"The Tip" is Steve's occasional music 'zine that is published once each season. Issues #17 through the current one are available online. If you'd like to get the back-issues, you can download them all as a PDF.
30 (Spring 2011)
CD! CD! We dance!
— Judah Almond, age two
Boy, have I been delinquent.
And why? Because toddlers happen.
Can I also recommend that you simplify your shopping this year?
The good news is: while the country has been descending further into moral ruin, your faithful freak has been harvesting some remarkable sonic medicine. In honor of The Tip's 30th Anniversary, I'm offering fifteen spanking new miracles. These are beautiful cures. Take them.
You Go Your Way
I've worshipped Correia ever since her debut album burned itself into my lobes. Her voice is a sad kiss from a happy drunk. "Powder Blue Trans Am" features power chords and a string quartet. Please.
Long Play Record
Boston's unsungest singer dishes an epic platter. You can listen for the influences—Beatles, Beach Boys, Lyle Lovett—but what emerges is Mayone's own chameleon genius.
Mia Dyson is Australian and she will destroy you. She plays guitar really loud and shreds and her voice is raspy and her hooks are dipped in something blue and sticky. All hail the thunder from down under.
The Poison Tree
The Poison Tree
There's no genre that describes this record. And adjectives aren't going to work, either. It's heartbreak music that will make you feel stoned and kind of weepy and also overjoyed.
Confessions of a Hummingbird Farmer
What's that? Another fantastic album that you’ve never heard of. Why does this keep happening? Because the world is a cruel and senseless place. Vincent can help. His songs are irresistible, steeped in the raucous pop of Springsteen (he's a Jersoy boy) but with sly nods toward the islands.
This Time With Feeling
The debut LP from a Boston-based bunch of savants. The single "Carnival" will probably wind up on some idiotic MTV program. Don't let that deter you. This is lush, thoughtful music with one foot in folk and the other in roots.
The Fruit Bats
The Ruminant Band
The Fruit Bats have been flirting with Tipness for years. This outing puts them in my roundhouse. As a critic, I supposed to call their stuff "soulful Americana with roots in the piano hi-jinx of Tin Pan Alley." A simpler assessment would be "music I cannot stop humming."
(The Rebel Group, 2009)
The cognates are all the right ones: Randy Newman, Elton John, maybe a little mid-period Jackson Browne. My point is: joyous, mellow, seductive. The horns on "Stop the Train" will probably cause you to do some embarrassing dancing. Always a good sign.
Jukebox the Ghost
Everything Under the Sun
The question is: how is a rational moral actor supposed to watch the media get worked by Donald Trump without going postal? I prescribe forty minutes of radiant pop with soaring harmonies.
My Sweetheart the Destroyer
Caught the end of the set when these guys played in my old Somerville dive bar. They were unspooling a ten-minute psalm that sounded like Spiritualized as interpreted by the Band. "I Ain't Gonna Kill Myself No More" should be the mandatory on-hold music for every suicide hotline in America.
The Tip Gets All Single Up in Your Shiz
Billy Harvey, "SexDream"
(from the EP More Happy Than Sad)
A dark, hypnotic head trip that will either awaken the dark side of your libido or prove that you don't have one.
Soft Pyramids, "Shoot to Kill"
(from the EP Electric Scenes)
Those of your jonesing for the brilliant coiled sound of the Strokes need not wait for that band to rediscover their soul. The Pyramids have you covered. Whoever inspired this song was a very bad girl. Bless her.
Sam Roberts, "Sang Froid"
(From the album Collider)
Sam Roberts specializes in the big, loud rock that is both smarter and catchier than it has a right to be. This one will make you bang your head while also (somehow) name checking Leonard Cohen. I cannot explain that.
Railroad Earth, "Jupiter and the 119"
(from the LP Railroad Earth)
A seven-minute bluegrass epic that features classical violin and a dozen other stringed instruments and manages to document the cross country journey of America's first locomotive.
Jill Sobule and John Doe, "Shaky Hands"
(from the LP A Day at the Pass)
A blistering ditty about a woman with, uh, shaky hands. No metaphor here. She really has shaky hands. I have no idea how she makes her guitar wail like that.
Posted by Steve on May 3, 2011 10:48 PM