Week In Review: (1/16/15)

Natalie Prass – “My Baby Don’t Understand Me”

She paid her dues from playing in Jenny Lewis’s backing band, but this year she’s making a name for herself. It’s folk-pop with a orchestra touch similar to Sufjan Stevens (who happens to have a new album coming out this year). Be on the lookout for her to make some big moves this year.

 Laura Groves Is Actually What You’re Thinking Of When People Compare HAIM to Fleetwood Mac

Or maybe this is just straight up Stevie Nicks. Either way, this song is great.

You Blew It! Had A Great 2014, And 2015 Is Looking Good Too

The band’s new EP Pioneer of Nothing comes out Jan. 27th.

Claremont – “Dindi”

https://soundcloud.com/midnight-side/claremont-dindi

Read more about this up and coming musician via Pigeons & Planes.

Want Your Next Song To Get Lots Of Buzz? Film Your Next Music Video At Target

And pretend to be a Target employee like Nedelle Torrisi did.

Fear Of Men Filmed Themselves On Their Last American Tour And It’s Oddly Beautiful To Watch

Makes you think of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” in a strange way.

Speaking Of Bands Filming Themselves, Thea & The Wild Takes You Behind The Scenes Before, During, And After A Show

This band is already huge in Norway and is just now getting good buzz in the UK, so make sure to keep an eye on these guys when they (hopefully) make it big state-side. This came to me via Cultured Vultures.

If Art-Punk Is Still A Thing, Than Krill Is My Favorite Art-Punk Band Of 2015 So Far

It reminds me of Sonic Youth and Yes, but AT THE SAME TIME YES!

Fort Lean – “I Don’t Mind”

New album Quiet Days comes out this Spring.

Mocky – “Sweet Things”

This producer, who originates from Berlin but now lives in L.A., is able to repeat one line (“Keep giving me sweet things”) over and over but makes it engaging and soulful each time with his nice 70’s throwback touch.

Day Wave Is The Sound Of Mac DeMarco If He Were A Surfer Bro

I mean, this track is so totally laid back, man.

The Juliana Hatfield Three, Your Favorite 90’s Band That You Haven’t Heard Yet, Is Reuniting!

Check out the killer “Ordinary Guy” and get excited.

Empty Houses – “Far Away”

Empty Houses is a new jangle-pop-with-a-hint-of-Motown band that includes Fireworks frontman David Mackinder.

Watch All Of Sleater-Kinney’s Famous Friends Sing Along To Their New Song “No Cities To Love”

Andy Samberg, Sarah Silverman, Gerard Way, Connie Britton, Miranda July, Fred Armisen, J Mascis, Vanessa Bayer, Ellen Page, Natasha Lyonne, and more audition for Portlandia.

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One Sentence Reviews Of Headphone Nation’s 40 Favorite Albums Of The Decade (So Far): 2010 – 2014

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Congratulations – you made it halfway through the decade. How does it feel? Did you come up with a good nickname for this decade yet? Is it as catchy as “The Noughties”? What were the highlights?

It’s easy to get caught up looking back at a particular year (or years) and try to pick out the few highlights that defined the year out of all the countless events. For any pop culture publication, it’s a cheap, bias way to get more hits, and it usually doesn’t do the year justice to what it was actually like.

But hey, we all love to make these lists, and we all love to read these lists.

One of the ways to define a decade is by the most popular (i.e. the easiest to define) musical trends of the time: the 60s were the age of Psychedelia, the 70s saw the height of Big Hair Music (heavy rock and disco), the 80s were the dawn of Indie and MTV, the 90s the mass takeover of Pop music (Grunge-Pop, Britpop, Rap-Pop, Noise-Pop, Trip-Pop, Boy Band-Pop, Riot Grrrl-Pop, it goes on), and the last decade saw the boom of the streaming revolution that we’re still in the middle of. Obviously there were more to these decades than those broad themes, but it gets the job done.

So what is the trend that will define this decade? Is this the age of Doomsday Disco (EDM, Reflektor), Mumblecore (what much of “Indie Rock” has become), or Black Stadium Rock (Kanye West and the realization of his Thriller-sized ego)? Or will we just clump together all this music, much of it angry and noisy, and call it “Great Recession Music”?

It’s too early to tell – we’re only halfway through this decade. There’s no telling to what we’ll be listening to within the next five years and what albums will come to define this decade. So to try and find any sort of pattern in the beginning of 2015 is challenging and probably not necessary.

But like I said, we all love these lists – so let’s have a little fun.

Below is a list of my 40 favorite albums released between 2010 and 2014 and the albums that have defined this decade for me so far. I tried to make things more interesting by describing each album using only one sentence. Of course you cannot properly sum up an entire album in one sentence – but it’s fun to try to anyways!

