Monday, December 31, 2012

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Albums, 2012


Please don't stop the music.

06/Tame Impala/Lonerism

Lonerism opens with a chant: "I gotta be above it, I gotta be above it, I gotta be above it", repeated as the drums and sonic flourishes come in. Eventually the chant is not the focal, but it never leaves, it merely takes a backseat to everything else, letting the melodies drown out the thoughts and the voices in the head. Flip over the album and your greeted with a photo of a cluttered room, Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker sprawled on his back, guitar in hand, surrounded by musical equipment. SWALLOWED by musical equipment. The photo is a break in the conversation being had throughout the disc between Kevin and his thoughts/Kevin and the world. A break from the asking of questions and search for one's place in a world that doesn't seem too keen on wanting you around. A quiet moment on an album in which the ebb and flow of the band's pyschedelic textures are often turned up loud to address (or muffle) the matter at hand. Lonerism is Kevin and the band's album long conversation with the only audience who will have them, and the only audience they want: themselves. Hence the tender loving care applied to the ferocity present in the empty room. When no one's looking you often get the needed work done, and "be above it". Lonerism aims to prove this correct.
KEY TRACKS: Apocalypse Dreams/Feels Like We Only Go Backwards/Keep on Lying

07/Frank Ocean/Channel Orange

08/Schoolboy Q/Habits & Contradictions

09/Joey Bada$$/1999

10/Alabama Shakes/Boys & Girls

11/Hot Chip/In Our Heads

12/Grimes/Visions

13/Santigold/Master of My Make-Believe

14/Japandroids/Celebration Rock

15/Bat for Lashes/The Haunted Man

16/Fun./Some Nights

17/the xx/coexist

18/Solange/True

19/John Mayer/Born & Raised

20/The Walkmen/Heaven & 21/Grizzly Bear/Shields

22/Beach House/Bloom

23/Lower Dens/Nootropics

24/Cat Power/Sun

25/Prinzhorn Dance School/Clay Class



"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Singles, 2012


AND



06/Dirty Projectors/About to Die & Gun Has No Trigger

Give David Longstreth some crayons and a canvas, and he'll paint with all the colors of the rainbow. Inside the lines, outside the lines. Colors that work and those that don't. Or wouldn't, but in his hands somehow do. No surprises here, these are Dirty Projectors trademarks. Swing Lo Magellan is full of gems, and these two come early on, back to back, operating like the Talking Heads on acid; Both cinematic in scope. About to Die, presented in technicolor, all handclaps and joyful sing alongs to the heavens. Gun Has No Trigger its more direct, brooding counterpart, intent on leaving a lasting impression. Sonically, the two songs are worlds apart, but both revel in all things Dirty Projectors, painting pictures however they see fit.



AND



07/Schoolboy Q & A$AP Rocky/Hands on the Wheel

08/Grimes/Oblivion

09/Solange/Losing You 

10/Usher/Climax

11/G.O.O.D. Music Group/Clique & Mercy

12/Bat For Lashes/All Your Gold AND Bruno Mars/Locked Out of Heaven

13/Justice/New Lands

14/Tame Impala/Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

15/Santigold/Big Mouth

16/Frank Ocean/Sweet Life

17/Elle Varner/Refill

18/A$AP Mob & Flatbush Zombies/Bath Salt

19/R.Kelly/Feelin' Single

20/Hot Chip/How Do You Do?

21/Rihanna/Where Have You Been

22/Madonna/Girl Gone Wild

23/Kendrick Lamar/Swimming Pools (Drank)

24/E-40, YG, IAMSU, & Problem/Function AND Odd Future/Oldie

25/Taylor Swift/We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together





Sunday, December 30, 2012

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Albums, 2012


Nostalgia. Ultra.

07/Frank Ocean/Channel Orange

That moment on Nostalgia/Ultra. Frank and his girl of the moment. He cues up the music, she disapproves. That new Radiohead may be the bees knees in your personal habitat, but she'd rather hear Jodeci.

That moment. That moment right there. So much bigger than it appeared at the time. So much...
____________________

I never stopped listening to R&B. No matter the form or label attached. Male fronted. Female fronted. Contemporary. Modern. Whatever. And yet, after my umpteenth spin of Channel Orange I found myself saying, "I didn't know they still made albums like this anymore..."

This is not a slight against R&B's present state or condition for the last couple of years, it's just that when you put on Channel Orange, something feels different. Something that was lost now seems found. Freedom. Creativity. Room to just be. Tell stories. Not at all salacious. My moms and them's music is in here. Neo-Soul is in here. Change is in here. Rebirth.

