Jul 102012

What are you listening to these days? While we may be inundated by suggestions for beach reading, grilling recipes, and refreshing beverages, I’d like to hear more about what you all are listening to during the heat wave, your holidays, your longer daylight hours. It’s the summer and for me it means more time to explore bands I’ve been meaning to catch up on or learn more about. So here are 2 that I’m totally addicted to these days:

1. The Men

Mr. Royale has been sneaking tracks from this Brooklyn 4-piece onto music mixes he’s been making for me, but it was this track that really turned things around and made me join the cult:

This is 8:06 of The Power and Glory of Rock! We start with some Neil Young “Southern Man”-style guitar, and move into a psychedelic guitar lead that winningly reminds me of one of my favorite covers, Camper Van Beethoven’s version of Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive.” Two minutes in, the beat picks up but then is followed by a teasing lull. However, the volume kicks back up and at 5:18, The Men are in full swing and even add cowbell! I’m imagining the group of them head banging in tandem and this continues with some extra psychedelic guitar noodling thrown in for good measure. This music IS everything and the kitchen sink!

Whereas The Men are very overt with their influences, my other music addiction these days could be described as True Originals:

2. Young Marble Giants

One of my Facebook friends recently posted some tracks off of YMG’s fabulous 1980 album, Colossal Youth, and that reminded me that I had purchased the 2007 reissue, which also includes singles, a couple of EPs, a John Peel Session, AND notes from my favorite rock critic, Simon Reynolds. Let’s just say that music of this Cardiff trio (the Moxham brothers, Alison Statton) has been on constant replay over the last few days.

This track demonstrates YMG at their cleanest: skeletal, airy but also tuneful. And they reflect seminal Post-Punk attributes: bass heavy, clean production, a prominent female presence. Other YMG tracks add very simple keyboards or a drum machine (hear the beautiful “N.I.T.A” or “Wurlitzer Jukebox”). Alas, YMG only lasted a couple of years. The Moxham brothers continued to play in a few bands and with other artists (see my 6/3/2011 Mystery Date of Barbara Manning/Stuart Moxham) and Alison sang with Weekend and others before becoming a chiropractor and mother. YMG influenced multiple other bands (hear Courtney Love’s cover “Credit In the Straight World”) but none so clearly as the recent The XX. Recently, YMG has reunited and played a few shows together, including this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties.

So, what are you listening to these days?


  17 Responses to “Summertime and the Music Is…?”

  1. cliff sovinsanity

    The Men song is not bad, but I’m tiring of the Reverb Nation out there. I don’t know who started it, but my feet are getting soaked.

    Speaking of Post-Punk, I’ve been re-discovering Bush Tetras. Often overlooked and forever under appreciated. Talking Heads and Delta 5 fans take note. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-3vpMGJtL4

  2. ladymisskirroyale

    Mmm, Bush Tetras. I’m a big fan of “Too Many Creeps,” their “big” single:

    You may also like fellow New Yorkers Liquid Liquid.

  3. I just completed a big painting job in my house. On Saturday, when I worked most of the day on prep and the first coat, I let every Rolling Stones song on my iPod play. That was a lot of songs, and they were great to work to. On Sunday I painted to Stevie Wonder. Also great painting/sweating music. We’ve also made some long car rides. One day I played a couple of hours of Beatles music. Last night it was two standbys: Get Happy!! and Marquee Moon.

    In work I’ve been working my ass off too. For editorial work I usually prefer no words and lots of repetition, so Terry Riley and Fripp and Eno have been getting a lot of spins.

    No big Sounds of Summer yet for me; I’m kind of waiting for summer to kick in.

  4. ladymisskirroyale

    It’s true – it’s imperative to listen to Classic Rock while doing manual stuff around the house. However, floor cleaning requires James Brown (and that’s year ’round).

  5. 2000 Man

    I think so far this summer I’ve listened to Middle Brother more than anything else this summer. I love it. It’s the main guys from Deer Tick, Dawes and Delta Spirit. I wish I had paid attention last year when it came out, I’d have listened to it even more times by now! Jack White’s Blunderbuss album is really great, too. It’s more than I expected, and I was just blasting it today.

    I have bught a lot of used records this summer, so it’s kind of been all over the place. I think I’ve been really appreciating Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps a lot. I know, it’s a bonafide super classic, and I’m not exactly going out on a limb or anything, but Neil is a guy I loved when I was a kid, but I kind of lost touch with him. Trans, Everybody’s Rockin’ and This Note’s for You turned me off of Neil. But more recently I’ve really liked getting into the stuff I loved bak then all over again. I think Rust Never Sleeps might be his absolute best, though.

    Hey, I really liked The Men! I’m gonna have to buy one of their albums for sure.

  6. bostonhistorian

    Love Young Marble Giants!

    Summer means slowing up the tempo and getting back into the old Jamaican rock steady and dub.

    A classic 1968 Hopeton Lewis track with a New Orleans feel:


    Winston Wright with a Booker T. and the MGs cover:


    The Jamaicans:


    The Reggae Boys:


  7. diskojoe

    I only play my Lovin’ Spoonful CDs during the summer (just as I only read P.G. Wodehouse during the summer). I’ve also listened to the Rhino surf music box set. I also got the new verion of Sir Paul’s Ram for my birthday, which I liked. I currently have a UK mod compilation called Out of Sight: More Sounds From the In Crowd, in my car which has my favorite summer song of all time, Billy Stewart’s version of “Summertime”

  8. ladymisskirroyale

    Those Deer Tick dudes are exactly the sort of band I’ve been meaning to hear more of. Any recommendations of where to start?

  9. 2000 Man

    I think Born on Flag Day is the one that people stood up and took notice of. They’re all good, but for a drunken, rowdy blast Divine Providence is hard to beat. The first album, War Elephant is the one I got first, and I really like it a lot. But for starters, I think I’d try Born on Flag Day. It’s kind of like Doolittle by the Pixies – it’s easier to get into but a I like other albums more.

  10. For new stuff, I’ve been listening to Rhett Miller’s latest — it’s a bit closer to the Old 97s that his other solo albums. For 90s flashbacks, I’ve digging into Mary Lou Lord, Lush and Paul Westerberg.

    My classic rock summer sounds so far are Neil Young and The Beach Boys. This is kind of a long clip and low-rent production, but Neil (along with a bunch of other folks including Brian Wilson, Glen Campbell, Steve Miller, and Sir Paul) helped Al Jardine out on his solo album a couple of years ago — at 3.44 there’s a picture of Al and Neil in the studio and you then hear a bit of Neil singing during a remake of California Saga.

  11. ladymisskirroyale

    Lush – that reminds me I should listen to “Gala” again. A fav.

  12. ladymisskirroyale

    That compilation sounds intriguing. Who/what else is on it?

  13. I caught up with my old deadhead buddies last Sat for the Furthur fest. No tailgate (It was 102 in Philly Sat afternoon) and no pot smoking (for me, I am up for a new job) made the Dead seem kind of pointless. They even played “Dark Star” but I couldn’t get with it.

    I just heard Lucinda Williams Car Wheels on a Gravel Road in its entirety for the 1st time last week. I’ll have to dig into it this month; I’m not sure how I managed to avoid that one for so long.

  14. And Produced by Topper Headon!

    The Bush Tetras were pretty limited, but what they were limited to worked very nicely. I especially liked the rhythm section. Dee Pop was a really solid groovin’ meat and potatoes drummer and Laura Kennedy played rudimentary,swinging lines that had the feel of “Under My Thumb” or “Goin’ to a Go Go”. She would be a wonderful study for Sammy Maudlin’s Earth Goddesses of the Bass treatise. Plus she was a skinny, auburn haired looker with a terrific sneer.

  15. ladymisskirroyale

    bostonhistorian, if you like a good novel, may I suggest the wonderful “City of Bohane” by Kevin Barry? Rival gangs in a fictional Irish city, set in the future, but each gang has it’s type of music: calypso, reggae, dubstep. I enjoyed hearing what each gang listened to and what they wore before they did the ultraviolence.

  16. bostonhistorian

    I’ll check it out. Thanks for the tip!

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