Thursday, August 20, 2015

Led Zeppelin - End Credits

Led Zeppelin made albums.  Like others of their generation, Led Zeppelin didn't make music to be radio stars.  They didn't make music to be featured in commercials, movies, or TV shows.  They didn't make music for any other reason but to make great music.  Their albums were islands.  Moments in time.  A place to journey to.  A sonic landscape to escape to.  Back then, it was about quality not quantity.  There are very few songs that slipped out from in between the cracks.  In fact, prior to the Led Zeppelin box set of 1990, the band only officially released one extra song as a B-side (Hey, Hey What Can I Do). This week sees the final release of the Led Zeppelin remasters series.  Though most of the bonus tracks were alternate versions and demos, some better than others (actually, few better than others), there was a handful more unreleased tracks in the overall series. Led Zeppelin bonus tracks are a rarity.  They may exist in small doses but only to draw attention to their larger contributions.  They exist like bonus scenes at the end of a Marvel movie.  The end credit scenes.  Over the course of the remasters and box sets, enough bonus material has come out to form one additional album...an "end credits" album. With the releases of Led Zeppelin coming to a close, here is the final culmination of their remaining music, compiled in one album, aptly called "End Credits."          

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The 11 Best Grateful Dead Songs Not Played on the Fare Thee Well Tour

Last weekend, I went to my first Grateful Dead concert in Santa Clara as part of the Fare Thee Well mini-tour.  I have never been a Deadhead.  I have liked the dead, listened to them on many occasions, and I even own a few CDs and a couple of vinyl bootlegs.  If this was any other band, I'd be considered a fan.  When it comes to the Dead, I'm an outsider.  I appreciated the Dead musically but I was always a bigger fan of their studio material than their live jams. American Beauty has been spun on my system as much as any of my favorite albums (I own over 10,000 albums to give you some perspective).  As a first timer at a Dead show...this is my impression:  now, I get it.  I was blown away.  This is easily one of the ten best concert going experiences of my life and I've seen hundreds of shows.  The musicianship was excellent, even with the few missteps (which should be expected) their craft was better than 99% of the musicians playing music today.  Vocally, they were functional...but let's be honest, the Dead were never great singers.  They were unique in the vein of Dylan.  I always thought they sounded like old men singing...now they live the part.  I hate Phish, but thought Trey was a perfect guest to fill Jerry's shoes for this celebration. The show was stunning and will be a great memory to my musical life.  I wasn't a Deadhead before the show, I am now.  Now I'm off to catch up with 50 years of concerts, albums, and side projects. I'm shocked by the reactions of some people about the 2015 shows and the abilities of the band.  Some say it's a cash grab, which is a petty argument.  Aren't all concerts cash grabs?  People say the show wasn't the same as in the old days.  Of course not, these guys are in their 70s, get some perspective. After listening and watching old shows on Youtube...I'll be honest...they still sound exceptional.  Are the 70s shows better?  Yes.  The 80s shows?  Sometimes.  The 90s shows?  eh.  The biggest difference isn't the band...it's the crowd.  The Dead culture was as big as the band.  That culture no longer exists...which is the bigger aspect of what was missing.  The music was sharp as ever.  As a concert experience, it was still mind-bending. This list is meant to be fun.  It's not a list of what should have been played. Not at all.  It's a list of some of their stronger songs that didn't make the tour.  I made a list of live versions of all these songs, so you can enjoy them. Here Are the 11 Best Grateful Dead Songs Not Played During Fare Thee Well: 
  1. Good Lovin' (Shakedown Street)
  2. Sugaree (Garcia)
  3. Mexicali Blues (Ace) 
  4. Ramble On Rose (Europe 72)
  5. Peggy-O (Go To Heaven)
  6. Ship of Fools (From The Mars Hotel)
  7. Mama Tried (Grateful Dead)
  8. Looks Like Rain (Ace)
  9. The Promised Land (Steal Your Face)
  10. Dire Wolf  (Workingman's Dead) 
  11. Dupree's Diamond Blues (Aoxomoxoa)
       

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The 11 Best Albums of 2015 (so far)

It's too early in the year to really get a chance to digest which are the best albums, so right now it's more about which albums I find myself listening to on repeat. Here are the 11 Best albums of 2015 (so far):
  1. Jamie XX - In Colour
  2. Sleater-Kinney - No Cities To Love
  3. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly
  4. Hot Chip - Why Make Sense?
  5. Natalie Prass - Natalie Prass
  6. Title Fight - Hyperview
  7. American Wrestlers - American Wrestlers
  8. Faith No More - Sol Invictus
  9. Susanne Sundfor - Ten Love Songs
  10. Joey Bada$$ - B4.DA.$$
  11. Modest Mouse - Stranger To Ourselves
     

