This record came out Tuesday. These guys are 44. That’s all.
2. Dancer Equired - Times New Viking
This trio of Columbus fire-starters just came out with their fifth album, and it’s consciously cleaner than the previous four. Some people think that, without the metallic grind and ear-splitting fuzz, the songs sound a lot weaker or emptier this time.
Those people are wrong.
I like that, far from being just another fuzz pop record, this is still music made to sound a little lazy, a little off-kilter. No one in the band can sing, which makes me laugh because it’s just another obstacle replacing the fuzz. Hopefully this time, people can get past it to the song craft. The song above is a great example of it, but really, it sits aside thirteen other cuts I could have chosen.
Do yourself a favor and pick this up.
3. "The Remake of a Remake (All I Need) feat. Tawiah" - Wale
This is from his 2008 mixtape and, all home-team rooting aside (DC chillin’, P.G. chillin’), I actually picked this song because of the feature, which is a cover of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “You’re All I Need (To Get By).”
Tawiah, whoever she is, absolutely slays it. Jump to 1:23 on this video and tell me I’m wrong. I don’t know anything else by her, but I came back to this track randomly a few weeks ago after putting this record up on the shelf, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
It’s obviously sacrilege to say that she sings it better than Tammi, but the vocals soar more than I remember in the original. Enchanting.
4. “The Race” - Wiz Khalifa
The first I heard of Wiz Khalifa was when he re-appropriated a Demi Lovato song to make “We’re Done” from “Kush & OJ,” his millionth mixtape, and the one that cemented his playful stoner sensibilities in hip-hop.
I don’t know that I was expecting “The Race,” from his newest record, which re-appropriates a sound pioneered by J Dilla and that came to fruition last year with acts like Neon Indian, Washed Out, and Toro y Moi.
The thing is, this isn’t a sound usually taken up by acts like Wiz Khalifa, whose popularity in the mainstream gave him a second career renaissance. Either way, the song rules, the album is the best thing I’ve put in my car in weeks, and I hope he keeps surprising me.
5. Prince on “Lopez Tonight”
Better watch this quickly before Prince gets it taken down.
It probably doesn’t surprise anyone who knows me that I have Prince on this list, but those who don’t know of my fandom are probably scratching their heads. My advice is to not think too much about it and just watch this video.
He’s in his 50s, and he’s still bombastic enough to pull of multiple costume changes (like this gold Mao Zedong number) in a nightly talk show on cable. He was just born a performer. I actually really dig his performance of “Laydown” from his last record, the nearly-intolerable 20Ten, but damn damn damn do I still hate hate hate the part where he refers to himself as “The Purple Yoda.”
Also, his interview with Lopez is not only coherent, but I agree with a lot of what he says, which has become more unusual over time. He’s a strange dude, but it’s hard to look away from this. Plus, watch how long the women clap for him when he comes out. It’s just absurd.
6. “Tally Ho” - The Clean
I found out about this band through a friend, who also suggested a slew of other Kiwi Pop bands. This sounds to me like the connection between the Velvet Underground and Guided by Voices, or something like that.
I like that I can hear all the elements that went into this, but somewhere in the middle, they mixed to create something greater than the sum of its parts. This is their first single, and it feels like maybe the reason they got together was to put this down on tape.
P.S. I have no idea who made this video. Sorry it’s so horrifying.
7. "Journey in Satchidananda" - Alice Coltrane
I had been putting off getting into her, because I imagined some intolerable new age based on the cover alone, but I’m sorry I waited so long.
This is jazz from another planet, and her harp-playing makes feelings into music notes. Pharaoh Sanders helps to complete the ensemble. These songs are both familiar and unfamiliar, but I actually think this is probably a good entry point for someone with little knowledge of jazz—it’s not beholden to anything I can think of, and it’s always easy to get into something when you don’t feel like you’re starting in the middle.
This sounds like the beginning of something.
8. In the Jungle Groove - James Brown
I’m pretty sure everyone knows James Brown from his singles, but most of those were meticulously cut down from jams like those that appear on In the Jungle Groove. I think it was put out to catch the growing segment of people who first heard his songs as samples in hip-hop songs, but it stands just fine on its own.
Someone told me once that he used to charge money to his musicians for getting off the beat even once, which makes this an even more incredible feat. It’s tight as can be, and if you put it in your car, you’ll be bobbing in no time.
9. Amoeba’s “What’s In My Bag” Series
I’m a sucker for hearing about what artists I like are listening to. I also like buying things. This web series pretty much caters to both of those, and it features artists going into Amoeba Music, the famously gargantuan independent record stores in California, and being given some amount of money to pick out records and share what they bought.
I can’t explain why I like these so much, but I think part of it is I’m attracted to the idea of having a huge sum of money and just getting to buy whatever I think I might like, which is pretty much what happens here—most of them don’t have a list, so it’s just wherever their brain leads them that day. Hopefully someone else gets as addicted as I do, so I feel less lame.
10. Freaks and Geeks – The Homecoming Scene
This is where I get lame and tell everyone how much I dig this scene. The Styx song. Sam’s face when he realizes it’s speeding up. Goldberg the Goalie. Lindsey’s dance with Eli. This is probably my all-time favorite use of music in anything ever.
I don’t even think I’ve seen the rest of the series in a few years, but I always find myself watching the pilot so that it all leads up to this scene. I think the reason so many people connect with this show now has to do with things like this scene—you’ve probably never had this happen to you, but it feels familiar enough that you swear you have.
--Jake Derr, General Manager