starting some time in early spring 2022 i started making monthly playlists on spotify to share the music i was then enjoying with my friend nick. he'd do the same, and we shared a lot of music this way. the music, for me, was usually just 'new to me' stuff but sometimes things i liked from a while ago and would revisit. most of the newer music or new to me music came recommended by the bl0wjob boys, but sometimes would come from spotify's recommendations, or just new music from bands i like, or listening to the radio, or hearing about stuff on music podcasts like Indiecast or 60 Songs that Defined the 90s.
here is a (probably overly ambitious) write up of each song that i put on these playlists. i put the playlist on shuffle and tried to write about each song while it played. note there are sometimes 2-4 songs by a given artist, usually because of new album releases, and i would have a hard time picking just one song by an artist to share with nick.
Blessing - Alex G: I had never really listened to Alex G before this song. the hype surrounding it/the new album made me curious. i liked its ridiculousness immediately, the random "whuh!!"s and the whispering, the nu-metal music video, then came to appreciate the composition, lyrics, and sonic palate. enjoyed thinking of the album as something that would be insane and weird, and while this wasn't the case, I did end up enjoying the album a lot.
Here Comes the Hotstepper - Ini Kamoze: this is a famous 'sports song' that i was reminded of due to that pat finnerty youtube series about bad songs (this was, he noted, a good song). he, i think, described the song as consisting of 3 hooks and nothing else, which feels insightful and true. catchy, funky, fun. had it stuck in my head for ~5 weeks over the summer. enjoyed learning that algorithmic playlists categorize it as 'sports arena song' and not reggae or ska or whatever, it's always grouped in with 'thunderstruck' and that queen song.
Runner - Alex G: catchy, simple, pleasant. the piano and guitar reminded me of that tupac song. i remember enjoying thinking of this album as basically being alex g's rap album, in spite of the lack of rap. i enjoy all the weird production quirks re vocal delivery/manipulation. watched a live video and was very bored; felt similarly trying to play it myself on guitar.
Twin Plagues - Wednesday: crow turned me onto wednesday after sharing the semi-viral tweet about them losing money playing sxsw; i was dismissive of the complaint because they don't include merch sales in their budget - you can sell band shirts for like $15 markup. crow was very defensive of the band and i bought their album sort of jokingly, but then listened to it for real; my old address was saved on bandcamp and i never got the vinyl album, and i was refunded without being aware. i have lost several records through moving, most annoyingly the 2016 repress of the lovesliescrushing debut album via kickstarter - it was delivered to my old apartment and disappeared, is now worth probably $100+. anyway i like this song and most of wednesday's music i've heard. forerunner 'country shoegaze' shit, which seems really hot right now. good riffs in this song in particular.
I Poured Sugar in Your Shoes - Horse Jumper of Love: i love this band and have seen them live 3x, really got into their first album for a while. Felt mild disappointment with their second album. This is the lead single from their third album, which i have found myself going back to often and enjoying despite originally not liking it as much. this is a simple pop song that could/should have had wide radio play on alt stations, but maybe their PR engine wasn't up to snuff. or maybe it's too slow. i like its simplicity and earnestness in spite of some of the traditional HJOL weirdness.
I Feel So Weird! - Cheekface: Heard another song by them (elsewhere in this list) on a local radio station. I enjoy their style. This is from their 2022 album which has more fun production choices - i like the cash register sound and drum machine tones on this one, and the shouting/whispering. Otherwise it's a typical cheekface song, a bunch of dry one-liners delivered over a sort of uptempo cake-like powerpop. this album has a lot of eerie similarities to my book, so i sent them a copy based on danielle chelosky's intervention on twitter.
Cruel Summer - Bananarama: Heard this on the local radio station that plays B/C-tier 80s/90s minor hits often. Never knew anything about the band except their dumb name. Enjoyed this because it reminds me of The Casket Girls, who were on Graveface and had minor radio play on WICB ~2015. I feel like I have a fraught relationship with 80s synthy music. There's a lot of shit going on in this song, composition and production-wise. But I think it's good, makes me wanna dance, and is catchy, in spite of being broody and minor key.
