Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stream/Download: The Dirty Nil ​/​ Northern Primitive Split 7"

Featured in my 7 favorite 7”s from last year. The Dirty Nil have since released a split 7″ with their friends and fellow Ontario band Northern Primitive. The A-side "Zombie Eyed" is a heavily fuzzed out Weezer-esque anthem. It’s one of their catchiest tracks yet and it’s damn fun to sing along to as they scream "I guess I'm just zombie eyed!" The B-side from Northern Primitive is a slow burning distorted haze that has a soft underlying melody drifting in and out throughout its length. If we were using zombie flicks as reference points, The Dirty Nil’s side would be Zombieland, fun and aggressive, whereas Northern Primitive’s would be 28 Days Later, eerie and brooding. The digital is available for name your price, so jump on that immediately then purchase yourself a copy of the vinyl for later. Below is also a brilliant performance video of both tracks.

Get to Know Lorde: The Love Club & "Tennis Court" Single

I get defensive when it comes to pop music I enjoy. I think a lot of music bloggers do. Just because I predominantly listen to garage rock and music of the type doesn’t mean that I don’t (or can’t) listen to pop music as well. There is no discriminating at Stereo Typing (ironic, I know) and I find myself with the urge to listen to and write about everything from death metal to twee, as long as I truly believe it to be good. Over the past few months, I found myself continually revisiting The Love Club EP by an up-and-coming New Zealand popstress who performs under the name Lorde. The release is not the typical offering I jump all over, but I find it irresistible, in no small part due to the single “Royals”, one of the most infectious tunes I can think of from the past year.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Stream: Priests - Radiation ​/​ Personal Planes 7"

I recently read a piece titled “Defending Community Spaces” from The Media, a publication featuring former Boston Phoenix (RIP) contributors. It serves as a nice indirect response to what has been going on in Boston. For those who don’t know, the Boston Police have been posing as “punks” in order to shut down shows held in DIY spaces. The article is effective because it addresses the issue as a societal and universal one since it is not from a Boston resident but a touring musician from Washington DC. The musician in question is Katie Alice Greer of Priests (also in Chain and the Gang). She advocates for unmitigated community space and explains her criteria for booking the band’s upcoming tour stating, “It is important to me, and the other 3 members of my band, that we play our music in places where anyone who would like to attend the performance can do so.”

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Track Rundown

Stereo Typing has become the blog that refuses to die. I've put it on the back burner while I focused on more important things like getting my life into functional order. The good news is that I feel like things are moving along well enough to post this quick update complete with a fantastic downloadable playlist. I've seen a lot of my favorite blogs throw in the towel (RIP Built on a Weak Spot) and I've been tempted to do so myself many times over. However, I feel if I don’t put too much pressure into trying to stay relevant and instead focus on posting material when I feel compelled, I can still turn people onto good music and that’s what matters. In an effort to catch readers up with at least a portion of the amazing tracks released this year, I have compiled 23 of my favorites along with the 23 best music videos.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Year-End Report: Looking Back at 2012 - Favorite Music Videos Playlist & Best of Mix

Think of this as the Best of 2012 epilogue. The first playlist contains the 40 best music videos of 2012. Despite contrary belief, music videos keep getting better and better, and these are solid evidence of that. It almost makes one long for some kind of “music television” channel that had curated playlists of videos. Oh well, one can dream. I also kept a continual playlist of tracks, which I threw every song I really enjoyed into over the course of 2012. By the year’s end, I concluded with a massive 340 songs. The playlist serves as a good way to sample bands you've been meaning to check out, as I probably have their best track in there.

Year-End Report: Looking Back at 2012 - Top 50 Albums 10-01

I think I've made it clear over the course of this blog that I have a serious music addiction, probably worthy of its own show on TLC, the “learning” channel. I’m not sure how big the audience is for watching me strung out around a pile of records, listening to my tenth of the day, and ranting about Brian Eno's genius; but hey, I’m willing to field offers from networks. Anyway, we have reached my Top 10, which I have culled from an astonishing 433 albums that I listened to in 2012. If you are wondering how I knew that number, I kept a list that I continually updated after I listened to something new. Sure this borders on insanity, but the records that made the cut mean more to me than I can probably put into text. These are the ones that came with me through many important and often frustrating moments in my life over the past year. Without further ado, I give you the definitive ten best albums of 2012.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Year-End Report: Looking Back at 2012 - Top 50 Albums 20-11

