Steve Marth

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PTA directing a Joanna Newsom video. I nearly died right in this chair. If Jon Brion would’ve been involved, I’d be a pile of guts right now.

I like this song, but I do worry it sounds a bit much like something off of Have One on Me. That was an amazing album, so I’m not necessarily complaining, but she’s grown and perfected her craft so much between her first three albums, I was hoping this new one 5 years later would continue the pattern. Maybe it will—this is just one song!—but for now it sounds a little too much like a comfort zone. (Even if Joanna Newsom’s comfort zone is better than the greatest work most songwriters will ever create).

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August 10, 2015 on Joanna Newsom Announces New Album Divers & Shares Paul Thomas Anderson-Directed “Sapokanikan” Video

There’s no way I can be the only one who first read their name as “Mongoloid,” right? Did they think this through all the way?

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August 8, 2015 on Monogold – “Orchard Beach”

Sounds like Blackalicious. Fashion and attitudes have clearly moved well past what these guys were on the pinnacle of at the turn-of-the-millennium, but goddamn if it isn’t still quality. I like it. I’ll take one of these over a dozen new Future albums.

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August 7, 2015 on Blackalicious – “Blacka”

I voted for The Go! Team’s “What D’You Say?”.

But if I’m being honest with myself, Eleanor Friedberger’s “Stare at the Sun” has been my SOTS for the last three summers.

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August 6, 2015 on Vote For The Song Of The Summer 2015

Hey, I did too! Nice to know there’s someone else out there. Even though I don’t think I’ve listened to it since the month it came out. But every now and then a song from it will pop up on shuffle, and it’s super pleasant. I think I have a “David Gilmour’s guitar” sector in my brain that just releases pure dopamine every time I hear it. Explains why I also really liked the new Pink Floyd album quite a bit.

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July 17, 2015 on David Gilmour – “Rattle That Lock”

People are probably going to make fun of this song, but just close your eyes and pretend it’s War On Drugs and suddenly it’s year-end-list material!

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July 17, 2015 on David Gilmour – “Rattle That Lock”

That’s the funny thing about these guys… as much as I’m completely unmoved by their “new” music (“new” of course meaning everything they’ve done since “My Hero” became a mega hit way back when), I still have a solid respect for them, and I’m glad that they’re the ones on that throne, rather than some other bullshit rawk nonsense. I’d follow Dave Grohl into battle, even if I roll my eyes at every new song he writes.

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July 3, 2015 on Foo Fighters Turns 20

It’s probably because I’m an old man who was in the prime of his naive youth when this came out, but as far as I’m concerned this self-titled record and, like, half of the Colour and the Shape, IS the Foo Fighters to me. Everything they’ve done in the decades since (despite becoming the biggest arena band in the world and reaching an unimaginable level of popularity and selling more records than Jesus) has struck me as being a very elaborate practical joke.

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July 3, 2015 on Foo Fighters Turns 20

Super sad. Who knows if he was the “greatest” bassist in rock, whatever that means (though it’s hard to argue he wasn’t), but his playing absolutely defined one of the greatest bands of its era, and his style and sound are unparalleled to this day. I hope this is a moment when Yes gets some attention from people who have previously ignored them or passed them off as indulgent nonsense, which (unlike their many imitators and peers) they absolutely were not. Personally, I don’t have a lot of patience for most prog of the era, but Yes, thinks to Squire, was the cream of the crop.

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June 28, 2015 on R.I.P. Chris Squire

For the record (and I’m sure I’ll probably get shit on and downvoted for whatever blasphemy I may have voiced), I think Beck, of all people, as earned the right to do whatever he wants to do. The guy’s had a long and fruitful career mixed with popularity, artistry, experimentation, and success more than just about anyone in the last two decades. This song just feels like a cheap cash-in more than anything he’s ever done, but based on his track record, I’m fully ready to forgive it and wait for the next project.

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June 15, 2015 on Beck – “Dreams”

So Beck has decided to jump headlong into the 21st century pop monogenre, with a song so devoid of character that it could have been recorded by any one of a dozen different artists. “Hey, cool song! Who is it? MGMT? Fun? Charlie XCX? 21 Pilots? Katy Perry? Foster the People?” No, it’s Beck! “Who?”

