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Stream This

April 18, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Thee Oh Sees – Drop

Pink Mountaintops – Get Back
Eels – The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett
Floor – Oblation
Teen – The Way And Color
Kelis – Food
Various – Farewell Transmission: The Music Of Jason Molina
Death – Death III
Fear Of Men – Loom
Various – The Space Project
Nas – Illmatic XX
Future – Honest
Dances – Whiter Sands EP

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Courtney Barnett

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2013 SOTO Staff Picks

December 18, 2013

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It wouldn’t be fun if only I just rambled along about what I liked this year, so I reached out to my very diverse staff for their Top 5 Albums of 2013.  I think you’ll see that the SOTO clan like a lot of different things.  Enjoy.

You know what can, sometimes, kind of blow? Getting old. Yup, watching the old life clock tick on by, the responsibilities of life pile around your ears, those precious moments when you could just wile away an hour or five listening to a handful of new records. Well kiddies, those days are dead. Nowadays I’m happy if I can listen to the new Lil’ Wayne single more than a few times when I’m driving to the gym to work my gut out with my trainer Francis. What I’m getting at here is that though I wish my list was full of a shocking selection of diverse and mind-expanding music, well, it’s not. I stand by each and all of these picks but I can’t say I did the extra work this year to blow any minds.

Forgive me, and enjoy.

5. The National – If I Stay Here, Trouble Will Find Me
4. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
3. Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin
2. Fuzz – S/T
1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City

In keeping with my column, I fully intended to select nothing but chick-fronted albums in 2013. Laura Marling was one of my most-streamed, and my girl Neko’s latest was an insta-fave. But once I got back to looking at things, I realized my list was a little more eclectic than anticipated. Vampire Weekend never ceases to be the catchiest around, and Local Natives continue to lyrically break my heart with everything they put out. And there’s nothing like a little Washed Out to soundtrack a Sunday afternoon. Notable mention? Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds stopped by KCRW, resulting in a record store day release that I haven’t stopped listening (and crying) to since purchasing.

Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle
Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
Washed Out – Paracosm
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City
Local Natives – Hummingbird

I see it this way … 2010 was the first date, 2011 was the good times, 2012 was the breakup, and 2013 was when music took some “me” time. That does not mean this year did not generate some great or even classic records, it does mean that there was some experimentation that may or may not have worked out so well; see Drumgasm. That being said, there was still plenty of illuminations happening all over the musical cosmos in 2013. Labels like Chapter Music and Paradise of Bachelors killed it this year, as did Bedroom Suck and Fire Records. Though some more successful than others, 2013 saw artists and bands the world over restate time honored sounds and genres.

5. Fat History Month – Bad History Month (Exploding In Sound)
4. The Stevens – A History Of Hygiene (Chapter Music)
3. Purling Hiss – Water On Mars (Drag City)
2. Dick Diver – Calendar Days (Chapter Music)
1. Steve Gunn – Time Off (Paradise of Bachelors)

When I received my assignment to pick my Top 5 albums for the year, I thought that It would be a piece of cake: “5 albums? No problem.” But then I started to recall the various new releases from this year and felt twinges of panic and regret: “Who do I choose ? Who do I leave off the list ?”. I don’t have a complicated system for deciding on favorites; it usually comes down to what I listened to the most.  The focus for my 2013 Top 5 are all Austin-based artists, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy records from bands from other places. This year was also a fantastic year for some outstanding releases from some of my favorite local bands. They all share a common love for melodies, harmonies, and top notch songwriting.

