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  • Best of 2006, Part Five: Top Ten Records of 2006
    Friday, December 15, 2006

    This is it. This is what you've all been waiting for...the best records of 2006! These albums are all totally, utterly wonderful, and they stand up to repeated plays. You should definitely investigate these records; they are artistic statements that will make your life better. 2006 wasn't a sucky year, thanks to these records!

    As it stands, this list is a nice little end-of-the-year cap, so we want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and we hope you have a safe and happy holiday season. We've got some big things in store for 2007, and we hope you'll stick around for them! Thanks for 2006!

    We will return in January with plenty of interesting and exciting interviews with the makers of distinctive music. Stay tuned!

    10. The Brother Kite Waiting for the Time to Be Right: Big, driving pulsing rock that has a beautiful underbelly and a shimmering haze that makes it impossible to dislike. The band takes the Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb formula and makes a record that's just as good, if not better.
    (Clairecords )
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    9. Westbound Train Transitions: A gathering of English Beat-loving young men gather together and make a record that would make Dave Wakeling proud. In fact, he took 'em out on tour! Big, grand, ska-pop with a heapin' helping of soulful, Motown-styled singing, horns, excellent songwriting and even better production; this record was retro without being retro, and best of all, it's mature and not pandering to a youth market. (Hellcat)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    8. Maritime We, the Vehicles: Davey von Bohlen and company finally make the pop record they've been plotting for some time. Finally losing the Promise Ring shadow, this album had loads of moments of pure pop bliss, with hooks galore and catchy melodies. (Flameshovel)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    7. Brand New: The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me: Jesse Lacey's heartbreak and inner conflict...emo heartthrobs ditch the emo, ditch the heartthrob, and make a record that's pure emotional torment. This is one hell of a hard record; it's a stunning display of pain and heartbreak, and it's certainly no posture. Not an easy record to listen to, my friends, but a breakthrough record for Brand New. (Interscope)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    6. The Keene BrothersBlues and Boogie Shoes: Bob Pollard and Tommy Keene's collaboration = THE rock record Pollard never made with GBV. It's as classic as rock gets, and these two men simply smoke in collaboration. Pollard wasted no time this year proving that GBV's retirement wasn't a result of his creative well running dry, and this is easily his most satisfying collaboration to date. (Fading Captain)

    5. Weird Weeds Weird Feelings Album number two for this Austin trio is a vast maturation from their debut album, which made it into our best-of 2005 list last year. Minimalist guitar drones and haunting boy/girl vocals mix together quite nicely with lyrics about love, lose, and lovingly complicated and emotionally demanding basset hounds. Best listened to in whole, alone, sitting in a dark room. (Sounds Are Active)
    Listen To: Various Artists

    4. Tasmin Archer ON: The return of Tasmin Archer proved to be one of my personal highlights of the year in music, and thankfully the album lived up to my expectations. Mature, well-considered pop music with lyrics that reflect a gentle wisdom gained from years of frustration, ON felt like what it was: a beautiful record from a wise, loving soul. Fourteen years after her big pop hit? Doesn't seem like it. Welcome back. (Quiverdisc)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    3. The Submarines Declare a New State!: A boy and a girl get together. Boy helps girl make solo album. Boy and girl becomes a couple. Boy and girl break up. Boy and girl start to write songs about their breakup. Boy and girl start to work together on the material. Boy and girl fall back in love. Boy and girl get married. Boy and girl's friends suggest they release the material that is about their breakup. Boy and girl release one of the year's best records. (Nettwerk)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    2. Robin Guthrie Continental/Everlasting: When I reviewed this record, I predicted it to be one of the very best records of 2006, and guess what? It's the end of 2006, and it's still one of the year's very best records. Everything you associate with the name Robin Guthrie is found in overwhelming abundance here; a man alone with a guitar has rarely sounded so brilliant. I had to throw in the EP compendium Everlasting, because it's just as wonderful, if not more so, and it deserves mention. (Darla Records)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    1. Boduf Songs Lion Devours the Sun: Hauntingly beautiful music that is oft mistakenly labeled "folk." This is something darker, something much more sinister, and Mat Sweet's songwriting muse dives into the troubled waters of a tormented soul and the mysterious forests of the mind. "Two Across the Mouth" is one of the best songs of the year, too. It's an album best experienced whole, alone, in a dark room. This is the best record of the year, period. (Kranky)
    Listen To: Boduf Songs Live on VPRO