Genius of Love - Tom Tom Club: i have slowly been getting into talking heads since ~2018. have heard this song discussed on various music podcasts, felt intrigued about the idea of this band being a talking heads spin-off that made hip hop. some podcast mentioned how often this song has been sampled in rap music, or recreated without proper sampling, and then last night i heard one of them on the local throwbacks/rap radio station (big energy by latto). the original song is basically just carried by the synth/guitar hook, everything else in it feels superfluous. insane that it's over 5 minutes long.
The End - Glitterer: listened to this album based on a spotify suggestion. enjoyed its mix of vaguely screamo vocals and cheesy/bad synth sounds. later determined it's a solo project by one of the guys from title fight, which makes it all make sense. listening to it now with headphones for the first time, the hard-panning on everything is horrific, would not recommend. sounds good in a room, though. bought this and another glitterer album on vinyl. i like the song title.
Northern Exposure - Cheetahs: a vaguely generic nu-gaze revival band from like 2014. randomly found this song on spotify i think. mostly enjoy the chord progression in the chorus, the unexpected second chord. enjoyed hearing ian cohen randomly mention this band/album on indiecast just after i had listened to the album a few times. the album is mostly whatever but this song is good. reminds me of japanese shoegaze from the 00s, something like cosmicdust, with the vocal treatment, guitar solo, and programmed drums.
Pig - Sparklehorse: Have enjoyed sparklehorse off and on since ~2008. Unsure why i relistened to this song and put in on the playlist - i think it's just really fun and good. i like the chorus a lot, and how it's one of the songs where he sings really high/weird. sparklehorse fucking rules, in general. everyone should listen to some sparklehorse. even though i don't think he ever did a perfect album, i think he's done some perfect songs.
Hey Now! - Oasis: my brother loves oasis, i never really did, but i like some of the singles. i keep randomly trying to get into them. this song seems good. i like the vibe of it, the slower, looser sound, doesn't fit in either their design-in-a-lab pop side or their generic bluesy rolling stones ripoff side. i like the sliding guitar lines and the way the verse bars end, with the bum dun dun dun. fun move, and the bar that's only 2 counts before the prechorus(?...haven't studied the composition of this song that much). insane it's almost 6 minutes long.
Toontown - MJ Lenderman: great parallelism in the verses (a standard in good country music, i learned via podcast) and wordplay (i typically don't like wordplay), bleak slowcore-style composition. he's in Wednesday, weirdly is doing a solo career that seems to be getting equal acclaim as the main band at the same time. i think he's a great lyricist on this album even on the songs i don't get into that much. seems like an iconic song for the burbling genre revivals going on, a mix of shoegaze, slowcore, and alt country. laughing at the idea of it being manufactured in a lab for maximum hipster cred in 2022.
He's Seeing Paths - Parquet Courts: bought their light up gold album in ~2013 when it came out because of a review on npr, i think. never heard this song before this year but it's now included on the spotify version of this album. really catchy, really great dumb casio keyboard drum loop, fun feedback usage and dumb noises throughout, its basis on a great bass line and drum pattern. in spite of all the neoliberal pretentious whatever about this band, i think they've made like 11 perfect songs and this is one of them. i also like the evocative dadaism of the title/chorus lyrics.
Party Drugs - Jessica Lea Mayfield: crow seemingly binged this song after i didn't see him talking about it originally, had no idea what he was talking about when he brought it up again. incredible song. i like the sparseness and warped guitar sound. sounds like cat power mixed with this particular bedhead song; i keep expecting a bass drum +high hat to come in on the first beat like in the bedhead song. enjoyed this album a lot, enjoyed listening to it while walking alone at night.
Buchona Vibez - Jenny69, DJ Morphius, Muzik Junkies: my alexa-enabled device played this randomly when i asked for something completely unrelated and i think it fucking rips. fun spoken word/interview sample mixed with an incredibly dumb-sounding synth line and a two-note synth bass line. will not speculate on the genre, which i am sure is a complex and complicated endeavor.