The ten albums that start my Top 20 countdown contain many that others were disappointed with but I still loved. Whether I have an affinity towards the odder entries in a band’s discography or I’m just a hopeless fanboy is for you, the internet troll to decide. Either way, these records left an indelible impression on me. I believe that a lot of these have simply evaded other music critics and are remarkable albums that deserve a larger audience, so I urge you to check out everything after the jump.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Year-End Report: Looking Back at 2012 - Top 50 Albums 30-21

We’re getting to the meaty center of our countdown. Hopefully, you’re enjoying this look back at 2012 so far. This next ten continues the blistering pace of some of the last section but also introduces my left-of-center electronic favorites. As I am writing this, there is still no sign of that elusive My Bloody Valentine album that we were promised. Kevin Shields teased fans at a recent performance by saying it “might be out in two or three days’ time.” Surely, he laughed manically to himself when he was outside earshot of press. Nonetheless, if you need a good shoegaze release to tide you over, one of the best in recent memory is featured among the albums below.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Year-End Report: Looking Back at 2012 - Top 50 Albums 40-31

It’s amazing what ended up paired together when I was finished my Top 50. The ten I previously posted were mostly laid-back indie rock albums, but these next ten are some serious rockers. 2012 had its fair share of amazing garage rock releases and they start to appear in this set. In fact, last year was kind of a flagship year for lo-fi aggressive rock ‘n’ roll. Apart from the aforementioned garage rock, below you will also find some metal, post-punk, and avant-garde tunes. I know you are dying to dig in, so I'll spare you the longer introduction.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Year-End Report: Looking Back at 2012 - Top 50 Albums 50-41

My look back at the past year resumes with my Top 50 Albums of 2012. I will be counting them down ten at a time and will include a stream of my favorite track from each via Spotify. This first ten finds several of my old favorites releasing their best albums in a long time. This section ended up being a lot more chill and relaxed than the subsequent ones. It’s amazing that these are so far back in the countdown, because as I was writing about them, I was remembering some significant memories attached to the tunes found below. If you aren't already familiar, get ready to discover some new favorites that may be associated with your own (hopefully positive) memories.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Year-End Report: Looking Back at 2012 - Odds & Ends

As you can tell, this is coming a bit late. Now that you have had the time to shake off the year-end lists from lesser tastemakers, you can pursue the one true 'best of' from Stereo Typing. Fine, that's not exactly why this was posted so late, but it does give you a chance to look over this feature and judge on its own merits. The first part of my coverage is examining just about every aspect of entertainment apart from the almighty album. The Top 50 Albums of 2012 will follow shortly. Below are the top EPs, 7"s, shows, and a few other categories of interest. There will be links to previous reviews where appropriate, otherwise I took the time to say a few words and/or link to material. Please check it all out after the jump, and don't forget to leave a comment if you discovered something new!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Stream/Download: Butter The Children – Butter The Children

Butter The Children are a Brooklyn quartet featuring ex-members of Sweet Bulbs, Night Manager and Le Rugthe that are also proud owners of 2012's most unsettling album cover. On their self-titled release, they combine frenzied rhythms, dreamy guitars, and bittersweet melodies to create a unique punk vibe. Like recent punk darlings White Lung, they strike a perfect balance between punchy and catchy on standouts such as "Eartbound" and "Prognosis Negative". Frontwoman Inna Mkrtycheva's vocals are charming throughout this release, especially on "Lupus", the driving pop-punk closer. This EP is a refreshing take on contemporary punk stylings and I can't think of a better way for you to spend the next 16 minutes. Listen after the jump and grab a copy via the generous free download on bandcamp.

Stream: Divorce – Divorce

Some bands are loud and then some bands are Divorce. This is not the kind of music that would have your parents screaming "Turn that racket down!"; it is the kind that would have them considering getting you some serious psychiatric help. The Glasgow based experimental noise outfit is - to put it bluntly - downright frightening. There's not many reference points for the band apart from noise-rock pioneers Melt Banana. The mostly female group creates riot grrrl music for girls that want to incite actual riots.