    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:18 AM   0 comments
    Thursday, December 14, 2006
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    posted by joseph kyle @ 11:10 AM   0 comments
    Best of 2006, Part Four: Some Other Good Stuff

    And then there's the music that doesn't fit in any easy category, or falls in between other categories! These are some pretty good records, if I do say so myself. Check 'em out!

    The Everyothers Pink Sticky Lies: This five song EP was a blast of glam wrapped in bubblegum=pop. It promised much, but the band suddenly broke up a few weeks ago, which is a real shame, because this EP was such a wonderful record. Still, going out on a high note has its merits, and it's best to remember them as being awesome. (Kill Rock Stars)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Nellie McKay: Pretty Little Head: It's hard to understand why McKay's label hated this record. It's also not hard to understand why they frowned upon releasing it as-is. But as frustrating as it all may be--it really shouldn't have been a two-disc set--the excellence of the music more than makes up for it being self-indulgent tripe. But the aesthetic issues with the label weren't the real issue here--it was a question of artistic control--and Columbia wound up losing a great artist. McKay is the Cyndi Lauper for the indie-yuppie set, and her song with Cyndi was a real highlight. (spinART)

    Mute Math Mute Math: Frantic rock music with a definite hint of new wave, but what else do you expect from a band with a lead singer who sounds eerily enough like Sting? They're like a more melodic Les Savy Fav, which makes things even more interesting. Emo? No. Christian rock in denial? that as it may, this band's all about the live show, as they simply go insane on stage. Really. Go to YouTube and see for yourself. (Telepromt)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Aberdeen What Do I Wish For Now?: A band that didn't really exist until after it came back from a five-year break-up, this compilation documents this underrated LA indie-pop band, and it's a surprisingly strong album--stronger, perhaps, than the band's debut album released at the turn of the century. That second Sarah EP is pure pop perfection, too. (LTM Recordings)
    Various Tracks

    Harper Lee: He Holds a Flame: Keris Howard says goodbye? In interview, he suggested that this excellent EP was the final Harper Lee release. Whether it is or not, remains to be seen. "He Holds a Flame" is Howard's finest musical statement, so if it is indeed the end, it's a mighty high note to end with. The other songs on the EP are all of a higher quality, too. (Matinee Recordings_

    The Elected: Sun, Sun, Sun: Rilo Kiley's Blake Sennett steps out once again, and comes up with this wonderful, sun-baked LA rock record. Country- and Folk-rock has rarely sounded this pleasant; it sounds like a lost Laurel Canyon treasure, or, perhaps, the best early 70s solo Crosby, Stills, and Nash record that never came to pass? A haughty sentiment on my part, yes, but it's not without merit. (Sub Pop)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Sparta Threes: El Paso-based rock band comes back and comes on strong with their third album. Filled with loud, overwhelmingly big guitars and some of Jim Ward's best singing to date, it's a powerful, in-your-face rock record that doesn't sound at all as bad as those who hated on Sparta back in the day would have lead you to believe. (I am, of course, speaking of myself.) (Hollywood Records)
    Listen To Various Tracks

    Pants Yell! Recent Drama: This record really charmed me on first listen, what with its hand-clapping and wonderful pop crunch, and the love hasn't really ceased. I mentioned the name Aztec Camera in comparison, and I stick by that. The American indiepop scene was kind of quiet this year, but this album was a definite highlight. (Asaurus)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Dani Siciliano Slappers: This record really contained a nice element of "..and the kitchen sink" to it. Imagine a nice mixture of jazz, pop, electronica, and all other sorts of musical genres thrown together into one big, healthy stew, topped off with some deliciously breathy, seductive singing. Sold yet? I know I was. (!K7 Records) Listen To: Various Tracks

