Subscribe: Stoplight Sleep
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
album  band  didn make  didn  hot chip  list  love  made list  made  make list  make  music  new  time  track  xiu 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Stoplight Sleep

Stoplight Sleep

There's too much life to sleep it away.

Updated: 2018-03-06T16:14:51.363-08:00


10 More 2011


About a month ago, picked my 10 favs of 2011 for The Elliot Potter Show with Jason Brown. I told him at the time that I could have picked 10 totally different albums and been happy with my list. Here are those 10.Tim Hecker Ravedeath, 1972Why it didn't make the list: I really have no excuse.Why it should have made the list: This is probably the greatest non-guitar, non-beat-driven instrumental album I've ever heard. If I start a drone project in 2012, this album will be why.EMA Past Life Martyred SaintsWhy it didn't make the list: Again, I really have no excuse. Other than I had to leave off something.Why it should have made the list: Past Life is full of emotionally piercing, sincere, relateable lyrics and subtle but powerful production.Big Black Delta BBDLP1Why it didn't make the list: Some of the tracks came out in 2010 on BBDEP.Why it should have made the list: It's a great mix of post-modern big beat ballads and huge dance tracks.WILD FLAG Wild FlagWhy it didn't make the list: Probably because there's not enough diversity on the album to make it stand out among the plurality of my taste.Why it should have made the list: The album features the best straight-up guitar work and production of the year.Radiohead Live from the BasementWhy it didn't make the list: The King of Limbs underwhelmed me until I saw this show (soon to be DVD) and their performance on Colbert. Radiohead is one of the few bands that can take brilliance in the studio and somehow make it even better live.Why it should have made the list: It's creative, moody, blah blah. They're the greatest band of the last 20 years.The Pains of Being Pure At Heart BelongWhy it didn't make the list: It's derivative. Rock albums featuring heavy guitars were popular this year (Ume, Joy Formidable), so it's hard to pick one.Why it should have made the list: Pains took their SmithsXXBelle&Sebastian and mixed it with heavy early 90s guitar for the shoegazey-ist pop hooks this side of Ride.The Antlers and friends (together)Why it didn't make the list: I hadn't heard it yet, but it kinda did. Burst Apart was my number 2.Why it should have made the list: This re-imagining of their album may be better than the original.Phantogram NightlifeWhy it didn't make the list: I hadn't heard it yet.Why it should have made the list: Their debut was great. This EP is bigger/better. Can't wait for what they do next. Oneohtrix Point Never ReplicaWhy it didn't make the list: I hadn't heard it yet. And I'm upset about that.Why it should have made the list: This was album Gang Gang Dance instead, but Oneohtrix gets it for being a bit more concise. [...]

Mainfinger Remixes Scott Pilgrim!



Several months ago, I planned to do a podcast commentary with some friends for the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World DVD. Those plans fell through, but I did come away with a sweet, "overclocked" remix of "Threshhold" from video-game enthusiast and electronic artist Mainfinger. Now it's my ringtone!


Their Entire Catalog


Amidst recovering from a long, hazy weekend full of pizza and sugar and C2H5OH, I rediscovered Hail to the Thief, the only of Radiohead's four full-length releases (Yes, Com Lag, the In Rainbows b-sides, etc. are all good as well.) over the past decade that I wouldn't have previously labeled "a classic." I'm not sure why, but I'd never really fully understood the album, however enjoyable and punctuated with genius moments, specifically the shift in "2 + 2 = 5" and the opening riff of "There There." I'm not sure if it was the post-bender glaze of a Monday-morning commute or the new lens I see all music through as I age and become a more knowledgeable musician myself, but for the maybe the first time ever, I completely consumed and absorbed and swam through the clicks and sighs and breathes of HttT. My recent discovery of their "secret playlist" hasn't hurt my renewed enthusiasm for the band in general either.Radiohead is a band that have become so ubiquitous in the minds of anyone with even the slightest interest in music that it's hard to say much about them. Whether ambitious young musicians are referencing influences or Kid Rock is trying to carve out his cultural significance, the band cannot be ignored when analyzing the first decade of the 21st century. Kid A was a kind of wake-up call to labels and bands and whoever else cared that a bar had been set, and (along with Nine Inch Nails and a few others) In Rainbows recalibrated the distribution dial. So it's fitting that this decade, still fresh in every way, will see Radiohead's newest effort released this weekend. You can pre-order now.Everyone: take note.[...]