Now I'm not here to label anyone a savior, a "voice of a generation", or a light in a room that's been dark for too long. I'm just celebrating talent, and praising the product. The product and work of a creative young man asking us to give him the freedom and room to create and tell his stories and just be.

We can have Radiohead AND Jodeci, baby. And that, like Channel Orange, is pretty damn refreshing.
KEY TRACKS: Thinkin' Bout You/Sweet Life/Pilot Jones

08/Schoolboy Q/Habits & Contradictions

09/Joey Bada$$/1999

10/Alabama Shakes/Boys & Girls

11/Hot Chip/In Our Heads

12/Grimes/Visions

13/Santigold/Master of My Make-Believe

14/Japandroids/Celebration Rock

15/Bat for Lashes/The Haunted Man

16/Fun./Some Nights

17/the xx/coexist

18/Solange/True

19/John Mayer/Born & Raised

20/The Walkmen/Heaven & 21/Grizzly Bear/Shields

22/Beach House/Bloom

23/Lower Dens/Nootropics

24/Cat Power/Sun

25/Prinzhorn Dance School/Clay Class




"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Singles, 2012


Party Rock Anthem.

07/SchoolboyQ & A$AP Rocky/Hands on the Wheel

"Crush a bit, little bit, roll it up, take a hit/Felling lit, feeling light, 2 AM, Summer Night..."

What makes a "JAM!"?

(1) Does it make you go "OH SHIT!" from the jump?

HANDS ON THE WHEEL? - CHECK. 

(That Pursuit of Happiness sample gets your engines running ... S/O to Scott Mescudi)

(2) Does it contain "Quotables for days?!"

HANDS ON THE WHEEL? - CHECK.

("Weed and brews/Weed and brews/Life for me is just weed and brews..." - "If I f**ked her once/then I can f**k her twice/Yeah you heard me right/I might f**k tonight!")

(3) The cats on the mic, do they rock the mic right?

HANDS ON THE WHEEL?  - CHECK.

Q & Rocky are so in the pocket and mothaf**kin' zone. Whatever party is going on here, you wish you were there/wanna attend it everytime. Brought to you in part by...

(4) A bangin' beat?

HANDS ON THE WHEEL? - CHECK.

Production team Best Kept Secret keep things darkly buoyant and eventful. Like a dimly lit (but not too darkly lit) house party. Light it up, take a hit.

Function.



08/Grimes/Oblivion

09/Solange/Losing You 

10/Usher/Climax

11/G.O.O.D. Music Group/Clique & Mercy

12/Bat For Lashes/All Your Gold AND Bruno Mars/Locked Out of Heaven

13/Justice/New Lands

14/Tame Impala/Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

15/Santigold/Big Mouth

16/Frank Ocean/Sweet Life

17/Elle Varner/Refill

18/A$AP Mob & Flatbush Zombies/Bath Salt

19/R.Kelly/Feelin' Single

20/Hot Chip/How Do You Do?

21/Rihanna/Where Have You Been

22/Madonna/Girl Gone Wild

23/Kendrick Lamar/Swimming Pools (Drank)

24/E-40, YG, IAMSU, & Problem/Function AND Odd Future/Oldie

25/Taylor Swift/We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together










"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Albums, 2012.


Top Dawg Entertainment.

08/Schoolboy Q/Habits & Contradictions

I grew up round here, between them walls of Normandie & Western. Los Angeles. Southern tip. Also known as South Central. (You might have heard of it, no?) Elementary thru high school. West Coast. And for a minute there, my soundtrack (OUR soundtrack) within the region and for my youth was pretty stellar on the Rap/Hip-Hop tip. And then it wasn't. And I moved on. And out. And onto other genres. And rap from other states and zip codes. In other words, I stopped paying attention.

Fast forward to the present. Youth gone, adulthood in tact (for better or worse), and back within the city limits. And oh shit, what do we have here? Don't call it comeback BUT okay So Cal Hip-Hop, I see you. It's nice to have you back in my life. You got me, and I'm paying attention. And in 2012, for a few months there at the top, no one, repeat NO ONE held my attention more than the homie, also birthed and raised in my neck of the woods, Schoolboy Q.