    Ester Drang: Rocinate: This Oklahoma trio really turned up the trippy arrangements and the mellow rock for this, their third album, which was a vast improvement from their previous record, the disappointing Infinite Keys. The mellowness was mixed together with string arrangements and orchestrations, and the effect created a nice, stoned-out haze.(Jade Tree)
    Listen To: Various Tracks


    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:17 AM   0 comments
    Best of 2006, Part Three: Old Familiar Faces
    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Yesterday we featured excellent new artists making excellent new music, so today, we're featuring the best new records by well-established artists, veterans who have been around for many years, and who continue to make excellent records. It's always good to hear that people don't simply stop making music after years and years of record-making, and these records certainly show that.

    Tanya Donelly This Hungry Life: It's always nice to hear a Tanya song, and this record--recorded in a small club in front of a friendly, loving audience--highlights everything we like about her work. The warm, electric atmosphere created by the live stage really adds a nice element to her songs. It also features an excellent cover of George Harrison's "Long, Long, Long." (Eleven Thirty Records)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    The Lemonheads The Lemonheads: After a decade of retirement, Evan Dando brings his band back, and boy, do they sound great! Of course, considering his fellow band members are former Descendents and that J Mascis through in an extra guitar solo here and there, this "reunion" record is actually harder and tougher than any previous Lemonheads LP. And ladies, he's still dreeeeammmmyyy. (Vagrant Records)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Robert Pollard: From a Compound Eye: Pollard's first post-GBV solo album was an excellent double-album filled with some of his best songwriting to date. (Well, the best until the Keene Brothers, but that's another story.) A new phase in Pollard's storied career started this year, and has proven to be, in one word, amazing. (Merge Records)

    Stuart Staples Leaving Songs: Tindersticks' lead singer takes a respite from his day job to release an album of sad, morose and impeccably arranged pop songs. The video he made for "That Sinking Feeling" featured him as a choo-choo train. Charming! Packaged with his first solo album only highlighted how excellent this album is. If ever you needed proof of Staples' genius, this album is it. (Beggars Banquet)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    His Name is Alive Detrola: Warn Defever and company eschew the R&B slow-jams of their past two albums, and make a record that blends together the mellow elements of those two records with a style reminiscent of HNIA's late 90s output. But this isn't a throwback; this is an entirely new style, one that's richer and much more lush and mature in its scope. (Silver Mountain)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Stephen Brodsky's Octave Museum Stephen Brodsky's Octave Museum: Cave In front man's third solo album and first with his new band, and it's a keeper. It's not lo-fi like his previous releases, nor is it loud prog-metal like Cave In, either. This new direction, it's a great one, and it's not really all that surprising. Cave In may be on hiatus, but Brodsky's proven that life goes on, and this record proves that tears over Cave In's demise are unnecessary. (Hydrahead)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Eric Bachmann To the Races: Bachmann's first true, real, on-its-own solo album finds him treading straight into sadness and melancholy, in a way that's darker and deeper than anything Crooked Fingers ever did. Maybe it's because he's really by himself this time around, but this music is just too utterly sad and beautiful to be done any other way. (Saddle Creek)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Roddy Frame Western Skies: Twenty-five years in, Frame still has the knack for writing a lovely, engaging tune. Frame's smiling face on the cover says it all: he's a clever sort, as witnessed through this album of easy-going, unhurried, gentle, yet never too serious pop songs. The only thing about Western Skies that disappointed was the fact that most people didn't get the opportunity to hear it. Ah well, such is life, but if you heard it, then you know what you were getting. (Redemption Records)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Sparklehorse Dreamt For Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain: Mark Linkous rarely releases music, but when he does, it's always grand, and this is no exception. Sound-wise, it's not all that different from what you'd expect from the Sparklehorse name, except with lyrics that are a bit more positive and bright. Consistency like this might seem lazy, but if you know the source, then it really doesn't matter, does it?(Astralwerks)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    New Radiant Storm King The Steady Hand: Who knew? Who knew that this minor alt.rock band from the early 1990s would return, and would return with their best record to date? I sure didn't; and though I always felt NRSK were OK, that they could produce a record as good as The Steady Hand really, really took me by surprise. In a good way, of course.(Darla Records)
    Listen To: Various Tracks


