I’m truly sorry T-Sides and all related projects have been offline for so long. Chalk it up to summer, chalk it up to a quarter-life crisis, chalk it up to any sorry excuse for life taking us away from the things we love that require any amount of work. But let’s turn the focus on the positives. I’ve certainly continued ingesting and thinking about all things culture-related, just find myself less able to capture the associated thoughts. So, here’s a showcase of Top 15 things that have been on the T-Sides radar while we’ve been dormant (not in order of preference, simply in the order of thought). Click the jump to see!
1. TV on the Radio Remixes – Read Silence
Truth be told, remixes rarely appeal to me. A relationship with a song can be so personal, so intimate, that for it to be broken down into pieces and transformed can be like going to bed with someone you love and waking up next to a stranger. But holy hell, all three remixes on the Read Silence EP are breathtaking reinterpretations. The handy craft of Glitch Mob, Gang Gang Dance and Jneiro Jarel on these selections from Dear Science are perfect companion pieces to TV on the Radio’s compositions. It’s like finding out that someone you already love is an amazing cook or volunteers to teach children how to read or something.
TV On The Radio: “Shout Me Out (Willie Isz Remix By Jneiro Jarel)” (download)
2. Neko Case, Neko Case, Neko Case
Oh, Neko. It’s quite possible that my girl-crush on her has gone too far, considering I’ve begun to imitate her promotional art in portrait form. Middle Cyclone enchanted me so deeply that I went back to listen to Fox Confessor… and Blacklisted, and more frequently than any other current listening habit I’ve developed, I have a tendency to just put those three albums on shuffle. It’s only a matter of time until I own and then do so with her entire catalog.
Neko Case: “Runnin’ Out Of Fools” (download)
3. Mariah Carey, “Obsessed”
The reasons why this song is on repeat deserve their own list, because it mostly involves the lyrics, like “All up in the blogs,” and “Lyin’ that you’re sexin’ me,” but especially the line, “Got you all fired up with your Napoleon complex, seein’ right through you like you’re bathin’ in Windex.” Really. Oh, and it’s a Mean Girls reference. What’s not to love?
Mariah Carey: “Obsessed” (download)
4. Ear Farm
Go ahead and call me biased since my name has appeared on the site a time or two, but truth is, it’s not bias, it’s bloggist envy! The crew at Ear Farm have been coming up with some ridiculously insightful, entertaining and impressively original features. From countdowns like the “Top 10 Most Metal Classical Music Pieces” to exposes about fake myspace accounts to dinnerviews, Ear Farm has me constantly checking their site for updates – and checking my brainstorming well for better ideas.
It’s not that I want these dudes to rush, by all means, I want them to take as much time as they need to write their perfect, perfect songs, but oh god I can’t remember the last time I was so prematurely excited for an album. All Hour Cymbals is still still still on heavy play because it is so so good, and “Tightrope” is so so good, and it’s just so so hard not to get so so anxious/eager/greedy for more! Their “Odd Blood” recording blog is a bright spot on my Google Reader every update, whether it be picture updates from their Woodstock recording cabin, random themes, crueal teasers or actual news. Between this and their upcoming Pier 54 gig, I hope my thirst for Yeasayer will be satisfied.
6. Jay-Z, “DOA”
Hovy Hov, it’s not that I stopped loving you, but the leaks and singles since the American Gangster stuff have been… well, mediocre. Your “A Billi” version of “A Milli” is fierce, and “Brooklyn We Go Hard” is a serious jam, but it’s not going to be on Blueprint 3? That made me think you had something better coming, but nothing I heard has really topped that. I was ready to side with your detractors and brush you off as an old man, outta touch – which, truthfully, I don’t neccessarily completely disagree with. But there’s something about you, that swagger, that love of old soul samples, that epic, hit-making ear that keeps me coming back for more. So I didn’t lose all faith. And then you relased “DOA,” which deservedly rips auto-tune, has those hot brass and guitar riffs and references my other favorite big-time rapper (Young Jeezy). Not to mention, a seriously piiiiimp video, featuring exploding assets, you smoking a cigar in front of an NY skyline and playing poker with Harvey Keitel. There I was, finessed by you again.
Jay-Z: “DOA” (download)
7. Music Direction on “The Sopranos”
Anyone who checks in on my personal tumblr has heard me talk about this before. I’m closing in on “The Sopranos” finale (and if you try to spoil it for me, I’ll cut your head off) after a couple years spent watching it via Netflix and friends’ copies of the show. Most HBO shows use music in the most incredible way, and “Nip/Tuck” is another great example of television music direction, too, but “The Sopranos” is so perfect, it’s as if they had an army of thousands, possessing the knowledge of every song to ever exist when selecting, as if they had brackets and votes and cage matches of which song is best for which moment. My recent favorite selection was the use of The Rolling Stones’ “Moonlight Mile” in the Season 6, Part 1 closer. And, yes, I do already know what the big finale song is – but that’s all I know.