Habits & Contradictions. So many spoken on and discussed here, all familiar. I've chilled with this dude. Gotten lit at functions with this dude (Not actually, but you get what I'm saying). I know these haunts. I know these characters. And I know these people. But don't get it twisted, you ain't gotta be "from around the way" to connect with Schoolboy Q, his habits, and these situations. Q is that affable gangsta (Former full time"gangster". Still "gangsta". Like a more approachable WC. To clarify) who can get the party started (SEE: "Hands on the Wheel"), woo your girl (SEE: "My Hatin' Joint", rock the mic (SEE: Tracks 1-17), and "bust yo shit up" if need be/it comes to that.

At the base level though, Q is just a talented American male easing his way into adulthood, looking to up his station, get that dough, and hustle hard from within the confines of these here city walls.  A city whose vibe, sound, and presence runs rampant throughout Q's retellings and look back on his habit and contradictions. Props to all guests, and the production team in particular -The Alchemist/Mike Will/A$AP Ty Beats and them- for helping to further sketch out Q's ferociously stark (but often fun loving!) wrinkle in time from Los Angeles/entry into the West Coast Hip-Hop Canon. And for ensuring that Habits & Contradictions came out the way it did: Another fully realized mixtape with bright promises of things to come. Los Angeles, STAND UP! Holla at ya boy.
KEY TRACKS: My Hatin' Joint/Nightmare on Figg St./Niggahs.Already.Know.Davers.Flow

09/Joey Bada$$/1999

10/Alabama Shakes/Boys & Girls

11/Hot Chip/In Our Heads

12/Grimes/Visions

13/Santigold/Master of My Make-Believe

14/Japandroids/Celebration Rock

15/Bat for Lashes/The Haunted Man

16/Fun./Some Nights

17/the xx/coexist

18/Solange/True

19/John Mayer/Born & Raised

20/The Walkmen/Heaven & 21/Grizzly Bear/Shields

22/Beach House/Bloom

23/Lower Dens/Nootropics

24/Cat Power/Sun

25/Prinzhorn Dance School/Clay Class




Friday, December 28, 2012

Changes.

For Your Consideration...


THE NEW YORK TIMES: Republicans Must Support Public Financing for Contraception

PRIORITY.

An Ongoing Discussion.


THE WASHINGTON POST: Avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’

WORDS.


PITCHFORK: Grimes Opens Up About Fears, Connects With Fans in Series of Revealing Tumblr Posts

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Singles, 2012.


"See you on a dark night..."

08/Grimes/Oblivion

I still don't know all the words to this song.

This still hasn't stopped the same scenario from playing out each time I play Oblivion: (1) I turn the volume up, (2) My dancing feet and eager hips get anxious, & (3) I gets up for the down stroke while singing along (with all my heart) to the parts I know, and the parts that I don't (but think I do). And I probably never will. All of that "work" and research is just a distraction, and keeps me from what I & this song wants me to do: reach euphoria in real time, to the beat. Yes, it's one of those songs. Oblivion is a great appetizer for the feast that is Grimes and her Visions. A seductively sinister synth filled dream about something, something, I don't know. I'm too busy body rockin' into Oblivion...



09/Solange/Losing You 

10/Usher/Climax

11/G.O.O.D. Music Group/Clique & Mercy

12/Bat For Lashes/All Your Gold AND Bruno Mars/Locked Out of Heaven

13/Justice/New Lands

14/Tame Impala/Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

15/Santigold/Big Mouth

16/Frank Ocean/Sweet Life

17/Elle Varner/Refill

18/A$AP Mob & Flatbush Zombies/Bath Salt

19/R.Kelly/Feelin' Single

20/Hot Chip/How Do You Do?

21/Rihanna/Where Have You Been

22/Madonna/Girl Gone Wild

23/Kendrick Lamar/Swimming Pools (Drank)

24/E-40, YG, IAMSU, & Problem/Function AND Odd Future/Oldie

25/Taylor Swift/We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Thursday, December 27, 2012

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Albums, 2012


09/Joey Bada$$/1999

THEM: "Don't talk about it, be about it."
HIM: "Okay."

"What, what the rap audience ain't ready for is a real person. You know what I wanna say, a real N-*-*-*-A. I'm comin' at 'em a hundred percent real. I ain't compromisin' nathan. Anybody that talk about me got problems you know what I'm sayin'? It's gon' be straight up like if I was a street person. That's how I'm comin' at the whole world, and I'm bein' real about it and I'mma grow with my music."

-2Pac as heard on Track Two, Waves.

17. This dude is 17. Can you believe this shit? Them some big words to be tossing out like nothing on your mixtape there, bruh. And they come early on. But the thing is though, those words up there, when uttered and heard, ring true and aren't questioned. Joey is indeed coming correct with it, as you soon find out the more you let the music here play. 1999 adheres to that age old rule of backing up that shit you constantly stay talking. Ready to be put on, and eager to be heard, 1999 is another mission statement from a young mc shooting for his dreams/hitting the booth to boost his esteem. And stunt. And show love for his city ("Big ups to Brooklyn, home of the realest."), his team, his people, his peers, & most importantly Hip-Hop. The sounds of Joey's youth and home state in the 90s permeate the tape (Big ups to the beats and instrumentals courtesy of MF Doom, Statik Selektah, Chuck Strangers, and J Dilla), as does Joey's mastery of the reflective/the punchline/the swag/and flow needed to not just be heard but keep you listening, and coming back for more. Streets is watching Joey. Streets is watching.
KEY TRACKS: Survival Tactics/HardKnock/Righteous Minds

10/Alabama Shakes/Boys & Girls

11/Hot Chip/In Our Heads

12/Grimes/Visions

13/Santigold/Master of My Make-Believe

14/Japandroids/Celebration Rock

15/Bat for Lashes/The Haunted Man

16/Fun./Some Nights

17/the xx/coexist

18/Solange/True

19/John Mayer/Born & Raised

20/The Walkmen/Heaven & 21/Grizzly Bear/Shields

22/Beach House/Bloom

23/Lower Dens/Nootropics

24/Cat Power/Sun

25/Prinzhorn Dance School/Clay Class

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Singles, 2012.


09/Solange/Losing You

Like many a good song that wants to both move you and has something to say, Losing You didn't come into full focus for a brotha until two spins turned into five, and five turned into ten, and so on, and so on. And therein lies the beauty of this track right here, as it gives itself the space and freedom to be easy-breezy yes, while also coming correct on the boy-girl-you-me-us tip. You never get the feeling Solange is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and/or lost. Just bothered slightly; Confused for the moment; Curious. This is thanks in part again, to that golden day-glo R&B shimmer of a beat provided by Mr. Hynes underneath. The beautiful music may have ceased production for Solange and her beau presented here, but not within the song, which is why, at the end of the day, you know that this is just a minor bump in the road, and everything is gonna be alright. This song wouldn't have it any other way.



10/Usher/Climax

11/G.O.O.D. Music Group/Clique & Mercy

12/Bat For Lashes/All Your Gold AND Bruno Mars/Locked Out of Heaven

13/Justice/New Lands

14/Tame Impala/Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

15/Santigold/Big Mouth

16/Frank Ocean/Sweet Life

17/Elle Varner/Refill

18/A$AP Mob & Flatbush Zombies/Bath Salt

19/R.Kelly/Feelin' Single

20/Hot Chip/How Do You Do?

21/Rihanna/Where Have You Been

22/Madonna/Girl Gone Wild

23/Kendrick Lamar/Swimming Pools (Drank)

24/E-40, YG, IAMSU, & Problem/Function AND Odd Future/Oldie

25/Taylor Swift/We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Meanwhile in Washington...


LOS ANGELES TIMES: Capitol Hill Reality Check

"WE BALL!..."


Words.

PITCHFORK: HALL OF GAME: The Year Rap Broke

MONEY.


THE WASHINGTON POST: Tax fairness and the wealthy

"WHAT'S IT GONNA BE?!"

An Ongoing Discussion/Moment of Clarity.


THE WASHINGTON POST: Republicans rejecting their own ideas

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Singles, 2012.


10/Usher/Climax

They could have set this to Piano. They could have borrowed an electric guitar solo or two from Michael Jackson's back catalog, or the Maybach Music Group. They could have tried to appropriate some sounds from another world across the sea in the form of an bass thumping banger. An ode to a body part. His sexual prowess. A slithering come on in five minutes or less. But they didn't. Usher and Diplo collaborated this year and instead gave us this, a largely bare bones quiet storm of an R&B arrangement with slight electronic flourishes that never overstays or outshines their fellow components in the mix here, including the most important element of all, Mr. Raymond himself. Usher pulls us into his orbit once again with another commanding vocal turn, this time heavy on the Falsetto, used here not to incite a fire in one's loins, but to instead set fire to the rain of a partnership that has reached its breaking point. You can't keep a good man down, and Climax is that catharsis/release operating at its own speed to ensure that this is the case.



