Month: April 2014

Essential Classics: Eels – Electro-Shock Blues

With the release last week of The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, the eleventh album from Eels, now is the perfect time to take a closer look and examine their greatest work, Electro-Shock Blues.

Electro-Shock Blues was the follow-up to Eels’ debut album, Beautiful Freak, which is known mainly for the smash hit single “Novocaine for the Soul”.  That song would be both a blessing and a curse for the band, as it helped them break through to a wider audience (E had previously released two solo albums before adopting the “Eels” moniker, and while both records are good, they never received much commercial success), and was an effective calling card for the band’s style.  From E’s distinctive voice, to their often bitterly sarcastic take on life (the lyric “Jesus and his lawyer are coming back” is a great example of capturing that typical mid-90’s cynical detachment), to their focus on how to treat emotional pain (summed up perfectly in the title), “Novocaine” was in many ways representative of their style.  On the other hand, that meant a lifetime of dealing with expectations of playing the song every night on tour.  E’s approach of completely altering the style of the song each tour has been an effective remedy, varying between such drastic differences as the surf-rock version of the Electro-Shock tour or the withdrawn, restrained version of the With Strings tour, turning a rote performance into a surprising highlight each night.

All of this is to provide the background that Eels should have been in position to enjoy their new-found success.  Unfortunately, real life intervened as E was confronted with the deaths of his sister (suicide) and mother (lung cancer), among others, after the release of Beautiful Freak.  E worked through the feelings of being the last living member of his immediate family and channeled his grief into the production of Electro-Shock Blues, making it more than the stereotypical “difficult second album”.  The intentions are clear from the outset, with “Elizabeth on the Bathroom Floor”.  E uses his sister’s diary to give a harrowing look at her anguish as she struggled with mental illness (summed up with the concluding lines “My name is Elizabeth; my life is shit and piss.”), and backs the lyrics with a delicate, spare guitar and a ghostly backing choir.  The subject matter remains grim for the next few tracks, with “Going To Your Funeral Part I”, “Cancer for the Cure”, and “My Descent Into Madness”, but the tone of the music shifts to provide an effective counterpoint and cut against the seriousness of the topic.  “Funeral” has a slightly sinister ambiance, but is driven by a slow, grooving bass line; “Cancer for the Cure” is a goofy rave-up, complete with cheesy organ accents (a similar approach is taken with the jazzy “Hospital Food”); and “My Descent Into Madness” has an optimistic tone with fancy classical string flourishes and warm keyboards, which provide a sharp comment on the lyrics covering medically-induced happiness courtesy of institutionalization (“Come visit me at eight o’clock, and then you’ll see how I’m not the crazy one”).

The album reaches a turning point with the song “Last Stop: This Town”, as E copes with his loss by imagining flying above the city with his deceased sister.  He begins by showing her the world that she has left behind, and then the distortion kicks in with some turntable scratches, as they travel together on an emotional journey (a physical manifestation of the inner turmoil–“taking a spin through the neighborhood, the neighbors scream, ‘What are you talking about?,’ cause they don’t know how to let you in, and I can’t let you out”).  There is a moment of regret, when E asks, “Can you take me where you’re going if you’re never coming back?”  However, by the end of the song he’s content to let her go, as indicated by the brighter tone of his vocals in the last chorus.

The other peak on the album is the tender “Climbing to the Moon”, as E recounts a visit with his sister while she was institutionalized.  The lyrics by themselves are heart-breaking, but the music often underscores key emotional components that only add to their emotional impact.  Subtle touches like airy synths after “Got a sky that looks like heaven” and a country-tinged, lower-register guitar figure after “Got an earth that looks like shit” help accentuate the metaphors.  Sometimes these details work in the opposite way, providing an ironic element; as E sings about climbing to the moon, the chords gradually descend with the lyrics “Got my foot on the ladder”.  The entire chord progression in the chorus is naturally circular and begs repetition, emphasizing the futility of the task of literally climbing to the moon.  Yet the hopeful tone and lyrics show that it’s not worth it to be bogged down in the hopelessness of the situation, but to continually press ahead.

