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

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.


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


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).

My Favorite Albums of the 2000's: #4

Sigur Rós: Ágætis byrjun

Remember that scene in The Shawshank Redemption, where Andy locks himself in the warden's office and blasts opera over the loudspeakers? Red's monologue describing it captures what it's like listening to this album, at least for those of us that don't speak Icelandic.

"I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are better left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can’t expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was as if some beautiful bird had flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free."

Yeah, I've looked up the translations of some of these songs, but I really didn't make an effort to remember what they were about. Like Red stated so perfectly, some things are better left unsaid. And I prefer listening to this album and making it about what I want it to be anyways. Icelandic post-rock...go figure.

Yes, I'm aware, this video is very weird.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Favorite Albums of the 2000's: #5

Bloc Party: Silent Alarm (w/Bonus Tracks)

For a while, until enough time passed and I saw how much influence Kid A and Interpol had on this decade in music, I considered this album to be the very best of the decade. I still think it's up there, but as the years have gone on, it hasn't aged as well as I thought it would. What's even made it worse is just how much Bloc Party's stranded away from so much raw talent they displayed on this album. Kele Okereke started out as one of the best combinations of lyrics and singing that post-punk had to offer, and he's gotten completely lost in trying to become fully electronic. Which is usually a cool move for tons of bands, except when it's blatantly obvious that it's everything they're not supposed to be. Especially with a guy like Matt Tong manning the kit, who was a flat-out beast throughout this album (and its follow-up for the most part). He absolutely kills it on Like Eating Glass, which is would probably be in my top-ten favorite tracks of the decade if I ever decided to do such a list.

Regardless, you have to put the Bonus Tracks edition on here. Little Thoughts and Two More Years are nothing short of fantastic songs, and they work with the context of the album perfectly. I think what made this album so great is that it captured the combination of living socially and politically in 21st century London so well emotionally and instrumentally; and there's not a lot of albums released over the past several decades that you can say that about. Please come back to us Bloc Party. We miss you.

My Favorite Albums of the 2000's: #6

The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Speaking of the Lips, how awesome is Embryonic? I never thought they'd be able to top The Soft Bulletin in terms of weirdness, but I'll be damned if they didn't come pretty close. Yoshimi's certainly not their best album to date, but in my opinion, it's their most regularly enjoyable. The Soft Bulletin and Embryonic are loaded front to back with music meant solely for headphones, they only contain a handful of tracks you can listen to on the go or even driving. Look at it this way, this album is so accessible that Do You Realize was named the state song of Oklahoma recently, and that's pretty effing cool. This album just breems with confidence from front to back, and I guess it has to considering it's an entire LP about a little girl fighting giant pink robots. All hail The Flaming Lips, the most swaggerlicious motherfuckers in rock.

My Favorite Albums of the 2000's: #7

The National: Boxer

I had a good 2 or 3-month span where I listened to nothing but this album almost everywhere I went. Driving to work, grocery shopping, hanging around the name it. Anyone in their 20's and even 30's can get something from this LP. To me, it's just about trying to find yourself as you're growing into being an actual adult. How to deal with finding and losing loves, good times with friends, getting one's shit together after major fuck-ups...etc. This is one of those albums that makes you reflect on the path you've taken to get to where you are, and how one might want to view it going forward. It's music that's bold but subtle, uplifting but dark, and innovative yet classic. In short, it's everything about post-punk that one can love all rolled up into 44 minutes, and it always puts a smile on my face. Matt Barringer's baritone voice is just awesome. I'm jealous of anyone who's never heard this album and gets to hear it for the first time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Favorite Albums of the 2000's: #8

The Notwist: Neon Golden

The first time I heard Consequence off of this album, I was on my way to the gym. I remember parking my car, sitting in the lot, and listening to it at least another 2-3 times over before I even got out. What a beautiful album from beginning to end. This is one of the most complete alt-electronic albums released...ever. And at least give The Notwist props for not even trying to replicate it on their follow-up to it. It's like even they realized that there's nowhere to go but somewhere else after making something like this. Neon Golden is just one of those albums that you know within the first minute that you're going to be sad when it ends.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Favorite Albums of the 2000's: #9

My Morning Jacket: Okonokos

Like I said, it's a list of favorites, and this is my favorite live album of all-time actually. Okonokos is a fabulous live recording on just so many levels. For one, it goes to further show why Patrick Hallahan is one of the premier drummers in rock today. Jim James shows that, for people who haven't had the pleasure of seeing him live, his pipes are every bit as good as they are on every recording they've ever done (look no further than the opener, Wordless Chorus, or even O Is the One That Is Real). Carl Broemel even holds his own with some unreal guitar work. Okonokos is the best live band in rock today playing their best songs on a level nothing short of awesome, and I never get tired of listening to it.


My Ten Favorite Albums of the 2000's. #10

Everyone loves lists. No matter what the topic is, everyone always stops and at least has a second or two of interest when they see that some random person on the internet has ranked something. So, I've decided to do these over the next few weeks, because I want to be that guy.

To start, these aren't, what I believe to be, the BEST albums. Judging whether an album is an all-time great isn't and loving it aren't mutually exclusive. I'll probably do some rankings in that context towards year's end, but this one is just going to be my favorites from the decade. Anyone who knows me already knows what #1 is going to be, but the other 9 should be fun to do anyways.

So, away we go...

#10. Sonic Youth - Murray Street

Daydream Nation is great and all, I respect it for its influence and the stamp it made on rock in general, but Murray Street is Sonic Youth at their best. It's got Renaldo's best song in the entire history of the band in Karen Revisted, and he and Thurston have never sounded as beautiful in all the years they've played together throughout the entire album.

So, as usual, onto la musica:

Karen Revisted

Disconnection Notice

Rain on Tin