Feature: Vulpes’ Top 10 Albums of 2010

Vulpes are one of the strongest acts coming out of the Rio Grande Valley area right now. They’re just four dudes from Mission, Texas with passion and energy. They’ll have a new album coming out sometime next year. This is their list for their

Top 10 Albums of 2010

10. Ryan Adams & The CardinalsIII/IVVulpes: Recorded in 2006, but released under Ryan’s start up indie label, Pax-Am, this year. No one describes this album better than Mr. Adams; “concept rock opera about the 80′s, ninjas, cigarettes, sex, and pizza.”
Key Song: “Typecast”

9. Best CoastCrazy For YouVulpes: Because you can’t go wrong with a girl singing songs about romance and relationships Ramones-style.
Key Song: “Crazy For You”

8. Wild NothingGeminiVulpes: This indie dream-pop album was good on so many levels, it’s a shame there isn’t more like it.
Key Song: “Summer Holiday”

7. The Black KeysBrothersVulpes: No longer just a drums and guitar duo, The Black Keys showed they are among the best blues-rock bands with this album, which includes a broad variety of instruments and styles.
Key Song: “Never Gonna Give You Up”

6. Dr. DogShame, ShameVulpes: One of our favorite bands since the release of Toothbrush, Dr. Dog did not disappoint.
Key Song: “Later”

5. Miniature TigersFORTRESSVulpes: These songs retained the catchiness from Tell It to the Volcano and we absolutely loved it.
Key Song: “Egyptian Robe”

4. Kings of LeonCome Around SundownVulpes: We reached closure when we realized the raunchy sound of Kings of Leon’s first two albums would not return for Come Around Sundown. We were definitely surprised to hear this great album.
Key Song: “Beach Side”

3. Ram Di DamLiar To AdmireVulpes: This was our first taste of Swedish indie pop, and we’ve got to say we loved it.
Key Song: “Flash Backs”

2. MGMTCongratulationsVulpes: Psychedelic. Epic. Beautiful.
Key Song: “Siberian Breaks”

1. FoalsTotal Life ForeverVulpes: This album combines good beats, great vocals, and amazing arrangements. Why can’t we be English?
Key Song: “Black Gold”

MySpace
Bandcamp

Advertisements

Feature: Cassie Ramone’s Top 10 Album Covers of 2010

Cassie Grzymkowski (aka Cassie Ramone) has played in many great bands; primarily Vivian Girls and more recently The Babies who have a new album coming out next year. Given that I live in the southernmost part of the country and can’t afford to make the six-hour drive to Austin to see every single show I want to see, the first time I saw Vivian Girls was earlier this year when they played at Cheer-Up Charlie’s during SXSW. Despite having a pretty persistent cold, I really enjoyed their set. It was all I had imagined a Vivian Girls performance would be. Not to mention I kind of think everyone in the band is cute. So when I was asking artists if they would be down to help, Cassie was kind enough to contribute a list of her own. In no particular order, here are her

Top 10 Album Covers

from this year.

White FenceSelf-titled
CR: I’m a big fan of this clip-art style, love the colors and I think the images work really well together.

Candy ClawsHidden Lands
CR: Their artwork fits their music so well. Looks like an antique children’s book. The fonts are gorgeous and really tastefully done.

Hunx and His PunxGay Singles
CR: I just love this, obviously. Hunx is the best.

Grass WidowPast Time
CR: Grass Widow’s video for “Fried Egg” is my favorite of the past year; I think it’s astoundingly beautiful. The album cover is great too. I’m really into their motif of scattered instruments.

Best CoastCrazy For You
CR: [It] does a really amazing job of looking like a classic 70’s-era Beach Boys-esque album.

WoodsAt Echo Lake
CR: Jeremy Earl is one of my favorite artists around right now. I really love his loose style and subject matter.

Keep Shelly In AthensIn Love With Dusk
CR: The color scheme on this record is gorgeous and very appealing to me; makes me want to be where-ever that is.

Arcade FireThe Suburbs
CR: I’m into the graininess of this record cover. The color scheme on this one is also excellent, as is the composition in the photo.