Eels closes the album with songs that show E contemplating how to move ahead.  “The Medication is Wearing Off” sees E facing the death of his mother with the knowledge that even though she’s gone, life still moves forward, as evidenced by the metaphor of his mother’s watch that keeps ticking.  That doesn’t mean that he is finished grieving–“The medication’s wearing off–gonna hurt a little, not a lot” and “Sunrise on the corner of Sunset and Alvarado, I think ‘What the hell do I do now–watch the day disintegrate, so I can stay up late and wait?'” indicate otherwise.  But he knows he has to continue, and the slight repeating guitar lick is a gentle reminder.  E adds an upbeat postscript (literally) with “P.S., You Work My World”, as he realizes that even if the outside world is falling apart and he has no idea what he should do, that “maybe it’s time to live.”

As a whole, the album is a perfect encapsulation of all the various emotions that come with the grieving process, all backed by delicate instrumentation that never overwhelms the listener, and balanced with key moments of levity.  It’s powerful without ever being overbearing, and catchy while still inviting closer scrutiny.  It may not have had the cultural impact that other records covering the same territory did, but I’d argue that it did so in a far more effective manner.  With Electro-Shock Blues, Eels proved that not only were they not a one-hit wonder, but that they were great artists worth following, even as their career would go on for decades.

Franz Ferdinand, Live at the Roseland

We need to have a serious discussion: Franz Ferdinand is an incredibly underrated live band.

I have never been particularly passionate about Franz Ferdinand, instead merely content to listen to their albums every so often, with a periodic defense of their post-debut output.  However, after seeing them at the Wonder Ballroom back in 2012, I had to reassess my position, and I became more insistent about their talent due to their unbelievably fun live show.  Saturday night’s stellar performance at the Roseland was able to fully confirm their greatness.

RIJR continues to provide the finest random concert photography

RIJR continues to provide the finest random concert photography

The show started off with a bang, as Franz opened up with the explosive single “Bullet” from the recent Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action (sharing the number 8 spot in our ranking of last year’s albums, for the record).  The band kept the momentum up with the fan-favorite “Michael”, a delightful twist on the usual sexual dynamics of the traditional pop love song.  A raucous version of “The Fallen” followed, with Alex Kapranos stretching out some of the lines and throwing in a little flair with his guitar playing, and “No You Girls” signaled that the party had officially arrived.  Throughout their set, it was clear that the band had perfected the mix of caddishness from their early days to the more libertine seediness of their recent work, all done with a grin and a catchy dance beat.

The band was able to effortlessly shift through their four albums, though the band made sure to showcase most of Right Thoughts.  A combined version of Tonight‘s “Can’t Stop Feeling” and “Auf Achse” was a perfect example of this, with the latter nestled perfectly in the middle of the former.  It took a few moments to realize that the band had transitioned between songs as they played, and I was surprised because I never heard the parallels between the two songs before.

Throughout the night, the band effortlessly engaged with the audience, dancing along when appropriate or goading participation from the crowd.  The audience was eager to clap along, and in a manner unusual for Portland audiences, actually kept the beat (most of the time).  Kapranos in particular was a delight, with his goofy dancing and his playful come ons.   When the band played “This Fire”, the crowd eagerly joined in on the chorus and shouted along, until Kapranos was able to bring the volume of the chants down to a minimum, before of course exploding in the end (though I should note that if it was a hip-hop show, if the crowd chanted “We’re gonna burn this city!”, the Portland police would have shut down the whole show before the end of the song).  The band concluded their set with and extended full-band drum solo in “Outsiders”, as each member grabbed sticks to play along on the drumset–a trick that they pulled off at the Wonder Ballroom before, but I’m glad to see that it’s now an established part of their set.

