The Top Ten Greatest Songs about Food

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2010 by peteymenz

(Soon to be followed by the top ten greatest songs about buildings.).

10.  Bocabola (I am Cola)- Boredoms

Lyric sample: “EVERYBODY DRINK YOU UP IN THE COLA!”  The other parts are completely incoherent.

9. Cheeseburger in Paradise- Jimmy Buffett

So, this song is about a guy who tries to go vegetarian, but simply can’t.  Even his beloved carrot juice can’t take him away from the “American creation on which [he] feeds”- a cheeseburger.  Honestly, I’m a little worried about Mr. Buffett; he’s sung about drinking margaritas all day and how much he loves cheeseburgers, but he’s never sung about diet or exercise.  To be fair, he does mention how much he likes onions and tomatoes on his burgers.  Sadly, this proves that he really doesn’t know the meaning of the word “carnivorous.”

8. Teengenerate- The Dictators

This song devotes about fifteen lines to describing the titular “teengenerate.”  What’s interesting about this is how most of the lines are about the food the guy eats.  When we first see him, he has a sandwich in his hand.  Also, he eats eggs all day long.  Which is kind of weird.  I really hope he changes it up a bit; scrambled eggs for breakfast, hard-boiled eggs for lunch, etc.

7. Vegetables- The Beach Boys

This song deserves its spot here for two reasons.  First of all, it’s about how much Brian Wilson loves eating his vegetables.  Secondly, the percussion track is Paul McCartney chewing vegetables.  Greatest use of bizarre instrumentation since the Japanoise band the Gerogerigegege recorded a track which consisted of their frontman pooping several times.

6. I Just Wanna Have Something to Do- Ramones

“Hanging out on second avenue/Eating chicken vindaloo.”  Oh, Joey Ramone.  What happened to your pizza loyalty?

4. All You Can Eat- The Fat Boys

Most likely the greatest rap group ever.  Instead of being ganstas (like NWA), weirdos (like De La Soul), Philip K. Dick fans (Company Flow), or white people (Beastie Boys), they were fat.  That was their claim to fame.  This song shows how they got there.  They want it all- mac and cheese, baloney, salami, ham, chicken, toast.  The whole shebang.  Except for lettuce.

3. Too Much Paranoias- Devo

“I THINK I GOT A BIG MAC ATTACK!!!!!!!!”

2.  Beautiful Food- Edan

I’m guessing this is Edan’s tribute to the Fat Boys, based on the fact that this is basically just the Boston rapper listing foods.  But Edan is, of course, an indie rapper, and he’s not listing no regular foods. Nah, it’s all about the granola fruit bars and the zucchini ziti.

3. Bar-B-Q Pope- The Butthole Surfers

“They shot the pope, and I feel good.”  Now that is some virulent anti-Catholicism.

1.  Food Play- Lady Sovereign

Three lyric samples:

“You could cover me in porridge… oh, porridge.”

I may never be able to hear the story of Goldilocks again.

“You don’t need to eat that burger sauce, just rub it around your lips”

No manners whatsoever!

“English breakfast, a sexy english breakfast.”

Wait.  Did she just call English food “sexy?”  English food?

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The Top Ten Reasons This Blog Will Become, For A Time, A Series of Top Ten Lists

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 28, 2010 by peteymenz

10. Given the sporadic nature of my blog posts, it’s clear that any readers I have are due to my ability to make funny comments about music, not because I have the latest news (Cap’n Jazz are back together?  What?).

9. Consider it a tribute to High Fidelity, except top ten instead of top five.

8. This is all an oblique homage to McSweeney’s.

7. The first couple of lists are pretty funny.

6. Who reads articles anymore in the internet age?

5. Forget what De La Soul said- ten is a magic number.

4. This is all an oblique homage to the metric system.

3. Despite the fact that NBC’s late night fiascos have not yet catastrophically affected David Letterman, it’s clear that the world may need a steady provider of top ten lists in the years to come.

