Dec 312009

1. Bad Veins, “Gold and Warm”
2. Them Crooked Vultures, “Caligulove”
3. The Avett Brothers, “Kick Drum Heart”
4. A.A. Bondy, “I Can See the Pines Are Dancing”
5. Monsters Of Folk, “The Sandman, the Brakeman and Me”
6. Silversun Pickups, “Catch & Release”
7. Morrissey, “Something Is Squeezing My Skull”
8. Franz Ferdinand, “Ulysses”
9. Wilco, “Country Disappeared”
10. A.A. Bondy, “Oh the Vampyre”
11. Third Eye Blind, “Bonfire”
12. Jarvis Cocker, “I Never Said I Was Deep”
13. Neko Case, “This Tornado Loves You”
14. Silversun Pickups, “It’s Nice To Know You Work Alone”
15. The Dead Weather, “Hang You From The Heavens”
16. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, “Air Mattress”
17. Wilco, “Bull Black Nova”
18. Neko Case, “Magpie To The Morning”
19. Molly Lewis, “Poker Face (Lady GaGa cover)”

This was an incredibly hard year to narrow down to just one album. Also, this was the first year that I have had more than one artist with more than one track on my “Best Of” mix. (I’ve been doing these since 2005 so they predate the blog by a few years.)

Any songs not on my mix that are on your person Best Of list? Any songs I included that should be relegated without comment to the dustbin of musical history? As always, commentary and recrimination can be directed through the comments section.

Dec 282009

A Short, Belated Review

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So the new Third Eye Blind album, Ursa Major, is alright.  I’ve tried hard to love it unreservedly, but I just can’t.  There are times where it tries too hard to be experimental.  Others where it tries too hard to be current and “relevant”.  All in all, the album feels like a band worried they’re losing their edge.

Exceptions to prove the rule are those few songs where the band lets its guard down.  “Bonfire” has an incredibly infectious guitar hook supporting classic Third Eye Blind power pop.  “Dao of St. Paul” is pretty good, if a little hokey and U2-ish.  And really, the only bad thing I can say about “Carnival Barker”, the instrumental closing track, is that it’s way too damn short.

This really makes the album a frustrating one.  There are moments of unmitigated awesome, but they’re diluted with that grinding sounds of a band trying too hard and sacrificing their music on the altar of being “current”.

Jan 132009

Tuesday Playlist for 2009.1.13

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Intro: Happy 13th, everyone!  I apologize for the long delay in getting back to the column.  There were a lot of very good reasons for the delay, the most pressing of which were holidays and the screaming death of my main desktop.

Listening: Unfortunately, when my desktop went down it made temporarily inaccessible most of my music collection.  As such, I’ve mostly just been listening to Pandora lately.  Two great new discoveries from Pandora:

The Constantines, “Young Lions”:

Thirteen Senses, “Into the Fire”:

Upcoming: Out today is the self-titled debut from Fever Ray (AKA Karin Dreijer Andersson, one half of Electropop band The Knife).  Next week sees a regular hailstorm of interesting releases including new material from Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, Animal Collective, Antony and the Johnsons, Combichrist, Lisa Hannigan, and Reel Big Fish.  If you have any money left after that, the week following will bring new material from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Franz Ferdinand.

Thinking: Dead computers suck; I really want to listen the I’m Not There OST, but am too lazy to disembowel my dead machine to yank out the hard drive.

News: So apparently Amy Winehouse is off drugs!  So say the totally sketchy, not-reliable-at-all tabloids, anyway. For the record: I sincerely hope it’s the case and if it is, then many hearty congratulations to Ms. Winehouse.  Kicking drugs isn’t easy for regular, work-a-day addicts, and even less so with addicts where their habit is measured by the percent of their body weight that is composed of cocaine at any given time.

Rumor has it that this year will see new releases from Sonic Youth, Green Day, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  These all qualify as Good News.

Finally: Britney Spears may, in fact, be the least classy lyricist of all time.  I mean, seriously, if you’re going to get banned from the radio, at least have the guts to go the Sex Pistols route and since about abortion and anarchy.  None of this Junior-High, “tee hee, that sounds like a back word spelled out!”, amateurish bullshit.

Song of the Week: I know I mentioned it only in passing when it came out, but here’s the latest single from Third Eye Blind.  It’s called “Red Star” and I can’t get enough of it:

Nov 182008

Okay, so last week my excuse for no column was craziness while my job got done.  This week it’s that things at my new job are crazy as I get brought up to speed.  But I PROMISE you’ll get a full column next week.  For this week, here’s a few quick hits to keep you going until I can get organized enough to go back to the Tuesday Playlist.

1.) Via the Onion: Donald Fagen Defends Steely Dan to Friends.  And Steely Dan performing one of my favorite tunes, “Kid Charlemagne”:

2.) Tool and A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan has finished his slide into irrelevancy and has made it official by doing a cabaret show in Vegas.  Here he is in the good old days fronting A Perfect Circle as they rock the hell out of “Judith”:

3.)  There’s a new Third Eye Blind EP out.  I just grabbed a copy earlier this evening and haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet.  It’s only three songs, so it even stretches what it means to be an “EP”, but since this is the first music the power-pop combo has released in 5 years, I’m prepared to cut them a little bit of slack.  They also have a new album, called Ursa Major coming out in February.  There’s supposed to be a single out this month off that album.  But since I’ve found naught but rumors about said single, here’s “Semi-Charmed Life”, the song that launched the whole 3EB phenomenon, back in 1997:

4.) The Boss has a new album slated for January release.  If it’s anything like his last album, it’ll be in my stereo from then until sometime in May.  I mean hell, I think I spent months of my life just dancing my ass of to “Radio Nowhere” alone:

5.) And finally, apparently there are still people dumb enough to do business with Michael Jackson.  Seriously, he’s not only most insane artist in the industry (despite some stiff competition), but also the least professional.  At any rate, here he is in marginally less insane days performing “Smooth Criminal”: