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Titus Andronicus - The Monitor (2010) | staires! an adventure in listening

You can find new @staires content over on http://staires.net now.

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I like this song so much I sent the band $50 for it. Nuff said.

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Song of the day is the second rap song I decided I liked this year so far. The album is sort of hard to listen to, very claustrophobic. Pitchfork's review says that "listening to it in daylight hours can make you feel allergic to sunlight" and they're totally right.

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Congrats by Holy Fuck on iTunes

I like the new Holy Fuck album a lot. I wasn't as thrilled with Latin. The first couple songs are straight Holy Fuck, then they start to take steps toward Mogwai style post-rock, and take a couple steps back, and then songs like Acidic are straight Daft Punk/Justice territory. Big fan... I can't say how much staying power it will have for me, but overall this is a solid Holy Fuck album, they progress while maintaining what is unique about their sound.

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I don't think it gets much better than Leon Bridges at the moment. I was curious as to why the new White Denim album sucked so bad. Turns out Austin Jenkins (the tall, awesome second guitarist) and Josh Block (the drummer) both left White Denim to work with Leon Bridges. While the sound of Leon Bridges has little to nothing to do with White Denim, I think the one thing they clearly have (or had) in common is that there is a love of music that you can very easily hear on every song. Even without seeing Austin Jenkin's smiling mug as he's making his guitar sing, you can feel it; not just from him of course, every instrument and player on this album shines. Check it out.

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The new White Denim album, Stiff, painfully generic. It feels like they decided they no longer wanted to be an 'art' band. Is this why the other guitarist left? The guitars and lyrics on this album are so generic... "Holda You" is basically one long rape/murder threat, which I understand is a 'lyrical genre' of classic rock n roll in a way, but man, it's 2016, that song just creeps me out. I also think the name of the album, and the album art, isn't juvenile fun, it's just juvenile. Maybe it was a statement of intent: this is going to be an album full of tasteless songs about sex and women.

Instead of being an interesting blend of several genres into psychedelic rock like on prior albums, they're bouncing hard between generic classic rock and motown impressions, and the psych is gone completely. I'm really sad. White Denim is one of my favorite bands, I had stupidly high expectations. I'm probably going to skip seeing them live next week in LA. I don't think anything will top the performance of At The Farm at the Troubadour, I'll stick with that memory until they release another good album.

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I don't know who you are, Mr. Twig, but your guitar sings just as well as any human can. Thank you for the good vibes.

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Delusion Moon, the debut full-length album by Meat Wave, has firmly wedged itself into the "Best Albums" folder in Spotify. 13 songs, and not a single one of them is bad. There are standouts, of course, (Witchcraft, Sunlight, Erased were my initial favorites), but the album stands as cohesively, the whole greater than sum of its parts.

For example, opener Delusion Moon doesn't feel to me like a mixtape-friendly jam, but after I felt I had listened to the album enough to pick my favorite songs and move on, I still had the wail of that titular line stuck in my head. I had to listen to the album again, and since then I've kept listening to it again and again. Meat Wave is officially one of my favorite bands; between this album and their two EPs, there isn't a bad song.

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  • JESUS CHRIST I CANNOT WRITE ENGLISH ANYMORE AM I A RETARDED PERSON : amiantos
  • Meat Wave is playing here in LA while I am in Memphis. I am so sad. : amiantos

Well, I know what I will be listening to for the next couple weeks. Matt Berninger (from The National) and Brent Knopf (Menomena / Ramona Falls) got together and recorded this. I've only listened to one song so far but I already know I am going to love every minute of it.

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  • For the record, this album sucked ass. : amiantos

The new Electric Six album, Bitch, Don't Let Me Die, is unusually good. With so many albums, it's easy to fall into "return to form" phrasing when it comes to E6. Safe to say, this album can be favorably compared to Switzerland and I Shall Exterminate ..., although this album is unfortunately missing my most favorite style of E6 song, the pensive moody art piece ("When I Get To The Green Building", "The Band In Hell", "We Use The Same Shampoo") but if pressed maybe "Drone Strikes" qualifies.

