What Have You Been Listening To Lately? Fuzz, Archy and Danny
Earlier today I got in a scuffle on twitter with the editor/founder of Stereogum. It reminded me to be happy that I’m not “writing about music” anymore. Since school started (and since I’ve stopped writing about music for myself and for other people) I couldn’t care less about “the music internet.” I find myself less interested in reading what has been, for probably too long, my mind floss – a number of blogs and websites that take down each other and themselves. I never expected to not care. So when I noticed the lack of female writers at Stereogum, I said something about it. I thought I had done my homework, searching all the top articles for the last couple of weeks. I wasn’t surprised when all the bylines were men. I was surprised to have two different ‘Gum contributors tweet back with dates and links to stories written by women. So I guess I should pay attention more. (Which is what my end reply ended up being.)
Today Stereogum published Joni Mitchell Records From Worst To Best and earlier this month they published an article, the 10 Best St. Vincent Songs. The latter heavily focuses on the fact that she is, yes! a woman! AND she plays guitar! REALLY AMAZING guitar! Who knew?! And the previous calls sexism – but I’m not exactly sure of what or of who. It’s totally unclear. Also, Blue isn’t number one. So yeah. Both pieces were written by men. Which in itself is just gigantic stupid. Especially since there are a number of female writers and editors at the site. But whatever, its not like I can do anything about it.
“I’ve stopped writing about music for myself and for other people” is a sentence I just wrote. (Hello, there, strange world.) Although we do have the What Have You Been Listening To Lately? post from about a month ago. And this brain dump on Dr. Dog I wrote between a few re-posts of (unedited) reviews I had written for another website. I realized my writing habits were changing when I started writing in Word and not in a browser. People change. Usually for the better.
But I have been listening to music.
I don’t know why I stepped away from King Krule when I first saw a video of him on empty train tracks. But it was The King, or as you might know him, Sasha Frere-Jones who wrote about him in the New Yorker. And it was so perfect. It was a combination of what Krule had told him about his songs, how they were recorded and tidbits of his live performance (that I missed) at The Bowery . Frere-Jones writes, “When he put down the guitar and just sang, gripping the microphone and doubling over as he yelled, the sound came into focus.” And I knew, I have to listen to this album. The first day I listened to it, I played it three times in a row. I couldn’t stop. The next day maybe it was twice in a row. I sent my favorite track “A Lizard State” to my brother-brother-in-law who is a funk drummer and bored by everything. I try to flip his brain every once and a while. This time it worked. It HAD to. “Lizard State” is full of free jazz – the whole record is – with a bit of be bop and hip hop crooning (actually, the whole record is.) It’s so many things and it’s already my favorite song of the year. It cheers me up every time I hear it. [Hear it below.] It’s also important to say that Krule’s real name is Archy Marshall – which is THE perfect English name – (he’s English) and mention the fact that he’s 19. (It doesn’t even look like his cheek bones have surfaced.) Just the other day I was listening to the record and heard a piece of the title, 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, echoed in a lyric. I can’t tell you where it was in what song. I just know it was there and it made me smile. Listen to (really great) music enough (over and over) and it pokes your brain when you least expect.
If you don’t know much about my obsession with Ty Segall, I will forgive you. It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to talk about him. (Well, not since the acoustic sleeper of the summer, Sleeper.) If you haven’t already heard, Segall is in another band! Fuzz! Let’s just say this: the name is perfect. And you’ll know its even more perfect when you hear them. This record, dare I say it, is just a better version of Black Sabbath. I mean, you know I’m not serious when I say that, but when I’m describing Fuzz to people, that’s what I reach for. Segall is on drums – and lead vocals – this time and throughout the record the drum fills and solos are so heavy, you will mistake them for Zeppelin. (Yeah, that’s how great this record is.) Segall lets the drums get jazzy and does a lot of free-fall walking all over the kit a-la Bonham. It’s amazing that they’re only a three piece. Because the amount of sound they produce is massive. Guitarist Charlie Moothart is a fucking guitar god. He plays guitar in the Ty Segall Band, specifically on Slaughterhouse, and is on drums for Mikal Cronin’s II and for Ty’s terrific Twins. Bassist Roland Cosio isn’t as present elsewhere, but that doesn’t matter. Because he kills and keeps it together here. This record WILL make your ears bleed. It is really fucking great and loud and heavy and FUZZY. If you ever forgot about what metal was back when it was “being invented” this record will remind you. Listen to “Loose Sutures” below.
The internet loves Danny Brown. And they should. You can find a number of features about him all over the place. But stick to the interview over at Complex. Their web design is really excellent (and sometimes weird) and the content is the best version of what’s out there. I still love Stereogum, despite “earlier.” Tom Breihan’s review is really great. (They always are.) Brown’s new Old is long. It has a Side A and a Side B. It melodically and sonically moves through every genre that’s out there. It’s a grab bag. Don’t doubt Danny, just listen to this record. The production is smooth, even on tracks I hate like “Dip” (which is really just a club banger…am I using those words right?…that repeats itself over and over again, like bullshit.) “Dope Fiend Rental” featuring ScHoolboy Q starts off sounding like its over modulated and then moves into itself. I’ve complained MANY a time about drum machines. I don’t want to hear them. They are lazy. BUT sometimes, if you do use them right, like Danny Brown, you pull it off. I will say that I notice ScHoolboy Q’s “my dick is longer than the Brooklyn Bridge” on “Dope Fiend Rental”. It reminds me of Danny’s “1 Train” line: “dick so long/stretch from Earth To Venus.” The high hat in “Torture” is really simple and perfect. It’s layered with a choral chorus (that’s a thing, right?) that crescendos into instrumental synth. It works. “Gremlins” is only 2:06. It has an unusual beat to it, but Danny still flows. My only qualm is, for how interesting Danny Brown is – interesting looking, interesting sounding – his album art is just “MEH.” I was expecting something different. But here’s to not judging a book by the cover. The internet loves Danny Brown. And so do I. You can download Old for free here.