2006, Part Two

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“My Red Hot Car”
by Squarepusher
from Go Plastic

Cheesy garage and glitch-spinning jungle haven’t meshed better. Tom Jenkinson’s 2001 Go Plastic opus is all good, ear-turning fun, this single merely distils the party into a transmitter happy blast. Choruses referencing burning appendages as a mantra actually add value. To listen to this is to hear your brain cells popping with delight. They don’t play this on commercial radio, but they should – Thomas Lee

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Squarepusher - Go Plastic - My Red Hot Car

“Apt. A, Pt. 1”

In his book, “Brian Eno and the Vertical Color of Sound,” musicologist Eric Tamm describes music as a two-dimensional entity. The horizontal axis represents time and the vertical axis represents sound. He argues that we all too often think of music as only a linear progression through time, depending entirely on chord changes and melodic sequences. But the “vertical color of sound” is the instantaneous perception of a singular moment. Without the context of what comes before or after, the timbre becomes the dominant feature. Understanding this, cLOUDDEAD are able to concoct noises and aural atmospheres that can frighten, mystify and make surreal better than even the best chord progressions. “Apt. A, Pt. 1” is the most unsettling, otherworldly, and dizzying noise I’ve ever heard. It screams “you’ve left where you came from and it is very different here.” Their gorgeous, pastoral keyboard washes and seamless sampling rival not only Boards of Canada, but Brian Eno himself. The intricately harmonized rhymes of members Doseone and why? (a.k.a. Yoni Wolf) provide perfect absurdist non-sequiturs to accompany the music. Imagine Atmosphere rhyming over Music for Airports about a Max Ernst painting while hanging out on Neptune; this is the sound of “Apt. A, Pt. 1.” – Tyler James Agnew

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Clouddead - cLOUDDEAD - Apt. A (1)

“Die, All Right!”
by The Hives
from Veni Vidi Vicious

Hey! I’ve got a message and tonight I’m gonna send it,” howls Pelle Almqvist. Fagersta’s finest don’t say much substantial beyond the realm of bleak corporate generalizations here, but they enunciate stylishly and sharply enough to create something tangible. “Die, All Right!” cuts and scraps like Mick Jagger with the Stooges and Dirtbombs. Other lyrical bonuses from Pelle include “Yeah! I had a body and men with knives wanted to lend it” and a sardonic “I say thank you Mr. CEO.” It doesn’t matter when the background vocals produce a perfect “arggharrgghharrrghhaaarhghaargha,” and the instruments sound so taut yet unstudied. What began as a cut from 2000’s Veni Vidi Vicious resurfaced on 2001’s UK-conquering Your New Favourite Band compilation. It drawls and jumps as proof that some bands should be taken at face value. Date-ridden, purposely delusional, and undiluted. The superior party band. – Thomas Lee

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The Hives - Veni Vidi Vicious - Die, All Right!

“A Better Son/Daughter”
by Rilo Kiley
From The Execution of All Things

Only L.A.’s Rilo Kiley could sum up the fear, insecurity and angst of childhood in a four and 1⁄2 minute pop song. The band’s uncanny ability to craft tunes that capture the essence of lost innocence and the uncertainty that inevitably accompanies youthfulness never ceases to amaze me. Jenny Lewis’ whispered vocals, which soon give way to a militaristic drumbeat and reverb-laden guitar, build to a thrilling crescendo. By the time she’s belting “But the lows are so extreme/ That the good seems fucking cheap/ And it teases you for weeks in its absence,” I am enraptured. And that’s only two minutes in. Blake Sennett’s axe comes grinding in to propel the song into true pop bliss as Lewis ends the song on a positive note: “Your ship may be coming in/ You’re weak but not giving in.” With honesty like that, being young and awkward never felt so good. – Mars Simpson

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Rilo Kiley - The Execution of All Things - A Better Son/Daughter

“Used To”
by Wire
from Chairs Missing

Wire were never ones for direct, emotive screams of deep-seated anger, sadness, or even joy for that matter. And as such, “Used To” is not just one of Wire’s most subtle songs, melodically, but quite difficult to decipher, lyrically. Yet bubbling underneath Colin Newman’s detached, subdued delivery there is a raw nerve exposed, an unmistakably human feeling of emotional attachments to people and their memories: “Does the pain remain when the head is turned/And the body walks away you used to know/Does nausea ensue when you chance upon a memory of someone/you used to know?” And all the while the music plays a somber, ambient post-punk dirge, riding on a soothing, yet still fuzzy and distorted melody. I have several novels and screenplays swimming around in my head that involve the use of this song, and maybe one of these days, I’ll actually get around to writing one of them. – Jeff Terich

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