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Bite Me: Summer Fridays 7.5

19 Jul


I’ve said it before, Summer Fridays are a state of mind. Which is why I don’t feel too bad about getting this week’s SF up on a Saturday. A year from now (or ten) when you’re still jamming this, you will not think “Bill was late posting this.” You will think, “Wow, this has ‘War on the East Coast’ and that weird ’60s song, and those obscure glam tracks and that awesome Protomartyr song…I love it ever so much!” Seriously though how good is New Pornographers‘ “War on the East Coast”? Single of the Year? Maybe. Quite possibly video of the year, AC Newman is clearly having so much fun lypsynching Bejar’s vocals, giving them the gravitas performance they deserve. The mix ends with makers of what will surely be my #1 album of the year, Protomartyr. That Marvelous Mark song is killer too. Also: new Raveonettes which is also real good. Plus…The Fall, GBV, Sleaford Mods, Total Control… I like this one.

Cover art this week was done by my friend and fellow BrooklynVegan writer Klaus Kinski (The famous one, not the actor). That’s a picture of his mouth, “pre-braces, 1991. It definitely doesn’t scream summer and is certainly weird. I did take the pic in the summer though!” Please enjoy this one in either streaming or download form. It’s not Freedom Rock, but turn it up, dude. Here’s the stream, via the nifty Mixcloud site:

Summer Fridays 7.5 by Bill Pearis on Mixcloud


Here’s the tracklist:
1. The New Pornographers – War on the East Coast
2. Zumpano – The Only Reason Under the Sun
3. Vietnam – Throw it Away
4. Herzog – Teenage Metalhead
5. TRAAMS – Giddy
6. The Fall – Wrong Place Right Time
7. Sleaford Mods – Little Ditty
8. The Buzz – You’re Holding Me Down
9. Feature – Fuzz
10. Crystal Stilts – Delirium Tremendous
11. Actor – White Fence
12. Ambulance LTD – Heavy Lifting
13. Flame – Big Wheel Turning
14. Marvelous Mark – Bite Me
15. Guided By Voices – Game of Pricks
16. The Rats – Turtle Dove
17. The Raveonettes – Sisters
18. Casual Sex – Stroh 80
19. Total Control – Flesh War
20. Protomartyr – Come and See

Take a dip: SUMMER FRIDAYS 7.4

12 Jul


One month in, this fourth mix is a bit of a kitchen sink cookie, with a crisp guitar-y crust and a soft synthy middle. Delicious. Cover art this week is by longtime contributor Kate Bryant. Clever as always. Please enjoy!


1. Sondre Lerche – Bad Law
2. Blumfeld – Walkie Talkie
3. The Proper Ornaments – Magazine
4. Avi Buffalo – So What
5. XTC – Grass
6. Elephant – Ellusive Youth
7. Dubstar – Stars
8. Woman’s Hour – Conversations
9. The John Steel Singers – Happy Before
10. Haunted Hearts – House of Lords
11. The Stone Roses – Mersey Paradise
12. Melted Toys – Horizons
13. Immortal in Mirrors – Stranger Than Fiction
14. Thee Oh Sees – Drop
15. Milk ‘n’ Cookies – Not Enough Girls in the World
16. Allah-Las – Every Girl
17. The Clean – Thumbs Off
18. Beverly – Madora

If you’re downloading, don’t listen on shuffle!

I don’t even know anybody in Toronto! SUMMER FRIDAYS 7.3

3 Jul


If only I’d started one week earlier with these we’d have Summer Fridays 7.4 on July 4. I didn’t think of that till just now, unfortunately, so it was not to be. That said we’ve got what I think is a very good one, that is mostly music from ’82 – ’84 with a few songs from right here in 2014 that fit that mood. As for the new, we’ve got La Roux evoking some serious Bananarama vibes, a song from the great new Hollie Cook album, plus Brian Eno/Karl Hyde, and Brooklyn new wave revivalists Future Punx. Also: NEW BAXTER DURY! As for the old, let’s travel back to the days when the UK charts were full of exciting new pop. Why yes, that is Culture Club you see on here. The opening and closing track were deliberately placed. Can you figure out why?