Noodles - Cheekface: powerful move to make such a good song that's just two chords and the only lyrics being "a big cup of noodles (yeah) / a giant cup of noodles." the clipped screaming in the second half is a great sound. the song ended before i could write this whole blurb. am writing this part while listening to...
Blackout - Boris: forget why i decided to listen to pink this year. i remember it was popular on /mu/ in like 2007-2011 but i hadn't gotten into doom or even shoegaze much by then to appreciate it enough. but it's good, and this song was kicks ass. big and loud. i like the effect of the single short guitar delay where the echo has unity volume/gain with the input, seems innovatively simple. this song made me want to start a band again.
Rockets - Cat Power: i think troy was talking about cat power. never listened to her before. impressed by this album's contemporary feel and similarities to early modest mouse guitar-wise. i think i listened to this album while outside on a summer day working on fixing the chicken coop. i like the slow build of this track, how it seems to be recorded live, how the individual parts meanderingly change.
Ted Talk City - Cheekface: this is the song i heard on the radio. i thought it sounded like they might be giants and it was stuck in my head for a day. looked it up and felt a mix of interest and dismissal. i was eventually fully won over. i like the pun-based prechorus. i find myself singing variations of the title about other things, like "wet butt baby / can change your life." i think they're good at recording/production, curious if they use an outside producer.
Peng! 33 - Iron and Wine: this is an old cover of an older stereolab song. i forget why i relistened to it in 2022. i think i wanted to explore some more quiet folky stuff for autumn days and vaguely remembered iron and wine, who i had never listened to when they were popular. more people should cover early stereolab. this is the only iron and wine song i know or care about.
There's My Dini! - Ovlov: got int ovlov this year because of buds. i like the vocal delivery ("don't forget your uuuuuuuuuuuuuuniform!!") on this one and the whole sound of the chorus, with the droning guitar line over the bass. i think ovlov's earlier work in general is like 85% for me...something about the sameness of the production and some of the tame vibes in spite of the blown out sound. this one, and some others, stood out to me from Tru. could see myself getting really into them over the next year, maybe.
Our Team - Big Kids: unsure why i bought this album but i did and it kicks ass. it's like a 2010 twinkly emo take on blink-182 vibes. i think i was looking at stuff on the same label to justify purchasing a random teenage cool kids album, ended up really liking this one. big hooks, cathartic shit, no melodrama or attempts at being overly clever. i like the album cover a lot, too.
Stampede - Hotline TNT: the latest band/project by the guy from Weed, so it was brought up in the bj chat. i get big astrobrite vibes from this album, with the vocals and guitar tone. it's like higher-fidelity astrobrite, in 2022. in live videos, their drummer kicks absolute ass, but on the recording it's mostly nondescript pre-programmed drums.
Hunned Bandz - Tanukichan: this is a spotify rec, came on randomly and i thought it was great. big blown out heavy fuzz bass and guitars. unfortunately it's one of the few compelling songs on the album. i like the descending chord progression and the sound of the guitars. reminds me of something but idk what. the lead guitar lines are understatedly complex and compelling.
Robert Frost - Mal Blum: random spotify rec, i think based on cheekface (the algorithm has decided that cheekface is contemporary queercore, i think). i like the simple 4-chord punky approach and melody. read later that they were semi-popularized due to that annoying podcast welcome to nightvale, i think. have enjoyed mal blum records since hearing this song but haven't really done a deep dive. good background music. i appreciate the vocal range on this song incl. the self-harmonies, feels unique.
Gobbledigook - Sigur Rós: only great sugur rós song. good memories listening to this in my dorm room on my macbook in 2008/2009. unsure why i relistened to it. running out of energy to write these. it's not actually the only good sigur rós song.