Male BondingNothing Hurts
CR: These guys are great friends of mine. I’m always astounded at their use of photography and graphic design; it’s really simple while being very aesthetically appealing and all their own.

Happy BirthdaySelf-Titled
CR: I’ve found that coming up with a great band logo is one of the hardest things to do artistically in music. Happy Birthday’s logo is iconic and represents their music perfectly.


Photon God Awards: Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010 Edition

Ah, the music festival. The true test of a music lover. I’m of the opinion that you aren’t truly a fan of music until you have endured the energy-depleting and wallet-emptying hijinks of a good music festival. When I attended last year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest, I was introduced to the concept of waiting in crowds two hours in advance just to get a good spot close to the stage for a certain band. I almost blew my brains out just standing there for two hours listening to people talk about who knows what. I won’t lie, it can be pretty tough. Some people alleviate this painful bore with alcohol or drugs, but I played it clean and therefore was conscious of every passing second and grew to hate each second that the band I was there to see was not playing in. It’s fun. Totally.
(Photo: Mary Rehak)
This year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest was quite the experience for me. Beyond the fact that I was attending as a member of the press for the first time, I think that I had a better festival experience than I did at least year’s fest. For starters, it didn’t rain. That made my experience last year quite frustrating. Instead, this year’s festival was plagued with dust clouds. I saw people left and right coughing or wearing bandanas over their noses and mouths. I think I even saw a guy get taken away in a stretcher, but that may have been for another reason. Like last year, I’m going to give out ‘awards’ for various achievements and happenings that I witnessed during the festival. Hello and welcome to the 2010 Photon God Awards: Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010 Edition!

The “pulled out of the Fun Fun Fun Fest’s founders’ asses at the 11th hour” Award: Descendents
Best Performance: Descendents. Best Song: “Suburban Home” 1st Runner-Up:Jeff the Brotherhood Best Song: “Bone Jam” 2nd Runner-Up: Monotonix Best Song: I didn’t really pay attention to which songs they played, I was too busy making sure I didn’t get my head kicked in.
3rd Runner-Up: Cap’n Jazz
Best Non-Festival Set: Joan of Arc at the Mohawk.
The Robin Hood of Weed Award: Nathan Williams, for presenting an audience member with a blunt before Wavves‘ set.
Best sentence I overheard: “I’m gonna pee all over myself! Damn water moccasins…” – guy walking into the port-o-potty next to mine.
Best opening line to a band’s set: “Hi, we’re from here not the woods.” – Andy Burr of Woven Bones
Coolest view from Backstage: Delorean‘s smoke-filled stage
Nicest Person: Haggai Ferschtman of Monotonix
1st Runner-Up: Allen Chen of Austinist
Most Evil Person: Guy in beverage line backstage who I heard planning to tackle the Media tent in the name of possible free pizza.
The “Destruction: Business As Usual” Award: GWAAARR. It’s like watching the Rock-A-Fire Explosion if they played metal.
The “Play into Bad Religion’s timeslot and piss off their manager” Award: GWAAARR
Longest Soundcheck EVER: Bad Religion
Shittiest Soundguy: Bad Religion‘s set
The “Spirit Fingers” Award: Greg Graffin’s hand motions.
The “I got there for the last 45 seconds” Award: MGMT
The “I’m a dumbass and now everyone knows that” Award: The punker kids who jumped the backstage fence and were quickly tackled to the ground by both attending media people and Austinist employees.
Crowd Participation Award: Peelander-Z
1st Runner-Up: Tim Kinsella, for using the photographers as a bridge to get to the audience who later held up his mic stand while he leaned against it to sing.
Best bass solo while hanging from the top of the stage by your legs Award: Peelander Red
The “Jimi Hendrix’s all-white rhythm section, Stevie Wonder’s piano playing, and Curtis Mayfield’s funk, soul, and looks all rolled up into one” Award: Toro y Moi
The “Damn, they’re here” Award: Cults, for coming so far in so little time.
The “I thought they were Fleetwood Mac for a second” Award: Cults
The “drooooooooooolllll” Award: Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast. (heels!? :faints:)
Hottest Woman Ever To Smoke An Audience Member-Presented Joint: Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast
The “It was fun while it lasted” Award: Deakin, for having his set shut down by the police.
The “I Keep Seeing This Guy EVERYWHERE” Award: Nathan Williams of Wavves
1st Runner-Up: Bradford Cox of Deerhunter
2nd Runner-Up: Andy from Woven Bones
Shittiest Hair-Cut of the Festival: Bill Kelliher of Mastodon
Best Interview of the Festival: Jeff the Brotherhood
The “I’m still kicking myself for not going” Award: Cowabunga Babes at Beerland.

