Monday, February 27, 2012

Plan to cry

There is literally no chance you're reading this and are not aware of the Magnetic Fields/Stephin Merritt. It is an impossibility in the world of college radio. Though, perhaps you are unfamiliar with just how prolific the fellow is. In addition to the Magnetic Fields, he writes/wrote music for the 6ths, the Gothic Archies, the Future Bible Heroes, and has done soundtrack/musical work under the name his mama gave him. And when you have your finger in that many pies (sexy, sexy pies), stuff is going to fall through the cracks. Hence, Merritt's "Obscurities" album: a collection of unreleased/alternate/etc tracks from a host of his musical acts.

For this writer the clear album highlight is the sole track from Buffalo Rome, the name Merritt originally used for his bedroom pop project with fellow Mag.Fielder Claudia Gonson. "Plant White Roses" later became a Magnetic Fields song, but I think I prefer this quicker, tighter version. The country-goth vibe is still there ("plant white roses/I wanna die..."), but it's quite nice stripped down.

Unsurprisingly, though, the album is uneven. "Unreleased" collections usually are, since many of these songs are unreleased for some reason, right? But that's not say there aren't some hits on here. Merritt's somber chamber-pop sits next to old Mag Fields songs in their casio-blasting glory and the 6th's weirdly sunny vibe, but all showcase his extremely capable songwriting. The collection is defintely a fans-only affair, but it will remind you just what you love about the man's work. I would die a happy dude if I ever wrote anything nearly as good as his lyric from "I Don't Believe You":

I had a dream and you were in it
The blue of your eyes was infinite
You seemed to be
In love with me
Which isn't very realistic

Friday, February 24, 2012

Playlist for 2-23-12


Friday! Party! Yesssssssss! I'm so stoked to get in on this hot weekend action. Gonna sleep in, go jogging, cook some tlayuda, watch Episode 1 at my friend Brian's house while we listen to a Red Letter Media commentary track making fun of it, drink a beer or two, and WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE! It's the weekend. The possibilities are endless! Live the dream! And let the songs I played last night be your soundtrack:

Things that Are Square 2-23-12

(*) = New release

The Mae Shi - Run to Your Grave - Hlllyh

(*) Hunx - Always Forever - Hairdresser Blues
Cars Can Be Blue - I Like - All the Stuff We Do
Talulah Gosh - Steaming Train - Backwash
(*) Terry Malts - Tumble Down - Killing Time

(*) Cloud Nothings - Cut You - Attack on Memory
Archers of Loaf - Web in Front - Icky Mettle
Superchunk - Skip Steps 1 & 3 - No Pocky for Kitty
Brian Eno - Third Uncle - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)

(*) Prinzhorn Dance School - Happy in Bits - Clay Class
The Dismemberment Plan - The Face of the Earth - Change
Built to Spill - Velvet Waltz - Perfect From Now On

The Clean - Tally Ho - Anthology
Beat Happening - Fortune Cookie Prize - Dreamy
Seapony - Go Away - Go With Me
(*) Frankie Rose - Gospel/Grace - Interstellar

Akron/Family - Silly Bears - S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
Matmos - The Struggle Against Unreality Begins - The Civil War
Black Dice - Gore - Load Blown
Destroyer - Watercolours Into the Ocean - Destroyer's Rubies

Another Sunny Day - You Should All Be Murdered - London Weekend
Grinderman - Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man - Grinderman 2
Thee Oh Sees - The Dream - Carrion Crawler/The Dream EP
(*) The Underground Railroad to Candyland - That I Dunno - Knows Your Sins
Black Eyes - Letter to Raoul Peck - Black Eyes

The Blood Brothers - Set Fire to the Face on Fire - Young Machetes

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My heart will always break in two

As much as I'm a dude who owns his fair share of punk albums, in my heart I'm a pop-kid. I'm way more doo-wop than DGAF. And even though I want to be tough and cool, I'm always gonna be a sucker for 3 minute songs about love, for better or worse. And Seattle's Seapony is a band that has really locked down that surf-pop sound. Of course, they're not breaking any new ground. In fact, one of the songs on this album almost sounds exactly like Real Estate covering Beat Happening. But, it's pop music. It's going to get a pass to my black little heart. And it's definitely solid enough to make its way into playlists, despite its not-going-down-in-history status.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Playlist for 2-16-12

Hey folks,
Another one from the record books. And now I'm just chilling at work, watching old Parks and Rec episodes, looking up recipes for what to bring to a potluck tonight, and trying to be patient until my chance to finally drink Pliny the Younger at the UCI pub tomorrow. If you're unfamiliar with the rare beer Pliny the Younger, it's basically the Mew of beers. That MAY be the first beer-pokemon joke ever. You're welcome.

