Heavy Rotation Vol. 40April 18, 2010
That’s a big, evil number. All black balloons and used-up jokes. Let’s not head down that road. That way lies madness. Or if not madness, then some form of doom-laden clichefest that is somehow supposed to distract you from the fact that life is continuing its unstoppable Sherman’s March to the Sea, black balloons or no.
40 got you down? The previous volumes all have smaller numbers:
The Heavy Rotation Archives
James – Born of Frustration.mp3
Leading off with a return to a simple time, it’s fan favorite James who spent most of the late ’80s – early ’90s making intelligent alterna-pop, blowing past the throngs who were waiting for the “next Smiths” and splicing atmospheric ear candy onto a sparse, jangly spine.
If someone ever asks what “alternative rock” sounds like, this would be an excellent example. It sure as fuck isn’t everything that followed the “grunge years.” Oh, and it’s got a lot of falsetto, so it’s perfect for the shower.
The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio.mp3
What James would sound like if they were fronted by a fully-matured male. Atmospheric, intelligent, etc., drenched in melancholy and a weary, dark nostalgia. “You can never go home,” they say, and since I can’t find anything in the music world that disagrees with that sentiment, I’d have to agree. The leadoff single from their upcoming album High Violet, and if this is the statement of intent, I’d have to mark it a solid “buy.”
The Big Pink – Introduction to Awareness.mp3
I’ve featured this pair of shoegazers before with their crushing single, Velvet. Still the oddest of bands, formed by a former member of Atari Teenage Riot, whose noise terrorist pedigree would seem to lend itself to a more aggressive brand of music.
Instead, the Big Pink offer up a gauzy, organ-driven LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST! THEY JUST STOLE THE MELODY LINE FROM MY GIRL! AND THEY’RE JUST MOSEYING AROUND AS IF THEY DIDN’T! OMFG!!!
(Fun fact: Alec Empire (the founding member of Atari Teenage Riot) released a “tribute” album to Elvis Presley featuring the so-bad-it’s-good track title “Jailhouse Cock Rocks the Most.”)
The Lowbrows – Midnight Pirates.mp3
The Lowbrows are back. Of course, they didn’t actually go anywhere, and thank god for that as they continue to kick out jam after muthafuckin jam with no discernible drop in quality. Like Linda is Tonight and Danse Macabre, Midnight Pirates takes a bunch of unrelated ideas and runs them through some sort of filtering system that removes anything “non-kickass” and delivers another dance floor devastator.
Starts out with some slow-moving body blows and some early-90s rave synth stabs before taking the governor off at the 2:11 mark and sending the juggernaut crashing through the VIP room and right onto the dance floor. Another drop and jaw-crushing build later and the dance floor is set to explode.
Simian Mobile Disco – Born to Synthesize (The Lowbrows Mix).mp3
Electro near-rockers SMD get themselves manhandled by the staggeringly good Lowbrows, who take this pulsing track and insert a wobbling, tweaking bassline and some very gorgeous pads. Uplifting, blissed-out and powerful.