Weekly Download Fin

Fine Young Cannibals by Wolf Parade

For some reason can’t get enough of this song [sic].  I want to make a movie set in the 80’s [sic] about a guy who travels back in time from the 2000’s [sic] to seduce 80’s [sic] chicks using all the tricks he learned from Brat Pack movies.  This will be his theme song.

Well that was it. The first one. Five years ago. What follows is the last one, but I thought it would be neat to come full circle.

No idea how to say goodbye. So I will tell you what I’ve learned the last five years as a result of and notwithstanding this pretentious thing. We’ll see how that works.

  • Your kids are the most important things in the world; they make it worth it. But don’t ever tell them that.
  • David Foster Wallace is my generation’s writer.
  • Arcade Fire is my generation’s band.
  • I may be the only person in my generation.
  • You be the one to define.
  • Music still matters just as much as you want it to.
  • Thinking about things is important. Deciding the things to think about is more important.
  • I miss my dad.
  • I’m a sucker for YouTube “surprise dad is home from overseas military service” videos.
  • Golf is boring.
  • Baseball is boring, and that’s why I love it.
  • The word “notwithstanding” is confusing and ridiculous.
  • Loving to read is the best thing anyone can learn.
  • Food is worth it, pay the price, get the Waygu steak, get the halibut cheeks, get the brie, you may never pass that way again.
  • Tattoos are cool.
  • If they are not at the beach, swimming pool, or on vacation, men shouldn’t wear flip-flops.
  • Smoking used to be cool. (N.B. But once in a while it still is.)
  • Friends are the thread in the tapestry of your life.
  • I will never understand people’s obsession with and devotion to dogs.
  • Our governor is a moron, and our small forward is a prince, but Oklahoma is more than Mississippi with oil and the NBA. There are great things here. Important things. Fun things. But the souls of the Okies are the best.
  • It’s ok to get bored with things. Just find new ones.
  • I love tramp stamps.
  • There are reasons America is the best, but America can be better.
  • Being taught to fish is liberating.
  • No one will ever love Drive-by Truckers
  • I’m fairly certain I’ve been using “N.B.” incorrectly all this time.
  • You can never say “thank you” enough.
  • Facebook is nerdy.
  • You can never say “I love you” enough.
  • Tomorrow is infinitely less important than today.
  • They will never make a movie as good as the Shawshank Redemption.
  • I will never write anything better than this.
  • Words win.
  • It’s ok to be right and to know you’re right.
  • Admit when you’re wrong.
  • I’ve been in countless churches in my beloved state but the only place I’ve ever been that feels like holy ground is standing in front of the reflecting pool staring at 168 empty chairs.
  • I married the right woman. You’re not a princess; you’re a fucking superhero. I love you.

I think that’s it. I’ll miss you guys. If you see me, anywhere anytime, I will buy you a beer (N.B. and not in the “hey let’s grab a beer sometime” hollow euphemism for hanging out. I will literally take you to a bar and buy us both beers), we’ll sit and talk about music, and life, and spouses, and our kids, and those stories we share that knit us together (N.B. but not politics or religion), and it will be like…

 

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Weekly Download Vol. V No. 30

(Insert Last Week’s Preface) and for the songs I decided that there would be no repeat artists. So it’s prolly even a worse list.

16. Song for Zula – Phosphorescent – My obsession with album closers results in a needless demotion and consequent underrating of brilliant songs because I love how they close my album. But letting Song for Zula cut me lose from the last five years of music into the next is exactly where I want to be.

15. Midnight City – M83 – I think this is truly the only song on the list that’s more feeling than song. I don’t have any idea what this song is about, and I don’t really care. But I want to live in it.

14. Rill Rill – Sleigh Bells – No other song Sleigh Bells has ever done sounds close to this. Hell, no song anyone has done in since I first heard it does.

13. Emmylou – First Aid Kit – That soul triage…yeah.

12. Hold on – Alabama Shakes – Come on, Brittany! Ya gotta get back up!

11. Circuital – My Morning Jacket – This song perfectly emblemizes my entire relationship with My Morning Jacket. I forget about it. Then it pops up on a mix somewhere, and I remember how much love it. Then I get mad at myself for the time I’ve wasted listening to anything but this.

10. Rolling in the Deep – Adele – You know. Daft Punk/Pharrell tried to challenge her, but no song really approached the ubiquity these last five years. Yet Daft Punk’s crack-pipe-ingly addictive dance diddy eventually wore me down, like methadone wore me down, and England’s rubenesque power-diva’s perfect song never has. I bet it never does.

9. Out Go The Lights – Spoon – The place for a Spoon song that up until a few months ago would have gone to Who Makes Your Money and in six weeks will prolly go to one of about four stellar tracks from They Want My Soul, but Out Go The Lights has carved out a sweet spot recently. It makes any mix better.

8. Freedom at 21 – Jack White

7. Second Song – TV on the Radio – I re-discovered this jewel scanning back through lists from years past to prepare this one. Wow. I forgot. It’s a stellar encapsulation of the “band who should be everyone’s favorite band.”

6. Everybody Needs Love – Drive-by Truckers – Yeah, I don’t know. This is a cover and very non-DBT-ish. But I can’t turn it loose. It makes me happy every time I listen to it.

5. Shake it Out – Florence + The Machine – Florence’s weapons-grade voice seared me like no other instrument the last five years. Complete Goose-bumper.

4. Runaway – Kanye West – (sigh) When you start to hate him, want him to shut his fucking mouth, and get his super-cell F5 off popular culture’s radar, listen to the first 1:12 of his masterpiece. It will infect you.

3. The House that Heaven Built – Japandroids

When they love you and they will / tell them all they’ll love in my shadow / and when they try to slow you down / tell them all to go to hell.

2. Hannah Hunt – Vampire Weekend – After time I’ve decided that more than anything, Hannah Hunt defines Modern Vampires of the City. The ocean waves, the heart-ripping lament, all of it. She puts you inside this album as Ezra says goodbye (as we all say goodbye) to (some) of the dreams of our youth.

A gardener told me some plants move
But I could not believe it
Till me and Hannah Hunt
Saw crawling vines and weeping willows
As we made our way from Providence to Phoenix

A man of faith said
Hidden eyes could see what I was thinking
I just smiled and told him
That was only true of Hannah
And we glided on through Waverley and Lincoln

Our days were long our nights no longer
Count the seconds, watching hours
Though we live on the US dollar
You and me, we got our own sense of time

In Santa Barbara, Hannah cried
“I missed those freezing beaches”
And I walked into town
To buy some kindling for the fire,
Hannah tore the New York Times up into pieces

If I can’t trust you then damn it, Hannah
There’s no future, there’s no answer
Though we live on the US dollar
You and me, we got our own sense of time

1. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) – Arcade Fire

There are songs that remind us of people, of places, of times, of memories. For each of you there are songs that soundtrack your important points, your zeniths, your nadirs. There is the song you sang in the car with your dad every time. There is the song you listened to on repeat your entire senior year. There is the song you sang outside a bar after close, drunk and surrounded by your friends. There is the song you listened to on the way to every final. There is the song you played at every after-party. There is the first song on the first mix CD you ever burned for her. There is the first song you danced with your wife to. There is the song they played at his funeral. There is the song you watched as your son and the song you watched your daughter danced there way to even higher cockles of your heart.

And there is the song that will be Weekly Download, that will forever remind me of this pretentious thing I did.

That song is a mighty band’s crowning achievement and was pretty much certain to top this list.

I won’t drone on about it. Listen one more time.

See you next week.

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Weekly Download Vol. V No. 29

Hello friends. I believe Weekly Download is five years old. As has been the case three years running, a summer of discontent lead to a scheme about this very post being my big goodbye and finally turning loose of this pretentious thing.

I told a few of you and was met with moderately vehement “don’ts”. I told a few others and was met with the incredulity that only comes from years of scanning through my bullshit.

So it’s been five years. How else to commemorate than to give to the 10 albums and the 16 best songs of the WD era (2009-2014)(N.B. Which also, as luck would have it, coincides with the first five years of the second decade of the new millennium). Then I’ll give you a weepy and tell you how much I appreciate you reading.

Notes on the list: No more quasi-music critic bullshit. I’m giving you my 10 favorite albums and 16 favorite songs.   But anyway, you know where they’re coming from, and I’ve made most you listen to at least some of them. The rankings in this list are literally in the order I thought of them. And man, do I know I’ve fucked this list up. But the first draft of my tastes seemed the most honest. Agree?