The Kills - Keep On Your Mean Side


Remember, if you can, Dear Reader, the first time you heard that one album. That one time it took only the first few seconds for you to fall in love? A love so deep and painful that the only way you could express it would be to rip your skin off with pliers or at least bloody your hand on some rusty guitar strings.

Maybe you've never had this experience, Dear Reader. In that case, I mourn for you. You've never had your Keep On Your Mean Side.

2003: It was a late night after a few rounds at the bar. Maybe we'd stopped at a gas station for cigarettes or beer or both. Maybe we'd been playing pool or talking poetry. I don't recall. For the first and only time, I sat in the spacious, thrift-furnitured living room of the house he shared with some roommate or three. As usual, we talked music with semi-automatics, blasting names and songs and labels back and forth with sharp precision.

At some point, he changed the record and then . . .

. . . the faint, lo-fi clicks of some rescued beat box rolling around my skull. Then—

—that guitar. That. Guitar. Like a hobble-legged demon growling from down the hall. "I will rip you." Just three notes and lots of space, but that was enough. And always will be. Forever.

There was that voice, too. The demon's ghostly familiar. But it really only took that 10 seconds—not too change my life, for sure—to change everything I ever thought music and bands and rock and energy and love and lust and cool could be.


title="YouTube video player" width="400" height="325" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

Best of 2010: The Canada Connection


Last year, Spoon and Joanna Newsom (among others) received heaps of praise for albums that—at least when compared to their previous work—were pedestrian, uninspiring, and, well, boring. Meanwhile, Broken Social Scene released yet another masterpiece, Forgiveness Rock Record. How this band isn't on the tip of everyone's tongue, I'll never understand.

Perhaps I could write their lack of overwhelming success of to being Canadian, but who isn't (or doesn't want to be) these days. SS is, however, convinced that the under-appreciation of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World was partially due to it's "tragically Canadian sensibility." Not only did an older BSS track appear on the soundtrack, but members Kevin Drew and Emily Haines also contributed original songs to the movie.

Scott Pilgrim has birthed no fewer than 3 albums at this point: the film's OST, the videogame's score (by Anamanaguchi), and the film's score, primarily composed by famed producer Nigel Godrich. Every minute of SP-related music is worth your time, but "Threshhold" and "Garbage Truck," written by Godrich and Beck, and performed on the soundtrack by the cast (as Sex Bob-omb), are two of SS's favorites.

Beck also collaborated with Black Moth Super Rainbow's Tom Fec on one of his TOBACCO releases, Maniac Meat. On a few songs, Beck adds his "It's in the Becktionary" hip-hoppish lyrics to Fec's fuzzy beats and mosquito vocals. SS is a sucker for fuzz . . .
But we think you should give it a shot anyway.

Watch videos from Forgiveness Rock Record on Broken Social Scene's site. (And say that 5 times fast.)

src="" width="400" height="225" frameborder="0">

Tobacco - Grape Aerosmith (feat. Beck) Official Video from Allen Cordell on Vimeo.

As always, if you like something: buy it!

Best of 2010: A Perfect Pair


Seems like we only pop up when it's time to look back at some unit of time. Well, let's jump into it regardless. To start off our look back at the year, taste these succulent appetizers.

"USA Boys" by Health

When Health released "Die Slow" before their second album, the reaction was instant adoration, but when the rest of Get Color was less poppy overall, the feedback was mixed. In one interview, the band reported that fans had asked them to do more like "Die Slow." Enter their second remix album and the opening track, the brand-new single, "USA Boys." Although it's the most upbeat track of their originals, it still contains the band's trademark delayed ring modulation, subdued vocals, and beats driven by the Boss Slicer pedal.

"Lights" by Interpol

Music media: So Interpol's got a new album coming out. You like those dudes, right?
Stoplight Sleep: Yeah, they're great.
MM: You don't think they're too derivative of Joy Division.
SS: Oh, stop it. Pop music is an evolution. Do you have a point?
MM: So are you excited?
SS: Meh, they keep getting more produced and less dynamic. The lyrics are always acrobatic, though. We'll see.
MM: Well, maybe you should watch this video before you decide:


SS: Wow. The slow build, the driving riff, the moody vocals, now that's the dynamic Interpol we've missed.

