Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tribute to: Beck


I have been a Beck man for what's now over half of my life, considering I just turned 29 and Mellow Gold dropped in '93. The one cool thing I've found with fellow Beck fans is that everyone has their own favorite album from him, which makes total sense considering everything he's done explores so many genres that it's hard to pinpoint one single, definitive piece of work. For me, it's Mutations. It has the anti-folk creativity of Odelay with the emotion of Sea Change, and the latter happens to be my second favorite. So here's a tribute to one of my favorite solo artists ever for the holidays via several of my favorite tracks:

My favorite track off Mutations. It's the closer which then heads off into a hidden track, but this one is classic Beck just singing his fucked up heart out in that mellow style that he's perfected.


Midnite Vultures is an awesome record. If you mixed up Barry White, Prince, and Beck, you'd get this album. This album shows off how much Beck knows his shit because when you think about it, the whole thing probably shouldn't have worked at all.


My favorite track off Odelay.


I think The Information has gotten better since it's been released. I know it's only been 3 and 1/2 years, but humor me. Guero was one of his bigger successes in a long time and everyone expected him to release something else genre-exploring, when in reality he released what was a collection of songs that probably could have fit into a sequel to Odelay that people would have been perfectly happy with at that time. The Information, to me, isn't as much of a whole album as some of his others, but it's still a damn good collection of songs and this is one of my favorites.


Sea Change is a hard album for me to listen to sometimes. After a bad breakup, I turned to this album right after and just kind of immersed myself in the lyrics. As corny as it sounds, I guess it helped somewhat. Songs like "Lost Cause" and "It's All in Your Mind," which would probably be considered incredibly depressing to most, let me know that at least this wasn't anything out of the ordinary that I was going through. Anyways, this particular song I listened to quite a bit. I absolutely love the video and I think it's one of the best songs ever written about heartbreak.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Awesome Video for Washed Out's "Belong."

This video came out pretty recently and I think it's cool as hell. Chicks in 80's spandex have always done it for me for some reason. I've become a huge fan of Washed Out this year and I'm looking forward to whatever he puts out next. If any of you haven't heard his debut LP High Times yet, you're missing out.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Swiss Band Sings in French and I Don't Hate Them

I have no clue what the hell these guys are singing about, but I'll be damned if it doesn't make me happy. They're called Mama Rosin and their album is pretty solid with heavy Creole influences...go figure. I dare you not to snap your fingers to this shit. I'm willing to look passed the whole Swiss dudes singing in French thing because they use banjos, which are a universally forgiving entity.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Great Live Version of St. Vincent

So this version of Actor Out of Work has been making its way around the radio waves and it's pretty awesome. Have to say I may prefer it to the album version actually, probably because I'm a fan of anything with a saxophone involved in it. Even if it's being played by an extremely creepy looking dude with a mullet in a headband.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Top Ten Tracks of 2009: 5-1

5. Mat and Kim - Daylight


4. Girls - Hellhole Ratrace


3, Passion Pit - Moth's Wings


2. Phoenix - Lisztomania


1, Grizzly Bear- Two Weeks

Top Ten Tracks of 2009: 6-10

10. Washed Out - Feel It All Around



9. Atlas Sound (featuring Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab) - Quick Canal


8. jj - Ecstasy



7. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Young Adult Friction



6. Dirty Projectors - Stillness is the Move

Monday, November 30, 2009

Great New Band: Screaming Lights


I was put on to this band a few weeks ago. Apparently they're gaining steam in the UK, and honestly I can see why. They have a psychedelic feel to them that's kind of like Depeche Mode, Joy Division, and early U2 all rolled into one. I'm a fan and their first album is actually really good. I'm surprised they haven't gotten any airplay here in the States. There's a great track called "Exit Wound" that I can't find on youtube to post, and this is all I could find. It's on their myspace page though which you can go to by clicking here. I'm sure a lot of people are going to be labeling them as copycats of Editors or Joy Division wannabes, but I guess I just think they're a band that might have something more than that in them after a few listens. Perhaps even becoming the band that Bloc Party should have become. The first song posted below is their first single. Enjoy.



