The 10 Best Things Right Now 

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Devin Therriault–You’re Mine EP
A month or so back, when everyone was going crazy over the not-half-bad, Jack White-approved, garage-punk stylings of Pujol at the CMJ Music Marathon, I distinctly remember thinking all that adulation would have been better directed at Devin Therriault, a local songwriter we featured in our “8 NYC Bands You Need to Hear” issue earlier this year. Now that he’s signed on with the venerable Frenchkiss Records, it seems likely he’ll get his fair share. Devin (who’s now dropped his tongue-twisting last name) is a remarkably deft purveyor of hook-laden garagey anthems, with a pronounced and refreshing willingness to play around with dynamics and unexpected song structures. His energy is boundless, and his charms, as both a performer and a songwriter, are seemingly effortless. The 3-song You’re Mine EP is out now, with a full-length scheduled for early next year.

Listen on Spotify or buy the vinyl here.

Neutral Milk Hotel Box Set
I’ve grown somewhat tired of the recent resurgence of Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum, intent as he seems to be on undoing a decade and a half worth of hard-won mystery and intrigue. But still, I’m certainly not going to deny the brilliance of his extremely limited musical output, and I’m certainly not going to act like I don’t want to own the new vinyl-only box set, which includes gatefold versions of both full-lengths (the underrated On Avery Island and the landmark In the Aeroplane Over the Sea), the 7-song Everything Is EP, the 8-song, previously unreleased Ferris Wheel on Fire EP, plus a couple 7”s, a picture disc and, of course, two posters. For less than $100, you can’t go wrong. Get it here.

Below, the studio version of the long-circulating "Oh Sister."

Smashing Pumpkins Reissue Gish and 
Siamese Dream
With the year coming to a close, there’s not a whole lot in the way of new music being released, but there’s no shortage of reissues to keep you busy (and poor). Among them are the first two Smashing Pumpkins albums, Gish and Siamese Dream, the latter of which I listened to the other day and am happy to report has held up better than basically anything else from the era, perhaps even including a certain other album that celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. For as dopey as Billy Corgan has been in recent years, it’s hard to think of another band that more perfectly combined the dreamy with the devastatingly hard-hitting. From the guitars and drums to, jeez, those vocals, they pulled off the quiet-loud thing with as much conviction as anyone, and far more nuance. There’s all sorts of extra stuff included in the deluxe editions, but I’ll stick with the straight-up, remastered vinyl versions.

Below, a particularly blistering performance of "Quiet" from Siamese Dream.

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Da Capo Best Music Writing 2011
Man, I just realized I’ve been buying this book for ten years now, which makes me a) old and b) a professional failure for never having been included. This year’s edition was edited by New Yorker critic and The Rest Is Noise author Alex Ross (alongside series editor Daphne Carr) and features writing on a an incredibly diverse range of music, by writers like Jessica Hopper, Ann Powers and Nitsuh Abebe. Selections from the book will be read at powerHouse Arena at 7pm on Tuesday, December 6th. I’ll be there, probably drunk and feeling terrible about myself. Come say hi! (More info on the book here.)

Bob Dylan–“Nobody ‘Cept You”
I don’t know, I’m sorry. I’m always freaking out about one Dylan song or another, and at the moment, it’s this one, an outtake from the Planet Waves sessions that’s better than pretty much everything on Planet Waves. There’s some really great, playful guitar work by Robbie Robertson, and while there’s no shortage of the clunky, predictable lyrics that pop up all over the rest of the album, there’s a particularly thrilling passage at the end when Dylan, voice slowly growing angrier and almost flustered, sings, “Everybody wants my attention, everybody got something to sell/Except you, yeah you/I’m in love
with you.”

Below, a not actually so great acoustic version from a 1974 tour. But really, you'll want to track down the version on The Bootleg Series Volume 1-3.

Record Store Day, Black Friday Edition
I’ve got to be honest: I’m not terribly excited about anything being released, but I still recommend you go spend some time and money at your local independent record store the day after Thanksgiving, while everyone else is out buying giant TVs at Best Buy or whatever. And, who am I kidding? I really want the Craig Finn 7”. And, sure, I could deal with a hand-numbered box set of four Dylan 7”s. And maybe the 40th anniversary edition of John Lennon’s Imagine.

And here's Craig Finn's debut as a solo artist, "Honolulu Blues," being released on Record Store Day.

Phil Cordell
“Red Lady”
I know almost nothing about Phil Cordell, a British musician who died in 2007 at the age of 59, but I do know that before he achieved considerable success in Germany when he released a super-weird instrumental album as Dan the Banjo Man, he released a more traditional 1969 solo album, the title-track from which is a delectable little slice of psych-pop called “Red Lady.” Track it down, then dive into Dan the Banjo Man.

"Red Lady"

And "Dan the Banjo Man"

Cloud Nothings
“No Future No Past”
I don’t know why, since their new photo features four distinct human beings, everyone still always talks about Cloud Nothings like it’s solely the work of Cleveland native Dylan Baldi, especially since “his” most recent output sounds very much like the work of a full band. Cloud Nothings recorded their new album, Attack on Memory (out January 24th) with Steve Albini, and opener “No Future No Past” offers a glimpse of a band that has left behind any signs of lo-fi, in favor of the direct and ruthless attack Albini is known for.

This Totally Failed Double Entendre on the New Rihanna Album
I haven’t been able to get all the way through Rihanna’s new album because I’m a fucking grown-up, but I will acknowledge that I did laugh out loud when I heard her sing the lines “Suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion” during “Cockiness (Love It),” because, like, yes, those two words do sort of sound like body parts one might want sucked or licked, but that shit still doesn’t make any sense at all.

The Ramones–“Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)”
Now would be a good time to start getting your Christmas music playlists in order, you know.

NB: I went to high school in Mineola, the town mentioned at the beginning of the video.

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