I love the bitter record store clerk

James Murphy, of the late great LCD Soundsystem, talks in the clip above about what he calls “taste engines.” He says that the one thing taste engines don’t have (and it is to their detriment) is the “superior, defeatist attitude” of the Record Store Clerk. He’s bagging on Pandora.

I don’t think I’ve used Pandora but three times in the last year, despite paying my $40 Premium Membership Fee. It’s good for the 4th of July parties. It’s good for Thanksgiving. It’s good for hanging Christmas decorations. But beyond that, I’m more likely to listen to Rocky’s suggestions. And I’ve benefited from it.

Last Fall, I really got into the kind of stuff Murphy writes and plays. Pandora was not helpful at all when looking for comparable tunes. Indieshuffle was. Blogs were. I had to rely on people – actual people – to point me to the next thing in the logic line. I hope that’s part of what ClapTrack does for those of you who have found us.

Today, I went to a record store that has intimidated me since my youth. I grabbed (on vinyl) a used, pristine copy of The Police’s “Zenyattà Mondatta“, the new Decemberist’s album (#wealwayshavethedecemberists), and LCD Soundsystem’s “Sound of Silver.” While one clerk checked me out, the other disdainfully pointed to the LCD vinyl, and said: “Fuck, I love that record. I’m so glad we finally got it in.”

Here’s to you, Mr. Murphy. The bitter record store clerk fucking loves you.

Release Roundup 004

Rocky: Okay, Lone Bellow is straight doin’ work on this new album. Doin’. Work.

I feared they would get clever and lose sight of what made their debut so great, namely vocal harmonies and soulful arrangements. Nope. They’ve doubled down and it’s super, super good. You listened to this yet? I mean, I know you’re all broken up over Jamie Cullum’s new dud, so have you got up off your couch yet (and should I call an album a “dud” if I’ve never heard it?)

Landon:  Yes, it’s a dud. Poor guy had such potential, too. I really thought he was going to be the second coming of Harry Connick, Jr. Instead, he must have started getting gigs at casinos, and resorted to pandering to the lounge lizards. Oh, well. We always have The Decemberists. #catchphrasefortherestof2015

The Lone Bellow is solid. Absolutely. And they did double down, which is why I am not as stoked as you are. After I pimped their vid for “Two Sides of Lonely” a couple years ago, I was not as enthralled when the full album was released. Too much dense soul for me. But their musicality cannot – CAN. NOT. – be denied. They are going to be a round for a long, long, time.

I’ve already added The Punch Brothers’ “The Phosphorescent Blues” to my Albums of 2015 list.

It’s as good as I want it to be, but I admit I almost skipped the first track. TEN MINUTES! I had to remember that they are doing chamber bluegrass and judge accordingly, but that was not what I needed on my way into work this AM.

Best single of the week? “Black Sun” by Death Cab for Cutie.

Rocky: I see you your Death Cab and raise you The Mountain Goats, which I posted yesterday and which sent spasms of anticipation through my cochlea.

Before I played The Lone Bellow I played the new Dodos album, which I pumped up earlier this month. That album’s lead track is only four minutes shorter than The Punch Brothers.

The Dodos have one guitar and a drum kit, and they max out on those two instruments. About halfway through “Individ” I’m satisfied that they’re back in “Time To Die” form, and I’m happy. I’m on my second time through it now. They’ve always made the most of melody and relied less on harmonics. It’s a crisp, clear sound.

Next up is “Second Sight,” the full album by Hey Rosetta! that was released in their native Canada back in October but only today in the US, via ATO Records. I posted “Soft Offering for The Oft Suffering” earlier, and I’ve been listening to it regularly. I just love their sound, and that’s the best song title you’ll hear. Ever. I’m off to lunch now. Have you played this album yet?