We all know Danny Brown is the greatest, right? Yeah, he’s the greatest.

(Source: Spotify)

On Patrol #58: Rickshaw Pride

Download the latest episode of ON PATROL right now! Intern Will makes his triumphant return after a week away! Peter discusses Bob Dylan selling out, DMX vs. George Zimmerman, and more! Jenny from Nostril & Nostril is in-studio to advise Peter on suing a local restaurant for making his jacket smell bad! Peter and Will recreate tracks by My Bloody Valentine and Vampire Weekend! And finally, Peter’s very own Meditation Tape, performed live! Get it now!

Tonight! ON PATROL is live from 7-9 PM CST on WLFM! Tune in - we’ve got lots planned! Click through the picture to listen! You know you wanna!

Tonight! ON PATROL is live from 7-9 PM CST on WLFM! Tune in - we’ve got lots planned! Click through the picture to listen! You know you wanna!

good for him

good for him

Did I win?

Did I win?

On Patrol #57: Keys

Download the latest episode of ON PATROL right now! It’s a winner! MORGAN ANN GRAY, ISABELLE SKOOG, and ELIZABETH VIDULICH are in-studio to talk about bang reception, Cate Blanchett’s performance in Indiana Jones 4, and “Cowabunga Tut!” Peter discusses a Super Toilet experience at a fancy restaurant! Intern Will is out, so Intern Willa takes his place! Robert DeNiro phones it in! Peanut M&M troubles! And more! Download it now!

Tonight! ON PATROL is live from 7-9 PM CST on WLFM! In-studio guests, music, talk, and madness! Be there or be square! Click through the picture to listen!

Tonight! ON PATROL is live from 7-9 PM CST on WLFM! In-studio guests, music, talk, and madness! Be there or be square! Click through the picture to listen!

On Patrol #56: Mandatory Pulp

ON PATROL is back and better than ever: new year, new show! It’s a jam-packed first episode back! LUCC President-Elect JACK CANFIELD is in-studio to talk about his recent Broken Tooth Scandal, seeing Andre 3000 in a straw hat at the mall, and expecting to be harassed by Peter! Intern Will and Peter countdown their top albums of 2013, and a heated discussion of My Bloody Valentine ensues! Talk of Daft Punk helmet hugs, slavery being the worst thing, and more! A call from the American Embassy in India, who want to know if Peter has been eaten by a elephant! Download it now, and revel in the return!

Guys, after six months off the air (due to my time in India), ON PATROL is finally back tonight from 7-9 PM CST. It’s been a while, but I’ve got a feeling the magic is still there. So tune in to WLFM for music, talk, fun, and more! Tonight! Click through the picture to listen!

Guys, after six months off the air (due to my time in India), ON PATROL is finally back tonight from 7-9 PM CST. It’s been a while, but I’ve got a feeling the magic is still there. So tune in to WLFM for music, talk, fun, and more! Tonight! Click through the picture to listen!

watched this helpful video tonight

My dad sent me this news story as a PDF.

My dad sent me this news story as a PDF.

Picture of Will that I drew, and the original photo.

  

TOP 25 ALBUMS OF 2013

So we’ve reached the end of another year, and it’s time to countdown the top albums from 2013. It’s been a great year for music, and we’ll be paying homage to one album per day until all twenty-five have gotten their say. Enjoy!

1. Yeezus - Kanye West

If there was ever a question of whether or not Kanye West was the King of Modern Music,Yeezus put that question to rest. The haters are always going to hate, and that’s something Kanye’s known since the beginning, but with Yeezus, he turned the tables - he took everything that we thought we knew about him and pop music in general, and tossed it out. Yeezus is, without a doubt, Kanye’s masterpiece - I still might argue that Late Registration is the better album, but it get nowhere close to what Yeezus accomplishes. It’s a political statement, it’s a character study, it’s a journey, it’s a prophecy, and it’s about a million other things. And even if you hate what West is about, you have to admit that Yeezus puts him in the position to be the reigning artistic genius of our time.

Let’s start with what we know: Kanye’s career has been full of pivots, taking him from the slacker-rap mentality of The College Dropout, the declarative statement that was Late Registration, the pop-busting chart-topper Graduation - and then things got a little weird. With the advent of 808s & Heartbreak, it was clear that West was more than just a rapper - he was something deeply conflicted, trying to communicate things that maybe he could have in a better way, but certainly couldn’t live without communicating. Like all great geniuses (and yeah, I’m going to use that word), he can be an absolute asshole sometimes. But I’m tired of defending West, because the truth of the matter is that if you don’t like him now, you’re never going to like him. But just as Steve Jobs defined a generation of personal computers, West is defining a generation of music. That’s a comparison that West makes himself, and it’s apt. He can be downright ruthless, switch positions at any moment, fall apart at the blink of an eye, and create art that is so striking and powerful we can’t turn away from it.

But back to 808s: if there was a turning point for West, it was certainly that album. That was the album, and it’s an album that I don’t listen to much, that showed that West was more than a rapper: he was an artist, a tragic comic, a monster, and a mercenary. If there was ever a moment to doubt his stability in the music scene, it was 808s. Then, after crash Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech and dissing the president (or whatever) he returned with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: his personal statment - I am fucked up, I am honest, and I am torn up inside. And most of all, I am sorry. It was a sprawling album, that took nearly everything we knew about West and compressed it into a listenable form, packed with guests, packed with verses, packed with samples. It seemed to good to be true.

Enter Yeezus. Listening to Yeezus almost makes it impossible to listen to MBDTF. It makes it seem like a joke, like a statement against everything West stands for. Just in the way that Random Access Memories took the monster Daft Punk had made and turned it on its head, Yeezus takes sample-based, guest-packed, long-form MBDTF and says, “Fuck it.” West is angry on Yeezus - he’s angrier than he’s ever been. And yet he’s also the most honest, most forthcoming, and most creatively innovative: listen to those opening moments of “On Sight” and you know that something has changed. “How much do I not give a fuck? Lemme show you right now before you give it up,” he raps on that opening track, before bursting into a choral sample: “He’ll give us what we need/It may not be what we want.” West will give us what we need. Yeezus might not be what people wanted, but it sure as shit is what we need. 

There are so many moments on Yeezus to talk about and discuss, from the sex-infused “I’m In It,” with the no famous “Put my fist in her like a civil rights sign” line - it’s a sex song, but not like other songs: it’s fucking disgusting. Then there’s the angry public service announcement of “New Slaves” - “Fuck you and your Hampton house/I fucked your Hampton spouse/Came on her Hampton blouse” - West is literally screaming at this point. A lot has been made of the screamo aspects of Yeezus, but for me it works perfectly - it’s an horrific, honest expression of an artist who is so corrupted and convoluted inside that the only way he can get it out of him is by screaming.

Yeezus is something more, though. As much as people don’t want to admit it, I think we all see a little bit of ourselves in West. The insecurity, the sadness, the angry, the search for greatness - West is the ego and the id in all of us, and it makes Yeezus utterly relatable. People can laugh at “Bound 2,” but you can’t laugh at the idea of wanting to meet someone and fall in love - “after all these long ass verses/I’m tired, you tired, Jesus wept.” It has been a long road, and it’s going to keep getting longer. Yeezus takes the thing in all of us that’s fighting to get out and forces it into the limelight. There’s no album art for Yeezus - here, everything is completely naked. You don’t have to like what he’s saying, but you do have to respect him for saying it. Either way, for me, I love it. I love every bit of it. It’s an genius, sparse, charged record with so much detail that it’s almost an honor to listen to it. Haters gonna hate.

  

TOP 25 ALBUMS OF 2013

So we’ve reached the end of another year, and it’s time to countdown the top albums from 2013. It’s been a great year for music, and we’ll be paying homage to one album per day until all twenty-five have gotten their say. Enjoy!

2. Wondrous Bughouse - Youth Lagoon

If you were a fan of Youth Lagoon’s debut album, The Year of Hibernation, you probably had a pretty good idea of what Wondrous Bughouse was going to sound like, and maybe Trevor Powers knew that too. There was a certain amount of limitation to that album: for all its brilliance, it couldn’t necessarily get out of the bedroom, or out of hibernation, for lack of a better term. Songs like “Seventeen” still remain my favorite amongst Youth Lagoon’s catalogue, but making sleepy, sad, bedroom pop was only apparently phase one for Powers, and that’s what makes Wondrous Bughouse so majestic and makes Powers truly a great artist. From the opening moments of the first single “Dropla,” you knew that something was bursting to get out of Powers and out of that bedroom - and into the goddamn stratosphere. That’s the thing about Wondrous Bughouse: it doesn’t really exist in our universe, or maybe any universe at all. Those tonal notes in the introduction “Through Mind and Back” tell you about all you need to know: this album is somewhere in-between sleep and death, darkness and light, dream and nightmare, our realm and another. Those notes set up the entire album and tell you what’s in store: you’ve got to close your eyes, leave your body, and enter into something else.