Monday, June 01, 2015

The 11 Best Songs By The xx

This summer Jamie xx will have us up raving all night with his new album.  It's already easily one of the best albums of the year but there is still something missing.  I don't know if it's the appearance of his xx band mates on a few random songs that makes wish this was a full xx album...or if it's the appearance of his xx band mates who make me wish this was a full Jamie xx album.  When something leaves us wanting more, it's only because it's great.  We don't wish for excess of mediocrity. Here are the 11 Best Songs By The xx:
  1. Shelter (The xx)
  2. Islands (The xx)
  3. Intro (The xx)
  4. Chained (Co-Exist)
  5. Sunset (Co-Exist)
  6. VCR (The xx)
  7. Crystalised (The xx)
  8. Reunion (Co-Exist)
  9. Night Time (The xx)
  10. Heart Skipped A Beat (The xx)
  11. Hot Like Fire (The xx)
Buy Jamie xx's new album, In Colour now!!!    

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The 11 Best Songs By Imperial Teen

It's Faith No More week but that doesn't mean the Mike Patton gets all the guts and glory.  Let me tell you...he wants them, too; but it's more about the guts than the glory.  Keyboardist Roddy Bottum may have the second best post-FNM career to Patton; it is just a lot less known since Patton has 50 side projects and is everywhere.  Roddy's band Imperial Teen has had a decent life of its own and they deserve their own list. 
  1. Out From Inside (Feel The Sound)
  2. Alone In The Grass (What Is Not To Love)
  3. Over His Head  (Feel The Sound)
  4. Don't Know How You Do It (Feel The Sound)
  5. Year of the Tan (What Is Not To Love)
  6. Shim Sham (The Hair The RV The Baby and The Band)
  7. All The Same (Feel The Sound)
  8. Undone (On)
  9. Balloon (Imperial Teen)
  10. My Spy (On)
  11. 21st Century (The Hair The RV The Baby and The Band)
 Buy Faith No More's new album, Sol Invictus...now!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The 11 Best Live Music Performances on the David Letterman Show

Thank you, Dave. Here are the 11 Best Musical Performances on the David Letterman Show: 1.  Bruce Springsteen - Glory Days 2.  Future Islands - Seasons 3.  Foo Fighters - Everlong 4.  R.E.M. - So Central Rain 5. Beastie Boys - Ch-Ch-Check It Out 6.  Warren Zevon - Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner 7.  Eminem & Jay-Z - Renegade 8.  The Orwells - Who Needs You 9.  The Vines - Get Free 10.  James Brown - Sex Machine (July 12, 1982) 11.  Eddie Vedder - Black      

The 11 Best Songs By Mr. Bungle

When Mike Patton joined Faith No More, he was wilder and crazier than any other frontman at the time.  He made Axl Rose look like a librarian. Patton was so wild and crazy...that one band could not contain him.  He kept it together for his stint in Faith No More...which by Mike Patton standards was keeping it together.  He unleashed his insanity in his side project known as Mr. Bungle.  Get ready for one wacky playlist.
  1. Carousel (Mr. Bungle)
  2. Slowly Growing Deaf (Mr. Bungle)
  3. Retrovertigo (California)
  4. Vanity Fair (California)
  5. Squeeze Me Macaroni (Mr. Bungle)
  6. Pink Cigarette (California)
  7. The Girls of Porn (Mr. Bungle)
  8. Quote Unquote (Mr. Bungle)
  9. Phlegmatics (Disco Volante)
  10. My Ass Is On Fire (Mr. Bungle)
  11. Chemical Marriage (Disco Volante)
Buy Faith No More's new album, Sol Invictus...now!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The 11 Best Songs By Tomahawk

In the long hiatus between Faith No More albums, the band members kept busy.  The busiest of them all was Mike Patton and his six octave range who released 23 albums and almost 50 guest appearances.  You couldn't stop him, you could only hope to contain him.  It was inevitable for Faith No More to get back together because Mike Patton was running out of people to play with!  One of the most successful post-FNM projects was Tomahawk, featuring Duane Denison of The Jesus Lizard, Kevin Rutmanis of the Melvins and John Stainer of Helmet. 
  1. Stone Letter (Oddfellows)
  2. Rape This Day (Mit Gas)
  3. Capt Midnight (Mit Gas)
  4. Sweet Smell of Success (Tomahawk)
  5. God Hates A Coward (Tomahawk)
  6. Mayday  (Mit Gas)
  7. Sun Dance (Anonymous)
  8. I.O.U. (Oddfellows)
  9. Laredo  (Tomahawk)
  10. M.E.A.T. (M.E.A.T.)
  11. Totem (Anonymous)
 Buy Faith No More's new album, Sol Invictus...now! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