10. Place holder for 2014 albums I so far dearly love and will only regret they’re not here as I reflect on this list in 20 years: Horse Thief: Fear in Bliss; John Fullbright: Songs; Spoon: They Want My Soul; Sturgill Simpson: Metamodern sounds in County Music (N.B. In case anyone wanted a preview of 2014’s top ten…)

9. Fuck 9th place. Three way tie between: Undun by the Roots (N.B. In my opinion their Magnum Opus); The Monitor by Titus Andronicus (N.B. Absolutely the most genius punk album I have ever heard); and Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City by Kendrick Lamar (N.B. Without a doubt, the single most unforgivable overlook in The. History. Of. WD. So good and so under my radar when it dropped that I want to punch myself in the face every time I listen to it for not offering it up to you.)

Spoon-album-Transference-300x3008. Transferrance by Spoon – I’d say this is the album that made me fall in love with Spoon. And now that I’m a legit Spoon fan boy, it is prolly their darkest album. Transferrence is the night time, the all night party, the dread, and They Want My Soul was the bright but caustic morning of repurposed regrets. Here’s to the night time.

Alabama Shakes7. Boys and Girls by Alabama Shakes – There is no band/album in WD’s history that I take anything approaching the discovery/introduction pride than I’ve done giving you Alabama Shakes. It got played pretty much top to bottom from a juke box in a bar I was in this week. Damn it’s still good and still makes me excited about this bands’ future. But man their present is wonderful.

The Lion's Roar6. The Lion’s Roar by First Aid Kit – Nothing I’ve listened to in the last 5 years can soothe me like this does. Buff out rough edges. Calm a frazzled mind. Triage for my soul. I put the needle to this so many times in 2012, that somehow above all the other stunning music in that overstuffed year, The Lion’s Roar won. Weird.

Japandroids5. Celebration Rock by Japandroids – You’re having one of those eye-roll at WD moments (N.B. That every single one of you have), and I don’t give a shit. This album gives me rock-n-roll goose bumps every time I hear it. That alone puts it on this list.

Blunderbuss4. Blunderbuss by Jack White – I think I’ve made it clear how much I love surly Jack Gillis III and his resting bitch-face. He’s maybe a little over-exposed now in the Fall of 2014, but in the Spring of 2012, it felt like I hadn’t heard him since the face-melting opening bars of You Don’t Know What Love Is, and I had missed him. Blunderbuss scratched every conceivable itch, and cemented his place on the Mt. Rushmore of post millennium rock.

images-43. The Suburbs by Arcade Fire – There is a permanence to this album that I sensed after the first several times I listened to it. It’s an album that in this fragmented global musical zeitgeist came the closest to reminding me there are still such things as The Biggest Band in the World (N.B. a title long abdicated by U2 and in turn demapped (N.B. ups to DFW on that verb)  by this summer’s conniving iTunes stunt which when I consider came from the band who gave us Achtung Baby kinda makes me ill.) Their was void in the Important Rock world and Arcade Fire filled it in a spectacular way. I do this list a year ago (N.B. Hell, maybe a month ago) and the Suburbs is number 1. And I still know it’s more important that 1 and 2, but as stated above, I’m being honest with you.

images-22. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West – This fucking guy. You’re allowed to hate him. Fuck. I do sometimes. But it’s like hating the sunlight. And this album is the sun in the solar system of hip hop.

Modern Vampires1. Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend – Part of me wants to call Vampire Weekend the little band that could. But that seems…I don’t know…condecending. 11 (or 12) on this list would prolly be Contra their second album. But this is Vampire Weekend perfected. And they are smart, insightful, witty, talented, and important in ways I only wish I was. Listening to this reminds me of that, but it doesn’t bring me down. It invigorates me. And that’s something.

See you next week.

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Weekly Download Vol. V No. 28

Violent Shiver by Benjamin Booker

Fantastic ups to Mary Lauren on the recco. This amazing self-titled debut album soundtracked my trip to beloved Norman yesterday where I’ve found I’m prone to consent to legal house calls in Cleveland County as an excuse reminisce through a town and a campus I don’t recognize sometimes (N.B. and I’ve only been gone 9 years). Then I go the Mont, and everything still feels right.

