Archive for February 4th, 2011

The Captain Discusses Modern Rock 2010 Part Eins

1.  Die By The Drop – The Dead Weather

If there has been one constant in my Modern Rock series, it’s been the presence of Mr. Jack White.  He’s contributed on all nine previous Modern Rocks with 12 songs, and here on Modern Rock 2010 he starts out a disc for the fifth time.  What can I say; I think the man is a genius.  Which made the news that The White Stripes have officially broken up so hard to take.  Out of all of Jack’s various bands/projects I think that The Dead Weather is my least favorite.  Having an amazing guitarist with such a unique voice play drums and sing back-up just doesn’t make sense to me.  The Dead Weather made a tour stop in St. Louis in 2010 and I couldn’t muster up enough excitement to catch the show.  As I’ve said many times before, it feels like watching Michael Jordan play baseball.

Now that I’ve finished my little tirade, let me praise this track for its many merits.  I love the slow opening crescendo, the vocal interplay been Jack and Alison Mosshart, and the grounding effect of the repeating piano cord.  Even at his most mediocre Jack can still blow away 99% of the other bands still making music, and Sea Of Cowards is still highly listenable.  As Daniel Faraday might say, Jack Is My Constant.


2.  Conscience Killer – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have been a puzzling band for years now.  Their brilliant self-titled debut seemed to put them at the forefront of the Jesus and Mary Chain revival effort.  After that brilliance they put out a string of albums where they dialed down the reverb and feedback and sounded more middle of the pack.  Their last two albums sounded like a band collectively shrugging at an amp.  And then out of the mist they dropped their best album to date, Beat The Devil’s Tattoo.  Who would have thought?  This was the first album in 2010 that made me think I might have to go with a double disc for the year, and for good reason.  This song has so much jilted energy bursting at every turn that I found it slightly unnerving the first time I heard it.  It sticks with you, man.

3.  Month of May – Arcade Fire

After a bit of a slump with their sophomore album, Arcade Fire came roaring back this year with The Suburbs.  It was a much needed return to form for a band that had won over millions with its amazing debut.  Much like the album’s namesake, The Suburbs was sprawling and disjointed, but full of many enjoyable elements.  Several good songs almost made it onto Modern Rock 2010, and even the more middle of the pack songs were considered due to the production involved.  A prime example was the title track, The Suburbs, which seemed better than it was due to the amazing video by Spike Jonze.

But the best songs on the album were the most basic, like this straightforward rocking little ditty.  Much like Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) off of their debut, Arcade Fire excel when they drop some of the pretense and rock out.  And you gotta love any song that purposely dates itself by calling out a year.  2010 y’all!

4.  Fresh Hex – Tobacco

Clocking in at a brisk minute and a half, this was the shortest track I selected in 2010 and probably the weirdest.  Maniac Meat is solo album from the lead singer of Black Moth Super Rainbow that is full of short snippets of analog strangeness and disjointed beats, and has my pick for album cover of the year.  Beck handling the vocals to this track makes it particularly interesting.  Apparently Tobacco and Beck have never met.  Tobacco emailed him the beats, and Beck recorded a C words heavy verse and emailed it back, end of story.  I guess sometimes it’s that simple.

5.  Props – MC Paul Barman

This was by far my most anticipated album of the year.  I’ve been waiting more MC Paul Barman for years now.  He hasn’t released anything since 2002’s blisteringly funny Paullelujah!  After a long seven year break, the best white rapper not named Marshall came back in late 2009 with Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud.  So many tracks are worthy of discussion, including what I’m guessing has to be the first rap song to criticize circumcision.  But this track really stands out after multiple plays for many reasons – the clever and topical lyrics1, the Cypress Hill sample in the refrain, and ?uestlove’s amazing production.  Of all the tracks I’ve included on Modern Rock 2010, this is the one I probably listened to the most. 


The Captain

1  “I’ve come to collect like your politician on healthcare,” is an absolutely brilliant line.  Give this man some props already!

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