With Complete Condescension and Conviction

9 Aug

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.What a great week it’s been for music in Indy. Bright Eyes on Thursday, the Head and the heart on Friday  (both in-store at Luna and then an impromptu show at The Earth House after the decemberists cancelled)  and then My Morning Jacked at white river on sunday. Unfortunately, my card reader has decided to be of no use whatsoever to me and stopped working completely so it’s going to be a minute until i post pictures and reviews from said shows,  i’ll try to get motivated and pick one up early in the week. Until then here’s what i’ve found worth listening to lately:

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Jhameel- Shut-Up [mp3]

YES! This is the the first song i can ever remember instantly wanting at the same time to both dance and destroy everything within arms reach. Could the vocals possibly get any dirtier? I’ve downloaded the rest of the album but have yet to check it out,  if it’s half this good go ahead and count my vote for album of the year.  How many genre’s can one person combine in a song? i count four. If you can’t tell i’m impressed and that doesn’t happen often. Like an intense Fyfe Dangerfield mixed with a more pop sensible Gobble Gobble this guy has confidence and craft just sweating from the speakers… i can’t imagine how  someone could not instantly dig this song. Get the album free here.

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Icona Pop- Manners (Captain Cuts Remix) [mp3]

I’ve shifted this playlist around twenty times and there’s just no way to smoothly follow jhameel, not without pulling something that’s years old and sitting on a shelf somewhere,  so rather than force it i’m just going to keep moving forward. Icona Pop have that pop (no pun intended) driven chorus hook typical of Swedish artists,instantly catchy, works in any upbeat mix and always feels good.

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Parlours- I Think Ill Call You Mine [mp3]

We’re heading into my favorite time of  year…fall. When night drives, hooded sweatshirts and solid lyric driven laid back songs are a mainstay.  This song helps me look forward to it because it’s an obvious choice to listen on the way to any late-night relaxed excursion.  It’s also well fitting when making up a mix for a new crush to slip I think i’ll call you mine onto the later parts of the playlist.

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Memory Tapes – Wait In The Dark [mp3]

There is something that stands out about Dayve Hawk created tracks which i have a high respect for. He seems to have a clear vision of how to create a piece of art that has a highly complex dynamic without them ever feeling cluttered or rushed. Comparisons are inevitable to washed out but i don’t see that as being an overshadowing tangent. Memory Tapes has it’s own (well earned)  place in the annals of chillwave and i’m glad to see the music popping up more and more around the scene.

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Nestled Like Spoons- The City’s Face [mp3]

The imagery Phil Marsalona uses throughout this song is vivid and personal. I’ve gotten down on The City’s Face since the very first listen. I feel this would be a strong fit for a well directed indie film, it’s just got that sort of vibe to it. Get the ep for free here.

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Sun Airway- Wild Palms [mp3]

It’s not much of a secret how in love i am with Sun Airway.  At first listen SA tracks sound like they are merely solid electronic tracks but when you take the time to catch what’s being said it’s immediately clear that Sun Airway have true depth and creative brilliance when it comes to writing. I honestly cannot get enough of this album and am looking forward to all things that this duo have to offer us in the future.

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Winter Villains- The Air [mp3]

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Winter Villains are a band that has yet to define itself in any set way. They haven’t even released an actual album, as a matter of fact outside of  their being from south Whales nothing else is clear about them.So here’s your chance at getting to know a band early on. I expect big things from Winter Villains in the coming months, they truly have something to offer with an undercurrent of longing and calm self-realization similar to bon iver and fleet foxes which is something i can’t get enough of and it’s hard to imagine i’m the only one who feels that way.

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Big White Clouds – Puddle Jumpers [mp3]

This song is an example of why this mix is one of my favorites in recent months for its lyrical content. The guitar work in this may be the best on this weeks collective as well with it’s catchy upbeatness that keeps  Puddle Jumpers from falling into a simple song of sad contentment. The instrumentation nearly says as much as the lyrics do and both are honest and nothing short of complete. This one will be getting alot of use on my ipod.

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M. Ward- Poison Cup [mp3]

M. Ward may quite possibly be the most underrated artist in music today. I would have thought that his work with Monsters of Folk would have helped finally elevate him beyond the subtle niche he fits so nicely into but his place seems to be constantly unchanging. This is good for those of us who like when our favorite artist keep that feeling of being our own little secret yet at the same time i can’t remember another artist who has maintained that status while steadily creating better and better music as they go along.  I think ideally most people who feel passionate about the art they create kind of set out with a goal of being where M. Ward consistently is, i just feel like with music this good he deserves more.

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The Milk Carton Kids-Girls, Gather ‘Round (live)  [mp3]

Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan have made one of the most sing-alongable songs with Girls, Gather Round. This one shows what strengths these two troubadours are working with. A tinge of classic bluegrass that makes you want to swing a mug and belt along with the chorus and what’s even better is that such a full sound is created by two guys playing live.

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Oh No! Yoko – Go Alien [mp3]

”]The Temper Trap meets Los Campesinos in the most infectious way imaginable. This  is probably the strongest showing from the band thus far and is just another example of the range of genre’s Oh No! Yoko are capable of covering.

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Library Voices- Generation Handclap [mp3]

What i like most about Library Voices is that they’ve found a way of channeling that resurfacing 60’s surf rock sound without the Low-fi angle other bands are annoyingly hiding behind. I think it’s obvious that i’m not anti-low-fi but i’m getting more and more irritated as bands come out with that being their only strength which just adds fuel to the argument i hear regularly that less talented bands are hiding behind it to cover up their own short comings. Library Voices remain uninhibited by that crutch and instead have allowed their own indie touch to a throwback sound. Whereas so many other bands  can only be described by using the influences they choose to channel LV are much harder to do anything other than give a vague description of my own impression of there music ending in the ultimate suggestion that really one should just listen to them for yourself and get a first hand opinion.

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Gary Clark Jr. – Bright Lights [mp3]

Gary Clark Jr. is the first artist i can think of in my lifetime that has  actually gotten the blues right. He has something to offer rather than just choosing some rote format to follow. Using common references he falls between Jimmy Hendrix and The Black Keys and has really made me reevaluate my own misconceptions about blues music in general. When i was much younger i was immersed in the blues and then one day the light just went out. Gary Clark Jr. didn’t just get the light to flicker back on he has the kicked the door open and let natural light blind me as he said with cold steel confidence “your going to know my name.”

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Digits- because it’s wrong [mp3]

How great is the Piano in this song?  That’s rhetorical…it’s perfect. Alt Altman has gone from being a blip on my radar to a full on mainstay and this song solidified that decision.

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SLEEP ∞ OVER- Romantic Streams [mp3]

I can’t get enough of Stefanie Franciotti’s laid back yet full on orchestral songs.  For as subtle and passive as this song in-particle presents itself it pulls itself out of the ether most chillwave/electronic songs float in and rises directly into focus. To throw any Sleep ∞ Over song onto a mix meant to be played only as background music is a huge mistake, this is great art which is much better than the vast majority of music Sleep ∞ Over share a genre with.

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Dashboard Confessional-Tall Green Grass (Cory Branan cover [mp3]

As a lifelong fan of Dashboard Confessional and a fan of this Cory Branan song i can’t be more content with  a cover. I have caught sh*t for years that DC is tied for my all-time favorite band. Many people have misconceptions about Chris Carrabba, and the music he creates, they just can’t shake. It’s their loss and i’m over defending myself. I know great music when i experience it, I know perfectly written highly personal lyrics when i hear them and as far as my love for music goes that is all that matters. Maybe this cover might sway some people to hear something other than what they are so quick to label as “emo”.

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John Maus- Hey Moon [mp3]

As i continue to lose respect for Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti I’m gaining more and more of it for John Maus and his abilities not only as an artist but also as a producer.  Some musicians just cannot record themselves without things sounding too forced and constricted yet on the other end of the spectrum those who can do it successfully end up with songs such as this one where that additional time to focus per track turns into a full sound of layer upon layer of well placed instrumentation.

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Fair Ohs – Everything Is Dancing [mp3]

For those handful of people who follow the usual make up of my playlists you may be surprised to see a song like Everything is Dancing closing the mix out.  Typically i like to open things up with energy and rather than try to sustain that energy i design playlists with the ideal situation of a late night drive where i would be listening to it deep into the night in mind, so i usually save the more relaxed acoustic based tracks to close out the night. When i first heard this song from Fair Ohs I knew this was the kind of song i would love to be the last i hear before calling it a night. Where in most cases i could put into words why that feeling comes across for me this is an exception. It just works. This is also one song i am really excited to see get played live, i have a feeling this one has an energy in-person that’s hard to contain. Hopefully i’ll get to find out first hand in the near future whether that holds true or not.

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my unnecessary rant:

One of the more irritating things to happen in conversation is talking to someone with taste that reflect only the scene they are a part of.  I get that you and the twenty kids who show up at the same places are passionate about “music” (really the majority of the group are merely passionate about getting wasted, looking cool, and sleeping with someone new ( i am not above this)) but how many new bands are accepted into this little circle of pretension you are in? I’m always amazed how these kids hold so tight to five shitty bands and refuse (REFUSE) to believe that there are actually other good bands outside of what they have already experienced and allowed onto their list of “scene approved” bands.

