Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Video premiere: Lana Del Rey as Jackie O. and A$AP Rocky as JFK in "National Anthem"

The "gangster Nancy Sinatra" strikes again! Oh, Lana Del Rey. Can you believe she once charted here at WRMC? Where to begin with her... the name change or the makeover? The SNL debacle? The really great singles ("Video Games" 4ever) and the really bad album that followed? The apparent replacement of her personality with what amounted to a Tumblr blog's mixture of 2010s MTV glamor and faded Americana kitsch? Yeah, let's start with that last one -- and, hey, how timely: check out the video for "National Anthem," probably the most offensive song on Born To Die. If you haven't heard it, the lyrics go, "Money is the reason we exist, everybody knows it's a fact, kiss kiss...I need someone to hold me, he will do very well," and no, that's not feminism you smell, it's the vodka tonic Lizzy, I mean Lana, spilled on her neckline...could you wipe it up for her, sir? This atrocity stars LDR as, ahem, Jackie O AND Marilyn Monroe. Obviously she needs a JFK to have not one but two romances with, and luckily rapper A$AP Rocky was in the Hamptons that day. This might be some kind of far-fetched political/racial/cultural commentary, but since this is the same woman who turned the opening sentence of Lolita into the hook of a song about gambling, I'm guessing it's just an excuse to wear period-appropriate jewelry. Sex, drugs, cinematic string arrangements, multiple shots of LDR gazing despondently from behind rosebushes, and -- of course -- assassination ensue. Unintentionally funny, intentionally sad, or just really, grossly inappropriate? You decide!!!! Watch the video below, if you can deal with all eight minutes. A$AP Rocky called it "trippy...some real 2015 shit" and said we'll all understand it in three years. So, until then...God bless America?

PS. I'm also wondering if this means A$AP Rocky can tell the future...?? If so, that would be pretty exciting. This could mean something even bigger than Lana Del Rey's bump-it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Listen: MIA + Azealia Banks + Missy Elliott, "Bad Girls (Danja NARS Remix)"

M.I.A.'s excellent January 2012 single "Bad Girls" is still picking up steam between its awesome Romain Gavras-directed video, Middle Eastern-tinged riff, and stupidly cool lyrics about how bad girls live fast and die young. Just last week, frequent M.I.A. collaborator Switch remixed the track and included verses from Missy Elliott (!!!!!!!) and M.I.A.'s Baltimore club-scene protegee Rye Rye, to generally pretty good effect, but it's got nothing on Danja NARS's revision of "Bad Girls," which retains Elliott (wise move, my friend, wise move) but exchanges Rye Rye for up-and-coming NYC "it girl"/pottymouth Azealia Banks of "212" fame. Good thing Nicki Minaj isn't involved (yet)...this remix already has almost too many intimidating female rappers to handle! Listen below, via Pretty Much Amazing, and check out the video for the original (as well as tracks by Ms. Banks) by scrolling down a couple posts!

UPDATE: Leo Justi has also remixed the song, and what it lacks in Missy Elliott, it makes up for in bass. Check it out here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Read this: "Worn Copies: Beach House, Volkswagen, and what it means to sell a feeling" by Eric Harvey

"In a statement released after Beach House publicly protested the ad, a VW spokesperson said the corporation was seeking "something from the dream-pop genre" for the ad. Clearly, few people who would eventually see the ad are going to understand the cultural context of "dream-pop" or even know who Beach House are. This is the point. While for most, the music serves as pleasant-enough wallpaper for a weepy car ad, for a certain target demographic, it's a dog whistle. DDB is betting that those who do recognize the style of music will ideally transfer that positive feeling-- hip yuppie nostalgia-- to the car itself. This is how ads co-opt hipness nowadays: They use trendy music, which is never in short supply anymore, to "wink" at a demographic, flattering their tastes and hoping to translate that goodwill into a purchase."
- Eric Harvey, "Worn Copies"

Dear DJs --

Sorry to overwhelm the blog, but there's just so much happening in the world of music! For those of you who do not obsessively hound music blogs and publications (and maybe some of you who do but missed it), Eric Harvey -- a contributor to flawed but venerable criticism giant and hipster tastemaker Pitchfork -- published an essay on that site last week called "Worn Copies," about "ineffable desire and creative commercials." In it, he discusses the recent scandal wherein Volkswagen hired an ad agency, who in turn hired an ad-jingle composer, who in turn proceeded to write and record an uncanny mimic of Beach House's 2010 song "Take Care," because Beach House refused to license the song to VW. Why wouldn't they, you ask, especially when the same song was used by the band's permission on a primetime TV show soundtrack just weeks earlier? Isn't that the same thing? Well, no, not quite, according to Harvey -- and the distinction reveals some ugly truths about contemporary pop music and its less attractive metaphorical bedfellows. Wait...or does it? Harvey lays out all the complications; read the excellent essay in its entirety over at Pitchfork, and watch the video for Beach House's "Take Care" (no, the real one) below, directed by Kevin Drew of Canadian indie rock supercollective Broken Social Scene:

