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Clef Notes: The Annual Grammy Indifference Edition

Every Friday, or at least until his spectacular rock star flameout, Giovanny will be dropping a week’s worth of music knowledge on you with Clef Notes, proof positive that he’s a one man music magazine



Re-Re-Redux: While most of us were doing whatever it is we do on Wednesday nights (my evening included watching basketball and playing Portal 2 co-op), numerous rich white people (and L.L. Cool J, who almost is one) gathered in Nashville to reveal the nominations for the 55th Grammy awards. There was even a primetime CBS special hosted by L.L. and Taylor Swift (she's already writing a song about his incessant lip-licking, and how it stole her remaining innocence), which featured performances from the likes of Nobody Cares, Interchangeable Country Act Number 27, and That Band Your Mom Likes! Since I’m sure you didn’t watch the nominations special (like, duh, you don’t even own a TV), and I write about this every year, I've decided to give you a brief glimpse at how some of the major categories panned out- and of course treat you to my incredibly faulty and highly unreliable predictions.

Record Of The Year:
Lonely Boy - The Black Keys
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) - Kelly Clarkson
We Are Young - fun. (ft. Janelle Monae)
Somebody That I Used To Know - Gotye (ft. Kimbra)
Thinkin Bout You - Frank Ocean
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - Taylor Swift

This year’s nominees for Record Of The Year feature a slew of songs which you couldn’t get away from no matter how hard you tried. In a perfect world Frank Ocean would walk away with this statuette (along with the other five he is nominated for), but it's really a two horse race between Gotye and fun., both of whom provided 2012 with some extremely overplayed tunes. Winner: Somebody That I Used To Know - Gotye

Album Of The Year:
El Camino - Black Keys
Some Nights- fun.
Babel - Mumford & Sons
Channel Orange - Frank Ocean
Blunderbuss - Jack White

Third Wave feminists all over the internet are outraged that no woman was nominated for 2012’s Album Of The Year. Personally, I was just happy Bieber’s name wasn't uttered. You already know how I feel about Ocean, and it would be an incredible moment for the Grammys if they gave him this award, but they probably won’t. Most people assume this category belongs to either White or the Black Keys, but I'd watch out for Mumford & Sons, because the nominations committee tends to lean towards predictable idiocy. Winner: Babel - Mumford & Sons

Best New Artist:
Alabama Shakes
Hunter Hayes
The Lumineers
Frank Ocean

I pretty much assume there's no way Ocean can’t win this award. The only way he gets beaten out is if the Grammy voters really loved screaming We Are Young during drunken karaoke, but I doubt it. Winner: Frank Ocean, or I will burn down the Grammys.

Best Pop Vocal Album:
Stronger - Kelly Clarkson
Ceremonials - Florence Welch + The Machine
Some Nights - fun.
Overexposed - Maroon 5
The Truth About Love - Pink

Kelly Clarkson seems like the logical choice in this category, which is why she definitely won’t win. Of the remaining options I suppose fun. is a decent choice, mostly because they're nominated for an impressive number of awards, but I believe this statuette will be going home with the host of one of those awful singing TV shows. Winner: Overexposed - Maroon 5

Best Rock Album:
El Camino - Black Keys
Mylo Xyloto - Cold Play
The 2nd Law - Muse
Wrecking Ball - Bruce Springsteen
Blunderbuss - Jack White

Some of you may consider either White or the Black Keys to be front-runners in this category because both are nominated for album of the year, but you’re wrong. Bruce Springsteen has an album nominated in this category, and the Grammy voters still fondly remember going to the record store to buy Born To Run. Winner: Wrecking Ball - Bruce Springsteen

Best Rap Album:
Take Care - Drake
Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt.1 - Lupe Fiasco
Life Is Good - Nas
Undun - The Roots
God Forgives, I Don't - Rick Ross
Based On A T.R.U Story - 2 Chainz

No Kendrick Lamar, no Killer Mike, no Joey Bada$$, no Big K.R.I.T! This category is a complete and utter travesty. The nomination committee did placate me with the presence of Drake, but I have a sneaking suspicion they are going to give Nas the: “Hey it’s about time you released something great!” award. Winner: Life Is Good - Nas

Best Alternative Music Album:
The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do - Fiona Apple
Biophilia - Bjork
Making Mirrors - Gotye
Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming - M83
Bad As Me - Tom Waits

This is a difficult category for me to choose a winner in. My heart would like to see M83 win, but my head is pretty certain it's Fiona’s to lose. If Gotye somehow manages to win this, my heart will be broken, my head will be shattered, and my ears will revolt. Winner: The Idler... - Fiona Apple

Ultimately, the artists with the most nominations are Kanye West, Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, Dan Auerbach (of the Black Keys), Mumford & Sons, and fun. This year’s nominations tend to reflect a more singles-driven record industry (not a good thing) than in the past, and many of 2012’s mega-hits (including Call Me Maybe) managed to receive numerous nods. I sincerely hope this trend passes soon.

Of course there were some snubs, like Bieber, Lionel Richie (which is only worth mentioning because of his extremely contrived Grammy-bait record, Tuskegee), and a rather upset indie-band from Brooklyn called Grizzly Bear. After the nominees were announced, Ed Droste, Grizzly Bear's singer and principal songwriter, took to Twitter to bemoan his band’s lack of Grammy respect in typical modern bratty fashion. Here are some of his highlights:

We won't win the Grahmees! :(

So the Grammies are literally based off sales and nothing else?#bummerzone

Super relieved Taylor Swift is up for another award. Was worried she didn't have enough! #phew

This type of expression is actually something I've come to expect in a world where artists can (and do) share their thoughts digitally, whenever they please. What was surprising, however, is how indie-king (and Grammy winner) Bon Iver read, and later that same day replied to, Droste’s tweets with these words of encouragement:

this is why i hate the grammies. because it allows you to question what you've done. don't question what you’ve done Ed.

y'alls music is pure as fuck and there is nobody making music like you and i think it's truly unique. the grammies aren’t a measure of much that is calculable or quantifiable by our own contexts for music. why you create is most important.

All this being said, FUCK those morons for not knowing enough about GB [Grizzly Bear] #jordongotcutfromhighschoolbasketball

Awww, look at how nice Bon Iver is! Droste must be happy to have such a successful and gracious friend...who doesn’t know how to spell Jordan. I bet Droste and Iver will have one hell of a subdued, vegan, Grammy party! For those of you interested in throwing your own, the 2013 Grammys will air on February 10th at 8PM ET. I will be watching, but of course I sort of have to.


Dos - Green Day

Now that we’re two records into this trifecta which nobody asked for, I’m pretty sure we can all admit the idea of dropping three records in a couple of months was a feat way beyond Green Day's ken... [Full Review]

16th Notes:

Please release the Loveless followup soon, you beautiful Irish S.O.B.

Some recent reports indicate Arcade Fire played a secret show in their “native” Montreal as a mystery band called Les Identiks, and treated the small crowd to some new tunes off of their upcoming record. Please try not to faint when considering the prospects of a new Arcade Fire record... Thom Yorke unveiled a few scant details about the highly anticipated Atoms For Peace debut. Some of the details include the album's name (Amok), release date (Feb. 26), and track li- I’m sorry, I just fainted a little... In a recent Drowned In Sound interview, My Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe updated the world on the progress of the Loveless follow up (which Kevin Shields claimed would be released before the end of the year). Long story short, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing it before the world/year ends... As some of you may know, Stephen Malkmus commemorated the 40th Anniversary of Can’s legendary record, Ege Bamyasi, by performing the album in its entirety at Week-End Fest in Cologne last Saturday. Here are some clips from the show, but before you watch them, I should warn you about the insane jealousy which will wash over you as you consider how lucky that German audience was... Fleetwood Mac has recently announced a string of reunion tour dates. I suppose you can now cross your grandmother off your Christmas list... Johnny Depp has curated a pirate-themed compilation record, which includes tracks from the likes of Broken Social Scene, Iggy Pop, and Nick Cave. It seems like grandma will be getting a pretty sweet haul this year!..

Top Ten List:

Jim Morrison is an artist who has been lauded by millions, and derided by nearly as many. Because his birthday is tomorrow, and because I make a habit of not speaking ill of the dead, I won't share my opinions about his place in the history of Rock N’ Roll, and will instead celebrate the songs which he helped create.

The Doors absolutely have to be considered one of America’s greatest Rock N’ Roll bands. They were better than Aerosmith, Van Halen, KISS, and The Eagles, and every bit as good as Pearl Jam, The Ramones, and Guns N’ Roses (R.E.M., The Velvet Underground, and The Grateful Dead are on their own level). From 1967 to 1971 The Doors released several classic albums, and Jim Morrison’s poetry and voice were both the nucleus and mystic spark of those recordings. Morrison left this Earth at far too young an age, but his songs and iconography remain timeless. Here is a list of the ten best songs by The Doors.

10) L.A. Woman
9) Love Me Two Times
8) Hello I Love You
7) Touch Me
6) Riders On The Storm
5) The Crystal Ship
4) People Are Strange
3) Light My Fire
2) The End
1) Break On Through (To The Other Side)

Clips Of The Week:

While engaging in a mellow pregame with some friends this week the conversation somehow fell upon the trilogy of Guns N’ Roses videos released during the Use Your Illusion era. Because GN’R was my favorite band as a child, and I obsessed over every aspect of their career, I consider myself a bit of an expert on the absurd Axl Rose and Stephanie Seymour saga, famously released out of sequence in the videos for Don’t Cry, November Rain, and Estranged... but even I can’t truly make sense of them all.

When M83 released the video for Wait this week it marked the end of a more recent (and easier to understand) trilogy, which may not feature the excess and insanity of the GN’R videos, but is thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless. As all of you know, I’m an ENORMOUS fan of M83’s latest record, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, and since its release Anthony Gonzalez has treated fans to some visually stunning clips which have not only promoted his extraordinary work in grand fashion, but have also told the tale of super-powered children trying to find their way in this world. I’ve taken the liberty of providing the three clips (Midnight City, Reunion, and Wait) below for your viewing pleasure, because video trilogies are rare, and this one is fantastic.

Tracks Of The Week:

Nice sweater/poncho.

Wish Book Vol. 1 - Dan Deacon: Dan Deacon is an artist who deserves to be more famous than he actually is. When you consider the facts that two of the hottest and most popular trends in modern music are electronic music and psychedelia, and NO ONE combines those elements better than Deacon, then it only seems logical that he should have gotten a cover of Rolling Stone by now. Sadly this is not the case, and Deacon delivers most of his genius in relative obscurity, wowing those of us with good taste, and confusing small-minded people who are prone to music-triggered epileptic seizures.

This week’s tracks are all courtesy of Dan Deacon and, although they're not startling original compositions, they are some of the best mashups you will ever hear in your entire life. Over the course of five tracks Deacon samples (in order of appearance) Grimes, Psy, Beach House, Skrillex, Diplo, Nicky Da B, Dirty Projectors, Lil’ Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Oneohtrix Point Never, Tune Yards, Animal Collective, Rod Stewart, The Strokes, Wiz Khalifa, Beyoncé, LCD Soundsystem, Death Grips, Ludacris, Rihanna, The Beatles, Roy Orbison, Silver Apples, Katy Perry, 69 Boyz, Gary Glitter, James Brown, LMFAO, Black Dice, The Ronettes, R. Kelly, Black Eyed Peas, Lenny Kravitz, The Misfits, 2 Chainz, Daft Punk, Led Zeppelin, The Notorious B.I.G., Devo, Lightning Bolt, Unknown Artist Recorded In Jaipur, India, Marvin Gaye, Radiohead, Rage Against The Machine, Salt N Pepa, Brian Eno, and Madonna! Pretty impressive list, huh? Somewhere Kanye is furious he wasn’t included on this release.

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