I, like many others, engaged in the cliche practice of going to the gym the day after New Year’s Day (which is reserved for hangovers) in order to “start the new year right” and “get on the right track.” During this delusional first couple of weeks — or if you decide to actually stay with an active workout routine (good for you!) — you’ll need some tunes to get you through the slow crawl back to fitness. Here are some of my favorite workout jamz, most of which you can download at Amoeba.com.
The only Prodigy song I ever liked. Its misogynistic overtone is unfortunate, even with the “shocking” video they used to try to counter that (which I think made it worse), but its mid-’90s MTV “Amp”-era beats surprisingly hold up.
Pennsylvania punks Pissed Jeans’ latest album, Honeys, is due Feb. 12 on Sub Pop. The first taste from the album is a ferocious blast, with singer Matt Korvette scream-talking lyrics quickly as the band bashes out two-and-a-half minutes of hardcore bliss.
Whereas Tame Impala’s awesome first album, Innerspeaker, was all about muscle, on Lonerism the Australian band tends to build its psych-rock songs more deliberately, more delicately. But they still kick ass, and hard. “Be Above It’s” titular refrain is whispered over a tumbling drumbeat until Kevin Parker takes off with a simple, Beatlesesque melody and he and his cohorts supply fuzzed out psychedelic flourishes. Thanks to Parker’s high, nasal voice, those comparisons to John Lennon keep coming, on songs like “Apocalypse Dreams,” where Parker’s vocals and melodies certainly are reminiscent of the Fab Four, but musically they’re no mere worshippers at the psych throne, more interested in squeezing strange, new sounds out of familiar territory and taking their arrangements through multiple tempo changes, broiling them through effects, laying moogs and synths over them and then looping back to the original melody like deja vu. Tame Impala also prove adept and producing the straightforward rock single on “Elephant,” which may draw comparisons to TheWhite Stripes for more than just its title, but whose bass-heavy sound really pulls more from psych originators like Blue Cheer — just hookier. Parker, who produced the first Tame Impala record, as well as the recent, excellent release by Melody’s Echo Chamber, finds perfect sonic kinship in David Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev), who can be known for helping to dramatically change a band’s sound (Sleater-Kinney’s mindblowing The Woods, for instance) but who mostly seems to help Tame Impala sound even fuller, allowing the band’s punchiness to come through in tracks like the pop psychedelic wonder of “Music to Walk Home By,” but thickening it with layers of space-rock sound. The end result is that Lonerism hits hard but leaves a lasting impression, leaving the listener to wrap his or her head around all the wondrous sounds of the record and immediately wanting to track back and listen again.
I fell in love with the first A Place To Bury Strangers album back in 2007. It just seemed to come out of nowhere and hit me over the head. It ended up in the #1 spot in my top 50 that year. And it has remained one of my favorites over the last couple of years. They put out their second album in 2009 and I have been patiently waiting for the next album from them. I didn't think we would have to wait until 2012! But at least they have thankfully given us a new EP this last week. Onwards To The Wall is out now on CD and LP. This band blows me away every time I listen to them. I always forget just how much I love them until I listen to them again. It is like falling in love all over again. This EP of five songs was worth the wait. And it has got me very excited for the new album later in the year. You have to listen to A Place To Bury Strangers loud. There is no other way. It is never too late to become a fan of this band. They are made for fans of the louder side of shoegaze. Fans of The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. I love listening to these guys in my car. But it usually has to be dark out and preferably cold out. This is the perfect time of year for A Place To Bury Strangers. But there really is no bad time for A Place To Bury Strangers.
Listen to "So Far Away" by A Place to Bury Strangers from the new Onwards To The Wall EP...
The Twilight Sad have just released their amazing new album No One Can Ever Know. It is also available on CD and LP. I have been a casual fan of these guys over the last couple of years. But they never quite made it into my favorites list. But this album has really changed my stance on The Twilight Sad. It really is a fantastic album. I was hooked after the first listen and have quickly fallen in love. I will be going back and giving their older albums another listen. I may have missed something back then. Or maybe this new album is just more amazing than the last two. They put out their first album Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters back in 2007. Forget The Night Ahead came out in 2009. There is no mistaking that this band is from Scotland. They is no hiding that accent on these records. This album is just so good. I can't get over it. Another amazing winter album. This band are not too different from A Place To Bury Stangers. They explore many of the elements of shoegazing while maybe adding in some folk elements. Imagine My Bloody Valentine with some Leonard Cohen. I am a bit sad that it took me so long to become a fan of these guys. But I seriously had tried before. This new album is just so good. There was no way that I was not going to love it.