Charles Aaron



  • John Fullbright, 'From the Ground Up' (Blue Dirt Records/Thirty Tigers)

    Big drawl + bigger topics = NPR&Western broadsides. Even sings from "Gawd"'s POV! Chill, young'un.

  • Lil B / Dinesh D'Souza (Ben Hider/Getty)

    Lil B's NYU Debate Series: A Proposal

    While some lucky punters were gobbling up Jarvis Cocker's bon mots at Radio City Music Hall, other New Yorkers decided that showing up at NYU's Eisner & Lubin Auditorium for a "lecture" by Internet-rap visionary Lil B might be a unique way to pass a Tuesday evening. Whatever your opinion of the latter's musical output or academic credentials, we're always intrigued when higher-education attempts to interact with hip-hop, a clash of cultures that is ultimately beneficial for everyone — full stop. In order to promote and expand upon this exchange of ideas, we'd like to suggest five future events, upping the ante by proposing that Lil B throw down in a series of high-minded debates. You're welcome, NYU student-events scamps! 1.

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    #sonictruth: 90 Wildly Speculative Digressions On Why Yuck Might Be the Greatest Band of the '90s

    Yuck are a young London-based foursome — singer-guitarist Daniel Blumberg, guitarist Max Bloom, bassist Mariko Doi, and drummer Jonny Rogoff — who appear to be a magically seamless genetic splice of Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, the Vaselines, Sonic Youth, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Yo La Tengo, Nirvana, Elliott Smith, My Bloody Valentine, Sebadoh, Superchunk, Lush, Built to Spill (and a pinch of Beat Happening, among others). Basically, they sound like '80s babies who grew up to be '90s alt-rock youth, though they're actually '90s alt-rock babies who grew up to be 2000s youth. What's even more curious is that their self-titled debut may be more consistently tuneful than any album by any of the above bands.

  • SPIN's 20 Best Songs of 2011

    SPIN's 20 Best Songs of 2011

    Check out more of SPIN's countdowns of 2011's best music here: SPIN's 40 Best Rap Albums of 2011 20. FLEET FOXES, "Helplessness Blues" An earnest orphan raised by '60s wolves turns up on the doorstep of 2011, tries to write a generational folk anthem, muddles allegiances, imagines he owns a frickin' orchard -- poignant confusion reigns. 19. ERIC CHURCH, "Homeboy" The gut-ripping, country-rock saga of a small-town family hysterically projecting their fears onto a lone Yelawolf fan with a neck tat. Unfair, but plausible. 18. LIL WAYNE, "6 Foot 7 Foot" Considering his scattershot, post-incarceration output, quite possibly the last Weezy song you'll ever IM or tweet or post on impact. Kind regards to producer Bangladesh's bent "Banana Boat" sample. 17.

  • Britney Spears / The Rapture's Luke Jenner (Photo: Getty Images, Spears; Ryan Muir, Jenner)

    SPIN's 20 Best Songs of the Summer

    I don't know you, and you don't know me, but I think we can come to an understanding about the summer of 2011 -- it was all about some bullshit happening somewhere (as The Onion once so concisely put it). The political riots, the apocalyptic weather events, the celebrities taking an elaborate dump on our front lawns and then tweeting that it's just nutritious fertilizer developed specifically to revive a withered economy. It's enough to drive a nation of college-age white kids to forsake hip-hop, take up with a skanky new squeeze named Molly, and repeatedly utter a new generation's cry for understanding: "Dub-muthafuckin'-step!" So, in 2011, we needed the mindless exhilaration of preposterous, heartbreaking, or seizure-inducing summer tunes more than ever. Fortunately, there were a multitude of options.

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    Skrillex Premieres Mind-Blowing New Video

    It's one thing to empathize with at-risk kids, or to speak up for them generally, but Skrillex takes it a step further -- and then further still -- in this stunning new video for the track "First of the Year (Equinox)." On his More Monsters and Sprites EP, "First of the Year" begins with a fairly amiable, reggae-tinged stroll and squeakily pitched vocal, then shifts into a sprightly electro-house keyboard melody before a dubstep code-red breakdown explodes. But in this clip, the song's melodic preamble also serves as an ominous backdrop for a creepy, would-be predator who's lurking outside a playground where young children are frolicking. The day is overcast, but something much darker is in the air, as a little girl leaves and the man stalks after her.

  • Girls, 'Father, Son, Holy Ghost' (True Panther/Matador)

    Girls, 'Father, Son, Holy Ghost' (True Panther/Matador)

    As a term of endearment, "Honey Bunny" has a tragic flaw -- anyone who'd seriously employ such a line is most likely insane. From Bugs Bunny's schizo wife to Pulp Fiction's coffee-shop stick-up to the demented Liquid Television cartoon to Vincent Gallo's icky song/video, proceed with extreme caution. So what of Girls' "Honey Bunny," the rockabilly-surf shimmy that leads off the second album by these Bay Area enigmas? When frontman Christopher Owens coos, "I need a woman who loves me me me me me, yeah," is he pathologically coy or irresistibly, sweetly wounded?With his foreboding backstory (raised in Children of God cult) and juxtaposition of transgressive imagery with timeless, if lo-fi, pop-rock classicism, the waifish Owens has inspired obsessive speculation. Now, after 2009's well-received Album, he elevates his ambitions -- to the trinity!

  • DOM, 'Family of Love EP' (Astralwerks)

    DOM, 'Family of Love EP' (Astralwerks)

    With their 2010 debut EP, Sun Bronzed Greek Gods -- especially wounded snot-nosed manifestos "Living in America" and "Burn Bridges" -- this sincerely smart-ass Dorchester, Massachusetts trio levitated to the top of indie-pop's scrap heap -- i.e., they boasted the uncanniest songs via the crappiest DIY means. So was there any reason to record these five similarly shrewd melodies-with-benefits in a real studio assisted by producer Nicolas Vernhes (Björk, Animal Collective)? Nah, not really. Dom's '80s identikit synth-psych ditties ("Telephoned," the title track) are the most fun when he's slyly and/or drunkenly tugging your skirt. Not when he sidles up all polished and proper.

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    Robyn Leads a Bonnaroo Lovefest on Her B-Day

    Anyone who spied Swedish electro-pop diva Robyn backstage in the dusty gravel parking lot at the Other Tent on Sunday afternoon got a serious glimpse into what would soon transpire onstage. A small crew huddled (including one topless lass adorned with glitter sprinkles) and put on wireless headphones apparently transmitting the same song, while Robyn ran them through a giddy dance workout that nodded to Bonnaroo's popular "silent disco" DJ tent and rivaled the eccentric focus of any pre-show ritual dreamed up by Al Pacino. Once she emerged to join her whiteclad three-piece band beneath a stage set of two towering silver pinwheels, that focus revved up to a manically thrilling intensity.

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    Wiz Khalifa Gets High on... (Music?) at Bonnaroo

    His bent-paper-clip physique thickly tatted up and down, baseball cap askew, skein of gold chains, sleeveless black Taylor Gang t-shirt, eyes past the point where "glassy" even begins to describe the vast vacancy, so skinny his skinny jeans are sagging, Pittsburgh permastoner rapper Wiz Khalifa strolled up to the front of the What Stage Saturday evening, and announced, with all the sincerity he could muster, "It's not about me, it's about all of...." But before he could murmur the perfunctory "you," Wiz doubled over in full trademark cackle, grinning like a smartass lottery winner. This was either an amusing moment of refreshing candor -- "Yo, fuck this humility hustle, we know it's really about moi" -- or a sadly revealing hint of just how truly zooted on his own supply the MC has become.

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