Posts tagged ‘mansquatch’

January 6, 2014

25 good songs from 2013, by the guy who didn’t have a post in 2013

Hey, just because I don’t really write about music anymore doesn’t mean I don’t still have opinions on music. See, here’s, like, 25 whole opinions. Plus I put them all in a handy-dandy Spotify playlist that is in no particular order. Now, in actually somewhat of a particular order, here’s 25 really good songs I heard in 2013, which was a year, but is no longer this year.

Ha Ha Tonka – Lessons

Ha Ha Tonka is such a great and underrated band, and they played perhaps the best show I saw all year at Seattle’s Tractor Tavern in October. “Lessons” grooves a hell of a lot more than you would expect from an alt-country band, and it’s catchy as hell.

Queens of the Stone Age – If I Had a Tail

Oh yeah, my favorite band released an album this year and it was the best album of the year and “If I Had a Tail” is a fantastic idea for a song so there you go.

Neko Case – Night Still Comes

In my opinion this was Neko’s strongest album yet vocally, and the chorus (aided by a who’s who of harmony singers, most recognizably Jim James) of “You never held it at the right angle” just gets right into my feel places.

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December 27, 2012

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

Tramp

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?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBldhDijhfg

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?

Oh, I said that already about SVE? WHAT ARE YOU, THE INDIE ROCK CRUSH DREAM KILLER?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alsfAS4l1FY

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iS84BMFszW0

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXrd6pnehpA

5. The Lumineers – S/T

Hey, Mumford & Sons — suck it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2yTiDlr8Mc

6. Damien Jurado – Maraqopa

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyhKQKtPLl4

7. Grizzly Bear – Shields

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuG9i5cwGW0

8. Soundgarden – King Animal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iyv4le1ap8

9. Sera Cahoone – Deer Creek Canyon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YWR7ZM7xQE

10. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROla_B49KbQ

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December 28, 2011

2011 in review: Mansquatch’s favorite songs (The Conclusion)

Songs 50-26.

And here’s the whole damn thing in a tidy, easy-to-use and scent-free Spotify playlist.

25. Crystal Antlers – By the Sawkill
In a year where we were dodged by new material from the Mars Volta (again!), we were lucky to have one of our many bands with a deer-themed name help fill the freak-out garage prog void. “By the Sawkill” takes you by the balls by opening with a frantic fuzz solo, and the screamed-out vocals make sure you never have a reprieve.

24. Diego Garcia – You Were Never There
A dash of flamenco guitar, some backgrounds borrowed from “Five O’Clock World,” and an impossible-to-forget chorus make for the most infectious song I heard all year.

23. Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose
Bad girls make the best songs. I look forward to hearing this in the next Tarantino movie.

22. Timber Timbre – Woman
Evil. Fucking. Tuba.

Oh, and some seriously great crawling piano, spooky slide, and inventive singing.

But mostly, Evil. Fucking. Tuba.

21. The Black Keys – Mind Eraser
On an album where Akron’s finest seem to be spending a little too much time polishing a Bad Company impression, at least the finale delivers the balance of hard blues and melodicism we’ve all come accustomed to from Monsieurs Auerbach and Carney.

20. SHIM – I Don’t Know Why
If you wonder where all the rock went in 2011, Seattle’s beer-swilling, steak-eating SHIM stole it. All of it. And then they splurged the entire lot on this 1:41-long nugget of speed-freakin’ Foghattery.

19. Legendary Oaks – Grace Underwater
Another well-kept secret from Seattle, Legendary Oaks builds a forlorn guitar-and-fiddle duet up into an electrified shuffle with awesome double-tracked singing and a killer country-stomp guitar solo.

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December 28, 2011

2011 in review: Mansquatch’s favorite songs, Pt. I

Apparently 2011 was a good year for music, because I couldn’t whittle down my list of favorite songs below 50. Then again I’m not very good with that whole brevity thing (reference my personal mix post for proof), so what the hell do I know? The answer: A LOT.

50. Feist – The Bad In Each Other
Feist gets a lot of well-deserved praise for her trumpet-mimicking vocals, but her guitar skills always jump out at me when I watch her perform on TV. One of her subtle but ear-pleasing riffs introduces her masterpiece new album, giving way to horns and pounding percussion on this bittersweet folk gem.

49. The Cars – Blue Tip
After decades away, The Cars returned and sounded exactly like The Cars should sound. Though late bassist/singer Benjamin Orr left a big void, Ric Ocasek and Co. didn’t miss a beat after they dusted off their old instruments, picked up a few new ones, and affixed their sunglasses just so.

48. Neon Indian – Polish Girl
I’ve discovered that this chillwave stuff is kinda like a Totino’s Pizza Roll — if you stuff a whole bunch of processed crap inside a neat little package, it can be quite enjoyable. And yes, I am a fan of Totino’s Pizza Rolls. Them shits is delicious.

