Infinite Shuffle

April 27, 2016

Shazam 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — assman41 @ 3:07 pm

One stat I’ve heard bandied about recently is that, of all the apps that people download for their smartphones, they only use a handful with any real frequency.

I can certainly attest to that. I don’t even regularly use the eight that are on my main screen. But one of my favorites, and the one I was most excited about when I originally upgraded from a “dumb phone” several years ago was Shazam. The idea that I could hear a song on the radio, hold my phone up to the speaker and it could instantly feed me all the pertinent details seemed like something out of science-fiction.

Nowadays, I don’t know what I would do without it. I guess I’d be forced to go back to my old method of figuring out songs — trying to pick out some lyrics and quickly searching for them online before I forget them. Most often, I use it while listening to the car radio or when I’m in a store with my girlfriend and hear something that piques my interest. It’s not uncommon for me to be standing in the corner of some women’s clothing boutique, holding my phone up as high as possible toward a ceiling speaker, trying to get a song to register on it.

I’ve discovered countless songs and bands using the app and have blogged about a few. I especially like that I have a running log of all these songs that I can turn to when looking for something to listen to. I decided to compile a full list of songs that I Shazamed last year (who ever thought that would become a verb?), not only to jog my own memory, but also to provide you with some possible new tunes to check out.

Just going through the list, a few things stand out:

  • Whenever I think to pull out my phone to Shazam a song, there’s a decent chance I’ll be doing it again within a few minutes.
  • I often Shazam songs when I hear something familiar but can’t remember the name of the song or band. Or sometimes I think it’s a new song from a band I know and discover it’s actually a totally different band.
  • I’ve blogged about a lot of these bands in the past.
  • I really need to listen to more music from J. Mascis and Dinosaur Jr. as I picked out three of their songs.
  • Apparently, I have trouble remembering the song “Riptide” by Vance Joy, as I tagged it twice.
  • Tycho songs are hard to remember. But that’s probably because there aren’t any words.
  • I don’t have an excuse for tagging two Mr. Little Jeans songs. I need to do a better job or committing their stuff to memory.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the songs. I created a playlist on Google Play, so do yourself a favor and check it out.

  • The War on Drugs – “Disappearing” … Dec 27, 2015
  • Dinosaur Jr. – “In a Jar” … Dec 27, 2015
  • J Mascis – “Several Shades of Why” … Dec 27, 2015
  • Speedy Ortiz – “Tiger Tank” … Dec 26, 2015
  • Catherine Wheel – “I Want To Touch You” … Dec 26, 2015
  • Sun Kil Moon (Admiral Fell Promises) – “Alesund” … Dec 22, 2015
  • Merchandise – “Become What You Are” … Dec 20, 2015
  • Knox Hamilton – “Work It Out” … Dec 20, 2015
  • Taylor Swift – “Wildest Dreams” … Dec 05, 2015
  • A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Mtlov (Minor Keys)” … Nov 20, 2015
  • Wiz Khalifa Feat. Charlie Puth – “See You Again (No Noun Remix)” … Nov 17, 2015
  • Animal Collective – “Daffy Duck” … Nov 08, 2015
  • Cold Cave – “Pacing Around The Church” … Nov 01, 2015
  • Big Star – “September Gurls” … Nov 01, 2015
  • Joanna Gruesome – “Secret Surprise” … Oct 23, 2015
  • The White Stripes – “In The Cold, Cold Night” … Oct 23, 2015
  • Florence + The Machine – “Shake It Out” … Oct 11, 2015
  • Only Real – “Cadillac Girl” … Oct 04, 2015
  • Frightened Rabbit – “The Twist” … Oct 02, 2015
  • Dinosaur Jr. – “The Wagon” … Oct 02, 2015
  • Midnight Oil – “Dreamworld” … Sep 06, 2015
  • Charlie Puth (Feat. Meghan Trainor) – “Marvin Gaye” … Aug 26, 2015
  • Alina Baraz & Galimatias – “Make You Feel” … Aug 20, 2015
  • Peaches – “Hit It Hard” … Aug 20, 2015
  • The Only Ones – “Another Girl Another Planet” … Aug 12, 2015
  • Wolf Alice – “Bros” … Jul 23, 2015
  • Local Natives – “Heavy Feet” … Jul 21, 2015
  • The Incredible String Band – “A Very Cellular Song” … Jul 17, 2015
  • Toro Y Moi – “Empty Nesters” … Jul 16, 2015
  • Mr. Little Jeans – “Runaway” … Jul 10, 2015
  • The Weeknd – “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey) [From the “Fifty Shades of Grey” Soundtrack]” … Jul 07, 2015
  • Tycho – “Montana” … Jul 05, 2015
  • Valerie June – “Wanna Be On Your Mind” … Jul 05, 2015
  • Vance Joy – “Riptide” … Jun 30, 2015
  • DIIV – “Follow” … Jun 19, 2015
  • Jason Derulo – “Want To Want Me” … Jun 19, 2015
  • Cloud Nothings – “Now Hear In” … Jun 17, 2015
  • Frou Frou – “Breathe In” … Jun 13, 2015
  • Felt – “September Lady” … Jun 10, 2015
  • One Direction – “Story Of My Life” … Jun 04, 2015
  • OneRepublic – “Preacher” … Jun 02, 2015
  • The National – “Sea Of Love” … May 27, 2015
  • The Sundays – “Summertime” … May 26, 2015
  • The Beta Band – “I Know” … May 24, 2015
  • Squeeze – “Up The Junction” … May 24, 2015
  • The Knife – “Heartbeats” … May 21, 2015
  • Sam Cooke – “For Sentimental Reasons” … May 19, 2015
  • Wild Nothing – “Midnight Song” … May 17, 2015
  • We Are Twin – “The Way We Touch” … May 08, 2015
  • Passion Pit – “Carried Away” … May 08, 2015
  • The Stranglers – “Always The Sun” … Apr 21, 2015
  • Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush – “Don’t Give Up” … Apr 21, 2015
  • The Kinks – “Celluloid Heroes” … Apr 21, 2015
  • Television – “Venus” … Apr 05, 2015
  • The Boy Least Likely To – “I See Spiders When I Close My Eyes” … Apr 05, 2015
  • Vance Joy – “Riptide” … Apr 05, 2015
  • The 1975 – “Chocolate” … Apr 05, 2015
  • Jefferson Starship – “Find Your Way Back” … Apr 03, 2015
  • moe. – “Rebubula” … Mar 31, 2015
  • Houndmouth – “Sedona” … Mar 30, 2015
  • PHOX – “1936” … Mar 30, 2015
  • Foxes In Fiction – “Shadow’s Song” … Mar 29, 2015
  • Electric Light Orchestra – “Hold On Tight” … Mar 29, 2015
  • Mr. Little Jeans – “Good Mistake” … Mar 16, 2015
  • Bastille – “Laura Palmer” … Mar 16, 2015
  • White Lies – “Farewell To the Fairground” … Mar 10, 2015
  • The xx – “Night Time” … Mar 09, 2015
  • Sea Pinks – “Freak Wave” … Mar 09, 2015
  • The Royal Concept – “In the End” … Mar 08, 2015
  • The Replacements – “Swinging Party” … Mar 05, 2015
  • The Amazing – “Picture You” … Mar 02, 2015
  • Beach Fossils – “Daydream” … Mar 02, 2015
  • Smith Westerns – “Only Natural” … Mar 02, 2015
  • Hey Marseilles – “Rio” … Feb 28, 2015
  • Pure Bathing Culture – “Ever Greener” … Feb 27, 2015
  • Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting On You)” … Feb 15, 2015
  • RAC (Feat. Penguin Prison) – “Hollywood” … Feb 14, 2015
  • Galaxie 500 – “Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste” … Feb 13, 2015
  • M83 – “Midnight City” … Feb 10, 2015
  • Deerhunter – “Agoraphobia” … Feb 09, 2015
  • Bad Suns – “Rearview” … Feb 03, 2015
  • Canon Logic – “Ibok” … Jan 31, 2015
  • Motion City Soundtrack – “Wait So Long” … Jan 30, 2015
  • Metric – “Help I’m Alive” … Jan 21, 2015
  • Tycho – “Awake” … Jan 20, 2015
  • Gold Leaves – “Hanging Window” … Jan 19, 2015
  • Maps & Atlases – “The Most Trustworthy Tin Cans” … Jan 17, 2015
  • Veronica Falls – “Teenage” … Jan 16, 2015
  • Craft Spells – “Twirl” … Jan 16, 2015
  • Mac DeMarco – “Brother” … Jan 14, 2015
  • The “Glee” Cast – “Cough Syrup” … Jan 05, 2015
  • Television – “I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives” … Jan 02, 2015
  • The Church – “Destination” … Jan 02, 2015

April 26, 2016

New Releases: Jan.-Feb. 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — assman41 @ 6:00 am

Considering the fact that I have limped into the best-of-the-year blogging process the past few years, I figured it was time to come up with a new strategy. Since I didn’t foresee myself suddenly having tons of extra free time opening up on the horizon, it was clear that I had to do a better job of maximizing the time I do have.

The best time for me to listen to music is at work, when I can just plug in and zone out for much of my shift. But rather than simply pick random mixes on Google Play, as I had been doing for a while, I began taking a more strategic approach.