Fumble - Architecture in Helsinki: relistened to this song/album because of trying to figure out what song that part in Bad Habit by steve lacey sounds like, remembered how much this song rules, especially the chorus. saw them live in ~2006 and they were great. in classic AIH fashion the core of the song is only ~1.5 minutes long, followed by a ~1.5 minute interlude/outro
Chores - feeble little horse: another spotify rec. i like the glitchy guitar sound and the drop/open tuning based riffs. the lyrics and vocal delivery are fun/unserious, including the dumb rhyme in the chorus. i like the inclusion of the singer laughing, seems underutilized in contemporary music. this song feels representative to me of subtle movements in computer-recorded rock music in the early 2020s, feels like there should be more critical discourse re genre and music production based on this....something about katie dey, 100 gecs, spirit of the beehive, they are gutting a body of water, other shit i'm not cool enough to know about...
Lights On - Hatchie: this album was recommended on indiecast and described as something like "mall shoegaze" and made me curious. it's definitely like a late 90s alternative pop singer-styled album...hard to articulate what this sound is...definitely sounds familiar to something i listened to when i was a kid...but with cooler/warblier guitars and synths. this one is simple in its catchiness and repetitive chorus but with maybe 2nd/3rd level complexity in the composition over normal pop music. impressed that it takes over an entire minute to get to the chorus.
A Forest - The Cure: never really deep dived into the cure until this year, because of this song, seeing a live version of it from 1981. i remember really being blown away by the fullness of sound achieved with the flange on the guitar and delay on his vocals over top the simple bass and drums. just recently bought 17 seconds on vinyl, slowly getting more into it in spite of the sort of over-the-top gothy moodiness in it. this song's great though. am now a fan of the cure. the live video also helped reset my image of robert smith as a young sexy 20 somethings guy instead of how i had always known him, which was an old fat man sitting in a bed (some press photo in spin magazine ~2005).
Ammohead - Shelf Life: troy recommended shelf life. i like the marching vibe and needlessly harmonics-heavy lead guitar line. vocally reminds me of LVL UP and something else i can't place. this song also samples fred durst shouting "fuck off!"
Freak Like Me - Adina Howard: heard this on the hip hop throwbacks station. enjoyed its g-funkiness and how she sings instead of raps, feels unique in that way. also a big fan of the 'pump pump!' backing vocal track. enjoyed feeling very confused reading her various wikipedia pages. i like the slight emphatic delay she puts on the word 'freak' throughout this song.
Sister Ray - Velvet Underground: never really listened to VU. saw some joke tweet about how white people love songs where lou reed goes "suck suck suckin on ding dongs" so i looked it up and enjoyed the song (i am white btw). i like how influential this song must have been for btoh stereolab and parquet courts, in different ways. prefer the first half with the motorik beat more than the second half with the 2-step beat. made me walk around muttering "suck suck suckin on ding dongs" for a week.
"Listen to Your Heart." "No." - Cheekface: great song. "a giant pretzel could make you feel better." highlights my main complaint with cheekface is that the pre-choruses reuse the same lyrics in a way that feels underwhelming since lyrically the songs don't ever really differ between verse and chorus, everything's a disassociated one-linger. not gonna keep writing about cheekface.
Hold - Infinity Girl: harm is probably one of my favorite albums. really dug this album in late 2016, randomly relistened a few times this year. this is their best album imo, and this song boasts some of the coolest guitar tones and playing on the album.
Natural Devotion - SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE: came on randomly on spotify once and i thought the part where the fuzz kicks in kicked ass. have enjoyed replaying just that part really loud alone in my home.
Space Ooze - Happy Diving: this band kicks ass. listened to them pretty regularly for the past few years, even though they only have like 2 albums. i just love how loud and blown out it all is, and the weirdly low vocal range. great melodies and riffs. i remember having a hard time picking which happy diving song i'd send nick, unsure why i settled on this one. enjoy the confidence of ending a song on a guitar solo, feeling like i have a strange negativity associated with songs ending on long instrumental passages. unsure why. but this one's good.
Sitting on the Porch at Night - Horse Jumper of Love: i like the driving stomp of the verse and some of the vocal delivery during the verses, like when he goes "ooh!" and "uh!" and "roars like!" and "look! through!" idk the more i listen to this hjol album the more i like the approach to songwriting. i think they're slept on.
