Monthly Archives: December 2017

Belgian Whistles: 2017 Top Albums Songpile

And without further ado (see previous post…): this time, I just posted the opening track of each album…except when it was an abstract/introductory item…

Part 1:

  1. The New Pornographers “Play Money” Whiteout Conditions 0:00
  2. The Bye Bye Blackbirds “Earl Grey Kisses” Take Out the Poison 4:34
  3. Filthy Friends “Despierta” Invitation 8:19
  4. Game Theory “All You Need Is White” Supercalifragile 12:33
  5. Wire “Playing Harp for the Fishes” Silver/Lead 16:25
  6. St. Vincent “Hang on Me” Masseduction 20:08
  7. Grizzly Bear “Wasted Acres” Painted Ruins 22:53
  8. The National “Nobody Else Will Be There” Sleep Well Beast 25:39
  9. Sparks “Missionary Position” Hippopotamus 30:00
  10. The Magnetic Fields “’66: Wonder Where I’m From” 50 Song Memoir 34:16
  11. Caroline Says “Winter Is Cold” 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong 36:57
  12. The Clientele “The Neighbour” Music for the Age of Miracles  39:36
  13. Robyn Hitchcock “I Want to Tell You About What I Want” Robyn Hitchcock 44:42
  14. The Black Watch “Whence” The Gospel According to John 48:23
  15. The Dream Syndicate “Filter Me Through You” How Did I Find Myself Here? 53:22

Part 2:

  1. Cotton Mather “The Cotton Mather Pledge” Wild Kingdom 0:00
  2. Guided by Voices “The Birthday Democrats” How Do You Spell Heaven? 3:03
  3. Omni “Afterlife” Multi-Task 5:32
  4. Monks of Doom “The Brontë Pin pt. 1” The Brontë Pin 7:18
  5. Brief Candles “A Way Around” Retreater 11:59
  6. Ted Leo “Moon Out of Phase” The Hanged Man 16:06
  7. Great Ytene “Mono Aware” Locus 20:23
  8. New Boss “Intro/Third Sister” Third Sister 24:01
  9. Spoon “Hot Thoughts” Hot Thoughts 27:28
  10. Washington Hebrew “Ima Try” Washington Hebrew 31:16
  11. Destroyer “Sky’s Grey” ken 34:48
  12. Robert Plant “The May Queen” Carry Fire 38:48
  13. Mark Eitzel “The Last Ten Years” Hey Mr. Ferryman 42:58
  14. Novella “Does the Island Know” Change of State 47:09
  15. Thurston Moore “Exalted” Rock n Roll Consciousness 51:02

+ 62:56

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2017: What Is an ‘Ablum’?

So here’s what 2017 looked like to me, musically.

My very favorite albums (in alphabetical order) were the following:

  • The Black Watch The Gospel According to John
  • Brief Candles Retreater
  • Caroline Says 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong
  • The Clientele Music for the Age of Miracles
  • Cotton Mather Wild Kingdom
  • Destroyer Ken
  • Game Theory Supercalifragile
  • Great Ytene Locus
  • Robyn Hitchcock Robyn Hitchcock
  • New Boss Third Sister
  • Novella Change of State
  • Omni Multi-Task
  • Spoon Hot Thoughts

I was pleasantly surprised by the Game Theory album…since it was an album salvaged from demos, fragments, and stray ideas, a work-in-progress when songwriter Scott Miller ended his life back in 2013. He’d intended this to be a collaborative project, and so it was: with the archival assistance of his widow, Kristine, and musical direction from Ken Stringfellow, a long list of musical collaborators pulled together an album that, miraculously, sounds quite distinctively like a Game Theory record.

My second tier of favorites for 2017 (there’s actually very little difference between these first two tiers):

  • The Bye Bye Blackbirds Take Out the Poison
  • The Dream Syndicate How Did I Find Myself Here?
  • Filthy Friends Invitation (Peter Buck, Corin Tucker, Scott McCaughey and Kurt Bloch, Bill Rieflin…)
  • Guided by Voices How Do You Spell Heaven? 
  • Ted Leo The Hanged Man
  • Thurston Moore Rock n Roll Consciousness
  • The New Pornographers Whiteout Conditions
  • Robert Plant Carry Fire
  • St. Vincent Masseduction
  • Sparks Hippopotamus
  • Wire Silver/Lead

And just a little below…:

  • Mark Eitzel Hey Mr. Ferryman
  • Grizzly Bear Painted Ruins
  • The Magnetic Fields 50 Song Memoir
  • Monks of Doom The Brontë Pin
  • The National Sleep Well Beast
  • Washington Hebrew (Michael Kentoff from The Caribbean) Washington Hebrew

My end-of-year best-albums songpile, Belgian Whistles, is drawn from the above (see next post for details and links).

The next levels are still really fine records:

Algiers The Underside of Power, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile Lotta Sea Lice, Beck Colors, Benjamin Booker Witness, Dirty Projectors Dirty Projectors, Dutch Uncles Big Balloon,, Fleet Foxes Crack-Up, Guided by Voices August by Cake, Holy Hum All My Bodies, LCD Soundsystem American Dream, Queens of the Stone Age Villains, Lee Ranaldo Electric Trim, The Sadies Northern Passages, Slowdive Slowdive.

Dale Cooper Quartet & the Dictaphones Astrild Astrild, Brian Eno Reflection, The Fall New Facts Emerge, Father John Misty Pure Comedy, Nick Hakim Green Twins, Dhani Harrison In///Parallel, Liars TFCF, Lo Tom Lo Tom, Aimee Mann Mental Illness, Laura Marling Semper Femina, Eric Matthews Too Much World, Momus Pillycock, The Mountain Goats Goths, Sampha Process.