47. Foo Fighters – Arlandria
Dave Grohl revisited the old loud-quiet-loud pattern that grunge made famous, but also made sure to layer a few modern touches to distract the listener from some classically cliché lyrics. The crushing intro riff also sounds excellent as a follow-up to thrash-burner “White Limo,” the preceding track on Wasting Light (and, in most cases, on stage).

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October 17, 2011

My Favorite Songs: The Kinks’ ‘Strangers,’ as covered by Wye Oak

For some reason, people don’t like to admit when they first heard a song. The cool thing to do nowadays is act like you knew of every song ever, especially if it’s more than a few weeks old. I’m no different, though I wish I could be. But, at least for now, I will go the different route and admit that one of my favorite songs is 40 years old and I’ve only known of it for three years.

The song I’m referring to is called “Strangers.” Originally it was done by British Invasion legends The Kinks, and while I want to say it was ingrained into my brain through osmosis or my uber-hip parents affixing giant earmuff headphones on my mom’s belly while I was in utero, that simply isn’t true.

The first time I heard “Strangers” was in Wes Anderson’s surprisingly underrated film The Darjeeling Limited. Anderson, who is both beloved and maligned among the hipster elite for some perceived pomposity (because no, we can’t enjoy ANYTHING at face value … well, besides Radiohead), has made a career of unearthing forgotten classic rock tunes for his soundtracks. For The Darjeeling Limited he focused his attentions on The Kinks’ 1970 album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One. This movie reintroduced me to rocker “Powerman” and marked the first time I heard the beautiful “This Time Tomorrow” and “Strangers,” and I was immediately taken by the tunes. In fact, I rushed to the nearest computin’ machine and ordered me up a double-disc greatest hits of The Kinks and Lola Versus Powerman Blah Blah Etc.

Though I knew I had a new favorite classic rock band to turn to, those albums kind of got lost in the shuffle of my ever-expanding iTunes library. About six months later, that changed. My friends Peter and Katrina (collectively known as Petrina), who I watched The Dajeeling Limited with that first time, got hitched fresh off the new year in 2009, and for their first dance they hand-picked “Strangers” (I know, right? Adorable). From then on I had a new appreciation for the song, especially since the lyrics fit their (or any) relationship so well (“Strangers on this road we are on/ We are not two/ We are one”).

Those two packed up and moved to Chicago shortly thereafter, which later allowed me the excuse to visit them as a way to see Soundgarden at Lollapalooza. No doubt, those Kinks songs were played once or twice during our week together in a cramped bible college dorm (thanks to a fluke fire in their apartment building days before I arrived).

As much as I loved “Strangers,” it didn’t reach pantheon status in my personal file until just recently. See, this spring I started listening to Baltimore-based melancholic shoegazers Wye Oak after they were announced for the latest edition of Sasquatch!, and part of my introduction to them was a tremendous version of “Strangers” from the A.V. Club’s genius Undercover series. Lead singer Jenn Wasner and guest Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater (nope, never heard of that band either) harmonize their voices into a beautiful blend, Wasner wails a buzz-tastic guitar solo, and drummer/keyboardist Andy Stack steals the show with simple mallet-on-snare cracks and holier-than-holy organ swells. It’s off the cuff and loose, yet one of the greatest versions of any song I’ve ever heard.

From time to time I hear the anti-covers argument, that some artists should be covered and some shouldn’t. If that were true, The Kinks would certainly be in the “untouchable” class, but I don’t believe that reverence requires the sacrifice of interpretation. Otherwise, this chestnut of ear-pleasing goodness never could have existed. And what a damn shame that would have been.

October 12, 2011

My 12 Songs, or Brent Hate-F***s Out A Playlist

Thirty-eight days, four hours, 15 minutes, 57 seconds.

In that time, I could shave my beard and regenerate it to an even manlier version than what currently inhabits my face.

I could hand in a two-weeks notice, slightly more than 2 ½ times.

I could start training for a marathon, turn into a lean, mean, running machine, and then decide after Day 37 to stop training for a marathon when I remember that I’m not a douchebag (OK, that one was a stretch).

More realistically, that very specific amount of time is how long it would take me to work though my entire iTunes library. That’s right — 12,660 songs at 91.62 gigs of memory on Ye Olde MacTop. Of course, that’s not even including the unlimited number of songs I access through Spotify, YouTube, my modest vinyl collection, or the Neil Diamond and Hall & Oates cassette tapes in my car for emergency use only (translation: daily use).

Now, as a way to introduce myself to the hearingade faithful, I’m supposed to pluck 12 songs out of that infinite black hole of music nerddom for a playlist (or I guess officially “mixtape,” though I’m young enough I never did such thing before the dawn of the CD burner) that more or less defines me.

Um… unfuckingpossible.

Un.

Fucking.

Possible.

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