Black Flag – “My War”

 

“My War” is so much more genuine than the Green Day/Blink 182 teenage bullshit you listened to when you were crying in your room in middle school (not speaking from experience). It transcends basic teenage angst with raw, unthrottled emotion. Henry Rollins’ voice is haunting and the straightforward lyrics cut to the bone. Rollins sings, “I might not know what a friend is / All I know is what you’re not / ‘Cause you’re one of them.” The feelings of betrayal, alienation and rage are all palpable.  I’ll admit that I am a relative neophyte in the world of Black Flag fandom so I cannot appreciate this song as a part of Black Flag’s entire body of work. However, the raw emotion of  “My War” speaks for itself.

– Jake Golbus

SONG OF THE DAY: Grimes- Weregild

Although I love Grimes, I think I’ve listened to Art Angels and Visions a bit too much. As a result, I’ve been  listening to Grimes’ older music recently. “Weregild” is off of her 2010 release Halfaxa. Pieces of Art Angels, however, are reminiscent in this song especially in her sound looping throughout the track, a technique she has kept consistent throughout her work. The song as a whole seems a bit darker than her newer releases. In addition, the song is much more experimental, something I hope she doesn’t’ lose with her rise to fame.

SONG OF THE DAY: JOHN LENNON – HOLD ON

This song has been coming on my shuffle lately. Its funky beats and simple lyrics keep me listening and its a love song for Yoko so what more could you ask for? But I think this track off of Plastic Ono (1970) also appeals to me as fourth week in my impossible math class and spring break approach. It’s not too much of an commitment, over in less than 2 minutes, so go ahead and give it a listen. John also gets away with growling “cookie” halfway through.

SONG OF THE DAY: Neil Young- “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”

For some reason Neil Young’s piano riffs are often a kind of muted cornflower blue. That, combined with the rhythm and his cream-colored voice, makes this song wonderfully soothing (and, since it’s Neil Young, melancholic). It makes me feel like I’m rocking back and forth in a hammock. Listen before you go to bed for peaceful, restorative, Neil Young-filled sleep.

SONG OF THE DAY: Future Islands – Ran

 

Future Islands’ new single, “Ran”, off their upcoming album, “The Far Field”, is pretty sweet. In standard Future Islands form the song revolves around lead singer Sam Herring’s rather unique voice. Backed by a hazy synth and bass but rather crisp drum beats, this song fits in with previous albums of Future Islands. I’m fairly confident that this new album will seem more like a continuation of their progression as a band rather than an evolution of their sound and I’m perfectly happy with that. I’ve come to love Future Islands, especially their last album, “Singles”, and I’d be bummed to see that sound go. They’re a distinctive sound in a sea of indistinct indie bands (due in part to Sam Herring’s voice) and for that I’m thankful.

SONG OF THE DAY: Alex G –– Bobby

Although Alex G’s last full album, Beach Music, was released in 2015, he’s picked up a fair amount of steam this past year, mostly through collaborating with Frank Ocean on both Blonde (he played guitar on “White Ferrari” and “Self Control”) and Endless. While it was extremely gratifying to hear his contribution to both of those beautiful albums, I’ve been hoping to hear some of his own new work, and it seems as though I am in luck –– Alex just announced a new album, Rocket, that’s supposed to come out on May 19th. Here is a beautiful new country-ish single from the album to tide you over for now; prepare your ears for some gorgeous fiddle.

Pitchfork Pitchfork: Vagabon Infinite Worlds Album Review

I’ve found that pretentiousness in music seems to be most despised by people who are extremely pretentious about music themselves. In order to fully embrace this phenomenon, I have created Pitchfork Pitchfork, a column in which I review Pitchfork.com articles based on their pompousness.

To start things off, I’m going to take an in-depth look at Pitchfork’s review of Vagabon’s latest release, Infinite Worlds. The ‘fork gods were generous enough to bestow the highly coveted “best new music” label upon this album, anointing its 8.5 score with the red glow usually reserved for legends. Normally, Pitchfork’s scoring system is their downfall. The seemingly arbitrary assignment of decimals to various music can lead to outcry from spurned fans and artists alike. It’s made Pitchfork’s writers seem like that one friend you have who refuses to listen to anything that has over 10,000 plays on Spotify because it’s been tainted with mass appeal at that point. For Infinite Worlds, however, the 8.5 score is well-earned. I can’t argue with it. Points for you, Pitchfork.

The review goes downhill from there, unfortunately. The first sentence raises some eyebrows. The writer, Kevin Lozano, claims to have been so struck by one of Vagabon’s lines that he “had to remove my headphones and take stock of my surroundings.” Really? Really. I get that Vagabon’s lyrics are powerful, but I highly doubt Lozano was so shaken that he had to check to make sure he was still in his studio apartment or ultra-mod Pitchfork cubicle. Infinite Worlds is certainly potent, but it hardly transported me from the broken futon in my living room.

Another aspect of my grading rubric is readability, with specific regards to vocabulary. I get that music writers don’t want to be just another idiot with a WordPress account and opinions (haaaaaaa), but Jesus Christ, if I have to look up half the adjectives in the dictionary in order to understand what they’re trying to say, then it’s gone too far. Case in point: Lozano described Vagabon’s work as “pyrrhic”. That is some shit I haven’t heard since my 9th grade ancient Greek history class. I get that a pyrrhic victory is one where the winner loses so much they’re practically defeated, and I recognize that it’s totally a phrase. But dropping that in an album review is just showing off.

The review goes on to a track by track overview, and the writer describes the song “The Embers” as a “paean.” I have literally never heard that word in my life. Maybe I’m uncultured and illiterate, but to me it seems like this guy is struggling to put his useless English degree to good use.

All in all, this review isn’t bad. The score is reasonable, and aside from a few five-dollar words, the author does a good job summarizing the emotional content behind Vagabon’s album. Not bad, Kevin.

Pitchfork Pitchfork Score: 7.2

Now, go listen to Vagabon’s new album below.

 

Song of the Day: Destiny Frasqueri- Orange Blossom

https://soundcloud.com/vice/orange-blossom-by-destiny

“Orange Blossom” is a precursor to Destiny Frasqueri’s (Princess Nokia) album, 1992. The song itself is reminiscent of Frasqueri’s Afro Futurist style. “Orange Blossom” was released after Frasqueri’s experimental hip-hop album Metallic Butterfly. The song serves as a segway between Metallic Butterfly and 1992 as she departs from the experimental and recalls a soulful R&B influence instead.

 

 

A fun way to pass fifteen minutes

If you’re looking to add a little healthy competition to your and your (other music nerd) friends’ day, look no further. Esquire has made a quiz that ranks your “music IQ” by seeing if you can match a song with its album cover, and it’s definitely worth fifteen minutes of your time. Check it out here:

http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/music/quizzes/a53194/music-iq-quiz/