The Five Best Bands from the 2000's: #1 - TV on the Radio


I don't even remember the first time I listened to them anymore. I do however, remember buying Dear Science the day it was released and not listening to anything else for the next 4-5 weeks. TV on the Radio's formula is fairly simple, it's somewhat of a transitive formula for bringing several genres of rock from the 60's and 70's into the new era; we love David Bowie and Bob Dylan, but we also love modern production techniques, so we're going to make music as Bowie and Dylan would using modern production techniques. Their setup is fairly simple; dual frontmen with Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone, a loose feeling of anything goes with their songwriting, and a free-flowing, somewhat unstable timeline of musical progression that you just can't put your finger on. I had a friend once who told me that she felt they were becoming more soulful over the course of their albums, and I guess there's some truth to that, but it's hard not to listen to some of their earlier work and not get sucked in to Adebimpe's voice like you would any classic soul singer.

I think what makes TV on the Radio the best is simply the fact that they're so easy to love. Beautiful, thrilling, complicated, dense; you could go on forever using adjectives to describe the type of music that they make. They're the anti-Animal Collective; they're not hard to love. They're one of those bands that after a few minutes of hearing them for the first time, one says to themselves, "yeah, I'm going to be following these guys for a while." They're the type of band that makes other people want to learn how to play instruments and start writing songs. They make albums that people put on as background music for studying, working out, driving, cleaning up around the house; you name it. They're universal for anyone who is a fan of any genre of not just rock but music all together. And that's why I think they're the best artists of this decade. They blend the wit of Elvis Costello's style of social commentary, the vocal techniques of singers ranging from John Lennon to Al Green with rhythms that knock your fucking socks off. They're an alpha=male band in a beta-male era of society. What more can a fan ask for?



My favorite track from them


On Letterman last year, this performance was just awesome.


Ahem, that's Bowie on the background vocals




Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Five Best Bands from the 2000's: #2 - Animal Collective



When it comes to Animal Collective, people tend to fall generally into one of two camps. You either think they're geniuses, trailblazers of an entirely new style of not only rock but music all together; or you think that they're a complete joke and their music is the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard. There's really no in-between. The former is usually composed of critics and fans who listen to such an inordinate amount of music that the mind eventually thirsts for something, ANYTHING that upsets the norm. They want music that they sometimes may not even love upon the first listen, because they want the music to earn their affection. And so they listen and listen to the layering and the samples and the hooks and the loops until they can make some sort of sense of the jumbled mess coming out of their speakers. Melody and instruments become an afterthought in the quest to find music that confuses them. This is the type of music that Animal Collective makes, it's the type of music that tends to turn critics on their heads, and it's also the type of music that their fans want. I happen to fall into that group when it comes to these two camps. I love music that confuses the hell out of me, I think that's what it's there for.

It's not so much the originality of their sound for me, it's their sheer mastery of it. Listening to Animal Collective is like watching Synedoche, New York. Either you get it or you don't. You can marvel at the dexterity of it all, or you're bored to death by it. It's really that simple. Avey Tare and Panda Bear always seem to pick the exact right spots to insert their distinguishing vocals, and their use of African drum beats mixed in with any sort of sample and hook you can imagine wind up amounting to the Beach Boys on a bad acid trip. Though listenability is certainly subjective in the eyes of many, one thing that isn't up for debate is originality. And, for me, it's not so much the inventiveness that's at the forefront of everything they do, it's their recognition that the freedoms they take in each album are best served to the listener if they're carefully controlled. Animal Collective makes music that you can only decipher with a good pair of headphones, and perhaps that's why I love them so much.

In what wound up being a hilarious performance due to his reaction, David Letterman was dumbfounded when they played Summertime Clothes on his show earlier in the year, and not in a good way. But that's the entire point I'm trying to make here. Either you love them for upsetting the status quo or you point and laugh at them for it. Me? I think they're fantastic. I think that they remind us all that sometimes you need to just shut up and explore things with a purely open heart and ear without precondition, and I hope they never get tired of working together.









Friday, November 27, 2009

The Five Best Bands from the 2000's: #3 - Grizzly Bear


Precision. That's really the only way to describe Grizzly Bear. Every beat of every song, every note on every instrument, sounds carefully planned and mulled over for long periods of time before any of it is incorporated into any song. It's a wonderful thing, to see a group of musicians put this much effort into perfecting their craft. Veckatimest, in my personal opinion, is the best album of 2009. Yellow House, its predecessor, put them at the forefront of up and comers and gave them a spot opening up for Radiohead. And I guess that makes sense, because Radiohead seems content in letting its members pursue their side projects while they find the strength to get back in the studio and endure the creative process that entails making an actual album. This process, the art of the album, is becoming a lost one. It's not dead, but it does seem to be something that musicians don't seem to be as focused on due to the single track selection that fans are afforded now.

And, with that, it has come to be that Grizzly Bear established themselves as the torchbearers for that very art. Their first album, Horn of Plenty, was more or less a solo album. It's not fair to consider it with their more recent works. Yellow House was an exploration in melody, an album that seemed like the band testing its songwriting chops for some future purpose. And Veckatimest seems to have been that very purpose, as the ebb and flow of the album draws from what seems to be every single genre of music ever with the melodies and harmonies from Yellow House expanded into something more meaningful. Veckatimest is why people love rock albums so much. The anticipation of it, its dissection, how it sounds after that third or fourth listen as compared to the first, trying to estimate where the band's next album will take them, and then watching the years go by as one band after another borrows from its legacy. Getting to discover bands like Grizzly Bear is why I love listening to music so much. It's that simple.

Love this user putting Foreground to the ending of King Kong.










The Five Best Bands from the 2000's: #4 - Arcade Fire


It would be an absolute crime not to include Arcade Fire on this list. If you made a list of the top-five albums of this decade (ahem, based on craftsmanship rather than personal preference), and didn't include Funeral on it, then I'm sorry but your list is incorrect. The Canadian sensations can definitely be accused of a lot of things, and rightfully so on them. Influencing the hipster culture to a d-bag level-degree, becoming highly self-involved and overrating their own importance, acting like toolboxes towards other bands...etc. But the one thing they can't be accused of is not earning at least the right to do all that crap. Hell, both Springsteen and Grohl have covered them live at their own shows. They're loved by everyone ranging from the indie basement-dweller to the arena die-hard.

I loved both Funeral and Neon Bible, and there's really no doubt in anyone's mind that absent a breakup, this band is going to put out several all-time greats in the years to come. Anyone who isn't anticipating the hell out of their new LP coming out next year is simply trying to act cool, and needs to be trying harder.

This was my personal favorite off Funeral, I love the buildup into that gorgeous last minute where they pick the beat up.









Love this track. Kudos to the youtube user for this video, goes perfect with the song.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Five Best Bands from the 2000's: #5 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Every decade produces its share of incredible new talent that never go out of style long after their debut. They produce the kind of music that transcends generations and genres. Future artists wind up claiming them as the reason they began making music, and albums of the decades to come wind up being held up to the standards that they set. The 80's gave us Talking Heads, Sonic Youth, The Pixies, Prince...etc. The 90's gave us Nirvana, Radiohead, The Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse...etc. You get the point.

So, which bands will people be looking at as the quintessential influences ten years down the line? Hindsight surely changes a lot of things, and many bands and albums tend to warm up to people over time, but the best of the best tend to make their impact felt immediately. Here are my top five. The Rules? Only one. No music before the year 2000. That's it. Hence, no White Stripes, Spoon or Wilco. Sorry, but I have to cut it off somewhere.

#5 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs



I still remember the first time I ever heard Date With the Night on the radio while I was driving. It was one of those "holy fuck" moments that as a true appreciator of awesome rock you only experience once every few years. And that's what Karen O and company are, simply awesome. Maps is hands down the best love song to be written this decade, and all three of their albums have delivered on and exceeded expectations. Whether it's on a track or on stage, there's nothing that this trio can't kick total ass doing. My only problem here is limiting the amount of songs I post from them because I don't know if they've ever recorded a song that I didn't like.

Oh, and Karen O is hot. If you don't agree then you haven't seen her live. Watch this chick on stage for five minutes and try to act like you don't want to father her children.





