Archive for December, 2012

December 29, 2012

Amie’s Favorite Musical Things This Year

Hey! Year-end lists usually fill me with dread (how can I pick my favorites?!?! What if I leave something awesome out? AUUUGHHHG). But for whatever reason, this year it was easy to figure out.

So, I give you: the Top 5 musical things I was most exited about in 2012.

1) Aimee Mann’s “Labrador” video:

In addition to being a kick-ass song from one of my favorite songstresses, Mann made the “Labrador” video an almost shot-for-shot remake of “Voices Carry,” her mega-’80s hit with band ‘Til Tuesday. I love everything about Aimee Mann, and always have, but I especially loved this — including the faux “making of” intro with Jon Hamm as a ridiculous music video director.

Watch a side-by-side comparison here, and pick up a copy of her 2012 release, Charmer— because the whole album’s really awesome.

2) The Sexy Accident: Ninja Ninja Fight Darth Vader

Listen up: Ninja Ninja Fight Darth Vader

I discovered The Sexy Accident completely by, well, accident (zing!). And it’s because Ninja Ninja Fight Darth Vader is the BEST ALBUM NAME EVER, and also a really endearing song featuring band member Jesse Kate’s 5-year-old son.

The rest of the album is poppy and fun and I really dug it, plus — you can name your price for the download and they’ll donate all proceeds from the sale to Operation Breakthrough, which makes it extra rad.

read more »

December 28, 2012

Top Nine of 2012: Amber Valentine Style


Holy cramoley, Hearingade-ers. Amber V. here and it has been a while. 2012 has been quite the year. For one, I am Dany T. blonde now (Quite the change from the Winehousian beehive I rocked in my last Gravatar) and for another, I’m kind of a musician now so that’s neat! But enough about me. And more about how I listened to like NO new music in 2012. I’ll tell you what I did listen to: A lot of The Shangri-Las. Tons of Elvis Costello. Oh, and so many Lana Del Rey rarities. I mean, have you heard “Methamphetamines“? What a morbid bitch! Anyhow, I managed to cobble together 10 records that I WAS obsessed with this year for your enjoyment and sure, half of them might be them same as Abby’s but if you’ve been following us for the past three or four years, this won’t come as a shock!

Lightning Love – The Blonde Album

I’ve been lovers of these Lightning youngsters for years now and since the release of their long awaited second LP, The Blonde Album, my adoration has not waned one bit. If anything, it’s only grown. And with my adoration, the Ypsi based trio (Hey! Ypsilanti, Michigan? That’s where I’m from!) has grown in maturity alongside me as well. Whereas both lead singer Leah Diehl and I used to go out and raise hell about town (“Friends” from debut November Birthday) now we both seem to spend our days losing our place despite ourselves and lamenting problems we can’t seem to put into words (“I Know”) or pleading for company just to keep the loneliness at bay (“Bobby Thompson”). Record of the year, hands down.

Lana Del ReyParadise

This isn’t an album, so much as it is an EP, or really an “afterthought” to Born To Die, though this mini-album puts last year’s Born to Die to shame. As I mentioned before, Del Rey can be a “morbid bitch” and that is showcased here to prime effect on songs like “Body Electric” where “Mary prays the rosary for (Lana’s) broken mind” and on the beautiful “Yayo,” a recycled tune from Del Rey’s “Nevada” days. “Yayo” has always been a fave Del Rey tune of mine and hearing its progression from five chord acoustic guitar ballad to six minutes of string soaked decadence is quite lovely. I could wax on, but instead, I’ll just leave you with these parting words: My pussy tastes like Pepsi Cola.

December 27, 2012

ManSquatch’s Top 20 albums of 2012 (AND THEN SOME)


1. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

That voice, those songs, the intensity — Sharon Van Etten, this isn’t a review so much as a marriage proposal. Where did you come from? Why are you so good at everything? Can I have your number?

2. Deep Sea Diver – History Speaks

That voice, those songs, the intensity — Jessica Dobson, this isn’t a review so much as a marriage proposal. Where did you come from? Why are you so good at everything? Can I have your number?


3. Father John Misty – Fear Fun

J. Tillman writes like a honty-tonk Beatle, sings like a Fleet Fox (because he was a Fleet Fox), and has a sense of humor that is somewhere in the middle of Nilsson and Zappa. No way I’m not loving that.

