Every day, people stop us on the street and demand to know what we’re listening to these days. “What’s hip?”, they ask. “What’s cool?” You see, as curators of the #1 United States/Peruvian pop culture criticism and analysis blog, David Simon Cowell and I are the cultural elite. We know where all the best parties are. We know why Seal and Heidi Klum really broke up. We are the cigar-smoking fat cats sitting in a back room somewhere, pulling strings and watching puppets dance.
Where was I?
Oh yeah, what we’re listening to right now. Well, to be fair, David Simon Cowell is on kind of a walkabout deep into the world of underground Peruvian trance music, so this is really more like what I’m listening to. But here’s a mix. We hope you like it.
King Khan visits Little Uncle Toni
1) The Shins/Simple Song
No matter who the backing musicians calling themselves Shins are milling about behind him, James Mercer can still write a gorgeous hook. Although: “There’s nothing else in our lives so critical as this little hole”? Really, James?
2) King Khan and the Shrines/Bite My Tongue
On the other hand, the backing musicians do matter for King Khan. He never sounds better than when he’s with the Shrines.
Newly signed Matador band Ceremony offer a killer lead single to their forthcoming album. If the whole album can combine this level of catchiness and ferocity, I’m in.
4) Clock Opera/Once And For All
What a beautiful song. Sounds like if Cut Copy focused on songcraft and melody instead of getting people to dance, and also hired Peter Silberman from the Antlers to sing.
(thanks for the heads up, Chromewaves)
Lucero is on the short list of bands that I will see any time they come to time, regardless of where they play. (Also on the list: Charles Bradley, Titus Andronicus, Bruce Springsteen.) “Sometimes” is our first taste from Women and Work, due in March, and it’s predictably great.
6) Sleeper Agent/Proper Taste
Boy/girl duets = always a key to my heart.
7) La Sera/Please Be My Third Eye
Katy Goodman might outdo anything the Vivian Girls have done with La Sera.
8) Heartless Bastards/Parted Ways
“I need a little bit of whisky and a little bit of time to ease my troubled mind.” Their best song since “All This Time”?
9) Shearwater/Breaking the Yearlings
Jonathan Meiburg’s voice evokes the mid-’80s heyday of Depeche Mode and Joy Division, but the rest of Shearwater’s sound doesn’t have anything to do with either of those bands. It’s always an interesting mix, and “Breaking the Yearlings” is one of their boldest songs to date.
10) Deer Tick/The Bump
Pitchfork described Deer Tick’s latest album as a “heel turn,” and maybe there’s something to that, but it’s an engaging heel turn.
11) Some Dark Holler/Sweet Red Wine
Captain’s Dead described Some Dark Holler as a “perfect soundtrack for sitting on the back porch, middle of the night, drinking some beers, smoking and enjoying a good rain as it dances across the tin roof.” Sounds about right.
12) Not in the Face/Downtown Girl
All of Bikini is really strong, but Downtown Girl has a particular urgency. Yet another good Austin band to throw on the pile.
13) LCD Soundsystem/Live Alone
14) Cloud Nothings/No Sentiment
After showing a lot of promise on his earlier recordings,The Cleve’s own Dylan Baldi sounds like he’s getting fucking serious right about now.
15) Busdriver/Bon Bon Fire
Busdriver has more than a decade’s worth of singles and albums to his credit, and because I am old, this is the first I’m hearing about him.
(h/t Buzz Bands LA)
16) Cursive/The Sun and Moon
For me, Cursive has never risen above the morass of similar-sounding indie bands, but perhaps this song signals a change. Or maybe a change in me. Introspection!
(h/t Bedwetting Cosmonaut)
17) Beirut/Santa Fe
Yeah, this was probably an album I should have paid more attention to last year.
18) Candy Golde/The Boy in the Bubble
Hmmm…a band featuring members of Cheap Trick and Wilco covering one of Paul Simon’s best songs? Yeah, I think I’m good with that.