People still listen to albums, but most of the time, people talk about songs, tracks, downloads, and YouTube clips—even if "talking" has come to mean "posting on their blog, followed by three commenters writing 'FIRST!' followed by variations on 'this roxxx' and 'this suxxx.'" This column is an attempt to contribute something resembling part of a dialogue—and some variations on "this roxxx" and "this suxxx," even if there isn't a whole lot of "FIRST!"
"All Through the Night" by Escort
Best opening three seconds of the year, like a gleefully sleazy Pointer Sisters circa "Automatic," with a nice dubby Rapture remix on the B-side.
"My Piano (DJ-Kicks)" by Hot Chip
Hot Chip's appeal, and their grooves, has seemed almost entirely theoretical to me—like the kind of group you like because you're supposed to rather than because you just do. It wasn't until this one-off from their oft-excellent volume of the DJ Kicks mix-CD series (shave off the first and last pair of songs and it's seamless) turns idea into fact for me. The Prince-circa-"Erotic City" drum machine and early Chicago house keyboards push their dewy-eyed vocals until the music is as pretty and propulsive as their fans have always claimed. They haven't changed what they do or how they do it at all. They've just gotten better at it.
"I Think We're Dead, I Really Do" by Officer Edward Sanchez and 911 Operator
(Detroit Free Press MP3)
Not officially titled (my name comes from a favorite line), this is a recording of a 911 call made on April 21, 2006, from the Dearborn Heights, Michigan, home of local cop Edward Sanchez, who confiscated a bag of marijuana, baked a batch of brownies with it, and then along with his wife ate the entire thing. That's funny enough—that it was done by someone who gets paid to know better is comedy gold. As are touches like his not having weapons in the house the first time he's asked, but having them when asked again; Officer Sanchez inquiring about the score of the Red Wings game, "just to make sure this isn't some sort of hallucination"; and the tape ending with his mother-in-law arriving. Not to mention that Sanchez was allowed to resign quietly from the department, unpunished. Details and MP3: www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007305090002.
"Noiser"/"Fred's Bells" by Audion
(Spectral Sound 12-inch)
Matthew Dear in non-singer-songwriter mode: two woozy warehouse anthems with jacking beats, jabbering 808s, and filthy filters.