Stream: Kowloon Walled City – Container Ships

On Container Ships, San Francisco's Kowloon Walled City creates murky post-metal without falling victim to the indulgences that usual come along with the genre. The album is the follow-up to 2009's Gambling on the Richter Scale, which was more focused on potent noise-rock. Opener "Pressure Keeps Me Alive" will have you feeling like you are trudging through the muck around the ship on the cover. The band could have continued down that path for the course of the album, but thankfully breaks up the monotony with tracks like "50s Dad" and its dissonant post-hardcore groove that sounds like the Jesus Lizard smashing into the Deftones.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Stream: Three Second Kiss – Tastyville

Given my love for 90's math rock icons Polvo and June of 44, I'm ashamed to admit that I have been relatively unfamiliar with Bologna, Italy's Three Second Kiss. Dating back to 1996, the band has been toiling away in the tradition of the aforementioned bands and has produced six albums so far. They have previously worked with producers such as Steve Albini and Ian Burgess, but decided to go it alone for their sixth record, Tastyville. Drummer Sacha Tilotta assumes the recording and mixing duties for this impressive effort. A US tour supporting noise-rock legends Shellac and an appearance at All Tomorrow's Parties helped bring them some US recognition, but after listening to this record, it was clearly not as much as they deserve.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Stream: WRITER – Brotherface

I was first acquainted with WRITER when I saw them open for Guards and Cults. After their set, I immediately purchased the Miss Mermaid 7", which contained songs that would appear on this, their debut full-length Brotherface. It worked as a perfect introduction to their rumbling, distorted pop formula. The appropriately titled Brotherface was crafted by brothers James and Andy Ralph who started in southern California and have since relocated to Brooklyn. Although they have jumped from coast to coast, they haven't lost a step in their rugged, cavernous sound.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Stream/Download: Legs Like Tree Trunks - Future Reference

If you've read this blog enough, you know that I have an affinity for math rock. This was brought on by incessant play of Minus the Bear early in their inception. Any band that can capture a similar emotive complexity has my heart... and ears. Pittsburgh four-piece Legs Like Tree Trunks occupies a comparable position on the math rock spectrum. They are able to effortlessly switch between the organized chaos and moody reflection that originally drew me to the genre. Frantic finger tapping, dense guitar tones, and curious time signatures dominate their latest EP, Future Reference.

Stream/Download: Pro Era - PEEP: The aPROcalypse

Pro Era had started up their buzz machine over the course of 2012 with remarkable mixtapes from Joey Bada$$ (1999) and Capital STEEZ (AmeriKKKan Korruption), which can be downloaded for free at the given links. The 12 member group of impossibly young and endlessly talented NYC rappers are now ready to present their debut mixtape PEEP: The aPROcalypse. The tape, which was released on December 21 when the world did not in fact end, borrows it's style from the golden era of 90's rap. Unfortunately, the release has been marked by the tragic passing of Capital STEEZ, born Jamal Dewar, who apparently took his own life after tweeting "The end." in the opening hours of Christmas Eve. At only 19 years of age, the passing of Capital STEEZ is as heartbreaking as the passing of a young talent can be and is one that will sadly loom over the release.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stream/Download: Action Bronson & The Alchemist - Rare Chandeliers [Extended Version]

Action Bronson first made an impact in 2012 with his excellent March mixtape Blue Chips featuring production from Party Supplies, which you can and should pick up for free here. Since he first came onto the scene, Action Bronson has remained extremely prolific with each release more compelling than the last. The Alchemist is no slouch either. In fact, his body of work from 2012 is even more impressive. It includes a collaboration with Domo Genesis, a brilliant effort with Oh No under the guise of Gangrene, a solo record, and an instrumental album. It's amazing that with all this going on, these two artists managed to not only find the time to work together, but also release one of the best hip-hop efforts of the past year that further serves as one of the most effective and memorable collaborations to come out of 2012.

Stream: Gross Relations - Gross Relations

Brooklyn five-piece Gross Relations are a lo-fi garage rock band that is equal parts mesmerizing and catchy. After a series of impressive releases including the Come Clean EP and the Fuzzy Timelines 7", the group have finally readied their debut full-length. Much in the way of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Gross Relations are rewriting the rules for pop songs, drenching them in layers of distortion and turning them into groovy anthems.

Stream: The New Highway Hymnal - Whispers

I have been eagerly anticipating the debut full-length from The New Highway Hymnal since I had the chance to catch them opening for White Hills and Sleepy Sun at Boston's Church. My biggest concern was that they wouldn't be able to capture the energy of their visceral live show. That concern was immediately squashed once the first track, "Through Stained Glass", started spinning. It finds vocalist Hadden Stemp howling and shrieking over the group's droning stoner rock with all the intensity I had hoped for. Much like fellow Bostonians Sand Reckoner, they draw easy comparisons to The Black Angels, but instead of the underpinning folk influence of the former, The New Highway Hymnal has roots in punk rock.

