As the most junior member of this blog by quite a lot, and the only guy to kick off Odyshape 2.0 with consecutive A+ reviews - I lack discernible credibility. So why not grasp that reputation and hump it into submission? Here's the first of what I hope is a series of posts celebrating my generation's short attention span - in which I devote 140 characters or more to anything and whatever in contemporary music... with links! It looks like a Christgau CG column, maybe - but since when have millennials worried about structuralism or, you know, grades? lol. Enjoy.
Perfect Pussy - Say Yes To Love (Captured Tracks)
Unless BICEP2’s just making waves for no reason, I’m guessing we’re stuck in the only universe where #CancelColbert goes viral thanks to an army of shitty liberals. And if that makes me some kind of ironic conservative akin to, well, Colbert… then bless the dear Lord our God for some Perfect Pussy, a band of collegiate New Yorkers willfully untainted by campus PC hysteria I’ve not the liberty to discuss. At least, that’s what I think these cats are up to. Pussy’s playful rip of the Warner Brothers logo, its songs titled “Big Stars,” “VII,” and “Advance Upon the Real,” and, you know, its band name I can’t Google unless I want to delete my search history - these things seem to bespeak a foursome (fivesome?) of smartasses dicking around equal parts with rock forefathers and nerd contemporaries. Seem to, I said. Five plays in, I can’t understand a fucking thing Meredith Graves is saying. Someone hire these guys a handy producer - one who can get her to scream louder than the guitars. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this record, which came from a universe where Flipper hit the charts and Goo was cut while Lee was out sick. Don’t get me wrong, I #LoveLee - but I’m not the type to get my panties in a bunch.
Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else (Carpark Records)
Maybe I’m saying this because, at 24, I swear Google can’t program our billboard immortality fast enough, but: at 22, Dylan Baldi shouldn’t yet be singing about “leaving all the memory of what he did when he was young.” Dude, what? Listen - you are young. You’re so young, you think this is worth laying atop an otherwise slick guitar hook: “saying something, it’s supposed to be true / saying something, it’s supposed to be you.” Since it’s now clear Baldi’s never conducted a substantial business transaction, I’ll assume he’s citing girl melodrama - which befits emo fine. Or it would have if the Clouds hadn’t sort of, you know, reinvented emo a few years ago with back-to-back fuzz catharses “No Future/No Past” and “Wasted Days” - both of which hinted at an existentialism beyond its years. There’s nothing here and nowhere else so compositionally urgent - just eight, sadly formal, warm-ups shook by degrees with some bald faced anxieties about whiny kid problems. No fears, though. Pitchfork just graced these boys with a huge BNM - so the two years intervening this and their third major record could be a perfect pussy riot. Which is to say, maybe they'll get enough testosterone out of their systems in time to start thinking like Nadya Tolokonnikova and Ms Graves - who are happy to be catharses themselves with or without any dudes. ...I think. I can't understand Nadya either.
Freeway/Girl Talk ft Waka Flocka Flame - “Tolerated” debut and video
I’ve long said the most compelling guy in town is the scrawny white dude a group of African-Americans wants to hang out with at the mall. I thought maybe this was a trend exclusive to Pittsburgh, which claims a metro population well over 90% caucasian, but the wonderfully (and shockingly) rhythmless Skrillex changed my mind with his adorable cameo in the otherwise challenging “Wild for the Night” music video. Glad I saw that before Freeway/Girl Talk’s bizarre “Tolerated” debut re-enforced the regional bias. Greg Gillis, a noted hometown hero with his own damn holiday, rocks Buscemi loser-cool in a grey hoodie and greasy hair (and manufactures one marvelous beat) in support of two traditionally pedestrian emcees who surprised me. Freeway, especially, who can't take the whole Steets Thing seriously after this farce, wows with comic subtlety. It’s like Tarantino went back to film school to work on tracking shots with just Mr Black and Mr White. I criticized the #BrokenAnkles project months ago - but rescind on the basis of sheer fun. And guts.
The best thing he did this month was pretend to be Bob Dylan.
Mac DeMarco - Salad Days (Captured Tracks)
As a fan of Pittsburgh hockey, I am more than the average American disposed to enjoying Canadians. For years, I even gave Beiber the benefit of the doubt, because he sounds fantastic on this Kanye rarity. I’m also a supporter, in varying degrees, of Archers of Loaf, Stephen Malkmus, Elliott Smith, Barack Obama, John Lennon, and Conan O’Brien - so I’m used to defending lazy stoners. But the sinister falling chords Mac DeMarco fondles with a capo and screwball tunings leave me feeling dirty - less like smelly uncle Mac asked me to dig Jethro Tull with him on pair of beanbag chairs and more like uncle Mac showed me his picture collection in the other room. Every song here and on his preceding LPs haunts along in this manner, which is why I fret over his use of the kiddy metaphor ‘salad days.’ Lyrics like "oh dear - act your age, and try another year" don't help.
Speaking of creeps. Remember the last time reddit.com lost its collective shit over something? I do. Thousands scoured images made public by FBI in the hideous wake of the Boston Marathon bombings - and in turn they fingered half a dozen foreigner innocents, ruining lives. Today, Radiohead announced a forthcoming summer album.
Future Islands - Singles (4AD)
Does anyone here recall John Maus, of brief We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves fame? 2011? Pitchfork BNM? No? Well, he was the last time someone so dire livened a dirge with synths brighter than the Caribbean sun. The only real winner on that album was a hook declaring “Pussy is not a matter of fact.” That’s absolutely right. And in a week when Future Island's flock of, uh, singles is digging in next to the likes of Meredith Graves, it’s never been more right. Or is it left?