The Rolling Stones: “Moonlight Mile” (download)
8. Jamie Foxx, “Blame It”
I hated “Blame It” the first time I heard it. It’s demeaning to women no matter how you look at it – either we need liquor to have a one-night stand so as to not feel “easy” (women can’t be as sexually promiscuous as men), or Foxx is acknowledging that such a double-standard exists and is exploiting a loop hole (but is still, basically, trying to bone women by getting them hammered) – that stutter is annoying as hell if you’re not in the right mood, and someone should probably tell Foxx he’s not Usher (speaking of which, wherefore art thou, Usher?). That said, “Blame It” is club R&B gold, catchy and sing-a-long-able as all hell, and unsurprisingly fun to drink to (or get ready to drink to). I also acknowledge that the video is killer, though I probably only think so because it features an appearance from fellow redhead and The Music Man star, Ron Howard. Yep, that’s right. Ron Howard in a club video. Point: Jamie Foxx.
But I’d still love it if a woman did a version of “Blame It” targeted at male drinking stereotypes. (Hint: Ironically, it rhymes with frisky stick). Someone put me in touch with Beyonce and Rihanna’s agents!
Jamie Foxx: “Blame It (Feat. T-Pain)” (download)
9. Built To Spill
The minute Pacific Northwest Rock Royalty Built To Spill were announced as headliners for this year’s Siren Fest, I pulled out Keep It Like A Secret and There’s Nothing Wrong With Love, and haven’t stopped listening to them since. As with Neko Case, it’s only a matter of time until I jaunt through their entire discography. Luckily I’ll be getting another addition in the fall, in the form of There Is No Enemy.
Built To Spill: “You Were Right” (download)
VeniSin: “Koadak Blues” (download)
11. Jake One, “Home”
What’s that? I already posted this? You don’t say…
Actually, I don’t say, because it’s worth talking about again, between the opening shot at my beloved Dick’s Drive-Thru on Broadway, the Sir Mix-A-Lot cameo, the jokes about Seattle being a city of potsmokers, the digs at Seattle sports teams, and the laid-back, positive vibes. Seattle doesn’t get enough theme songs, so I’mma pimp this one, our best one, as much as I can. Even if you aren’t from the Emerald City, you can appreciate the skill of some of its best emcees.
12. The Dead Weather
After playing witness to their in-store at Jack White’s pop-up Third Man Records, it’s hard to listen to Horehound, which lacks some of the intensity and complexity of the live performance. But, at the very least, on “Treat Me Like Your Mother” and “I Cut Like A Buffalo,” Jack White’s passion is infectious, and Alison Mosshart makes a great toughsexy frontwoman for him to spar with. The rest of the album requires more digesting on my end, but I may never get past the way both songs make me want to slinky-swagger my way down the sidewalk and spit in some dude’s eye, or the violent video for “Treat Me Like Your Mother.” Can you imagine if you and an ex could have a shoot-out, knowing you wouldn’t kill the other person? I also have to point out the deliciously sinister fact that it’s filmed right outside some sort of copycat suburban housing plot.
The Dead Weather: “Treat Me Like Your Mother” (download)
The French popsters from the Lost In Translation soundtrack hit it big with this year’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, particularly opening tracks “Lizstomania” and “1901.” They have me smitten – me and everyone else, that is.
Phoenix: “Lizstomania” (download)
I’m fully aware of the fact that I’ve knocked Wilco before. Though I’ve admittedly warmed up to them, in some ways, I still stand by my original statements. It takes way too long for Wilco albums to hit home, longer than I’m usually willing to spend on an album without some amount of faith in the artist. After hearing some live recordings, though, I decided to splurge on seeing the band with Yo La Tengo (who I, regrettably, only saw the last song of), and came away something closely resembling a fan. My favorite moments involved songs from A Ghost Is Born and Sky Blue Sky and the incredible guitarmanship of Nels Cline, who made sounds I’d never heard before. I don’t know that I’d call Wilco a new favorite, but I came away from the show willing to put a little more faith in their hands.
Wilco: “You And I” (download)
15. Domino Records
So, about that job thing. After an exhaustive job hunt, I’ve taken a positon with Domino Records (US), fine purveyors of alternative artists. Being a critic and working at a label puts me in a right compromising position, one that will be solved by my not expressing opinions regarding Domino artists. This unfortunately means I’ll have to refrain from further editorializing on Domino artists I’ve written about before – Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, Cass McCombs, The Notwist, Arctic Monkeys – but is the best route to ensure things don’t get cloudy around here. There is a chance that I will decide to report facts – without critique or comment – from events I attend (for example, Animal Collective’s show at Prospect Park that I bought tickets for months and months ago), but should I do so, will disclose things of that nature to you, the T-Sides readers. Credibility and integrity still remain two facets I hold dear, despite being known as a blogger and the source of my current paycheck.
Van Morrison: “Domino” (YouTube)