Essential Records: Led Zeppelin's 'IV'

Posted by Billy Gil, October 29, 2014 04:26pm | Post a Comment

Essential Records Led Zeppelin IV

Too much has been written about Led Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album. Its songs have so permeated every pore of popular culture that it’s nearly impossible to think of it with a clear head. But its ubiquity should not count against it.

Led Zeppelin IV is as wonderful and album to revisit on its new reissues as it is to discover for the first time. It is the sound of four of the greatest rock musicians of all time at the height of their powers. People who don’t listen to this are depriving themselves of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest thrill ride.

led zeppelin iv lpI remember hearing it for the first time when I was 12. My dad bought us the tape to listen to in the car on the way to guitar lessons with my brothers. (Yes, my dad was very cool for getting me and my brothers guitar lessons, but it was his way of making peace with us after he made us move from Southern California to Florida—FLORIDA.)

My older brother was 15 or 16 at the time and immediately fell in love. I didn’t. He was at the right age to appreciate. I liked it all right, but I kind of shrugged. Led Zeppelin sounded so old to me, and too boyish. It was 1994, and I was too busy listening to Green Day, The Cranberries, Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots, my taste leaning toward punk-influenced grunge and female-fronted bands. My brother played that tape incessantly in the car, and we didn’t get along too well at the time, as teenage brothers often don’t, so I kind of hated it sometimes, to be honest. And there Led Zeppelin remained for me, a relic to be vaguely appreciated but not loved.

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Album Picks: The Twilight Sad, Medicine, Useless Eaters, Bell Gardens

Posted by Billy Gil, October 28, 2014 10:56am | Post a Comment

The Twilight SadNobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave (LP, CD, Download)

the twilight sad nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave lpThe Twilight Sad are masters of misery, plying heartbreak directly into their guitars on their stunning fourth album. “There’s a Girl in the Corner” is an epic breakup song, with James Graham’s repeating “she’s not coming back,” his Scottish brogue piercing through sheets of minor key noise. “Last January” is propulsive with a perfect layering of synths, displaying at how well The Twilight Sad have folded their recent new-wave leanings into their core noise-pop sound. The band also continue to show an uncanny ability to repurpose familiar influences like R.E.M., Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine and still come out with something fresh and enjoyable on tracks like “It Was Never the Same,” touching on these influences without being beholden to them, or letting Graham’s voice soar over a Suicide-style drum machine on the title track. The band has often been noted more for its atmospherics than hooks, but “Drown So I Can Watch” is one of their catchiest songs yet, with a relatively light, lilting melody that eases some of the downer mood. And they allow for more space on Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave than on previous albums, ending on a pair of spare, beautiful tracks. It’s the best thing they’ve done since their electrifying debut.

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Weekly Roundup: Ariel Pink, Tashaki Miyaki, Girlpool

Posted by Billy Gil, October 24, 2014 12:06pm | Post a Comment

Ariel Pink “Black Ballerina”

ariel pinkAriel Pink has said some things lately that have made a lot of people mad. But whatever you think about him as a person, his music is pretty great. On “Black Ballerina,” the latest track released form the upcoming pom-pom (out Nov. 17), he’s in a typically raunchy mode, crafting bargain-bin synth-funk with bits of ephemeral dialogue about strip clubs interspersed.


Also, see what’s in Ariel Pink’s bag:


Tashaki Miyaki – “The Beautiful Ones” (Prince cover)

tashaki miyakiL.A. dreampop duo Tashaki Miyaki have a new Covers EP on the way, produced by Joel Jerome. Here, we find them lending their cloudgazing ways to a classic Prince track. Hear it via Stereogum. Look for them on the road with Allah-Las this fall; they’ll be at S.F.’s Brick & Mortar Dec. 10 and L.A.’s El Rey Dec. 11.

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Album Picks: Jessie Ware, Scott Walker + Sunn O))), Thurston Moore, Allo Darlin', Nude Beach

Posted by Billy Gil, October 21, 2014 11:07am | Post a Comment

Jessie Ware - Tough Love (LP, CD, Deluxe CD)

jessie ware tough love lpTough Love finds the singer who made her name in the world of dubstep stretching further into pop environs, with help from the likes of Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), Miguel and Ed Sheeran. The Kate Bush-inspired title track that opens the album is already brighter and warmer than anything she has done before. The radio-ready but cool throbbing beats of “You and I” successfully split the difference between her “indie Sade” past and the pop horizon she now faces. Still, she’s really in her element amid the chilled out synths and digital handclaps of the sumptuous “Cruel.” Ware’s voice is in top form throughout, working wonders on the soulful “Say You Love Me,” amid gospel touches and a skittering beat. Her biggest issue is still somewhat anonymous lyrics, but the music and her voice always seems to make the most of them, driving home lyrics of heartbreak with a nuanced touch, while the tenuously sexy “Kind Of … Sometimes … Maybe” shows off her personality brilliantly, coming off as an update on Janet Jackson’s coy sensuality, filtered through Ware's old soul. Musically, Ware and her collaborators manage to move all over the map and make it seem like they’re travelling a straight line, keeping things rhythmically intriguing on tracks like the sultry “Sweetest Song” and even making room for a throwback disco track like “Want Your Feeling.” If it’s less cohesive than her debut, Devotion, it’s also a lot more fun, and perhaps more consistently rewarding. Tough Love should find Ware expanding her audience beyond the soul, electronica and indie fans who have already discovered her and into the pop realm without losing a shred of her estimable cool.

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13 Albums That Are Perfect for Halloween

Posted by Billy Gil, October 20, 2014 07:30am | Post a Comment

13 Halloween Albums

It’s hard to believe Halloween is just around the corner. Luckily, there are plenty of great new albums and classics for your Halloween party or just to carry you into scaresville.


Krzysztof Penderecki and Jonny Greenwood - Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima / Polymorphia / Popcorn Superhet Receiver / 48 Responses to Polymorphia

penderecki greenwoodYou might not recognize his name, but Krzysztof Penderecki has soundtracked many a nightmare. The Polish, avant-garde composer was wildly inventive (and controversial) when his compositions first gained notoriety in the late ’50s, and thus his jarring compositions, featuring such innovative techniques as clustering tones, and such foreboding titles as “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima,” came to be used by wildly inventive and controversial film directors, from William Friedkin’s The Exorcist to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and David Lynch’s Wild at Heart and Inland Empire. Meanwhile, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood writes response pieces to both “Therenody” and “Polymorphia,” and his moody, solemn orchestral pieces serve as a terrific foil to Penderecki’s terror-inducing works.

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