Monday, March 11, 2013

Kavinsky - "Outrun"

           Cee-lo is grinding gears in a black Ferrari Testarossa down a seedy Miami sidestreet and does a perfect 75mph-Tokyo-drift-break-slide-parallel park in front of Mac’s Club Deuce.   Herbie Handcock rocks a pink keytar while Steve Stevens does his Top Gun era guitar acrobatics in M83’s barband rendition of Thriller.  It’s 2 am and they all fill a gangster booth in the back of the bar to discuss a rock opera based on Dexter.  Two years later, Outrun emerges with a bullet.  It’s 1986.
            If you are asking yourself, “Who would listen to that shit?”  Well, the 10 year old in me hasn’t had as much fun with my headphones on since I was rocking out to Thriller and The Miami Vice Soundtrack.  It just works.  I don’t want to love it and I don’t even want to admit that I love it in public.  But, I want everyone to listen to it because it’s so ridiculous in the same way that the song “Thriller” and the accompanying video “just work.”  Would you think putting Vincent Price and Eddie Van Halen on the same album as Michael Jackson would ever sell 65 million copies?
            Of course, the world will not fall in love with Outrun.  Kavinsky creates a world that listeners would be afraid to visit but can’t fight the curiosity to see for themselves.  Kinda like a vacation in Detroit - take the tour to Eminem’s boyhood home, check out Motown, and the Henry Ford Museum.  Most would have the reaction, “You’re kidding, right? All that stuff sounds cool…but, it’s Detroit.  There’s murder, poverty, no vegetables…Kid Rock.”  Most of us would at least drive through, right?  I have and I loved it!
            It’s difficult to pick standout tracks as it works loosely as a concept album, but to get the idea check out “First Blood.” B -

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

AFAA 2.0

     I’m going to start off this new music blog with my favorites of 2012. Yes, it’s a little late. I don’t work for Paste magazine; so, pfft! Plus, I get to see everyone else’s list and catch things I completely missed or assumed I would hate. Admittedly, I end up being a year behind in some regards, but if music is great it will stick with you a while – ya know? I listened to Middle Brother and Dawes’ Nothing is Wrong obsessively in 2012 and barely noticed them in 2011.
      2012 was a KILLER year for music! The phrase that crossed my mind over and over again was “all art is derivative.” This year had stellar we-wear-our-influences-on-our sleeves-and-really-don’t-give-a-shit-if-you-notice releases, from Jack White to Frank Ocean to Kendrick Lamar to Neil Young. The latter was copping riffs from himself, does it get any more derivative? Tame Impala’s Lonerism sounds like the bastard sons of Rodriguez and John Lennon. Alabama Shakes' Boys & Girls sounds like Creedence fronted by Aretha Franklin – HOLY SHIT, sign me up! You could play Exitmusic’s Passage and tell me it's “Siouxsie and The Bloody Valentines” and I would believe you. I swear Killer Mike, Ice-T and Ice Cube were thrown into Thunderdome – three men enter… R.A.P. Music leaves!
       Jack White’s Blunderbuss sounds like Howlin’ Wolf, Ernest Tubb, Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes, and The Dead Weather thrown into a wood chipper, then pressed to vinyl. (Yes, I would listen to it and call it the best album of the year! AND, I’ll name my first-born Blunderbuss! When she is inevitably picked on for possessing such a name, she will simply have to reply: “Motherfucka, Ima ‘bout to “blunderbuss” your ass!” End of story. You’re welcome, Blunderbuss!)
      Gary Clark, Jr. didn't live up to the hype, but his guitar work popped him onto the end of the list. 39 through 35 were pretty solid albums but I expected a bit more - when Leonard Cohen and Fiona Apple are kicking your ass, maybe you need to take a few more creative risks. 34 through 20ish are in no particular order. You can find some great reviews for all of them; so, I’m not going to bore you here. If you haven’t heard everything in the top 20, please, do yourself a favor and listen:

40. Gary Clark, Jr. - Blak and Blu
39. Band of Horses - Mirage Rock
38. Silversun Pickups - Neck of the Woods
37. The Killers - Battleborn
36. Mumford & Sons - Babel
35. xx - Coexist
34. Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas
33. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel...
32. The Walkman - Heaven
31. Titus Andronicus - Local Business
30. Heartless Bastards - Arrow
29. Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
28. Woods - Bend Beyond
27. M. Ward - A Wasteland Companion
26. King Tuff - King Tuff
25. Punch Brothers - Who's Feeling Young Now?
24. JEFF the Brotherhood - Hypnotic Nights
23. Neil Young with Crazy Horse - Psychedelic Pill
22. Baroness - Yellow & Green
21. Cloud Nothing - Attack on Memory
20. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
19. Grizzly Bear - Shields
18. Field Report - Field Report
17. The Shins - Port of Morrow
16. Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits
15. Mark Lanegan Band - Blues Funeral
14. Shovels and Rope - O' Be Joyful
13. First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar
12. Japandroids - Celebration Rock
11. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city
10. Menomena - Moms
  9. Father Jon Misty - Fear Fun
  8. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
  7. Diiv - Oshin
  6. Pond - Beard, Wives, Denim
  5. Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music
  4. Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls
  3. Exitmusic - Passage
  2. Tame Impala - Lonerism
  1. Jack White - Blunderbuss