Category Archives: Lists

Music Diary Project: April 7

The fourth entry in a series for Sick Mouthy’s Music Diary Project. Previously: Music Diary Project: April 4, Music Diary Project: April 5, Music Diary Project: April 6

Because there aren’t enough pictures in these posts

Artist Album Time of Day Duration Location Notes
97.1 radio station 6:55 AM 15 mins Driving to work
Instra:Mental Resolution 653 9:46 AM 20 mins Work New leak
Instra:Mental Resolution 653 10:12 AM 10 mins Work
Daedelus f. Milosh “Tailor Made (Sepalcure Remix)” 11:15 5 mins Work Found on Twitter
Instra:Mental Resolution 653 2:40 PM 4 mins Work
Jamie Woon “Gravity” live 2:44 PM 5 mins Work Felt like listening to this track after seeing it on the blog
Instra:Mental Resolution 653 2:51 PM 10 mins Work
Instra:Mental Resolution 653 3:40 PM 16 mins Work
Jay-Z Blueprint 4:02 PM 19 mins Driving home from work

You know the drill by now: listening at work is punctuated by stops and starts and is almost all new material; driving home I listened to some old school(ish) hip hop; and in the mornings, I listen to one of three radio stations that play songs of varying genres. If nothing else, my listening patterns are at least consistent.

My album of choice yesterday was Instra:Mental’s new Resolution 653*. It’s a twitchy dance record that a few friends were discussing and I knew nothing about. I decided to give it a whirl. Not really my thing so I only made it about 75% of the way through the record. Recommended for serious beatz people, though.

I had also forgotten just how good Jay-Z’s Blueprint was. Song after song, I was reminded of just how good Hova used to be. I still believe that Blueprint is dude’s best record because, yeah, it is. The first 5-6 tracks are absolute fire and when it does eventually fall off a bit, it’s not too far. He just sounds invigorated and hungry on this record in a way that you don’t hear from him in most of his catalog.

Total listening time for the day was 114 minutes (1 hour and 54 minutes), which is a pretty steep decline from the last few days. I remember spending a large portion of the day with my headphones on but no music playing. I don’t know why necessarily, but the practice of wearing my headphones at work is just natural now.

*I just realized it, but when I had this in my Excel spreadsheet and would use the autofill feature to copy the artist/album into subsequent rows, the album title was slowly ticking up: Resolution 653, Resolution 654, Resolution 655.


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Music Diary Project: April 6

The third entry in a series for Sick Mouthy’s Music Diary Project. Previously: Music Diary Project: April 4, Music Diary Project: April 5

Artist Album Time of Day Duration Location Notes
Jamie Woon “Gravity” 8:30 AM 40 mins Work Plan to listen to Frank Ocean after this song
Frank Ocean Nostalgia, Ultra 9:18 AM 45 mins Work Listened to Jamie Woon much longer than I expected
Asher Roth/Pains of Being Pure of Heart mashup From the Hood Internet 10:10 AM 2 mins Work Retweeted
Four Tet DJ set 10:12 AM 7 mins Work Found on Twitter
Jamie Woon Mirrorwriting 10:21 AM 44 mins Work
Isolee Well Spent Youth 1:51 PM 9 mins Work Stopped to write work e-mail
Isolee Well Spent Youth 2:22 PM 15 mins Work
Pusha T Fear of God mixtape 3:58 PM 10 Mins Driving home from work
Prefuse 73 One Word Extinguisher 4:10 PM 10 mins Driving home from work
Nicolas Jaar Space is Only Noise 7:38 PM 20 mins Driving to pick up pizza

By this point, my habits are becoming pretty clear: The majority of my listening is done at work and almost all of it is new music. Because I sit at a computer for 8 hours every day, I’m almost constantly scouring the web and looking for new DJ sets or Youtube clips of live shows.

Because there’s so much new music out there, I rarely listen to anything old. A frequent criticism of me is that I don’t listen to anything made before I was born, and for the most part, that’s true. I spent a lot of time getting acquainted with the canon and working my way through back catalogs, but at this point, I like to stay up to date on the new things that are happening. And given that I don’t do a lot of listening after work, there’s not a whole lot of time in the day to throw on old Prince records and just soak them in (this is not necessarily a critique on the canon or Prince specifically).

It was a pretty electronic day, otherwise. I listened to Nicolas Jaar’s brilliant Space Is Only Noise (my current album of the year) for the first time this week, and I also threw on the new Isolee record which is going to be the best record no one cares about in 2011, even people that like dance music.

My driving music was basically what it always is except late at night, which I mentioned yesterday, when I threw on Jaar.