11/G.O.O.D. Music Group/Clique & Mercy

12/Bat For Lashes/All Your Gold AND Bruno Mars/Locked Out of Heaven

13/Justice/New Lands

14/Tame Impala/Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

15/Santigold/Big Mouth

16/Frank Ocean/Sweet Life

17/Elle Varner/Refill

18/A$AP Mob & Flatbush Zombies/Bath Salt

19/R.Kelly/Feelin' Single

20/Hot Chip/How Do You Do?

21/Rihanna/Where Have You Been

22/Madonna/Girl Gone Wild

23/Kendrick Lamar/Swimming Pools (Drank)

24/E-40, YG, IAMSU, & Problem/Function AND Odd Future/Oldie

25/Taylor Swift/We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Albums, 2012


10/Alabama Shakes/Boys & Girls

"If they wanna fight, they done started fucking with the wrong heart", she sings nine tracks in, and hell yeah fucking right you believe her. Especially if you've made it this far into Boys & Girls. Yes, Ms. Brittany Howard will fuck your shit up, as she and the boys in the band do all over this here southern charmer of a debut. Operating like southern rock/rhythm and blues revivalists, this quartet from Alabama rip and tear their way through 35 minutes of raucous bluesy laments laced in soul, and smothered in pure, unadulterated confidence. Torch songs and rip roaring numbers that live and die by the glorious union of the fellas in the backing band and of course, Ms. Howard, her guitar, and that voice: the secret star of the show. Ms. Howard here wails, shouts, and testifies; Gives it up and turns it loose time and time again, all in the name of love and telling it like it is.  This, plus the naturally loose, free form vibe that hovers about the proceedings -especially on Side B where the tempos lower & vamp around for a bit- makes for one thrilling listen, boys & girls. Mmm hmm. Yes, indeed.
KEY TRACKS: I Found You/Rise to the Sun/Be Mine

11/Hot Chip/In Our Heads

12/Grimes/Visions

13/Santigold/Master of My Make-Believe

14/Japandroids/Celebration Rock

15/Bat for Lashes/The Haunted Man

16/Fun./Some Nights

17/the xx/coexist

18/Solange/True

19/John Mayer/Born & Raised

20/The Walkmen/Heaven & 21/Grizzly Bear/Shields

22/Beach House/Bloom

23/Lower Dens/Nootropics

24/Cat Power/Sun

25/Prinzhorn Dance School/Clay Class





Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Favorite Things.

A video.

Starring CyHi The Prynce.

Mr. Incredible.

A video.

Starring Mya.

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Albums, 2012


11/Hot Chip/In Our Heads

Few bonds are stronger than the ones shared between these five men right here. Hell, midway through the English quintet's last album stood four and a half minutes of brotherly love in the form of a track titled "Brothers", a subtly joyous ode to male kinship and drinking your fill with the homies. For those few minutes, it seemed as though bliss for these fellas mainly comes in the form of being in each other's presence shooting the shit. But we all know this is incorrect. And luckily for us, when these cats get together, "shooting the shit" actually means "creating ass shaking love songs for the masses." Since this is Hot Chip, the love is directed at significant others (when it's not being questioned or chastised), AND the dancefloor. Hot Chip stay excelling at treating each track like an exotic locale, asking you to come along and like them, put your feet up and stay awhile. Minute by minute, beat by beat, In Our Heads, immerses you in the expertly crafted nu-disco sounds while also showcasing Hot Chip in the zone doing what they increasingly appear to do best: merge the world of dance and pop structures effortlessly, composing songs that sweat and breathe beautifully and rhythmically on their own, while also fitting into the album's overall structure like it's nothing. One nation under a groove here, quite literally. A fine showing for camaraderie all around.
KEY TRACKS: Motion Sickness/Night and Day/Let Me Be Him

12/Grimes/Visions

13/Santigold/Master of My Make-Believe

14/Japandroids/Celebration Rock

15/Bat for Lashes/The Haunted Man

16/Fun./Some Nights

17/the xx/coexist

18/Solange/True

19/John Mayer/Born & Raised

20/The Walkmen/Heaven & 21/Grizzly Bear/Shields

22/Beach House/Bloom

23/Lower Dens/Nootropics

24/Cat Power/Sun

25/Prinzhorn Dance School/Clay Class







WORDS.

PITCHFORK: This Must Be Pop: A personal and societal chronicle of pop's 21st century evolution-- from "Whackstreet Boys" to Carly Rae Jepsen to Grimes-- and a look ahead.

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Singles, 2012.