We Didn't Write It


Not so long ago, Copy, Right?, fully supplied all the cool, unexpected covers you could ever need. I don't propose to ever replace her, but I will offer up a few of my favs from time to time. (And it appears there's a list of other blogs on the old site worth investigation.)

Even though it's been two-and-a-half years since Stereogum posted a cover of "Close to Me" that replaces Robert Smith's girlish charm with Yoni Wolf's quirky insecurity, it appears the track is still available. Grab it now!

With their version of Dylan's "Love Sick," The White Stripes took an ethereal blues ballad, and delivered it somewhere between The Sonics and The Doors. This is a slightly different version than what you'll get on the second CD single for "Fell in Love With a Girl."

(object) (embed)

2006's Rabbit Fur Coat featured Jenny Lewis and a few other indie superstars twanging out their take on The Traveling Wilburys' (another supergroup) "Handle with Care." Here's one of those heartthrobs now, with a cool, crazy hat and lots of denim.

(object) (embed)

We'll be back with more later.

Record Store Day Picks


As Record Store Day continues to grow, so does the list of limited edition vinyl, CDs, DVDs, etc. associated with the yearly event. Sorting through the pages of releases is quite a task, and remembering what to look for amidst all the live music, free food, and adult beverages could turn out to be daunting. I'll be at Euclid for live music by Art Majors and others. Here's what I'll be looking for:Yeasayer - "O.N.E."This has probably been my jam of the year so far. This 12" features four versions of the song.Deftones - "Rocketskates"I'm a bit dubious about a new release from this act, but they've consistently been the only listenable band of the 90s Nu Metal wave. The m83 remix solidifies this as a must-have.The Cribs / The Thermals split 7"It's not clear if these are exclusive tracks, but anything involving Kill Rock Stars and these two bands is worth a look. Tom Waits - Mule Variations 11th Anniversary EditionI've been waiting for a deluxe release of this classic, and here it is.Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs - Dark Side of the Moon Band covers the classic Pink Floyd albumSince this was announced, I've been curious. Even if it's rubbish, it'll surely fetch a pretty penny on eBay.White Rabbits / Antlers - Live from Daytrotter Sessions 7"I'm not really interested in the White Rabbits track, but any version of Antlers' "Shiva" is worth the asking price. If that asking price is about $5. Various Artists - Fragments from a Work in ProgressNew tracks from The Big Pink and Gang Gang Dance? Yes, please.[...]

The Double Aughts: Hot Chip's Made in the Dark


A futuristic techno train lurches from the station, slowly clacking and building electrosteam, its synthetic beat increasing with each turn of the virtual wheel. The whistle screams as it careens downhill, the sounds peeking into the playful clattering and hooks of "Out at the Pictures," the first track on 2008's Made in the Dark from the dancepop group Hot Chip. The bridge of "Out at the Pictures" features yelping, and is followed by the similar-in-structure "Shake a Fist." The track builds more quickly, anchored by a fat bass sweep and dense drumbeat before it pauses for some narration and explodes into 360 degrees of clicks and blips, followed by samples of more yelling and a return to the original sound.Made in the Dark is a diverse album in three forms. Although the first two tracks predict what might be the electropop equivalent of Crunk, "Ready for the Floor" transitions towards the album's softer side. Alexis Taylor's soft-spoken vocal style has always been the warm, sincere center of Hot Chip's sound, and he's never sounded so vulnerable as when he sings "I am ready for a fall." Unsuprisingly, the track is Hot Chip's biggest hit to date, although the narrative gem "And I Was a Boy from School" from 2006 may be their magnum opus. "Bendable Poseable" and "Don't Dance" return to the opening sound with lots of low end, but the remainder of the album's tracks are airy ballads, like ""We're Looking for a Lot of Love," or poppy dance numbers, e.g. "Touch Too Much." The relatively brief disco epic, "Hold On," a loose revision of their club banger "Over and Over," is the best of the latter. The strong use of Taylor and Joe Goddard's differing vocal styles provides a perfect example of the band's dance-inspiring potential and lyrical prowess. Take the hook, "I'm only going to heaven if it feels like hell. / I'm only going to heaven if it tastes like caramel," and the couplet "My only lesson was in my head, / but I traded if for my hand," and mix well with an overused phrase in a fresh context, like, "Sir, I have a good mind to take you outside." Pop genius.As one of the best breakup songs in recent years, the title track frames Hot Chip as Phil Collins-level emoters. But the witty heart of Made in the Dark is "Wrestlers." The song is a simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and earnest exploration of professional wrestling as a metaphor for fighting of other kinds. The two poles of this experience are best represented by the "half nelson, full nelson, Willie Nelson" pun and the refrain of Taylor almost whispering "I think you think I'm about to throw the towel in."This ability to balance humor with intellect and love is exactly what makes Made in the Dark one of the decade's best albums. The closing piano-and-bleeps ballad "In the Privacy of Our Love" proves that Hot Chip very well may be our current Genesis, and with One Life Stand coming early next year, they seem posed to maintain that position. Made In The Dark - Hot Chip[...]