My total listening time yesterday was 202 minutes (3 hours and 22 minutes), which is more in line with Monday’s listening than Tuesday’s. I expect that my listening will hover in this general area for the rest of the week until Saturday and Sunday, when I probably won’t listen to much music at all. But we’ll see what happens when we get there.

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Music Diary Project: April 5

The second entry in a series for Sick Mouthy’s Music Diary Project. Previously: Music Diary Project: April 4

Artist Album Time of Day Duration Location Notes
Papa Roach “Last Resort” radio 6:47 AM 4 mins Driving to work Listened to talk radio after Papa Roach song ended
Jamie Woon Mirrorwriting 7:34 AM 54 mins Work New album recommended by friend (finished album)
Jamie Woon Mirrorwriting 9:43 AM 7 mins Work Re-listening to album. Waited to finish scheduled conference call to listen
Jamie Woon “Gravity” live on Youtube 9:50 AM 10 mins Work
Jamie Woon Mirrorwriting 10:07 AM 20 mins Work
Jamie Woon Mirrorwriting 10:32 AM 10 mins Work Paused and restarted the album
Jamie Woon Mirrorwriting 12:00 PM 22 mins Work Lunch and blogging music
Jamie Woon “Gravity” 12:39 PM 5 mins Work Plan on listening to this song and moving on. iPod needs to be charged
TV On the Radio Nine Types of Light 12:44 PM 36 mins Work Paused briefly to watch video game trailer
TV On the Radio Nine Types of Light 1:35 PM 20 mins Work
Jamie Woon Mirrorwriting 1:59 PM 48 mins Work
LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening 2:48 PM 53 mins Work Needed something with more juice than Jamie Woon
Panda Bear Tomboy 3:45 PM 10 mins Work
Nicki Minaj Pink Friday 16:03 10 mins Driving home from work
Lil Wayne Road to C4 4:14 PM 10 mins Driving home from work
Frank Ocean Nostalgia, Ultra 6:21 PM 43 mins At home Playing video games

Once again, the majority of my listening took place at work. Also, like yesterday, my listening was characterized by a lot of stops and starts for various reasons.

As you’ll see, a majority of my time was spent listening to the Jamie Woon album Mirrorwriting. It’s a spacey R&B album that was recently leaked and is sure to draw countless comparisons to current It Guy James Blake (not necessarily unwarranted either). Woon hovers between teetering-on-the-brink confessions and some of your more subdued, typical R&B fare. I downloaded the leak a few weeks back but never got around to listening to it. When I did (yesterday), I fell in love with it, hence the repeated listenings.

Continuing Monday’s trend, everything I listened to yesterday was new with the exception of LCD Soundsystem and Nicki Minaj, both of whom released albums in the last years or so.

TV On the Radio’s Nine Types of Light is really starting to grow on me, a far cry from my initial thoughts about the record. I still don’t think its on par with their earlier material, but it’s also not quite as disappointing as I originally thought*.

Two days in a row, I’ve decided to listen to high-energy hip hop on my drive home. It’s no secret that I enjoy listening to something with a little oomph when I’m in the car–that is unless I’m driving home at night, when I generally prefer more ethereal stuff–but juxtaposed against the rest of the music I listen to all day, it really stands out.

LOL Papa Roach.

*I find that this happens a lot with records that can be considered “experiments” for bands that I adore. When they break from their mold, unless its greatness is immediate (e.g., James Blake’s LP versus his beatz-heavy EPs), I tend to have a pretty severe negative reaction. With time, those feelings cool and I accept that artists like to try new things. TV On the Radio is going for Pop music on this record and I can accept that. It’s OK.

Update: Forget to add up my total listening time from Tuesday: 352 minutes (5 hours and 52 minutes), a significant jump from Monday’s 3 hours and 49 minutes.

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Music Diary Project: April 4

The first in a week-long series of tracing my listening experiences for Sick Mouthy.

This is probably the format that I’ll present this information: First the raw data, followed by comments on trends, artists/albums, and general whathaveyou. So without further ado…

Artist Album Time of Day Duration Location Notes
Nicki Minaj, Niko Case, Sean Kingston On the radio 6:50 AM 15 mins Driving to work
Panda Bear Tomboy 7:40 AM 20 mins Work
Panda Bear Tomboy 8:11 AM 30 mins Work
Rittz White Jesus 10:20 AM 12 mins Work
Rittz White Jesus 11:05 AM 35 mins Work
The Mountain Goats All Eternals Deck 11:40 AM 7 mins Work Looking for blogging topics
The Mountain Goats All Eternals Deck 12:00 PM 20 mins Work Music during lunch
Juilanna Barwick The Magic Place 12:50 PM 30 mins Work
The Weeknd House of Balloons 3:08 PM 42 mins Work Intended to last until 4 PM (end of work)
Outkast Southern-playalisticadillacmuzik 3:57 PM 18 mins Driving home from work

The results here don’t surprise me too much. I typically begin my day listening to whatever the radio has to offer. Yesterday’s selection was pretty typical with the exception of a lack of Rihanna’s “S&M” which is played nearly every day.