That’s all I could think of, but I hope you have enjoyed the annual Photon God Awards! Next time I promise to have them up before three weeks pass.


REVIEWS: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Post 30 Album Reviews At Once

I’ve been listening to a lot of new things lately. I paid a visit to the new Zach Hill record, Face Tat, had a little fun there (7/10); listened to the new We Are Scientists record–really dug that one (8/10)–hell, I’ll just post a list of the albums I’ve listened to recently and my ‘rating’ for them. Take this list as you will; it saves time for everyone. By the way, anything with a 6 and up is worth picking up. ;)

Abe VigodaCrush 4/10
Avey TareDown There 7/10
Belle & SebastianWrite About Love 5/10
The BittersEast General 8/10
The BooksThe Way Out 9/10
CarnivoresIf I’m Ancient 5/10
SALEMKing Night 5/10
Cloud NothingsTurning On 7/10
DeerhunterHalcyon Digest 9/10
DevoSomething For Everybody 7/10
EmeraldsDoes It Look Like I’m Here? 9/10
How To Dress WellLove Remains 6/10
Les Savy FavRoot For Ruin 8/10
MedicationsCompletely Removed 9/10
Miniature TigersFORTRESS 7/10
Nite JewelAm I Real? 7/10
Thee Oh SeesWarm Slime 7/10
School of Seven BellsDisconnect From Desire 6/10
Sufjan StevensAge of Adz 7/10
Twin ShadowForget 8/10
The WalkmenLisbon 8/10
The War On DrugsFuture Weather 8/10
WarpaintThe Fool 8/10
We Are ScientistsBarbara 8/10
Wild NothingGemini 7/10
WomenPublic Strain 8/10
Woven BonesIn and Out and Back Again 8/10
The YoungVoyagers of Legend 6/10
Young ManBoy EP 9/10
Zach HillFace Tat 7/10

There you have it. 30 albums. 30 seconds (probably). Now I can concentrate on all of this awesome new stuff I want to tell you all about. Expect some great music coming your way very soon. :D

Just a sample of what’s to come:(thanks to town full of losers for the mp3)


The Photon God: Best Songs of 2009

I’ve listened to a lot of songs this year. A crapload of them were played more than once. Honestly, these songs have claimed their own place in my heart where they will now reside forever. I’ve a feeling that if I were to die tomorrow and an autopsy would be done, you would find my arteries clogged with lyrics, drum beats, and guitar strums…maybe a couple synths.

Figuratively speaking, these songs will be the death of me.

Instead of a short list, which is impossible, I’ve prepared three playlists out of the year’s best songs.


Volume 1: Tracklist
1. “1, 2, 3 Partyy!” – Mission of Burma
2. “Meet Me In The City” – The Babies
3. “Lust For Life” – Girls
4. “Cone of Light” – The Almighty Defenders
5. “Young Hearts Spark Fire” – Japandroids
6. “Wounded” – Jay Reatard
7. “Alcoholics Unanimous” – Art Brut
8. “Come Saturday” – The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
9. “God Knows I Had Plans” – The Mary Onettes
10. “Sweet Disposition” – The Temper Trap
11. “Looking For Shelter” – Good Old War
12. “Two Steps” – Dignan
13. “I’ve Got Friends” – Manchester Orchestra
14. “Stillness Is The Move” – Dirty Projectors
15. “The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid” – The Decemberists
16. “Angry Charlie” – Generationals
17. “Just Me” – Music Go Music
18. “Blood on the Sand” – Ganglians
19. “Don’t Lie” – The Mantles
20. “You’re A Target” – No Age
Download


