I realize I’m a bit behind schedule here since summer is set to end in approximately 8 hours, but I figured I’d give you all (both?) a rundown of the songs I’ve been listening to since the last time I put together a playlist.
But before I do, I’d like to cover a topic that’s been bothering me for going on, oh, fucking forever: Upworthy. Here’s a quick vignette that describes what Upworthy is like:
Ryan, 28 and bored, logs on to Facebook. He browses idly through his friends’ status updates with tired, glassy eyes. Suddenly, a bold headline catches his eye: “This man brought his daughter to the park. YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.” “Oh, this is going to be good,” Ryan mutters to himself. He clicks the link, waiting patiently as the screen loads. His eyes settle upon a picture of a man holding his daughter in a park; in the forest in the background, the outline of what can only be a giant bear is clearly recognizable. Ryan’s breath catches in his throat as he thinks to himself, “Dear God, that bear is going to attack that man and his daughter.” With some trepidation, he presses “Play” on the video, ignoring every instinct to avoid seeing these soon-to-be victims dismembered by a wild beast. As the video loads, Ryan ponders the fragile nature of life itself, vowing that he will never let his existence end in such a horrendous fashion as the one that will soon certainly befall these poor people. The video begins to play: the man is hugging his daughter in what must only be their final moments on Earth. The shadowy beast draws closer…closer…closer still. The girl screams, and the man turns around in surprise. But what’s this? Why does the man burst out in peals of uproarious laughter? Oh, it’s just the man’s buddy Ron in a bear costume. Ryan furrows his brow, confused, then looks at the link atop the page: “Upworthy.com.” Closing his computer with a grimace and an eye roll resembling that of a man in the throes of a Grand Mal seizure, Ryan vows never to visit that site again. But he’ll be back.
What bothers me more than anything about Upworthy is that they don’t even believe in their own material enough to present it in an honest light; instead, they have to trick people into visiting their fucking site. If they presented this material as “Hey, these videos are good to pass the time if you’re bored” or “This is a list that’s kind of interesting,” I’d probably be more likely to visit. But they don’t- they’d rather post shitty cell-phone videos shot in portrait mode that, through a series of twists and turns, miraculously end up being exactly what I thought they’d be.
Because we live in a world sadly overpopulated by mouth-breathing idiots who find this sort of content endlessly fascinating (and, more damning, because I’m friends with these idiots on Facebook), this shit ends up on my News Feed. I don’t understand the thought process of people who are tricked by a misleading headline and respond by passing on this worthless clickbait piece of shit to their friends. Why would you willfully put people in a position to waste their time and be annoyed that they did? So Upworthy, allow me to get one thing straight right now: I will believe what happens next, I’m certain of it. The video I’m about to watch will most assuredly not blow my mind. Number 5 on your dogshit Listicle that was thrown together in all of 4 minutes will not shock me. You provide nothing of value to this world, and everyone who generates content for your site deserves to watch “Keyboard Cat” videos with their eyelids stapled open for all eternity. Same to the idiots who came up with the ads that show a guy with an insane 6-pack and tout “This one weird trick that scientists hate!” You’re all fucking worthless.
And now, onto my music suggestions, which is why I assume you’re all here.
Sleater-Kinney: “Banned from the End of the World”
Fun fact about “Portlandia”‘s Carrie Brownstein: she was in Sleater-Kinney. So if you’re a fan of “Portlandia,” listen to this song; if you’re a fan of Sleater-Kinney, watch “Portlandia.” If you’re both, you’re either Fred Armisen or me. Either way, well done.
Toro y Moi: “Campo”
I think I’ve said all I need to say about Toro y Moi. This is one of his latest offerings, and it’s just as fantastic as the rest of his stuff, which is to say, it’s pretty damn neat.
Honne: “Warm on a Cold Night”
I unfortunately have to link to this song on Soundcloud, as it’s not out yet and you probably haven’t heard of it and I’m just so fucking cool. But still: listen to it. It’s got a mix of late-eighties/early-nineties vibe, and it’s quite possibly one of the most relaxing, lush songs I’ve heard in my life. I’m in love with this song.
Royal Blood: “Figure It Out”
Royal Blood is comprised of two guys: one bassist, one drummer. Okay, now that you know that, watch that video. Now come back here and repeat that first sentence again, this time with your jaw firmly on the floor. Royal Blood is two guys and they make THAT sound. They’re like The Black Keys with balls, or Death From Above 1979 without all that prog-rock shit. That bassist is the tits- I don’t even know how the hell he pulls that sound off. If I were a less creative person, I’d quote “Anchorman” here (“I’m not even mad, blah blah blah Will Ferrell peaked 3 years ago”), but I’m not going to do that. You’ll have to get your hacky jokes elsewhere, people.
Jungle: “Lemonade Lake”
This is another relaxing-as-hell song, especially good for road trips or sunbathing. However, it’s called “Lemonade Lake,” which makes me think of a lake filled with urine. (In related news, I’m a 6-year-old boy.) This, coupled with the splashing sound effects in the background, make me a 30% risk to wet my pants while listening to this song. It’s a risk I’m willing to take.
Damu the Fudgemunk: “Hole Up”
Look, I don’t know what in the world is happening with this guy’s name. Is he a “Fudgemunk” because he’s black (“Fudge”) and a monk (but with flair, thus, “Munk”)? Is he some sort of fudge/chipmunk hybrid, which sounds delicious until you realize that that could mean a chipmunk made of fudge (delicious) or a regular-ass chipmunk covered in fudge (slightly less delicious)? I don’t know, man. I don’t know. It’s a good song, though, and that beat reminds me of Pete Rock, which is always a positive.
Saint Motel: “My Type”
Much like Knox Hamilton’s “Work It Out” (referenced in my “Springtime Playlist” post, which I can’t link to for some goddamn reason), this song comes to us from a band that in all likelihood won’t be around in two years. That being said, though, it’s got horns and hand claps. I like horns and hand claps. Makes me feel like I’m hanging out with Marvin Gaye, and really, who could complain about that? And speaking of Marvin Gaye:
Marvin Gaye: “Ain’t That Peculiar”
I was in this restaurant in Brooklyn last week with my mom, and there was an artist who had done all these awesome black-and-white murals of artists born in Brooklyn: James Brown, Lou Reed, Marvin Gaye, Biggie, ODB, and Left Eye, among others. Also, this song played while we were eating our dinner, so, you know: kismet. That was a really dumb story, but what the fuck am I gonna say about Marvin Gaye that hasn’t already been said? He’s great, this is a great song, shut up.
This song’s the musical equivalent of a long, pleasant meander down a hiking trail in the fall: nothing you encounter is going to change your life, but it’s still a very refreshing break from things every now and again.
Action Bronson: “Easy Rider”
Action Bronson is so weird and funny and fat and vaguely gross, and I love him for it. Also, he has a fantastic beard, and he rocks “fat shoes” (tennis shoes that have a sideways slope in them as a result of excess weight pressing down over a long enough period of time) like nobody’s business. Plus, this beat sounds like something Three Dog Night or America would’ve done: real classic-rock shit, you know? Also, the video for this song is impossibly strange and features a woman rubbing his giant naked belly. So…enjoy.
Foals: “Total Life Forever”
Though I’m not a big fan of Foals frontman Yannis WhateverthefuckGreeklastname’s habit of mocking Arctic Monkeys, I have to admit that they make some goddamned excellent music. They do the indie “chant-sing” better than 99% of bands out there now, and each of their albums has a distinctly different sound than the next.
So that’s a bit of my playlist so far this summer. More to come soon (maybe, but probably not).