4. The Orwells – Remember When

Listen to the album, and then realize that these lo-fi punk-rocking fuckers are all still in high school. Something’s in the water in Chicagoland.

5. The Lumineers – S/T

Hey, Mumford & Sons — suck it.

6. Damien Jurado – Maraqopa

7. Grizzly Bear – Shields

8. Soundgarden – King Animal

9. Sera Cahoone – Deer Creek Canyon

10. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

read more »

December 26, 2012

Stuff I Liked in 2012 — Leah’s List


This time of year, I always like to reflect on all of the music I dug and compile a playlist that best encompasses the experiences, great memories, and the bands and artists that have become the soundtrack of my life in the past 365-odd days.  I like to pop the older editions into the CD player and laugh/groan to myself in some nerdy form of reminiscence therapy.   Plus, the discs make great stocking stuffers!

My criteria were simple:  the song didn’t necessarily have to be released during this year (though many were), but if I discovered/rediscovered/liked it this year, it counts.   I’ll attempt to give a brief description and justification for each song’s inclusion and provide links and background info whenever possible, should anyone choose to further explore these fine artists.

1)   Band of Horses – “Knock Knock“:  I love these guys and I was super-stoked to hear they were coming out with a new album.  This song was their early-released single and aptly leads off the record.  While the rest of Mirage Rock was somewhat of a disappointment compared to their other albums, this song makes a great track one.  I love the lyrics, the “ooohs” and the handclaps, and it puts me in a hopeful, anticipatory mood for the rest of my day/life.

2)   We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Medicine”:  Man, I am such a sucker for Scottish bands, particularly singers with pronounced accents.  I had the pleasure of seeing these Edinburghers at an awesome sold-out show at the Bottom Lounge last May, and they did not disappoint.  They rock hard with driving guitar riffs and some awesome drumming, but (duh) the vocals are the cornerstone for me.   Their latest album, In the Pit of the Stomach, kicks ass and is getting some decent, fully warranted attention, so I hope we continue to hear more from these guys.

read more »

December 24, 2012

Abby’s Top 25 Albums of 2012

Mia Pharaoh

Making a best-of list at the end of every year is both a fun and frustrating endeavor. Fun because it’s my one last swing at promoting some of my favorite music, music many people may not even have heard of.  Frustrating because I know there’s a lot I haven’t heard that could very well belong on my list. My wish lists are full of albums I just simply haven’t had the opportunity to buy yet; as it is, I already spend more money on music than I should. And what I buy at any given time relies simply on that moment’s whims.

So some things that may be just as deserving of a place on this list end up left off, and as someone with great passion for music, it does hurt me a little that I don’t have the opportunity to represent everything great, or even just good, because, like my wallet, year-end lists have limits. One thing I can say for sure, however, is that everything I have managed to include on this list I hold in the highest regard and hope you can take a chance to hear. They are the albums from which I derived the most enjoyment this year. It won’t be like what you see in the major publications. For the most part, these are releases that you probably haven’t heard, so this list is an opportunity to discover a lot of new music that you won’t be able to find on other lists. And that’s precisely why I keep doing this year after year. (P.S. These are only loosely in order.)

1. Mia Pharaoh by Miniature Tigers
Nothing has delighted me quite as thoroughly this year as Miniature Tigers’ third full-length album, Mia Pharaoh. The band’s pop sensibilities have always been strong but they’ve taken a significantly synthy turn on their latest, with sexually suggestive overtones in the lyrics (“Flower Door”) and special appearances by some slow jam beats (“Cleopatra”). Jeremy Malvin, aka Chrome Sparks, contributed some of his expertise on this album, which turns out to be a very smart pairing with Charlie Brand’s style of musical preciousness.

2. Blonde Album by Lightning Love
After a few years of waiting, we finally got our wish of a sophomore release from Michigan’s golden-tressed trio and, boy, did they ever deliver. It’s always seemed like bandleader Leah Diehl can do no wrong in her music; every song she creates is just as perfect as can be, with melodies that are impossible not to sing along with and lyrics that are as self-aware as they are sassy. There’s much pain and much surrender in Diehl’s words, and whether she pairs them with punchy beats (“Awkward”) or sparse minor chords (“I’ll Never Love No One Else”), they resonate on a level so deep, you’ll think you’re feeling it all yourself.

read more »