Royal Forest – Spillway
Black Books – Black Books
Wiretree – Get Up
The Zoltars – Walking Through The Dark
Yum – Take My Blue / Santiago Dietche – Waxing And Roaring (tie)

This year there have been some amazing metal releases, I am not even giving lip service about my genre, it has been incredible the caliber of albums coming out, and to narrow it down to five, I had to switch a few things around from other lists I have made. Excluding Dillinger Escape Plan, Cult of Luna, Arsis, Black Dahlia Murder and All Pigs Must Die is heart wrenching, but these five bands have created some of the best music metal has heard in two decades. From noisy extremes like Nails, to groove laden jams on the new Clutch album, and the rebirth of the dormant Carcass to win the top spot on every list I have done.  So let it be written, so let it be done, the best metal albums of the year are:

5. Nails – Abandon All Life (Southern Lord)
4. Kvelertak – Meir (Roadrunner)
3. Clutch – Earth Rocker (Weathermaker)
2. Protest The Hero – Volition (Razor And Tie)
1. Carcass – Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)

Hey, everybody! It may surprise you that here in my natural habitat of the music blog, I am supremely uncomfortable making lists.  Yes, I listen to a lot of music, and yes, there is stuff I like more than other stuff, but really when it comes down to taking my favorite albums from an entire year and ranking them on such a fine gradient, I just get miserable and ambivalent.  There was a lot of great hip hop produced this year and these are all great albums, and these are only in an order because John Laird forced me to do it.

5. Shad – Flying Colours
4. Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady
3. Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
2. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels
1. Danny Brown – Old

2013 was a big year for pop music. Miley’s tongue was inescapable, British teens ran rampant, and through it all I reveled in the weirdness. The latter half of this year found me really embracing my not-so-guilty pleasure of pure female fronted pop, so I thought I should theme my Top 5 to mainstream pop with female vocalists. Specific enough for ya? But after all, there’s so much of it, sometimes you need a spirit guide. Like Katy Perry–those of you who wrote her off for bubblegum pop need to check out Prism, where her dark side shines and emotions run rampant. And Ariana Grande–the next in line for a breakout from the Disney dynasty actually has the pipes to back it up, and I can’t stop spinning her tracks. Meanwhile, singles shine for Lady Gaga’s Artpop, where any track could be a hit–and Do What U Want is climbing charts for a reason. None of the Lana Del Rey songs on 2013′s Tropico are new–all taken from last year’s Paradise–but these three songs might be her best so far and provide an excellent primer for burgeoning Lana fans. Number one couldn’t go to anyone but Lorde–sure, brush her off as a one hit wonder, but I’d take Tennis and Ribs over Royals any day–it’s an incredible album.

5. Katy Perry – Prism
4. Lady Gaga – Artpop
3. Ariana Grande – Yours Truly
2. Lana Del Rey – Tropico
1. Lorde – Heroine

So 2013 was pretty good year for music, yes? My thirst for catchy punk rock and fuzzy garage rock was quenched throughout the year. There were a bunch of albums I loved that did not make the very top of my list. I’m looking at you Ty Segall, Bad Sports, Mind Spiders, A Giant Dog, and Thee Oh Sees. I love you all but there can only be five:

5. Radioactivity – Radioactivity
4. Vaadat Charigim – The World Is Well Lost
3. Sweet Talk – Pickup Lines
2. Mikal Cronin – MCII
1. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold

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Top 50 Songs Of 2013: Part 4

December 5, 2013

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We’re now down to the final 20 songs!  Ah!  Enjoy.

20)  :Minks – Margot:  I know some folks weren’t a fan of Minks cleaning up their sound, but I thought it was an alright move.  This song in particular is great and reminds me of early 2000s indie pop.  From Tides End.

19)  :Okkervil River – It Was My Season:  As I said when this made my Austin Essentials list, it’s that one song Okkervil River seem to have on every album that I can’t get enough of.  From The Silver Gymnasium.

18)  :Parquet Courts – You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now:  To be honest, I totally didn’t get all the love for Parquet Courts until this song came along.  I appreciate its adequate amount of snarl.  From the Tally All The Things That You Broke EP.

17)  :A Giant Dog – All I Wanted:  Austin’s finest pop punk band is A Giant Dog, and I think this is their best song.  It rocks and does well to show off Sabrina Ellis’ stellar voice.  From Bone.