This week’s cover art is by frequent contributor Kelly Hitzing who lives in Miami where every Friday is Summer Friday. She just illustrated a book on foraging for edible plants in Miami and you should buy it. The picture is from some thing they do down there called Floatopia. She hired that plane just for this.

Anyway, this would make pretty good backyard barbecue music, I think. Feel free to do so. I’ve got this one streaming in addition to the download. Enjoy and have a great holiday weekend.


Summer Fridays 7.3 by Bill Pearis on Mixcloud

1) Big Audio Dynamite – The Bottom Line
2) Baxter Dury – Pleasure
3) Bananarama – He Was Really Sayin’ Something
4) Tom Tom Club – On, On, On, On
5) Hollie Cook – 99
6) Culture Club – Time (Clock of the Heart)
7) La Roux – Uptight Downtown
8) General Public – Are You Leading Me On?
9) Eno • Hyde – Daddy’s Car
10) The Waitresses – No Guilt
11) Klark Kent – Office Girls
12) LCD Soundsystem – Tribulations
13) Future Punx – 999
14) Sparks and Jane Wiedlin – Cool Places
15) Ed Schrader’s Music Beat – Under Pink Moons
16) The Buzzcocks – Why Can’t I Touch It?

If you’re downloading this, don’t listen on shuffle please.

Liner notes — I actually wrote some for the first time in eons — are below the jump. Click through, go on do it… (more…)

Sno time like the present: Summer Fridays 7.2

27 Jun


So this is the first real Friday of Summer 2014. How is yours going so far? Me too. No real theme this week, though much of it’s got a postpunk sorta vibe to it. This one opens with a brand new song from the Brian Jonestown Massacre — their new album is good, people. You also get fresh cuts from The Horrors, Craft Spells, newish Brooklyn band Gingerlys, Merchandise, The Horrors, Cold Beat (Hannah of Grass Widow), plus classics from The Chameleons (how did I wait till the seventh year to use “Swamp Thing”), Pale Saints,  Adult Net (Brix from The Fall) and more.

OK I managed to get a streaming version going:

And here’s the download:


Here’s the tracklist:
1. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Vad Hände Med Dem
2. The Soundtrack Of Our Lives – Firmament Vacation
3. The Chameleons – Swamp Thing
4. The Horrors – So Now You Know
5. Pale Saints – Baby Maker
6. Dum Dum Girls – Cult of Love
7. Love & Rockets – Welcome Tomorrow
8. Gingerlys – Summer Cramps
9. Big In Japan – Suicide a Go-Go
10. Cold Beat – UK
11. Adult Net – Take Me
12. Paul & Ritchie & The Cryin’ Shames – Come On Back
13. The Fresh & Onlys – Hummingbird
14. The Smiths – I Want the One I Can’t Have
15. Merchandise – Little Killer
16. Echo & The Bunnymen – Villiers Terrace
17. Devon Williams – Pendulum
18. The Church – Myrrh
19. Babybird – You’re Gorgeous
20. Craft Spells – Breaking the Angle Against the Tide

Please don’t cut line for sno-cones or play this on shuffle. See you in July.

Brand new shoes for you and me: Summer Fridays is back!

20 Jun


Some of you may have been wondering if I’d be back with these this year, being as it’s a later start than usual, but here we are. Yay! I was waiting till actual summer, but as tomorrow is the solstice, I thought I’d jump the gun by a day. Hopefully I’ll have this every Friday through the whole season. We’ll see. I’m a busy guy these days, ok? I’ve been wanting to use this Equals song since I heard it back in February so it inspired this first mix of the season. (That’s Eddy Grant’s old band, btw.) Please enjoy.


1. The Equals – Michael and Slipper Tree
2. Super Furry Animals – Play it Cool
3. Doug Gillard – Ready for Death
4. Stephen Steinbrink – Now You See Everything
5. Metronomy – Resevoir
6. Tommy Roe – Jam Up Jelly Tight
7. Kiss Kiss Karate Passion – Hope the Sky’ll Never Fall
8. Sloan – Take Good Care of the Poor Boy
9. The Notwist – Kong
10. Liam Finn – Snug As Fuck
11. Teleman – In Your Fur
12. Paul McCartney & Wings – Mrs Vanderbilt
13. Alvvays – Adult Diversion
14. Rocketship – I Love You Like the Way I Used to Do
15. Trans – Thinking About a Friend
16. Ohio Express – Sausalito (Is the Place to Go)
17. The Bangles – Live
18. J.C. Satan – Italian Summer
19. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Lariat

DISCLAIMER/WARNING: This mix is indeed “mixed,” the songs flow together. Don’t listen on shuffle!