2. This is a tribute to my favorite member of the Dictators- Top 10.

1.  Shoot.  It’s going to be really difficult to come up with more of these.

1/120 Done With the 2010s

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2010 by peteymenz

Yeah.  We’re 1/12 of the way through 2010 and 1/120 of the way through the new decade.  And surprisingly, a lot of crap happened in the music world.  Vampire Weekend released their long-awaited second album, which doesn’t really win over any new fans and doesn’t really alienate any old ones.  Sure, there’ll be the odd chap who hated “Oxford Comma” but really identifies with “Horchata,” just like there’s the kid whose 2008 jam was “A-Punk” but finds “Cousins” a little embarrassing.  Honestly, the best thing about “Contra” is its sheer ridiculousness; really, how stupid are you when you feel that the phrase “I Think Ur a Contra” is a suitable song title?

But shit has happened in 2010.  Beach House’s newest album came out (even though we all heard it in, like, November.  And I semi-bashed it a few weeks ago, but I think I forgot to mention just how sweet the opening four songs are.  The rest of my review still holds up.

Surfer Blood have bad timing.  Surfing in January?  Really?  Really?

Charlotte Gainsbourg has a new LP out.  Not as great as Serge, but quite delectable.  Review coming soon.

But there is one part of 2010 that I really and truly enjoy, and that is Jay Electronica’s song “Suckas.”  Subject material is fairly typical- it’s about wack MCs.  But something about the track- Jay’s jubilant flow, the Willy Wonka samples, the ecstatic J Dilla beat- makes it the first hip-hop anthem of 2010.  It’s from his mixtape “Victory.”  The title is quite apt.

Surfer Blood- Astrocoast Review

Posted in Record Reviews, Stupid Bands, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by peteymenz

Swim is catchy.  OK.  It’s very catchy.  It kind of reminds me of a song that could play in a beer commercial, but it’s catchy.  Catchiness is a hallmark of beer commercials.  That’s why you never see this song in Bud Lite commercials, even though you can’t get much more direct.  But anyway- Surfer Blood have made an album.  This album is forty and a half minutes long.  Swim is three and a third minutes long.  Thus, you should unequivocally enjoy 8.2% of the album and have mixed reactions to the rest.

Part of me thinks the biggest problem on this album is timing.  It’s January.  It’s freezing.  It’s not time for surfing.  And make no mistake- this band is all about surfing.  Fifth track “Neighbor Riffs” is their attempt to write a surf instrumental as indelible as Miserlou.  Does it succeed?  Well, let’s just say that the Quentin Tarantinos of the future won’t be using this song for their soundtracks.  However, I’m quite certain that the teen movies of the near future will be able to use Swim.  After all, it’s quite catchy.

One final thought- the cover is, like, incredibly garish.  Seriously, what were they thinking?  The cheesy shark picture would be bad by itself, but the checkerboard pattern just takes it to new levels.  Not to mention the font that the band name is written in.

Another final thought- Lyrics- “I don’t want to spin my wheels/ I don’t got no wheels to spin”- are not Surfer Blood’s strength.  “Swim… to reach the end” is pretty stupid too now that I think about it.

Record Review: Teen Dream by Beach House

Posted in Record Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by peteymenz

Almost everything I have to say about  the new Beach House album can be deduced from a discussion of the cover.

It’s their best yet; nice and washed out.  Avoids the hippie séance vibe of Devotion.  Also, not as strange as the photo of buried treasure (?) they used for their debut.  Still, despite its not failing like their first two album covers did, the cover of Teen Dream still doesn’t add on to the music, like their cover for the “Used To Be” single did.  The cover of that single, a slightly washed out photo of a motel with a pool, seemed to get to the depressive heart of their music more than anything they’d ever done before.  Reminiscent of Hockey’s “A Bigger Splash.” Much more truthful than the white and tan lines that grace the cover of Teen Dream.

