Thursday, December 20, 2018

GLW 004: Megan Swidler


GLW 005: Dionicio Solano (coming Friday)
GLW 006: Erik Kristjanson (coming Monday)
GLW 007: Gina Uriarte (coming Tuesday)
GLW 008: Jamie Pfeifer (coming Wednesday)

2018. Another shitty year for humanity but a pretty decent year for music. While I am always trying to keep my finger on the pulse of what the kids consider “hip,” I find myself perpetually gravitating towards what I know I’ll like - the new releases of bands already established in my repertoire. Sure I gave Mitski, boygenius, and The 1975 a try. Hell, I even gave Kacey Musgraves, Ariana Grande, all the Lil’ rappers a solid go. But mostly what caught my ear are the grandma bands I’ve been listening to for a few years now, and while Pitchfork and other sites may not be swooning over Jungle, or Jim James, or Parquet Courts, they are still doing new and exciting things that make me happy to be alive in what I consider to be the best era of music: now. Here are my highlights …

Jungle – “Heavy, California”
Jungle – “House in LA”

I had been waiting for a new Jungle album for the last 4 years, so you could imagine my delight when they started dropping new material this year. The entire album is delicious and there are many more songs I could have added to my year-end list but that is dum so here are my two favorites: “Heavy” is funky as hell and was my personal song of the summer. “House in LA” is just hauntingly beautiful and the theme song to the perpetual indie film I’m making in my mind. If you like dance-heavy songs sung in falsetto by a handful of very attractive Brits then I highly recommend this band.

Beach House – “Dive”

One of the few bands that can put out new material that instantly sounds like classic material (not in a stale, redundant way, but in a warm, snuggly way). This particular song is so classic Beach House actually, that they closed with it at their show this year. And, like, everyone was happy. That pretty much never happens. This song is awesome and all things Beach House - the vocals, the chord progressions, the climaxes.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Major League Chemicals”

This song hooked me immediately thanks to the comparatively discordant guitar riff 1 that melds super- seamlessly to that incredibly juicy guitar riff 2 you hear throughout the song. Holy balls, me loves that riff 2! UMO consistently puts out sophisticated stuff that is not always easy to listen to but, somehow, is always very refreshing to hear. Ruban Nielson is the total package deal with the smoothest vocals and the tightest guitar work.

Father John Misty – “Hangout at the Gallows”

As you remember, I’m sure, from last year’s post, the FJM show last summer changed my life and after seeing him again this year I am positive that he is one of the best songwriters/performers of our generation. God’s Favorite Customer is another solid effort from front to back, and “Hangout” is everything you’d want in an opening song. I will never forget his Riot Fest performance (which, btw, he had no business being at but fucking owned) when the music stopped and he belted out the climatic “What’s your politics? What’s your re-li-ih-gion?!” and the entire crowd melted, screamed, or bawled their eyes out (I’ll give you one guess how I reacted…)

White Denim – “Magazin”

Why isn’t this band, like, the most famous band in the world? I seriously don’t understand, because they are so. fucking. good. They rock in every sense of the word. Entire album is amazing but if I have to choose one I choose the opening “Magazin” which is fuzzy and sweet, but still shreds.

Parquet Courts – “Total Football”

Love love love these guys and pretty much everything they do. Wide Awake! was another super solid album that stayed true to form with their punk rock sound but had a certain freshness to it (probably thanks to Danger Mouse). The bass line in “Total Football” is perfection, and the spoken-one-word at-a-time chorus with that guitar noodling underneath is literally my favorite thing ever.

Jim James – “Throwback” (both versions)

In June, Our Lord and Savior Yim Yames put out a brilliant rock album called Uniform Distortion. Yay! Then in October, to surprise of like, everyone, he recorded and released acoustic renditions of the same exact songs and called it Uniform Clarity. Double yay! I prefer the full band stylo of “Throwback” but both versions are super solid.

Leon Bridges – “Beyond”

What a sweet little ditty from my dude Leon. I love all the phases of this love song from the Verse to the Chorus to the Bridge, and while I’m not usually too swayed by Lyrics, those are pretty great too. “Space and time in the afterlife, will she have my kids? Will she be my wife? She might just be my everything and beyond, beyonddddd.” *sigh*

Honorable Mention

David Byrne – “Everyday is a Miracle”

It is no secret that David Byrne is a fucking genius (if you don’t know, well, then, I feel sorry for you) but oh. my. god. his. live. show. this. year. I cannot even talk about it. I just can’t! I see a lot of shows and this was probably one of the best live music experiences I’ve ever been a part of. I actually liked the album but I feel it was only a means to get him back on stage and do his thing which literally no other human can do as well as him. GO SEE HIM IF THAT’S STILL A THING.

Songs That Are Not New in 2018 But Are New To Me in 2018 Thanks To…

…Living in a Hipster Neighborhood

Suuns – “2020”

Well, turns out I have a new favorite band I ain’t ever heard of til I Shazaamed a track at my local coffeeshop. Suuns, omg. They appear to be a small, electronic outfit from Montreal and have managed to write and record the greatest song I’ve ever heard in my life. You will probably not agree. That’s ok. I don’t want them to blow up and play at United Center but holy hell I do believe they could.

…Going To The Movies

Souls Of Mischief – “93 ‘Til Infinity”

If you haven’t seen Mid90s yet, do me a favor and RUN DO NOT WALK. One of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen in a while, thanks largely to the hip hop-heavy soundtrack of Jonah Hill’s youth (and I’m not even a hip hop girl!) I had never heard this song before or even heard of the group but this track has been on repeat in my casa for a couple of months now which says a lot considering I hate rap. See the movie.

...Untimely Deaths of Music Artists

Mac Miller (featuring Anderson .Paak) – “Dang!”

Not gonna lie I was not familiar with a single Mac Miller song until his recent passing. While it’s largely not my style, I can appreciate his contribution to the music world and understand why his loss was felt so deeply. This particular song is crunchy AF, I’m obsessed.

...Spotify Discover

Slowdive – “Star Roving”

Well if there’s ever been more of a Megan song please do let me know. Where the fuck has this band been hiding my whole life? Goosebumps from start to finish, what a gorgeous track. The album came out last year and even though they are a P4K darling, I just never gave it a listen. Shame on me.

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