Mind the ice puddle, it’s Wintry Mix 2014

9 Feb


Here in NYC we’re experiencing one of the coldest, snowiest winters in recent memory and the piles of white never seem to all melt before the next comes along. So it seemed like a good time let loose a new mix. All of this is new for 2014 and, as always, lots of good new music. It should go without saying, but these songs fade into one another so don’t ruin the mood by listening on shuffle. Enjoy.

DOWNLOAD WINTRY MIX 2014 (this link works!)

1. Metronomy – I’m Aquarius
2. Warm Soda – Postcards
3. Eternal Summers – Gouge
4. *** **** ******* – ?????????? ??????????
5. CYMBALS – 5%
6. Hospitality – Going Out
7. Elephant – Shapeshifter
8. Juniore – Christine
9. Klaus Johann Grobe – Traumhaft
10. Warpaint – Biggy
11. Snowbird – I Heard the Owl Call My Name
12. Weeknight – Sound of My Voice
13. Breton – Got Well Soon
14. Dum Dum Girls – In the Wake of You
15. Let’s Wrestle – Rain Ruins Revolution
16. Habibi – I Got the Moves
17. Morgan Delt – Mr. Carbon Copy
18. Coconaut Groove – Colours
19. September Girls – Cursing the Sea

Sound Bites Favorite Albums of 2013

4 Jan


Well here we go, another fine year for records. It always is, and anyone who says different isn’t really trying to find the good stuff.  I should say there were a lot other records from 2013 that I liked a lot too, but I guess these are the ones that stuck with me the most. (You may have seen my Top 20 already on BrooklynVegan, but here’s more and more blurbs.) My Top 3 are basically a three-way tie for 1st place — they’re all completely different — so feel free to take them as such. But I don’t believe in ties (Tys is a different story, see #38) so I pulled rank. No MP3s this year, but there are links to streams (Spotify, mostly) and where to buy a physical copy — there is a track from every one of these 50 albums on my year-end mixes. I also made a Spotify playlist of all of the albums on my list that are on the service.

Without any further ado, my Favorite Records of 2013:

1. Hookworms - Pearl Mystic (Gringo / Weird World)
01hookwormsThis group from Leeds, UK practice a visceral blend of noise, drone, motorik rhythms and impassioned vocals that basically demands to be listened to at top volume. The parts are old but Hookworms’ electrifying energy makes it feel like they came up with the idea. Seeing them live during CMJ, where singer Matt Johnson seemed to leave his body on stage, nudged this record ahead just enough for me to name is at my favorite of 2013. For that matter, their non-LP single, “Radio Tokyo,” was my favorite track of the year. Hookworms win.


2. Warm Soda – S/T (Castle Face)
02warm-sodaMatthew Melton formed Warm Soda immediately after his previous band, Bare Wires, imploded onstage at SXSW. He doesn’t really alter the power-pop formula with his new band but the change has definitely made his creative juices more effervescent. Keeping with those late ’70s vibes, Warm Soda’s debut actually kind of sounds like it is coming out of a transistor radio: tinny and compressed (in a good way), but with giant hooks and choruses packed into 27-minute running time. It’s hit after hit after hit.


3. La Femme - Psycho Tropical Berlin (Born Bad)
03la-femmeThe title of Parisian band La Femme’s debut album, Psycho Tropical Berlin, is a pretty good summation of what to expect: crazed psychedelic pop with a krautrock/coldwave backbone and an affinity for surf rock. Add to that the inherent French element (Ye-Ye enthusiasm and smoky Gainsbourg cool), you get an inventive, modern, highly entertaining album, unlike anything anything else I heard this year.