First Drum Set - Pedro the Lion: really liked this song but didn't really dive into the new album. since 2017 he's been making these autobiographical albums about his childhood. this one's a simple one about getting his first drum set. several parts/lines make me emotional, but i also acknowledge that i'm more put off by the overly dramatic delivery on most of this album. been slowly getting into the pedro the lion discography since ~2018 when i heard a song from phoenix at a coffee shop. i like that he plays a drum fill when he talks about learning how to play drum fills. this is one of ~3 songs that nick unknowingly put in his playlists to send back to me, ostensibly forgetting that i'd shared them with him first, which makes me laugh.
Bug House - Momma: i think crow shared this one. i like the
guitar and bass sounds a lot. good, broody, 90s-influenced indie rock
with interesting melodies and counterpoints between vocals and guitar.
have enjoyed this album a lot but haven't relistened to it recently. i
think i was let down by their album after this one, that came out in
2022.Cheer Up, Chihiro! - Ovlov:
sold me on the sax solo. got me into ovlov.
Dissembler - Cloakroom: this song kicks ass. it consists of 4 distinct sections and bears a lot of narrative weight in the concept album that it appears on. but mostly it's like a perfect mix of doomy stoner metal riffage and boot scootin' line dance. this is either my 1st or 2nd favorite song on the album. i think the 3rd section helped me come to appreciate the cure more, as well. my baby has taken ~85% of naps to a playlist/burned cd based on this album and i rock my baby to sleep for nearly every nap, so i've listened to this song 1-3 times per day since, possibly, last january.
Got the Life - KoRn: i liked korn when i was ~10-11, decided to revisit them a bit because of troy. this song's great. i like various minor components of it throughout, from production to performance to composition. rewarding to listen to with headphones. the bridge around 2:20 sounds like a modest mouse song. imagined listing all ~50 specific moments i like in the song and going insane.
Bull Believer - Wednesday: a long, epic, propulsive, catchy, cathartic, boundary-pushing song. makes me excited for the next wednesday album. cemented for me the perfection of slide guitar as an instrument of shoegaze mayhem; the slide guitar lines are consistently my favorite parts of this song. the full-band parts sound rich and cohesive. interested in the totally dry vocal treatment, how well it works throughout. rarely actually listen through the end, with the prolonged screaming, but it's worth listening to at least a few times.
SICK OF IT* - Jean Dawson: crow randomly shares contemporary rap/hip hop i would have never otherwise heard. he seems weirdly tapped into new rap. this is more like pop music, that weird niche of rappers making pop punk, kind of, but this has much more interesting production, guitar and synth textures throughout. watched a video of him performing live with a band and he stands still the entire time, barely moving - an incredibly unengaging performance, just blisteringly bad.
Southern Sky - Alex G: i really just love that piano riff at the start, and then other later piano riffs. have referred to alex g as a 'riffmaster' to people. considered being a guy whose favorite alex g album is house of sugar just to confuse/piss people off.
Nightshade - LVL UP: great band, this is from their first album i
never got as into, but it's a great song. like the rest of the album,
it's very short and is based on a pixies chord pattern. there's a great
live version of this song recorded in an arcade.
Mortal Bus Boy - Shelf Life: from a pretty eclectic cassette of home-recording-type indie songs. i think this one has a really good set of melodies and delivery. reminds me of vaguely generic 00's indie music like girls in hawaii, in a good way. the distorted guitar part toward the end is great.
Oblivious - Jessica Lea Mayfield: it's like cat power but with grunge guitars. i just love the two-chord bum bum bum deee dee dee dee part. just a great guitar line. could listen to it for days. too much reverb on the vocals. this album is pretty great overall. feels impressively 2022 in vibe but was released in like 2014, seems insane. she's a visionary.
