Glyph is worse than some and better than others. He believes that life is just one damned thing after another, that only pop music can save us now, and that mercy is the mark of a great man (but he's just all right). Nothing he writes here should be taken as an indication that he knows anything about anything.

Related Post Roulette

37 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Attica was indeed an excellent album. Can’t quite remember where i heard about it though, hmmm….still really good stuff.

    Burnt Offerings from The Budos Band also completely killed it. I think i found them through that Lee Fields post, they were either on the same label or kept coming up in the “if you like this try this” section on e-music. Budos Band are relentlessly funky, horny ( no really they are almost all horn section) and groovtastic. I think i got all the BB albums this year. Great stuff.


  2. Avatar dhex says:

    swans, bvdub, sutekh hexen, aphex, coffinworm, twilight sad, tycho, lone, a winged victory for the sullen, haxan cloak/the body split, napolian, sylvan esso, tons of other stuff i’m forgetting.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to dhex says:

      Is ‘bvdub’ an abbreviation of something (BVW), or is it actual dub, or what?Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        A.) That’s really nice. Kind of Gas-y, (or Field-y) a little, at least at the start.

        2.) Looking at his wiki page, I see I wasn’t totally crazy to ask the question (“The name bvdub was given to Brock by a colleague and is simply a shortening of his initials, BVW, rather than being intended to denote dub”)

        C.) Also from his wiki: “Since 2007 he has released more than 40 albums and EPs under this name and other pseudonyms” – holy crap. That’s like Robert-Pollard-level productivity.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to dhex says:

      I forgot that Tycho came out this year. I’ve listened to it a lot.Report

  3. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    Well, I’ll play. I can’t say that there’s much overlap in our musical tastes, Glyph and Chris, but I do enjoy spinning tunes and getting out to shows when I can. And thanks to Glyph for the Neon Neon recommendation. One dismisses a Gruff Rhys side project at his own hazard. How did I go so long without listening to Stainless Style?

    Speaking of Gruff Rhys, he released a solo album this spring with a back story that can only be explained by a quip he made during a live show I saw, “After sailing through a sea of weed…”. The tale of John Evans, seeker of a lost tribe of Welsh speaking Indians, is told on American Interior.


    Canadian power poppers released a double album this fall that is as strong a collection as they’ve ever had in 20 years of recording. They put on a killer live show which is not to be missed, just ask my daughter “Bev”, who met Sloan superfan Neil at our inaugural dad/daughter concert. We were not disappointed. Here’s the last track from the album, a Floydian epic encompassing the entire side 4.


    Hushdrops, from my hometown, put out a long awaited sophomore effort, and there is no slump here. Just straight ahead Chicago power pop from some long time veterans of a very active scene. Get in on the secret! Here’s a sample.


    The Two Man Gentlemen Band put out a record of tunes written in the (roughly) first third of the last century. Just a guy with a standup bass and another guy with a guitar or banjo, they’re about as much musical fun as a 2 man band can generate. This’ll give you a taste of what these guys are all about.


    Finally, English garage (garridge) rockers Len Price 3 put out a new collection. 13 songs in 33 minutes is a nice tidy package that will have you unable to stay in your seat.


    Looking forward to some cool Friday nights at the MD Listening Club in 2015.Report

  4. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    Boy, have I ever gotten out of music with a vengeance. I haven’t seen a show in over a year, outside of dismaying “oh shit, they’ve got a band playing tonight”-type situations.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to krogerfoot says:

      I don’t get out much anymore either, which is weird because for many years that is pretty much what our social life was organized around. If it’s any consolation, sometimes it seems to me like living in a big city (you are in or around Tokyo, right?) can paradoxically make it harder to see shows – rent is higher; money’s tighter; the venues are smaller, yet the potential pool of attendees is much larger, and so shows sell out faster.

      You get this situation where there may be a feast of riches to see, but you don’t have as much time, money or opportunity to actually get there. There were years when I saw many more shows than my friends living in NYC, cultural center; they had (many, many) more theoretical opportunities, but I was able to make good on more of mine, because they were cheaper (as was my rent), and they didn’t all sell out in two seconds.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Ex Hex is is the name of a Mary Timony solo album. Interesting that should would use it for her band as well.Report

  6. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    Ooh, I only knew of Lee Fields from his cameo in the video for the Dap-Kings brilliant “I Learned the Hard Way”. Based on those two songs, I love everything that guy has anything to do with.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I feel really lame saying that I bought the new Counting Crows yesterday while at Best Buy picking up last minute Christmas presents.Report

  8. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Glyph, at year’s end I wanna thank you for all these wonderful music posts. I been diggen em alot.

