Infinite Shuffle

January 29, 2014

191 – You Are Plural

Filed under: Olympia Wash., Y — assman41 @ 3:07 pm

Have I mentioned how much I love finding great radio stations? Oh, I guess I have.

Well, in my last post, I noted that I first heard Wampire on the radio. To be more precise, it was on the University of Illinois’ student-run WPGU (107.1 FM out of Urbana).

During that brief stint listening to the station last month, I came across several previously unknown bands. One was You Are Plural, a trio out of Olympia, Wash., that is bringing a fresh sound to the indie scene.

Just one look at the group’s main instruments gives you a glimpse into its vibe, with Jen Grady on cello and vocals, Ephriam Nagler on the Wurlitzer organ and vocals and Chad Austinson keeping time on drums.

A good starting point is the band’s sophomore full-length, Rabbit Rabbit, which came out last month.

The group started as a duo (sans Austinson) in San Francisco. Grady and Nagler had been touring as backing members on various acts, including Cursive, The Felice Brothers and Adam Haworth Stevens.

Eventually, the two moved north and focused on their own project, putting out an LP and EP in 2011.

And that’s really all there is to tell. At least for now.

January 21, 2014

190 – Wampire

Filed under: Portland, W — assman41 @ 2:44 pm

It’s no secret that I would love to move to Chicago. I’ve been “hinting” at it for years, and the yearning increases every time I make the not-quite-two-hour trek westward.

While there are countless reasons why I wish to reside there — or really any major metropolis for that matter — the overriding factor is the quantity and quality of live music available on any given night.

When I was in my peak concert-going mode a few years ago, I was attending 1-2 shows a month — many of them in the Windy City. Nowadays, I only see a few a year, so I’m much more selective when it comes to the shows I choose to see.

One of my good friends, however, doesn’t have that issue. Living in the city, he can go to a show pretty much any time he wants. And rather than only honing in on a specific band or show to see, he’s been able to put his faith in the booking agent at some of his favorite clubs and see bands he has little or no previous knowledge of.

Just last year, he discovered Little Green Cars when one of his friends suggested they go together. And more recently, he went to a Smith Westerns show and saw Wampire as the opener. Both groups were among his biggest finds of 2013.

As for me, I didn’t catch on to Wampire until the last few weeks when I heard them on a college radio station. And having since listened to more of their music, I have become a believer.

Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps have been making music together since 2001, but they officially formed Wampire in 2007. Having been known for enlivening house parties around Portland with their EDM-tinged sounds, the duo changed direction. And the end result was Curiosity, their debut album that came out in May 2013.

The above song, “The Hearse”, is the opening track, and it gives listeners a pretty good idea of what’s in store — a surprisingly tight mixture of lo-fi electronica, garage psychedelia and jazzy surf-rock.

Some contemporaries that come to mind include MGMT, Of Montreal and Peter Bjorn & John.

January 9, 2014

Best of 2013 – Everyone else

Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 3:34 pm

Last week, I listed my favorite music from the past year. This week, as I’ve done the past several years, I’ve compiled as many of the various end-of-the-year lists that I could find for your viewing pleasure. Judging from the assorted critics, it appears as though Kanye West’s Yeezus was the most popular release of the year. But Vampire Weekend gave him a run for his money.

