Pump Up the Jam: Songs to Jumpstart Your New Year's Resolution

Posted by Billy Gil, January 2, 2013 05:56pm | Post a Comment

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


Technotronic“Pump Up the Jam”

Technotronic PumpDespite its inclusion on questionable Jock Jams albums, this late ’80s banger is a brilliant slab of early minimalist house pop.


Prodigy“Smack My Bitch Up”

ProdigyThe 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.

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New End of the World Music!

Posted by Billy Gil, December 21, 2012 01:33pm | Post a Comment

Are you as sick as I am of seeing “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” quoted on Facebook? Here are some newer tunes inspired by the end of the Mayan Calendar.

Dent MayDent May – “2099”

Just released this week, Mississippi indie pop great Dent May has released a dance-pop track inspired by the end of the world — which will take place in 87 years, apparently (actually that seems sort of plausible). “Are you afraid of what tomorrow’s gonna bring?” he asks before declaring “If we all die by a nuclear war/We’re gonna go out on the dancing floor.” Dent May’s Do Things was released this year on Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label, it’s great and super underrated, check it out!



Hunter HuntedHunter Hunted – “End of the World”

L.A. band Hunter Hunted have released this video to their KCRW-touted track “End of the World.” Despite its Road Warrior look, they make the apocalypse seem like a lot of fun. They’re at the Troubador Feb. 12.

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20 Super Rad Free Downloads from 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 20, 2012 05:40pm | Post a Comment’s growing free downloads section had a ton of great stuff this year. Here are some highlights.


Sufjan Stevens – “Justice Delivers Its Death”

This delicate ballad comes from Sufjan Stevens’ latest Christmas opus, Silver & Gold, Songs for Christmas, though its delicate beauty would fit on any of Stevens’ early, more acoustic releases.




Buy the album



Pissed Jeans – “Bathroom Laughter”

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.

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My Top 50 Albums of 2012 - Part II

Posted by Billy Gil, December 17, 2012 07:25pm | Post a Comment

25. SwansThe Seer

Swans The SeerA seer is traditionally thought of as a clairvoyant, a prophet of things to come. Whether you believe such an ability exists, has existed or never did, the 30-minute “The Seer,” the centerpiece of Swans’ excellent return album after more than a decade of dormancy, amazes for its ability to convey such a madness, either by being plagued by visions or the deception, either of self or others, that would come along with proclaiming oneself to be a seer. Michael Gira intones “I see it all” rapidly, without emotion, like someone being driven mad, exploding into an orchestral explosion that lodges itself among the year’s most affecting musical experiences. The rest of the album moves between no wave noise rendered dramatic (“Mother of the World”) and frighteningly beautiful chamber folk, such as the stunning “Song for a Warrior,” abetted by a vocal from Karen O. Though it’s a harrowing experience, The Seer feels entirely essential, even as it sometimes also feels like a thousand ancient hands pulling you into the abyss.


24. The MenOpen Your Heart

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Show Report: Lord Huron at Amoeba Hollywood; Tame Impala at the El Rey

Posted by Billy Gil, November 20, 2012 08:12pm | Post a Comment

Lord HuronWestern-themed rockers dressed for the part Lord Huron began their set Nov. 19 at Amoeba Hollywood with “Ends of the Earth,” the opener of Lonesome Dreams, the band’s recently released debut record. The fact that the band brought the bongos that appear on the song to the crowded stage shows what detail means for the band, who didn’t skimp on additional instrumentation beyond the typical guitars-and-drums setup. That attention paid off, as Ben Schneider and his band’s music was nicely layered without sounding cluttered. The set made the most of the band’s five-man makeup, utilizing starry guitar lines and soaring harmonies to great effect. The band turned in a splashier version of “I Will Be Back One Day,” rocking out a bit harder while making the vocals less of a priority. The sound of ocean opened to the galloping rhythm of “Time to Run,” a clear crowd favorite. “The Man Who Lives Forever” proved the band’s most impressive song live, beautifully syncopated and stuffed with gorgeous guitar work, complete with slide guitar and harmonic playing. It was amazing to hear what they could accomplish with just a handful of guitars, echoing the sounds of banjo, southern rock and Eastern-influenced tonality. See more photos of the show here. Read my interview with Schneider here.

Friday I caught Tame Impala at The El Rey Theatre. I’ve been sick for over a week with a stupid head cold that makes my eyes start to shut around 10 p.m., but I was determined to see my favorite current band — and El Rey shows end early. The first thing I noticed was that the show was packed, and not entirely with your garden-variety hipsters. Older folks and lots of BROS. But like, cool, sensitive ones. Cause Tame Impala have left their Australian lily pad of coolness with their latest album, Lonerism, which has garnered the band great widespread acclaim and support from Pitchfork, KCRW and the like. So they upgrade to The El Rey from The Echo, where I think they played the last time they were in these parts.

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