The Brazil - They Are Gutting a Body of Water: mostly just love it for the 'doot doot doot / doot doot doot' sample. have enjoyed TAGABOW as fuzzy background music in Q4 2022, i think because of an indiecast reference. crow hates indiecast and whenever he recommends music that ian cohen recommends on the show, i tell him that ian has already told me about it just piss him off; crow recommended this EP after i heard it on indiecast, is why i bring this up.
Bad Habit - Steve Lacy: also discussed on indiecast, how, unexpectedly, this song had become so popular, and made me curious. really catchy and with shitty chillwave/indie production from like 2009 which appeals to me and contributes to the incredulity at it being so popular...like it's shocking such a cluttered, murky, unpolished sound can attain number one hit status in 2022. helps me feel fully disassociated from the modern world in its entirety. the vocal-only bridge part sounds like either an architecture in helsinki or bilinda butchers line, with the delivery and melody. every time this song is on the radio, my older kid tells me to turn it off, unsure why...i think because my kid instinctively hates things i like.
Tame - Pixies: randomly revisited this album after getting really into it ~2013 after getting into their greatest hits in ~2008. i like the 3x bar structure of the chorus and the way he squeals, and the breathy uhhuhhuh part. the pixies ruled.
Hangover Game - MJ Lenderman: probably my favorite lenderman song. i like the lyrics a lot. great lyricist. something really moving and open about the way he sings "yeah i like drinkin' too / i like drinkin' too." it also sounds a bit like a sparklehorse song. enjoy the michael jordan reference-basis of the song; have made joke videos for the bj boys where i write spoof wednesday/lenderman songs about random shit from the nineties.
I Don't Know How I Survive - Death Cab for Cutie: never got into them when they were big aside from rando singles. i hear their new singles on alternative radio stations all the time. i still check in on new, post-hype albums by big names from the 2000s indie wave. this album is imo the best one in recent memory, in spite of its flaws and sometimes soulless, quantized production; leagues better than the latest modest mouse, arcade fire, andrew bird, etc etc etc albums. but i like how loud the chorus gets on this song. it seems like they tried to have fun and lean into some ideas on this album in a way that's encouraging for such a legacy act. i also like how this song, and some others on the album, incorporates guitar feedback. someone on a podcast maybe mentioned how uncommon it is to hear guitar feedback in pop music, i think in part due to how over-produced and computerized everything is. have been doing a slight deep dive into their discography because of this song/album.
Godzilla - Fu Manchu: spotify randomly recommended the 'this is fu manchu' playlist and i got into it, very dumb, fun stoner metal riffage and stupid lyrics. this song is basically built on the 'smells like teen spirit' chords and is about godzilla. "oh no / they say he's got to go / go go godzilla" is such a supremely dumb and great lyric. would enjoy being in a stupid stoner metal band like this, too, i think.
Lost in the Supermarket - The Clash: heard this on that radio station that plays older b-tier hits. felt surprised that it was by the clash (i had never knowingly listened to the clash). had it stuck in my head for a week. i like the guitar tone a lot, feels impressively contemporary, and the bass part is good. you're laughing. i'm writing about discovering the clash when i'm 33 and you're laughing.
Talk Me Out of It - Pope: i love pope. randomly heard them on /r/shoegaze in ~2015 and have followed them since. just excellent 90s alternative-influenced post-shoegazey rock. great rhythm guitars, lots of hooks. i like the conceit of this song, lyrically, and the vocal melodies. highly recommend their album fiction and their first ep, known weed smoker.
Love Without Emotion - Pissed Jeans: ben devos got me into pissed jeans when i interviewed him about the bar is low, which is named after a pissed jeans song from this same album. i like this song's hook, how the first chorus is actually a guitar solo, the image of him eating ice cream and complaining about bad food. really catchy overall.
There's Nothing - Shout Out Louds: this is from a 2005 album i was into ~when it came out, based on seeing music videos on tv. it's their only album that sounds like this, with the cool guitar work and more standard indie rock elements (their second album is basically a mid-career cure rip off). unsure why i picked this song specifically, as i don't like it as much as some of the other songs. maybe i really just like the bendy and fucked up guitar line throughout.