The only issue was that at some points the band’s tempo was out-of-step with the audience, with the band more willing to slow it down a bit and grind while the crowd was eager to explode.  Such tension could easily be felt with songs like “Take Me Out”, where the crowd wanted to lose their minds but the band wanted to rein things in to the proper deliberate stomp of the original.  But that’s really a nitpick, and it shows discipline on the band’s part for adhering to tighter rhythmic control.  However, it was pleasantly surprising that the show ended up selling out, considering I was able to purchase tickets earlier in the week with ease, and too bad for those who were unfortunate enough to miss out, because they missed an amazing show.  If word continues to spread, I may need to make sure I make my purchase well in advance.

Over the Weekend (Apr. 28 Edition)

Ho hum, another Monday, another day of new music and videos.  Wait a second, that sounds great!  On to the links.

Moby re-worked a song from director David Lynch (deeming it a “re-version”) and released it on Record Store Day last week; today he uploaded the video on YouTube, and it’s a delightfully spooky black-and-white film that fits the ethereal, hazy music perfectly.

One of our favorite metal acts, Red Fang, is about to head out on tour once again, because they don’t believe in resting on their laurels.  As a bonus for showing up to their show, they’re giving out a free 7″ record which features a new single, “The Meadow”.  You can take a listen right here, courtesy of Noisey.

The first new Pixies album in over two decades will officially be released tomorrow, and the band has uploaded a track-by-track overview on YouTube.  Also be sure to check out the bonus track, “Women of War”, as well.

And Pitchfork has the video of a one-of-a-kind performance, with members of Beach House, Grizzly Bear, The Walkmen, and Fleet Foxes performing a tribute to Gene Clark of the Byrds with a recreation of his solo album No Other.  Check out the whole show here.

Catching Up On The Week (Apr. 26 Edition)

Not too many #longreads this weekend, which probably is good news for us since our publishing schedule got sidetracked a bit this week, and there’s not much time left to cram.

The one exception is Stereogum’s week-long celebration of Britpop, featuring a ton of articles celebrating the 20th anniversary of one of the defining trends of the 90’s.  The pieces that grabbed my interest the most were the anniversary retrospective of Blur’s Parklife and the list of the Top 10 songs from The Verve, but I’ll be checking out more when I get the chance.

Going a few years from Britpop’s heyday, Shortlist has a slideshow of facts about Joy Division’s landmark album, Unknown Pleasures.  If that piques your interest, then I’d urge you to set aside some time in your schedule to watch Control and 24 Hour Party People if you haven’t already done so, because both are excellent looks at the brilliant band.

Just so you have the information somewhere on file, know that Lorde has been given Dave Grohl’s “Dad’s Seal of Approval”, which should have been somewhat obvious given her appearance with the reunited Nirvana at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

Finally, there are a couple of articles from Pitchfork I wanted to highlight.  On the one hand, there’s an interview with Marc Weidenbaum about his 33 1/3 book on Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II, which provides some good insight into the composer, the development of the ambient genre, and the album itself.  At the end of the scale, we have this attempt by the staff to avoid writing a simple review of the new Pixies album Indie Cindy, with this half-assed stab at covering the entire Pixies discography.  It offers no insight or perspective on landmark albums like Surfer Rosa or Doolittle, but seems to exist only so that they have it on record that those records deserve perfect 10 scores, and that for some reason Trompe le Monde is a better album than Bossanova.  Perhaps that belief helps color their insistent tone in dealing with the new album.  I’d normally advise against reading something like this, but I’ll make an exception for this since it’s a good example of how empty some music writing can be.

Feats of Strength: Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse will be returning next week as they launch a new tour in Portland, though we are still uncertain whether this is a signal that they will soon be releasing a follow-up to 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.  To mark the occasion, we decided to share a brilliant music video that you may have missed when it was first released.  Here, the band uses the familiar trick of playing the video in reverse, but here the technique serves to emphasize the emotional impact of the end.  It’s a real testament to the production that one would know exactly how the video will end, but still end up intensely moved.  So, fair warning: you may cry at the end.

