An outstanding rock record in an era when such things are increasingly rare. Although Adam Granduciel's Tom Petty fetish is obvious throughout Lost in the Dream, he exhibits an uncanny ability to avoid sounding clicheed in a domain that seemingly has little virgin territory. Beyond his songcraft (and even his singing voice), this is Granduciel's greatest debt to Petty.
2.) Dope Body - Lifer
Those who simply lump Dope Body in with the new wave of 90s noise rock revivalists are missing a major point. Yes, there are plenty of AmRep and Touch and Go-indebted idiosyncracies embedded throughout Lifer, but I dare anyone to show me an album by the likes of Drive Like Jehu, Polvo or The Jesus Lizard that is anywhere near as hooky as this one.
3.) The Austerity Program - Beyond Calculation
Several degrees of magnitude more intense, furious, and generally awesome than two geniuses with a drum machine have any right being.
4.) Beck - Morning Phase
Taken as a companion piece to 2002's Sea Change, Morning Phase manages to deal with similar topics (heartbreak, loneliness, growin' old) without being as overbearingly morose as Sea Change. Much unlike its predecessor, Morning Phase actually winds up with a vaguely pleasant, positive overall tone.
5.) Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket - In a Dutch Haze
As the story goes, Earthless guitarist Isaiah Mitchell was unable to make it to the gig at which this album was recorded, allowing Heavy Blanket's J Mascis (also of Dinosaur Jr, natch) and Graham Clise the opportunity to save the day in Mitchell's stead. What results is nearly an hour of pure, explosive, unbridled improv, even more berserk and unhinged than a typical Earthless live joint. Yes, there's some sloppiness and wheel-spinning on here, but the peaks on this match the most frenzied jamming from Earthless' proper catalog.
6.) The Raveonettes - Pe'ahi
While little has changed with the compositional style and framework behind Sune Rose Wagner's melodic surf-noir mini masterpieces, his eagerness to experiment with varied instrumentation gives Pe'ahi a different flavor than all previous Ravonettes releases. This time around, the subject matter touches on the recent passing of Wagner's estranged, alcoholic father, giving much of the material a particularly caustic bite.
7.) The Men - Tomorrow's Hits
After a bevy of releases featuring styles ranging from explosive noise to kraut-everything to acoustic folk, these shape-shifting Brooklyn punks (*former* punks?!) can credibly add "70s Classic Rock FM Radio" to the list of genres they've successfully conquered.
8.) Todd Terje - It's Album Time
If you're the type of bitter old curmudgeon who hates young whippersnappers *and* their crappy, soulless EDM, fear not - this is an electronic album that you can really (choose one: a.) sink your dentures into; b.) wrap your adult diaper around; c.) stir into your high-fiber supplement beverage so as to provide superior flavor). It's Album Time mixes legit bangers with cool downtempo shit and enough cleverness and humor to make even the most geriatric old-timer respect (and love!) our robot ovelords.
9.)Bobby Bare, Jr. - Undefeated
The perennially underrated alt-country lifer finds songwriting inspiration in love and loss (in particular, the dissolution of his relationship as depicted in the documentary, Don't Follow Me (I'm Lost)), interminable, low-reward touring, and the inherent sadness of absentee fatherhood. But it's not all doom and gloom; "North of Alabama by Morning" is a tale of dogged perseverence, and album closer "Don't Stand at the Stove" is an undeniable barn-burning rocker.
10.) (the) Melvins - Hold It In
You'd think that the Melvins joining forces with Butthole Surfers Gibby Haynes and Paul Leary would result in some epic weirdness, but oddly the opposite happens. While Hold It In is one of the two or three least experimental / most straightforward studio efforts in the Melvins' 30-plus year history, something something bone-crushing riffs, something something hilarious song titles.
11.) Guided by Voices - Cool Planet
12.) Perfume Genius - Too Bright
13.) Haunted Hearts - Initiation
14.) Pelican - Arktika
15.) Sharon Van Etten - Are We There
16.) Hookworms - The Hum
17.) Mogwai - Rave Tapes
18.) Guided by Voices - Motivational Jumpsuit
19.) Early Man - Thank God You've Got the Answers for All of Us
20.) Floor - Oblation
21.) Queen - Live at the Rainbow
22.) Mogwai - Music Industry 3, Fitness Industry 1 EP
This was my first time seeing Dope Body live, and I'm glad I made it out to catch their set of sweaty, shouty squall. Before playing the above song, "Leather Head," singer Andrew Laumann introduced it as "a Beach House cover - it's called 'I Fucking Hate Myself and I Wish I Was Dead.'" Pretty much sums it all up right there!
Got to Vitus 9ish. The evening's first band, whose name I'm not going to bother sharing here, started their set with generic-sounding bassy noise riffs (which, truth be told, normally I can get into) but then one of 'em started pouring talcum powder all over himself for some reason... I mean, really? Diediediediedie oh sweet mercy die. For the record, it's not like I'm against combining performance art with music (remember Monotonix? They were fucking awesome!!) but this was just lame, unless you're really into breathing some fat shithead's second-hand ball powder. I immediately walked out / fuck off.
After listening to the Yankees get the shit knocked out of them on my car radio for about a half hour, I reentered Vitus and was treated to Dope Body's sweaty, passionate performance. It seemed with every new note I was reminded of another band that I like, so I'm just going to write down the first five I can think of here - Fugazi; Rage Against the Machine; Dub Trio; Drive Like Jehu; fellow Baltimore contemporary noisemakers Roomrunner.
Wish I had more to report about Scout Niblett's set, but I wound up leaving after the first six or seven songs. Honestly, it wasn't anything about Niblett's performance that sent me away, rather the realization that I hate Vitus when it's this uncomfortably oversold. I'm enjoying Scout's newest record, It's Up to Emma (check out the chilling first single, "Gun," here), and what I saw of her set was really good, as she switched back and forth between solo, unaccompanied numbers and songs further fleshed out with drums and a second guitar. Check below for some videos of the "why the hell did I even bother" variety, which feature a very small amount of Scout herself and a very large amount of the backs of people's heads.