As far as immersive listening experience, Wondrous Bughouse is the pinnacle of satsfaction. I could alone listen to “Through Mind and Back” over and over again, but when paired with the incredible, monstrous “Mute,” its an anomaly. It moves in and out of consciousness and sections - at about one minute it veers off into a terrifying piano riff where Powers’ vocals come surging in: “As I hear the horses drawing close/over all the corpses we have lost/I’ll never see them, I’ll never see them…” It’s moments like this that give me chills no matter how many times I hear them, and it enters into the pantheon of awe-inspiring tracks that relish in their gravity. “Mute” is, without a doubt, one of the best tracks of 2013, and one of the best tracks Powers has ever recorded. And that’s only the start of the album.

Wondrous Bughouse is creepy and scary and loving and warm and cold and so much of everything that it’s hard to even describe. Powers’ pairing with amazing producer Ben Allen here makes for a sonically brilliant record, one that opens up and offers more the harder you listen. Tracks like “Raspberry Cane” and “Sleep Paralysis” stand out, but really it’s about the whole experience: the tortured trip through death and life, and quite literally, through the mind and back. It isn’t until those final moments of “Daisyphobia” that you seem to realize that it’s all going to end: “Lord knows we’re all mortals on the run/God you’ve seen what I’ve done…” before entering into a swirling exit that sometimes spins out of focus but never for too long to let you off the hook. Wondrous Bughouse is an astonishment in that sense, and the album that solidifies Youth Lagoon as one of the best working bands today. It’s almost a wonder that feelings like this can come out of speakers.

  

TOP 25 ALBUMS OF 2013

So we’ve reached the end of another year, and it’s time to countdown the top albums from 2013. It’s been a great year for music, and we’ll be paying homage to one album per day until all twenty-five have gotten their say. Enjoy!

3. Drifters/Love Is The Devil - Dirty Beaches

It took me so long to review Drifters/Love Is The Devil, the new album by Alex Hungtai, under the monkier Dirty Beaches, because I’m deeply afraid of this album. I was a fan of Badlands, and a couple of singles he’d put out over the years, but you couldn’t really prepare yourself for his most recent record, which pulls you deeper into his psyche and your own more than maybe either one of us is comfortable with. Hungtai has expressed that Badlands was more of a character he was portraying than his actual self, and that maybe makes sense now: a badass in a leather jacket, where songs like “Sweet 17” and “True Blue” take the Suicide model and apply it to that loner, don’t-give-a-fuck mentality that places Hungtai as a rebel without a cause. And so, really, the only connective tissue between Badlands and this new double album is the lo-fi, Suicide-esque sound, but other than that you can’t really draw much comparison. Badlands was, in a lot of ways, a photo of a persona - Drifters/Love Is The Devil is a photo of a person. And it’s an incredibly hard photo to look at. 

The double album is split in half, one collection being songs that primarily feature Hungtai’s voice, and the other instrumental. The former, Drifters, presents an angry, desperate, rogue agent - one version of the world-traveling Hungtai, who’s set up shop in numerous countries over his years, thus the Drifters title. It’s a mad record, starting with “Night Walk,” which finds him pounding down the streets, followed by a favorite of mine, “I Dream In Neon,” with a beat that won’t quit but a punishing lyrical force that wants to quit. But really, the focal point of this first half comes in the form of “Mirage Hall,” a nearly ten-minute long trek through the darkness - the first five minutes bore into your brain relentlessly, before Hungtai begins screaming into the microphone with more intensity than anything else this year: numerous languages, his voice hoarse from screaming - you can literally see him pouring over the microphone. It’s hard to listen to, and doesn’t really quit: even in the end when things break down, they seem to go on into infinity.

The second half, however, is the one that I find myself returning to time and again: sure, “I Dream In Neon” and “ELLI” are technically “better songs, but Love Is The Devil is the half that you can’t turn away from, the inner struggle, the heartbreak, the intense loneliness - it’s incredible. Not since The Antlers’ Hospice have I found myself unable to listen to an album because I know it won’t be good for my mental health. When Hungtai first released the title track, the response was mixed. He responded by saying that while he was recording that track, he was punching himself in the face, screaming and crying. You can imagine it. It’s such an intensely powerful and emotional track, and I find myself nearly doing the same, and I don’t even know why. The real gem here, though, and maybe the best song of the year, is “Alone At The Danube River,” the other side of the coin to “Mirage Hall,” and the one I find myself playing endlessly, repeating it even when I can’t take it anymore. The haunting guitar riff, that almost seems to emit from the guitar against the instrument’s will - an epic seven minute ode to loneliness and isolation and every other deer emotion that Hungtai is feeling in that moment. It’s so beautiful, so moving, and so epic that it’s hard not to think of it as a defining statement. For all that Drifters/Love Is The Devil is, it’s not shy. It’s painfully honest, to the point where I can’t even listen to it.