    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:17 AM   0 comments
    Best of 2006, Part Two: The New Faces
    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Every year a new group of young bands come out of nowhere and impress us greatly, and 2006 had a treasure-trove of them, it seems! This list was hard to compile, because there are a TON of bands who deserve to be here. So here are the newer kids on the block, all of whom are worthy of your attention, and all of them helped to make 2006 a great year in music!

    Bound Stems Appreciation Night: Chicago five-piece really wowed a lot of people last year with their debut, The Logic of Building the Body Plan, but they really sent one out of Wrigley Park with this debut. Quirky pop and rock music that, uh, actually rocks, while being both highly literate and musically complex. Personally, I'm a sucker for "Excellent News, Colonel," but, really, the entire album is ace. (Flameshovel)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Tacks, the Boy Disaster Oh, Beatrice: This Austin combo has ties to Midlake and The Polyphonic Spree, which sort of explains the band's grand yet earthy jazz-pop sound. But they're no mere offshoot or side project; their sound stands squarely on its own merit, and this debut EP is extremely beautiful. Their style and sound makes this an EP that you'll eat up and hit repeat to every listen. The sound of a rainy, cold afternoon never sounded this lovely. (Self-Released)
    Listen to: Various Tracks

    Hello, Saferide Introducing Hello, Saferide: My new indie-pop crush! Annika Norlin is from Sweden, but she's made a witty, whip-smart, and charming record that makes you miss the better moments of Liz Phair, Mary Lou Lord, and Juliana Hatfield. No boast in that! Songs about letters to pen-pals, wishing your crush would get sick so that you could take care of them, making love interests take quizzes to test their personality, and an extremely happy song entitled "If I Don't Write This Song, Someone I Love Will Die"--these things make Introducing... a wonderful find. She's funny, talented, beautiful, and she's someone whose music you really need to hear! (It's A Trap!)
    Listen To: "If I Don't Write This Song, Someone I Love Will Die"

    Free Diamonds There Should Be More Dancing: Punk Rock from England, yet quirkier than Art Brut and Futureheads combined! But, of course, this is a very good thing, too! Vocals that kind of recall Ween, rhythms that are tight--repeat, tight, and lyrics that are clever and funny! This record was painfully and unjustifiably overlooked this year. Don't overlook it!
    (Deep Elm)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Angela Desveaux Wandering Eyes: This Canadian songstress released her debut album on Thrill Jockey, but her sound is much more traditional than the roster would lead you to believe. We're talking "gives Shania Twain a run for her money" kind of thing here. I've really enjoyed this record for its simple pleasure and unassuming nature. A sleeper, to be sure, but a nicer country record this year, I have yet to find...
    (Thrill Jockey)
    Listen To: "Heartbeat"

    Evangelicals So Gone: Oklahoma trio's music is loud and pretty and sounds like it is about to fall apart in a huge, noisy heap. It never does, though. So Gone is held together by Josh Jones' sweet, Morrissey meets Ian Masters crooning, and the music always sounds like it's smiling at you. It's happy music, for a world gone so terribly unhappy. Comparisons to the Flaming Lips and Starlight Mints take nothing away from it.(Misra Records)
    Listen To: Another Day

    The Twilight Sad The Twilight Sad:
    Scottish post-rock baby band blends big, grand sounds with gentle, soft electronics. Sure, the post-rock elements have been played to death, but recruiting classical-minded electronica composer Max Richter to produce them was an interesting choice, one that paid off well. Though this self-titled five-song EP is merely an introduction, it is an impressive enough introduction. Place this band squarely in the "one-to-watch bin."
    (Fat Cat)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Headlights Kill Them With Kindness: This trio isn't exactly new; they released their debut EP in 2003, but didn't get around to releasing their debut until this year. But they were far from inactive; during this time, they spent most of their time out on tour. This album is a collection of gorgeous harmonies, lush arrangements, and good songwriting. Maybe taking years to release their debut wasn't a bad idea! (Polyvinyl)
    Listen To: TV

    The Envy Corps I Will Write You Love Letters If You Tell Me To:
    Iowa-based band comes out of nowhere, bringing with it an EP of catchy, anthemic songs of a quality not heard since the heyday of James. Am I surprised a major label swooped them up? Not at all. As much hype goes into the overused phrase I'm about to mutter, it's no real understatement to suggest that this band is going to be big...
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Annuals Be He Me: North Carolina band of youngsters throw together a wonderfully rich, exciting blend of big baroque pop songs. Large arrangements, excellent production, and just damn good songs make this band worthy of the blog hype. (Ace Fu)
    Listen To: Various Tracks


    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:16 AM   0 comments
    Best of 2006, Part One: The Bliss-Out Records
    Monday, December 11, 2006

    I hate best-of lists, but dang it, I can't seem to avoid them. This year, after compiling my list, I noticed some themes developing. So this list is the first part of a five part series, covering the best of 2006. This first list is dedicated to heady, mind-bendingly beautiful music that deserves attention, and if you were to put these records on in the same disc changer, you could bliss your mind harder than you could on any drug. Enjoy!

    Hammock Raising Your Voice...Trying to Stop an Echo: This record contains some of the most hauntingly beautiful instrumental music I've heard all year. It's the aural equivalent of floating in space and gliding through the galaxy to Heaven. It is seriously that beautiful. Oh, but then there are the vocals, which contain some of the most melancholy lyrics you'll hear all year, too. All in all, it's a beautiful record that will transport your mind to all sorts of places. (Darla Records)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Mercury Rev Hello, Blackbird: How the hell did this amazing record slip by unnoticed?????
    An all-instrumental mind-music journey that sounds like Mercury Rev finally capitulated on its desire to make a classic Disney movie soundtrack. For a low-key release, it's probably one of their best records ever. No, seriously, it's that good, and I have to admit I'm simply going by the album stream on their website. I don't actually own this record, which may be cheating, but after listening to it and shedding a tear or two at its beauty, I realized that not listing it somewhere would be a damn crime. Music this good deserves to be released in America--but yet, music this good rarely is. Still, it's a treat worth finding. (V2 Music)
    Listen To: The Entire album

    Subtle The Mercury Craze: A heady hip-hop journey, but not really a hip-hop record. Subtle has made the most with its lucky break, and took the opportunities afforded them to make a record that's not only the best of their career, but the best of the careers of their individual members. Smart music for smart people; that they persevere in the face of many adversities only makes their music stronger. (Astralwerks)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Elanors Movements: On first listen, this Chicago husband and wife duo's music didn't quite resonate with me. Then, after a late night listen, not only did it make sense, I instantly fell in love. With a style that's part Jeff Buckley, Part Radiohead, and part prog-rock, all mixed together with a jazz sensibility, Movements will really make you feel...mellow. (Parasol)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Montys Loco Man Overboard: A bizarre, haunting record made by two mysterious, enigmatic Swedish women. The music ranges from occasional offbeat pop to dark, haunting dirges set to a postpunk atmosphere. In short, their music is unclassifiable pop that's well to the left of Kate Bush's middle period. Though the album is woefully short, it's still a record that will enthrall you for twenty-eight minutes. (North of No South)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    Charalambides: A Vintage Burden: Fifteen years into a vast, deep career, the duo of Tom and Christina Carter decided to make their most accessible album to date. Was it an accident that the times finally caught up to them? Or is this record merely an anomaly within their massive discography? Best not to think about it, you know. Beautiful folkish sounds and gorgeous vocals and warm guitars--told you it was different, folks! (Kranky)

