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by Nathan Wisnicki

5 Dec 2011


79. David Guetta (feat. Taio Cruz and Ludacris)
“Little Bad Girl”


Though 2011 was a time of strife and division, we’ve got no plans to abandon the communal perversity of the brittle club banger. Guetta, 44, is something of an elder by his culture’s standards—hence, he’s witnessed many progressions (stagnations) in electro-dance music, though “Little Bad Girl” is founded on a Ke$ha-level riff. But the catch is Ludacris, whose entire verse—the best thing he’s done in years—is some kind of ridiculous genius. (His “dollars” line is followed by “ching-ching-ching-ching-ching-ching”... oh right, dollars!) We aren’t getting rid of dumb craziness anytime soon. Why not enjoy the dumbest and craziest?

by Chris Conaton

5 Dec 2011


cover art

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit

80. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
“Alabama Pines”


Jason Isbell’s career since leaving the Drive-By Truckers has sometimes seemed like the work of a man who hasn’t quite reached his full potential. But this simple country song highlights his best qualities as a songwriter. Essentially it’s a love letter to Alabama, namechecking many of the state’s small towns. But Isbell adds depth to his narrator, sketching out his background as a brokenhearted man in just a handful of lines scattered among the Alabama references. The song’s melody emphasizes Isbell’s rich voice, particularly in the soulful, conversational verses. Meanwhile, small musical touches like the catchy, easygoing lead guitar riff and Amanda Pearl Shires subtle fiddle work give the song the extra character that helps elevate it to one of the year’s best.

by Jane Jansen Seymour

2 Dec 2011


Future Islands

Here’s a new music playlist to indulge in before the onslaught of holiday music starts dancing in our heads.  Strong releases by Atlas Sound and The War on Drugs provide the backbone while newcomers Future Islands and The Drums serve as bookends.  See notes below and enjoy!

1. “Stay Gold” – The Big Pink
English electro-pop duo The Big Pink has just released this single from their second album due in January, Future This.  The synth-heavy sound lends itself to the dance floor, while the straightforward lyrics create an instant sing along.

by Allison Taich

1 Dec 2011


Yellowbirds from Brooklyn, NY recently released a new music video for “Beneath the Reach of Light” from their 2011 debut The Color. “Beneath the Reach of Light” is the third song off The Color interpreted into a video, and the first to feature Yellowbirds frontman/innovator Sam Cohen. The video follows Cohen through a dreamscape of original psychedelic pop paired with an Americana croon, ship wrecked in a ‘70s inspired variety show.

by Jane Jansen Seymour

1 Dec 2011


KEXP has posted “Te Amo” from an Atlas Sound set at the Ace Hotel, during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City last month. It was the final performance sponsored by the Seattle radio station, and I luckily snagged a place on the tile floor as the crowd gathered around the musical equipment before the show. Bradford Cox was been creating music under the name Atlas Sound since he was ten, when not busy with his band mates in Deerhunter. (Living with the genetic disorder Marfan syndrome manifested a solitary existence growing up so music was a refuge, supposedly there are boxes of cassettes to support this.) He was there overseeing the set up, concerned about the levels and the subdued nature of the setting. Cox likened it to playing at the New York University library with all the people busy on laptops.

“Is there anybody listening to me talk right now?” He asked in a southern drawl referencing his hometown of Atlanta adding,  “It’s so quiet!” This comment elicited some cheers and clapping, to which he scolded the audience, saying how he hadn’t done anything but perhaps everyone just liked his outfit?  Cox stood ready to play in windowpane fabric pajamas festooned with geese and Topsiders with no socks. His wispy honey colored hair framed an angular face and on top a very slight build. Yet he implored those in control until there was a distinctly louder feedback, explaining how “it’s not a folk project. “ There was also a nice shout out to the staff at the Ace Hotel, since he considers it a home away from home filled with friends – happy to be there since it was such an easy gig to get right downstairs to the lobby. Cox has a favorite room to stay in and has even recorded two songs there recently, when booked time at the studio had run out.

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