Saturday, June 6, 2009

Change the shapes, shape the change

A quick glance at my best of 2008 list indicates my difficulties in keeping abreast of new music last year. As a result, I didn’t discover many of my eventual favorites (‘L.E.S. Artistes,’ ‘Here Should Be My Home,’ ‘Across The Shields,’ etc.) until 2009 rolled around, and by that point it was too late to put them on any sort of year-end list. If I can’t do that, what’s even the point of listening to new music? In an effort to avoid another such catastrophe, I’ve been trying to keep a better tab on this year’s new shit. This a list of some of my favorite new songs from the last few months just to prove I’m ‘with it.’ No obscure personal discoveries, but still great stuff.

‘No Hope Kids’ by Wavves – As far as punk rock goes, you can’t get much closer to perfection than this. An absolutely indelible melody constructed simply of fuzzed-out guitar and pounded drums accompanied by Nathan Williams fuzzed-out vocals about having no car, no job, no money, no friends, no family, pretty much nothing, and not really caring about it.

‘Lisztomania’ by Phoenix – I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t really get into this song until I watched the youtube ‘brat pack mashup,’ and then I was hooked. I even went as far looking up a plot synopsis of ‘Pretty In Pink’ on Wikipedia, and moving the ‘Breakfast Club’ into my Netflix queu.

‘The Reeling’ by Passion Pit – When I saw Passion Pit back in January, several months prior to the release of their debut album, I was completely blown away by their set-opening song, with which I was unfamiliar. I’m not sure if that song was ‘The Reeling’, but the fact that I’m completely blown away every time I listen to it makes me think so.

‘The Dark’ by Woods – Imagine my disappointment when I threw on Woods most recent, Songs of Shame, only to find that it was lacking my favorite new Woods song. Despite the consistent strength of that album, I couldn’t help but feel gypped out of this little psychedelic pop gem, whose sweet summer melody runs in perfect contrast to it’s foreboding title and spooky vocals.

‘Reasons to Quit’ by Phosphorescent – Matt Houck perfectly timed the release of his Willie Nelson tribute album to the sudden emergence of my interest in country music. The brawny, straightforward lyrics about substance addiction here are perfectly suited to Houck’s fragile heartfelt delivery. The next song on the album, ‘Too Sick Too Pray,’ might be even better.

‘Call and Response’ by Times New Viking – Great pop music shouldn’t require much expense. All you really need is a guitar, a drum kit, a keyboard, a battered analog tape recorder, a killer hook, and a male/female vocal harmony to sing/shout “It’s not even close to ending!” Thanks TNV, I most certainly hope it isn’t.

And, conspicuously absent from this list, any hip-hop songs, because hip-hop sucks in 2009!

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