Things that Are Square
(*) = New release
Jonathan Richman - Hello from Cupid - I'm So Confused

Calvin Johnson - Ode to St. Valentine - What Was Me
(*) Hospitality - Friends of Friends - Hospitality
Seapony - Dreaming - Go With Me
Stephen Malkmus - Jenny & The Ess-Dog - Stephen Malkmus

Tom Waits - I Wish I Was In New Orleans (In the Ninth Ward) - Small Change
(*) Shearwater - You As You Were - Animal Joy
Jawbox - Motorist - For Your Own Special Sweetheart
Fugazi - Instrument - In on the Killtaker

(*) Cloud Nothings - Stay Useless - Attack on Memory
Black Flag - TV Party - Damaged
Dead Kennedys - I Kill Children - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
Descendents - Suburban Home - Milo Goes to College

If you want to actually listen to this show, you can download it here for a limited time:

Full disclosure about errors in this show:
1. The background music wasn't set up during first speaking break
2. The background music only played through the left channel during second speaking break
3. Accidentally started playing another Malkmus song when I started the Tom Waits song.


Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm tracing pentragrams in chalk onto my floor

Every time I hear more Ghost Mice material, I seem to become even more into what they're doing. Folk-punk's energetic positivity and DIY ethos are things that already resonate really strongly with me, and Ghost Mice's lyrics always seem to incorporate comic-book nerdiness and elements of the supernatural, furthering my appreciation. Their song "Critical Hit" is the best example of this. Nominally a song about Dungeons & Dragons, a past-time I dove head-first into during junior high and later, the real meaning of the song is about truly working towards the things you want, despite the odds being against you.

This song, off of their 7" split with Brook Pridemore, has plenty of lyrics about dark arts and the occult, but is about the struggle to improve the place you live. As a resident of Orange County, this is something I can relate to. So many "cool" people born here move to LA, NY, etc. But if no one stays to help make the place better by starting bands and booking shows and voting for progressive causes, how is this place ever going to improve?

Playlist for 2-8-12


Did you miss me? I got DP'd by men's AND women's basketball last week and didn't have a show. But I was back this week in all my amateur radio glory! Bask in its radiance. Let the light of my visage warm your faces like the sun on the most perfect day at the beach you've ever known. And what better way to soundtrack this moment than these songs I played last night:

Things that Are Square 2-9-12

(*) = New release

Hasil Adkins - I Wanna Kiss Kiss Kiss Your Lips - Peanut Butter Rock and Roll

(*) The Lovely Bad Things - You Done Messed Up - New Ghost/Old Waves
The Cramps - Mystery Plane - Songs the Lord Taught Us
The King Khan & BBQ Show - Shake Real Low - The King Khan & BBQ Show
(*) The Underground Railroad to Candyland - That I Dunno - Knows Your Sins

(*) A Place To Bury Strangers - I Lost You - Onwards to the Wall
Prinzhorn Dance School - You Are the Space Invader - Prinzhorn Dance School
Truman Peyote - New Wife, New Life - Light-Lightning
Aphex Twin - To Cure a Weakling Child - Richard D James Album

(*) A Silver Mt. Zion - What We Loved Was Not Enough - The West Will Rise Again
Destroyer - Trembling Peacock - This Night

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Get yo' bliss on

Eternal Tapestry and Sun Araw's collaborative EP/LP "Night Gallery" is four tracks of pretty fucking solid cosmic kraut-psych. I don't want to stereotype, but I suspect that drugs MAY (may!) have played a part in the creation of this album. Just sayin'.

Feel free to pick it up here or at the label's page.