    The Slip: Eisenhower: This 'jam band for people who hate jam bands' has been quietly making music since the 1990s, but this album, it's BIG. Its arrangements are lush and large and somewhat melancholy, and the melodies are simply heavenly. Nothing hippie about them, either. Their last release consisted of two live albums divided in different sounds, with one being a loud, primarily instrumental collection of noisy electronica sound-scapes and the other a collection of sad, acoustic low-key country/folk balladry. This should tell you a lot about them. A great discovery! (Bar/None)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    MONO & World's End Girlfriend: Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain: Japan's loudest rock band meets up with an electronica composer, and they...make a classical record? Yup, that's what happened; that's what they did, and it can be best summed up in one word: "Breathtaking." Would you have known it was MONO had you not known it was MONO? Nope, probably not. And that's quite okay. (Temporary Residence, LTD)

    Benoit Pioulard Precis: Okay, so he's not French and his name's really Thomas, but setting that aside, Precis is gorgeous, blissed-out pop music of the highest order. Dreamy, slightly narcotic instrumentals drift between dreamy, angelic-styled crooning. Precis is a highlight of the year, to be sure; it certainly whets the appetite for this young man's next music. It's one of the rare instances where the hype-making bloggers got it right! (Kranky)
    Listen To: Various Tracks

    The Album Leaf Into the Blue Again: Should have been called "Into the Heavenly mind of James Lavelle again," because this collection of songs is easily his earthiest, most mind-relaxing collection of songs to date. How does a guy make music this good, this consistently? I can't tell ya. But consistency is the man's strong point, and this is another gorgeous Album Leaf record, and though he showed more of a pop edge this time around, the music still never failed to be less than beautiful. (Sub Pop)
    Listen To: "Always for You"


    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:15 AM   0 comments
    Tuesday, December 5, 2006
    Why did you change?

    We didn't. We just grew up. We got tired of being bloggeresque. We wanted to be something more substantial.

    What are you?

    I am a writer, and I am a historian. I am not a journalist; I am not a blogger. I am not a cultural critic. Those tags are meaningless, and they are associated directly with commerce. They're not connected with art, and they're not really connected with anything outside of the consumerist culture with which they exist. Those titles imply certain elements and connotations that I find repulsive, and I wish to distance myself from them at all cost.

    Where are the record reviews?

    I'm tired of them, but I still do them. Just not as much. Look at it like this: I spent five years of my life writing lots and lots of record reviews, while doing few interviews. So for the next five years, I'm reversing that trend.


    Because record reviews are simply my opinions, my interpretation of an experience in listening that is unique. Ultimately, opinions do not matter outside in a concrete world. For instance, if I dislike Death Cab for Cutie, it does not mean that they are a bad band, or that they are not good at what they do, or that they do not have talent. It simply means I do not care for them. If you care for them and disagree, that's fine. But just because I dislike them shouldn't imply things about me, either. These are opinions, and they are tied into something I can no longer fathom. I know some amazing review writers; in fact, our boy Sean is one of the best. I personally am not as interested in that aspect of music writing. I am, however, more than interested in the artists themselves.

    Please note, however, that this doesn't mean I'm totally turning my back on writing reviews, because I'm not. I'm simply going to devote my time to writing about things I actually *like*. Which would you rather do: would you rather devote your time writing about how you feel about a Picasso painting, or would you rather talk to Picasso about that painting? I know what I'd rather do. But at the same time, if something moves me to writing about it, I'm going to write about it.

    May I send you a record for consideration?

    You may, yes. I encourage it! Be advised, however, that sending a record doesn't ensure coverage. But here's how it will go down, just so you'll know: after listening to your record, if I like what I've heard, you'll receive an email from us saying we like your record, which will follow with the phrase, "I want to interview you." If you are cool, then we'll talk and hopefully it will go well and then something will appear in the near future afterwards. Also, please be advised that I do write for other outlets, and we also have a myspace accounts, and our bulletins often promote and talk about awesome music. Did I just say "awesome?" Ugh.

