/ sound + vision:

“a film is more like music than like fiction.” —Stanley Kubrik

/ feb 2013

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Vinyl Addiction by the Numbers:
Or, How to Kill a Chilly Saturday Afternoon

Vinyl Count Distribution Chart


Music geeks are obsessive catalogers. Their enjoyment of music is not limited to the recording itself, but to the metadata associated with one’s collection. The digital age makes that data readily accessible (if the geek is obsessive enough to tag his tracks with complete, accurate information). Digital music libraries like iTunes allow one to quickly glimpse a variety of data sets that heighten musical enjoyment. How many albums do I own? How many artists represent that number? What year did a particular album come out? Numbers give the music geek both a road map to his/her collection and a sense of the historical perspective the collection represents.

I am a music geek. I revel in the huge collection of music I’ve amassed over the past 30 years. And, with the help of iTunes, I routinely sort, filter and catalogue my collection by almost any criteria I could want. I can quickly refine my choices to find just the right record to listen to for any given mood or occasion. But on Feb 7, 2011 something happened that put a virtual stop to my digital musical consumption. I caught the vinyl bug.


I purchased a Pro-ject Debut III Turntable and, with the fervor of a fanatic, began acquiring used, new and re-issued vinyl by the scores. Week after week, empty LP cartons stacked up outside my door while upstairs in my office the number of precious pieces of finely-grooved plastic grew at an alarming rate. I was hooked.

But my obsession eventually ran beyond just the consumption of vinyl. I jonesed for the metadata, you see. How many records had I acquired in the past 2 years? Where was my road map? I began toying with the idea of arranging my collection by decade (genre being a category that is too often blurry and subjective). This would give me at least one precious piece of information that could help me in selecting what to listen to when I was in the mood for, say, romantic pop with a penchant for keyboards. To the 80′s bin, Robin! And I began to wonder: Hmmm… how well is each decade represented by my collection?

I mentioned this whimsical musing to Rachel on several occasions. Each time, my extremely good-tempered wife-to-be answered with a cringing retort: I am not spending hours helping you shuffle pieces of vinyl around your office. And besides, I’ll never be able to find anything! So I gave up the dream. For the moment. Until one morning, as we lay in bed on a cold Brooklyn Saturday morning, I mentioned my irrepressible desire once again. This time, she formulated an interesting alternative: Why don’t you instead create an index of all your records, listed by decade? Brilliant! Create my own set of metadata the old fashioned way. By hand. Sort of. Will you help me, I pleaded? I was excited by the idea for reasons beyond anything a rational middle-aged man should ponder. But, with an air of peculiar excitement of her own, Rachel agreed to help. You see, she’s a geek too. A spreadsheet geek.

We hopped out of the warm bed, made some strong coffee and blew off the household chores of laundry and grocery shopping. Instead, Rachel took her position behind the Mac, nimble fingers at the ready, as I knelt beside one of the eight bins of vinyl scattered and stacked around the office. One by one, I pulled each record from it’s alphabetical position and dictated artist, album title and year to my lovely and patient geek at arms. It seemed a formidable task. But we flew through it. In less than 4 hours, we’d created a spreadsheet of all 456 records in my collection. Ah, that number. So satisfying. So frightening in it’s size-to-time ratio. But once the data was properly sorted, the real value of it (to me at least) shone through. I knew exactly how many records I had from each decade since 1920.

I had speculated on the spread as we endeavored in this somewhat ridiculous task. At the end of the day, my speculations proved correct. I am a child of the 80′s. My collection confirmed this. I had by far more records from that decade than any other, followed closely by the 1970′s. The 90′s (the decade dominated by the CD format) were the most anemically represented –  many titles were simply not pressed on vinyl during that time. And while the 2010′s represented only 7% of my collection, we are merely two years in to the decade. At the current average rate of growth of 15 records per year, I will theoretically have collected 150 by decade’s end!

Many will exclaim: What a colossal waste of time! And they may be right. But for reasons incomprehensible to the non-geek, it was a great way to kill a cold winter day. Rachel confirms it. This is a truly satisfying collection of data.

View the discography spreadsheet here.

Some have asked, what are the top ten artists in this vinyl collection? We are here to serve:

  1. The Rolling Stones: 21
  2. The Beatles: 18 
  3. Bob Dylan: 13
  4. Rush: 9
  5. Elvis Costello: 8
  6. Lou Reed: 8
  7. U2: 8
  8. Belle & Sebastian: 7
  9. The National: 7
  10. The Smiths: 7

For more interesting (?) statistics on digital music play count, visit my LastFM chart page.