AND



11/G.O.O.D. MUSIC Group/Clique & Mercy 



AND



12/Bat For Lashes/All Your Gold AND Bruno Mars/Locked Out of Heaven

13/Justice/New Lands

14/Tame Impala/Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

15/Santigold/Big Mouth

16/Frank Ocean/Sweet Life

17/Elle Varner/Refill

18/A$AP Mob & Flatbush Zombies/Bath Salt

19/R.Kelly/Feelin' Single

20/Hot Chip/How Do You Do?

21/Rihanna/Where Have You Been

22/Madonna/Girl Gone Wild

23/Kendrick Lamar/Swimming Pools (Drank)

24/E-40, YG, IAMSU, & Problem/Function AND Odd Future/Oldie

25/Taylor Swift/We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together



Jenova.


PITCHFORK: Download the New Mixtape From Sweet Valley (Wavves' Nathan Williams and His Brother)

Unchained Melody.









PITCHFORK: Hear a New Song from Frank Ocean, Possibly Recorded for Django Unchained

Body.

A video.

Starring Sean Paul.

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Albums, 2012


"Bippity-Boppity-Boom!"

12/Grimes/Visions

Girls just wanna have fun, Man. And in 2012, no one had more fun on the pop music tip than Claire Boucher, the fun loving 24 year old Canadian known here as Grimes. Visions and the lady at the helm of it all is for fans of K-Pop/Annie/Kylie Minogue/early Madonna/and 90s Mariah Carey (To name a few. Influences and sounds are VAST here, yes). Ladies and music that knew/knows what it wants, and how to get it on the melodic, love, and dancefloor fronts. Visions' #1 goal is for you to get lost and give up the ghost. In fact, it's encouraged with every coo, bounce, and magic stroke of Ms. Boucher's wand. Encouraged cause sonic/rhythmic/limb shaking exploration is the name of the game here, and all Claire truly cares about. These tracks here are her visions, and boy does she bring them to life, her way. Give up the ghost.
KEY TRACKS: Genesis/Circumabient/Symphonia IX (My Wait is You)

13/Santigold/Master of My Make-Believe

14/Japandroids/Celebration Rock

15/Bat for Lashes/The Haunted Man

16/Fun./Some Nights

17/the xx/coexist

18/Solange/True

19/John Mayer/Born & Raised

20/The Walkmen/Heaven & 21/Grizzly Bear/Shields

22/Beach House/Bloom

23/Lower Dens/Nootropics

24/Cat Power/Sun

25/Prinzhorn Dance School/Clay Class

Monday, December 24, 2012

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Singles, 2012


AND


12/Bat For Lashes/All Your Gold



AND

12/Bruno Mars/Locked Out of Heaven



13/Justice/New Lands

14/Tame Impala/Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

15/Santigold/Big Mouth

16/Frank Ocean/Sweet Life

17/Elle Varner/Refill

18/A$AP Mob & Flatbush Zombies/Bath Salt

19/R.Kelly/Feelin' Single

20/Hot Chip/How Do You Do?

21/Rihanna/Where Have You Been

22/Madonna/Girl Gone Wild

23/Kendrick Lamar/Swimming Pools (Drank)

24/E-40, YG, IAMSU, & Problem/Function AND Odd Future/Oldie

25/Taylor Swift/We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Albums, 2012


13/Santigold/Master of My Make-Believe 

Master of My Make-Believe is a 40 minute rallying cry to wake the fuck up. See beyond the facades and get real. An attempt to stay afloat as the world appears to be seemingly crashing down around you. I say stay afloat because you and she, Santi White, have not yet fallen. Not here, not now, not yesterday, not today. And you won't. You better not. Cause you can't. Not when it's our turn. Not when we're the keepers. Not when the time is now, and we must win what they all lost. Yes, Master of My Make-Believe is a refusal to put up with the bullshit; a turn against complacency; and an unwillingness to let the ground fall from beneath you. From beneath us. Especially us disparate youth slowly morphing into maturing adults. In this world that appears to be seemingly crashing down around us, Master of My Make-Believe asks that we stay afloat and stay aware. Cut out the bullshit, and get grown. Own it.

