessions and didn’t make the full length. Don’t let that lead you to believe it’s of lesser quality than anything on that album though. Menomena played their cards perfectly here, because “Toomer” would have been strange anywhere on Moms, which would have been a waste of a perfectly fantastic song. Perhaps the only song i’ve ever heard that demonstrates restraint while also containing wanky, borderline irritating synths behind a vocal. Love these lyrics as well.
Future – “Fo Real” feat. Drake
OH you like Future now huh Bailey? You snagged one of my picks. This one goes.
UMO – “So Good at Being In Trouble”
(I wrote this before II was available for stream on NPR, for what it’s worth. Read my review of that album here)
After a few listens, it’s great, no doubt – but it’s also so tantalizing it’s aggravating. UMO’s II is my most anticipated album of the year, bar none. Their debut album was impressive and the subsequent singles floored me. So naturally, I’m setting the bar so high that Sgt. Pepper doesn’t have the hops to clear it. I just can’t help but feel like the song is a little hard to follow, instrumentally. I could sing the titular hook for 6 minutes straight – that’s not the issue. But if this song rode a simple melody like it’s crooner parallel “Jello and Juggernauts”, I could have called it great after one listen.
Justin Timberlake – “Suit & Tie” Feat. Jay-Z
That fucking hook hasn’t left my head, I can tell you that. Read my full review on it here.
Grizzly Bear – “Gun-Shy” (Lindstrøm RMX)
You Remember. That extra cheesy disco track that barely had any element of the original track? You asshole, I did a whole unnecessary write-up about it!
Toro y Moi – “So Many Details”
FaltyDL – “She Sleeps”
FaltyDL – “Straight & Arrow” (Four Tet RMX)
Cayucas – “High School Lover”
Foxygen – “Shuggie”
Toro Y Moi – “Cake”
FIDLAR – “No Waves”
Parquet Courts – “Stoned and Starving”
Local Natives – “Breakers”
Jagwar Ma – “The Throw”
The Men – “Electric”
Youth Lagoon – “Dropla”
First off, let me provide my endorsement to Torres’s “Honey”, which I’ve thrown on repeat multiple mornings this month and is perfect January depression induced beard growing music, and the entire FIDLAR album. FIDLAR reminds me of a lo-fi-ier young Offspring, and their new album does the get fucked up and skate DIY rock thing really damn well. Makes me want to carry my skateboard around town and slap a Blink-182 sticker on a stop sign. Or snort a pill off a dirty basement washing machine. That means they’re doing it right.
Willow Smith – “Sugar and Spice”
Willow Smith is just like you! She’s a nine year old who likes to do silly dances. She’s a twelve year discovering Radiohead who’s prone to inexplicable bouts of angst. She’s just like any other normal kid growing up, if you ignore the fact that she gets to manufacture her banal developmental stepping stones into songs that get billions of clicks on the internet, earn her millions of dollars, and probably end up inadvertently lining Scientology’s coffers via Will Smith not being able to confront the fact that he likes a little bit of dick now and again. She’s most likely at least a little talented though, and she certainly picked the right Radiohead sample to sing prettily over. You go girl. I listened to this song 17 times this month.
Pissed Jeans – “Bathroom Laughter”
If you like this song there’s an 84% chance you got suspended from middle school for having a knife you stole from your stepdad in your locker. I’ve missed Pissed Jeans.
A$AP Rocky – “1Train (feat. Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, and Big K.R.I.T.)”
Merchandise – “Anxiety’s Door”
Jesus Christ, this song. I’ll probably do a primer on Merchandise later this week, because, holy fuck, this band, but just know that if you are any sort of fan of the music people like to tag “post-punk” or really any Brit tinged guitar driven “indie rock” (although they’re not British) you should love what these guys are doing right now.