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June 15, 2015 on Beck – “Dreams”

I’m as big of a Metallica apologist as you’ll find (which might not sit too well around these parts?), as I feel like they’ve taken an undue amount of shit over the last, oh, 20 years (yikes!). But this reminds me of something I’ve noticed with these guys that speaks to their odd and suffocating group dynamic: None of them have ever released solo or side-project albums over the years!

It’s seemed like latter-day Hetfield has this sort of acoustic country-ish singer-songwriter waiting to get out of him. Some sort of Rick Rubin-y stripped down record of a crooning James Hetfield might (MIGHT) actually be worth hearing. At the same time, I can imagine Kirk Hammett must be dying to put out some kind of collection of instrumental bluesy/hard-rocky/experimental(?) guitar nonsense, especially since he’s been so famously the #3 guy in Metallica over the years. It seems crazy to think he’s actually creatively satisfied at the rate that they write and record. Lars, who even knows what he’d attempt. Bass guy, who cares.

I’m not saying any such records would be great or anything… just that they’d be interesting to hear. And given all the bizarro creative tension you always hear about with these guys, it seems like something they should’ve tried a long, long time ago.

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May 17, 2015 on Watch Metallica’s James Hetfield Cover Adele’s “Crazy For You” With His Daughter

This is a somewhat embarrassing ‘shame on me’ type situation, but having been a fan of Insignificance and Eureka since 2000–2001ish, I just VERY recently (two weeks ago!) discovered that Halfway to a Threeway, Bad Timing, and The Visitor were in that same general ‘pop’ vein, rather than his more experimental, improvisational avant garde stuff. I assumed Eureka and Insignificance were just two cheeky little outliers in his catalogue, and now I feel like a big dope having ignored those other records all these years!

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May 6, 2015 on Jim O’Rourke’s Catalog Available Digitally For The First Time

As a non-New Yorker, can somebody give me a quick explainer on what’s so awful about Terminal 5? This is the third time I’ve heard somebody bash it in the last couple weeks, and I’m just curious about the subject.

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March 25, 2015 on Watch Action Bronson Throw A Fan Offstage In NYC

Hey, that was good! Lovely even. Actually, I wouldn’t mind a whole album of John Legend and John Mayer doing Nina Simone covers. You could do worse. You know, like that Xiu Xiu album of Nina Simone covers.

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February 5, 2015 on Watch Substitute Talk Show Host John Mayer Interview Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Sharks And Cover “Lilac Wine” With John Legend

Considering it’s a color print job, that check was probably at least $100 to produce and mount. Totally tax deductible though.

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January 28, 2015 on Migos Ridiculed For $1K High School Donation

I want to add a quick addendum to this overlong rant: I get really excited when I hear about artists like this. I’m a big fan of Nilsson and his ilk, and the idea of a true songwriter is rare enough these days that I love getting my hopes up. But I just haven’t been impressed by anything I’ve heard by Tobias Jesso or Natalie Prass. And for whatever reason, Father John Misty has just never floated my boat. But recently I love what I’ve heard from Courtney Barnett, she seems like the real deal… and while her sound is a bit ‘garage,’ her spirit is purely a songwriter. Jens Lekman is sort of a veteran at this point, but he’s one of the best we’ve got. Blake Mills put out a great record last year that seems to have been overlooked.

And one of my favorites who has never received nearly enough attention, Benji Hughes:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f610EsNGFPY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MWmFpLoLlE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKePX9RsdpU

He’s a bit of a tough egg to crack, has hardly any online presence, and some of his music is all over the map, but when he sits down and does his Laurel Canyon thing, I think he’s f-ing amazing. He should be huge (cult-huge, at least…), but sometimes I worry I’m the only person who has any idea who he is.

That’s all!

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January 23, 2015 on Will 2015 Be The Year Of The ’70s Singer-Songwriter?

Totally. Hour of the Bewilderbeast was-and-is-the real deal! And the About a Boy sdtk is very nice. But after that he just sort of lost his grip on what he was doing.

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January 23, 2015 on Will 2015 Be The Year Of The ’70s Singer-Songwriter?