  1. Wednesday 03.20.2013 | 12:12 EST

    ultravioletray says:

    Nice! We have our vinyl collection organized by year, and use Discogs for indexing, though methinks yr spreadsheet might be easier to customize listings for more detailed stats.

    +1 for at least one Gordon Lightfoot LP in collection.

    +1 for Hatful of Hollow on vinyl.

    (Sticky Fingers with zipper is obvious +1, but then, I just gave it one).

  2. Friday 03.15.2013 | 10:33 EST

    mpowers says:

    A compulsive activity near and dear to my heart.

    Quick suggestion.

    Don’t anticipate that your wife will appreciate your expert weighted index based on the “bands for mans” versus “bands for womans” as much as you do.

  3. Tuesday 02.05.2013 | 1:29 EST

    benproof says:

    Rush. Ughh. That being said,..I’m glad you guys enjoyed geeking out together. The couple that geeks together,…well,..you get it.

  4. Monday 02.04.2013 | 1:47 EST

    rachel says:

    At least Led Zeppelin didn’t make the top 10. Then we’d have some reckoning to do.

    1. Monday 02.04.2013 | 1:49 EST

      chairmanmau says:

      They’re in the top 15

      1. Monday 02.04.2013 | 1:52 EST

        rachel says:

        Don’t test my goodwill. And thank GOD you don’t have any Gordon Lightfoot on vinyl!

        1. Monday 02.04.2013 | 2:00 EST

          chairmanmau says:

          Touché, my dear. Touché.

          1. Monday 02.04.2013 | 7:23 EST

            KBJr says:

            But…’If You Could Read My Mind’ ‘Sundown’ and ‘The Wreck of the Sigmund Fitzgerard’ are fantastic vinyl songs!

  5. Monday 02.04.2013 | 1:06 EST

    KBJr says:

    The biggest surprise to me? More Rush records than Elvis Costello. Well-writ, and great pics!

    1. Monday 02.04.2013 | 1:19 EST

      chairmanmau says:

      Yes, we’ll have to remedy that. Let’s recall this collection goes back to well before high school. Wait a minute. What am i apologizing for. Rush Rules!

/ apr 2012

Found Art: Dylan Day Happenstance

Bob Sylan's Nashville Skyline Sidewalk ArtiPhone 4GS + Snapseed, © maunet.com

As happens every couple of years, I’m back on a Dylan kick. Yesterday I spent the better half of a slow work day listening to a shuffle of 38 records as I waited patiently for UPS to deliver my newest vinyl acquisition, a 180-gram copy of Dylan’s 1968′s country-rock classic, John Wesley Harding.

Around lunch time, over a shredded chicken and chipotle mayonnaise sandwich, I popped in the DVD extras to the fascinating pseudo biopic I’m Not There and listened to Todd Haynes explain his brilliant approach to accounting for the life of a man as confounding as he is remarkable. Soon thereafter, the UPS man rang my bell to deliver the aforementioned piece of vinyl. Score. I placed it on the turntable and cranked it up.

At the close of business online through this site https://www.webdesign499.com/tips-to-follow-when-building-a-great-website/,  I readied myself for a trip to the city, iPod strapped and queued to a mobile shuffle of the bard’s sizable discography. MetroCard in hand, “Tombstone Blues” in my ears, I walked down the subway stars to the F train. Looking down I found this – good old Bob, a rare Nashville Skyline smile on his face as he tipped his hat to me from the concrete filth of the subway stairs. Hi Bob, nice hat!

In honor of this happy little happenstance, here’s Nashville Skyline’s “Peggy Day” for your own little Dylan fix. While you’re listening, I’ll be waiting for yet another Dylan delivery, this time a copy of Clinton Heylin’s celebrated 800-page tome, Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades. When it comes to Robert Zimmerman, hey, there’s no end to what you may learn about the man…

“Peggy Day” | Bob Dylan | Nashville Skyline | 1969

  1. Wednesday 04.18.2012 | 1:47 EST

    melania says:

    He is astonishingly amazing. I LOVE him and consider him the greatest musical genius besides the classical composers. It’s funny to hear this song, he is rather kermit like but it works. Time Out of Mind was my intro to him and then I worked my way back. How much more heartbreaking yet inspiring can you get? “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” gets me every single time. If you haven’t, catch him live. He is beyond cool.

  2. Wednesday 04.18.2012 | 12:59 EST

    Tonna says:

    So glad you got your groove back. XXOO

/ dec 2011

Music: Best of 2011. Sort Of

Best of 2011. Sort Of.

OK, so most year-end lists enumerate curators choices for the best musical efforts released in the current year, this being 2011, in case you’d lost track. Maunet’s list is a little different. It does include some records I thought represented the best of this year’s musical offerings. But to be quite honest, one look at my iTunes library revealed that I had not acquired all that many records released in 2011. Not to mention that all the vinyl I bought this year was primarily composed of classic records from the 60′s through the 90′s. Call me behind the times. An old fogey. Or, as I would prefer, discerning.

So with this in mind, my year-end list includes past artists or records that I’ve re-discovered or obsessed over during the course of the year. Some are relatively new artists from this decade, others hearken back to the days of yore. In all cases, their awesomeness goes undiluted by the passing of time. So, ordered by play count, check it:



Despite the fact that I didn’t get turned on to this band until November of this year, it tops the play count list. That should tell you something. Three of M83′s records have been on repeat for weeks now. It’s driving my girlfriend crazy, but I can’t help it. More here.



After some repeated listening, I reluctantly got to like this year’s The King Of Limbs. But really, it’s been all about the other three records pictured above. Thy’re so dark  and sexy and alive you just can’t put ‘em down. Bottom line, this band is one of the best of the best and warrants repeated listening no matter what year it is.

Pains of Being Pure At Heart


Teenage Dream Pop delight. Dashes of My Bloody Valentine, sprinkles of 80′s pop, Belong is perfect for driving with the top down. And if you’re wooing a girl, it’s a nice, innocent way to get things started…

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club


I’d forgotten just how fucking good these guys are. Dark rock a little this side of Jesus and Mary Chain, great for midnight strolls through dark alleys.

The National


Between the Expanded Edition of High Violet and the release of two singles this year supporting a movie (“Think You Can Wait”, Win Win) and a video game, of all things, (“Exile,Vilify”, Portal 2) this band continues to stay in heavy rotation after years of wearing their records down to the nub.

Bon Iver


Delicate, gorgeous, sublime. If this list was not ordered by play count, methinks this self-titled effort would top the list for best record of 2011. In fact, I’m disinclined to believe my LastFM scrobble count on this one, cause I spun this constantly since it’s release date. And have you seen this guy live? Jesus H.

The Rolling Stones


As with The Beatles, I re-discover this band every few years or so. You just can’t argue with it. Hands down one of the best bands of all time. My interest was re-piqued this time by the release of the Deluxe Edition of Exile On Main Street, not to mention recently acquired virgin vinyl copies of the meat of the Stone’s order: Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Beggars Banquet. This time around I finally saw the genius of Keith Richards. Such a rock star, a complete and utter madman; yet when it comes to the music, disarmingly earnest and truly delighted by his job. A sweetheart of sorts. He kills without showboating, his riffs deceptively simple and full of soul. Yes, I kinda fell in love with the man this year, crags and all. Watch Gimme Shelter, Let’s Spend the Night Together, Stones In Exile and Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones! for affirmation of this guy’s utter charm and musicality.

S. Carey


As drummer for Bon Iver, S. Carey applies a tasteful percussionist’s hand to a band that is primarily known for it’s acoustic leanings. But on his debut solo outing, he applies a musicologists magic to All We Grow, a gorgeous record teeming with majestic textures and complex rhythmic structures. It’s a soundtrack to a lover’s dream and well worth repeated listenings as it seeps into your subconscious, leaving you melancholy, joyful and fully alive.

Black Mountain


In its simplest terms, this band ROCKS. Steeped in psychedelic blues-rock of the 60′s and 70′s, this Canadian collective mines the best of Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, spewing a barrage of  rock and rollin bad-assness. Long live rock.

Black Angels


Seems I’m into bands with Black in their monikers. This particular brand of black is dry and muscular, piquant and dark as a blood orange. The Black Angels are an inarguably contemporary band, yet deeply rooted in late 60′s bombastic blues-rock (Monks, Black Sabbath); minimal basement dinge (Velvet Underground, The Stooges); and post-hippie psychedelic wash (Spacemen 3). While the first record, Passover, looms a little darker, their third effort, Phosphene Dream, has the band fascinated with the poppier side of the 60′s, making noisy nods to The Beatles, The Kinks and the Beach Boys. And that’s never a bad thing.