4. OutfitPerformance (Double Denim)
04outfitAfter a few singles/EPs, UK group Outfit make their long-player bow and I wasn’t quite prepared for what a leap they made. This is sleek, elegant dancepop, endlessly inventive and a little nerdy/quirky — but not so much that it ever pulls you out of the groove. Comparisons to Hot Chip are pretty easy to make but Outfit have their own distinct style. This record remains a UK import. Somebody over here sign these guys!


5. John HopkinsImmunity (Domino)
05jon-hopkinsHaving helped create textural work with Imogen Heap, Brian Eno (and Coldplay), Jon Hopkins delves into dance music for the first time, with this concept album exploring, instrumentally, an epic night out. While it may not feature any Disclosure-style dancefloor bangers, Immunity is an absolute stunner, a record that needs to be heard as a whole, and one whose synthesizers throb like a beating heart.

6. Cate Le BonMug Museum (Turnstile / Wichita)
06mug-museumWritten following the death of her maternal grandmother but recorded after moving from Wales to her new home of California, Cate Le Bon’s third album, Mug Museum, hits the happy/sad sweet spot like a ray of sunshine peaking through the grey. A little less skronky than last year’s CYRK, Cate Le Bon’s quirky Welsh charm, songwriting skills and bewitching voice remain.


7. No JoyWait to Pleasure (Mexican Summer)
07no-joyWorking with Violens’ Jorge Elbrecht, Wait to Pleasure goes beyond the No Joy’s pummeling shoegaze start, showing off previously unheard textures, melody and beauty. They can still attain tinitus-level volume (just see them live), but they’ve now got other cards too and the ebbs, flows and crashing waves make for a great listen start-to-finish. One of the most pleasant surprises of 2013.


8. Factory Floor – S/T (DFA)
08factory-floor25 years since it’s Detroit birth, the sounds of techno and acid house are still inspiring new artists. UK trio Factory Floor take those squelchy 303s and filter them through krautrock and post-punk sensibilities for a near-relentless hour on their long-awaited-but-worth-it full-length debut. While using some of the same equipment Juan Atkins tinkered with in his bedroom in 1987, in Factory Floor’s hands, it still sounds like the phuture.


9. Girls NamesThe New Life (Slumberland)
09girls-namesFor their second album, Girls Names dropped much of the murky gloom prevalent on their debut, instead opting for more crystalline production, driving basslines, propulsive drumming, prominent keyboards and markedly improved songwriting. It’s all a little early-’80s Bunnymen, but Girls Names bring their own style to the proceedings, and every little atmospheric detail works. You still wouldn’t call it happy, but you can dance to it.


10. Ooga Boogas – S/T (Aarght)
10ooga-boogasAustralian musician Mikey Young stays busy with a bunch of bands (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control, Lace Curtain), all of them excellent. And here’s another as part of Ooga Boogas. Their self-titled album genre hops from Fall-influenced indie rock to Stranglers-y new wave to the vaguely Talking Heads-ish groovers. (Also “Studio of My Mind” is the best LCD Soundsystem song they never wrote.) But damn if they aren’t all great.

STREAM (new LP starts w/ track 16) | BUY

11. Joanna GruesomeWeird Sister (Slumberland)
11joannagSomewhere between Veronica Falls and Los Campesinos, Weird Sister takes great fantastic indiepop tunes and throws them in the mosh pit. One of the best album covers of the year too.


12. Minks - Tide’s End (Captured Tracks)
12minksA band I thought was over, MINKS return letting bright sunshine burn through the haze of their debut, giving us ridiculously catchy ’80s-inspired synthpop.


13. King Krule10 Feet Beneath the Moon (True Panther Sounds)
13kingcruleAn old soul trapped in a teenager’s body, Archy Marshall really stepped up to the plate on his debut full-length, a pidgeonhole-defying record that melds the sounds he hears around him now (and a few from his mom’s record collection) for something truly modern.


14. Mikal CroninMCII (Merge)
14mciiMikal Cronin does it again. Apart from Warm Soda, perhaps the best pure guitar-pop album of the year.


15. SuedeBloodsports (Suede LTD)
15suedeSuede return (with second guitarist Richard Oakes) to make a great new album, no “comeback” signifier needed. If Coming Up is your favorite Suede album, buy Bloodsports immediately.