There are always three waves that go with these inclusive lists; you have the new bands, these are rarely local but lets say if you were to look at the dynamic of four bands that would be named dropped two will be from the region, one will be from brooklyn, and the other either austin or oregon, as far as the Indy kids go, recent bands to be included onto this list are pomegranates, white denim, harlem, and sleeping bag (all are decent bands but hardly ground breaking). The second type is the “band that was never that cool which makes them cool” section which are the easiest to spot seeing how only one, occasionally two but never three, make it into the general zeitgeist of a scene, two obvious examples would be the talking heads as well as Hall and Oats which get way more credit than they deserve and sure they made good music but there has been so much great music in the last, i don’t know, fifty years why only those precise ones? And the third wave, which is the one i always find irritating, is the one that get’s brought up in a sentence like ” i can’t stand anything mainstream but i can’t help but like…” here are where the most awful, image mongering, self-righteous, completely mediocre pieces of wasted disc space who cause my throat to burn with the taste of my own vomit fit into any conversation i’d rather not be in… obvious mentions on this list are lady gaga and kanye west ( when someone does this i try to say something like “oh i totally understand,  i’m the same way about 3 doors down” and rarely does anyone get my sarcasm which i love even more).

Now i’m fine with all of these things, it’s easy to understand why at 20 years old you have limited musical knowledge. The fact that you’re making the effort to even be at shows and care about something other than what’s popular with ninety five percent of the soulless, flavorless, luke warm people around us is novel in itself. The only time i have a problem with it is when you name drop a band like it gives you street cred and then go and get all republican on me when i, with a fair amount of knowledge about the band we are speaking, disagree with you.  my opinions  may not be any more important than yours (and i firmly believe they are not) but what you arrogantly seem  not to consider is that they are not any less important either.

The recent conversation that has brought about this stream of anti-scene-kid criticism happened outside of the Bright Eyes concert where i was doing my best to smoke and look cool when some girl was talking shit about conor oberst and his musical relevance. I was biting my tongue for maybe two minutes as her friend, who had obviously paid for both their tickets, kept attempting to contribute his opinion to the conversation as she continued with her never ending rant and wouldn’t let him get a word in.  Finally i turned and very quiet and calmly asked her “so you obviously feel a negative conviction about Bright Eyes which bands do you feel positive about?” she looked at me shocked for a second ( i know…. who am i to butt into her loud conversation she is having two feet from me?) then she said with complete condescension “well i guess the most obvious bands would be destroyer and portugal, the man.” If this girl does not work for pitchfork i think i will have a fucking heart attack. Of all the bands in the world you are going to mention as being more relevant than Bright Eyes those are the two you say out loud? She must have panicked right? i mean there’s no way real thought could have gone into that statement. Portugal the man? I initially did a “hmmm” thing, took a drag from my american spirit (just kidding they were camel lights), and really couldn’t help myself when i said ” portugal, the man. They’re definitely talented guys, i just wish they’d spend more time writing music than standing in front of the mirror, i firmly believe they could give us one of the best albums of our generation but i’m still holding out for a relevant one,” a heated little conversation ensued but i felt good about myself.

Arguing over music is like arguing with someone who digs fox news it’s pointless, opinions never change, and the other side will always have a bitter taste towards the artist you are defending as a result. But that’s kind of the point. I don’t want to be standing at the concert listening to you mention tweeting seventy five times in two minutes and then rip on the band that i’ve paid to go see. If you and your friends would like to talk shit about bright eyes while watching jersey shore later on in the night that’s fine and fitting but destroyer and portugal the man? those are the best examples you can come up? heycoolkid-1 scene girl-0

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All songs are for promotional purposes to help the artists involved find new fans that they may not have been presented to before. I understand that in order to continue making music those bands have a need to make some sort of compensation for the art they create. One of the goals in the general ethos of heycoolkid! is that through the free distribution of these songs  the bands will inevitably spark interest in the listener that will cause them not only to want more songs from the bands but also get them motivated to check these bands out live when they come to play in there own city. If you or an artist you represent has a song on this page that you would like removed i understand and will take it down upon request. Just know that i will no longer recommend that music in a positive light and will make the same amount of effort in the future to get people not to like the music as i did before in promoting them.

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If there’s any music i’m missing or missing the point of let me know.

One Response to “With Complete Condescension and Conviction”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Heycoolkid!’s Best Songs Of 2011 « Heycoolkid! - December 21, 2011

    […] Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan (a.k.a. The Milk Carton Kids)  have made one of the most sing-alongable songs with Girls, Gather Round. This one shows what strengths these two troubadours are working with. A tinge of classic bluegrass that makes you want to swing a mug and belt along with the chorus and what’s even better is that such a full sound is created by two guys playing live. (Via) […]

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