Volume 2: Tracklist
1. “Less Unless” – CIVIL CIVIC
2. “The Reeling” – Passion Pit
3. “Die Slow” – HEALTH
4. “Dominos” – The Big Pink
5. “Born On A Day The Sun Didn’t Rise” – Black Moth Super Rainbow
6. “Feel It All Around” – Washed Out
7. “Pa Pa Power” – Dead Man’s Bones
8. “Ultimate Satisfaction” – Bear In Heaven
9. “Deadbeat Summer” – Neon Indian
10. “Marrow” – St. Vincent
11. “Ambling Alp” – Yeasayer
12. “Summertime Clothes” – Animal Collective
13. “Two Weeks” – Grizzly Bear
14. “Heads Will Roll” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
15. “Cool Jumper” – WAVVES
Download


Volume 3: Tracklist
1. “River” – Akron/Family
2. “Home” – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
3. “I Am Young” – Coconut Records
4. “My Sister, My Spouse” – Cass McCombs
5. “Ghosts” – Fanfarlo
6. “Northern Lights” – Bowerbirds
7. “You Can have What You Want” – Papercuts
8. “Hands” – The Dutchess and The Duke
9. “Too Young To Burn” – Sonny & The Sunsets
10. “The Sparrow And The Medicine” – The Tallest Man On Earth
11. “Killing For Love” – José González
12. “Please, Baby, Please” – David Bazan
13. “Oh No” – Andrew Bird
14. “Happiness” – Jónsi & Alex
Download

Enjoy!

The Photon God, 2009.


10 of the Greatest Albums of 2009

This has been said by everyone(probably because it’s fucking true), so I’ll get it out of the way before anything else: 2009 was a fucking great year for music. Great bands have resurfaced, new bands are taking up space on people’s iPods–hell, even shitty bands have had a good year. With all of the wonderful music that was released this year, many an album was donned ‘favorite’. However, for the sake of the blog and simplicity, I have whittled down my list to 10 albums. These 10 bands have written songs that won’t get out of my head. Each of these 10 albums’ artwork has been burned into my brain. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you…

10 of the Greatest Albums of 2009!

10. Japandroids – Post-Nothing (Polyvinyl)“Young Hearts Spark Fire”With powerful guitars and relentless energy, Japandroids have undoubtedly made a great first impression on the world’s collective eardrum with one of the strongest debuts of the year.
9. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Self-Titled (Slumberland)“Young Adult Friction”Definitely one of the most engaging records of the year, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart’s debut full-length speaks volumes on the immortal spirit of youth. To put it quite simply, this album is full of unfiltered, unabridged, and unprotected love.
8. Cass McCombs – Catacombs (Domino)“Dreams Come True Girl”This album pretty much flew under my radar for a while which is a shame because it’s absolutely incredible. Undoubtedly, Catacombs is McCombs’ strongest effort to date as well as one of the year’s most memorable releases.
7. David Bazan – Curse Your Branches (Barsuk)“Please, Baby, Please”Curse Your Branches is one of the more cathartic records to get released this year. It is a window into the inner struggle of a man questioning the religious foundations of his very own life. This album is Bazan’s pink slip to God.

6. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (V2)“1901”Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Phoenix’s fourth full-length, is an absolutely wonderful album. I would go on and on about how each guitar stroke means the world to me but I think it will suffice for me to say that this album is just full of good songs. Listen to it if you don’t believe me. Your ears will thank you.

5. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why There Are Mountains (Self-Released)“And The Hazy Sea”My first words after listening to this for the first time were “Holy fucking hell!”. For starters, it’s incredibly cohesive. Absolutely everything on this album fits. Every single fill and crescendo. Every bassline, every keystroke, and every brass and string instrument heard on this album plays a key part in this grand ensemble of sounds. Secondly, it’s a remarkable achievement alone that this album was self-released. And lastly, this album has set the bar pretty high for future indie bands that wish to blow people’s minds.