    A note to publicists: if you want us to cover your records, then you need to be willing to respond to interview requests. Some of your clients are in demand, yes; some are on tour. But if you give us the runaround, it'll become obvious, and guess what? It causes problems. I am a patient person. I am a fair person. However, if your client or their label is paying you thousands of dollars to promote their record, do your job, and let those who are interested in your clients actually talk to them! That means that you should listen to publications that are interested in interviewing your client.

    Also, I must say that this practice of "working" a record for a small moment in time is absurd. A record is a work of art, it's not food, and it doesn't have a shelf life. Yes, I understand that there are campaigns for a certain amount of time, and I can appreciate that. But please, spare me the "the publicity campaign ended yesterday/last week" line, especially after two or more weeks of no response to my email. Because you're lying . Think I'm stupid? I've been in this business for well over a decade. I don't buy it. Lies like that are so unoriginal. Same with the "I sent you the record" when you didn't send the record—I've done this long enough to know when someone hasn't. Get organized!

    Bottom line: don't be weak.

    With all of this talk of being more exclusive, I take it you've gone rather highbrow?

    Why would you think that? We really love music here--all kinds of music. That's the only rule we have for our content. If it's good, we cover it. Surprisingly simple, no? We're not snobs. We have good taste. But mainly we just love music. We just hate all of the chaff around in this music world today, and, honestly, we're no longer interested in giving it any quarter.

    But it boils down to what Duke Ellington once said. "There are only two kinds of music. Good, and the other." We're interested in the good, regardless of what handy-dandy stupid-ass label or pigeonhole this music business happens to give it.

    So if you don't talk to us, you don't like us?

    No, not necessarily. It might mean that I haven't heard your record yet. But if we don't cover your music, don't fret. Your music might grow on me. I might respond to it differently at a later date. Or I might not. But don't feel bad; mine is just one opinion, and it shouldn't be considered an invalidation of your talent that we don't care for your record.

    What prompted all of this?

    Many reasons exist, so I'll try to be as general as possible about it. Music writing and musical tastes have become so polarized, so divisive, so boring. When it comes to music, being erudite doesn't really mean anything. It seems like people want their "indie" or their "punk" or their "rap" or their "experimental" or their "(insert meaningless musical genre title here)" and that's all they want and that's all they can fathom and that's all they can appreciate. You wouldn't spend your life saying "I'm only going to read poetry because poetry is the only thing I like, and anything that's not really poetry isn't very good," would you? That's a pretty stupid and narrow minded way to live, don't you think? So why would you want to be that way about music? It makes no sense to me. It really doesn't. So I decided it was time for us to simply remove all pretense and focus on what really matters most: the art. It is my hope that by allowing the artists to speak for themselves, it will prompt you, dear reader, into examining and discovering some truly talented and interesting artists, and it is our guarantee that we actually like the music we are covering. Period. That's all that matters to us, really.

    So what can I expect from Press Play and Record, then?



    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:59 AM   0 comments
    Submission FAQ
    Before you submit a record for consideration, you need to understand a few basic things:

    1. Please understand what we do. This is not a review site; as such, we do not publish album reviews. I only publish interviews. I only conduct interviews. This means that there is very limited space for content, and thus, I am extremely selective in what I cover. I don't care about genres; I only care about what moves me. Thus, everything that is published is published with the understanding that I like and support the artists. Let me reinforce this point: I only talk to people I like. Even though I don't write reviews, I'm also quite interested in talking to filmmakers and authors.

    2. If I request your record, you can pretty much guarantee that I plan on giving it some form of coverage. I'm not going to waste your time--and your money--asking for something I don't intend to cover. That's just wrong, and it cheats the artists out of money, even if it only appears to be a miniscule expense.

    3. If your record's been released, I like full artwork copies. I don't like Cd-R's of already released material. Besides, isn't an album a 'total package?'

