It's another Unblinking Ear Podcast. All of new music here. Well, as long as consider something released as far back as April of this year to be "new." And if you don't, hopefully this will not stymie your enjoyment of the listening experience.
The Unblinking Ear Podcast usually publishes on Thursday. However, yesterday was Thanksgiving. While I did hope to post a new podcast last night to help replace the lack of a Starrcade or Survivor Series for your Thanksgiving night entertainment, it just wasn't in the cards.
Instead, please in enjoy this podcast on this Black Friday. Hopefully, it will soothe your nerves and help you forget about the horrible, horrible things you did to get yourself or a loved one a new cell phone of Furby or whatever.
As some of you may know, I've resided for most of my life in New York City's least populated borough, Staten Island. While I was lucky enough to be barely impacted, Hurricane Sandy devastated a good portion of the island:
Being that this is my first post-Sandy podcast, as you're listening, please take the time to donate to Staten Island recovery efforts. The unfortunate general consensus is that the Red Cross is doing very little to help but I've been told that The Tunnel To Towers Foundation and The Carl V. Bini Memorial Fund are both excellent organizations with efforts going directly to help Staten Island families. Staten Island Recovers is run by some of the same people behind the Occupy movement. While it doesn't seem to be accepting monetary donations, it's a great place to start if you'd like to get involved locally.
WFMU, another place near and dear to my heart, also suffered from Sandy and have extended their October silent marathon to help pay for damages. Read about it here.
With this edition of the Unblinking Ear Podcast, we begin a bold new era. In the four and half years I've been doing this podcast, this is first one where I dropped $3.50 for a foam cover for my microphone. So I've the main reason you've been listening is to hear me pop my P's, I'm afraid this is the end of the line for you. For everyone else, we've got the same great music and me rambling on incoherently.
(“I'm not fucking Johnny Stingray, you motherfucker!”)
We've done it again. Not throwing a ol' fashion entitled, aging, increasingly irrelevant rock star tantrum. But rather assembling a bunch of vintage punk rock tracks for your seasonal listening pleasure. Not only that, but due to the brief nature of many of these cuts, we've upped the number of songs for our usual podcast standard of a dozen to fifteen. Hopefully, this will make up for me popping my p's every time I say the word "punk." (Windscreens aint hardcore, dontcha know?)
The Unblinking Ear Podcast is here to rescue you from this conundrum. This edition of the podcast features nothing but new releases. That's a whole bunch of new music plus a new reissue. We filter it all so you don't have to. And you don't even have to thank us. The glory of being the best is enough.
I know some of you were concerned about the fate of the Unblinking Ear Podcast now they we've debuted our Tumblr page which features one song a day, everyday. (Actually, no one expressed any concern at all, but let's pretend.) Fear not, my worrisome, hypothetical friend. The Unblinking Ear Podcast shall continue on its regular schedule unabated. In fact, the edition embedded below is as splendid an offering as we've ever... um... offered. Listen and see if you agree.
After an unexpected hiatus (which occurred mostly because I didn't want to spend my Fourth of July sitting in front of a computer assembling a podcast), the Unblinking Ear Podcast is back with a brand new edition last nearly an hour! Enjoy it, won't you?
There are times when I wonder if, in the brave new world of online streaming, making a music podcast is still vital. But today I was listening to Pandora in my car when an ad for Brad Benson Hyundai came on between songs.
I then realized, what I do is necessary. You're welcome.
After 100 episodes and four years of doing this, I've decided I can no longer attempt to write clever descriptions in the post title. (Let's face it, they were never that clever anyway.)
So as much as I'd like to express my elation for something like Johan Santana's no-hitter or my disgust for something like the failed recall of Scott Walker, you're just going to have to follow me on Twitter if you want my thoughts on current events.
That's right. kids. You are about to hear the 100th edition of the Unblinking Ear Podcast. You can say that's not a big deal and it probably isn't, but ask yourself this: what have you done a hundred of?
Two minor miracles today. One: the New York Mets won their opening day contest against the Atlanta Braves despite only scoring one run and nearly wasting a gem of a return from Johan Santana. Two: I managed to back announce this entire podcast without having a sneezing fit despite the allergies that have plagued me the past couple of days. Incidentally, if it seems that the volume of the songs contained herein varies wildly please excuse this as I can't hear anything right now due to congestion.
