What Have You Been Listening To Lately? WAMPIRE, Milk Music, SSGs and Chance

There has been too much negativity on this website lately. Just today, a friend told me “you write angry sometimes.” Thanks, Joe. So, in an effort to get some good vibes going on Hippies And Hipsters I want to talk about records I’ve been listening to and enjoying.


First up, we have WAMPIRE. When I saw Foxygen open for Unknown Mortal Orchestra at the Rock And Roll Hotel here in DC (hey look they have has a brand-spankin’ new website) their opener-opener was WAMPIRE. I arrived late to their set and I only saw three songs, but it was pretty fantastic. They weren’t nearly as weird as their record could make them out to be. They played tight, like they’ve played together forever – which they have. Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps say they’ve been playing together since 2001 and they’ve been releasing music since 2009. Curiosity which you can hear all of over at their bandcamp – is out May 14 on Polyvinyl. As a whole, it’s still missing some pieces. They’re at the beginning of their game and will hopefully be around for a long time. The standout track is, “Trains” [below]. It’s a feel good electric toe-tapper that should find its way to every kind of Original Soundtrack.

Cruise Your Illusion

Cruise Your Illusion

Milk Music is from Olympia, WA and their record Cruise Your Illusion is heavy. Actually, it gets kinda dark. The 1:41 instrumental opener, “Caged Dogs Run Wild” is proof. It drones into track two, “Illegal And Free,” [below] that takes the shift of grunge-pop – while remaining soulful. The next ten tracks are even better. The loosely wound bass strings and the riffy solos all over “Illegal And Free” (before the vocals come in at 1:30) are just a foreshadow of the talent ahead. Milk Music has been releasing their own stuff since 2009 to maintain “quality control.” And they clearly have control. Milk Music is better than you and I’m worried that this record will go overlooked this year/forever. I haven’t been this happy from randomly discovering a band in a very long time. I know I’ll be spending a lot of time with Cruise Your Illusion in 2013. And even more time with Milk Music as a whole.

I’ve been hearing The So So Glos around the radio for quite some time. Album opener, “Son Of An American,” has definitely been around the bend and you might even be sick of it already. But the rest of the record has a fresh out-of-the-box quality to it. A lot of what’s on this record sounds like what’s already out there, but The So So Glos are managing to stand out from the pack. The crafty hook-chorus-bridge-chorus-hook on “Diss Town” can barely match whatever’s happening on “Lost Weekend.” This band is for anyone who has ever loved thick sounds and brighter-than-sunshine vocals. Only those bright vocals are going to kick you in the chest. Title track “Blowout” is a banger. [Below]. Hell, these songs just keep getting better and better as the record proverbially spins. Blowout is out now and The So Glos are out supporting it with Titus Andronicus (I DO believe tickets to see them at The Black Cat here in DC are still available) so catch ’em.

I don’t normally do this (and by this, I mean just slyly talk about hip hop) so I’ll keep it short. Chance The Rapper is a 20 year old from Chicago who just released a free mixtape (and also just dropped out of college). He kind of sounds like a child (maybe because he is) and this record has a lot of personality to it. There are some (somewhat) slow jams, and, basically, just some really fucking great rapping. This kind of flow hasn’t popped up in a while. “Pusha Man” [below] kind of makes me think of “Pusher Love Girl” from JT – only this song is better – and it might actually sample the JT track, but you decide. My personal favorites are “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” “Everybody’s Something,” (which has spaced out lyricism reminiscent of Eminem’s early pausing) “Interlude (That’s Love)” and “Favorite Song.” Fuck it. I like them all. This record is catchy, subterranean and well-fucking-made. Consider this one (the “winner” and) on repeat in my brain.