With the help of Metacritic’s New Releases listing, I’m attempting to keep as up-to-date as possible this year. Of course, I’ve discovered that’s easier said than done, considering it’s the final week of April and I’m already two months behind. But at least it’s something.

Anyway, here are all the albums I deigned worthy of giving a full listen to from the first couple of months (actually, I’m still in the middle of the Feb. 26 releases, but I was getting antsy and really wanted to put up a blog post.) I included a note or two with each — mostly just some initial thoughts on each album. I bolded the more notable albums, and I intend to dedicate lengthier posts for some of these bands in the future, but who knows when that will come to fruition?

Jan. 15

  • Mystery Jets – Curve of the Earth … Kind of a mid-to-late ’70s psych-rock vibe, like Portugal. The Man. Pretty solid album.

Jan. 22

  • Conrad Keely – Original Machines … Debut solo album from lead singer of … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead. Vocally, it reminds me of the lead singer of Psychedelic Furs and Love Spit Love.
  • Chairlift – Moth … “Romeo” is a great single; the rest of the album is subpar.

  • Aoife O’Donovan – In the Magic Hour … Overall pleasant and upbeat; slightly above-average. It’s nothing special, just nice.
  • The Temperance Movement – self-titled … This is just a classic bar band with the occasional softer tune. In the same vein as The Black Crowes.

Jan. 29

  • MONEY – Suicide Songs … Sounds like a shoegaze version of Conor Oberst.
  • Sia – This Is Acting … There are a lot of catchy songs that share the same formula — slow build into full-throttle electro anthemic chorus. “Bird Set Free” and “Move Your Body” were particularly notable.
  • Wet – Don’t You … This female alt-pop vocalist is very reliant on production effects. Lyrically, it sounds like toned-down remixes of Top 40 tripe. That said, it’s a catchy enough album that I’d listen to it again. Kind of like a guilty pleasure.
  • Night Beats – Who Sold My Generation … It’s a mix of blues-rock and Nuggets-era psychedelia — imagine what the Black Keys might have sounded like if they were born 40 years earlier. But it just doesn’t work for me.
  • Turin Brakes – Lost Property … Vocally, it’s a mix of Rural Alberta Advantage’s Nils Edenloff and Cold War Kids’ Nathan Willett. Stylistically, it’s too complex to describe. Overall, it’s good, not great.
  • Cian Nugent – Night Fiction … Nothing special here. It’s a good album to put on as background music while doing chores or cooking dinner.
  • Cross Record – Wabi-Sabi … This is mostly just an eerie, airy voice; not much else here. This is kind of a poor woman’s Warpaint. It’s not horrible, just average at best.
  • Your Friend – Gumption … Very reminiscent to Beach House (I think?). This one may require a second listen.
  • Milk Teeth – Vile Child … It combines a lot of different elements from various genres, including pop’s catchy female vocals, punk’s snarling male vocals, the fuzzy guitars of shoegaze, some occasional whininess borrowed from emo, and plenty of early ’90s alt-rock attitude.
  • Basement – Promise Everything … This sounds like a band that was heavily influenced by Jimmy Eat World.
  • St. Lucia – Matter … This is some fun, poppy alt-electro with a bit of an ’80s feel — “Rescue Me” wreaks of Duran Duran and Erasure.

  • The Black Queen – Fever Daydream … A surprisingly above-average album. Vocally, it’s reminiscent to Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio, while the electro elements seem like something out of the ’80s — or perhaps old-school NES video games.

Feb. 5

  • Laser – Night Driver … Its 64 rating on Metacritic might be a little high. It’s just boring and uninspired electro-pop soul.
  • Beacon – Escapements … Some more boring soulful electro.
  • The Prettiots – Funs Cool … Here’s a girl group that churns out slacker acoustic pop with amusing, millenial-heavy lyrics and a punk ethos surrounding the whole thing.
  • Freakwater – Scheherazade … They remind me of what Son Volt might sound like if they were an all-female group.
  • Josephine Foster – No More Lamps in the Morning … She is kinda like Joanna Newsome, just more tolerable.
  • Porches – Pool … He’s not bad, but not great. It’s decent background music. “Car” was the lone standout.
  • Nap Eyes – Thought Rock Fish Scale … This is some great, lo-fi, slacker mix of ’90s alternative and modern-day indie. There is definitely some Violent Femmes influence and probably some Neutral Milk Hotel in there.
  • Tuff Love – Resort … It’s got a good slacker-punk vibe with a British female vocalist. How can you go wrong?
  • Field Music – Commontime … This is very quirky indie rock in a similar vein as Of Montreal and Devo.
  • DIIV – Is the Is Are … This is a great sophomore effort full of airy-fairy goodness. “Bent (Roi’s Song)” and “Under the Sun” are standouts.