We've got a special (or at least atypical) edition of the podcast today: our semi-annual Punkquinox spectacular. Heretics that we are, each equinox we celebrate by playing nothing but late-70s and early 80s punk rock. I've done 7 or 8 of these all-punk podcasts. Am I scrapping the bottom of the barrel? Not even close. (Or I did a long time ago, depending on your point of view.) In any case, enjoy these dozen examples of vintage punk rock, which are so pure and free of artifice that even Jaded Punk Hulk can't help but be delighted by them.
If you're going to put together a podcast, try not to do it while drunk.
Also, you might not want get drunk in the first place when you're on a self-imposed deadline to post a new podcast.
Otherwise you might do things like record an entire segment of back-announcing without your microphone plugged in so instead you'll be recording through your computer's built in mic and sounding like you're in a well.
Then you'll have re-record the segment by which point you'll be so tired that you consistently flub your lines and to achieve some semblance of coherence you'll have to do more patches than Steven Alder in "Civil War."
Of course, you could be stone cold sober and somehow manage to mute an entire song anyway.
I do this podcast for free. I've never requested any money from you, my listeners. I'm going to now but not for me.
The WFMU fund-raising marathon began on Monday and runs through next Sunday. WFMU is 100% listener-supported, which means that station accepts no money from advertisers or the government. It fully relies on its listeners' generosity for its continued existence. Please donate what you can and support freeform, independent radio.
I suspect most of you listen to this podcast giving your full undivided attention, likely staring at a blank wall in your unclean, under furnished apartment.
However, if you'd like to do something to occupy yourself while hearing the podcast, listener (NAME REDACTED) has some suggestions for you. All of these will be fine until your boyfriend comes home and he'll want to watch wrestling. You might be able to persuade to keep it on mute though, as whatever I happen to be playing on any given edition of this podcast is surely more tolerable than having to hear Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.
Incidentally, there's no truth to the rumor that the Unblinking Ear Podcast syncs up perfectly to Golden Girls ala Darkside of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz.
Here's the first Unblinking Ear Podcast of 2012. Enjoy it while you can and as much you can since, according to the Mayans (who play such an important role in our culture), the clock is ticking.
What do we have for you before impending doom takes us all? A couple of songs from recent releases, a few cuts from 2011 records which were brought to my attention via the "best of" lists of others but are still relatively "new" and a handful of older tunes that I thought would be a good idea to play for whatever reason.
So it's pretty much the usual. But when the streets are running red with blood, you're going to miss the mundanity of normal life. Cherish it now, friends, Cherish it now.
I've already done a Best of 2011 podcast, but I know some of you have severe OCD and need to have things in list form. Plus, there's pictures of the albums and accompanying text, which is excellent for providing momentary distraction at the office.
Entries are listed (more or less) alphabetically as that's how I felt most comfortable "ranking" them. All are worth your time.
The Top Ten(ish)
Bass Drum of Death GB City (Inflated/Fat Possum)
I was fairly appalled at the critical drubbing that greeted the debut album from this Oxford, MS duo. It's probably due to music critics declaring a referendum that "lo-fi" is over. An unknown band with a silly name on the same label as Wavves? Bass Drum of Death was the perfect target for the inevitable backlash. In any case, the reason certainly couldn't be the music, which is as mighty a blast of primal RnR as released by anyone this year.
Carolee EP1 (12XU)
The music of Carolee has been a secret among a few privileged New Jersey college and freeform radio DJs (and me) for a few years now. Thanks to the folks at 12XU, the public at large now has access to her ethereal noise pop. Don't be a fool and waste your opportunity to hear it.
High Tension Wires Welcome New Machine (Dirtnap)
Bad Sports Kings of the Weekend (Dirtnap)
I don't know if it's the influence of the defunct Marked Men or something else, but in 2011 Denton, Texas (population 113K) was the punk rock capital of the world. These two albums (the bands feature overlapping members) would be evidence enough but Denton brought us enough great punk in the past year to reach any town's quota for a decade. See also: OBN IIIs The One and Only (Tic Tac Totally), Video Leather Leather (Play Pinball!), Wiccans Skullduggery (Katorga Works), Mind Spiders Mind Spiders (Dirtnap)
Kitchen's Floor Look Forward to Nothing (Siltbreeze)
Yes, we're all thrilled that Siltbreeze is back but if you mourned Xpressway as well, the second album from Brisbane's Kitchen's Floor has a beauty/ugliness ratio that should fill that particular hole in your soul.