The Double Aughts: Xiu Xiu's Fabulous Muscles


A handful of movies (Monster, Boys Don’t Cry, Grave of the Fireflies) have ranked among the best of the last couple decades while ensuring that anyone would never want to see them a second time. These films are so emotionally raw and effective that only the most dedicated of cinephiles and drama junkies would willingly experience the journey again. “Support Our Troops OH! (Black Angels OH!),” the Generation Kill-inspired avant-jazz, spoken-word protest document at the center of Xiu Xiu’s Fabulous Muscles is a similar work, painting images of grizzly acts and the still oddly disquieting indifference they inspire. While the mess-cum-art is mesmerizing, it’s a harrowing experience that never loses its edge. The success (relative to the above-mentioned films) of “Support Our Troops” as a work worthy of return trips is that it’s a merciful 5 minutes. One could easily imagine Jamie Stewart, the Larry Clark-like genius behind Xiu Xiu, developing “Support Our Troops,” or any of the emotionally filthy tone poems that comprise 2004’s Fabulous Muscles into a sonic opera of tear-pouring proportions. Instead, Fabulous Muscles is condensed into one of the darkest 40-minute pop-music masterpieces ever composed. Take, for example, the last minute of “Nieces Pieces (Boat Knife Version)” and the intro of “Clowne Towne”: a guitar riff that feels like cold water down a warm back, a slowly crescendoing organ, undersea techno blips, T.S. Eliot’s “ragged claws” as percussion, a string arrangement as whirlpool, a staticy guitar lazily rowing into the gorgeous quatrain “Up and down through what you thought would be your future / became the dark reminder of / what a rash and inconsistent faith you’ve had / in loving your true self and your true love.” In two-and-half minutes, Xiu Xiu takes listeners through an entire galaxy of sound and emotion, something that most artists can’t do in an entire career. While “Clowne Towne” and “Support Our Troops” represent the extremes of FM (and Xiu Xiu in general), “I Luv The Valley OH!” is the hit, the club banger for arts and crafty hipsters. The simple bass line, impossibly compressed beat, and barely-there guitar riff take the most cacophonous moments of Joy Division and turn it into an anthem that’s somehow fun in the midst of buckets of dreariness. This is the 00’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” and you will slow dance in your socks to it before you drift off into your valium-aided unconsciousness. With the better-than-chiptune “Bunny Gamer” and the title track, the only surreal homoerotic love/hate ballad you’ll ever hear or need to, Fabulous Muscles lies directly in the middle of Xiu Xiu catalog, between the most challenging and dark of their work and their most consciously pop efforts. This median is where so many of the greats have produced their best works. In the spirit of walking that thin line, Stewart and Cory McCulloch find a fine balance between heart attack and orgasm, but hold back just enough to make repeat listens a desirable conclusion. Fabulous Muscles - Xiu Xiu[...]

100 Albums, 50,000 Words, 1 Decade


While many are beginning their participation in National Novel Writing Month, Stoplight Sleep is beginning a project of its own. Over the next few months, I'll be writing about 100 of the greatest albums of the 2000s. Each album will get approximately 500 words, adding up to the 50,000 authors pen for NaNo. I'd call it Local Music Criticism Quarter, but it doesn't have quite the same ring to it, so you'll see "The Double Aughts" label instead.