4. Girls – Album (True Panther/Matador)“Lust For Life”This album, simply-yet-aptly-named Album, is a perfect example of what happens when a band does absolutely everything right. The songs are solid, the vocals aren’t clear but they’re not indiscernible which sparks intrigue in the listener, the album isn’t so consistent that it’s boring and it’s not so erratic that it throws you off. In fact, it’s pretty perfect if you count out the fact that it’s almost devoid of new and innovative ideas, although that isn’t as detrimental as it sounds. By using the past to their advantage, the guys in Girls have written one of the most popular albums of the present.

3. Mission of Burma – The Sound, The Speed, The Light (Matador)“1, 2, 3 Partyy!!”This album is a pulsating work of post-punk art. From start to finish, this record has enough attitude to make you squirm in your shoes. It’s the album that makes other albums take a step back and walk in the opposite direction with one glance. I hate to mention it because it shouldn’t be an issue but these guys are in their fucking 40s! One in their 50s! And they’re packing more intensity in this record than people half their age? Fuck the hell off. It’s shameful to see younger bands burn out after an album or two while these guys are kicking even harder than they did when they first formed in the late 70s. Young people! Get your goddamn act together! These wrinkly, old men are putting you to shame!

2. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)“My Girls”Before I begin, allow me to inform you that I really, really, really like this record and the only reason it isn’t slated one slot lower is because creativity and innovation pretty much flow through these men’s bloodstreams which results in their being stripped of their rare value. Now, the album. Of this entire list, Merriweather Post Pavilion was released the earliest. While people have rightfully pointed out that it’s the band’s most accessible album to date, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an easy listen. By expanding on the electronic elements they used on their previous album, Animal Collective has created a new and magical world of mind-bending soundscapes and infectious beats in which you can’t help but be cautious…right before you absolutely immerse yourself.

1. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca (Domino)“Useful Chamber”At last, the number one album on the list, Dirty Projectors’ Bitte Orca. There are many things I can say about this album and if I had no restraint, I would try my absolute best to type them all out. However, for the sake of organization, I will compile my thoughts as best as I can. To begin with, this album is, for lack of a better word, unique. One could say that this band appeared out of nowhere but they would be dead wrong. This is actually their seventh full-length album but the first with such a refined sound. To the average ear, a majority of the music on here wouldn’t sound like music at all. But if you pay attention and absorb this album for what it is, you’ll find that this is what modern music has been lacking. These songs don’t need traditional songwriting elements to make an impact. They’ve bent and eaten the rules of conventional songwriting and established a higher level of appreciation for music that the world has been asking for. Bitte Orca could easily be the flagship record for the future of modern music. In short, change is not only good but overdue, and this album is the kind of different we need.

FYI: To purchase any album on this list, click on the label links ;)

The Photon God, 2009.


Consider this catching up.

With all that has been going on lately with school among other things, I haven’t been able to cover as many artists as I would have liked to over the past couple of weeks.

To make up for this, I’ve decided to make one big post highlighting some artists I’ve come across and found appealing but haven’t had the time to write about in detail.

Citay: some cosmically-dwelling rock n’ roll for a change :D

(“Careful With That Hat“, Dream Get Together, Dead Oceans 2010)

Wild Nothing: Glam-pop solo project of Jack Tatum out of Virginia.

(“Summer Holiday“, Summer Holiday 7″, Captured Tracks 2010?)

Summer Camp: mysterious dreamy pop band from the UK that no one knows ANYTHING about! Note: not them in the photo
(“Ghost Train“, Demo 2009)

Yeasayer: epic electro-pop from Brooklyn
(“Ambling Alp“, Odd Blood, Secretly Canadian 2010)

Sleigh Bells: epic fuzzy pop
(“Crown On The Ground“, Demo 2009)

Woodsman: experimental instrumental quartet

(“Dikembe Mutombo“, Collages, Mexican Summer 2009)

Small Black: interesting lo-fi pop
(“Despicable Dogs“, Despicable Dogs, Transparent 2009)

Yellow Fever: simple and catchy indie rock
(“Hellfire“, self-titled, Wild World 2009)