16)  :Wavves – Demon To Lean On:  I didn’t at all think Wavves would ever turn into a 90s-esque alt-rock band, but here they are doing it and doing it well.  I approve.  From Afraid Of Heights.

15)  :White Denim – At Night In Dreams:  The heaviest song on White Denim’s 2013 effort is also my favorite from it.  I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to blow out my speakers via this track.  From Corsicana Lemonade.

14)  :Swearin’ – Watered Down:  I love any sort of indie rock that feels lifted out of the 90s, so I was hooked on this pretty much immediately.  Be warned, Swearin’ will make you want to dig up tons of old records.    From Surfing Strange.

13)  :Four Fists – MMMMMHMMMMM:  POS and Astronautalis as one act?  Yes.  Forever.  If we’re lucky, this rad track is just the beginning of something awesome.  From Four Fists’ self titled 7″ single.

12)  :Polica – Chain My Name:  Earlier this year I couldn’t wait to get a hold of Polica’s sophomore effort, and it was largely because of this track.  It’s super dancey and completely set on never leaving your head.  From Shulamith.

11)  :Courtney Barnett – Avant Gardener:  This wordy number from Courtney Barnett was a favorite of mine before I was even done listening to it for the first time.  She’s a fantastic storyteller.  From the A Sea Of Split Peas EP.

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Stream This

October 11, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Mirror Travel – Mexico
Pelican – Forever Becoming
Black Milk – No Poison No Paradise
The Men – Campfire Songs
Kwes – Ilp
Avett Brothers – Magpie And The Dandelion
Dismemberment Plan – Uncanney Valley
Red Fang – Whales And Leeches
Cults – Static
Cass McCombs – Big Wheel And Others
Boldy James – My 1st Chemistry Set
Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt
Happy Jawbone Family Band – Self Titled
Lucius – Wildewoman
Tim Hecker – Virgins
Carnivores – Second Impulse
Luke Temple – Good Mood Fool
Dean Wareham – Emancipated Hearts
Morcheeba – Head Up High
School Of Night – Self Titled EP
Wymond Miles – Cut Yourself Free
Grails – Black Tar Prophecies, Vol’s 4, 5, & 6
His Clancyness – Vicious
Swiiim – Cellophane Castle

VIDEOS

Love Inks’ Generation Club is out now on Monofonus.

Parquet Courts’ Tally All The Things That You Broke EP was released this week via What’s Your Rupture?.

Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings will release Give The People What They Want on January 14 via Daptone.

Black Milk will release No Poison No Paradise on October 15.

Camera Obscura’s Desire Lines is out now on 4AD.

Grooms recently put out Infinity Caller on Western Vinyl.

The Callas will release Am I Vertical? on November 19 via Inner Ear.

The Blow recently released a self titled album on Kanine.  They play Red 7 on November 2.

Rubblebucket’s Save Charlie EP is out now on Communion.

Joanna Gruesome’s Weird Sister is out now on Slumberland.

Infinity Shred’s Sanctuary is available now.

Polica will release Shulamith on October 22 via Mom + Pop.

Of Montreal’s Lousy With Sylvianbriar is out now on Polyvinyl.

T. Hardy Morris’ Audition Tapes is out now on Dangerbird Records.

Nightland’s Oak Island is out now on Secretly Canadian.  They play the Mohawk on December 3.

Pure Bathing Culture’s Moon Tides is available now via Partisan.

Deap Vally just released Sistrionix this week via Cherrytree/Communion/Interscope/Island.