The ratio of really memorable songs to forgettable ones is very high. "Drone Strikes" specifically features several sparkling bits of Electric Six genius. The horror movie synth stabs during the chorus really make the entire song, coupled with Valentine going from full hard rock falsetto scream to deep punk rock warble forces me to grin from ear to ear every time I hear it.

Plus the song is under 3 minutes in length, which gets big fat thumbs up from me. This is becoming something I really value in music, as it seems like there are a lot of artists who think that repeating the same three parts of the song over again until your song if 6 minutes long is "cool" or something, and most of the songs on this album are under 4 minutes. Thank you, Electric Six.

Whatever groove the band is locked into for "A Variation of Elaine" is a place I want to find in the universe for myself. That song just feels good.

The album is not without it's questionable moments, like this verse from "Two Dollar Two"...

And I won’t panic if you won’t panic
And if you get the ticket don’t pay the fine
Satanic mechanic in the mid-Atlantic
Makin’ drippy-droppy in a Chilean coal mine

This might be unfair, as the entire song seems to be complete nonsense, and also I'm not really complaining. I mean, who the fuck am I? Asking for Electric Six songs to have some vaguely coherent meaning, what a joke.

Anyway, if you like Electric Six, you will like this album. If you don't like Electric Six, I doubt anything is going to make you like them, but listen to the album anyway because I don't think anyone makes music quite like Electric Six does.

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Spotify's Discover Weekly is really knocking it out of the park for me lately. In this weeks playlist, it recommend this song to me, which is fantastic. I'd never heard of Pylon before, but they're in the same wheelhouse as everything amazing I've been listening to lately (Television, Patti Smith, ...). When I heard this song for the first time, I couldn't tell if it was new or old, which mainly serves to reinforce the fact that amazing music is still being made today. I don't care for any cynical interpretations.

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In the late 1960's, Johnathan Richman was really into The Velvet Underground. After travelling to NYC and living in squalor for a while as he unsuccessfully attempted to break into the scene, he went back home to Boston and founded The Modern Lovers.

After recording two batches of demos in 1972, struggling for some time to find a label that would release their music, a trip to Bermuda inspired Richman to decide he didn't want to play hard rock music anymore and the band broke up. By 1976, he'd formed a new version of the Modern Lovers to channel his new mellower output, and luckily for us the label that accepted him decided to release those 1972 demos as 1976's The Modern Lovers.

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what I want is a girl that I care about
or I want nothing at all

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Looking back on it now, it's obvious why I like this song. I have a soft-spot for any song that features a call and response section, or simpler still, just the rest of the band wailing highlights, like in the case of this song. (And, recently, Television's Venus.)

This song will be responsible for the rest of my deeper exploration of the Dexys Midnight Runners catalog. Sure, I've heard Come On Eileen, who hasn't, but I'd never heard this song before today, and it's really something. I feel bad that I hear a song and I like it and all I can really do is just post it on the internet and say, "I like this song", but really it doesn't matter what I say, what matters is that you listen to it and see if you like it. I should just embrace the fact that I have nothing much to say sometimes.

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I just posted about Television the other day (or was that yesterday?) but I'm basically eating, sleeping, and breathing this album. I just can't get over it.

This is not an album that reveals itself completely on the first couple listens, even to an ear as sophisticated (or unabashedly dishumble) as my own. It's easy to focus on Verlaine's voice, and the duelling guitars (especially whichever one is playing a scale, loudly) and give no credit at all to the bass and drums, which give so much of the album its energy--those guitars don't carry their own weight much at all. If you love music, you should sit down for a bit with some headphones and really listen to what each instrument is doing. It might blow yr mind.

This song is pure swagger expressed through rock music. While not the highest point of the album (that'd be the title track, which I originally started link here, but maybe I'll save it for later when I write something more substantial about Television) my day today would not have been the same had I not been able to turn this song up to ear-bleeding levels while driving down the street.

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If you start looking into punk music, you're going to end up with someone recommending Television's Marquee Moon as one of the best, and first, punk albums of all time. However, it's not really punk. It's sometimes called "post-punk", which is impressive considering that in 1977 punk had barely begun existing. Some say "proto-punk", but others disagree because proto-punk can only be applied to bands pre-1977 that influenced the eventual emergence of punk. Sometimes it's qualified as "art-punk", but I think that is overly broad to the point of meaninglessness.

