Jack Kerouac — The Complete Collection
See, here's the thing about this: A lot of people are already rolling their eyes at it, because a lot of people have, whether justified by their own legitimate "maturation" as readers or not, come to view Kerouac as a mere mistake one makes at some point right around the beginning of college. Though (here comes the insecure qua- lifying!) I'm far from a hardcore apologist for all things Beat-related, I maintain a soft spot for Kerouac and the weird batch of spoken word material he recorded in the late 50s. I'm partial to the stuff he read accompanied by Steve Allan on jazz piano. Kerouac's speaking voice is at once soothing and percussive, musical even as it generally leans toward the monotone. There's a lot to take in here—three albums plus a few unreleased interviews spread over two CDs—and while there's no shortage of the dopey stream-of-consciousness stuff everyone's always groaning about, it's strangely charming in this context. And if you pay close attention, you'll spot the sample from "Condition Oakland" by Jawbreaker.
Animal Collective — "Honeycomb"
I can't say that I understand more than, say, 15 percent of the lyrics on this song, one of two the band released so suddenly earlier this week, and there is of course a very good chance the other 85 percent is unbearably stupid, but my goodness, this just might be the most unhinged and joyous they've ever sounded. The meandering vocal melody is pure McCartney (especially in the chorus), and the accompanying electronics are bouncy and playful, boasting that dizzying quality they've mastered over the years—the one everyone's spent the better part of the past five years trying and failing to emulate. It's the sound of your night, or your life, being kicked into a different gear. Or, if not yours, then at least someone on an upcoming episode of Girls.
Best Coast — The Only Place
"Stoned girl grows up a little, records with Jon Brion and professes undying love for her home state while occasionally flashing a fondness for Fleetwood Mac and old-school country" is perhaps not the most interesting angle for a record (to be fair, it is pretty fucking close in my book), but it's of particular note this time, given that the artist in question, Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, has until this point in her career underutilized the considerable attributes of her voice. She pushes herself a little bit on The Only Place: her melodies are more intricate, and her presence in general is just bolder, more demanding of your attention. And though they're more varied than last time, her lyrics still verge on simplistic. It's an indictment that would be far more damning if she wasn't singing like her life depended on it.
Off! — Off!
It feels strange to talk about a "debut" album by a band that, in addition to featuring members of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Rocket From the Crypt and Redd Kross among others, has already released four EPs, but regardless: the punk rock veterans drop their first proper full-length, led by tracks like "Cracked" and "Wiped Out," which are exactly as snotty and angry as they needed to be for everything in the universe to continue making sense.
Silversun Pickups — "Skin Grapf"
The L.A. band is set to release its sophomore full-length, Neck of the Woods, a mostly crappy collection of songs that jump between standard 90s-ish shoegazey stuff and the electro flourishes of today. But, there's this one part during album opener "Skin Graph" that sounds exactly like the awesome freakout thing at the end of "Silverfuck" by Smashing Pumpkins.
Turing Machine — What is the Future of What
I don't know which drum parts on this album, Turing Machine's first in eight years, were recorded by Jerry Fuchs before his tragic death in 2009, but it certainly sounds like him at the very beginning of closer "Bovina 2/23/08." The fills and subtle changes to the beat are unpredictable, but they also provide a perfectly reliable foundation upon which everything else can build. If all dance-punk sounded like this, you'd probably listen to a lot more dance-punk.
Neil Young Autobiography Now Available for Preorder!
In the description of the book on its Amazon page, there's a quote from Neil Young that goes, "I felt that writing books fit me like a glove; I just started and I just kept going." This bodes well for the rest of us. Dude is gonna say so, so much crazy shit. And it's ok, you're not alone in especially looking forward to the inevitable part where he has to talk about grunge. It's not out till October, but go ahead… secure your copy now.
Beach House — Bloom
Klingman has this covered quite nicely in his review, so I will say only that this is the Platonic ideal of a Beach House album, all impossibly warm keyboards and weaving, majestic vocal melodies. See 'em at Bowery on 5/15, or wait till 7/23 when they're at Central Park.
Guns 'N Roses at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
I've held all sorts of grudges against these guys for much of my adult life (Team Nirvana 4ever), but they seemed like the most gracious, chill bunch of dudes ever during their acceptance speech. Perhaps the absence of their remarkably stupid and hateful frontman had something to do with it.
Kanye West Hates Khaki Cargo Shorts
He said so on Twitter.