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Stream This

October 4, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Courtney Barnett – The Double EP: A Sea Split Of Peas
Frog Eyes – Carey’s Cold Spring
Of Montreal – Lousy With Sylvianbriar
Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals
Parquet Courts – Tally All The Things That You Broke EP
Four Tet – Beautiful Rewind
Dream Shake – Self Titled
Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr – The Speed Of Things
Tim Kasher – Adult Film
St. Lucia – When The Night
Cumulus – I Never Meant It To Be Like This
RJD2 – More Is Than Isn’t

VIDEOS

Courtney Barnett’s The Double EP: A Sea Splits Of Peas is due October 15 on House Anxiety/Marathon Artists.

Mikal Cronin’s MCII is out now on Merge.

Cults will release Static on October 15 via Columbia Records.  They play Emo’s East on November 4.

Crocodiles’ Crimes Of Passion is out now on Frenchkiss.  They play Holy Mountain on October 31.

Palma Violets’ 180 is out now on Rough Trade.

Cheatahs will release a double A-side single on October 29 via Wichita Recordings.

Forest Swords’ Engravings is out now on Tri Angle Records.

Fuck Buttons will release the Brainfreeze 12″ on October 8 via ATP Recordings.

Jackson Scott’s Melbourne is out now on Fat Possum.

Hunters have a self titled album out now on Mom + Pop.

Jaguar Ma’s Howlin is available now via Mom + Pop.

The High Highs will put out the A Real Hero single soon via Never Leave Never Sleep.

Bad Bad Hats have a free five-song EP out now on Afternoon Records.

Forest Fire’s Screens is out now on FatCat.

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Quickdraw: Parquet Courts, Volcano Choir, Tristen, Why?, Peelander-Z

August 20, 2013

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Today’s music would like to know what you’re doing this weekend.  Enjoy.

:Parquet Courts – You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now:  This track has such an infectious attitude about it that I think I’m finally ready to find a spot on Parquet Court’s bandwagon.  The Tally All The Things That You Broke EP is due October 8 via What’s Your Rupture?.

:Volcano Choir – Comrade:  Is it possible that I prefer Volcano Choir over Bon Iver when it comes to Justin Vernon?  I’m starting to think I might.  The former is certainly a lot more accessible.  Repave is due September 3 via Jagjaguwar.  Stream the album in its entirety here.

:Tristen – No One’s Gonna Know:  I dig this song, but I’ll admit it’s a little weird to hear the normally reserved Tristen in full on pop mode.  I wonder if all of the new album is like this?  Caves is expected out on October 15 via Pupsnake Records.

:Why? – Murmurer:  And in today’s really cool news, Why? have put together an EP that features songs about particular fans.  You’ll be able to grab the Golden Tickets EP on September 17 via Joyful Noise Recordings.  The band will play the Mohawk on September 27.

:Peelander-Z – Ride On The Shooting Star:  There’s nothing like a brand new Peelander-Z track to help get your day going.  Metalander-Z is due out September 10 via Chicken Ranch Records.  Catch the band at the Mohawk on September 28.

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Stream This

January 18, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Pillowfight – Self Titled
FIDLAR – Self Titled
Ra Ra Riot – Beta Love
He’s My Brother She’s My Sister – Nobody Dances In This Town
Big Harp – Chain Letters
Toro Y Moi – Anything In Return
Mystical Weapons – Self Titled
The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law
Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
Widowspeak – Almanac
Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And Magic

VIDEOS

J. Mascis is set to appear on Portlandia on January 25.

Dan Deacon is heading out on tour.  See the dates here.

Now Now are hitting the road with a variety of acts, including Minus The Bear, Bob Mould, and Circa Survive.

Dead Leaf Echo will release Thought & Language on March 5.

Ty Segall will play the Mohawk on January 25.  Register to win a pair of tickets here.

Suuns will put out Images du Futur on March 5.

PAPA will release a full length at some point this year.

Woods is heading out on tour in Australia and New Zealand.  See the dates here.

Western Medication will release The Painted World 7″ via Jeffrey Drag Records on January 29.

Johnny Marr will put out The Messenger on February 26.

My Education’s A Drink For All My Friends is out now.