16. WeekendJinx (Slumberland)
16weekendReigning in the dissonance for gothy — and danceable — pop hooks, Weekend reimagine themselves just enough and show that they’ve got way more to offer than just sheer sonic blast.


17. Wax IdolsDiscipline + Desire (Slumberland)
17waxidolsSavages (who I like, mind you) may have the image and super-intense live show, Wax Idols’ new album has something they don’t — the tunes. In the ’90s, you could put Weekend’s album on one side of a Maxell XLII C100 cassette and this album on the other.


18. Heaven’s GateTransmuting (Inflated Records)
18heavensgateOut of the ashes of Sweet Bulbs, Heaven’s Gate took some of their old band’s dreamy noise, but took it in a significantly different direction, playing to singer strengths and became more of punky rock band… while still using a lot of effects pedals. Their debut is a terrific representation of what Heaven’s Gate have become — confident, hooky, and pretty damn kick-ass.


19. Kurt VileWakin’ on a Pretty Daze (Matador)
19kurtvileOlivia Newton John once asked, “Have You Ever Been Mellow?” Kurt is probably more like “Have you ever NOT been mellow” but has honed that vibe to perfection here while still letting it all hang out.


20. Heavenly BeatProminence (Captured Tracks)
20heavenlybeatOnetime Beach Fossils bassist Jon Pena works with a small palette — lightly plucked classical guitar, synth steel drums, skittering beats, whispered vocals, the occasional pizzicato strings — but make the absolute most of it, with lots of great little touches in the arrangements. Meticulous, yet has a shrugged off, sexy charm.

21 – 50 are below… (more…)

Bye Bye 2013, but before you go, here are some mixes.

27 Dec


Another year, another attempt to sum it up over the course of a bunch of mixes. I should clarify: an attempt to sum up my year in music. Hence, no Arcade Fire, David Bowie, Yeezus, Vampire Weekend or a lot of the other mainstays on most year-end lists. (Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those records, per se.) Anyway, I know I left stuff off I meant to include (Eagulls come to mind) but it’s a pretty good representation of what I liked this year. As for my lists, my Top 20 of 2013 is up over at BrooklynVegan, and I’ll have a Top 50 up here at some point. I’ve also got some Summer Fridays artwork regulars (and a couple newbies) to do art for these. Enjoy!


The first mix’s artwork is by Erica Recto, who made the cover for this year’s Bastille Day mix. I think I spy her dog, Betty, in there somewhere.



1. Shine 2009 – Eurozone
2. AlunaGeorge – Attracting Flies
3. Outfit – House on Fire
4. Classixx – All You’re Waiting for*
5. Neon Neon – Hammer & Sickle
6. Todd Terje – Strandbar (samba)
7. King Krule – Border Line
8. Heavenly Beat – Complete
9. Foals – My Number
10. Annie – Ralph Macchio
11. Metronomy – I’m Aquarius
12. Phoenix  - Trying to Be Cool
13. Public Service Broadcasting – Inform, Educate, Entertain
14. Blood Orange – You’re Not Good Enough
15. Kisses – Hardest Part
16. Gap Dream – Chill Spot
17. World’s End Press – Deadbeat Sweetheart

I realized after I published that in the actual uploaded, track #4 is by Classix, not Outfit. Feel free to change in your iTunes. Sorry about that.

Mix 2 has artwork from Jeffrey Bergstrom who is doing his first-ever artwork for me. He likes metal! (Also, Coldplay.) He also writes about laffs on BrooklynVegan under the Klaus Kinski pseudonym. I don’t have any metal on my list, but I put the “darker” stuff on this one to fit with the moody cover art.



1. Weekend – Mirror
2. Hookworms – Radio Tokyo
3. Wax Idols – The Cartoonist
4. Girls Names – Hypnotic Regression
5. Heaven’s Gate – Drone
6. Savages – She Wants
7. Toy – Join the Dots
8. pat JORDACHE – O.M.O.
9. Las Kellies – Boy, Sweet Boy
10. Disappears – Era
11. Pinkunoizu – Moped
12. Blouse – No Shelter
13. Dick Diver – Calendar Days
14. Holograms – Meditations
15. Medicine – It’s Not Enough
16. Wire – Love Bends
17. Deerhunter – Dream Captain
18. Dean Wareham – Emancipated Hearts

Artwork for Mix 3 is by Greg Morris who has been doing covers for me for almost as long as I’ve been doing them. He delivers another gem — his most surrealistic yet — for this one:



1. Jon Hopkins – Open Eye Signal
2. Disclosure – White Noise (feat AlunaGeorge)
3. Daniel Avery – Free Floating
4. Gramme – Fascination
5. Lady – Money
6. Jungle – The Heat
7. Pulp – After You (Pulp Vs Soulwax)
8. Hot Chip – Dark & Stormy
9. Xeno & Oaklander – Sheen
10. Ooga Boogas – Studio of My Mind
11. Lace Curtain – Good Intentions
12. Factory Floor – Fall Back
13. Jagwar Ma – Man I Need
14. Lindstrom & Todd Terje – Lanzarote

The artwork to Mix 4 is done by Katie Harkin who fronts the terrific UK rock trio Sky Larkin, and she also sometimes plays keyboards with Wild Beasts. Of it, she says “It’s a multiple exposure I took in a crazy berlin music shop.” Crazy indeed:



1. La Femme – Nous Etions Deux
2. Big Deal – Swappin’ Spit
3. Beaches – Out of Mind
4. MINKS – Margot
5. Wild Nothing – A Dancing Shell
6. The Phoenix Foundation – Black Mold
7. Kelley Stoltz – Kimchee Taco Man
8. Mood Rings – The Line
9. Ariel Pink & Jorge Elbrecht – Hang on to Life
10. Still Corners – Beginning to Blue
11. Serafina Steer – Night Before Mutiny
12. Love Inks – Solar Diary
13. No Joy – Hare Tarot Lies
14. Fiction – Careful
15. Future Wife – I’m Gonna Die
16. Midlake – Antiphon
17. Doldrums – Anomaly
18. No Bra – Minger
19. Colleen Green – Time in the World
20. Future Punx – Livin’ in a Movie

Another longtime Sound Bites mix art designer, Kate Bryant delivers up this trippy prismatic cover that would be worthy of Tame Impala. She made it entirely on her iPhone, btw.



1. Courtney Barnett – Avant Gardner
2. La Luz – Sure as Spring
3. Sapphire Mansions – Too Shiny
4. Dream Boys – Sworn
5. The Mantles – Hello
6. Thee Oh Sees – No Spell
7. The Liminanas – Black Sabbath
8. Magic Trick – Crazy Teeth
9. Mikal Cronin – See it My Way
10. Warm Soda – Strange as it Seems
11. Corey Cunningham – Is it Really Really Real?
12. Joanna Gruesome – Secret Surprise
13. Heavy Times – Might Not
14. King Khan & the Shrines – Darkness
15. Ty Segall – The Man Man
16. Kurt Vile – Was All Talk
17. Legs – Thirteen Stories
18. The Proper Ornaments – Drop Off
19. Pampers – Head Bag
20. Fuzz – What’s in My Head?

And lastly, artwork for Mix 6 was done by enigmatic virtual graffiti artist King of the Streets who chooses to do all his tagging digitally. Usually he defaces property or signs or turtles, but here he dreams big, by graffiti-ing the SKY. Deep!



1. Prefab Sprout – The Best Jewel Thief in the World
2. Spires – Candy Floss
3. Foxygen – No Destruction
4. Cate Le Bon – Are You with Me Now?
5. Foret – Corps Maquilles
6. Goldfrapp – Drew
7. Temples – Colours to Life
8. Jacco Gardner – Chameleon
9. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)
10. Ex Cops – James
11. The House Of Love – Money Man
12. Suede – Hit Me
13. French Films – Latter Days
14. Ski Lodge – Boy
15. Pretty & Nice – Q_Q
16. Elephant Stone – Masters of War
17. Yuck – Lose My Breath
18. John Grant – GMF
19. Julian Cope – They Were on Hard Drugs

These mixes, like all I do, are actually mixed together so the songs meld into each other. No shuffle!