That’s really all I have to say about Teen Dream.  It’s better than their first two by far, but it doesn’t reach the heights I thought they could have with the Used To Be single.  They’ve redone that single’s titular a-side, adding actual rhythm and flourishes of color.  This is a severe misstep.  What was transcendent about Used To Be was the fact that it was so minimal and monochromatic, more than anything else they’d done prior to this.  Even earlier tracks like Saltwater had more rhythm than the absurdly stripped down throb that powered Used  To Be.  It felt hollow in a way that reflected the disaffected lyrics; it was a dream pop song stripped of all artifice- Suicide covering Cocteau Twins, perhaps.  With that song, Beach House  achieved a purity of sound and vision that they have sadly muddled on Teen Dream.  Lyrically, they’re the same as ever; sonically, they’ve added more and more and more.  Which is a shame, because the songs are fantastic- Norway and Walk In The Park rank among their very best.  With a less lush production, these songs might cut like a knife.  Instead, they pleasantly drift along.

Nostalgia For the Oughties; Or, How Did We Ever Listen to This Crap?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by peteymenz

HAHAHAHAH SOOOOOO OUGHTIES!

The eighties have an unfair reputation when it comes to music.  Yes, there was a tremendous amount of awful music released during the eighties, from histrionic synthpop to ridiculous hair metal, but there’s one thing to have to remember about this supposedly awful decade- it wasn’t too bad in a relative sense.  There was just as much crap released during the sixties, seventies, and nineties.  Every decade has an exorbitant amount of horrendous songs released during it, just like every decade has some truly transcendent music and a load of mediocre tracks.

Once I deduced that universal truth, I started thinking about the 2000s, or the “oughties,” or even the “endtimes.”  In twenty, ten, or even five years, there’s no doubt that a lot of this music that we listened to and enjoyed in the 2000s will sound mighty stupid.  You’ll know when it hits you; one day, you’ll be sitting around, listening to the Oldies station on last.fm, when suddenly a familiar track starts playing.  Let’s say it’s “So Bored,” by Wavves. And as you hear that song begin, you’ll be transported back to the time of your youth.  For a glorious second, you’ll be gripped with nostalgia.  And then Nathan Williams will start singing.

You’ll scratch your head, maybe cover your ears.  And when he reaches the chorus and starts “crooning” that heeeeeeeeeeeeeeee’sssss ssoooooooooooooo booooooooooooooooooreddd, well, then you’ll probably start laughing, because it is hilariously bad.  And when you go to your high school reunion, you can walk over to your friends, ask them if they remember Wavves, and have the satisfaction of making every single one of them crack up.

This column does not have the express purpose of bashing Wavves; So Bored is just one of those tracks that’s tied to a specific period in the oughties (the late 2000s lo-fi period) that will seem absolutely hilarious in a few years. There are many of those tracks, and thus I’ve compiled a playlist- a time capsule mixtape featuring the 10 tracks that simply must be the soundtrack to the indie teen movie set in the 2000s.  It’s organized semi-chronologically.  Enjoy.

1. Fuck the Pain Away– Peaches

Is this the legacy of electroclash?  A 2 Live Crew track fronted by a Canadian woman?  To her credit, her lyrics are nastier than anything from “Me So Horny.”  And come to think of it, does electroclash really deserve an enduring masterwork?

2. Highly Evolved– The Vines

Listening to this 90 second track again, it’s quite clear that the only reason the Vines were part of the garage rock revival was because they were a “the” band, rather than a “bizkit” band.  Also, Craig Nicholls sung rather than rapped.   But his singing is close to speaking, so rapping isn’t too far off.  And “Vine Bizkit” sounds plausible.

3. New Disco– Radio 4

Yeah, you heard the man.  It’s a new disco.  It’s a dance-punk disco.  It’s got politics and feedback.  Man, dance-punk is gonna start a revolution.  By 2007, every band will be dance-punk, and Radio 4 will have hijacked the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Yeah!  It will definitely happen.