Blood Diamonds – “Barcode (feat. Dominic Lord)”
If you consider yourself an “adult” (eats cheese dip for lunch < once a week, no longer gets high before work, rarely sleeps on a floor) but not an “ADULT” (knows how taxes work, loves a good coupon) this track has the perfect amount of Skrillex style dubstep for you. Juuuuust enough, but not so much to make you think things like, “OMG KIDS THESE DAYS”.
The xx – “Sunset (Jamie xx Edit)”
What is that sound that’s always in Jamie xx remixes? Is it steel drums? Because I’ve been calling it steel drums like someone who knows what he’s talking about. Jamie xx could remix the sound of spinach and artichoke dip digesting in my stomach and I’d think it sounded great.
Kitty – “Ay Shawty (feat. Lakutis)”
I’ve just started to get into Kitty (formerly Kitty Pryde, I guess?) within the past month, Ay Shawty being the catalyst to listen to her new tape, and that leading me into last year’s stuff. Apparently, she’s someone the internet has stamped “CONTROVERSIAL” because of something something talking about her eating disorder and directly responding to negative feedback on her tumblr and critics think she raps like a disney princess aaaaand guhhhhhhhhhhh. The first few comments on any site that posted this track are all “the. worst.” and “THIS IS BULLSHIT I DONT GET WHY PEOPLE LIKE HER” so obviously I missed some big internet kerfuffle. Lukach tried to fill me in on it, and look, I’m all for devouring an artist’s backstory and liking them somewhat based on their internet presence, but sometimes it’s just nice to like something because it sounds good. Kitty picks really nice synthy beats. She raps well over them, incredibly well at times, and the product is something unique. idc idc idc enough to go any deeper.
A$AP Rocky feat. Schoolboy Q – “PMW”
Seriously what is going on with these T-Minus beats? This dude has like one beat! And he just apparently uses some kind of mind trick to convince people it’s something different every time (“This is the warbled guitar loop you’re looking for…”). I don’t know. Rocky doesn’t really care though–that dude is like hip-hop’s little brother who just cops everyone else’s second-hand swag and really likes to fight people. So while the song remains the same, so does A$AP and Q’s chemistry, throwing barbs back and forth, not on the level of “Brand New Guy” but pretty close. These bros need to do a legitimate PMW PSA where they share the simplicity of the world with everyone. “Bad day at work? Pussy money weed. Bad credit? Pussy money weed. Hit by a bus? Pussy money weed. Robbed by a hooker before you even get to bang? Pussy money weed. It’s all a nigga need, ya’ll.” *BROUGHT 2 U BY TDE AND THE A$AP MOB, WHERE LORDS NEVER WORRY*
Pusha T feat. Rick Ross – “Millions”
Awesome shit on this Pusha T tape that is still not better than this song and thusly proves its greatness: Young Chop’s thudding, roided-out-rasta beat on “Blocka,” a hook that goes “Just might trust you with my drugs/Might trust you with my money, girl,” Pusha actually prying a decent verse from the mouth of Wale Folarin, French Montana flailing his way through a Future impression (“It doesn’t mattoowwwwww”)
Rockie Fresh feat. Sasha Go Hard – “Show Me Sumthin”
It’s always cute to imagine rappers’ reactions when their producers swipe a sample from a band like The xx. Like, here’s Curren$y talking about the first time he heard a Tortoise album:
“It was all like…I don’t know, electro? I don’t even know what you classify it as because it’s got guitar music and all that in it too. It’s all instrumental and it’s like the craziest shit I ever heard. It was like a trip. I don’t do major drugs, but it was an acid trip in audio form.”
So yeah, I mean “Fantasy” doesn’t bang quite as hard as post-rock, but I envision Young Rockie Fresh smoking up in the studio, rocking a fitted and going “WOOOO WHAT IS THIS? SHIT IS HOT, B” when “Fantasy” comes on the speakers. But the sample is nice: it gives Sasha Go Hard’s fugly flow something pretty to stand on, and her flow gives the beat some tension that it won’t get from ever-fucking-chill Rockie.
Listen to the the January playlist HERE