Online for Great Tracks
From Myspace to yours: digital sounds worthy of close encounters in the new year.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
While traditional album sales are dropping faster than a groupie’s leather pants, the Internet is buzzing with incredible music. The trick is finding out what’s worth looking for without spending hours sifting through overhyped artists online. The following are a few recent finds we thought worthy of your attention.
“SUGAR MAN,” Rodriguez
Back in 1970, Detroit psychedelic rocker Rodriguez released his debut album to little fanfare. Due in part to Rodriguez’s reluctance to play anything but “hooker bars, inner city dives and biker bars,” the man’s music never reached a sizeable American audience. But, though Rodriguez gave up his music career and made ends meet by working at a gas station, his debut Cold Fact became a huge hit in South Africa. This past year, Light in the Attic Records re-released the album, which became Rolling Stone Magazine’s 9th best Reissue of the Year.
Light in the Attic’s website currently features a free MP3 of the album’s opening number, “Sugar Man.” The song sounds like twisted AM pop with the requisite countercultural references to “Mary Jane” and a barrage of sound effects in the middle that those nursing a head full of illegal substances would enjoy.www.lightintheattic.net/releases/rodriguez/
BEST 100 SONGS OF 2008, Pitchfork
At the end of the year, writers love to compile lists and Pitchfork is no different. The great thing about the hipster music website’s Best 100 Songs List is that it allows you to listen to every track in its entirety. Some tracks that made the cut are the Fleet Foxes’ intricate pop number “White Winter Hymnal” and Deerhunter’s propulsive “Nothing Ever Happened,” which sounds like a marriage of the lean dark rock of Joy Division with the catchy psych rock of Guided By Voices. Branching out from indie rock, the list includes Lil Wayne’s “A Mili,” which was on the best selling CD of 2008, Tha Carter III, and “Sabali” from the African music duo Amadou and Mariam. Topping the list is Hercules and Love Affair’s “Blind,” a disco song with vocals by Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons over a lithe bass line and appropriately dance ready percussion.www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/feature/147998-the-100-best-tracks-of-2008
SHALLOW GRAVE, The Tallest Man on Earth
While musicians continue to plunder the wealth of rich sounds in Bob Dylan’s expansive catalogue, few do it better or more convincingly than The Tallest Man on Earth. The Swedish folkie’s debut Shallow Grave comes on like Dylan before he went electric with a touch of Devendra Banhart’s warble and finger-style guitar playing. But The Tallest Man on Earth, which is really Kristian Matsson with an acoustic guitar or banjo, proves he is the master of his own domain on songs like “Into the Stream,” which includes powerful vocal imagery and curtains of icy acoustic guitar playing. In the number, he plays God and sings lines like: “I’ve set the rain to be cold and hard/ I’ve set the sun to be bright and sharp.”
Though the only way to get Shallow Grave on CD from Amazon is to order it from Australia. The 10-song, 31-minute release is for sale on iTunes.www.myspace.com/thetallestmanonearth