This is my favorite YYY's track ever below.







This song has always struck me as Maps Part Deux. Still beautiful though.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Movie Soundtracks of the 2000's


(Remember when Liv Tyler was this awesome?)

So I'm going to start doing a few lists and collections over the next few weeks to bring in 2010, and I thought with the tremendously annoying new Twilight movie being released, we can at least all take a step back and appreciate the solid soundtrack they put out in accordance with the movie. And while I'm at it, I figured we can also reflect back on the better soundtracks of the decade.

Just a heads up, I'm only doing original soundtracks. Not collections. Thus, no Almost Famous and no High Fidelity. And I'm sorry but I hate Garden State.

I think for this decade, any discussion of soundtracks has to begin with the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. This entire album is pure bliss and so is the movie. It's remarkable, but O Brother has become somewhat of a forgotten movie when people talk about the Coens these days. Which is weird considering how much acclaim it received not too long ago. If you like bluegrass, George Clooney, or George Clooney lip-syncing bluegrass, this is the album for you.



I'm a huge Charlie Kaufman fan and I loved Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This song was recorded by Beck for the introduction and it really worked with the setup for the story to come. There's a few songs on the soundtrack that weren't recorded solely for the album, but the majority of them are, so I threw it in here. Also because I'm biased and this is my blog, so I can do whatever I want.



Also on that note, Iron and Wine recorded a few good tracks for In Good Company, so I'm throwing my favorite of those on here too.



So this is my favorite track from the New Moon Soundtrack. It's recent phenoms Bon Iver and St Vincent teaming up for a pretty beautiful acoustic track. I have to hand it to them, Twilight is absurdly femme but the roster of artists they put together for this soundtrack was damn impressive.



I loved everything about Little Miss Sunshine. From Alan Arkin's hilarious grandfather character to Greg Kinnear's psychotic revelation when he saw the pageant in action, and of course the beautiful soundtrack composed mostly by Devotchka.



I think Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood deserves a mention here for his original score to There Will Be Blood. No, it's not exactly alt. rock, but the guy's one of the best musical minds of the past 20 years and this entire score was outstanding. If you loved There Will Be Blood as much as I did, you'll have to agree that the soundtrack helped make the film as good as it was.



Another 2009 soundtrack. Karen O did a great job with the soundtrack for Where the Wild Things Are. Her punk edge translated well into the light-heartedness that was needed for the songs here. Just a great pick by the minds behind this movie for a musical accompaniment.



I thought that The Virgin Suicides was an OK-enough movie, but it's hard to deny that the soundtrack was pretty fucking good. This is probably the biggest song from it. Never underestimate the power of a good saxophone solo.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

How Fucking Cool is Elvis Costello?

Two Elvis Costello posts in one week? Go figure. I don't know if there's anyone else out there in the history of music who I'd rather go out drinking with for a night. The guy's hilarious and you know that he's probably entertaining as hell when he's out on the town.

Anyways, here's the clip of him on Colbert and the duet they did together. Cheap Reward is a song that's on the bonus disc version of My Aim is True, it's also only a demo version that was never recorded properly in a studio. Thus, it's not a song that a lot of people know by heart, so it's pretty obvious that between this and his past work with Costello that Colbert is a pretty diehard fan, which kind of makes sense given Colbert's personality. Costello perfected the art of the light-hearted, cynical jab at politicians in his music, and Colbert's done the same over the years with his show. Have to say, he does a pretty good job with the tune as well. I'm also going to post a few of my favorite Elvis songs with it, as he's one of my favorite songwriters of all time and I never get tired of listening to him.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Elvis Costello
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating







Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Really, Really Fantastic Unreleased Track From Girls Posted on Pitchfork

So if you remember, a few weeks back I posted about how much I love Girls and their debut album. Well, Pitchfork recently posted an unreleased, live version of a track called Substance and it's as good as you'd expect. The time signature and lyrics fit in with the context of their previous work, and it's got a great early 60's feel to it, much like their LP does. Yet another great song from a great band.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Jersey Shore Serves As a Great Soundtrack to Something Other Than Guidos and Fistpumping


So the big news this week, aside from Them Crooked Vultures being released and John Mayer's latest attempt to prove himself a blues genius (an utter failure by the way), is a band from the Jersey Shore called Real Estate and their self-titled debut. I remember hearing one or two of these tracks over the summer and really liking them, and now they've been given a proper release.