17 Albums We Can't Wait To Hear This Summer

You've seen the predictions for twelve of this summer's sure-to-be-hits; now check out seventeen albums out this summer that are likely candidates for WRMC's highly coveted "Rotation" shelf. Summer 2012 (weirdly, July 24 in particular...) is shaping up to be a good season for good music -- don't fall out of the loop! Without further ado, in alphabetical order:

Aesop Rock, Skelethon (Rhymesayers, July 10)
One of the greatest indie rappers of the early '00s is finally back, hot on the heels of his buddy El-P. RIYL: El-P, Dr. Octagon, Cadence Weapon. Listen: "Zero Dark Thirty"

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Mature Themes (4AD, August 21)
Los Angeles's retro-fetishist-in-residence is back this summer with the good old Haunted Graffiti in tow. Their new album is titled Mature Themes, which shouldn't really surprise anybody, given how Pink's been making crass and kind of creepy jokes out of '70s AM radio since the early 2000s. RIYL: John Maus, Girls, Panda Bear, Atlas Sound, Mr. Bungle. Listen: "Baby"

Azealia Banks, Fantasea  (self-released, July 4)
NYC rap wunderkind Azealia Banks is preparing to drop her Fantasea mixtape on the Fourth of July, hot on the heels of her debut EP 1991. RIYL: Nicki Minaj, Rye Rye. Listen: "Aquababe"

Delicate Steve, Positive Force (Luaka Bop, July 10)
WRMC's favorite guitar hero is back! Delicate Steve is beyond amazing...just trust me, on behalf of all of us here at Middlebury College Radio. This album is out July 10 and it's one you'll definitely want to track down. RIYL: Ducktails, Reptar. Download: "Afria Talks To You"

Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan (Domino, July 10)
Excitement for this one is high follow the Dirty Projectors' already classic 2009 release, Bitte Orca, and the subsequent Bjork collaboration Mount Wittenberg Orca. The weird, wild, R&B-obsessed, classically-trained (but somehow still punk as fuck) art-pop group's latest looks to be as good as its predecessors. The deluxe edition (of which there are only 3000) comes with a cuneiform tablet! Ooookay! RIYL: Talking Heads, tUnE-yArDs, Vampire Weekend, Deerhoof, Animal Collective. Listen: "Gun Has No Trigger"

Fang Island, Major (Sargent House, July 24)
We haven't heard from Brooklyn indie rockers Fang Island since their 2010 self-titled debut, but come August, expect to hear their unique brand of slap-happy, bro'd-out art rock from speakers all over the beach. RIYL: Male Bonding, WU LYF. Listen: "Sisterly"

Frank Ocean, Channel Orange (Def Jam, July 17)
Odd Future (...Wolf Gang Kill Them All)’s resident R&B crooner Frank Ocean has announced that Def Jam will be putting out his second album, Channel Orange. RIYL: Drake, the Weeknd, The-Dream. Listen: “Pyramids”

G.O.O.D. Music, Cruel Summer (G.O.O.D. Music, August 7)
The date's been named -- on August 7, Cruel Summer and its identically named companion short film will see the light of day! G.O.O.D. has been the vehicle for some of the best Kanye West-affiliated music (and mainstream hip-hop in general) of the past two years. Watch: "Mercy"

Holograms, Holograms (Captured Tracks, July 10)
Captured Tracks puts out little-known (but soon to be beloved, I hope) Swedish post-punk band Holograms’ self-titled debut on July 10. RIYL: Joy Division, DIIV (who, by the way, also have an album coming out soon!). Listen:  “Chasing My Mind”

Holy Other, Held (Tri Angle, August 28)
One of the few witch house-affiliated bands still running created a lovely, warm mixture of deep low-end, slow-motion house, and cut-up vocal samples on last year's haunting but kinda sexy EP With U. Genre stalwart and originating label Tri Angle will give us Held, Holy Other's first full-length. RIYL: Salem, How To Dress Well, Clams Casino, Purity Ring. Listen: "Love Some1"

The Ice Choir, Afar (Underwater Peoples, July 31)
Pain of Being Pure at Heart Kut Feldman is set to drop his solo debut as the Ice Choir, Afar, on Underwater Peoples. In an age of '80s nostalgia, this band is the real deal -- synthesizer music that actually sounds so much like the first wave of synthpop that you wouldn't even have blinked an eye hearing it in a 1987 DJ set right after Gary Numan's "Cars." The new versions of these songs sound even better than their demos, released in early 2011. RIYL: Dylan Ettinger, Realpeople, Gary Numan. Listen: "I Want You Now And Always"

Niki & The Dove, Instinct (Sub Pop, July 24)
Swedish pop duo Niki & The Dove make synthpop on the most epic scale possible, with lyrics about throwing away your love on whomever in the face of apocalypse and titanic synthesizer lines like the one on standout "The Fox," which is so gigantic it hurts to listen to even with the volume all the way down. And in the middle of it all, somehow, is totally adorable Kate Bush acolyte Niki, whose girlish voice, it turns out, is capable of going toe-to-toe with even the band's most towering hooks. RIYL: Kate Bush, Patrick Wolf, Bat For Lashes, Zola Jesus, Glasser. Listen: "The Fox"

Passion Pit, Gossamer (Columbia, July 24)
Based on the first single, Passion Pit’s follow-up to their surprise crossover smash Manners (2009) is going to sound a lot like the last one – that is, ornately arranged, lyrically melancholic but melodically ecstatic maximalist electropop. RIYL: Phantogram, Blood Diamonds, the Postal Service, Phoenix. Listen: “I’ll Be Alright” 

Purity Ring, Shrines (4AD, July 24)
Purity Ring have slowly ratcheted up blog buzz over the duo’s short career by remaining silent for periods as long as five months before dropping excellent but mysterious singles, while simultaneously blowing minds across the globe with a reportedly incredible live show. Recently signed for serious $$$$$ to legendary label 4AD (Cocteau Twins, TV on the Radio, the Mountain Goats), Purity Ring’s first album Shrines hits stores July 24. Their sound is a creepy but addictively catchy blend of sounds pilfered from '00s R&B, Houston rap, first-wave British dubstep, and witch house. It's awesome. RIYL: The Knife, Grimes, Holy Other, Jai Paul. Watch: "Belispeak"

TNGHT, TNGHT (Warp, July 24)
Flying Lotus may have pushed back his new album till October, but if you need some more L.A. electro sooner or else, never fear: producers Hudson Mowhawke (who laid the backing track for Azealia Banks’s “Jumanji”) and Lunice are collaborating to release an album as “TNGHT” via Warp. An instrumental album that’s sure to become fodder for rap artists the world over a la Clams Casino, TNGHT is chock-full of clubby bangers with basslines that’ll break your windows and stop your Pacemaker. RIYL: Baauer, Jonwayne, Shlohmo. Listen: "Bugg'n"

Twin Shadow, Confess (4AD, July 10)
George Lewis, Jr.’s sophomore album as Twin Shadow, Confess, is somehow motorcycle-themed, which is so cool, and also out on July 10 on 4AD! The first single, “Five Seconds,” amps up the synth-y New Wave flavor of Twin Shadow’s already very 1980s-influenced brand of dreamy rock. RIYL: the Cure, New Order, Cocteau Twins, Beach House, the Smiths. Watch: the single’s amazing video by scrolling down the blog just two posts!

Wild Nothing, Nocturne (Captured Tracks, August 28)
The end of summer sees the Brooklyn label Captured Tracks’s release of Nocturne, the sophomore effort from Virginia’s Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing. Early singles indicate more of the same wistful dream-pop as 2010’s excellent Gemini, but with a bit more muscular rock action than that Smiths-worshipping LP might lead you to expect. RIYL: The Field Mice, Beach Fossils, Minks, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Listen: “Shadow”

…And that’s just a few records due out in Summer 2012! Also keep your eyes out for albums by Jessie Ware, Yeasayer, Antony and the Johnsons, DIIV, A Place To Bury Strangers, Kreayshawn (who knew she had a [probably racist] album in her?), The-Dream, and mum, among many more.