What you’ll notice is a lot of short listening times at work. It verifies something I already knew, but I stop and start listening to music at work a lot. Whether I’m answering the phone, talking to coworkers, or just need to concentrate harder on whatever I’m writing, work is not a time for extended listening of music, despite the majority of my listening happening there.

An interesting note, however, is that everything I listen to at work is new music. Rittz, Panda Bear, Julianna Barwick, The Mountain Goats, and The Weeknd are all things that have either recently been leaked or released. On my ride home, however, I take in some Outkast, specifically one of their older records. I guess I’ll have to see if that trend holds but at the moment, it’s at least worth noting.

Throughout the day, I listened to music for 229 minutes (3 hours and 49 minutes) which is actually a little higher than I expected it to be. Regardless, I’ll also be keeping track of this to see where I end up at the end of the week.

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Music Diary Project

Friend of the blog and transcontinental internet friend Nick Southall has decided to undertake a(n informal) project and is asking for everyone’s help. The Music Diary Project is a documentation of what music you listen to and when you listen to it. In Nick’s words:

The Music Diary Project is an attempt to document, over the course of one week, how we listen to music: when we listen, where we listen, who we’re with when we listen, and how we choose what we listen to. Anyone is welcome to join in, as long as you would ordinarily be listening to music in that week or any other week; from music journalists to musicians to serious music geeks and casual music fans.

The idea is simple. For seven days this April, from Monday the 4th to Sunday the 10th, anyone who wants to take part will keep a diary of everything they listen to, and publish it online somewhere. How detailed that diary is, is up to the individual participants to decide. It may be an annotated list drawn from scrobbles and chucked up onto a Tumblr; it may take the form of a Tweet or a Facebook status update every time you select a new song on your iPod; or you may keep a detailed spreadsheet of your listening and post it, with notes, on your blog at the end of the week. It’s up to you. If you could tag however you decide to publish your list with “musicdiaryproject” so we can find each other’s entries, that would be awesome.

I, as a nominal music writer, am going to try and partake in the festivities. In addition to what/who I’m listening to, I’ll chart the time, location, and duration of my listening experiences through the week. If you have the means, I suggest you take part. This’ll be a fun experience–besides, Nick is going to put together a spreadsheet of everyone’s responses in the end, so it’ll be cool to see where you stack up–and probably pretty interesting self reflection.

I’m sure when it’s all said and done, it’ll reveal that I don’t listen to nearly as much music as I should, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

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Top Ten tracks of 2010

Though this is coming later than the various year-end lists that most publications have been producing, I figured I should contribute to the 2010 best of lists with a few of my own. First: top ten tracks of 2010.

10. Guido – “Mad Sax”

Songs like “Mad Sax” are few and far between. Sampling a two-bar sax line that sounds like it’s from a smooth jazz collection, Guido turns the echoing atmosphere into a claustrophobic mess of snapping snares, metronome hi hats, and orchestral synths. “Mad Sax” is the kind of song that Jay-Z should’ve been rapping over on The Blueprint: it’s huge but not impenetrable and has all of the R&B stylings of early Kanye West beats. Instead, it’s left to its own devices and has made Guido an entity in the electronic game.

9. The-Dream – “Florida University”

“Florida University” is a funny song. If you don’t pay attention to it, it comes off as an anthemic pop track that any one-off Southern R&B act might pull off: it has bubblegum production, a killer melody, and playful joy about it. Until you realize that not only is it a song about telling off your ex, but the “Florida University” part is just a crafty way not to have “fuck” censored 100 times on the radio (Cee-Lo, take notes). The Dream’s recent spurning manifests itself in comedic vengeance (“What rhymes with asshole? / Asshole”) as he tears through an ex that left him and now wants him back. The incessant chorus (“This is short for Florida University / F U, F U, F U…”) is just subtle enough to be a pop hit but still gets the message across. “That’s a hell of a clean version.”

8. Mount Kimbie – “Mayor”

Outside of professional athletes, Mount Kimbie may have had the best 2010 of anyone in their early-20s. After dropping various singles throughout the year, their debut LP Crooks & Lovers opened to universal acclaim, making Mount Kimbie instant critical darlings. “Mayor” is everything that’s great about the group boiled down to its purest form: glitchy vocal snippets, warbling synths, chest thumping backing beats, and rapid movement. While other tracks on the album may be more dynamic, “Mayor” is Mount Kimbie doing absolutely everything right.