And, honorable mention to: Anton Barbeau Antronica 2, The Mike Benign Compulsion Kid, Big Thief Capacity, Cherry Glazerr Apocalipstick, Crystal Fairy Crystal Fairy, Karla Kane King’s Daughters Home for Incurables, Los Campesinos! Sick Scenes, Maximo Park Risk to Exist, Pixx The Age of Anxiety, The Proper Ornaments Foxhole, Real Estate In Mind, Ride Weather Diaries, Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble Find Me Finding You, Statuesque Accusative, Matthew Sweet Tomorrow Forever, Paul Weller A Kind Revolution.

The best EPs of the year: Anton Barbeau Heaven Is In Your Mind, Cotton Mather Young Life, Cate Le Bon Rock Pool, TC&I (Colin Moulding & Terry Chambers, formerly of XTC) Great Aspirations, Kamasi Washington Harmony of Difference.


(If I didn’t mention it, either I haven’t heard it, haven’t heard it enough, or remain meh on it…)





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Mahatma Blondie: Covers Songpile 2

…And here’s the second mix of covers for 2017—tracks that came my way during the second half of the year. These are, again, arranged into two fully-segued playlists. Without further ado…


Part 1:

  1. Ramones “I Don’t Want to Grow Up” (Tom Waits cover) 0:00
  2. The Regrettes “Fox on the Run” (Sweet cover) 2:43
  3. The Mockers “God Only Knows” (Beach Boys cover) 5:57
  4. Michael Carpenter & Rob Smith “Look Through Any Window” (Hollies cover) 9:25
  5. Karla Kane “Mavis of Maybelline Towers” (Loud Family [with Anton Barbeau] cover) 12:43
  6. My Friend the Chocolate Cake “Buffalo Ballet” (John Cale cover) 15:54
  7. Joseph “Moonlight Mile” (Rolling Stones cover) 18:52
  8. Maria McKee “The Way Young Lovers Do” (Van Morrison cover) 22:44
  9. Bryan Ferry “What Goes On” (Velvet Underground cover) 26:08
  10. Hector Ward & the Big Time “Heart Full of Soul” (Yardbirds cover) 30:12
  11. V.V. Brown “This Charming Man” (Smiths cover) 33:54
  12. Bossie “Solsbury Hill” (Peter Gabriel cover) 36:51
  13. Lanterns on the Lake “Long, Long, Long” (Beatles/George Harrison cover) 40:13

Part 2:

  1. Dean Carter “Jailhouse Rock” (Elvis Presley cover) 0:00
  2. Great Ytene “This Is Not a Photograph” (Mission of Burma cover) 2:08
  3. Beach Slang “Like a Daydream” (Ride cover) 5:04
  4. KC Bowman “Moon Over Marin” (Dead Kennedys cover) 7:58
  5. Beach House “Play the Game” (Queen cover) 10:56
  6. The Moon Loungers “Enola Gay” (Orchestral Manœuvres in the Dark cover) 15:09
  7. The Pretenders “I’m Not in Love” (10cc cover) 18:38
  8. Two Chalfonts “Kings Highway” (Tom Petty cover) 22:25
  9. Calexico “Corona” (Minutemen cover) 25:24
  10. Robyn Hitchcock & Graham Coxon “Octopus” (Syd Barrett cover) 28:25
  11. Luna “Letter to Hermione” (David Bowie cover) 32:15
  12. Eddie Hazel “California Dreamin'” (Mamas & the Papas cover) 34:38

(Next up…top albums of 2017…)




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The CRTor Has a Raster Scan: Winter 2017 Songpile

Once again, it’s time for my seasonal compendium of whatever fun, interesting, cool, or otherwise awesome songs came my way. For technical reasons these do not include tracks from albums in my top-whatever list…SO JUST DEAL WITH IT. I sequenced them by musical criteria, so they’re not ranked.

Part 1:

  1. Chicano Batman “Freedom Is Free” (0:00)
  2. Squeeze “Please Be Upstanding” (4:01)
  3. The Zags “Icy Red” (7:58)
  4. Milla Jovovich “Gentlemen Who Fell” (10:51)
  5. Wye Oak “Spiral” (15:26)
  6. Tears for Fears “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending” (21:07)
  7. TC&I (Colin Moulding & Terry Chambers, ex-XTC) “Scatter Me” (25:26)
  8. The Morning Yells “She Got Time” (29:52)
  9. AJ Dávila y Terror Amor “Borderline” (33:31)
  10. Blossom Toes “Look at Me I’m You” (37:04)
  11. The Church “Day of the Dead” (40:57)
  12. Margaret Chavez “Call for Cull” (47:39)
  13. This Is the Kit “Hotter Colder” (50:04)

Part 2:

  1. Superchunk “What a Time to Be Alive” (0:00)
  2. Frisbie “Let’s Get Started” (3:45)
  3. Miss World “Click and Yr Mine” (she do use jelly!) (7:10)
  4. Triangulo de Amor Bizarro “De la Monarquía a la Criptocracia” (9:50)
  5. Great Ytene “Happy Scenes” (12:56)
  6. Penny Diving “Stella” (16:41)
  7. Municipality “Miles Away” (20:45)
  8. Hamilton Leithauser & Angel Olsen “Heartstruck (Wild Hunger)” (25:08)
  9. Chris Butler “Summer Money” (28:34)
  10. Motorcade “Recover” (32:51)
  11. Sharon Tandy “Hold On” (36:41)
  12. Chocolate Genius “My Mom” (39:50)

+ 44:58



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