Autumn looks pretty exciting too, with new work by Grizzly Bear, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Cat Power, Animal Collective, and Jens Lekman, for example, all appearing in a record store (or Mediafire link…) near you come September. Click here to go to Consequence of Sound's fairly comprehensive list of upcoming record releases (Andrew W.K.'s I Get Wet in deluxe edition reissue? I'm so there). Overwhelmed? Don't worry -- we'll publish another guide on the blog to help you make sure you're hearing all the best new releases. Stay tuned -- to WRMC 91.1 FM that is. Zing!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Programming

Programming resumes for the summer! Priority goes to the language schools, but there's still a lot of room in the schedule. Sign up for a show by emailing, no experience necessary! Just include YOUR name(s), your SHOW's name, and your preferred times. For all you listeners, check back soon for a complete summer programming schedule, and be sure to tune in, 91.1 FM or

Video premiere: Twin Shadow, "Five Seconds"

Hey DJs and readers,

Today the sexiest man in indie rock, aka George Lewis Jr., aka Twin Shadow, released the incredible and long-awaited video for "Five Seconds," the very '80s-sounding first single from Confess (the upcoming follow-up to Twin Shadow's amazing 2010 debut LP Forget). The video, evocatively shot by Keith Musil, is seemingly just one part of some greater, postapocalyptic story -- dig the fake literary source material and that voiceover intro straight out of a '50s film noir -- although there's been no indication as of yet of an underlying conceptual narrative for Confess. The end of the video provides us with a muffled (but still enticing!) snippet of what appears to be the album's next single, entitled "Patient" -- hopefully its video will give us more information about the world and characters this clip presents, 'cause I'm pretty into the whole thing....

If sci-fi/fantasy isn't usually your cup of tea, 1) that sucks since sci-fi/fantasy is obviously the best; and 2) watch the video anyway, because it is also just really badass, what with those creepy crowbar-wielding masked warriors, a few Matrix-style slow-mo stunts, a motorcycle adorned with a dead coyote, and a whoooole lotta well-placed animal print fabric. Check it out below, along with another excellent Twin Shadow video, the Jamie Harley-directed found-footage clip for 2010's "Castles In The Snow."

Confess will be released in the U.S. on July 10 on 4AD. (That's the seriously hot cover art above.)

"Five Seconds":

"Castles In The Snow":

...And as a bonus, here's a 60-second way-too-close-up video of George Lewis, Jr. making out with someone, via Pitchfork.

Friday, June 15, 2012

12 Songs You'll Probably Hear A Lot This Summer

Fun Song That Everyone Knows is a prestigious title to hold, and with the right combination of tunesmithery, marketing, and a well-timed release date, a pop artist can land his/her/their song in the extremely fortunate position of holding that title in the summer, which is of course the time of year when being the Fun Song That Everyone Knows is a surefire route to crossover success and year-end countdowns in the short-term, and nostalgic playlists in the long-term. Inevitably, of all the anthems churned out by urban warehouse scenesters, white-bread indie rockers, and Top 40 svengalis, only a few can claim ubiquity. Now, perhaps the summer's best tune has yet to drop -- "Countdown" came out on June 24, 2011, and I know you won't forget that date because "Video Games" appeared online five days later -- but summer has officially begun. I don't know about you, but I've already spent a week in a tiny, freezing office staring at a garden gnome (don't ask), and a summer jam or several to liven up the atmosphere would be useful. And so: here are my nominations for Summer Anthem 2012 (in reverse order for maximum suspense, of course!). Some have been out and about on the blogosphere for quite a while, but you can expect their rotation to spike in the coming months. Don't be the last to hear 'em!

12. Tanlines, "Green Grass"
"Brothers" having been exhausted, I think it's safe to say folks will turn to this (or, really, any other) song by the Afropop-leaning synth duo for their low-key, midtempo, sunny electropop fix.

11. Goldroom, "Fifteen (featuring Chela)"
Nostalgia is the third millennium emotion of choice when the sun comes out, as we learned only too well circa 2009 when chillwave became a thing and then wouldn't stop being a thing and everyone used too much reverb and every time we heard some dumb new sample-based song by some dumb new band with lyrics reminiscing about how good things were in the old days, we could only wholeheartedly agree, but not in the way the band meant.... But anyway, chillwave is not really a thing anymore, which makes it okay for people to start making wistful midtempo electronica about feeling nostalgic again, right? Well, maybe. I'll certainly give a free pass to "Fifteen," 'cause I can't think of any other song from 2012, Beach House included, that's quite captured the ache of rose-tinted memory quite like this one.

10. Azealia Banks, "Jumanji"
She caused a sensation late last year with her ferocious banger "212" (which you can also expect to hear a lot of this summer, and probably also forever), and the 21-year-old New York rapper's latest, produced by Hudson Mowhawke, is another vulgar, hilarious, mildly frightening, and singular hit-to-be.