7. James Blake – “CMYK”

Joining Mount Kimbie as the breakout stars of the year, James Blake spent most of 2010 reinventing music in his image. He went from the R&B stylings of the techy funk of The Bells Sketch and CMYK EPs, and finished the year with the subdued Klavierwerke. And while the breadth of his work is impressive, “CMYK” is still the icing on the cake. Blake mixes Kelis and Aaliyah samples into his own caustic screwed and chopped masterpiece. The track never slows down or lets up; it’s an onslaught of cashmere synths and frantic percussion laid behind lawn-mowed samples. And while his recently leaked LP is a step further away from this kind of techy funk, this track will always be part of his legacy.

6. Phosphorescent – “The Mermaid Parade”

Phosphorescent’s “The Mermaid Parade” may hold a special place in my heart because of a breakup I experienced earlier in the year, but the fact remains: few artists have condensed the emotions and events following a long distance breakup quite as well as Matthew Houck does here. A transcontinental marriage gone awry, Houck tries to deal as best he can, but ultimately finds it all too surreal to handle, walking the beach imaging a mermaid parade. But not all of the track is quite this nebulous: “Yeah, I’ve got a new girl too / And yeah she’s pretty and small / But goddammit Amanda / Oh, goddammit all”. Houck finds a way to expose just enough emotional without becoming a victim, which is difficult to do in love-lost anthems.

5. Actress – “Hubble”

This is a weird inclusion on a singles list. It clocks in at over eight minutes, has few discernible features outside of a rumbling bassline, and is content rolling along without much change. But there’s a depth to “Hubble” that you don’t often find in minimalist electronic music. It’s constant baritone backdrop is spiced with sharp digital twitches and an infinitesimal vocal sample thrown into the mix. But if you’re not enjoying this at high volumes in a secluded area, you’re likely not to get it.

4. LCD Soundsystem – “Dance Yrself Clean”

LCD Soundsystem are best when they spend five minutes crescendoing into a cacophony of funk, punk, and electronic (see, “All My Friends”, “Daft Punk is Playing at My House”, “Get Innocuous”). And they seem to have one or two of those tracks on each album. “Dance Yrself Clean” is This Is Happening‘s. It doesn’t deal with any new concepts or feelings: New York is killing James Murphy and he hates all of his friends. But then again, LCD Soundsystem’s originality has never been their strongest attribute. Sing about the same thing on every song. I don’t care. Just give me something I can shake my ass to.

3. T.I. – “I’m Back”

T.I. is in rare form on “I’m Back”, a track released just after his return from a year-long prison sentence. Then again, he hasn’t had production this unflappable since “Rubber Band Man” sent him into the public’s consciousness. Sounding more like a Polow Da Don track that Rich Boy should be flowing over, T.I.’s boisterous cries ring out truer than ever: he’s still the king and he’s back to reclaim his throne. In a relative down year for hip hop, one that was dominated by Kanye West’s overrated opus, “I’m Back” stands as a firm reminder that T.I. is still the one running this game.

2. Big Boi – “Shutterbugg”

“Shutterbugg” is a difficult song to describe. It features the best beat of 2010 and has one of hip hop’s more dynamic rappers flowing over it. It’s the one song in the last 5 years that can really go toe-to-toe with last year’s immovable “A Milli” by Lil Wayne.

I was watching a documentary about Weezy a few months ago, and Birdman said something to the effect of, “The beat on ‘A Milli’ is amazing and Wayne came in and laid down the perfect vocals.” I feel the same way about “Shutterbugg”. Though people will invariably cop the song for mixtapes months and years from now, no one will top Big Boi’s flow over Scott Storch’s colossal bubbling bass line and timber handclaps.

1. Joker – “Tron”

By my estimation, it was a really good year for electronic music. Then again, that may have just been because I just began to really dig into the genre. “Tron”, however, stands head and shoulders above the rest. Wunderkind Joker lulls you to sleep with a hazy intro before absolutely demolishing your speakers with overwhelming mids and freight train synths. Though Joker can be a little more diffuse and sparse with his work, “Tron” is an IV of searing keyboards and pulsating bass. If you can listen to this and not bounce your head in adrenaline-fuel necessity, you’re a better man than me.

Honorable mentions:
Vampire Weekend – “Giving Up the Gun”; M.I.A. – “XXXO”; Rick Ross – “B.M.F.”; Robyn – “Fembot”; Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em – “Speakers Going Hammer”

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Top Records of 2009 – March Edition

Because it’s March and that’s a good a time as any to make a year-end list, here’s a list of albums that might possibly make my year-end list this year:

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
No surprise here. I have had a number of posts about this record and it still stands as my number one album of the year. Astonishing front to back.

Animal Collective – “My Girls”

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