4. House of Jealous Lovers– The Rapture

This is a controversial choice, because many people still view it as a great song.  And it is, in a very limited way.  It’s infinitely better than the dance-punk track I put on right before this, but it’s not really that different.  The Rapture hit on something with this track- a certain je ne sais quoi that makes this song almost transcend dance-punk.  That said, do you really think that future generations- or even you in a few years- will be able to take this seriously?

5.  Crank Heart– Xiu Xiu

I believe that in the future, people will study contemporary music criticism to figure out why people took Xiu Xiu so seriously (no, they were not a parody of emo bands.).  The key to figuring out this great mystery lies in Pitchfork Media’s review of Fabulous Muscles, where the reviewer describes Crank Heart as the soundtrack to “some unspeakably sad video game,” which might be the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.

6. The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth– Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

I’m 99% certain that when you saw this entry, you hadn’t thought of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah in three years.  And right now, you’re hunting through your iTunes library for their first album, which is not as good as you remember it.  Trust me.  What a voice that guy had.  What a voice indeed.

7. Don’t Save Us From The Flames– M83

“Out of the flames/a piece of brain in my hair/the wheels are melting/a ghost is screaming your name/Tina, Tina.” Sure, shoegazers never need to have great lyrics, but this is just creepy.

8. Alice Practice– Crystal Castles

In the year 2024, some future hipsters will have an “oughties dance party,” where they play all the DFA bands and dance ironically.  At one point, the DJ will decide to play this song, only knowing it as a popular electro-dance track from the late 2000s.  As soon as it starts, everyone will stop dancing and wonder why the DJ put his collection of 80s hardcore through a bitcrusher.

9. I Felt Stupid– The Drums

And eventually, so will we.   This is not to say it won’t be enjoyable in the future, but rather to assert that it will not get you any indie cred whatsoever.

10. Deadbeat Summer– Neon Indian

A few weeks ago, I was driving around with some friends.  We had been listening to Sigur Ros when one of my friends put on this track.  As soon as the beat kicked in, we all started bobbing our heads in an ironic fashion.  I noted the similarities to Wayne’s World, which makes this track the oughties’ Bohemian Rhapsody.  It’s almost as cheesy.

Album of the Year: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Posted in Record Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2010 by peteymenz

Despite the return of Lightning Bolt (with the most anticlimactic release of the year), another Super Roots EP from Boredoms, the masterful drones of Sunn 0))), and the continued prolificacy of Merzbow, 2009 was all about accessibility, even in the so-called “indie” scene. That’s why Bitte Orca is considered to be the greatest album thus far by Dirty Projectors, even though it only slightly edges out 2007’s Rise Above, and why Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavillion is considered to be the Brooklyn band’s finest hour. Conversely, it’s the reason why Black Dice’s Repo and No Age’s Losing Feeling EP failed to attract any significant attention- both were fairly noisy efforts, with Black Dice failing to make the Animal Collective transition from epic free noise explorations to bouncy electronic pop, and No Age slightly backing off from the indelible melodies of 2008’s Nouns. And if 2009 was all about accessibility, then Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is without a doubt the album of the year. Despite the French band’s dedication to snappy and instantly catchy pop songs (the 2000 single “If I Ever Feel Better” still ranks among their best songs), their albums have always contained either embarrassingly 80’s pastiche tracks (On Fire from 2000’s United), anemic and hookless soft rock songs (roughly half of Alphabetical), or overlong instrumentals (“North” from It’s Never Been Like That). What this means is that while Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective made their most accessible albums to date by cutting back on their intriguingly experimental tendencies, Phoenix were able to make their most accessible album to date by simply cutting out the lesser tracks. The two aforementioned bands stepped down; Phoenix stepped up. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is short- less than 40 minutes long- and does not contain a single track that’s less than addictive. From the quick rip of “Lasso” to the extended jam of “Love Like A Sunset,” Phoenix cover a fair bit of ground, but keep it punchy enough to never sound desperate. All hail the French.