    4. I like getting demos, but, honestly, I don't know how much I can do with them. Again, the policy above stands: if I like what you do, I'll be in touch with you. However, if you're merely in the demo-submitting phase, I can guarantee I probably won't be able to do anything with it. Also, please don't email me mp3's to check out. I don't have time for that, nor do I have time to personally respond to requests to rate or comment on your demos. Unless, of course, I like what I hear. Then...well, see point #1 for that.

    5. If I like your record, I will be in touch with you almost as soon as I decide I like your record. I will request an interview; if you wish for us to cover your record, it's in your best interest to actually respond to this request.

    6. Please do not ask me to interview you. That's simply crass. Plus, it makes me feel guilty if I don't like your music. Plus, it's bad form.

    7. As there are only 24 hours in a day, I do not have the time to answer every email request for consideration. If you submit your record, feel free to email me, but please understand that you might not hear back from me.

    8. If I don't like your record, I don't like your record. Nothing can change that. But please take this into consideration: mine is only one opinion. I have hated things that are well-loved, and I have loved things that are hated. My tastes are eclectic, and, really, do you need me to validate your existence?

    9. I like music. If I like your record, I'll want to talk to you. It's that simple, really. If I don't connect with your music, I don't connect with your music. What would we have to talk about?

    10. Submit away! I'm eager to hear what you've done. And keep on making music!


    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:47 AM   0 comments
    Contact Information
    Friday, December 1, 2006
    So, you'd like to send us something to consider, eh? Not a problem. MAKE SURE YOU READ OUR SUBMISSIONS FAQ BEFORE YOU DO. It will save us some time. Here's the place where you send your music.

    PPR Online
    PO Box 720
    Carthage, TX 75633

    Email Us!

    NOTICE: If you receive any information claiming a different mailing or email address, please DO NOT respond to it. Instead, email me about it ASAP, as the address on this page is the ONLY address to send materials to.


    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:40 AM   0 comments
    Meet The Staff
    Joseph Kyle is the editor and mastermind behind Mundane Sounds. Over the past decade, he has performed many duties, many of which are music related: record store clerk, booking agent, driver, writer, editor, interviewer, and handyman. He graduated from Texas Tech University in 1996, with a degree in History and a minor in English. His writing has appeared in such publications as Too Broke to Rock, Lois Is My Queen, Under the Volcano, Dagger, Pitchfork Media, Tiny Mix Tapes, and other publications that he's forgotten about! (He also feels weird about referring to himself in third person!) He's an affable fellow, one whose passion extends not only to music, but also to literature--want to win him over? Talk to him about F. Scott Fitzgerald and Henry Rollins. If you have questions for him, he's happy to answer them! He is also available for freelance writing opportunities. If you wish to talk to him about it, send him an email with the words "Writing Opportunites" in the subject. (Writing inquiries only, please.)


    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:39 AM   0 comments
    As you may notice, Press Play and Record does not carry advertising. We take pride in being a commercial-free website. The decision to do so has merits, but it also creates liabilities. We are a website, and we do have expenses, and though they may be minimal, they are still expenses that hinder us. To offset this, we have decided to offer underwriting spots. Your donation will help keep us alive and afloat, so that we can offer you commercial-free interviews and content.

    For those who donate, your name (and a link to your label, if you so desire) will appear on the index page under the title "Sponsored in Part By:" or something similar to that, for a period of one month or longer, depending upon the size of your donation. For every twenty dollars donated, your link will appear for one month's time. If you have questions or wish to make a donation, please contact me directly at:

    Thank you for supporting PPR and helping us stay ad-free!

    Joseph Kyle
    Editor, Press Play and Record


    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:31 AM  
    Previous Postings
    Vintage Interviews
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    All songs appearing here are done so either with permission or for sampling purposes only. Files appear here for a limited time only, so act fast! If you possess the copyright to anything posted here and wish to have it removed, please let us know and we shall do so. We're not wanting to cause problems, friends.
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