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Bryce Rudow is a freelance political/pop-culture journalist and he likes music. You can send all hatemail to [email protected] and tweet vitriol at him @brycetrudow.

Go to his website and read interesting things: BryceTaylorRudow.com

 

You know what I love more than music? Charity.

And it just so happens that one of DC’s favorite charities, Twice As Warm — the hat/scarf/glove/shirt store that donates a piece of clothing for every piece of clothing you buy — is throwing a concert at Martha’s Table on January 31st with Sheltered Turtle. The performance will be capped at 50 seats and all proceeds will go to Martha’s Table, so help other people by helping yourself and get tickets by clicking here. Charity!

Onto the music!

 

  • Boxed In – Boxed In

Boxed In’s Oli Bayston is one hell of a songwriter. In fact, given this album’s incredible sonic diversity it almost seems more like the world’s most impressive ghostwriting resume rather than an actual album.

The lead-off single “Majesty” — one of the hookiest songs you’ll hear this year — is a perfectly-constructed pop song that somehow never stumbles into shamelessness and survives multiple, multiple replays. But then the album ventures into some really interesting territory. A song like “Bug” could easily have been a hit for Sam Smith and the sunburnt duet of “Lo Life” is itching to blow up on Hype Machine, but then songs like personal-favorite “All Your Love Is Gone” and “False Alarm” are these tour-de-forces that feel birthed from someone who worshipped Bowie, Radiohead, and DFA Records. It’s actually pretty awe-inspiring to know this all came from the same person.

While Bayston has made a living ghostwriting for a few artists, I really hope this guy catches a break with his own stuff.  The music industry is a better place when albums like this succeed.

 

 

  • Young Rapids – “What R U Saying?”

Earlier this week, Young Rapids released the song they should have chosen to release back in November when they first unveiled their big comeback. Not like “Melt” wasn’t a fine enough track, but to put it simply, “What R U Saying?” is the kind of song that I put on in the apartment and Fiancé Mollie asks, “Who R U Listening To?”

That kind of thing means something.

And it definitely has me more excited for their record release show on March 7th at Rock and Roll Hotel.

 

 

  • Gang Of Four – “England’s In My Bones”

I’m including this song for two reasons. One, I like it and gives me hope for Gang Of Four’s future. But two, BYT Mama Bear Svetlana forwarded me an email the other day from their PR person saying, “DC will care about gang of four new song, I feel.”

Now Svetlana’s awkward diction aside, I wanted to bring this PR email up because of how Gang Of Four’s PR person chose to sell not just this new song, but Gang Of Four as a band. He writes:

This comes shortly after Carrie Brownstein told Entertainment Weekly ‘The beginning of Sleater-Kinney was a nexus of the B-52s and Gang of Four.‘”

This is the kind of thing that makes me want to hate Sleater-Kinney. And that’s not fair to Sleater-Kinney.

Even though all they’ve done out is put out a good (not great) album and been awesome about how they market it, they’ve now become the latest “it” band that people like Reybee PR’s Dan Bogosian have to name drop in marketing emails. Dan Bogosian also writes for Consequence of Sound and knows what he’s talking about, so you know he’s not the one making that decision; it’s the people who are seeing that when Broad City interviewed Carrie and Corin the internet blew up.

I know none of this has to do with Gang Of Four or “England’s In My Bones,” but I just wanted to write the change I wish to see in the world.

How about the ending to that song though? Great guitar line.

 

 

And now it’s time for a very special edition of…

AURAL FIXATIONS WITH FRIENDS: Lindsay Hogan Edition

Editor’s Note: Lindsay Hogan would like me to note that she doesn’t apologize for being alive in the 2000’s and having two ears connected TO A HEART. 

  • The Decemberists – What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqgtwX7Ky7g

What is your favorite band? And how long have they been your favorite band? And has it been hard to love them at times?

I’ve adored The Decemberists for around 8 years. Once it’s been that long, it feels less like listening to a band and more like conversing with them. And while this new album is a shadow of their old selves, it still warranted some conversation.

I first heard “The Singer Addresses His Audience” a year and half ago during one of front man, Colin Meloy’s solo tours. It distinctly caught my attention for breaking the fourth wall by taking on the persona of an apologetic musician speaking frankly to their disappointed fan base. “We knew you threw your arms around us in the hopes we wouldn’t change, but we had to change some.”

If you’ve ever loved a band with any intricacy, you know the anguish of watching their rise to popularity and the inevitable commercialization of their sound. They’ve cheated on you with the world, right? The Decemberists are undoubtedly drawn-out, indie rock mainstays who can be written off in one or two talking points about whimsical verbosity, “that weird rock opera album,” and blah blah blah Portland.

Which is why a self-aware, self-deprecating album opener is refreshing and bittersweet.

You don’t have to appreciate The Decemberists to appreciate their sentiment. And its done with such blatant and earnest humor that I can’t stay mad at them.

I’m not so blind to the reality that this, their seventh album, is front-loaded with toned down and unambitious singles meant to cater to a trite public radio audience. It is sorely missing the stylistic commitment of their more unabashedly odd albums.

But the opener (and they get extra credit for placing it front and center) is a humorously honest nod to the loyal listener. It’s a positive song for the increasingly rare “positive and supportive music fan” who doesn’t resent their favorite artist for embracing a sustainable music career.

Is it bad? No. Is it great? No. But it’s a peculiar anthem and a valuable point of reflection for every diehard music lover who has fought the feeling of jaded betrayal. And it reminds me that this band, at least, was always worth loving.

 

 

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