Better late than never: Sound Bites Favorite Albums of 2012

7 Dec


Oh man, this is late. But up in time for New Year’s Chinese New Year Russian New Year Tax Day Memorial Day Fourth of July Labor Day Halloween Thanksgiving  Hanukkah Christmas so there’s that. This sat in “draft” for most of this year, mostly finished. So I decided to finally wrap this up. There are only streams and buy links for the top 20 album, but I’ve got at Spotify playlist with everything (that was available on Spotify). Dig into that.

Anyway, hope you find something in here you haven’t heard before. Let’s hope my act is a little more together for the 2013 list.

1. Saint EtienneWords And Music By Saint Etienne (Heavenly)
An album about one’s relationship with music through the years — from nights as a child spent watching Top of the Pops to, as an adult, geeking out on music message boards about strange #1 singles — is the kind of stuff bound to excite music nerds. Add to that insanely catchy songs (co-produced by the Xenomania hit factory) makes for Saint Etienne’s best record in ages, maybe ever. Not bad for 20 years into their career.



2. Parquet CourtsLight Up Gold (Dull Tools)
Parquet Courts aren’t the first band to get compared to the Minutemen and Pavement, but they are one of the few who live up to it. It’s the attitude, man, and they got it. Formed from Texas transplants in NYC (including Andrew Savage of the recently-departed Fergus & Geronimo), the band were clearly inspired by their new surroundings, making music that is nervy, danceable, catchy as hell… and has way more to say than almost any other band of their ilk. A genius debut.



3. Cate Le BonCyrk (The Control Group)
Unlike her relatively normal singer-songwriter debut album, Cate Le Bon lets her Welsh freak flag fly on the wonderful CYRK. Pastoral psych, dreamy ballads, skronky guitar blasts and great great songs meld into a distinct, original musical vision. Also one of the best live shows of the year.




4. Eternal SummersCorrect Behavior (Kanine)
Roanoke, VA’s Eternal Summers made a giant leap sonically and with songcraft on their second album, which is absolutely brimming with terrific songs. This is the kind of indie rock you don’t hear so much these days, but pop this good never goes out of style.



5. HospitalityHospitality (Merge)
For a while there, it felt like we were never going to get a Hospitality album but their self-titled debut was more than worth the wait. Erudite and hook-filled; prim but not afraid to rock when necessary and serious musicianship powering the whole thing, Hospitality was 2012′s first great album and has stayed in rotation since January.



6. ShragCanines (Fortuna Pop)
Easily the band’s best record to date, retaining the band’s scratchy snarl but letting a few rays of sunshine (and mid-fi production) to lighten the proceedings and up their pop side just a bit. You still get those big Fall-like basslines and shouty choruses, just just cleaned up a little. There’s no dulling the lyrics, though, that still aim for the jugular. This is an album with big hooks and a bigger bite. How do they follow this up? They don’t — they’re breaking up in March. BOOOO.



7. Django DjangoDjango Django (Because/Ribbon Music)
These guys really took their time making their debut record, to the point where I thought they’d broken up a couple times. But no, Django Django were just making sure everything was right in their kitchen sink world of sound. Nearly half of the record had been previously released, usually a dealbreaker for me, but the new songs fit seamlessly with early singles “Love’s Dart” and “WOR” that it all just works. Endlessly inventive and just plain fun.



8. Melody’s Echo ChamberMelody’s Echo Chamber (Fat Possum)
I liked Tame Impala’s Lonerism just fine, but this was the best thing Kevin Parker was involved with in 2012. Pairing his psychedelic aural experiments (and amazing drumming) with girlfriend Melody Prochet’s icy Francophone stylings was a match made in heaven.




9. Terry MaltsKilling Time (Slumberland)
It’s pop. It’s punk. But it’s NOT pop-punk. (Even though it is). Pierced with feedback squalls and boundless energy, Killing Time is hardcore for listeners who prefer their lyrics crooned than screamed.



10. The Babies - Our House On The Hill (Woodsist)
Ridiculously good Americana indie rock from members of Woods and Vivian Girls (and others). I think I like the Babies more than either of those bands. There is chemistry here that is undeniable. Great album.