The main thing that seems to qualify Marquee Moon as "punk", at least musically, to some people, is the fact that vocalist Tom Verlaine sounds like shit. To my ear, which has grown up listening to Win Butler and Jeff Magnum, Verlaine sounds perfectly normal, but I'm assuming back in 1977 to have a vocalist who is so unapologetically warbly was probably pretty punk rock. The entire sound of this album is original, interesting, daring, different ... isn't that what punk is about?

That said, I don't think there is anything punk about this album. If this album came out today, it would just be called indie rock, and there wouldn't be any debate about it at all.

What I love the most about this album, aside from the fact that it is really, really great, is the fact that I can hear little bits of almost every band I love in it. The bands that stick out the most would be White Denim, who use virtuoso dueling guitars to similar effect, and Tulsa, who, for their brief existence, built an entire dreamy album around soloing progressions. You've got aforementioned Win Butler, warbling away...

As this writer points out it can be hard to nail down who influenced who, ultimately, because everyone's just a warped version of someone else. Is it fair to say anyone was influenced by Television, who doesn't specifcially cop to it? I love that writer's tear-down of emerging punk:

The Ramones were louder, the Pistols nastier, the Clash purer, Nick Lowe more clever, and Wire more violent, but Television was different. Television wasn't a band you could easily copy like the others. [...] What I'm saying is that Television was DIFFERENT than anything I had heard before. The Pistols were really just super-fast Mott The Hoople (great band), Ramones a raunchy surf band, the Clash a raw pop-reggae band, Nick a great popster, and Wire...well, another bunch geniuses who took Punk higher, but later than Television.

What is punk, really? That's the question. What's the answer? I'm still trying to figure that out, but at the moment my conclusion is that punk isn't really anything at all, at least not during the 70's and early 80's, just artists taking chances by meshing rock with other genres, trying new things, and doing it loudly and with much enthusiasm. It's toally understandable that people get the ideas of DIY and punk conflated.

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My favorite thing about music, by far, is that there is so much of it. My taste, over the years, has slowly grown and shifted, and all along the way I keep finding more and more music that I enjoy. New music, or old music, there's always more of it for me.

I recently decided that my knowledge of punk music was severely lacking--considering I appear to be a person who will now have strangely colored hair perhaps for the rest of his life, I thought that it would be bet to remedy this.

Thanks to the playlists in Apple Music and on Spotify, it will be pretty easy for me to listen to lots of different kinds of punk, to pick out the stuff that appeals to me the most. This song, by The Undertones, is a classic I'd never heard before. The record version sounds slightly different from this live take, but that's alright, the important thing is that the song is great. I love the vocalist's voice, I was sure he was a woman on the recording, sort of like The High Strung's Luck You Got.

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In the long list of my favorite Nine Inch Nails songs, this one probably takes the top position. It really captures everything brilliant about The Fragile, from the warm undulating synthesizers to the manic, thrashing guitars. The entire texture of this song is entirely unique, quintessentially Trent Reznor in every way. You're not sure what sounds are synthesizers and which are manipulated screams. The lyrical content is angsty id of the purest form. I don't think music gets much more cathartic than this.

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I really like this song a lot. Whenever it comes on, I end up thinking about how I want to write a "vampire novel", except a really clever one where being a vampire is a metaphor for being a jaded, cynical misanthrope. I love the first two lines:

at first it was different
and then it got boring

This is a somewhat local band, from Southern California, and yet I've never seen them live. That's disappointing.

Relatedly, a while ago when I staged an indie rock concert at a friend's house, this song came up in the mix I was playing between bands. I overheard some guy trying to impress a girl, talking over this song and misattributing it to Mikal Cronin, and then acting very surprised when the song just quickly fades out without a proper ending (on the recorded version, not the version in this video). I'll always think of that when I hear this song, too.

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The score to Nebraska continues to be one of my favorite collections of music, and what I turn to any time I feel like I need something that satisfies a litany of needs: relaxing, upbeat yet quietly, solemnly introspective music that lulls me into state of borrowed nostalgia. I can't imagine better music to accompany me on a sleepy Sunday drive, or to calm the hamster wheel spinning inside my mind. Thank you Mark Orton!

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