Some albums I think you might like, part 1


Abr 4 2011, 9h05

In reverse chronological order! These first seven albums are exclusively things from the past decade. All the albums I'd like to recommend from before I was born are going to be in a later posting because I think I've written enough for one night.

First, though, a note on my tastes: they're really not great by any critical standard. This is because most of the artists I really like are artists that blend pop music as an art (intelligent!) and pop music as entertainment (lots of hooks). Also, wit and camp are always appreciated. Oh, and a lot of the music I think is worth listening to (particularly on the modern side) is material a lot of people will dismiss with the label "hipster garbage." I honestly don't care because all of these are very accessible and not at all pretentious. On with the show.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Belong (2011)

Genre: indie pop
Samples: "Belong," "Heart In Your Heartbreak," "My Terrible Friend"
Yes, their name is kind of lame. You know who else had a lame name? The Beatles.

This album hasn't even been out for a month, so it's a little premature to declare it a Really Good Album, but it really strikes me as something you (yeah, you, guy I wrote this for) specifically would really like, knowing what I know about your musical tastes. Musically, all the critics are saying something along the lines of "oh my god they're combining shoegaze/dream pop with 90s guitar alt-rock (specifically Smashing Pumpkins) and it's REALLY GOOD." Except for NME, who basically opined "this gay shit is for pussies, 3/10." Rock journalism!

Anyways this album doesn't really fit with the others by virtue of being the least over-the-top and least pop-oriented thing on here, but I'm listing it because The Pains are coming to Santa Fe on April 12 and I want somebody to come with me. Going to rock concerts alone sucks.

The Hidden Cameras - Origin:Orphan (2009)

Genre: indie pop
Samples: "He Falls To Me" (not studio), "Underage,", "In the NA"
"Gay church folk music." Some of this album is indeed pastoral folk, but other parts are neoclassical arias or synthy indie pop. It always feels unified in a beautiful-but-still-pretty-fun aesthetic, however. Joel Gibb (their songwriter) is really good at combining the "fey gay" aesthetic with the "theatrical gay" aesthetic. I dunno, I don't really have that much to say about this album, but it's very good.

Yacht - See Mystery Lights (2009)

Genre: electropop
Samples: "Psychic City (Voodoo City)," "The Afterlife," "Summer Song"
Bubbly experimental electropop with well-crafted art-punk songwriting, formerly half of The Blow. Quite literally a cult band. Honestly I think they explain themselves better than I ever could.

Datarock - Red (2009)

Genre: dance-punk
Samples: "Amarillion,", "The Pretender," "True Stories"
There are way too many dance-punk bands out there that are simply not much fun to listen to. I personally blame the bizarrely large influence of Joy Division and similarly humorless post-punk bands on the genre. Datarock explicitly don't take themselves seriously: they all wear red tracksuits as a band uniform, they wear their influences on their sleeves (the lyrics in "True Stories" are composed entirely of Talking Heads song titles), and they sing about things like how cool Molly Ringwald is. And with Red, they pretty much made the best 80s pop album of the 2000s.

But wait, some might say: they're trying to be cool using irony! That makes them a band for practioners of the dreadful practice of hipsterdom! First off: please, denouncing irony is so three years ago. Second: no, they're definitely not a hipster band for hipsters, and as evidence I submit to the court the wildly uncool places their music has been licensed to. I don't think sports video games or Coke ads are fashionable to anyone.

Black Kids - Partie Traumatic (2008)

Genre: indie pop
Samples: "Love Me Already," "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You," "Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo)"
Another band with a terrible name, 80s influences, and a tongue-in-cheek image, oh no! Unlike Datarock's more general treatment of the decade, the Black Kids pick a more specific target, and decided to make an album lovingly pastiching The Cure. Musically, they've taken Robert Smith's best-executed hooks, exaggerated Cure melodrama to over-the-top comical levels, and combined it with kind of an Of Montreal-like flamboyance. Lyrically, all the songs are witty Sparks-esque character sketches of stereotypical Cure fans: depressed overly romantic beta males who can't get girls and have overblown teenage angst about it. The result is more entertaining than it sounds, mostly because the songs are well-executed and catchy.

Also, for a perfect example of Pitchfork's music criticism at its worst, look no further than the unprecedented lack of professionalism in their review of this album.

CSS - Cansei De Ser Sexy (2005/6)

Genre: electroclash
Samples: "Music Is My Hot Hot Sex,""Off The Hook," "Art Bitch"
Fusing party-hard dance music with artful punk guitars, new wave synthesizers, and pop hooks? Oh my god, it's Le Tigre! Again! Except not explicitly political, although there are certainly some feminist themes in a couple songs. I guess Peaches would be a fairer comparison, except Peaches really isn't very good at writing pop songs and CSS is. Whatever. This is enormously fun music because I can dance around like an idiot and play air guitar like an idiot to it AT THE SAME TIME. In my mind, that's what matters.

Also I'm not sure what recorded work this is from but while I was finding decent-sounding uploads of these songs on Youtube I found this. Everyone loves a good Blondie cover, right?

Junior Senior - Hey Hey My My Yo Yo (2005/2007)

Genre: pop
Samples: "Dance Chance Romance," "Can I Get Get Get,""Happy Rap"
Two Danish dudes with excellent sweaters who got the girls from Le Tigre and The B-52's to guest star on this album. Guess how many of them are gay.

The actual music is incredibly giddy and colorful bubblegum dance-pop, with bits of The Jackson 5 and early rap woven in. I can't understate the bubblegum part- seriously, at times they sound like the chase music from a Scooby Doo episode. This is in no way a bad thing because I am a gigantic dork and actually enjoy it. Honestly, just thinking about this album makes me want to ditch writing these up and just go listen to it and smile along. In fact, I think I will.

The tall one (Jeppe "Senior" Laursen) is the gay one, in case the moustache didn't tip you off. I just learned that he was the co-writer on Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." That's actually kind of fitting; I could imagine those lyrics coming from this band. They're stil really dissonant coming from an act as allegedly fashionable as Gaga, though.

ANYWAYS I'm going to bed. I'M TIRED.


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