Please note – this is NOT a list of the GREATEST albums of the decade. This is just a list of my personal favorites, and I hope I introduce you to some great albums that you might have missed in this decade. If this were a GREATEST list, then there would be some albums that I wouldn’t have omitted and some that I would have taken off. For example, Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 good kid, m.A.A.d city is without a doubt one of the best quality albums of the decade, but I have no personal attachment to it – I just like it because it’s good.

There are also lots of albums that I’ve heard are great but I’ve never sat down with and listened to all the way through (Frank Ocean, Grimes, Tame Impala, etc). When I do my inevitable End-Of-Decade list at the end of 2019, some of those albums might appear after I listen to them more.

Also, some of these albums on this list aren’t necessarily “good”, but there’s something about them that I absolutely love or can relate to. Maybe it’s because it’s from a favorite artist, or maybe I have a strong association with that album and where I first heard it or who/what it reminds me of. No matter the reason, these are the albums that I loved the most in this decade so far.

And yes, there’s a good chance that I left out one of your favorite albums. Please forgive me.

This list is in alphabetical order, and click on each album cover for a link to a song from the album.

 

Alright, let’s begin.

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Headphone Nation’s Year In Review: 2014

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What better way to end 2014 than to give out some superlatives? As with any sort of end-of-year review, these awards reflect my personal taste and shouldn’t be taken as the final say on the year. Really my hope is that you’ll check out some new music that that you’d otherwise miss.

Also, make sure to click on the album cover for a link to a song off that album.

Alright, let’s begin.

 

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My 25+ Favorite Songs of 2014

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Another year, another playlist of my favorite songs of the year. This year’s playlist has a particular mix of random greatness, from gloriously loud guitar rock to jazzy electronics and everywhere in between. This year wasn’t as full of epic pop songs as last year, but there are still plenty of quality songs to hear from 2014.

Enjoy!

 

*p.s., as time goes on I’ll add other great songs from this year to this playlist that I forgot to include, twenty-five is just a good starting point.

 

 

Against Me! – “True Trans Soul Rebel”

Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”

Cloud Nothings – “I’m Not Part of Me”

Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me (feat. Kendrick Lamar)”

Gerard Way – “No Shows”

Hamilton Leithauser – “Alexandra”

The Hold Steady – “Spinners”

Honeyblood – “Super Rat”

Lana Del Rey – “Brooklyn Baby”

Mastodon – “The Motherload”

Matt Kivel – “You and I Only”

The Men – “Another Night”

Modern Baseball – “Fine, Great”

Parquet Courts – “Sunbathing Animal”

Real Estate – “Had To Hear”

Reigning Sound – “My My”

Ryan Adams – “When The Summer Ends”

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 – “IMF”

Sharon Van Etten – “Tarifa”

Spoon – “Do You”

St. Vincent – “I Prefer Your Love”

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Lariat”

Strand of Oaks – “Goshen ’97”

Sun Kil Moon – “Micheline”

The War On Drugs – “Red Eyes”

AND MORE!

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On His Solo Debut, Gerard Way Trades In My Chemical Romance For Britpop and Shoegaze

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When My Chemical Romance broke up last year, it was the end of an era for the once beloved and always ambitious New Jersey band, whose 2004’s Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge became one of the most popular albums of the MTV2/emo era and 2006’s The Black Parade being one of the best (and only) epic mainstream rock albums of the last decade.

But now, after a year of silence, former MCR frontman Gerard Way has traded in the black eyeliner and emo Sgt. Pepper’s outfit for some red hair and a new mission – to make the Britpop/Shoegazing album he’s always wanted to make.

“I have all these amazing Britpop records, and I have shoegaze records, but I don’t have anything on the radio anymore. So the main objective was to change the landscape of music a bit. To kind of re-boot Britpop in America.” he tells Rolling Stone about his solo debut, Hesitant Alien, which is due September 30th.

The album’s first single “No Shows” is a dramatic shift from the darkness of MCR to a more colorful direction that name-checks Blur and My Bloody Valentine as inspiration. Yet Hesitant Alien is not a tribute album to Britpop. It is an exciting album full of visual and sonic exploration from one of modern rock’s most enduring frontmen who sounds like he has rediscovered his love of Pulp’s Different Class. From listening to “No Shows” you can still hear Way’s trademark voice and his uncanny ability to write melodies that will remind fans that there is indeed life after the black parade.

Check out the music video for “No Shows” below and click here to read the Rolling Stone interview in which Way talks about the end of MCR, his love for the movie Trainspotting, and the new recording process he used for Hesitant Alien.

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