The Men, Live at Dante’s

There’s really no better way to cap a Record Store Day (or just a beautiful spring weekend in general) than to go to a tiny club and see a great young band just rip through a set.  We got that exact opportunity last weekend when we caught RIJR favorites The Men do a blistering one hour show at one of Portland’s great gems, Dante’s.  And our enjoyment was certainly not only due to our kind waitress, though she certainly helped.

Well, not tonight.  But the sign was correct when taken.

Well, not tonight. But the sign was correct when taken.

The night began with an anti-comedy duo that when Tim & Eric are ever properly brought up on charges for the terror they’ve inflicted on audiences will be presented as Exhibits (E) and (F).  Needless to say, at our first sight of a dilapidated ventriloquist’s dummy we were all of a sudden no longer perplexed as to why tables were still set up but instead grateful.  Grateful for the seating as well as the opportunity to procure various alcoholic beverages to make the “show” more “enjoyable” (for the record, since this is Portland, the beverages were IPAs and bourbons because we don’t believe in bullshit).   The next act, Nasalrod, featured a frontman that was simultaneously late-period David Lee Roth (thinning hair and a gut) and early-period David Lee Roth (doing flying leg-kicks and stage-diving).  I remember nothing specific about the music, except that it was loud, not-melodic, and full of energy, which was perfect for the setting.  Gun Outfit provided a nice change of pace, with actual songs, and now I am reminded that I should probably look up more of their stuff because they were quite good.

We had caught The Men before at the very same venue during MusicFest NW last fall, but with a new record out we were anxious to hear how different their set would be.  Whereas last time New Moon featured heavily and allowed the band to stretch a bit, including an extended-version of “I Saw Her Face” that opened the show, Saturday night was a take-no-prisoners run that went through the majority of Tomorrow’s Hits.  For all the fans that bemoaned how the band had changed their sound to be, for lack of a better word, more “polished”, this performance was a stark rebuttal from the band.  The Men upped the tempo, cranked up the amplifiers, and blasted through raucous versions of “Going Down”, “Pearly Gates”, and even the shuffling “The Dark Waltz”.  And for those wondering how the band would replicate some of the cool horn parts, a couple of guitar pedals were apparently all that were necessary to recreate the fun stomp of “Another Night”.

The curtains really add the right touch.

The curtains really add the right touch.

Sure, the mix was a little off, with the vocals buried way below all the guitars and keyboards; if you were unfamiliar with the new material, the set would have seemed to just run together.  Fortunately, it seemed that the crowd knew their stuff and sang along anyway.  And yes, it was loud as fuck, but at a show like this, that’s a feature and not a bug; we were informed by our waitress Brittney that at soundcheck it was the first time they had to tell a band to turn it down a little bit, and perhaps they didn’t fully understand the request.  It was a good thing we had worked out a system before the band took the stage so our drink orders were still heard.

Despite the crowd’s pleas for an encore, the band did not return, which makes the one that we received back in the fall a seemingly more unique experience, and the band’s surprise at our demand seem even more genuine.  Everyone still left buzzed and in good spirits, and I was glad to shake guitarist Nick Chiericozzi ‘s hand and congratulate him on a great show (once he finished downing his shot of tequila).  Let’s hope that this trend of quick return trips back to Portland continues.

Over the Weekend (Apr. 22 Edition)

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend, whether it was spiritual, musical, or “miscellaneous”, and we also hope that you didn’t mind waiting an extra day while we recuperated.  I believe my stomach is proof that Costco should not be allowed to sell jellybeans.