This band strikes a particular cord with me because I myself am from Jersey and spent countless summer nights at the Jersey Shore; relaxing on the beach during the day, heading over to a friend's house at night to pregame before heading out to the bars, maybe even grabbing a few slices of 3 Brothers at some point in the day. This entire album reflects those days and is kind of like a soundtrack to them. The only thing that sucks is that it wasn't released before the summer so I'd be able to enjoy it during the warm weather. But maybe that's what Real Estate wants, as this album is kind of reflective and its overall theme seems to be that the temporary breaks of relaxed life are there to be enjoyed upon the realization that they're never permanent. It's music for days meant for laziness when you're too busy for it.

Regardless, the entire LP is very creative and I'm really looking forward to what these guys put together for their next LP. This year, a few bands have merged that nu-folk sound that's emerged over the past decade along with the hipster-vibe that's been popularized by bands like Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear, and Deerhunter. Girls, Beach House, and now Real Estate are perfect examples of this and I'm a huge fan of the genre, and I absolutely love the music they've put out. It's creative, genuine, and refreshing. One can only hope that current and emerging artists take a page from it and make it their own as well. So bravo Jersey boys, thanks for representing us well.





Monday, November 16, 2009

Elvis Costello Sabotages The Beastie Boys

Got sent this video this week. Just a classic. I love how they immediately start rocking out to Radio Radio.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Spoon Kickstarts the Week

In honor of the news this past week that they're coming out with a new album next January, here's some of my favorite Spoon tracks. Seriously, is there a more under-appreciated band of the past 20 years or so? Probably not. And don't you dare say Wilco, they most certainly get their due. I also love that Stranger Than Fiction was soundtracked completely using Spoon songs from several of their albums, they worked so well with that entire story.

(By far my favorite Spoon track ever. Great song, great song).








Friday, November 6, 2009

Oldies but Goodies: Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea



I don't know if there's ever been an album in rock history that's been released to a degree of recognition that's gained this much steam in the decade following its release. For those that aren't familiar with this album, Aeroplane is almost universally recognized as one of the top alternative albums of all-time (at least from an indie standpoint) and it's also one of the most beautiful as well. The album is heavily based on lead singer Jeff Mangum's interpretations of Anne Frank's (yes, Anne Frank) life, spanish musical prodigy Pepito Arriola, and things from Mangum's life as well. Truth be told, from a lyrical standpoint, it stands up against anything that's ever been released in the history of music. This is songwriting at its best, and to make it come across even more poignantly, Mangum sings his heart out over the course of the entire album. Personally I hadn't gotten into this album until just a few years back, and I'm so glad that I did. Not a year goes by that I don't dedicate an hour or two several times per year to dissecting it all over again. (Personal favorites for me are Ghost and the title track).





Wednesday, November 4, 2009

No Good Albums Have Been Released in Several Weeks


I don't know what the hell is going on, but Embryonic from The Flaming Lips was the last remotely good alt album to drop and that was ages ago. Alright, fine, technically it's been like 3-4 weeks since it officially came out, but it leaked weeks before that, so let's not split hairs. I guess 2009 busted its entire nut in the first half of the year? By my count there's only been 2-3 rock albums released since July that can be classified as anything great (The Lips and XX, and there's probably another that I'm forgetting off the top of my head).

Anyways, what the fuck indie world? Throw daddy a bone over the coming weeks, would ya? Forget about blogging, I need new shit to listen to. Aside from Them Crooked Vultures and Animal Collective's EP dropping in December, I don't possibly see what there is to be excited about for the rest of '09...I guess one can hope that Vampire Weekend's new one leaks soon also.

So with that, here's some tracks from some of the better albums of the first half of a year that started off so well.









Monday, November 2, 2009

New Vampire Weekend

This was released early last month, but for some reason I didn't post it and figured I would in case any of you hadn't heard it yet. I really liked Vampire Weekend's debut album last year, and if this track is any indication of what's to come on their upcoming release named Contra, it's looking like they're expanding their sound and are using some new instruments and production techniques. There's no reason this shouldn't be an enjoyable album.



And a few tracks from their self-titled debut:




Sunday, November 1, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures


There hasn't been a band I've looked forward to hearing this much in a long time. In case you don't live on Earth, Them Crooked Vultures is the supergroup of Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, and John Paul Jones. Their album comes out this month and they've been posting videos and snippets of songs since summer. From the reviews of their shows and what they've released, they sound pretty much like you'd expect, tight and kick-ass. They posted a new video yesterday for Halloween and it's yet another track that sounds like it's going to be awesome.

Yesterday's video.


New Fang. The first full track released last week.




Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nirvana: Live at Reading (Trailer)


Two pieces of new Nirvana news in one week? Pinch me.

Nirvana's Reading show has been the stuff of legend for about 17 years now. Footage has been floating around forever, but it's never been of the highest quality. It's also come to be recognized as their greatest performance as a band, and now it's being released on DVD and CD this coming month. Truth be told it's already been leaked, but that still shouldn't stop you from buying it and hooking it up to a proper home theater. You can also watch it for free on Fuse the evening of November 2nd. The official trailer's been released and the footage and recording totally lives up to how awesome it makes it look. For more info go to http://www.HereIsNirvana.com/

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Lodger


At a house party a few weeks back, I was talking to some person about how big of a Phoenix fan I am, and they recommended this band from England called The Lodger. I'd never heard of them, but apparently they have a big following on college radio here in the US and a heavy local following in the UK. At least that's what their Wikipedia page says. Regardless, I've liked everything I've listened to from them, and if things go well they should probably gain some more steam in the US on their next album or two because their sound is catchy as hell.





Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nirvana's Deluxe Edition of Bleach Leaks


So the Deluxe Edition being released for Bleach leaked this past week, and I have to say, it's really good. It includes several live recordings from a 1990 show in Portland, and the sound is just fantastic. This is actually awesome for hardcore Nirvana fans, because as we all know, the sound quality on a ton of old Nirvana shows just blows. Sub Pop really did this anniversary edition the right way and Cobain really shines on them. By the way, I think the timeline would place Chad Channing as the drummer for this show, right? Dude fucking kills it in this show. Highlights for me include Spank Thru, Molly's Lips (another Vaselines cover) and Scoff.

You can either do some searching around and find it or just buy the damn thing when it comes out in a week and a half.

FYI, some of the youtubes below sound a little muffled because...well, because it's youtube. The sound quality on the actual album is a lot better than this. Scoff still came out OK though on this dude's profile.

(And if they did this for Bleach, I can't wait to hear what they dig up when Nevermind turns 20 in 2 years).







Friday, October 23, 2009

Oldies but Goodies: Brian Eno - Another Green World


You just can't go wrong with Eno. He's the Dr. Dre of rock; the guy who everyone brings in as a producer when they need to crank out a beast album, and at the same time can make an all-time classic in his spare time. After the Talking Heads' Remain in Light, Another Green World remains his finest piece of work and certainly his best solo effort. I love that he focused a good amount of this album on instrumentation, it just works. This is pop music at its best, and must be included in any discussion dealing with the best albums of the 70's.

(P.S. The recent synth-pop wave of bands like MGMT and Passion Pit owe complete allegiance to Eno. Without him, they don't exist. Period).





Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Love Girls


The band, but yeah, the gender too.

And if you've never heard of them, before you write them off as another self-involved band with depressing lyrics, keep in mind that the lead singer of this band grew up in a cult that used to whore his mother out for prostitution and practically murdered his brother as a baby because they didn't believe in medicine. On top of that, his dad ran away early on and he took the standard path for escaped cult-kids and wound up living the gutter life for a while. So yeah, the guy has some things to rightfully be frustrated about. This entire album explores several genres and has some gut-wrenching lyrics at times. You can't help but feel for this dude. Girls are like Bon Iver crossed with Nirvana, and I love them. The reviews of their album (conveniently named Album) have been stellar and rightfully so. They're incredibly talented and I can't wait to hear what they put out next.



Monday, October 19, 2009

This Canadian Hippie's Fan-Made Videos Are Pretty Awesome

I don't know who the hell this dude is, but a friend sent me the link after my mini-rant about user-made music videos, and all I have to say is that the awesomeness of some of these was a straight kick in the dick. Kudos to this guy.










A Little Hibbity Dibbity Music to Start the Week

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Favorite Albums of the 2000's: #1

Radiohead: Kid A and Amnesiac



What, you were expecting anything else? I grouped the both of them together for two reasons. First, I was only doing a list of ten albums and didn't want to double-up on any bands in the interest of variety. That's why you only see one album a piece by TVoTR, Sonic Youth, and My Morning Jacket. It's why Hail to the Thief and In Rainbows aren't on here either. I just couldn't clog up the list with 5 bands worth of work. Second, I believe both of these albums go hand in hand anyways.

Several months back I wrote an extremely long-winded review of the Deluxe Edition of Kid A. I wrote that Kid A, to me, was an album about the difficulties of making an album. On the flipside, I've always believed that Amnesiac is an album about how easy it is to make an album. The reason I believe this to be true is because it simply makes no sense. The tracks have no logical sequence to them, and you could probably play the entire thing in reverse and it wouldn't make a difference at all.

99.9% of the time, when bands do this, it doesn't work. It's usually disastrous actually. Sequencing, ebb, and flow are supposed to be required for truly great albums. Here's the problem though; all of the songs on Amnesiac are really, really fucking good. To make things even crazier, the songs from Amnesiac seem to work better live than any of their other work, which REALLY makes no sense. But I digress, I stopped trying to figure out Amnesiac a long time ago and as soon as that happened, I began enjoying it more than I ever had. Maybe Yorke explains it best on the opening chorus of track 1, "I'm a reasonable man/get off, get off, get off my case." Maybe, just maybe, Radiohead, for once, wanted everyone to stop overanalyzing every second of every track and just enjoy the friggin' album. In other words, sometimes music doesn't have to make sense.

And that's that. Kid A is my favorite album of the decade and probably of all-time (for now at least). It took years after its release to get there, but it was there every step of the way and I'm thankful for that. That said, it wouldn't be what it is without Amnesiac, because it just helps me appreciate Kid A for what it is. And, in a delicious twist of irony, Amnesiac's songs provided the band with its best live material in their catalog. I guess that means that both albums kind of made the best parts of each other what they are, so maybe it's fair to view them as one cumulative piece of work, especially since they were recorded at the same time, even though the band would still probably disagree.

I got a bunch of feedback on Facebook from people, so thanks to everyone for reading. I enjoyed doing this list and I'm conjuring up something similar for next week that should work pretty well too.

So, with that, here's 3 favorites off Amnesiac, followed by 3 from Kid A. Enjoy the weekend.

Amnesiac







Kid A





My Favorite Albums of the 2000's: #2

Sufjan Stevens: Illinoise



A historical album with religious undertones via thematic exploration of the state of Illinois? Huh? Exactly. I don't know if there's another folk artist out there capable of making music as beautiful as Sufjan. Every album he puts out is a journey in spirituality, and the fact that he's used his last two albums to convey such a trip by using the concept of exploring specific states is just, well, genius. Listening to this album makes me feel like I'm right next to Stevens for the entire trip, but at the same time it's one that I have to discover on my own.






My Favorite Albums of the 2000's: #3

TV on the Radio: Return the Cookie Mountain



The most creative piece of work from the best all-around band that the 00's produced. If you can't find something to like on either this LP or its follow-up (Dear Science), you're simply soulless. Regardless, you've got to love an album named after a level from Super Mario World. It's filled from top to bottom with vocals bordering on perfection, power riffs, and production work that is second to none. This album is so good that even David Bowie makes a guest appearance for some background vocals on Province. Fucking Bowie dude.

Wolf Like Me


Province


Tonight (Just a side-note, a fun part of me doing this list, which I totally did not plan on, is that I've discovered something I never really explored before; user-made Youtube music videos. Some of them have been really, really good. I enjoyed this one a lot).