Posts Tagged ‘Willy Moon’

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ROLLING BONE’S 2013 BEST-OF LIST

December 11, 2013

This year I did something I’m totally not doing next year. I wrote about every damn new release (compact disc) I purchased. You can read all the reviews in full here or (in a less edited spew) here. Since these are CD reviews (plus a vinyl or two), there’s a trove of truly excellent releases missing from the following lists. Mostly stuff released on cassette, often by Canadians. In the new year I’m launching a new series called Kassetten which will eventually cover some of these 2013 tape releases. Otherwise, between Weird Canada and Tabs Out, they’ve been covered already and you should be hitting those sites up anyway. I know I also missed most of the vinyl releases I picked up. When did those Fresh Snow and Young Mother LPs come out?  Anyway, great records I never got around to reviewing. Also Salted, Zacht Automaat… the list could go on. Plus there’s a few albums I haven’t gotten around to checking out in any format yet (White Poppy, Booka Shade) which I expect to enjoy. Well, you’re familiar with the limitations of year-end lists. Anyhooo…

THE GOD DAMN RECORD OF THE YEAR

YOUTH CODE RECORD ART

Youth Code: Youth Code 

I originally gave this EBM pummeller a 4.875 (out of 5) rating, but I’m bumping it up to  a solid 5. “…jackhammer, chest compressing, beat and that mechanical bass sound peppered with guttural screams and old movie samples….” is how I described it, suggesting they were only missing the hooks their forefathers Front 242, Nitzer Ebb and Skinny Puppy boasted (I know, bands you totally associate with hummable ditties). Well, fuck that. The hooks are there, buried just beneath the surface, waiting to reward grave robbers who listen to this record on their iPhone everyday while they give their fellow subway patrons the evil eye.

Perhaps my love for Youth Code is a barely disguised form of mid-life crisis. A return to those halcyon days of listening to my Too Dark Park cassette on a Sony Walkman, hating everyone in the hallway of my high school and feeling strangely good about it. It’s the kind of record that makes you feel completely vindicated being a misanthropic loner. I feel like music these days isn’t anti-social enough. It’s all about community building and, ew, togetherness. As if other people can be trusted. The state of the world is proof they can’t. You really want to build a community with those assholes?

Anyway, there aren’t enough records like this. Sweet, sweet social oblivion. 

Just in time for Christmas, Dias Records has just released another run of the vinyl.

13 ULTRA-BESTIES OF 2013

Most of these I gave less than a 5/5 rating at the time, but they’re all 5/5 (or damn close) in my eyes now.

Valerie June: Pushin’ Against a Stone

I might simply live under some kind of counter-culture rock, unaware what the “mainstream” is listening to other than MumfordMiley and Drake, but it’s unfathomable to me how Valerie June‘s record isn’t more widely known. Obviously not in a Yeezus way (it’s not a record for thirteen year-olds and hipsters suffering from willful infantilism), but at least in a Neko Case kind of way. It’s exactly the kind of record you’d expect to see on the Rolling Stone year-end list. It’s a warm, smart, genre-bending, deeply emotional record, epic in scope but full of those intimate moments the mainstream MOR public is supposed to fawn over. Of course, Pushin’ Against a Stone does appear on that list but buried somewhere around 46, where a decade or two ago I feel like it’d have been in the top 5.

If people thought Paul Simon co-opting South African music was ground-breaking, what June does combining Afro-beat and bluegrass should have them completely losing their shit. But that was then and this is now, and for whatever reason (theories abound) no one cares about anything anymore. Information fatigue has caused the culture machine to stall, but no one’s really noticed because we’re still coasting downhill.

Anyway, on the bright side, people like Valerie June are still producing artful folk/rock/country/soul records with (what should be) a wide-appeal.

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King Krule: 6 Feet Beneath The Moon

I gave Archy Marshall‘s debut full-lenth a 5/5 rating originally which was probably a tad generous in hindsight. But there aren’t too many artists coming out today who are this unique, who have his weird sort of charismatic, otherworldly presence—as if he’s less a real live boy and more of a character in a film. Which is, ultimately, what we want from our pop stars. More David Bowie, less David Robert Jones. I described him on 6 Feet Beneath The Moon as a “jazzy Mark E. Smith meets art-damaged Billy Bragg meets punk-thug Morrissey” and time will tell if he and his career lives up to those references. But for now this record does. Though how much I see him as an “exotic other” through a slight anglophile lens is hard to tell. Maybe to the Brits he’s just your average, unremarkable bloke? Probably.

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Recent Release Round-Up: Willy Moon, Kadavar, Beacon, PacificUV

June 14, 2013

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More recent release reviews at THIS PAGE.

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Willy Moon: Here’s Willy Moon

Probably the most ridiculous album I’ve heard in a long while. In a good way. Post-modern rock’n’roll in the true, bigger-than-life, spirit of the ’80s. This isn’t any kind of arty, too-cool-for-school, post-punk revivalism. This is another kind of monster altogether. There’s not a grain of subtlety or artifice anywhere near this record. Not to say is a mature, personal, singer-songwriter album where Willy Moon lays his soul bare… No, no, this is pure superficial teenage rock’n’roll mayhem—but it’s shockingly sincere pure superficial teenage rock’n’roll mayhem.

In a way that makes you realize how everything you’ve been listening to is complete poser bullshit. Part ’60s garage-rock, part ’80s pychobilly, part ’90s sampledelic and all filtered through a contemporary pop strainer, probably the most surprising thing about Willy Moon’s debut is how abrasive and raw everything sounds. Judged on the material (and Willy’s sleek visage) alone, you’d expect a slick radio-friendly approach like Rick Astley meets Jive Bunny.

Which wouldn’t be an entirely inaccurate comparison in certain respects. The Ctrl-C/ Ctrl-V nature of Moon’s lyrics (play a spot the reference drinking game and see how long you last) and the retro-swing horn riffs aren’t all that different than Jive Bunny’s original mash-up “Swing The Mood“. But instead of being a reverent nostalgia kick, Here’s Willy Moon sounds like it was recorded in some kind of computerized juke-joint on the outskirts of a post-apocalyptic dystopia. Yet it’s a really fun juke-joint where you dance ecstatically while the city burns, oblivious—or in spite of—the desolation outside.

Like I said, the true spirit of the ’80s.

5 Rick Astley from Hells out of 5 Sigue Sigue Screamin’ Jay Transvision Sputniks

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