The Antlers


The Antler’s second record had a lot to live up to after the mesmerizing, wrenching 2009 debut Hospice. Happily, their sophomore effort doesn’t disappoint. Lyrically, the record sounds like a natural extension of the first–more songs of loss, distrust and heart-break. But while Hospice held us close in the trenches of human loss, Burst Apart employs new electronic textures that make it seem a little less of this world, more so a claustrophobic concoction of dreamy landscapes that bring to life all our most hidden fears and desires.

Pink Mountaintops


Pink Mountaintops are the sexier, dirtier sister of Black Mountain. Decidedly influenced by the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, the Tops rejoice in noisy DIY ditties of dancing, drugs, sex, and rock and roll. And who the hell don’t love that?

The Psychedelic Furs


I’ve been listening to these guys since high school–back in my time, “Pretty In Pink” was the pean to the unapproachable pretty girl sitting next to you in classs. But during the period when the Furs were at their most contemporary, I never delved deep into their catalog, satisfied with owning only All of This and Nothing, a collection of their poppier, prettier tracks. But this year I sat down and really dug into the first three records to discover that these guys are the quintessential post-punk band. Raw and growly, the Furs’ early material is so full of energy it’ll sock and spin you ’round like a boxer bent on knocking you down. And much to my surprise, these records still manage to sound contemporary after all these years. So don’t feel bad if you come across these guys late in the game. As they say,  ”the first in her line is the last to remember her name…”

Kurt Vile


Earlier this year the short 30-minute haunt of God Is Saying This To You stayed on repeat morning, noon and night. It’s the perfect record for a crisp autumn night spent alone on the veranda, sipping bourbon, smoking yourself daft, haunted by the specter of lost loves and friends forgotten. Imagine a gathering of Bert Jansch, Neil Young and Bon Iver plucking out ghostly strains haunting dark country woods. Naturally I had to go out and get everything this young troubadour from Pittsburgh has to offer, and none of it disappoints. Vile explores noisier territory on Constant Hitmaker and Childish Prodigy, then settles into a more unified approach on 2011′s Smoke Ring for My Halo. Take the whole ouvre as a whole and you’ve got one hell of a collection songs.

The War On Drugs


A Kurt Vile side project, The War On Drugs cook up a unique concoction of ambient Americana. Between Vile’s high register and a wash of distorted keyboards you’ll find songs suitable for a country stomp on the surface of the moon.

Secret Machines


Now Here Is Nowhere was the shit back in 2004. The band made a daringly cool move: basing the entire recording session for this album around the sound of a booming kick drum. Boy did it pack a wallop. But then, like so many other over-hyped bands of the oughts, they lost direction and petered out. But that don’t mean this record doesn’t hold up. Laden with strains of Pink Floyd, Can, Zeppelin and a smattering of shoegazing influences, this record deserves another listen now that the smoke has cleared and the dust has begun to settle.

Liz Phair


I bought Exile in Guyville the day it came out in June of 1993. As we all know, it changed the way chick-rock could sound, eschewing the politically correct laments of contemporaries like the sickeningly earnest Sarah McLaughlin, instead presenting us with a sexually forward, personally confrontational take on male/female relationships. What a refreshing record it was then, with immaculately clean and simple production and pitch-perfect songs. Well, this year I purchased a 180-gram vinyl edition of this classic and got hooked once again. We may not all be at the age where we can still fuck and run, but it’s nice to reminisce, no?



Ever wished there was a contemporary equivalent to Chopin’s Nocturnes? A less brainy/new-agey version of Erik Satie? Just short, simple, melodic, often romantic and lonely piano vignettes best for early morning, late evening or rainy days? Basically any time you’re prone to sad-bastard music and the beautiful tinkle of piano keys. Well, if Chopin were to come back to life as a hipster Canadian plunking out perfect piano ditties tinged with Spanish and Hungarian influences, Solo Piano would be the record he’d make next. Friend Kevin Brady puts it in its simplest terms: “This is one of the most beautiful records I’ve ever heard.” I’m pretty sure he’s not overstating.

Explosions In The Sky


in 2011, EITS released Take Care, Take Care, Take Care. As a huge fan of this band, I was left a little underwhelmed by that particular record. It just doesn’t compare to the masterpiece that is The Earth is Not A Cold Dead Place, a tuneful, joyous, bombastic, majestic record that makes post-rock contemporaries Mogwai sound like they’re tone deaf. And by the way, if you’re a fan of the television series Friday Night Lights, Explosions tracks are featured all over it…

Alexander “Skip” Spence


One of the great “lost” psychedelic records of the late 60′s, Oar is the creation of Alexander Spence, most famous for co-founding Moby Grape and for drumming with early incarnations of  Jefferson Airplane. Between that, drugging and going more than slightly mad, Skip made a kooky, woozy, haunting record reminiscent of Syd Barret and Electric Ladyland-era Hendrix. Lower the lights, spark up, relax and enjoy, man!



Shamelessly, these guys pilfer and plagiarize Prince’s mid-period discography, early Arcade Fire and just about any Brooklyn-born dance-rock band you can think of—to very satisfying success. Their first two efforts were actually insipid little indie rock records, bleh. But I fell prey to this record’s “Baby I’m A Star” collection of falsetto-laced pop-dance hooks soaked in drums-and-bubblegum beauty. Bump and grind, kiddies!




  1. Tuesday 12.20.2011 | 4:36 EST

    Rockpants says:

    I love the spirit of this list. And loving Rob’s list! EMA – yes! Golly, I have a lot of listening to do.

  2. Saturday 12.17.2011 | 8:41 EST

    krebby says:

    What!? No mention of the historic Lou Reed + Metallica teamup?!? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/01/lulu-metallica-lou-reed_n_1069221.html

  3. Wednesday 12.14.2011 | 2:50 EST

    Rob says:

    My Best of (what was actually released in) 2011 (according to my phone, of all things):
    Apocalypse, Bill Callahan; Biophilia; Bjork; Bloodless Coup, Bell X1; Bon Iver, Bon Iver; Days, Real Estate; Demolished Thoughts, Thurston Moore; Enough Thunder, James Blake; Hardcore Will Never Die, Mogwai; Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes; Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, M83; Last Summer, Eleanor Friedberger; Let England Shake, PJ Harvey; Lifes Rich Pageant (Deluxe Edition), R.E.M.; Mirror Traffic, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks; New Brigade, Ice Age; Parallax, Atlas Sound; Past Life of Martyred Saints, EMA; The People’s Key, Bright Eyes; Slave Ambient, The War on Drugs; Smoke Ring for My Halo, Kurt Vile; Suck It and See, Arctic Monkeys; The Whole Love, Wilco; Wit’s End, Cass McCombs

/ nov 2011

Awash In Synth:
M83′s 80′s Dreampop

M83 Hurry Up We're Dreaming M83 Saturday = Youth

“Midnight City” | M83 | Hurry Up We’re Dreaming | 2011

Whether or not you are of that generation that grew up with the cheesy synth and ray-gun drums of 80′s pop, it’s an unshakable fact that those very sounds are the perfect dream-pop background for songs of youthful longing. Making out in the back of cars, waiting for dark to descend, with it’s promise of shelter from the prying eyes of parents that be.

Hailing from France and making records since the mid-oughts, M83 has recently released Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, a double-LP awash in all possible 80′s production cliches, managing to make a perfect record for staring at the stars, pining for a lost love or hoping for your next romance to gel. This and their previous record, Saturday = Youth are rife with John Hughes romanticism (I’m 15 years old/ And I feel it’s already too late to live/ Don’t you?”). Both records owe much to O.M.D., Howard Jones and late-period Simple Minds. Indeed, the cover for S=Y features a phalanx of “stylish” pubescent youth seemingly intent on convening a French session of The Breakfast Club. And yet, the songs’ retro-contemporary stylings make them prime candidates for a place on a Sofia Coppola soundtrack.

Upon first listen you can’t but cringe at all the sonic cliche’s thrown at you. But leave’em on repeat for a day and you’ll come to realize how deftly crafted these records are, succeeding in turning cliches into fresh sounds that lift the spirit above the irony of middle age hispter posing. No matter what age you may be, the band’s dreamy epics are vividly alive with all things young, the perfect records on which to hang all your hopes and dreams.

“Kim & Jessie” | M83 | Saturday = Youth | 2008

  1. Tuesday 11.29.2011 | 9:24 EST

    Rockpants says:

    LOVE this. It’s so nice to have an excuse to listen to this :)

  2. Tuesday 11.15.2011 | 3:14 EST

    krebby says:

    Kim & Jessie, right on! “Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?”

Twirly Girl Gig: What the Client Didn’t Ask For

Twirly Girly Gig

“Let’s Dance” | David Bowie | Let’s Dance | 1983

Have you ever been given a project, understanding full well the needs of the client but gone ahead and mangled the concept into a completely different animal, just ’cause it’s fun? What you end up with is something utterly unusable as far as the client is concered, but are at least left with something to giggle about while you endeavor to properly capture the original concept.

This is one of those cases. While exploring ideas for the cover of Little Silver’s upcoming new EP, entitled Dress-Up, several solid photographic candidates were presented and well received. But late one night, armed with more than a few gin and tonics and a 8fps Nikon, you tipsily decide to explore another direction entirely and come up with this. A concept and feel for an album cover that is clearly not suited for the client’s beautifully understated acoustic recordings of, among other tracks, a lamenting cover of The Cure’s “Picture’s of You,” a somber pick and pluck rendition of Chris Whitley’s “Dirt Floor” and a dust bowl take on Sun Kil Moon’s “Salvador Sanchez.” They’re “dressing up”, see?

The client, the lovely and talented singer-songwriter team Erika Simonian and Steve Curtis, gleefully complimented the concept then gracefully put the kibosh on it for obvious reasons. You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows. It’s simply too retro-perky for the music it’s meant to represent. But we had our fun and are now back on track with something much more suitable. For posterity, we present the errant concept here. Enjoy. And while you’re at it, check out Little Silver’s official site here….

Twirly Girly Gig 2

Little Silver Dress-Up EP


  1. Friday 11.18.2011 | 11:33 EST

    colorshock says:

    fantastic, mau! i’m totally smitten. and totally jealous of your model’s sweet ass! so fun.

  2. Friday 11.11.2011 | 9:22 EST

    crispo says:

    Splendid! Great stuff Mau. As you can see, you have inspired me…

  3. Wednesday 11.09.2011 | 10:00 EST

    kph says:

    Dyin’ to know who that ass belongs to.

  4. Wednesday 11.09.2011 | 5:48 EST

    Rockpants says:

    Cracking me up, you!

  5. Wednesday 11.09.2011 | 5:18 EST

    Steve says:

    Totally makes me want to start another band and record another cover album and steal the title from Little Silver and use these shots. They’re really so good!

  6. Wednesday 11.09.2011 | 5:01 EST

    Rob says:

    Or: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EXXZVdUJ98

    Love the overlapping animation.

  7. Wednesday 11.09.2011 | 4:31 EST

    KBJr says:

    Put on your red shoes and dance the blues! Interesting to see how a client project led to your lovely tangent.

/ jun 2011

Wild at Heart: Black Mountain + Pink Mountain Tops Make Some Seriously Kick Ass Records

Black Mountain + Pink Mountaintops

Their third proper LP, Black Mountain’s Wilderness Heart kicks off with Led Zeppelin keyboard riffs, wailing vocals and blistering guitars. And while previous efforts have likewise worn their influences on their sleeves (the aforementioned Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Nirvana, Deep Purple), this new collection of songs takes further pride in dipping into the well of 70′s rock to deliver a more accessible, melodic record that’s perfect for a summer ride in your favorite vintage convertible. Don’t forget the weed and canned beer.

Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, Black Mountain has been making records since 2004 as part of the Black Mountain Army, a loose-knit collection of like-minded musicians steeped in psychedelic rock. Led by Stephen McBean, he also fronts the mellower, more instrumental Pink Mountaintops, a sex-obsessed band with a sizable cadre of members that dip into a different well, this time reveling in Velvet Underground, The Stooges and, dare I say it, Bad Company. Add Amber Webber on lead and backing vocals in both incarnations and you’ve got some serious female cred by way of no comparison I can muster. (Amber also leads Lightning Dust along with Pink Mountain Tops’ Joshua Wells, a folkier, moodier outfit drawing from equal parts Fleetwood Mac and Catpower).

I’ve had these bands in heavy, heavy rotation over the past several months, and they are hair-raisingly great (Wolfmother, eat your heat out), even more so when blasted loud on vintage speakers and fresh vinyl. We can’t exactly replicate that here, but here’s a small digital sample.

Got git ‘em, rock kids!


Wait No More: Undercover Vol 6 Lands Today


It’s been nearly 8 years since the last installment of the hugely popular Undercover series, but the wait is over kiddies. Those of you clambering for the latest installment can go hole up in your bedroom and feast on this rather long but tasty mix of 38 tracks. For those new to UC, Vols 1-6 compile cover versions of tracks by original artists both popular and obscure. Now, this idea is certainly not new. But maunet’s carefully curated, lovingly sequenced take on the notion is the best, Jerry, the best.

As with previous volumes, UCV6 presents versions both faithful and wildly divergent from their more well-known counterparts. The most satisfying efforts transform a previously douchy track into a sublime experience. Case in point, Erika Simonian’s beautifully spare acoustic take on Springsteen’s woefully over-produced “Dancing In The Dark” strips the track of it’s 80′s douchebaggery to reveal a gem of a song with lyrics that slay you dead. Likewise, with a deeply odd choice, Arab Strap manages to (almost) rid all irony from their version of a Van Hagar track, while Bon Iver joyfully brings back teenage memories with a radio staple from The Outfield. Townes Van Zandt might have recorded a better version of the original with an acoustic rendition of “Dead Flowers” featuring backing vocals by Guy Clark that make the hair on the back of your neck stand to attention. On the faithful side, The Donnas (an otherwise dismal band) do a kick ass job of replicating the fat bass line and snaking guitar licks of The Beatles’ “Drive My Car.” And we can’t omit mention of Patti Smith Group’s raucous, hilariously vulgar take on “My Generation,” complete with monster bass guitar by John Cale.

But no need to break this all down for you. Judge for yourself. Listen below, or

download the tracks here*.
*Now I usually do not condone the random distribution of purchased music, but in this case I’m making a very rare exception. Compensate by seeking out the artists on this list and give them some of your money!

For more of Undercover, check out Vols 1-5 in the right rail media player on this page.


Undercover: Don’t be fooled by legit imitations

Tax Man: The Marble Tea’s Sunny Afternoon

Complete Track List:

  1. Daniel Johnston: I Saw Her Standing There | The Beatles
  2. Ambulance Ltd: Fearless | Pink Floyd
  3. The Donnas: Drive My Car | The Beatles
  4. The Slits: I Heard It Through The Grapevine | Marvin Gaye
  5. Wilco: Any Major Dude Will Tell You | Steely Dan
  6. The Zombies: Summertime | Billie Holiday (Standard)
  7. Royal City: Is This It? | The Strokes
  8. Gary Jules: Mad World | Tears for Fears
  9. Arab Strap: Why Can’t This Be Love | Van Halen
  10. Nick Cave: I’m Your Man | Leonard Cohen
  11. Steve Malkmus + The Million Dollar Bash: Ballad of a Thin Man | Bob Dylan
  12. X: Soul Kitchen | The Doors
  13. Butthole Surfers: Hurdy Gurdy Man | Donovan
  14. Pink Mountain Tops: Atmosphere | Joy Division
  15. Iron & Wine: Love Vigelantes | New Order
  16. Billy Bragg: She Smiles Sweetly | The Rolling Stones
  17. Doveman: Dancing In The Sheets | Shalamar
  18. Erika Simonian: Dancing In The Dark | Bruce Springsteen
  19. Jim James + Calexico: Goin’ To Acapulco | Bob Dylan
  20. Townes Van Zandt: Dead Flowers | The Rolling Stones
  21. OK Go + Bonerama: Rock ‘n Roll Suicide | David Bowie
  22. The Muslims: Grinding Halt | The Cure
  23. Christian Death: Panic In Detroit | David Bowie
  24. Franz Ferdinand: All My Friends | LCD Sound System
  25. Queens of the Stone Age: Never Say Never | Romeo Void
  26. M. Ward: Let’s Dance | David Bowie
  27. This Mortal Coil: Holocaust | Big Star
  28. Catpower: Freebird | Lynard Skynard
  29. Magnetic Fields: Heroes | David Bowie
  30. The Detroit Cobras: Last Night | The Strokes
  31. The Jam: Batman Theme | Nelson Riddle
  32. Patti Smith Group: My Generation | The Who
  33. Lindsey Buckingham + Mathew Sweet: Magnet & Steel | Walter Eagan
  34. Robyn Hitchcock: It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue | Bob Dylan
  35. José Gonzales: Love Will Tear Us Apart | Joy Division
  36. Bon Iver: Your Love | The Outfield
  37. Mark Eitzel: Move On Up | Curtis Mayfield
  38. Daniel Johnston + Yo La Tengo: Speeding Motorcycle | Daniel Johnston
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