Mannequin Men Mannequin Men (Addenda)
Though they had some outstanding moments on their previous albums ("Pigpen" from 2007's Fresh Rot was among the best songs of the past decade), Chicago's Mannequin Men really bring it on their self-titled third album, easily their best and most consistent to date. One minor quibble: the version of "Hobby Girl" released on a HoZac Hookup Klub 7" earlier in the year is superior to the one here. However, buying HoZac's inevitable compilation of those singles is probably essential purchase regardless, so no foul.
Milk Music Beyond Living EP (Perennial)
Technically a late 2010 release, though it wasn't widely distributed until early 2011 when it was rereleased by Perennial, Milk Music's vinyl debut is a half dozen songs of extremely impressive melancholic pre-mersh grunge. These guys have little to no web presence, so I'm going to have to rely on the kindness of friends to alert me when their full length drops this year.
Rational Animals Bock Rock Parade (Katorga Works)
HC-derived sludge that's akin to post-Damaged Black Flag but much more consistent that any BF's albums from that period. Shades of Halo of Flies and Flipper in there as well. These are all good reference points, in case you were wondering. Like all Katorga Works releases, it's available as a free and legal download, so you've got no excuse.
Slug Guts Howlin' Gang (Sacred Bones)
Have you ever thought "I'd like to listen to some Goth but I hate makeup, fey poetry, contrived transgression, English people and the mall?" Fella, have I got a record for you.
Thee Oh Sees Carrion Crawler/The Dream (In The Red)
Originally intended as a pair of EPs (hence the bifurcated title), this is the second of two full-lengths released by Thee Oh Sees in 2011. With a band this prolific, new listeners may be a bit standoffish, not knowing where to begin in a vast discography that may have some quality control issues. Rest assured, Carrion Crawler/The Dream is as fine a record as Thee Oh Sees have made. Here is as good a place to start as any.
Wild Flag Wild Flag (Merge)
A nice bookend to the Bass Drum of Death entry that began this list, Wild Flag's debut is probably the only record in my top ten that was also a critical consensus pick for the best of the year. Many music critics are amateur sociologists and Wild Flag's mere existence gave them a lot of fodder. Feminist perspective or 90s indie rock nostalgia would each alone be enough for the basis of a feature. But even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then and Wild Flag more than earned the music press hosannahs showered upon them.
Honorable mentions: Barreracudas Nocturnal Missions (Douchemaster) Causal Victim Pile II compilation (12XU) Cruddy Negative World (12XU) Fucked Up David Comes to Life (Matador) Kim Phuc Copsucker (Iron Lung) Kurt Vile Smoke Ring for My Halo (Matador) Nothing People Smells Like Metal (Captcha) Obits Moody, Standard and Poor (Sub Pop) The People's Temple Sons of Stone (HoZac) Psandwich Nothren Psych (Columbus Discount) Reigning Sound Abdication... For Your Love (Scion A/V) Royal Headache Royal Headache (R.I.P. Society) Times New Viking Dancer Equired (Merge) Ty Segall Goodbye Bread (Drag City) Wax Idols No Future (HoZac)
Singles, EPs, etc.: Apache Dropout "Shot Down" 7" (Trouble in Mind) Beach Fossils What a Pleasure EP (Captured Tracks) Boomgates "Laymen's Terms" 7" (Smart Guy) Fresh and Onlys Secret Walls EP (Sacred Bones) Gun Outfit High Places EP (Make a Mess) Mantles "Raspberry Thighs" 7" (SDZ) Ma'am songs streaming on maamtheband.com Naked on the Vague "Abstract Figures" 7" (R.I.P. Society) Purling Hiss Lounge Lizards EP (Mexican Summer) Whines "Shootinhead" 7" (Mt St Mtn)