Archive for August, 2011

The Best of 2011: Part Two

August 31, 2011

Fat Possum Records


Earlier this year, I wrote a pretty lukewarm review of this record. At the time, I liked it, but I couldn’t find justification for how derivative it is – it sounds like a mix tape I made when I attended high school in the mid-to-late nineties. However, I soon realized that’s not a bad thing. It might be if the songs were second-rate rip-offs, but they are not – they are top-notch, grade A rip-offs. (more…)


Platinum Hit: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

August 24, 2011

This last summer has been a hot one, especially in Kansas. I know it has been hotter than normal in lots of places this season, but Kansas was basically the center of the frying pan. It was as if all the heat was actually coming up from our soil and dissipating out to surrounding states and continents. Long time Kansas residents like me should be used to this sort of heat and humidity, but when it’s this bad, it’s not really something one can ever grow to love or even shrug off. The heat here has truly been debilitating, and it has made for a lot of inside summer activity, which usually has something to do with drinking a lot and watching bad TV or movies.

Back in June, I started seeing previews on Bravo for a new reality competition series called Platinum Hit, in which a number of aspiring songwriters are brought together to compete for a record deal and a bunch of other music-related prizes. When I saw it was to be hosted by Jewel and co-hosted by former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, I sensed that this show would make for some good old-fashioned, horrible, campy summer drinking fun. I was right, but I didn’t realize how right – from the very first line spoken in the show (“I’m a musical genius, for sure”), I knew this was going to be a total shit show. (more…)

The Best of 2011: Part One

August 23, 2011

First of all, I’d like to issue a formal apology. It’s directed at my readers, for sure, but mostly at myself since that’s the main reason I keep adding to this blog – I’m terribly sorry for not posting anything for the last 4 months. It’s really inexcusable. It makes me feel good to write about music that moves me, and though it makes me feel even BETTER to know a few people are reading this stuff, I would still post it if that wasn’t the case. But really, I’d like to make it a goal to post stuff at least 3 times a week, so that’s what I’m going to aim for from here on out. Thanks again to everyone who reads and comments on RGH – you make my day, and I will have more for you to look at very soon! First off, I will begin my “Best of 2011” column right here, where I will post 3-4 capsule reviews of my favorite 2011 albums in each section. Let’s begin!

Matador Records

Kurt VileSmoke Ring for My Halo

Kurt Vile’s wheezy vocal drone has likely caught the ears and hearts of many a disaffected hipster in the past few years. When it comes to his music and general attitude, Vile fits today’s Rock and Roll nativity scene perfectly – he has the balls to point out bullshit going on in the world, but also possesses this Elliott Smith-esque sense of responsibility, as if anything bad happening around him were all his fault. It’s this dichotomy of anger suppressed by an almost laughable guilt that creates Vile’s most usable energy and gives his tunes a bottle-up-and-explode quality (more…)

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