    To the substance:

    Re: Mascis, strained vocals have never meant much to me, since one of the things I’ve always appreciated is artists overcoming their “limitations” in interesting ways. Thanks for including him in your list. I always wondered what happened to him after DinoJr. Musically, I mean.

    Re: U2: if the best you can say is that there songs aren’t “that bad”, then maybe it shouldn’t be in the recommended with reservations category and instead be in “old guys hangin on” instead. I’ve always (unapologetically and unironically!) liked U2. Even – yes – their recent stuff. (Why all the Bono hate?)

    Re Johnny Marr’s vocals, see what I wrote upthread. I mean, cmon: voice is an expressive tool, not an end in itself. IF not, would Tom Waits have deliberately sabatoged his own voice by singing monster music? Also, Marr’s guitar is the lightest, most sunshine-kissed strumming out there. Am I wrong about that? (If I am, I’d really like to know.)

    Also, thanks for Twilight Sad. And your post on shoegaze. And …Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater says:

      @stillwater – first, thanks for the kind words. I appreciate this site giving me a platform to do this, and I appreciate people reading.

      Second, when it comes to Marr and (especially) Mascis, I feel like “voice” is something you kind of have to get out of the way, if you want to talk about them.

      Marr, because he will be forever associated with one of the most distinctive voices (both in terms of tone/technique, and also the words) in rock; and Mascis, because…well, there’s just no other way to say it: he’s not much of a singer, and never has been.

      I’ve been listening to Dinosaur since around 1989, and while I truly do think this album seems better in that department, to someone who’s never heard him, that cracked voice still may be a significant stumbling block.

      If someone’s a great singer (say, a Ryan Adams, or a Neko Case) you are naturally going to want to talk about that. Even if they aren’t great, they can still be expressive – Morrissey is a perfect example of someone who learned to make the most of his limited ability; I think he turned into an excellent singer, by playing to his strengths. Or take someone like Bernard Sumner, whose very human flaws play brilliantly against the more cold, clinical aspects of his band’s music; or someone like Richard Butler, who is the sound of an acidic sneer that hides a wounded heart. None of these three vocalists is half the singer someone like Bono is, from a technical-ability-POV; yet I love them just as much.

      But J’s voice – his tone/technique; and his lyrics, which are often sort of one vague mushy recrimination after another; and his rhyme schemes (which often follow the same predictable pattern, song after song) and his simple, basic vocal melodies (which he has also been known to repeat on multiple songs) – is something the first-time (or skeptical) listener is inevitably going to have to get past.

      And I very much want them to: because voice is only one component of what’s going on here, and I think people are missing out if they stop there; I want to *acknowledge* it, so we can move *past* it.

      Because J sings with his fingers; every word that he can’t say, flows out through those. The minute he lets them fly, everything else falls away.

      RE: U2. Maybe I shouldn’t have included them at all; as I said, I only started listening to the album recently, because the song titles were so off-putting, and I haven’t really cared for anything of theirs post-Zooropa (but everything up to then is aces in my book – even October, though I perhaps-perversely don’t rate War very highly. The click track was a bad idea).

      So, I was skeptical, and found it a pleasant surprise. I’m not prepared to say any more than that, because I just haven’t listened to it all that much; and I’m not getting paid, to feel like I have to have a definitive answer.

      But if people are on the fence about U2 in 2014, as I was, they might give it a shot, as I did. That’s all I was trying to say.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph says:

        Yeah. I get what you’re sayin. That’s like, the worst cover of Just Like Heaven imaginable.

        Except that it’s J Mascis playin it. IF not for knowing that, I’d say it was rubbish. But it isn’t. Somehow.

        Also, there’s a new Ryan Adams album out there in the wide world. I’ve listened to a bit of it, aaaand it’s pretty good. In a Ryan sorta way.Report

  9. Avatar trizzlor says:

    Oh man! So much cool stuff to check out, thank you guys for putting this together. I’m realizing how MOR my tastes are getting, but here are some other albums I’ve dug:

    * Caribou – Our Love : I somehow totally missed this album until the past week, but haven’t stopped listening to it since. It almost has the structure of a traditional R&B/slow jams record but with some really sharp electronica foundations. Groovy.
    * Metronomy – Love Letters : More white boy R&B/electronica hybridization, but a retro sound this time. Guilty pleasure.
    * Hospitality – Trouble : Smart indie pop. This one is a bit darker than their debut which gives it a nice texture.
    * Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness : A folk tour de force. A few songs that would be stand-outs on a Leonard Cohen album, tucked between fuzz pop tracks with great hooks. Plus the lead singer seems sweet.

    Andrew Jackson Jihad, Broken Bells, and The Black Keys also all had very pleasant albums that were catchy but not enough to distract me from work.Report