Stream: Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold

Parquet Courts have seemingly come out of nowhere to take the world by storm. They have steadily built their fanbase from the ground up, all the while receiving immense critical praise, something not afforded to most bands of their ilk. The group is centered around Texas-to-Brooklyn transplant Andrew Savage, who along with partner in crime Austin Brown, had no problem generating buzz with their former bands Fergus & Geronimo and Teenage Cool Kids. The group is rounded out by Savage’s brother Max on drums and bassist Sean Yeaton. Together, they focus on energetic stoner punk with a jagged alternative edge. Over the course of the album, they manage to combine the charming warble of Pavement with the urgency of 1970's NYC proto-punk bands like Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Stream: Swearin' - Swearin'

When pop-punk favorites P.S. Eliot disbanded, they left a void in the genre that desperately needed to be filled. With former member Allison Crutchfield's new band, Swearin', fans will no longer need to mourn the loss of their previous pop-punk saviors. Along with co-songwriter Kyle Gilbride, Crutchfield helps churn out 12 tracks of fuzzy guitar pop that lies somewhere between The Breeders and The Promise Ring. Swearin' uses both vocalists to great effect. Whether it is Gilbride crooning over the driving "Here to Hear" or Crutchfield taking the reins on the bouncy, palm-muted "Kenosha", the results are equally addicting.

Stream: Corin Tucker Band - Kill My Blues

Kill My Blues is Corin Tucker's follow-up to her post-Sleather-Kinney debut 1,000 Years, a much more subdued effort. This album isn't exactly a return to form but depicts our leading lady with renewed vigor. Opener "Groundhog Day" is an immediate declaration that the riot grrrl in her is back - or perhaps more appropriately, never died. The song addresses concerns about the regression of women's issues in today's political climate. "I took some time to be a mom and have some kids. What’s up y’all? I thought we had a plan." It's a blunt and powerful message that is sure to resonant strongly with those sympathetic to feminist ideals. Joined by fellow rock 'n' roll lifers Sara Lund (Unwound, Hungry Ghost), Seth Lorinczi (Circus Lupus, The Golden Bears), and Mike Clark (Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks), Tucker tackles her roles as a mother and as an aging rockstar with a sneering rage.

Stream: Geronimo! - Exanimate

Chicago trio Geronimo! had already won me over in 2012 with their EP Buzz Yr Girlfriend: Vol 2 - The Burden of Genius. They returned a few months later with their second full-length, Exanimate, which featured a whole new set of progressive psych-grunge. The three tracks that open the record show them at their most accessible with huge venue-shaking riffs and inescapable hooks. From there, the band seamlessly transition into true progressive rock. "Natural Feeling" occupies the space where psychedelic and gunge meet and contains a sweet solo that winds the song down to it's close.

Stream: Spider Bags - Shake My Head

I recently watched Color Me Obsessed, the documentary about The Replacements, and in it, Patrick Stickles (Titus Andronicus) describes their appeal explaining, "If you are a human being, this is the best or most human band. Music for humans." Stickles has a knack for championing bands which possess that everyman relatability. In a 2010 interview with the Washington Post, he talks about Spider Bags being his favorite band. Much like The Replacements' Paul Westerberg, Spider Bags mastermind Dan McGee toes the line between indie rock and punk while serving as society's inebriated philosopher; pontificating about sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll with a propensity for existential headiness. Stickles goes on to elaborate on the importance that Spider Bags hold for him:

Stream: Two Humans - "Best Folks"

Before getting into Stereo Typing's belated best of 2012 coverage, I will be posting some records that have caught my attention at the tail end of the year. One of the latest comes from Connecticut band Two Humans, which confusingly consists of three humans. "Best Folks" is the second full-length from the garage pop trio following their impressive debut Good Morning, Chemicals and the Songs for Cats EP. From the first listen, I was reeled in by the simple but memorable songwriting. "No Remorse" is an immediate standout and the perfect example of the group's strengths. In the song, a hip-shaking beat and bubbly bass line carry vibrant vocals that sit comfortably in the mix with the jangly guitar lines.