9. M.I.A., "Bad Girls"
Yeah, it came out a few months ago, but summer is obviously the season when this song's badass hook ("My chain hits my chest when I'm bangin on the dashboard...when I'm bangin on the radio") is going to make it blow way up. Also, the music video. Dang.

8. Baauer, "Harlem Shake"
If your summer plans involve a lot of very dark, very sweaty, very intense dance parties, chances are they're also going to involve a lot of the completely bonkers "Harlem Shake." Which is pretty much all there is to say.

7. Jai Paul, "Jasmine"
Jai Paul takes like two years to write a song, but the wait is worthwhile, because they're pretty perfect songs (see also: "BTSTU"). "Jasmine" dropped a couple of months ago, but I can only envision its funky guitar, rushing synthesizers, and dark post-dubstep vibe sounding better than ever on hot, sticky summer nights.

6. Hot Chip, "Let Me Be Him"
The nearly eight-minute climax of Hot Chip's new album In Our Heads is hardly tedious. It's a lovely paean to creativity and happiness that ranks among one of the best songs yet by a band whose songs are generally impeccable. Beginning as a smooth electropop groove and swelling into a lush, subtle dancefloor confection before drifting into a downtempo reverie, it combines the best of all possible Hot Chip worlds.

5. Flo Rida, "Wild Ones (featuring Sia)"
I'm still pretty unsure how I feel about hearing sultry Australian singer-songwriter Sia coo things like "tame me now," "saddle me up," and "break me in," and by "unsure how I feel" I really mean "revolted," but I am 100% certain how I feel about every other aspect of this track, which is very, very positively.

4. Passion Pit, "I'll Be Alright"
"Can you remember ever having any fun? 'Cause when it's all said and done, I always believed we were, but now I'm not so sure." That's the opening line of Passion Pit's wonderful new single. The lyrics are pretty bleak -- gin, pills, delusions, disillusionment, breakups, and disorder galore -- but the title says it all: this is a euphoric feel-good song, sublimating all that bad stuff into ecstatic delirium.

3. Usher, "Scream"

2. Icona Pop, "I Love It"
It's sassy, sublime, and Swedish, and if you're thinking Robyn, you're behind the times, my friend. Penned by heavily mascara'd UK synthpop diva Charli XCX, "I Love It" is the kind of giddy, catchy, dancefloor-ready number that miraculously unites strangers with dumb, appealing lyrics that are instantly memorable (and memorize-able!). If this song doesn't make you want to drive fast with the windows down, screaming "You're from the '70s, but I'm a '90s bitch!" then nothing will (actually though...). You'll love it.

1. Japandroids, "The House That Heaven Built"
I fully expect this song to fill the role that WU LYF's "We Bros" did so excellently in 2011. That is: it's a loud, masculine, fist-pumping, skyscraping, and life-affirming piece of rock music with emotional gravity that'll ensure it staying power long past September. It'd be easy to call it cheesy - with its scruffy, keg-standing, open-flannel aesthetic and teenaged sense of infinity and invincibility -- if it wasn't so damn sincere. While 'The House That Heaven Built" has a lot of singalong-ready "oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh!"s peppered throughout, its success derives from the way it gloriously celebrates the experiences that are common to us all, even though those experience aren't necessarily the kind we remember with fondness (or even want to remember at all). "You're not mine to die for anymore, so I must live!" proclaims Brian King, triumphant not out of naivete but because he has to be. But from there this already gigantic song just gets louder and bigger and better, even though Japandroids are just two guys who, what's more, don't overdub their tracks. No, this band crescendos the old-fashioned way: with passion. From the enormous, furious, joyous chorus: "When they love you -- and they will -- tell 'em all they'll love in my shadow! And if they try to slow you down, tell 'em all to go to hell!" Bring it on, Summer 2012. Bring it on.

Honorable mention to "Rack City" by Tyga, which I can only hope never falls out of fashion, because what will I do when I go out and can't scream along to things like "got your grandma on my dick"?! Meanwhile, for other opinions on the matter, check out NPR and Stereogum's respective lists. Stereogum foolishly tries to limit itself to "indie" songs (get with the zeitgeist, dudes), and the NPR staff somehow forget about Japandroids entirely AND have apparently not listened to any Usher songs besides "Climax" -- whatever.

Disagree? Wondering where your own favorite 85-and-sunny track is? Leave a comment! Unless it's about "Somebody That I Used To Know." Do not leave a comment telling me to put "Somebody That I Used To Know" on this list. Just don't.