Monday, December 31, 2012

"The Ice Of Boston" - The Dismemberment Plan

Ah, the great indie novelty hit that wasn't. With funny, self-deprecating lyrics, catchy guitar work, a Gladys Knight & the Pips reference and a chorus just MADE to be sung-along too no matter how drunk you are, "The Ice Of Boston" would seem to have everything that you could ask for in a crossover holiday song. It's not surprising that The Ice Of Boston [EP] was the only thing that Interscope actually put out by the Dismemberment Plan before kicking them back to DeSoto - this was easily the most marketable song the Plan would make, despite Travis Morrison's oddly charming confessions mixed with out-and-out lyrical weirdness.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

On Warmer Music's Favorite Songs of 2012 [20-11]

Here's more good music. I mean like, awesome-ass songs. Hope you enjoy. (I also realize that I've been using a lot of baseball metaphors in some of these descriptions. I'm clearly in withdrawal, just go with it.)

See Songs 30-21

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On Warmer Music's Favorite Songs of 2012 [30-21]

Oh another year, another set of best-of lists. This year, having contributed to both PopMatters and Spectrum Culture (as well as their respective year-end list-making) I've been exposed to more music and forced to think harder than ever before about these rankings. Ignoring for the moment that this entire exercise is, in the grand, or even medium-term, scale of things, fairly insignificant, it's been a humbling experience.

You see, the more I listen to music, learn about music and write about music, the more I realize just how functionally infinite is the pool of recorded creativity and just how little of it any one person can hope to survey to even a cursory degree. With that in mind, my caveat for this year's lists of songs, albums and concerts is even more forceful. These aren't definitive (God knows I'd seriously revise last year's list now, given half the chance), they aren't exhaustive (you know how exhausting it was just to do this one?) and their very premise is riddled with holes, exceptions and other qualifiers.

But what kind of music snob would let quibbles such as those stand between them and a good arbitrary ranking? Not I, good people, not I.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

On Warmer Music's 10 Favorite Concerts of 2012

Radar Eyes At The Bottle Just Missed My List
But The Camera Didn't Miss Me
One thing about end of the year lists is that there's always this unrealistic patina of omniscient and impartial judgement about them. With the internet, it's now assumed that all music writers (most of whom, like me, do it for nothing more than the exposure and the cheap thrill of being able to spout their opinions publicly) have heard every album on the ever-increasing list of good or potentially good album released in a given year. Not only that, but that they've given each several hearings and formed utterly informed opinions. Not only is that impossible, but it's laughable. Music sites will aggregate their writers opinions, try to form a diverse, yet meaningful selection and yet still end missing much great music and over-hyping other, less-deserving music - it's the nature of the beast.

A nice feature of about live shows is that they're inherently finite. You can't see all the concerts, not even all the bands. Especially not if you want to know the music of the bands you are seeing. Plus there's surprise shows, booking conflicts, unexpected illnesses and any number of factors that make the live experience still something that cannot be truly duplicated or fully "shared" instantly to everyone around the world. 

With that in mind, I present my favorite concerts of 2012. Looking at this list, I'm immediately struck by the lack of hip-hop representation which I chalk up to a combination of my own bad planning combined the unfortunate tendency of hip-hop shows to be washed-out, bass and hype-men heavy messes that one can't fully get behind, no matter how much one REALLY wants to have an amazing show. Still, I'm lucky to live in a city with this much great music and I could have easily doubled this list without running out of amazing musical experiences that made my life better this year. Thanks to the musicians and my audience members for sharing these with me, it was really, really fun.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Christmas Party - On Warmer Music's Christmas Mix 2012

Christmas music is easily my most uncritically sentimental music of that year and God bless it for that. Christmas is the one time of the year that I still let myself go all out and try to recreate my childhood (unlike the rest of my generation which seems hell bent on recreating every aspect of their childhood in a bubbling nostalgia bath as soon and as often as possible).

Of course at the same time, so much Christmas music is produced with such insufferably cheeriness that it's, well, insufferable. God knows the holidays are just as much about disappointment, an inability to recreate the past and the passage of time as about blithe celebration. Hopefully this mix will succeed in balancing that hope and alongside songs about the imperfect reality that is more often our lot.