And shouts to the Santi and the team (Switch, Diplo, Dave Sitek, etc...) for surrounding it all in (often dancefloor ready) Caribbean and Hip-hop backdrops that aids in ensuring that nothing comes off as forceful or condescending. Just some real talk from the real world over dope beats. Mastered. That's what's up.
KEY TRACKS: Disparate Youth/Freak Like Me/This Isn't Our Parade

14/Japandroids/Celebration Rock

15/Bat for Lashes/The Haunted Man

16/Fun./Some Nights

17/the xx/coexist

18/Solange/True

19/John Mayer/Born & Raised

20/The Walkmen/Heaven & 21/Grizzly Bear/Shields

22/Beach House/Bloom

23/Lower Dens/Nootropics

24/Cat Power/Sun

25/Prinzhorn Dance School/Clay Class

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Long Live A$AP.

A video.

Starring A$AP Rocky.

Here.

I'M DIFFERENT.

A video.

Starring 2 Chainz.

#SINGLES2012

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Singles, 2012


13/Justice/New Lands



ALBUM VERSION:



14/Tame Impala/Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

15/Santigold/Big Mouth

16/Frank Ocean/Sweet Life

17/Elle Varner/Refill

18/A$AP Mob & Flatbush Zombies/Bath Salt

19/R.Kelly/Feelin' Single

20/Hot Chip/How Do You Do?

21/Rihanna/Where Have You Been

22/Madonna/Girl Gone Wild

23/Kendrick Lamar/Swimming Pools (Drank)

24/E-40, YG, IAMSU, & Problem/Function AND Odd Future/Oldie

25/Taylor Swift/We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Albums, 2012


The House that Heaven Built.

14/Japandroids/Celebration Rock

CELEBRATE.

Cause we're long lit up and still drinking.

Cause we don't cry for these nights to arrive, we yell like hell to the heavens, and bring them here.

Cause we all like to be/pretend we are "punk rock" from time to time, even if, keeping it 100, 99.9% of us don't really know what keeping it "punk rock" is.

Cause when I listen to this album, I am taken back to that time in my life where I found out there were other great genres outside of Rap/Hip-Hop & R&B.

Cause if you have kept your ears open to the sounds coming out of Punk Rock + Rock & Roll's mouth since the late 70s to the present, there's something here for you, no matter what brand of rock tickles your fancy (Punk, indie, corporate, mainstream, noise, garage, etc.)

Cause party throwers Brian King and David Prowse sit in a misleadingly calm manner like two Video store employees above the words CELEBRATION ROCK in all caps on the cover.

Cause their cover of The Gun Club's "For the Love of Ivy" is so fucking blistering man, WOO!

Cause every hook (shit, every SONG) is a fucking ANTHEM.

Cause there's no high like this.

Cause sometimes you just want to say fuck it, get up, drink, and celebrate. (Cause who doesn't like a good sing along or call & response while rockin' the fuck out?)

And shred.

And fist pump.

And act a fool.

And scream "YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!", like continiuous thunder. Wholeheartedly. In a non ironic manner.

Because, because, BECAUSE... It's a celebration, Bitches!

So fist pump, act a fool, and yell like hell to heavens...

Celebrate.

KEY TRACKS: For the Love of Ivy/The House that Heaven Built/Continuous Thunder

15/Bat for Lashes/The Haunted Man

16/Fun./Some Nights

17/the xx/coexist

18/Solange/True

19/John Mayer/Born & Raised

20/The Walkmen/Heaven & 21/Grizzly Bear/Shields

22/Beach House/Bloom

23/Lower Dens/Nootropics

24/Cat Power/Sun

25/Prinzhorn Dance School/Clay Class





Friday, December 21, 2012

COMING ATTRACTIONS.



VULTURE: Watch a Promo for the New Arsenio Hall Show

Something’s Rattling (Cowpoke).

LIVE!

Starring Benjamin Gibbard.

Push & Shove.

A Moment of Clarity.


THE NEW YORK TIMES: The ‘More Guns’ Argument

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Albums, 2012


15/Bat for Lashes/The Haunted Man

This LP is so damn sexy to me. No, not because of the album cover. It's deeper than that. It's just, I don't know, there's just something about 'owning it' that's just a win all around, everytime. Here in particular, I'm referring to the owning of one's self and sexuality, and on The Haunted Man those two things are pushed to the forefront, and are present. Natasha Khan, with her Bat for Lashes moniker. She who's "waiting for a lover to climb inside". She who's "waiting like a flower to open wide" is here, present; Alert; Aware of her surroundings, of her wants, and of her needs. Even at her most vulnerable moments here, you're pulling for her redemption or comfort to come through on the other side, cause you sympathize, and have invested yourself in this here's woman's compelling (both lyrically and rhythmically) tales and quests for completeness, an easy primal desire. Primal and layered like the towering synths, urgent, tribal percussion, swelling strings, and tap of the keys running rampant beneath her. She at the helm, demanding to be heard, and corralling your attention by simply being here, present. Straight haunting. Downright electrifying. Get aroused.
KEY TRACKS: Horses of the Sun/Laura/Rest Your Head