Record Store Day was this past Saturday, and perhaps you scored some cool vinyl or just enjoyed a good excuse to spend a weekend afternoon scouring the racks at your local record store.  I only picked up a 7″ Mudhoney/The Sonics split-single, mainly in part to my reluctance to splurge on vinyl.  And now I have some ammunition when a so-called “audiophile” tries to insist that I’m missing out on superior sound, courtesy of Vox.  I’ll just be sure not to mention the Nyquist-Shannon theorem, because I have it on good authority that it’s not really handled correctly in the piece.  Otherwise, it’s a great scientific explanation of sound recordings in different formats; of course, if you prefer the sound of vinyl, feel free to keep rocking.

There weren’t really that many videos to share this week, but there was this footage from Soundgarden’s SXSW appearance that was just uploaded, with the band ripping through “Rusty Cage”.

Next week marks the return of the Pixies, who will release their first album since 1991’s Trompe le Monde.  NPR has Indie Cindy available to stream right now, so be sure to check that out while you read a feature of the band from Crack Magazine.

Finally, it’s the 20th anniversary of Above the Rim, one of my favorite movies to watch whenever it shows up on cable.  First, there’s a look at the making of the film with the screenwriter, Barry Michael Cooper, courtesy of Complex.  When you’re done with that, have some fun with a more irreverent look with a roundtable discussion about the unique greatness of the film from Grantland.  If you’re wondering why we’re discussing a basketball movie on a music site, you should probably check this slideshow, then ask yourself why you bothered to pose the question considering this was one of Tupac’s great roles, and it featured “Regulate”.

Catching Up On The Week (Apr. 18 Edition)

We’ve got some great #longreads for you this weekend, so try to fit these in as you enjoy Record Store Day.

Many music fans were excited for the reunion of OutKast at Coachella last weekend (this one included), but unfortunately it wasn’t the joyous celebration that we were hoping would occur.  There’s a lot to be said about the general shittiness of festivals, and Coachella specifically, but even that doesn’t account for some of the disappointment that many OutKast fans felt (personally, as a viewer watching things on my couch, I was able to enjoy it, album-plug for Future notwithstanding).  Rembert Browne at Grantland does a great job of expounding on this sentiment.  And if you’re wondering why the OutKast reunion was such a big deal in the first place, Andrea Battleground at the AVClub can help get you up to speed.

Last weekend I engaged in a scavenger hunt across Portland with some friends, and one of the items that we procured was an 8-Track of Bob Seger’s Night Moves.  It is now one of my most valued possessions.  Coincidentally enough, Steven Hyden wrote a piece this week why you shouldn’t scoff at this notion.  Behold, in all its glory:

My new most valued possession

My new most valued possession

SPIN has an excerpt from the recently released oral history of Dinosaur Jr.  You get a look at the early, early days of the band, as they toured around Massachusetts and their early ventures into New York, as well as their first tour as they opened for Sonic Youth.

Pitchfork has a couple of excellent features this week, both analyzing more the business side of music, and specifically the use and accumulation of data.  First, there was an article outlining the evolution of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart, and how its current format leads to problems in tracking songs.  It raises some interesting points, but to dismiss the impact on how the specific genre has had an impact on Top 40 is a bit of a mistake, and maybe a solution that is more in line with how Billboard charts Alternative Rock may be one way to go.  The other piece looks at the history of streaming and its future, finding analogues in prior devices like the jukebox and looking at how data is processed to give a better idea for programs in dispensing recommendations.  Both are great and worth the time to read.

Queens of the Stone Age, Live at the Keller Auditorium

It’s become increasingly clear that if you’re going to see a band perform, it’s best to do it in Portland.  Sure, we always have enthusiastic crowds and a ton of great venues, but that’s been the case for years.  What I’m talking about is that special moment that sends you straight to your cell phone to put everyone on blast that “Holy shit, you won’t believe what happened at the **** show!”  Just in the past few months, we’ve seen a Sleater-Kinney “reunion” at a Pearl Jam show, Jim James showing up to do a John Lennon cover with The War On Drugs, and now a surprise reconciliation at Tuesday’s Queens of the Stone Age concert.

