Going into Q3, I found myself dissatisfied with the limited number of music discovery sources to which I had pared myself down. For awhile, it’s been mostly KEXP, Pitchfork, and AdHoc. Thus, I decided to sign up for the Apple Music trial when it launched. I didn’t expect much going in, but so far I like it. Now I understand why everyone loves Spotify. Of course! In addition to picking up a couple tunes thanks to Apple Music, I also received a short stack of pretty fantastic LPs from Dane and couldn’t resist the new Royal Headache and Deerhunter singles. What did I miss?
- My Own Fantasy | Royal Headache
High | 2015
I! Somebody ate their Strokes ‘n’ Jam this morning! This sort of open-heart rock anthem fails more often than not, but when it works, like here with “My Own Fantasy” or with the Walkmen’s “The Rat” there’s really nothing anyone can do to resist. The song, the performance, the production… the magic formula is not uncoded, but rather, it’s fallen into. However simple it sounds, it can’t be transcribed, can’t be reproduced in the lab. There’s always an ingredient or condition that can’t be measured. And it’s from that elusive source of perfection that their power is drawn. These tunes unite the hearts of all they touch for three short minutes. I imagine old Cusack characters dropping these special songs on record store PAs or blasting them from boomboxes in front yards and, like rats to the pied piper, jocks, cheerleaders, outcasts, bookworms, and whatever it is millennials call their various cliches these days — we all fall in line and share a moment of humanity and understanding. What would the scene look like if Coma the Doof Warrior was wailing away at “My Own Fantasy” in Fury Road?
- One Day With You | Marshall Crenshaw
Field Day | 1983
Fun fact: Marshall Crenshaw made an appearance in the Adventures of Pete & Pete, one of my favorite shows from the fantastic turn of the 90s era of Nickelodeon. The role was of Meter Man Mel Ratner, who helped young Pete find his song as the lead guitarist of the Blowholes.
- Snakeskin | Deerhunter
Fading Frontier | 2015
I’m approaching this latest Deerhunter release from Bradford Cox with the guilt-fueled, half-hearted desire to demonstrate love and interest of a deadbeat father who finally remembers his son’s birthday but has no idea what to get him now that his son is a young adult with a full life of extracurricular activities and caring friends. Bradford doesn’t need me anymore, and I’m left lamenting the days we never had together, back in the mid to late 2000s when I should have been listening to and cherishing his early works. He needed me then, I just know it! But I missed my chance. I was always like, yeah, I’ll get to Deerhunter, yeah I’ll dig into Atlas Sound, but first, let me finish listening to this Animal Collective and Cass McCombs stuff. I’ve got a full plate already. Personal musical moments have expiration dates. In another 20 years, it’ll come back around again, and I’ll be of an age, and the music will be of an age where Bradford and I can really get to know each other. Until then, there’s “Snakeskin”.
- Point Of Being Right | Shannon And The Clams
Gone By The Dawn | 2015
What a tune! Shannon and the Clams are getting pretty tight. I’m excited to dig into the rest of the album.
- My Heart Went Zing | Taylor Tones
The Detroit Girl Groups
I grabbed a couple old compilations from Silver Platters this summer (see also “A Love Like Yours”). This one comes off a Lu Pine comp named The Detroit Girl Groups. The Pipettes (Diana Ross & the Supremes’s first name) are the standout act from Lu Pine, but there are some pretty good performances throughout, including songs by the Taylor Tones, the Kittens, and Clevers.
- A Love Like Yours | The Nelson Adelard Band
Bionic Gold | 1977
Bionic Gold is due for a reissue. It’s the Phil Spector covers comp from 1977. You’ve got Robert Orsi doing “Hi Hit Me” before the Grizzly Bear guys were born. There’s a bunch of great power pop performances, including “A Love Like Yours”. And then there’s Mick Farren closing the second side with a punk take on “To Know Him Is To Love Him.” The incessant xylophone of this one is actually pretty awesome.
- Search For The Reason Why | Roland Kirk
Volunteered Slavery | 1969
I went with this sweet tune rather than, maybe, “One Ton” or “My Cherie Amour” because of how important Roland Kirk’s goofy singing is to my appreciation of this album. “Search For The Reason Why” is like a really groovy School House Rocks tune trying to teach kids about searching for life’s meaning.
- Don’t Forget | Jacco Gardner
Polyvinyl 4-Track Singles Series Vol. 2 | 2015
Jacco Gardner makes music just barely interesting enough to catch my ear, but I found “Don’t Forget” to be full of life when I tuned in. It’s a pleasant guitar jaunt through the fields of psychedelia that manages to sound contemporary.
- Driftin Wayvz | Pete Nolan
Easy | 2015
Pete Nolan is from the Magik Markers, a band I think I sort of stuck away from because of some misinformed assumption that they were a poor derivative of the E6 collective that I loved so much but had outgrown. On “Driftin Wayvz” Pete Nolan turns up the paisley and proves you can play slower than Beck on Sea Change, sounding like pretty good E6 to me.
- Rat Race | The Stroke Band
Green And Yellow
The Stroke Band is probably my favorite find this past quarter. I know I’ve probably heard them referenced a few times in the past, but it took me hearing “Gun Fighting Man” on a recommended Apple Music playlist for me to pay attention. I, of course, fell in love with the blurpy keyboards in “Rat Race,” and I like the not-so-good Bryan Ferry vocals, too.
- Per Schooner Agro | Honey Radar
The Rabbit’s Voice | 2015
I don’t know much about Honey Radar. They’re in the spot where they’re on discogs.com but not allmusic.com. At 1:45 “Per Schooner Agro” still clocks in as the longest running song on the 7-minute EP The Rabbit’s Voice released earlier this year. I’ll have to check out the rest of their catalog.
- Broken Lines | Cold Beat
Into The Air | 2015
“Broken Lines” is one of the songs on the power pop end of the power pop-to-post punk spectrum of the latest Cold Beat album. Pretty catchy.
- Super Me | Wimps
Super Me | 2015
Expect to see more Wimps on my next mix. They just dropped the Super Me EP on KRS and are getting ready to release their full-length Suitcase. On “Super Me” Rachel delivers an awkwardly awesome guitar solo, showing off the signature riffing that she’s been doing since Butts. I can’t wait to hear Suitcase.
- Suburban Wasteland | Mike Krol
Turkey | 2015
I couldn’t stay away from Turkey. Mike Krol is almost too on the nose, but the hooks and the ’90s nostalgia are just too good to hate. Is he really Mikal Cronin?
- The Pulse | Rick Wakeman
Rhapsodies | 1979
Solo albums from prog keyboardists have a similar effect on mid-thirties Cyrus that the best of rave comps had on early-teen Cyrus back in the day. And even if the music wasn’t good, the album covers alone would be worth it.