16/Fun./Some Nights

17/the xx/coexist

18/Solange/True

19/John Mayer/Born & Raised

20/The Walkmen/Heaven & 21/Grizzly Bear/Shields

22/Beach House/Bloom

23/Lower Dens/Nootropics

24/Cat Power/Sun

25/Prinzhorn Dance School/Clay Class

"HOLD IT NOW!"

A Moment of Clarity.



THE NEW YORK TIMES: Playing Taxes Hold ’Em

SEE ALSO:

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Strangers in the Night

WORDS.

For Your Consideration...

THE WASHINGTON POST: Gun-control fights won’t solve the real issue

SEE ALSO:

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Newtown hits home, and hard

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Singles, 2012


15/Santigold/Big Mouth



16/Frank Ocean/Sweet Life

17/Elle Varner/Refill

18/A$AP Mob & Flatbush Zombies/Bath Salt

19/R.Kelly/Feelin' Single

20/Hot Chip/How Do You Do?

21/Rihanna/Where Have You Been

22/Madonna/Girl Gone Wild

23/Kendrick Lamar/Swimming Pools (Drank)

24/E-40, YG, IAMSU, & Problem/Function AND Odd Future/Oldie

25/Taylor Swift/We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Long.Live.A$AP.





PITCHFORK: Hear the Title Track to A$AP Rocky's Long.Live.A$AP

A Wall.

A video.

Starring Bat for Lashes.

Meanwhile with the NRA...


THE WASHINGTON POST: Remarks from the NRA press conference on Sandy Hook school shooting, delivered on Dec. 21, 2012 (Transcript)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

WORDS.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Why does America have so many guns?

SEE ALSO: 

THE WASHINGTON POST: The solution to gun violence is clear

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Albums, 2012


16/Fun./Some Nights

Some Nights is a giant album from a tiny band that's rife with pomp and circumstance to the nth degree (This is a Fueled By Ramen production, after all). A full throated and bombastically melodic long player that's inspired by and takes cues from some of pop music's male greats like Elton, George, and Freddie, just to name a few. Such nods help it's fun loving exterior shine. But, underneath it all, Some Nights is a brutally honest and plaintive album, and we're all the better for it. For Some Nights bravely and honestly walks us through the pains of being over 25 with nothing to show the world just yet, while continuously growing older in a world that refuses to stop moving or make much sense (OR seem to get better). Some Nights operates as if to say, "well shit, if this is it, if this is how it will be, well fuck it, let's roll with the punches and do this, and put it all out there." Scream, cry, shout; Question, mourn, feel; But stay triumphant, with the end result being one thing: Progress. This end result feeds the passion present in every sky reaching note from narrator and lead singer Nate Ruess' mouth, as well as the crafty pop sounds present and provided by he and his bandmates throughout. It's an absolute delight to listen (AND SING along to), despite the often somber undertones. Yes, some evenings are absolute shit, but it won't always be like this, cause it ain't gotta be like this. You know this. And Fun. knows this. And it's this, this passionate, open release and sincerity (when coupled with all the tools pulled from Pop music's playbook) that makes the LP such a giant success. Fun (times) indeed.
KEY TRACKS: Some Nights/It Gets Better/Stars

17/the xx/coexist

18/Solange/True

19/John Mayer/Born & Raised

20/The Walkmen/Heaven & 21/Grizzly Bear/Shields

22/Beach House/Bloom

23/Lower Dens/Nootropics

24/Cat Power/Sun

25/Prinzhorn Dance School/Clay Class

"BANDZ A MAKE HER DANCE!": The Singles, 2012


16/Frank Ocean/Sweet Life



17/Elle Varner/Refill

18/A$AP Mob & Flatbush Zombies/Bath Salt

19/R.Kelly/Feelin' Single

20/Hot Chip/How Do You Do?

21/Rihanna/Where Have You Been

22/Madonna/Girl Gone Wild

23/Kendrick Lamar/Swimming Pools (Drank)

24/E-40, YG, IAMSU, & Problem/Function AND Odd Future/Oldie

25/Taylor Swift/We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

A video.

Starring Big K.R.I.T.



"Oh?..."