Showing posts with label car seat headrest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label car seat headrest. Show all posts

Sunday, July 3, 2016

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2016 (VIDEO)

Well, this video was a ton of fun to make. Took me less time than I expected too, but it's always one of my favourites every year.

Next up... look, I've never had any interest in Blink-182, so I kind of want to cover the Weval record or Blood Orange... but we are coming up to my third year anniversary, and you all should remember what that means, so stay tuned!

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2016

There will be a lot of headlines that suggest that 2016 has not been a good year for music - and if you follow the mainstream between the losses of several legends and a haphazard set of releases that slide between underwhelming and disappointing, that's easy to believe.

Of course, that view is not really reflective of reality, because if you look away from the Billboard Hot 100 - which I would advise, it's been a rough six months there - there is quality here. I think the big issue comes in that there have been fewer than normal outright smashes and instant classics as there were at the midyear of 2015, which was really frontloaded with incredible records. 2016 has been more scattershot, with a lot of great records that don't quite rise to the level of immediate classics, and also a fair bit more diverse. Country and folk, for one, have been a great year across subgenres, underground hip-hop has been pretty solid, and there's some great R&B, metal, and rock music that I've liked a fair bit. And that's before you get the genre-bending stuff that sticks the landing incredibly well, and I'd argue we've seen a lot of that thus far.

What this means is that it's been excruciating trying to narrow this down to my usual top twelve, in that the top half was very straightforward but the bottom half is a lot harder to cut. So while I almost chose to open things up to a top fifteen albums of the mid year, I figured I might as well stick with tradition and keep it at twelve, which meant some painful cuts - some of which I think will surprise you. So without further ado, let's start with...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

video review: 'teens of denial' by car seat headrest

This record took a lot to digest, but overall, damn solid release. Definitely happy I covered it.

Next up, though, is that Lacuna Coil album and if it's going in the direction of its lead-off single... yikes. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 30, 2016

album review: 'teens of denial' by car seat headrest

Let me propose a hypothetical scenario. You're a boss of a fairly well-regarded independent record label - especially considering you don't engage in copyright nonsense on YouTube to stifle criticism - with a pretty potent roster but always hungry to expand. And in the course of sifting through prospects, you find an astoundingly prolific indie artist off Bandcamp known for self-producing some surprisingly catchy indie rock that might have crossover potential. Do you sign this guy, and if so, how do you best market him?

Well, if you're the CEO of Matador Records, this might seem like a no-brainer, but in retrospect bringing the critically acclaimed indie rock project Car Seat Headrest onboard might have been more trouble than its worth. Oh, sure, for production it wouldn't be a huge issue - no need to hire Steve Albini when the mastermind of the project Will Toledo effectively produced everything himself - but how to best position him onto the market, especially considering he already had something of a cult following? In retrospect, I think Matador found a mostly workable solution - take cuts from his eleven self-released records and slice them into a comprehensive whole with a little more polish - but it also meant the buzz didn't quite materialize in the same way, at least for critics like myself.

And yet I started getting requests to cover the follow-up record Teens Of Denial almost immediately - although the headaches had only gotten worse for Matador, as all physical copies of the album have gotten recalled over a sampling clearance mess surrounding an interpolation of a snippet from a Cars song 'Just What I Needed', that Ric Ocasek rescinded at the last minute. Estimated losses are around $50,000 - and for an indie label pushing a relative unknown even despite critical acclaim, that's a considerable loss. Thankfully, I was still able to pick up the album digitally to figure out what the fuss was about - what did I find?