11. Stealing SheepInto The Diamond Sun (The Control Group)
I think I am the only person who likes this album, but I find this Liverpool trio utterly bewitching. Somewhere between faery folk and early-’80s post punk, nobody else sounds like Stealing Sheep. Terrific songs, beguiling harmonies, inventive arrangements. Give this one a chance.



12. The IntelligenceEverybodys Got It Easy But Me (In the Red)
Lars Finberg moves to Los Angeles and…remains the brilliantly snarky crank we’ve come to love. The songs are as catchy as ever, and finds him stepping out of his tightly-wound garage and into the sunshine just a scootch. The record opens with him counting to 44 and, personally, I’d be entertained hearing him count to 4400.



13. Bertrand BurgalatToutes Directions (Tricatel)
Still making the regal French pop that got him noticed in the late ’90s, Bertrand Burgalat does it so well that you don’t really want him doing anything else. This is easily his best record in ages, classy bachelor pad disco with élan.


14. ToyToy (Heavenly)
Who would have thought that a couple guys from Joe Lean & the Jing Jang Jong would go on to make awesomely gothy motorik guitar rock? Not, I, but here we are. Sort of like The Horrors if Faris didn’t sound like he was always auditioning for Bauhaus.



15. GoatWorld Music
Here’s the soundtrack for your next psychedelic freakout, Italo-horror movie voodoo blood sacrifice. Made only as could be by a bunch of Swedes. Brilliant!



16. Grass WidowInternal Logic (HLR)
One of the more obtuse indie rock bands of the last few years, Grass Widow tried to go pop on Internal Logic which means it’s still pretty odd but hooks are definitely more plentiful. That’s good news for everyone.


17. Erik BloodTouch Screens (Self Released)
A concept album about pornography written from all possible angles (hello!), Erik Blood makes shoegaze that doesn’t sound stuck in the ’90s. It’s about porn, not actually porn which is why Touch Screens is pretty sexy stuff.


18. Ty SegallTwins (Drag City)
Ty Segal released like 27 albums this year and they are all pretty good, but Twins seems to be the one he saved all the best tunes for. Ever-expanding from his garage rock roots, Twins adds a sprinkling of glittery glam to the proceedings making for his most polished set yet. Mind you, “polished” is a relative term for Segall and definitely a good thing. Twins rocks like crazy.


19. El Perro Del MarPale Fire (The Control Group)
Continuing her partnership with Studio’s Rasmus Hägg, El Perro Del Mar drifts even further from the dour folk of her early albums into full-on dancefloor chantuesse territory on her fifth album. Hägg’s interest in ’90s balearic sounds and Sarah Assbring’s soulful vocals make for slinky grooves, not that far removed from Sade, especially on the terrific single “Walk on By,” but the whole record is excellent.


20. Frankie RoseInterstellar (Slumberland)
Removing herself 100% from her low-fi beginnings, Frankie Rose made a massive leap forward with her second album, full of glistening, widescreen pop.


21 – 50 below…



Back from the Dead: Vampire Bites goth mix!

31 Oct

I made this mix of goth favorites for this bar near my house, Snacky, ten years ago (!) and it still gets played there around this time (and at other bars, actually). I posted it on this blog five years ago and figured I’d repost again. It really is pretty good, hard to go wrong with a bunch of stone-cold classics. Perfect for your Halloween party or any time of the year really.


1. Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi’s Dead
2. Clan of Xymox – Muscovite Mosquito
3. Sisters of Mercy – Lucretia My Reflection
4. The Birthday Party – Release the Bats
5. Death Cult – God’s Zoo
6. The Damned – Wait for the Blackout
7. Siouxsie & the Banshees – Spellbound
8. The March Violets – Snake Dance
9. The Bolshoi – Away
10. Echo & the Bunnymen – Pictures on My Wall
11. The Cramps – Human Fly
12. The Cure – The Hanging Garden
13. Xmal Deutschland – Incubus Succubus
14. Lords of the New Church – Dance With Me
15. Southern Death Cult - Fat Man
16. Joy Division - Heart and Soul
17. Tones on Tails – Christian Says
18. Red Lorry Yellow Lorry – Temptation
19. Sex Gang Children – Beasts