By now, you are sick of best-of lists, and are starting to get sick of the awards shows, which are now in full swing after the boozy Golden Globes and the Oscar nomination rollout. Please, do not send me hate mail. This not a haughty I-know-better-than-you piece, and I am not telling you what’s bad. I simply want to turn you on [to music ]. You may have missed some of this. You may have heard it once or twice, and it flew by you. You didn’t want to give it a second chance.
If you think about it, though, the best music [art, film, books, fashions ] is usually a bit difficult. You have to hear it a number of times to ‘get it’—and who has the time? And, really, why is it even worth the effort? Well, because the reward is great. Once the door is open, great music gets in your head like a beautiful disease, keeping you awake at night, while you grind your teeth into the gums. Years from now, you’ll probably still love it.
Because Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jerry Garcia, John Lennon, Syd Barrett, and Jimi Hendrix are still dead, we’ll have to stick with some living artists. Although, Jimi did somehow put out a new album last year, but I have yet to hear it. I really like most types of music. My library is large and diverse. I tend to love 1960’s-influenced Psychedelic music, Blues, Classic Rock, and British blues. I’m open to anything, my teeth grinders fit into that wide canyon of the musical mouth.
‘Indigo Meadow’ by the Black Angels
Deep in this fuzzed out, phased out, vibrato reverb psych album is some of the catchiest brain freezing music you’ll hear. Combined with their previous great record, ‘Phosphene Dream’, this Austin Texas band has really hit their stride. You need to hear this in headphones. HBO was using one of the songs in the promo for the new ‘True Detective’ show that began last week. KaChing! ‘Don’t Play With Guns’ will keep you awake long into the night. They have a girl drummer. They have long hair. The singer has a voice from deep space. They come from the same town as the Thirteenth Floor Elevators.
‘Monomania’ by Deerhunter
This record plays like a rock opera. The music flows together. On the first few listens, you could mistake one song for another. Deerhunter made the recording sound denser than they should have, which makes it more difficult. When they played in NYC this fall, however, the light went on for me, and that was it. Now I can’t listen to this with out taking a few days off in between hearings. It will drive you crazy. This group’s concerts are as good as anyone, and I’ve seen many of the best. For the first time, an album by Deerhunter lives up to the live experience. Taking all of their musical output together, they have a fine, enduring legacy. ‘Dream Captain’, ‘Back in the Middle’, and ‘Monomania’ are teeth grinding standouts.
‘Reflector’, by Arcade Fire
Like some of the movies that come out at the end of the year to qualify for year-end awards, this record slipped on out, almost unnoticed. From what I hear in the ‘everybody’s a critic’ comment world, many peeps think this is not their best. Really? I have been coming back and back and back to this collection, and it just shows how one man’s diamond is another mans coal. The song ‘Reflector’ is down right subversive. Be careful with this song. It is insidious. It will burrow deep into your brain, and eat it alive.
If you didn’t see Arcade Fire on Colbert’s show, it’s because they were advertised as ‘Reflector’, not Arcade Fire. Funny! The song they did, ‘Normal Person’ was an incredible performance. You should Google or YouTube it. I won’t ruin it for you, but let’s just say, it may give you a big head. This is a great record. Give it a chance. You’ll see. ‘Here Comes the Night Time’ is anither great tune that is seriously ruining my teeth.
‘The Messenger’, by Johnny Marr
Do you like The Smiths? Do you love The Smiths? You do? Well, here’s the new Smiths album, although they have a new singer, who’s name is Johnny Marr. More of a classic rock singer than the operatic drama queen, Morrisey, Marr just happens to be the other half of the song writing team behind ALL of the Smiths songs, [along with Morrisey]. The riffs are there, the beats are there, the flow is there, and the catchy, timeless tunes are teeth grindingly, brain numbingly there, as well. Every song is great, but it’s going to take you a few listens. Again, the Marr concert, late last year in NYC, brought home the Smiths-like timeless greatness. [ See my review of the show at Webster Hall HERE]
‘Right Thing Right’, ’Generate Generate’, and ‘The Messenger’ are particularly teeth grindingly insidious. He did ‘Generate Generate’ on Jimmy Fallon, and ‘Right Thing Right’ on Conan.
‘Specter at the Gate’ , by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club –
Classic rock, and one of the best live acts you’ll see.
‘Love From London’, by Robin Hitchcock –
Continuing in the tradition and style of The Beatles. He played this new album at one of the best shows of last, or any year, at which he also did Beatles covers like ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.
‘Face the Sun’, by ‘Entrance Band’ –
A real, genuine, 60’s psych album that came out this year.