Enjoy

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Weekly Download Vol. V No. 27

The Rising by The Boss

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Weekly Download Vol. V No. 26

Rent I Pay by Spoon

I love Spoon. I love this album. I love this song. I feel like often when I band a love releases an album I love, my default praise for it that I now realized you have to be in my head (or at least share similar opinions (N.B. Which surely most of you do by now. We’ve almost been doing this five years. Sheesh)) to fully embrace is “this is the Spoon-est sounding Spoon album of all Spoon albums (N.B. Ups to the Weapon for that phrasing. I use it weekly.).

In this case it strikes me as a little lazy. But if you want to fall in love with Spoon, They Want My Soul is a good start (N.B. 2006’s Kill the Moonlight, better.) Critics call it a “back to form” album after 2010’s WD adored but lacklusterly received Transference (N.B. This has served to re-enforce a peculiarity (N.B. Cynics might call it purposely contrarian) facet of my music tastes. It appears that very often (not always) my favorite album from very popular bands is the one critically regarded as their worst. E.g. Monster by R.E.M, _________ (N.B. that other one) and Pablo Honey by Radiohead (N.B. ’cause they’ve never made a song better than Creep and all you Radiohead nerds know it.).

So I don’t know what “back to form” means. If it means fuzzy electronic beats, crunching guitars, and hooks so infectious the CDC/WHO should ebola-quaratine (N.B. ugh. Sorry) them coupled with Britt Daniel’s uncanny ability to craft lyrics that appear to be deeper than they actually are (N.B. But he deserves a high-five if not a full-on bro hug for Outlier and the delicious line: “And I remember when you walked out of Garden State / cause you had taste, you had taste / you had no time to waste.” Bravo.) then Spoon has regressed. And remains brilliant. Fall in love with them.

Enjoy

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Weekly Download Vol. 5 No. 25

Going Home by John Fullbright

Maggie loves Grammy nominated and generally fantastic Bearden Oklahoma raised singer-songwriter, John R. Fullbright who so cunningly managed to avoid WD’s Oklahoma Music April two years in a row…

Enjoy

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Weekly Download Vol. V No. 24

It Ain’t All Flowers by Sturgill Simpson

I was excited about this specific week since I first saw the Summer of 2014 albums to be released list and determined the second week in August was to be WD’s rumination and recommendation of one of several superb tracks from They Want My Soul, Spoon’s delectable new album.

But then this little drip of brilliance interceded (N.B. and don’t infer this as any type of slight toward WD’s favorite Austin, TX indie auteurs. Patience for next week). Here, loyal downloaders, is your country music fix for 2014. It will scratch the itch. And if you don’t have the itch, Sturgill Simpson will take the back-scratcher and whip you across the ass until you find something to scratch.

WD discovered (i.e. heard on N.P.R.) Sturgill Simpson and his benevolent nouveau-Waylon Jennings’ drippy goodness  the day before he could pick up his pre-order of Spoon, and much to his surprise, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music refuses CD player extraction. I’m in love with it; I even mailed a copy to my baby brother, and I haven’t done that since…well I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. Johnboy?

If there is a bone in your body that loves country music, and not shit-bro-Nashville-pop, listen to Sturgill Simpson and be wowed.

Enjoy

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Weekly Download Vol. 5 No. 23

Dusty Come Up for Air by Tyson Meade

There is another world where Tyson Meade’s most well renown band Norman Oklahoma’s Chainsaw Kittens becomes the famous band they should have become attaining moderate stardom in the early 90s with all of us 90s kids today knowing every word to Mother (of Ancient Birth) as well as we know 1979 or Plush and now set to ride off into the elder-statesmen-of rock-n-roll-concerts-at-casinos sunset. Then there is this one where that never happened, CK sputtered out, and savant-ish lead singer Tyson Meade (N.B. Once famous for screaming his surly gay idiosyncratic brilliance on stage in a wedding dress with puke on it (N.B. Ups to TWW for that one)) lost his desire to perform and instead taught English in Shanghai and surfaces intermittently with well-intentioned but ultimately uninspiring albums with 1-2 pretty good tracks on them. This is one of those tracks, and it sounds pretty good in this world.

Enjoy

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Weekly Download Vol. V No. 22

Word Crimes by “Weird Al” Yankovic

I don’t think there is a song that’s made me happier this year than this 3:45 lesson on doing things right by the tragically underrated and overlooked Alfred Matthew Yankovic who’s been dropping nuggets of brilliance like this for 30 years.

I fuck up less v. fewer every time.

Enjoy

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