We now begin our weekly feature: Defend Your Last.FM "Last Week" Top Ten!
2. American Princes
Ordinary alt-rockers with energetic side ones. Cities uses more Brit reverb, American Princes has more distinct melodic hooks. I wouldn't worry too much about hearing either unless you're a freelancer for Magnet with a deadline.
3. The Clean
Shuffle benefits the double CD anthology, no? I need to toss some of the non-drones.
4. Sonic Youth
Was pretty surprised by the first EP, recently reissued. Knew Richard Edson, character actor extraordinaire, was the drummer then, but had no idea he was attempting some "I Zimbra" shit on occasion ("She Is Not Alone" is hysterical, Thurston failing his audition for the Slits). I assume its the lack of distinct identity that gives the disc such a bad rap, but sometimes I'll take post-PIL jiggy over sluggier bombast.
5. Annie Hayden
A lot of the albums I've been listening to this year are long on seductive atmosphere but short on the anthemic pull that inspires me to write long blog posts (noticed?). The Merge b-lister's The Enemy Of Love doesn't bore or grate when it's on, but I don't remember what was intelligent or charming about the songs after. One of the best adult-alternative singer-songwriter albums I've heard in a while, but it never evolves into pop the way Amy Rigby or Liz Phair albums can, even when she's covering the Replacements.
Respected MTV rap from the mid to late 90s is a big gap in my musical knowledge (blame Dr. Octagon and an inability to take the Hype Williams video aesthetic seriously), so I've been checking out a lot of Jay-Z, DMX, Tupac, Nas and Biggie lately. A lot of the criticisms I had about these guys based on the big MTV hits are falling away with distance and further perusal. Jay-Z's flow still often strikes me as sedentary and uninvolving - I prefer my rappers more musical - but Reasonable Doubt and Vol. 3 are albums I need to acquire in full.
Was enjoying this Les Savy Favish until I realized that my favorite tracks were almost identical and that the band basically hits a post-punk skank, gradually pulling away into a tinny, awkward drone for a tad. Song titles include "Male Gynecology." Its marginality made blatant, I chucked it.
I Should Coco, another 90s artifact I'm digging with distance.
9. Arab Strap
The Last Romance is the first of their releases to catch my ear at all. Basically some brogued-up, monomaniacal Greg Dulli bullshit - this leery agonizing over matters of the crotch sounded less ridiculous and insipid when I was a virgin, but there's a few tracks on the new one where they make it rock (the Whigs' saving grace as well).
To reaffirm I've been wallowing in nondescript ambiance, it turns out this Astralwerks songstress I've been spinning soundtracked a climactic moment on Six Feet Under. I think I'm mentally preparing for yuppiehood in hopes of acquiring a living wage.