  • The A.V. Club … No. 1 album: Kanye West – Yeezus
  • Alternative Press … No. 1 album: twenty | one | pilots – Vessel
  • American Songwriter … No. 1 album: Jason Isbell – Southeastern
  • Billboard … No. 1 album: Beyonce – BeyonceNo. 1 song: Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop”
  • CMJ … No. 1 album: Phosphorescent – Muchacho
  • Consequence of Sound … No. 1 album: Kanye West – YeezusNo. 1 song: Lorde – “Royals”
  • Culture Vulture (New York Times) … No. 1 album: Brandy Clark – 12 Stories
  • The Daily Beast … No. 1 album: Kanye West – Yeezus
  • Drowned In Sound … No. 1 album: Hookworms – Pearl Mystic
  • Entertainment Weekly … No. 1 album: Kanye West – Yeezus
  • Exclaim … No. 1 rock/pop album: Arcade Fire – ReflektorNo. 1 country/folk/blues album: Daniel Romano – Come Cry With Me
  • The Fly … No. 1 album: Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
  • The Guardian … No. 1 album: Kanye West – YeezusNo. 1 song: Daft Punk (feat. Pharrell and Nile Rodgers) – “Get Lucky”
  • The L Magazine … No. 1 album: Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
  • Los Angeles Times … No. 1 album: Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
  • Magnet … No. 1 album: Okkervil River – The Silver Gymnasium
  • MetacriticNo. 1 album: Deafheaven – Sunbather
  • Mojo … No. 1 album: Bill Callahan – Dream River
  • NME … No. 1 album: Arctic Monkeys – AM
  • Now Magazine … No. 1 album: Kanye West – Yeezus
  • The Oregonian … No. 1 album: The Staves – Dead & Born & Grown
  • Paste … No. 1 album: Phosphorescent – MuchachoNo. 1 song: Janelle Monae (feat. Erykah Badu) – “Q.U.E.E.N.”
  • Pitchfork … No. 1 album: Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the CityNo. 1 song: Drake (feat. Majid Jordan) – “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
  • Rolling Stone … No. 1 album: Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the CityNo. 1 song: Daft Punk (feat. Pharrell and Nile Rodgers) – “Get Lucky
  • The Skinny … No. 1 album: Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus
  • Slate … No. 1 album: Daft Punk – Random Access Memories … No. 1 song: Daft Punk (feat. Pharrell and Nile Rodgers) – “Get Lucky”
  • Spin … No. 1 album: Kanye West – Yeezus
  • Stereogum … No. 1 album: Kanye West – Yeezus
  • Time … No. 1 album: Kanye West – Yeezus
  • Uncut … No. 1 album: My Bloody Valentine –  m b v
  • Under the Radar … No. 1 album: Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
  • Variety … No. 1 album: Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
  • Washington Post … No. 1 album: Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park

January 2, 2014

Best of 2013 – My list

Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 1:41 am

As I looked back on the music I’d listened to in the past 12 months, my suspicions were immediately confirmed — I didn’t listen to as much new stuff as I want and need to.

Rather than constantly seeking out new bands through a variety of blogs and websites as I have usually done, I found myself reaching into the recent past and listening to acts that I’d either forgotten about or just missed completely.

So, when I set forth to compile a list of the year’s best music, it turned out that my range of possible choices was relatively narrow. And, while all of the music listed below is high quality, I know it’s not as all-encompassing as it should be. For that I am sorry. And I can only hope to do better in the coming year.

THE 10 ALBUMS I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD LISTEN TO

(I didn’t realize this until I alphabetized my list, but six of these bands start with L. That’s rather uncanny.)

  • British India Controller … Favorite song: “I Can Make You Love Me”
  • CHVRCHESThe Bones of What You Believe … Favorite song: “The Mother We Share”
  • Mikal CroninMCII … Favorite song: “Shake It Out”
  • LeaguesYou Belong Here … Favorite song: “Walking Backwards”
  • Little Green CarsAbsolute Zero … Favorite songs: “Harper Lee” and “The John Wayne”
  • The Lone Bellow – self-titled … Favorite song: “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold”
  • LordePure Heroine … Favorite song: “Royals”
  • The Love LanguageRuby Red … Favorite song: “Calm Down”
  • LuciusWildewoman … Favorite song: “Hey, Doreen”
  • Kacey MusgravesSame Trailer Different Park … Favorite songs: “Merry Go ’round” and “Follow Your Arrow”

A COUPLE OF EPs THAT ARE WORTH A MENTION

  • Twin Forks – self-titled … Favorite songs: “Something We Just Know” and “Back To You”
  • Wildcat! Wildcat! – self-titled … Favorite song: “Mr. Quiche”

A FEW SONGS THAT STOOD OUT IN MY MIND

  • Diarrhea Planet – “The Sound of My Ceiling Fan”
  • HAIM – “Don’t Save Me”
  • HAIM – “The Wire”
  • Ivan & Alyosha – “Running For Cover”
  • Just Handshakes – “London Bound”
  • Phosphorescent – “Song For Zula”
  • San Fermin – “Sonsick”

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