Quick Toots – Recent Favorites from Smells Like Pop

Destroyer
Ken

A lovely and complete album from Dan Bejar and company with punchy drums and bass á la New Order and atmospheres from Disintegration-era Cure. Only criticism? It’s too short. Get it!

The Smiths
I Know It’s Over (Demo)

This demo recording from The Queen is Dead brings out the drums and bass and makes you think the band is performing live right in front of you. Release ALL the demos!

LCD Soundsystem
American Dream

They said they were through. They went out with a bang. Then, years later there was a single. Then another. And now a full album of new songs from one of our favorite bands. Not their best LP, but a solid and welcome addition to their library.

Luna
A Place of Greater Safety

Luna is back again with an album of instrumentals. I thought I’d miss Dean Wareham’s vocals gently guiding the songs along, but this is a nice album for listening to while working. Or thinking. Or just doing nothing.

Whenever Dan Bejar’s band Destroyer releases a new album I feel like a giddy little kid at Christmas. Sadly, their new record, “Ken” won't be out until October 20th, but they have put out a couple of singles that I’ll be playing non-stop until then. The beginning of the single “Tinseltown Swimming in Blood” could easily be the opening riff of a new New Order song which isn't too surprising given Bejar's published penchant for the post-punk pop group. Even the cascading drum fills that close the song remind me of the tribal drumming of New Order drummer, Stephen Morris. ...

We've seen !!! quite a few times now and are always blown-away how great they sound live. Capturing that energy on their albums has been somewhat elusive, barring a few especially slamming songs (Steady as the Sidewalk Cracks for one). Since their label gave them some money for a video, they went like Bill O’Reilly and decided to "Do it live!" with very nice results. Play loudly....

To start things rolling here at the new Smells Like Pop, we decided to go with something a little personal, and well, precious (to us). Here's a playlist that we made especially for our daughter when she was less than 10 years old for her first boom box. It's full of happy, peppy songs. And then it ends a little mellower, because “Hey, calm the eff down already!”...

Just stumbled across this video of Thee Oh Sees playing live on KEXP. We saw them on this tour at the Doug Fir and it was amazing. I had a perma-grin plastered to my face watching drummers, Dan Rincon and Ryan Moutinho play in almost perfect synchronicity. The sound was like a water canon pummeling you non-stop in the chest. Apparently, Moutinho left the band, so this video has only Rincon on the skins though he plays so fast he might as well be two people....

As usual, my list of “favorite” albums of the year is just that – a list of what stuck with me most throughout the year, and not necessarily what my brain thinks should be the best albums. Hopefully, these 10 recordings will stand the test of time....

The editors at Smells Like Pop recently experienced the rare opportunity where we were all together at the same show. In this case, it was for Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Wonder Ballroom in Portland. And, instead of relying on one of us to do a write-up, we thought we'd all add a short review. Including our friend, Pete Champ! Cory X's Review The BJM show got almost no local press, which was surprising because of a) the band’s famed and filmed love-hate relationship with locals The Dandy Warhols, and b) they put on a kick-ass show. Anton Newcombe orchestrated from the side of the stage, his distinct vocals and guitar standing out somehow over the wall of sound emanating from four to five other guitars on stage at any one time. The result was loud, of course, but almost restrained, counter to the band’s reputation for chaos. Newcombe even thanked audience...

The documentary on the short, but prolific life and musical career of Jay Reatard is playing now at little movie theaters across the country. We got to see Jay Reatard and his band at an in-store show at Jackpot Records in Portland shortly before his untimely death (murder). I'm glad we did, but it makes this footage all too sad. Reatard's last record was a sign of greatness to come--fast and messy pop songs that had so much power and energy bundled-up in 2-3 minute little nuggets. Alas, what we have is what we get and Jay Reatard is no more. Except on the big screen....

Too busy to write a full in-depth post, but hopefully I will circle back soon and flesh this out more! Without any further ado, here are my favorite 11 albums of 2011: PJ Harvey – Let England ShakeSt. Vincent – Strange Mercy Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Hysterical Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – Mirror Traffic Wire – Red Barked Tree Destroyer – Kaput Tom Waits – Bad as Me Alessi's Ark – Time Travel Girls – Record 3 TuneYards – Who Kill EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints Honorable mentions Atlas Sound – Parallax // Wild Flag – s/t // Danger Mouse & Daniel Luppi – Rome // Fucked-Up – David Comes to Life // Yuck – s/t // Toro y Moi – Underneath the Pine // Radiohead – King of Limbs //  M83 – Hurry Up, We're Dreaming // Iceage – New Brigade // Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee...

We're busy working on our Best Albums of 2011 lists, and as a preview of sorts, I thought I'd share my favorite songs of the year. Notice I didn’t say "best songs" and in some cases, these bands aren't even close to being on my top album list. But, these are my poppy, hook-laden favorites (in no particular order)...