That Old Testosterone High
Dabke: Sounds of the Syrian Houran (Sham Palace)
From seven weddings and such in southern Syria, 42 board-tape-to-vinyl-only minutes collected by Sublime Frequencies' Mark Gergis and released in an edition of 1000. Why you should want such a fetish object is simple‑-access to the most intense music you'll hear all year, including anything by Gergis's related discovery Omar Souleyman. It's very male and replete with strange noises: grunts and yelps, chipmunk squeals, and the buzzy overtones of a bamboo flute called the mejwiz‑-sometimes live, sometimes sampled, sometimes, Gergis says, both. Yes the music drones‑-it's supposed to. No you won't understand a word they're singing--insofar as they're singing any. A little one-dimensional sure‑-assuming you're not from southern Syria yourself. A MINUS
Japandroids: Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)
Kind of heartwarming that it's still possible for a young band to rock out with palpable joy about the pleasures, terrors, and life lessons of the road‑-the songs of experience thing, as if the road is reality in a way their jobs in Vancouver weren't. Helps that they're a duo‑-decreases the mathematical likelihood of a member nutting out, increases each member's share of the measly take. Also helps that they're not actually young‑-around 30 is my guess. Rendering this an escape into youth rather than from it by guys old enough to realize that if they hope to make a success of their hustle they need to turn into something like professionals--tunesmiths, even. A MINUS
Tyler's message kinda goes downhill after word 18...
Rock on Frank; rock on Laura Jane Grace; rock on Azealia Banks. Taco -- go to hell.
The dance went on.. I kept the rhythm for several summers after. It’s winter now. I’m typing this on a plane back to Los Angeles from New Orleans. I flew home for another marred Christmas. I have a windowseat. It’s December 27, 2011. By now I’ve written two albums. This being the second. I wrote to keep myself busy and sane. I wanted to create worlds that were rosier than mine. I tried to channel overwhelming emotions. I’m surprised at how far all of it has taken me. Before writing this I’d told some people my story. I’m sure these people kept me alive. Kept me safe… Sincerely. These are the folks I wanna thank from the floor of my heart. Everyone of you knows who you are… Great humans. Probably angels. I don’t know what happens now, and that’s alrite. I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore. Like it…as much as I do sometimes. I never was. I don’t think I could ever be. Thanks. To my first love. I’m grateful for you. Grateful that even though it wasn’t what I hoped for and even though it was never enough. It was. Some things never are.. and we were. I won’t forget you. I won’t forget the summer. I’ll remember who I was when I met you. I’ll remember who you were and how we’ve both changed and stayed the same. I’ve never had more respect for life and living than I have right now. Maybe it takes a near death experience to feel alive. Thanks. To my mother. You raised me strong. I know I’m only brave because you were first… So thank you. All of you. For everything good. I feel like a free man. If I listen closely.. I can hear the sky falling too." - Frank Ocean
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.