Thursday, December 29, 2011

Things the Intertoobs Taught Us in 2011

Most media outlets publish carefully cultivated best-of lists for the end of the year. Some take it very seriously and that’s fine. Journalists and other media types generally like to argue and debate so making best-of lists feeds that urge.

The Typing Monkey is not immune to such impulses but we simply don’t consume enough new material to effectively create some sort of all-knowing inventory of things we think matter in music, film, television or whatever else.

Like the average jerks we are, we just mess around on the Web and document the things we find that entertain us. Some of those things make it to the blog.

In the spirit of year-end wrap ups and the critic’s inflated sense of influence, here is the first (and possibly last) "Things the Intertoobs Taught Us"

A. Dd+
Dallas-based MCs Paris Pershun and Slim Gravy (!) slipped passed wider recognition. Too bad that, because they’re funny and smart, willing to lob lines such as “surprising everybody, reading a damn book” (“Likeamug”) in the midst of the kind of throwback boasting that workaday schmucks can actually visualize. On their March LP When Pigs Fly the duo was backed by wonderful soul-soaked production from Picnictyme. Grab the free download of their singles-collecting EP Loosies and thank A.Dd+ by paying for a copy of Pigs Fly.

CHRISTIAN MISTRESS Given the TMI offices are in Seattle we must apologize to this Olympia, WA quintet for not discovering their classic blues-based metal until this year. Singer Christine Davis may have started smoking in the 3rd grade in order to get that voice (tremble men, you can’t handle her). The rhythm section knows when to boogie, when to boom, and the clean, dual guitar leads muscle in right next to the Saxon patch on your denim. Get on this already, they’ve been at it since 2009.

“I’m In Your Church At Night” by ACTIVE CHILD Pat Grossi, the man behind the name, has released plenty of good music over the past year. This single came out in November 2010 but we didn’t find it until February of 2011 so we’re including it here because nothing else he’s done moves quite like this majestic, crystalline work of weirdo pop. Dig the video and it will all make odd, wintry sense – just lovely.

BELL WITCH A drum/bass duo from Seattle (again, where were we?) whose funeral-doom rumbles come with uncharacteristic peals of bright, cleansing light in the form of madrigal-like harmonies. The match makes perfect sense and the band gives the six-string bass guitar a home. Four dollars gets you their demo and that’s four bucks well-spent.

NYEMIAH $UPREME -- A Queens rapper whose mixtape Bad will probably draw comparisons to more mainstream/current peers but sounds more to us as if she's standing on the shoulders of MC Lyte and high-fiving Fannypack on her way up. There's a day-in-the-life narrative to Bad that actually works amid the sketches of beats, bass and police-procedural keyboards. Bad could come off as typical "because I'm worth it" aphorisms wrapped in party music. A deeper listen reveals an independent woman a little pissed off that too many men around her are there because they think they're worth it, and more, that she should agree.

“Mountaineer” by WHITE SEA The video for this single gets the teens-being-teens aspect right but missed an opportunity to craft the John Hughes homage that the song embodies. Soaring, tragic, self-aware, Morgan Kibby sings the lyric “it’s a teen dream” as if she’s trying to reassure a teary heroine, and the whole affair has you running back to give that sensitive rich kid another chance because maybe you two can make something of this after all. “Mountaineer” is pure Kate Bush-style drama with all the synthesizers and crashing drums to realize its grand ambitions.

Worth Following – We doubled up our coverage of SP-33 and XII Boar since we discovered both their free EPs on the same day. The former is Chicagoan Ezra Funkhouse, whose Escape the Carter smeared Lil Wayne vocals onto bleak synth grime from John Carpenter's soundtrack to Escape from New York. The latter is a stoner-metal quartet from England who managed to graft some hardcore fury and pumelling doom onto their resin-stained melodies.

Since then SP-33 has put out a woozy ambient mix and an original single titled "These Moments" both of which show Funkhouse deliberately branching out. Meanwhile, XII Boar promises a new release in 2012 and continue to play around the UK and the continent.

Reference material: We wouldn't know about three of these bands without regularly visiting the essential Cosmic Hearse blog. The Typing Monkey staff also spends a fair amount of time at RCRDLBL, Ill Roots, and enjoy mining for great rewards at Cover Me.