I didn't realize most of the new material was in standard tuning

I didn’t realize most of the new material was in standard tuning

Queens kicked things off with a bang, perhaps buoyed by the announcement earlier in the day of their number 2 ranking in RIJR’s Album of the Year rankings, with the raucous “Feel Good Hit of the Summer”.  Few bands would then follow up their opener with their biggest hit, but QOTSA knew that the sold-out crowd didn’t come just to hear the songs they heard from the radio.  That’s what we call confidence, my friends.  After that, “Avon” brought a huge cheer from the fans who remember QOTSA’s self-titled debut with fondness.

The band then went on a run of material from their scintillating new album, …Like Clockwork.  By the end of the night, 80% of the album would be covered, and considering the excellence of the material, nobody minded missing out on a couple of old favorites.  The lead single “My God Is The Sun” serves as an excellent bridge between classic Queens desert-rock and the rest of the new album, with its catchy riffs and rolling drums interspersed with a groovy shaker rhythm.  However, it was what’s in my opinion …Like Clockwork‘s cornerstone “I Appear Missing” that was the highlight of the new material, with its intoxicating and hypnotic Gothic groove that you allow to drag you forward, even though you know it’s probably not a good idea.  The band did a brilliant job of extending the ending, as if caught in a trap with ever-escalating tension, matching the image of a man falling forever and ever from the sky.  As the band brought the volume down, the crowd watched the video screen and there was a moment that you thought perhaps the character would live to see a happy ending, but then the band snapped back with full force and that was the end for Our Hero.  It was but one of many examples of how QOTSA was able to improve on already-fantastic new material.

As the band neared the end of their main set, Josh Home dedicated Rated R‘s “Better Living Through Chemistry” to “his brother from a fucked-up mother”, former bandmate Nick Oliveri.  Nick played bass with the opening band, Moistboyz (who also featured another QOTSA collaborator in Mickey Melchiondo (aka Dean Ween)), and it was good to see further confirmation that he and Josh had patched things up.  The song itself was a perfect distillation of the greatness of Queens, and was one of the most mind-blowing performances that I could remember; in many ways, it was an inversion of many standard rock tropes, with epic breakdowns and solos.  Queens capped off the first part of the evening with the excellent “Go With the Flow”, leaving the crowd breathless but wanting more.

An amazing show even from these ridiculous seats.

An amazing show even from these ridiculous seats.

The band returned for their encore with the haunting “The Vampyre of Time and Memory”, featuring Josh behind the piano.  As the roadies wheeled away the extra piano, a familiar guitar riff came on, and the crowd went apeshit as they heard the opening to “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire.”  Josh then brought Nick out on stage and handed him a mic, and Portland then witnessed Nick perform with Queens of the Stone Age for the first time in ten years as the crowd lost their shit a second time.  “Gimme toro, gimme some more!!!”  The band ended the evening with the live favorite “A Song For The Dead”, officially making it worth the wait since the band’s last stop in Portland several years ago.  And considering Josh’s lively interactions with the crowd and the several bits of praise he had for Portland (“You got yourselves a cool town…fuck it, you’re the best.”), hopefully we’ll be seeing him again soon.

Best of the Rest: Other Highlights from 2013

Even with our expanded Best-Of list courtesy of The Process, there were still a ton of great albums released last year that were worthy of recognition.  Since we here at Rust Is Just Right are big believers in spreading all good music, we’re going to put a spotlight on some other great records that you may have overlooked from the past year.

EELS – Wonderful, Glorious.  It had begun to seem as if Eels were stuck in a rut, with a trio of dour albums (Hombre LoboEnd TimesTomorrow Morning) that were difficult for even a superfan like me to listen to on an regular basis.  But E switched up the formula a bit and even sounds “happy” with this album.  And the live show for the tour for this album was quite great as well, a kind of variety-show getup with everyone dressed in monochrome tracksuits and sporting the same facial hair.

