LxListening: Recent Obsessions

LxListening: run the jewels, tv on the radio, death grips, earl sweatshirt, pulp
It happens to us all. Generally there are always a few albums at a time that are on heavy rotation for me, but every now and then, my attention span can’t reach outside a few tracks that I am obsessing over at the time. This past week has certainly been one, that for whatever reason, a few select tracks have reigned paramount out of my library than all others. For some this has been the case for a while. Others are brand new. But no matter the case, this is what I have been recently obsessed with.

TV On The Radio – “Million Miles”

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LxListening: Rainy Road Trips

rain on the windshield

As a last minute road trip from Chicago to PA happened upon a friend and I yesterday, it gave me ample time for some good listening this week. What was also fun was playing some tracks for my friend, and hearing her reaction and preferences to them. Here were some of my and her favorites from a pool of some recent releases that also helped fit the mood of a rainy day on the road.

Baths – “Miasma Sky”

Baths’ bright tunes and dark lyrical undertones were the perfect combination for a rainy, but fun 6+ hour drive.
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LxListening: Rapid Fire Album Reviews

charlie xcx, baths, ghost face killah, savages, deerhunter, new album, review, new music, 2013

With the barrage of great music 2013 has offered up thus far, we at LxL are struggling to keep up with everything we feel we should be touching on. Enter our first mid-week entry of LxListening, and a new concept behind it: Rapid Fire Album Reviews. Granted, all of the albums listed below should be warranted their own full review, but three men at one post a day can only accomplish so much. So here we are in an effort to try and not let some of this springs most dominant releases slip through the cracks. If you haven’t already heard these, I urge you to give the following albums a listen:


Savages – Silence Yourself
Savages, album cover, Silence Yourself
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LxListening: Punks These Days

Punks Not Dead, punk no dead

Some think that punk music is dead, but I tend to disagree. Post punk, garage-punk, grunge-punk, pop-punk, noise-punk; whatever you want to call it, the roots are still the same. Recently I’ve noticed a surge of great punk-rooted music popping up, and I love it. I’ve also noticed punk taking on some different forms lately. Some fuse other genres, some stick with straight bar chords and screaming, and some go the Clash route where they combine punk sounds with intellectual thought and social rebellion. Whatever your flavor, here are some of my favorite punk-ish tracks that have been on heavy rotation for me as of lately:
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LxListening: The Win from the Willow

Willow Smith, Radiohead, samples, sampling

Last week brought about one of the more peculiar, but interesting pairings I have heard in terms of artist sampling. 12 year old Willow Smith (famous for her 2010 single “Whip My Hair” and also for being the daughter of the GREATEST actor alive, Will Smith) dropped her new single which samples Radiohead’s bleak but beautiful tune “Codex”, from their King of Limbs album. That’s right; Willow shocked everyone, from her tween fans to Radiohead geeks far and wide, with her song, “Sugar and Spice”. The kicker is, it is actually not a bad song! Musically, it is just “Codex” in its entirety. Lyrically, it’s a surprisingly long and very emotional song written by a 12 year old. Willow went from having one of the biggest pop singles in the world, drawing in a fan base of millions of tweens by being bouncy, loud, and hilarious, to dropping a melancholic introspective of an emotionally wrecked teenager set to the music of a band unknown to most kids her age. This is not only an incredibly ballsy move, but at its core value, a brilliant song for a young girl to put together.

Despite what the trolls of YouTube may say, this is not a “travesty” or a “misuse of Radiohead”; rather a young girl who was inspired by a great band and released a raw and poignant song about her struggles. You may not agree with this statement, but if more people in the music industry took chances like Willow has, the industry might be worth a bit more of a damn these days. But I digress; I was inspired to listen to many other Radiohead samples this week, in search of what makes these samples more socially acceptable than Willow’s. The answer? Nothing, really. It’s merely the fact that she is only 12, which apparently makes her inexperienced and unqualified to turn an existing song into her own original piece of art, which everyone else is doing these days. I could talk about this forever, but I will just list what I have been listening to lately … a bunch of songs that sample Radiohead, including Willow’s.

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LxListening: All That Jazz

Derby's, Jazz, smokey

For some, jazz music is merely a cacophony of nonsensical noise. To others, it is heaven by way of music. Not that I have ever felt the former, but the more I listen to jazz and make it my own, the closer I get to aligning myself with the latter. Jazz is ambiguous and spontaneous. Jazz can be incredibly happy, or it can be devastatingly depressing. It has the ability to take so many different forms, and sometimes many forms in a single song.  It doesn’t necessarily follow the usual structures or progressions. Sometimes it doesn’t follow any progressions. It doesn’t play by the rules in that sense. I especially love when jazz is fused into other genres of music, but for this list, I am going to stick with some of my favorites of the basics. One college spring break on a long, late night drive, Wes and I began a tradition of late night jazz sessions on road trips. As of recent, I’ve found myself doing it more and more often myself. Last Monday, I had a nice three-hour stretch of road in which I let some of my favorite jazz artists drive their airy, spastic, beautiful notes straight into my skull and enrich my soul. Here are some highlights from that jazz session.
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LxListening: The Man With The Iron Trax

The Man With The Iron Fists, kung fu, rza, russell
crowe, movie, quentin tarantino Two weeks from today will
mark the glorious directorial debut of Wu-Tangs one and only RZA.
November 2nd, we will be hit hard by one of the most over the top
kung fu movies to be released in the US in many years,
The Man With the Iron Fists. Produced by
Quentin Tarantino and written by Eli Roth and RZA, it has an
instant draw if not only marked purely by curiosity. As over the
top as it comes off in the trailer, I can only imagine how
ridiculously awesome the entire hour and a half will be. Although
RZA is certainly no stranger to the film world, this is the first
time he has written or directed anything. The fact that it was
co-written by Eli Roth ensures maximum blood and gore. It should be
a real eye gauger. Perhaps the biggest bonus you get with having
RZA so heavily involved with a movie is that you are graced with a
killer soundtrack, and judging by the album’s full track list that
is exactly what we have here:

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