The first post is coming very soon, so be on the look out.

Best of 2000s Coming


While I've been busy writing about other things in other places, I've also been thinking a lot about the best of the decade. I'll be doing individual posts on some of the albums I think are the best over the next couple months.

"My Girls" 8-bit Cover by Dr. Zilog


Maybe the 8-bit cover thing has jumped the shark (a phrase which has "jumped the shark"), but I couldn't help but love this one when I heard it during the latest Engadget podcast. Not a bad video, either.

Dr. Zilog - My Girls (8-bit Animal Collective Cover)
(object) (embed)

New Why? Track, Serengeti & Polyphonic Remixes, Etc.


It's no secret that Stoplight Sleep is a big fan of Why?, so it got a little electric over here when Pitchfork posted a new track from the upcoming album, Eskimo Snow. You can also check out Pitchfork's interview with Yoni Wolf, the mastermind behind Why?, and details on the upcoming tour over at our friends Insulinfunk.

Meanwhile, another Anticon act, Serengeti & Polyphonic are touring to promote their new album, Terradactyl, and have released two new remixes. You can also check these out at Insulinfunk.

New N.A.S.A. Video


(image) WARNING: The following post does not relate to the American government's space program or an 80s pop duo. The following video does, however, feature lyrics from Spank Rock, so, you know, NSFW.

N.A.S.A. (the collaboration between producer Squeak E. Clean and DJ Zegon who released The Spirit of Apollo early this year) recently released an official video for their summer jam, "Watcha Doin?" The track, like the rest of the album, features several notable guests. In this case, you get Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Spank Rock, Santogold, and M.I.A.

After enjoying this zanny, colorful video, hit this link to download an equally-banging PinkEnemy remix of the track.


Bowerbirds review


You can check out my review of the new album Upper Air from Bowerbirds on Insulinfunk.

Ra Ra Riot live from "Cemetary Gates"


No, this isn't a post about Stoplight Sleep favorite Ra Ra Riot doing a Pantera cover. It's about this cool live video from Pitchfork!

(object) (embed)

White Rabbits


I put in I'm Frightened, the new album from White Rabbits, which was produced by Britt Daniel. I flash back to the summer of 2001. Girls Can Tell is on my car stereo.

(object) (embed)
(object) (embed)

eMusic INdorsements


I've been writing a weekly feature (among other duties) over at Insulinfunk. Check out the reviews here. They usually go up on Fridays.

While you're at it, check out The Rawking Refuses to Stop!'s Best of 2008 features. That's right, only 6 months later. Now that's some thoughtfulness I can get behind.

Monday News Blast


It must be the beginning of Fallout 3, the way Megatons were blowing up today. First, Valve and Microsoft announced Left for Dead 2, the sequal to one of my favorite games of 2008. Some claim it's too soon, but I'm excited about the changes, namely a new setting, fresh characters, melee weapons, and an improved AI director. Now, players will experience changes in weather and environment.

Also today, eMusic announced changes coming to their service. I'm still processing this, but I don't think I'm excited. I'd rather see more indie labels, like Sub-Pop and Anti, on the site than Sony-owned labels.

You can read about all of this and other entertainment news over at Insulinfunk. While you're there, check out the Trail of Dead tour diary

Kieron Gillen (Phonogram) Interview


What has Stoplight Sleep been up to? Interviewing the creator and author of one of the best comics of the last decade, Phonogram! Hope on over to read the Insulinfunk interview with video-game journalist Kieron Gillen.

This week in Insulinfunk


For those of you who don't know, I'm now writing and copyediting for Insulinfunk, a blog about video games, music, movies, and whatever else. JPAG Godfather Wesley Johnson runs the sight from a special modified insulin pump attached to the side of his neck. 

You can head over now to check out posts on themselves and a spring music preview.

JPAG Symposium Symposium


I appeared on this week's Joystiq Podcast Appreciation Group Podcast. We discussed, among other things, the Shawn Elliott-curated internet symposium on video game review policy and ethics.

You can read Joystiq, the site that hosts the podcast that inspired the group that hosts the podcast, here.

You can join (or visit) the JPAG, here.