The 11 Best Songs By Faith No More

I have been on an extended hiatus...but if Faith No More can find it in themselves to put out a new album, I can devote this whole week to them.  That's right...it's Faith No More week.  5 days...5 Faith-based lists.
  1. From Out of Nowhere (The Real Thing)
  2. Midlife Crisis (Angel Dust)
  3. Falling To Pieces (The Real Thing)
  4. Zombie Eaters (The Real Thing)
  5. Digging The Grave (King For A Day)
  6. Kindergarten (Angel Dust)
  7. King For A Day (King For A Day)
  8. Land of Sunshine (Angel Dust)
  9. Underwater Love (The Real Thing)
  10. Be Aggressive (Angel Dust)
  11. The Cowboy Song (Live At Brixton Academy)
Buy Faith No More's new album, Sol Invictus...now!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The 11 Biggest Flips of Record Store Day 2015

You can't read anything about Record Store Day anymore without reading some article whose author spends pages of digital content, complaining about the vinyl holiday. "It's killing independent stores," "it excludes indie labels," and it's only for unnecessary major label titles."  You know what would be worse than Record Store Day?  NO RECORD STORE DAY.  A world where there is nothing promoting independent records stores, causing them to fade and dissolve into music history alongside the 8-track, mini-disc, and reel-to-reel.  But today, music stores are alive and well...in part, thanks to record store day.  Record stores having to deal with throngs of audiophiles twice a year (Black Friday) is a way better scenario than dealing with foreclosure.  .
Another complaint comes from independent labels themselves who have found their material excluded by the event coordinators.  Read here about Father/Daughter's comp, which seemed like a rather cool release.  Sure there are some releases that get excluded...and there are some titles that seem unnecessary.  But even if we're talking about 10% of the titles or even 25% of the released titles being unnecessary...that still leaves 300 great vital releases!  Isn't it worth some crap to get some gold?  That said, I'm not even sure how we determine which titles are unnecessary.  I read bloggers claiming the Citizen Dick release was the most unnecessary title this year...it's an unreleased Pearl Jam song from the 1991/Ten era version of the band!  I bought it and it's the title I've listened to more than any other release.  If someone wants to buy them...then doesn't that make them necessary?  (and the Citizen Dick record just missed this list...so the 12th most popular record flip is somehow unnecessary?  Okay...)
That said...it's hard to determine prior to the holiday which albums will sell out in seconds and which ones will linger until August.  Some of the most talked about releases including Courtney Barnett, Brian Eno, and Run The Jewels were still available at stores late on Sunday afternoon.  While others (like Brand New) had people lining up the night before.  I mean seriously, how is Brand New's reissue of a 12-year old album that is readily available on Spotify and itunes AND coming out in wide release next month the number one Ebay flip merely because it comes in a paper bag?  Every store I visiting had people waiting 12-24 hours for this record.
For this list, I determined the ranking based on list price versus Ebay sale...and what was the greatest increase in comparison to the price.  Stereogum lists Jurassic 5's $100 Ebay sale as a big flip...but the list price was $90 to begin with.  That's only a $10 increase.  Same with Phish's Live 1995 6-disc set that listed at $160 but sold for $200.  The biggest flips versus price, I believe, truly shows what were the must-have vinyls of RSD 2015.
Here are the biggest Ebay Flips of Record Store Day 2015:
  1. Elvis Presley - My Happiness (List price $12 - Ebay price $245) 20.5x increase
  2. Brand New - Deja Entendu (List price $28 - Ebay price $384) 13.7x increase
  3. Interpol - Everything Is Wrong (List price $9 - Ebay price $99) 11x increase
  4. John Prine - September 78 (List price $25 - Ebay price $227) 10.1x increase
  5. David Bowie - Changes (List price $11 - Ebay price $99) 9x increase
  6. Bob Dylan - Basement Tapes (List price $30 - Ebay price $250) 8.3x increase
  7. Citizen Dick - Touch Me I'm Dick (List price $11 - Ebay price $69) 6.3x increase
  8. Ryan Adams - Come Pick Me Up (List price $9 - Ebay price $59) 5.9x increase
  9. U2 - Songs of Innocence (List price $36 - Ebay price $199) 5.5x increase
  10. Twenty One Pilots - The LC LP (List price $20 - Ebay price $99) 4.9x increase
  11. Foo Fighters - Songs From The Laundry Room (List price $20 - Ebay price $99) 4.9x increase
Honorable Mention:
Paul McCartney's Sweet Trash sold for a ridiculous $895 but I didn't include it since it's signed by Sir Mac (which obviously alters the true value of the vinyl).
Here are some other fun lists: