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Faves 2014   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, November 27, 2014 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND STARTS HERE... with FAVES 2014!  I occasionally hear from folks who want to know what music -- from among all of the posts I do here -- I recommend.  To some degree, I recommend all of it, unless I expressly write otherwise (e.g., it's not my thing, but it might be yours).  With the holiday shopping season upon us, I have tried to make a list of reasonable size.  It's an unordered list. I likely will have overlooked something that I really dig.  Some of these are grouped together, because that's the way they occurred to me at the moment.  And note these are my faves; I'm not purporting to list the "Best" albums of the year.

EX HEX: Wild Flag breaks up; Sleater-Kinney reforms; Mary Timony moves on to Ex Hex and Rips out an aptly-named, snarly album of garage-punk power-trio goodness, recalling The Runaways and The Pretenders run through some some vintage reverb unit.

TWIN PEAKS: Nothing like the TV show, which I also loved at the outset.  Pate frontman was fond of saying (likely chanelling Luke) that it's hard to be a prophet in your hometown, so I've got this Chicago-based quartet near the top of the list.  Wild Onion avoids the sophomore slump, assimilating classic rock and proto-punk influences with a seemingly unusual depth of knowledge and chops to boot (plus just an occasional whiff of prime Mark Knopfler).

KING TUFF's fifth album, Black Moon Spell,got a boost from a cameo from Ty Segall on the throne for the title track, but the whole thing mines  glammy, early-70s hard rock vibe quite nicely.The title track and (especially) "Eyes of the Muse" are picks to click.

NUDE BEACH doesn't break much stylistic ground within lo-fi garage punk on the double-length 77, but I like the poppy tunes, which goes a long way.

DUM DUM GIRLS: Working with Richard Gottehrer and Sune Rose Wagner (The Raveonettes) accounts for the clean production, but it's the solidly vintage songwriting that attracts me most.  I think this one will tend to be overlooked by the usual critical suspects who prefer He Gets Me High.

SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS returned with Give the People What They Want, which is a somewhat ironic title, given that a number of critics  found this to be a "more of the same" release.  But if you like a fresh take on the classsic R&B one used to get from Stax (and blasts of Motown this time, as on "Retreat"), you'll be hard-pressed to beat this LP this year, delayed from last summer so that Jones could complete chemotherapy.

LEE FIELDS: Of course, if you press hard enough, Emma Jean might be the retro-soul LP that beats the Dap-Kings this year.  Here, Fields draws more from early 70s Motown, Philly, and even a dash of JB as influences, and it's solid.

ST PAUL & THE BROKEN BONES released a creditable debut LP, Half The City, in this retro soul groove.  Some may think it tries a bit too hard, but I'm okay with it until they learn to simmer down on occasion.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS: Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone seems like another aptly titled LP, although I could argue she's really fleashing her songs out here, adding more soul and even jazz touches to her Americana (a genre she helped put on the map) on this double-length album.  If you already have the Williams LP, you might also like Jolie Holland, who got back to her roots on  Wine Dark Sea.  

OLD 97's : Most Messed Up mostly is, in a good way, recorded mostly live in-studio to produce a friendly, shambling, yet energetic collection of Americana. "Longer Than You've Been Alive" isn't strictly true in my case, but no less fun.  Ryan Adams also had a very good year leading up to a self-titled LP.

CLOUD NOTHINGS: I want to call Here and Nowhere Else nosiy and tuneful, but it's mostly the latter, with hooks-a-plenty. Likely Dylan Baldi's best to date.

PARQUET COURTS Sunbathing Animal turned out to be an intriguing blend of art-punk like Television and early Wire, filtered through a 90s Pavement-esque slacker filter.

GUIDED BY VOICES and STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS: GbV's Motivational Jumpsuit (the last from the reunited 90s libneup, iirc) and the Malkmus-led Wig Out at Jagbags were both fine entries in the respective catalogs of these 90s stalwarts.  Niether made the sort of critical or commercial impression to vault them onto many "Best Of" lists, I suspect, but tehy make my Faves List.

THE BOTH: Aimee Mann and Ted Leo have also been around for decades, but The Both really does sound like both of them without particularly sounding like either of them.

NEW PR0NOGRAPHERS: I like Brill Bruisers more than I liked Together, as this time the indie supergroup manages to embiggen their power pop without veering too much into hard rock.

SPOON: Similarly, I prefer They Want My Soul to 2010's Transference, which found Britt Daniel & Co. veering away from their core strengths.  It may be shallow, but really, only Spoon can make a Spoon album and thus I like one that sounds pretty much like them.

ST VINCENT: Annie Clark has largely shed the Disney-esque touches of yore, but the sheer weirdness and her shredding guitar remain.  The electro backdrop on St Vincent may seem like a nod to the commercial, but she still freaked out a lot of people on SNL, didn't she?

TUnE-yArDs: Merrill Garbus alsosounds more commercial on the exuberant Nikki Nack, though here again this is a relative term. I for one find her nods to the more convential worldbeats don't diminish her quirkyappeal

ARIEL PINK's Pom Pom, the most recent entry on this list, continues to challenge musically as much as Pink trolls the media.  A sort of Brian Wilson-esque sensibility executed as 80s synth rock, and he makes it work somehow.

PERFUME GENIUS also plays in roughly the same space as Ariel Pink, but perhaps with early Bowie tossed into the mix, making Too Bright a compelling listen.

LAKE STREET DIVE doesn't fit neatly into any genre. I know Jon Pratt's family likes them, which ought to be recommendation enough for Bad Self Portraits.

REAL ESTATE also doesn't really fit in with these groups, but Atlas is an album that can come into heavy rotation through sheer indie pleasantness. 

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Sharon Van Etten, Leonard Cohen, Angel Olsen, Dave & Phil Alvin, and the The Basement Tapes Complete could all be on this list, if not for my laziness.

A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING:  It's always somewhere on the net.

WKRP: "Turkeys Away," in its entirety. And here's the turkey giveaway by itself.

THANKSGIVING has a lot of myths, both traditional and the new "Pilgrims were evil" o­nes taught in some public schools. Not to mention the fights over kindergarteners dressing as Native Americans.  However, if you read the journal of William Bradford -- who served some 35 years as governor of the Pilgims' colony -- you quickly discover that the Pilgrims' relationship with the natives was complex.  Ultimately, Bradford quieted internal discontent by doing away with the collectivism of a company town and granting property rights.

NOW SHOWING? Did that yesterday; check it out.

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AC/DC, Songs For Stuffing, Jenny Lewis, Alt-J, Maru   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


THE DECEMBERISTS drop a video for "Make You Better," ft. Nick Offerman, tht mashes up the OGWT with Rockpalast, two shows known to regular Pate visitors.

AC/DC is streaming Rock or Bust via iTunes radio.

SONGS FOR STUFFING: A Thanksgiving Mix.

JENNY LEWIS stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

ALT-J stopped by The Current for a chat and mini-set. 

AMERICAN WRESTLERS drops "I Can Do No Wrong", the first single from their upcoming debut. Very indie-psych.

HOLY drops "Golden Fog" ahead of their debut EP Silver Of Your Heart.  This one's more garage-psych.

THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS cover "Six Days on the Road."

GENE CLARK: The late Byrd and cursed singer-songwriter is essayed at Grantland.

RICHARD HAWLEY talks about his solo career at Drowned In Sound.

PRINCE has deleted his Twitter and Facebook accounts and pulled his music off theTube.

JONI MITCHELL is taking credit for halting an film adaptation of Girls Like Us, a biography that detailed the rise of Mitchell, Carole King, and Carly Simon. The movie had planned to cast Taylor Swift as Mitchell.

NOW SHOWING: The Thanksgiving weekend's wide releases are Penguins of Madagascar, which is currently scoring 57 percent on the ol' Tomatometer; and Horrible Bosses 2, scoring 28 percent.

JURASSIC WORLD has a trailer online.

BILL COSBY reportedly traded the National Enquirer a story about his then-23-year-old daughter Erinn’s battle with drug and alcohol abuse to stay out of the tabloid himself.

ANGELINA JOLIE talks about married life. And maybe had a marital spat.

HALLE BERRY is accusing her ex Gabriel Aubry of causing their daughter ‘psychological damage’ by dyeing her hair blonde.

SHIA LeBEOUF showed a judge he is successfully rehabbing himself after getting arrested for disorderly conduct.

LINDSAY LOHAN has a surprise stepmom, Kate Major.

HONG KONG authorities cleared street barricades from a pro-democracy protest camp in the volatile Mong Kok district for a second day Wednesday after a night of clashes in which police arrested 116 people.

FRANCE: More than 30 civilian drones have been seen over French nuclear reactors over the past two months. Greenpeace suspects terrorist activity and wants the reactors shut down.

RUSSIA: hough it went entirely unnoticed in the Western press, all major Russian news outlets – RIA Novosti, Sputnik, RT, and others – were only too happy to report on what US Secretary of State John Kerry said last week to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in private: “Just ignore Obama’s statements." State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke, when asked about Mr Lavrov’s revelation, called the latter’s words an “incorrect characterization” by Mr. Lavrov.

MARU searches for ever more boxes.

A CAT vanished on Halloween and  made the journey from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Maine.

ARTHUR the DOG tagged along on the 430-mile Adventure Racing World Championship.

A CIRCUS RHINO took a break on the streets of Luckenwalde, Germany.

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New Basement Tapes, Songs: Ohia, Mogwai, Trash Kit, Dogs   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


TWIN PEAKS drop a video for "Mind Frame."

THE NEW BASEMENT TAPES is one of five albums newly-streaming at The Guardian via Spotify.

SONGS: OHIA is advance streaming the deluxe reissue of Didn't It Rain.

MOGWAI is streaming Music Industry 3, Fitness Industry 1.

TRASH KIT is advance streaming Confidence.

CAVE PEOPLE dropped "Brace" and "Cluster" ahhead of their debut EP.

NEIL DIAMOND performs "I'm A Believer" and " "Solitary Man" during a secret show at Erasmus Hall High School, where Diamond attended for two years.

BOB DYLAN played a mini-set for one lucky fan.

HANNAH LOU CLARK talks to Drowned In Sound about Kids In Heat, the biz, and more.

THE TOP 10 KOOL & THE GANG SONGS, according to Stereogum.


JUSTIN BIEBER tops the Forbes list of the highest-earning celebs under 30.

MILEY CYRUS celebrated her 22nd birthday, which naturally involved a giant penis.

BILL COSBY: Another day, another accuser.

CHRISTIAN BALE talks Batman and Baffleck.

TRUE DETECTIVE: Rachel McAdams, Kelly Reilly, and Taylor Kitsch join the cast for Season Two.

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE now has its villain in Oscar Isaac.

CHRISTOPHER WALTZ will reportely play Blofeld in the next James Bond pic.

SAUDI ARABIA arrested the four main suspects in an attack on Shi'ite Muslims this month and believes it was ordered by Islamic State militants from abroad.

TURKEY and the United States smoothed over some differences in the fight against Islamic State during a weekend visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, but the talks heralded little in the way of deeper military cooperation between the NATO allies.

IRAN and six world powers have agreed to extend talks on Tehran's nuclear program after failing to seal a deal before a midnight deadline on November 24.

IRAQ: A recent Islamic State offensive in Iraq’s Anbar province suggests that the extremist organization is changing tactics, relying less on local Sunni Muslim tribes for support and carrying out what one coalition strategist called a “counterinsurgency campaign” intended to undercut any U.S.-led effort to enlist tribes against it.


MOBS OF MARAUDING MOKEYS have been wreaking havoc on residents of northern India, killing at least one.

THE BLACK SEADEVIL: First ever video, if you don't count Finding Nemo.

REINDEER forced to keep their schedule secret from animal rights activists.

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She & Him, Delta Spirit, Delta Spirit, Saintseneca, Marmoset   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Monday, November 24, 2014 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl


METALLICA busts out "Enter Sandman" for Craig Ferguson.

SHE & HIM are advance streaming Classics.

DELTA SPIRIT stopped by Morning Becomes Eclectic for a session.

SAINTSENECA plays live in the KEXP Studio.

THE BARR BROTHERS stopped by World Cafe for a chat and mini-set.

SMASHING PUMPKINS drop  “Drum + Fife" ahead of Monuments To An Elegy.

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND releases a live "Sweet Jane" and an all-new mix of "One of These Days" ahead of the deluxe reissue of their third LP.

U2: "Sunday, Bloody Sunday." Yesterday was the 94th anniversary of one such Sunday.

ROBYN HITCHCOCK talks to The Current about the backstory behind his new song, "San Francisco Patrol," as well as how he chose the cover tunes to put on his new record, The Man Upstairs.

JARVIS COCKER talsk to Pitchfork about the new Pulp documentary Life, Death and Supermarkets, why nobody wants to be a common person anymore, and the importance of creation in a culture obsessed with consuming everything.

SKY FERREIRA talks to Billboard about working with Primal Scream and taking control of her career.

INTERPOL talks about being trapped in their tour bus during the Buffalo blizzard.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 dominated the chart, as expected, with 123 million dollars. It also made 152 million overseas, from which it is likely that the third installment of the series will profit nicely while in theaters.  That said, this film opened smaller than Catching Fire, which made 158 million on release the weekend before Thanksgiving last year.  Perhaps worse reviews kept people away? Or the fact that this is s "Part 1" people think they will be able to see on video before "Part 2" opens?  Is this similar to the vaguely lackluster performace of the overly spread-out Hobbit films?  The overall Mockingjay budget was 250 million for both parts, which means each part cost about what Catching Fire did, meaning there was no economy of scale to make the studio care less about a smaller opening.  Nevertheless, a very solid opening.  Big Hero 6 is a distant second with 20 million on a 42 percent drop suggesting it was already hurt by Mockingjay ahead of the Penguins of Madagascar this week. However, Big Hero 6 doesn't open in many foreign markets until December and January. Interstellar got off to a rocky start on Friday, but managed to show with 15.1 million on a 46 percent drop, again suggesting pressure from Mockingjay. Even so, the studio is probably hoping for 500 million and already has about 450 million in worldwider receipts.  Dumb and Dumber To tumbles 62 percent to the fourth slotwith 13.8 million, but its totalis alright against a 35 million production budget.  Gone Girl's leggy run keeps it in the Top 5 with another 2.8 million.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1 is a solid, if particularly grim, entry in the franchise, and suffers from being an obvious "Part 1", with the finale being set up in a bit of a hurry near the end.  The action here takes a bit of a back seat to the political story (and to some degree the personal being the political for heroine Katniss). I preferred Catching Fire to the original for moving from the sociial satire to political intrigue, but I may have to eat that idea after the final installment. Mockingjay Part 1 seems to be setting up a cautionary tale in the mode of Pete Townshend or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, but I suspect the moral will be weakened by the sheer brutality of the The Capitol depicted in this film.  Nevertheless, it's good to see some of the last of Philip Seymour Hoffman (to whom the film is dedicates), who maximizes his time onscreen, even moreso than Elizabeth banks, (who gets at least one choice scene to chew on) and Julianne Moore, who joins the saga as the President of the rebellion. The film is so Katniss-centric, however, that there is little room for any other serious character development.  Of course, if you have Jennifer Lawrence to carry your film, you can get away with that.

BILL COSBY: The allegations from various women keep piling up and up and up and up. Add allegations from a male former NBC staffer.

LINDSAY LOHAN is reportedly sober and planning a comeback.

ANGELINA JOLIE confirmed she is retiring from acting to concentrate on writing and directing.

GWYNETH PALTROW may have taken a return shot at Martha Stewart.

COURTENEY COX is hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 30.

THE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS went to these folks.The, um, performances are collected at Stereogum.

THE UNITED KINGDOM: Metropolitan police commissioner Hogan-Howe said the police have stopped "four or five" terror attacks already this year, in comparison to one per year in recent years. He estimated that 500 people have left the UK to fight for extremist groups in Iraq and Syria. Khalid Mahmood, a Muslim MP from Birmingham, said 2,000 is a better estimate, and that the growing number of British jihadists is "a huge, huge problem."

EGYPT: Three unexploded bombs were discovered on railway tracks from Cairo to Aswan after a fourth bomb exploded near a southern train station, leaving behind a charred body presumed to be the bomber.

SAUDI ARABIA'S Minister of National Guard told reporters that fighting the Islamic State requires the deployment of ground forces.

TURKISH soldiers are training Kurdish peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq and will give similar assistance to a new national army unit in Baghdad as part of the struggle against ISIS, a senior Turkish official said Saturday.

AFGHANISTAN: In recent weeks, President Obama quietly broadened the US mission in Afghanistan in 2015, authorizing US forces to conduct missions against the Taliban and other groups that threaten Afghanistan, the US, or Coalition forces and to support Afghan troops in combat missions. US troop levels in Afghanistan, to be reduced to about 4,900 by the end of 2015, reportedly will not be affected by the new guidelines. The US has already committed roughly 10,000 troops to the Coalition's 2015 "Resolute Support" training mission in Afghanistan.

A MARMOSET gets a massage from a toothbrush.


A TAPEWORM lived in a man's brain for four years.

THOUSANDS OF COYOTES live in Chicago. Though the article reports they are strictly nocturnal, some have been seen observing traffic signals.

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The Animals, Raveonettes, Kooks, JEFF the Brotherhood, Cutout Bin, Panda   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, November 21, 2014 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: Karl



... with THE ANIMALS! I may have been quite remiss in not featuring them so let's dive in with their signature cover of "House of the Rising Sun" and "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" from Top Gear, "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" from Shindig, a creepy clip for  "It's My Life" from Hullabaloo, and "Don't Bring Me Down" on the Ed Sullivan Show.

THE RAVEONETTES stopped by WFUV's Studio A> for a chat and mini-set

THE KOOKS stopped by WFUV's Studio A for a mini-set.

JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD performs live in the KEXP Studio for your listening pleasure. 

TEMPLES treats KEXP VIP Donors to a neo-psych concert at The Triple Door

THE FLAMING LIPS & YOKO ONO perform "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". 

SOUNDGARDEN drops the previously unreleased “Kristi” from the mid-90s. 

EASYBEATS: The fish, the barrel, the smoking gun!

DWIGHT TWILLEY talks to Aquarium Drunkard about his history and making records in 2014. 

BILLY BRAGG apologizes to Taylor Swift for saying she 'sold her soul to Google'.

JIMMY PAGE finds a whole lotta love on his book tour

FLAVORWIRE lists music's most misogynistic and misandrist songs. 

CUTOUT BIN: I'm streaming a little more nostalgia via the Pate page at the ol' HM.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1 is this weekend's sole wide release, currently scoring 68 percent on the ol' Tomatometer.

MIKE NICHOLS, innovative comic and one of America’s most celebrated directors (“The Graduate,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, “Catch-22”, "Working Girl", "Charlie Wilson's War'), died of cardiac arrest on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 83.

BILL COSBY and his attorney are working to scuttle coverage of rape allegations against him. 

IGGY AZALEA & JENNIFER LOPEZ are stressing ABC censors who will have their hot little fingers on the button during Sunday's American Music Awards.

KHLOE KARDASIAN & LAMAR ODOM's divorce is lingering

ASHLEE SIMPSON and Evan Ross are already trying to get pregnant.   

AN ISLAMIC STATE leader has been killed in an air strike in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, residents and a local medical source said. 

EGYPT arrested a Muslim Brotherhood leader who had conducted negotiations with the government.

LIBYA: The UN has added Ansar al Sharia to its list of terrorist organizations and imposed sanctions on the Islamist group. US officials said they are "concerned" about the Islamic State's expansion to Derna.

A GIANT PANDA enjoys the snow in Toronto.

A RAMPAGING WOODCHUCK is terrorizing a New Hampshire neighborhood.

A PIT BULL PARADE is planned for Providence to celebrate after a superior court judge threw out a 10-year-old ban on the breed in a Rhode Island city. 

SCARED MONKEY FOREST: It's all cute until someone dies

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