You’ve survived another holiday and spent the entire week scouring the internet for deals on things you otherwise wouldn’t think to buy on a normal day. While your retail therapy provided you with a high you never thought would wane, you find yourself staring into the Ultra-HD void of your new TV and feeling absolutely nothing. This is because material objects will never make up for the fact that your life is duller than a plastic takeout knife. Before you consider doing something drastic like reading a book or attending a singles mixer, you might want to consider music.
Music has been proven to increase both dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, while simultaneously giving listeners the illusion of having a fully formed personality. Thanks to most art forms being commodified to the point of total irrelevancy, it’s also one of the cheapest things to get into. Because we know picking what to listen to is overwhelming, we’ve taken the time to compile ten tracks to get you out of your seemingly insurmountable rut. (Listen along to the full playlist)
Van Dale “Frosty”
If you’ve been finding yourself wondering why Christmas music isn’t more fucked up and terrifying, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard Van Dale’s latest foray into the genre. The mysterious Ohio trio quietly released their newest LP ‘Dale Xmas’ last week, and it’s filled with fuzzed-out reimaginings of Christmas classics, including quite possibly the most disorienting version of ‘Frosty the Snowman’ ever put to tape. This is saying something considering how horrifying the actual recording is when you really sit down to consider the reality of the carol’s story. Those who enjoy whimsy and think the Flaming Lips Christmas album isn’t weird enough are sure to find an instant classic here.
Minor Threat “Filler – Out of Step Outtake”
You’ve long told your friends that you’ve heard every single Minor Threat recording in existence, often while making fun of them for their shirt. Now, thanks to a newly released EP of studio outtakes from the ‘Out of Step’ sessions, your pals finally know how much of a fucking liar you really are. Released in celebration of ‘Out of Step’s 40th anniversary, the three-song EP features two earlier Minor Threat songs fully fleshed out with the added second guitar of Brian Baker, as well as an unreleased instrumental. So you can quickly recover your clout, Dischord Records has released all three tracks on a fancy clear 7-inch. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for yourself, or your most insufferable friend.
Omar Rodríguez-López “Your Own Worst Enemy”
Prolific to a near-fault, Omar Rodríguez-López’s recorded output is as massive as it is criminally overlooked. Recently, he announced the impending release of a staggering 57-LP box set containing all of his studio efforts since he began recording in 2004. At least one of the albums featured, ‘Is It the Clouds?’ has never been released. From that album, Rodríguez-López has released the folk-pop single ‘Your Own Worst Enemy.’ Clocking in at under three minutes, it almost feels like a miniscule offering from the performer’s typically verbose efforts. It’s all made perfectly satiating when the beat drops and the chorus hook drills its way into your brain.
Militarie Gun “Never Fucked Up Twice (feat. Bully)”/“Very High (Under the Sun)”
Oft branded as one of the most exciting post-hardcore bands to hit the scene in years, Militarie Gun can more accurately be described as genre-less. Nowhere is this more evident than on the newly reimagined tracks from their sophomore album ‘Life Under the Gun.’ ‘Never Fucked Up Twice’ offers a blissed-out chillwave arrangement that is bolstered by a feature from contemporaries Bully, whereas ‘Very High (Under the Sun)’ chisels the original’s scream-along hooks down to a bare-bones whisper. What’s revealed as the layers peel back is a band that can not only kick your chest in, but lull you to sleep before you take your final breath in the pit.
It’s finally December, which means many of us are looking back on another wasted year wondering where it all went wrong. Many streaming services make this process easier by compiling users’ yearly listening histories and packaging them into convenient and concise infographics. It’s a great way to make corporate data mining feel fun and, most importantly, lets us know which friends to mercilessly roast for having Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” in their top five songs for the fifth consecutive year in a row. To build camaraderie as well as figure out who to boot from the organization, we asked – read, forced – our entire staff to share screenshots of their year-end lists. Here are a few of the highlights.
King Krule “Out Getting Ribs”
Good God, someone’s fucking pretentious. For those who don’t know or simply aren’t cool enough, King Krule – aka Archie Marshall – burst onto the UK indie scene as a bit of a wunderkind. His jazz/hip hop influenced sound coupled with his terrifyingly unique voice made him an instant hero to insufferable hipsters around the world. His songs are pretty good too. Judging that this track – which rides high in our writer’s top songs of the year – is from his debut album, he has entered the esteemed halls of “their earlier stuff was waaaay better” artists.
Weezer “Longtime Sunshine”
This is such a deep cut that we’re pretty sure the intern who had this in his ‘Wrapped’ list played it on repeat the entire night before the results dropped to hide the fact that his actual favorite Weezer song is ‘A Little Bit of Love.’ It’s a common tactic and we see straight through it. There’s no shame in liking a bit of trash Weezer, but unbeknownst to many naive fools like our dear intern, being a loud ‘Pinkerton’ fan is somehow even more annoying.
Ghost “Jesus He Knows Me”
There’s nothing quite as unforgivable as a ’90s era Phil Collins-led Genesis track. Some would argue the only thing worse is Ghost covering a ’90s era Phil Collins led Genesis track, which is exactly what they did on this year’s EP ‘Phantomime.’ It’s honestly not a bad effort and its accompanying video is a pretty fun affair. Still, upon its release our Managing Editor called the EP a shameless cash grab while burning one of her hundreds of Ghost tour tees in the office. Based on the extremely high ranking of this track on her playlist, we’re pretty sure this display was all in a futile effort to garner clout and intimidate our interns further into submission.
100 Gecs “Hollywood Baby”
One of our writers spent the majority of the year claiming they didn’t ‘get the hype’ surrounding the freak-pop duo 100 Gecs. According to them, those belonging to the Gec fandom are just people who are too ‘chickenshit’ to admit that Limp Bizkit is the greatest band of all time. Well, well, well unnamed writer, the day of reckoning is upon you now! No matter how many times you say this song only ranked so high because of how much research you needed to do to make fun of them, we know the truth. Just accept it like the rest of us and be happy for once.
Big Thief “Simulation Swarm”
As part of our Mental Health Service Package, any employee who is caught listening to any single Big Thief song more than 10 times in a fiscal week is immediately recommended for crisis counseling. According to our staff’s user data, he has listened to this song exclusively a staggering 657 times this month alone. While we can’t blame them due to the song’s hypnotic guitars and cryptic lyrics that beg for maddening analysis, it is our duty to inquire and investigate their well-being. Turns out he’s totally fine, but we’ve been extra nice to him this week as a precautionary measure.
Listen to the ever-evolving playlist: