“A Warm Place” by Nine Inch Nails

For a long time this was my alarm ringtone every morning, but through changing phones and time it got lost.  Some feelings are beyond explanation with words, I think we all know that.  I try my best to though, at least when it comes to music, so that maybe people can understand where I am coming from and perhaps feel it too.  The feelings I have that correlate to certain music are some of the strongest and most intense that I have ever felt.  Something happens with certain albums and songs that takes over me.  I can’t imagine a deeper connection to something than that.  It makes me think that, somehow, the music is inside of me.  Maybe those specific vibrations in that order coincide with the sequencing of my DNA.  Maybe it’s connected to my brain chemistry and thus how I interpret the world.  Maybe my life experiences up until now make certain music resonate deeper than others, and in myself deeper than it does in other people.  I am unable to put my finger on it and I am certain that I never will, I just know what I hear a song like “A Warm Place” by Nine Inch Nails, it evokes such a tender sentiment that a calming breathlessness comes over me.  Nothing else makes me feel more present in the moment as these three minutes.  This is tangible life in an audible form.  Just recently, I switched it back to my alarm ringtone, it feels good to wake up every day in “A Warm Place”.

– MCG.

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The 10 Best Albums of Quarter 2, 2018

Two more handfuls of great music from Quarter 2 (April, May, June) for dat ass!

Wide Awake! by Parquet Courts 

Clearly puffing out their collective chests on this fine return to form they close out the opening track Total Football by firing off a resounding “And Fuck Tom Brady!” Then they have the balls to title one song Freebird II before they strut through the second half of the album. Don’t get in their way cause Parquet Courts are no longer dining on Swedish Fish, they have expanded their palate and are clearly out for blood! – Apache Slomo.

Beyondless by Iceage

Iceage have done something different while managing to improve drastically with every album they have released, and Beyondless catches them at their most impactful.  This album is a brooding, powerful, and concise declaration of eliteness that foams at the mouth and flows like like a river.

 – MCG.

Hope Downs by Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Everything about RBCF says take it slow man! Coming on like a modern day Aussie Grateful Dead, Hope Downs is the perfect soundtrack for Summer. On an album jam packed with good vibrations my favorite run has got to be Bellarine through Exclusive Grave but that could change as Summer has just started to roll. – Apache Slomo.

God’s Favorite Customer by Father John Misty

I won’t go deep into the narrative behind the album like most reviews do, I just want to say that Father John Misty has conjured up some of the most intellectual stimulating indie rock since his arrival.  Rarely has it been as important to not only pay attention to every word, but to also pay attention to how they are sung.  He has an incredible gift for crafting vocal melodies, and despite all the praise he gets, I still feel as though he’s underrated.

– MCG.

Bay Dream by Culture Abuse

Scratching that ’90’s itch for me Culture Abuse have crafted that album you can get things done to. Run your errands in the blistering heat or sipping a nice cold brew out by the pool, Bay Dream encourages repeat listens and repeat parties. Highlights include; Rats In the Walls, California Speedball, Calm E and Dozy. Surf’s up palz! – Apache Slomo. 

DAYTONA by Pusha T

The lyrics are fantastic, the beats are incredible, and the brevity of the album makes for such an easy listen.  Clicking play again often feels like the only option upon its completion.

 – MCG.

Little Acts of Destruction by Red Hare 

With former members of Swiz and Bluetip recorded by J.Robbins it’s safe to say Little Acts of Destruction brims with pedigree. Dropped on Dischord Records, it’s hard to express how important these albums are to those that grew up with this sound because they just don’t get made that much anymore. So let’s raise a glass to more of that righteous D.C. Sound Attack! – Apache Slomo.

I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer. by The Body

One part explosive potential energy and one part undeniable haunting fury make this album pure catharsis.  Sometimes you just need to scream.

 – MCG.

Fame and Fortune by Mick’s Jaguar 

Speaking of parties, what if I told you Mick’s Jaguar were the love child of the New York Dolls and Cobra Verde. Just look at the album cover for fucks sake, it’s pure adrenaline and disrespect. It says life is bloody, life is messy now let’s get in there and make some noise!! – Apache Slomo.

7 by Beach House

More of the same?  Sure, but when you’re as good and heavenly as Beach House is, more of the same is exactly what we should be asking for, and with a few refreshing curveballs thrown in, this might be their best all around effort ever.

– MCG.

Throwback Thursday: “Reckoner” and “Videotape” by Radiohead

It’s a double feature!  Radiohead’s magnificent album In Rainbows came out ten years ago this week, so I figured I’d do a track from that for this week’s throwback.  Problem is, every track on that album is so damn near perfect, and I couldn’t pick just one.  The first one, “Reckoner”, is one of the most beautiful pieces of modern music that I can think of.  It’s the feeling of watching the ocean wax and wane all alone in the early hours of a chilly morning.  The second, “Videotape”, is the album’s closing track, and it cuts me so deep and wrenches on my heart every time I hear it.  It’s the feeling of losing someone but knowing it’s still okay.  Both videos I selected are from the Live From the Basement concert which you can, and should, watch in its entirety on YouTube.

 

– MCG.

West Coast Wednesday: “Rapper’s Ball” by E-40 ft. Too $hort, K-Ci

I knew I was going to pick an E-40 song this week, and being that they’re frequent collaborators, I figured I’d get Too $hort in on this one too.  K-Ci from Jodeci on the hook is the cherry on top.  Three legends at once.

 

 – MCG.

West Coast Wednesday: “Blue Suede” by Vince Staples

So far I’ve used this spot to highlight a handful of classics from the West Coast rap archives.  Today I’d like to shine the spotlight on one of my absolute favorite guys from the new school – Vince Staples.  Vince can do no wrong in my book, and he’s accomplished a lot since his 2014 debut Hell Can Wait, including the best rap album of 2015, Summertime ’06.  That said, when I go to introduce someone to him, I still lean on this gem from his debut.  It’s going to be the song people are still screaming for when he’s doing his festival victory lap in spite of all the great things I’m sure he still has in him.  Behold:

 

 – MCG.

West Coast Wednesday: “Set It Off” by Snoop Dogg ft. MC Ren, Ice Cube, Nate Dogg, The Lady of Rage)

With this column, besides rehashing the classics, I’m going to attempt to highlight a lot of possibly lesser known tracks that are collaborations between all the greats.  For example, this song, which features one of my favorite rap verses ever, by the irreplaceable yet often underrated MC Ren.  He was the dark horse, the George Harrison of N.W.A., and he went harder than all of them.  Throw Ice Cube on the chorus and Nate Dogg on the bridge and clearly it’s a must listen.

 

 – MCG.

Album Review: The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

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The War On Drugs’ music sets a certain mood very well.  I liken it to the feeling I got when I first heard Radiohead; it’s a calming, peaceful feeling that induces bouts of melancholy.  I’m not comparing The War On Drugs to Radiohead in any way, all that I’m saying is that I feel the same sort of self-reflecting existential dread when either band is playing.  It’s a strange feeling, very unique to certain experiences.  It’s heavy, it’s sad, it’s happy, and most of all it’s beautiful.

The War On Drugs’ previous two releases, Slave Ambient and Lost In The Dream are  great, and I have spent a fair amount of time with both of them.  It seems as though Adam Granduciel is a very meticulous person, at least with his art, and with this latest release he has compounded, concentrated, and improved upon everything he’s previously done, amounting to something truly epic.  If he was an artificial intelligence program, before now he was an extremely efficient one that got the job done just about perfectly, as he was programmed to do.  On A Deeper Understanding, he became self-aware, which allowed him to make the necessary adjustments to not only produce something as great as he is capable of once more, but to improve upon it in a way that was previously thought to be unattainable.  It’s a culmination of his lifetime experience as a musician that has been arranged and sequenced into a sprawling and absolutely gorgeous journey.

Take, for example, the slightly off-center highlight of the album, “Thinking of a Place”.  It was the first single released back in April of this year, and has been an unavoidable entity in my life since.  It’s eleven minutes long, and so in the traditional sense of a “single” it makes the least sense out of any song on the album, but it exists as a microcosm of the calculated wandering and transcendent perfection achieved on the album as a whole.


By stepping outside of his own box he was able to view everything from a new vantage point, shore up the weaknesses, and improve on the already unique and enthralling strengths.  It’s a great leap forward, which makes me wonder about where he can go from here.  I’m looking forward to bearing witness.

  A Deeper Understanding is out everywhere 08.25.17.

 – MCG.