2013’s a strong branch on a stormy day – steadfastly bracing as the howl creates turbulent soundtrack. These 21 albums were my favorite from a year with shifting winds.
21. Dog Bite – Velvet Changes (Song: Prettiest Pills)
20. Ra-Grim – Alchemy EP (Song: Twilight)
19. Across Tundras – Electric Relics (Song: Seasick Serenade)
18. GRMLN – Empire (Song: Teenage Rhythm)
17. Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap (Song: Acid Rain)
16. Deerhunter – Monomania (Song: Back To The Middle)
15. Quasimoto – Yessir Whatever (Song: Seasons Change)
14. Eat Skull – III (Song: Space Academy)
13. Yo La Tengo – Fade (Song: Paddle Forward)
12. Toro Y Moi – Anything In Return (Song: Say That)
11. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (Song: Giorgio by Moroder)
10. Captain Murphy – Duality (Song: Mighty Morphin Foreskin)
9. Glass Candy – After Dark 2 (Song: Warm In the Winter)
8. Chelsea Moving Light – Chelsea Moving Light (Song: Lip)
7. The Men – New Moon (Song: Electric)
6. The Woolen Men – The Woolen Men (Song: Magic Tricks)
5. Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze (Song Shame Chamber)
4. Psychic Ills – One Track Mind (Song: FBI)
3. Cool Ghouls – Cool Ghouls (Song: Natural Life)
2. The Mantles – Long Enough to Leave (Song: Reason’s Run)
1. Ducktails – The Flower Lane (Song: Letter of Intent)
Yo La Tengo have released another new video off of their excellent 2013 album Fade. “Is That Enough” takes you through the complicated musical equation that gives you Yo La Tengo. I still don’t see how Marcy Playground fits in, but I guess I’ll just have to trust the math.
Recommended If You Like: 70’s AM, Advanced Calculus, Venn Diagrams
Episode 55 – Nothing Ever Stays The Same (Artwork – D.Hixon)
Episode 55, Nothing Ever Stays The Same, was put together in the Spring of 2013 with loads of nervous energy. Flying is my biggest fear, and in mere hours I’ll be on a transatlantic flight en route to Italy. I’m hoping the drugs knock me out, but if not, this Mix will have to suffice.
These are two of the many reasons why this band connects so deeply with me. Part of “Touring 101” is to be at your own merch table before and after shows, but a band of Yo La Tengo’s standing really doesn’t need to do this anymore – but there was Ira, kindly chatting with anyone who approached the table, including my bumbling self. I also don’t think it should be overlooked that Ira was at the record store before the show. This distinctly shows how much of a fan he still is, and that’s what I talked with him at the merch table about, the records we bought.
Yo La Tengo opened up for itself doing an acoustic set to kick off the night. The songs played were beautiful and spanned across their catalog, but I couldn’t help but pang for the grind and feedback of their electric set. It wasn’t until the night was over that I realized how perfect this set up the show though, and made me appreciate them as a band even more. Instruments were swapped, vocals were shared, and the restraint they showed in these acoustic arrangements were masterful. It’s easy to play loud and burly, but to be able to strip down songs as Yo La does is an art into itself. Then they plugged in….
The electric set was hair standing on your forearm good. Ira was in top form flailing the guitar above his head, behind his back, and against amps in a blitz of controlled abandon and feedback. He’s on my Mount Rushmore of guitar players and last night he was loud, raunchy, and just excellent as all hell. The highlight of the night for me was their version of “Pass The Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind” which I’ve posted a portion of below (WARNING: my crappy camera phone does it zero justice, but trust me, it was epic). James impressed me most here as he held steady the bassline with the patience and knowledge of a Zen Master, watching him groove to the incessant prodding of his bass was transcendent, and it was easy to get lost with him.
For the last song of the encore they played “The Whole Of The Law” which is a most appropriate Valentines Day tune, and was heart wrenchingly good. This really book-ended the night for me, and again impressed me with how easily they can go from hard to soft. And as the lights were lowered I missed my Valentine quite a bit, with Georgia standing without instrument at center stage, singing the loveliest love song with her Husband. A gorgeous end to a near perfect night. That’s it, that’s the law, that’s the whole of the law.
Visions of the Unexcused album art through the years.
To commemorate the first fifty episodes I’ve created a master mix containing songs played in podcasts over the past six years. It was a trip to dive down memory lane like this, and it was a fun challenge. There’s 51 tracks for the 51st Episode, which is a mosaic of where the Unexcused have been, and where they’re going. If someone asked me the type of music I listened to, I’d play them this mix. Here’s to Visions.
Episode 51 Intro (Episode 51 – 2013)
Let’s Wrestle – I Won’t Lie To You (Episode 10 – 2008)
Velvet Underground – White Light, White Heat (Episode 22 – 2009)
LCD Soundsystem – Drunk Girls (Episode 51 – 2013)
Joy Division – Disorder (Episode 15 – 2008)
Washed Out – Feel It All Around (Episode 21 – 2011)
DJ Shadow – Walkie Talkie (Episode 23 – 2009)
Cannibal Ox – Iron Galaxy (Episode 36 – 2010)
Porcelain Raft – Tip (Episode 42 – 2011)
Big Lebowski – Where’s the Money (Episode 23 – 2009)
Yo La Tengo – You Can Have It All (Episode 35 – 2010)
M83 – Kim and Jesse (Episode 21 – 2008)
U.N.K.L.E. – Hold My Hand (Episode 2 – 2007)
Queens of the Stone Age – Monsters in the Parasol (Episode 19 – 2008)
Big Lebowski – Bunch of Amateurs (Episode 23 – 2009)
Yo La Tengo – Fade, in available in stores and online now.
Life is ever moving. Not much is constant or consistent. Albums you listened to 10 years ago are different than Albums you’ll be listening to 10 years from now. Friendships change, people die, stores close, and bands break-up. Life is ever moving.
That said, there are those rare people, places, albums, and bands that seem to ride the same wave as you, and while change is constant, it’s done in the same gradient. I’ve been changing with Yo La Tengo since the mid-90’s and they’ve never let me down with a performance or release, and their latest, Fade, is no exception.
1. Charles Bukowski – Moxie
2. The White Sttripes – Black Math (Elephant – 2003)
3. Yo La Tengo – Tom Courtney (Tom Courtney – 1995)
4. The Beatles – One After 909 (Let It Be -1969)
5. Led Zeppline – That’s The Way (Led Zepplin III – 1970)
6. Charles Bukowski – Poetry Is Dumb
7. The Doors – Crystal Ship (The Doors – 1967)
8. Wilco – Jesus Etc. (Yankee Foxtrot Hotel – 2001)
9. Pavement – Stereo (Brighten The Corners – 1997)
10. The Stone Roses – I Am The Resurrection (I Am The Resurrection – 1992)
11. Nirvana – Where Did You Sleep Last Night(MTV Unplugged – 1993)
Well here we are, celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Visions of the Unexcused 2.0, and what a fun year it’s been. To commemorate this special day I’ve put something a little different together.
I’ve turned Visions regular audio podcast into a video podcast. It’s basically what MTV would look like if I were in charge. It’s the equivelent of a VHS mix tape passed down among friends. You’ll see some all-time best shows, all-time last performances, and videos mixed with an Unexcused twist.
Visions has served as a therapy for me. It originated in college at 90.9 WONY, and I taped all those shows. The biggest fan of these tape’s was my Mother. She would wear those magnetic tapes thin, and then start having conversations with me about Yo La Tengo and The Soft Boys. Unreal, and beyond cool.
Her love of life never ceased to amaze me. Three months before I rebooted Visions, she lost her battle with Cancer. It was a dark time for me. Her passing hit hard, and I found a phenomenal amount of solace in music, specifically via the process of putting these Episodes together. Her mark is throughout every podcast created, through and true.
Now I raise my glass to you, my Mother, and the everlasting Magic of Music. I know she’s listening from somewhere, and I’m honored that you’ve been compelled to do the same.