No Age – An Object.  No Age have always been a band that’s difficult to appreciate on first listen, but even fans of their abrasive sound (whether it be riotous punk rock or feedback-drenched ambient) weren’t sure how to respond to An Object.  In many ways it was built more like an art project than just “the next album from No Age”, and surprisingly it often worked.

Phosphorescent – Muchacho. This country-tinged indie folk album is a real treat to listen to on a relaxing, sunny day, but would still be worth it if it only included the reworking of “Wicked Game” that we didn’t know we needed in 2013 with “The Quotidian Beasts”.

Red Fang – Whales and Leeches.  I always love hearing my favorite hometown metal band, so it was surprising that they didn’t manage to make it onto the official list.  Such is the mysterious ways of The Process.  It seems that touring with Mastodon rubbed off on them a bit, as one could definitely hear their influence on the album (my initial comparison was “Mastodon on amphetamines”, and I think that it still fits).  And good news, Red Fang is still making great music videos.

David Bowie – The Next Day.  Can we just pause a minute and recognize how awesome it is that it’s 2014 and David Bowie can just surprise the world with a damn good album 45 years into his career?  The album isn’t perfect, but there are some songs that would fit comfortably aside the old classics on a Greatest Hits.

Los Campesinos! – No Blues.  I keep telling everyone to go to one of their shows because it’ll probably be the most fun you’ll have all year, and I’ll continue to do so.  No Blues sees the band continuing with the mature sound from Hello, Sadness but with a slightly more positive outlook.

Janelle Monáe – The Electric Lady.  It’s hard to keep track of the narrative about robots and revolution, but the music is fantastic.  Seeing her perform with OutKast was one of the highlights of Coachella.

The Knife – Shaking the Habitual.  I hadn’t understood the love that some people had for this band until I heard this album.  It’s bizarre, but I like it.

Death Grips – Government Plates.  Who knew we hadn’t heard the last from Death Grips?  My favorite part is that when I downloaded the album, it was automatically tagged as “Rock & Roll”.  If you are unfamiliar with their music, well…

Also Worthy of Praise

Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana; Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt; Ghostface Killah – Twelve Reasons to Die; Moonface – Julia With Blue Jeans On; Tim Hecker – Virgins; Neko Case –  The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You; Washed Out – Paracosm.

All Albums That Were Considered

Here’s a list of the albums that I listened to last year, in full.  Most of these were quite good and worthy of repeated listens, but they just couldn’t crack the previous lists.  And I’m not going to do something like say the new albums from The Strokes or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were complete garbage, because that wouldn’t be nice.

Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest; Daft Punk – Random Access Memories; Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze; The Strokes – Comedown Machine; Surfer Blood – Pythons; Atoms for Peace – Amok; Ducktails – The Flower Lane; Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Specter at the Feast; British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy; The Dismemberment Plan – Uncanney Valley; M.I.A. – Matangi; Palms – Palms; Phoenix – Bankrupt!; Cold War Kids – Dear Miss Lonelyhearts; Deerhunter – Monomania; Jake Bugg – Shangri-La; Jim James – Regions of Light and Sound of God; MGMT – MGMT; Mudhoney – Vanishing Point; Yo la Tengo – Fade; Beach Fossils – Clash the Truth; Fitz & The Tantrums – More Than Just a Dream; Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here; The Appleseed Cast – Illumination Ritual; Chelsea Light Moving – Chelsea Light Moving; Darkside – Psychic; The Dear Hunter – Migrant; Dr. Dog – B-Room; How to Destroy Angels – Welcome Oblivion; Kavinsky – OutRun; Major Lazer – Free the Universe; Of Montreal – Lousy With Sylvianbriar; Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus Seven; Ra Ra Riot – Beta Love; Talib Kweli – Prisoner of Conscious; Tyler, the Creator – Wolf; Typhoon – White Lighter; Baths – Obsidian.