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Noah’s Top 5 Albums Of 2012

December 13, 2012

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Let’s be frank: I’ve been a shitty music reviewer this year. Bogged down with the basic realities of life I’ve spent far too little time chasing the errant strands of my musical obsessions. I relied on unreliable sources and found myself, more often than not, half-assedly listening to popular radio.

Simply put, this isn’t my most complete list. Yes, this is five albums that I’ve loved this year. Five albums that have seen more time on my record player than any other. Five albums that when I look back on 2012 will automatically suck me back in to the vortex.

Drinks up for another one gone and another on its way.

5. Moon Duo – Circles

Moon Duo has been a favorite since their first Kraut-rock rippin’ psych-EP blasted in to my grey matter three or four years ago. I’ll say that Mazes, their first full length strayed too much in to out and out rock ‘n’ roll but oh how the band has returned to form. From the opening, sludgy guitar riff of Sleepwalker, Circles is a perfect combination of everything that went right on their prior and everything they’d forgotten from their first EP. Big and booming with a new found bag of guitar licks lingering throughout every song, Circles is upbeat and unforgivingly Kraut-rock heavy and the combination creates the most surprisingly danceable album I’ve heard all year.

:Moon Duo – Sleepwalker:

4. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold

A late entry in to my musical rotation this year, Parquet Courts are the sneer and swagger that somehow jumped the garage rock ship in 2012. Its punk, it’s garage, it’s a throwback to times less sinister. More and more as the record spins you get a real taste of The Feelies hanging around the edges and the more bands paying homage to those talented boys the better. To be quite honest I couldn’t tell you a single thing about Parquet Courts aside from the fact that this, manic energy bubbling at every corner, is a must listen.

:Parquet Courts – Borrowed Time:

3. Belbury Poly – The Belbury Tales

Call me a musical heathen because prior to six months ago I’d never listened to Broadcast. I’ll take it, it’s a grave error, one only remedied by a recommendation to check out this project by the guy who ran Ghost Box records. Somewhere between beat record, found sound and musical odyssey, I don’t know if you can really put a finger on what this eclectic mixture of music is. Cantalus the second track on the album has perhaps the catchiest intro of the year (one I can’t help hearing when the elevator dings each and every morning) and what follows is some stoner haze of high-pitched vocals and near-film soundtracks. It’s bizarre in the best, most listenable way.

:Belbury Poly – Cantalus:

2. The Men – Open Your Heart

A friend of mine picked up The Men’s older Sacred Bones album a while back and I remember he referred to it as “scorched Earth” or something along those lines. I’d given The Men a few listens and they were good, but they almost pushed the limits of my sonic depths, really driving home the desolate post-rock without much of an upbeat resolution. That said, they must of holed up in a dingy cabin and talked the future ’cause Open Your Heart shaves down a bit of the desolation, replacing it with warmth and a yen for good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. Friends of mine, who I force to listen to this album time and time again, often cite Foo Fighters and though Dave Grohl’s little outfit might not be my jam anymore, The Men capture a certain essence of their early days. This is, without any apologies, rock ‘n’ fuckin’ roll, buoyed by an almost punk-rock energy and an excess of heart-felt warmth lost on prior The Men albums. It’s a huge step forward for the group, and to ride the rails of cliche, there’s big, big things ahead for this band.

:The Men – Open Your Heart:

1. Tame Impala – Lonerism

I imagine I’m going to be one of many finishing their lists with Tame Impala’s absolutely brilliant second album this year. Where InnerSpeaker was all about repetitive, blown out psych-jams, Tame Impala have scaled a bit of the noodling nature in trade for a nice, glowing hit of pop. You can hear the remnants of Lennon’s inspiration hanging out in lead singer Kevin Parker’s voice and it rides nicely on the new, sunnier tones. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards has been stuck in the frameworks of my skull for months now, and every time Parker’s croon revs up again, I can’t help but smile.

:Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards:

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