  • Sunflower Bean – Human Ceremony … A good mix of lo-fi, shoegaze, psychedelia and good old-fashioned indie. The real key is the airy-fairy guitar mixed with the female vocals.
  • Mass Gothic – self-titled … At its best, the solo debut from Hooray For Earth frontman Noel Heroux is quintessential baroque pop, but there’s plenty of out-of-place filler ranging from lo-fi fuzz to electro-psych.

Feb. 9

  • Black Rivers – self-titled … This band, which includes former members of Dears, clearly has a mix of a lot of different influences. ”The Forest” sounds like a cross between Muse and Portugal. The Man. “Age of Innocence” is a could-be single very reminiscent of “Wolf Like Me” by TV on the Radio. “Coral Sea” sounds like current U2 vocally.

Feb. 12

  • Basia Bulat – Good Advice … This is a very catchy pop/folk album from start to finish for an artist that is slowly building a name for herself.
  • Pete Astor – Spilt Milk … It’s a good, solid album filled with British-accented folk-pop similar to many artists before him but still worth a listen.
  • Pinegrove – Cardinal … Throughout the album, this group conjures up thoughts of The Decembrists and Death Cab for Cutie, but there’s also some me and early ‘90s college rock mixed in for good measure.

  • Flowers – Everybody’s Dying To Meet You … This is kinda like a modern-day Cranberries, without the accent. It’s really nice.
  • Radiation City – Synesthetica … This act reminds me of St. Vincent.

Feb. 19

  • Fay Hield – Old Adam … If you’re looking for some pleasant Irish folk, look no further.
  • The Fall – Wise Ol’ Man [EP] … This is just a lot of incongruous junk and filler from a veteran group I doubt I’d like even in its peak form.
  • Sioux Falls – Rot Forever … At 16 songs and nearly 73 minutes, critics complain about the runtime, but I had no issues. There’s a lot of solid indie shoegaze to enjoy. “Dom” reminds me of a lo-fi/garage version of Blink 182’s “Adam’s Song”.

  • Seth Bogart – self-titled … This mishmash of various electronic effects and oddly sung lyrics combine to be rather off-putting.
  • The Cave SingersBanshee … This is a not great, not bad offering from this indie supergroup.
  • Ra Ra Riot – Need Your Light … It’s certainly not their best work, but it’s mildly catchy at times.
  • Wolfmother – Victorious … It’s basically what you’d expect from this Aussie band’s fourth album. “Pretty Peggy” is different from the rest and also the best tune on the album.
  • So Pitted – neo … This is definitely on the heavier, punkier side rather than indie, as several sites had tagged it. It’s not really my cup of tea.
  • Marlon Williams – self-titled … It’s a good mix of classic country and alt-country with a little indie-folk mixed in.
  • Choir of Young Believers – Grasque … It sounds like a dude channeling his inner Sade, with underwhelming results.
  • Animal Collective – Painting With … This album is full of the band’s patented wonky, experimental indie-pop/rock. It’s an acquired taste and certainly not their best work.
  • Simple Plan – Taking One For The Team … I’ve never listened to any of this band’s music on purpose, but I have to wonder if it has changed its sound at all in the last decade.
  • TEEN – Love Yes … They have a very experimental sound. It’s reminiscent to St. Vincent.
  • Lake Street Dive – Side Pony … Here’s more of the bluesy rock that put this band on the map a few years ago and made Stephen Colbert fall in love with it.

Feb. 26

  • LNZNDRF – self-titled … An interesting mix of post-rock, electro and quirky indie from members of The National and Beirut. It seems like the type of music that gets better with repeated listens.
  • Holy Esque – At Hope’s Ravine … Vocally, it reminded me of ’80s rockers well past their prime, but the music and instrumentation kept my attention throughout. “Hexx” and “Silences” are standouts.

  • Bay Faction – self-titled … It’s an indie group with some definite jam band influences. It’s something of an acquired taste, one that I don’t have the palate for.
  • Bullion – Loop the Loop … An indie-electro outfit that is kinda reminiscent of Alt-J and Django Django. It definitely falls under the “acquired taste” category.
  • DMA’s – Hills End … More great stuff from this band that’s been tearing it up in its native Australia for the past several years. They clearly owe a debt to Oasis
  • The Dirty Nil – Higher Power … It’s better-than-average indie-rock with a definite punk ethos.
  • Mothers – When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired … They’re vocally reminiscent to Joanna Newsome, but not as annoying or grating. “It Hurts Until It Doesn’t” is definitely a keeper.

  • Mount Moriah – How To Dance … Judging by the name, the lyrics and the overall vibe, this sounds a lot like an alt-Christian band. The music is pleasant enough, but the whole church vibe rubs me the wrong way.

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