Insult to Injury: Week Ending 11/22 with Sundowner
Here's what the Noisey editors were listening to this week while they were busy telling you what to listen to.
Every week, the Noisey editors get together, usually around some delicious barbecue, and compile everything they've been listening to over the past week and argue about why each other's opinions are stupid. Joining us this month is Chris McCaughan, aka Sundowner, aka Chris of the Lawrence Arms, whose song we premiered this week. Here are our BBQ sauce-covered picks...
Great Apes - "Seventeen Years"
I've been jamming Great Apes' newest album, Thread. "Seventeen Years" is the song on repeat. It's everything I love about Bay Area punk rock. It's urgent and honest. It reminds me so much of the records I loved when I was, well, a moppy-haired high schooler driving around listening to mixtapes.
Chris McCaughan on Twitter
See Sundowner this Sunday at the Knitting Factory, Brooklyn.
Foxtrott - "Beyond Our Means"
I didn't think a French horn could be cool, but then I saw Foxtrott in a tiny Montreal venue last night. The duo's music isn't overly complicated, and "Beyond Our Means," which we premiered yesterday, is a great representation of their sound. It's indie pop. Tight. Bouncy. Clean. But the difference is that the French horn felt hip-hop-esque, fluttering along the electro beats in a peculiar way I couldn't really figure out. But what I do know is that I walked out of the room hoping that French horn would be the next big trend in rap music.
Janet Jackson - "Got 'til It's Gone (feat. Q-Tip)" (Jay Dee's Revenge Remix)
Because I'm an idiot, I only just started seriously listening to Janet Jackson a month or so ago. Of all her records, The Velvet Rope probably sticks out the most—it's ostensibly her foray into the neo-soul that people like Erykah Badu, Maxwell, and D'Angelo were pushing at the time, but what's most striking about it is how it inadvertently predicts most of the cooler trends in contemporary indie music, simply by taking the pop sounds of the time and neo-soul-ifying them. Dam-Funk's bedroom-keyb attack? "Go Deep" did it. "Together Again" is basically the song Disclosure has been shooting for this entire time, and Tom Krell would wrestle an alligator with his bare hands to create a song as chillingly beautiful as "Empty." Anyways, the best song from the record is "Got 'til It's Gone." Fun story—the song is credited as a Janet Jackson/Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis production, but anybody with ears can tell the thing was done by The Ummah, the production team comprised of Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammed, and J. Dilla. Above is Dilla's remix of the song, which he made basically to prove to everyone he made the beat.
Kanye West - "All of the Lights"
It's the three year anniversary of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy today, and tomorrow will mark the fifth anniversary of 808s and Heartbreak. It made seeing Kanye's Yeezus tour at Barclays on Wednesday with Tribe Called Quest more surreal. It was an experience, but of course, there were polarizing responses among the audience to the songs Kanye performed. And then there was "All of the Lights." Every single person screamed along. As the song faded to an end, Kanye knelt on the ground and asked to sing the chorus over. The song was over, the holy mountain of Yeezus was lit by pyrotechnics where, eventually in the middle of the song, his disciples stood bearing torches, and he belted out the first few notes, let the audience sing a bit, and then moaned "light" leading into 'like" into "Good Life." "All of the Lights" isn't the best song on MBDTF, it's the centerpiece at almost halfway through the album—the triumphant horns, the combative drums, Ye's tribute to MJ, his pleas with fame, the contributions from 11 other fucking people on the song. It's incredible. And it's still holds the exact same exultancy it did three years ago.
A Tribe Called Quest - "Jam"
I know it's happened a few times before, but reportedly Sunday (11/24) at Madison Square Garden will be the final A Tribe Called Quest show. Their tumultuous/harmonious history is well documented in the film Beats Rhymes & Life, but that doesn't make their split any less sad. ATCQ's direction, outlook and creativity immeasurably influenced a young Kanye West, so it seems full circle that his NYC show is whether they'll tie up loose ends, and at the Garden no less. Check out one of my favorite album tracks from ATCQ, "The Jam" below. They will be missed.
We Are Scientists - “After Hours”
I am extremely nostalgic by nature. For instance, I will never tire of watching The Goonies, and although I’m kinda slack about it now, to date I've written 24 diaries so as to keep my memories in check. Also, when I visit San Francisco, I like hanging out in parks that I used to play in, which I realize is creepy on so many levels.
This week, for various reasons, I was feeling extra emo—and by that I mean actually emotional—and the only song that came anywhere near making me feel good was We Are Scientists’ tune “After Hours.” Observe the warm timbre of Keith’s voice and the plaintive guitar line that runs the song’s length. Listen to the lyrics which are all about falling in love and being deliciously drunk with it (and whiskey, too, probably). Oh, the romance of those elastic hours between midnight at 6am! And the line—“We’re finally drunk enough that/We’re finally soaking up/The hours that everyone else throws away”—I mean, come on!
Secondarily this video is amazing for the following reasons:
1. Keith and Chris go on a double date and Chris’ love interest is an actual dog.
2. Chris’ facial expressions when interacting with his dog date.
3. The use of subtitles.
4. We Are Scientists’ choice of knitwear.
5. Keith and Chris’ physical altercation at the video’s climax.
Although I have to say, trying to watch this video again and again, and thus having to sit through the Delivery Man trailer—an allegedly LOLZ comedy in which Vince Vaughn discovers he’s fathered 533 children—is changing my vibe from fuzzily emotional to downright ragey. Thanks YouTube!
The Lawrence Arms - "You Are Here"
Well obviously I’m gonna go with the new Lawrence Arms jam this week since they came out of nowhere to drop it on us from the punk rock heavens. Metropole is quickly becoming one of my favorite TLA albums. It’s all about getting older and accepting it. But at the same time it’s not sad bastard dad rock. Larry Arms for life.