Monday, September 15, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By Ryan Adams And The Cardinals

With such a big week of releases and the awesome return for a few big artists...who has the time to write about all of them.   I'm doing my best to catch up...so here's another post from the book...with one alteration.  In the book, I only rank the best songs by an artist between the years 2000-2009.  But Ryan Adams added a couple more songs to the Cardinals catalog in 2010...so I thought I'd throw them in for fun. _______________________________________________________________ Obsession with Ryan Adams does not have to do with the music he makes as much as it has to do with the amount of music he makes.  Over the course of the decade, this heartbreaker has released twelve official albums, half a dozen EPs, and over fifty non-album tracks.  He has had six unreleased albums leak to the internet along with a 5-volume, 25-disc, 350-song live bootleg collection.  Listening to Ryan Adams’ music isn’t as exciting as trying to collect it all.  Ryan Adams fans don’t discuss what our favorite album is, we discuss:  what unreleased material do you have?  This list focuses only on his songs with the Cardinals.  I mean, who has time to include all his music? Fun Fact:  Besides performing solo, Ryan Adams has a glam metal band called Orion, a punk band called The Finger, a death metal band called Werewolph, a hardcore-punk band called The Shit and a hip-hop persona, called DJ Reggie.  The 11 Best Songs by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals:
  1. If I Am A Stranger (Cold Roses)
  2. Don't Fail Me Now (Jacksonville City Nights)
  3. How Do You Keep Love Alive (Cold Roses)
  4. Lovely And Blue (III/IV)
  5. Sweet Illusions (Cold Roses)
  6. Always On My Mind (Jacksonville City Nights B-Side)
  7. Majik (Cardinology)
  8. P.S. (III/IV)
  9. These Girls (Easy Tiger)
  10. Let It Ride (Cold Roses)
  11. The Hardest Part (Jacksonville City Nights)
Buy Ryan Adams new album, Ryan Adams...now!!!   Don't forget to check out our blog's awesome new book The 111 Best Lists of the 2000s.  Available now!  (featuring Ryan Adams and the Cardinals) Buy this book or everyone you know will die.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The 11 Best U2 Songs of The 2000s

I had originally planned to just do a post using my U2 chapter from my book.  Yet, with all the controversy surrounding the new U2 release, I felt like I needed to comment.  If you don't know, U2 released their new album this week (Songs of Innoncence) by giving it away to everyone who had an Itunes account.  Certainly, an innovative idea in a world where hearing new music has been fractured and overly complicated.  You would think this would be met with a fanfare from fans...instead...that's not necessarily the case.  One of the details of getting this new album was that everyone who had an itunes account, had the album automatically added to their accounts, whether they wanted it or not.  This is where the outrage originates.  Critics (meaning anyone who has a Twitter account) have been slamming the band for forcing the album upon them without their permission.  It's been called an "invasion of privacy" and an extreme example of "corporate harassment" as well as "creepy," "sinister," and outright "evil."  Let's just start here. It's fucking music album...that you get for free.  If you don't like it...don't listen to it.  Everyone complains about corporations gouging customers...then when they give something away...people continue to complain.  Stop whining...everyone.  Getting free music on a platform owned by Apple is not an invasion of privacy...go talk to some Holocaust survivors about what real invasion of privacy is.  I don't want 90% of the terrible TV shows I get via my digital antenna...I'm not going to storm ABC and make them take Grey's Anatomy off the air (yes, it's still on).  Grow up...get a backbone...and shut the fuck up.  There are kids in part of this world who have to dodge landmines when walking to school.  Get some fucking perspective. And it's U2.  One of the greatest rock bands of all time.  You may not like their music...and honesty, that's okay.  But if Apple is going to give us an album at least they picked a band with a respectable pedigree.  Would you rather it be Mylie Cyrus? Free U2 album is the ultimate first world problem. In honor of U2, here is my article from my book. _____________________________________________________________ When making U2's best song list for their 2009 release, No Line On The Horizon, I became inspired to compile this book.  I realized that an act like U2, with a career that spans decades, cannot be categorized into one giant list. There is no comparison of U2's material of the '80s to the music they are making now. Don't get me wrong, there is some great material still coming out of the band. You just cannot compare music being made in the '00s by guys in their forties to music being made in the '80s by guys in their twenties. The circumstances are different. The societies are different. The trends are different.  The worlds are different.  In the '80s, they were struggling musicians. Today, they are multi-millionaires, shaping the world.  They are not the same band. This is what makes U2 so magnificent.  Has there ever been a band that has had as much continued success as the Irish lads? The Rolling Stones? Springsteen? Dylan? It is a short list. Many artists who manage to stay around for multiple decades struggle to sell new albums.  U2 has done something that no one else has ever accomplished... they remain trendy. Most artists cannot remain trendy for three years, let alone thirty.  That in itself is a major accomplishment. I firmly believed that their work in the 2000s deserved its own list - its own moment of splendor.  From that realization, this book was born. The 11 Best U2 Songs of the '00s: 
  1. Walk On (All That You Can't Leave Behind)
  2. City of Blinding Lights (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)
  3. Magnificent (No Line on the Horizon)
  4. Beautiful Day (All That You Can't Leave Behind)
  5. Moment of Surrender (No Line on the Horizon)
  6. Miracle Drug (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)
  7. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own (How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb)
  8. Stateless (The Million Dollar Hotel Soundtrack)
  9. New York (All That You Can't Leave Behind)
  10. The Ground Beneath Your Feet (The Million Dollar Hotel Soundtrack)
  11. Electrical Storm (Best of 1990 - 2000)
Fun Fact: U2 has had the same line-up for their entire recording career.   Don't forget to check out our blog's awesome new book The 111 Best Lists of the 2000s.  Available now!  (featuring U2) Buy this book or everyone you know will die.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The 11 Best Albums this Week

I never do this...but holy crap there's a ton of great new music coming out this week.  This honestly might the biggest releases of music this year...if not the decade.   Yeah it's that huge.  Interpol's best album since their sophomore release, Tricky's best solo album since his debut, Ryan Adams first album in 3 years, U2's first album in five years (which came out of nowhere...and is FREE), Death From Above 1979's reunion, Karen O's first solo album, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin's new solo offering, and four lads from Liverpool.  Why are you still reading...get listening.
Here are the 11 Best Releases This Week:
  1. U2 - Songs of Innocence
  2. Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World
  3. Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams
  4. Interpol - El Pintor
  5. Robert Plant - lullaby
  6. Tricky - Adrian Thaws
  7. Justin Townes Earle - Single Mothers
  8. Karen O - Crush Songs
  9. Delta Spirit - Into the Wide
  10. Banks - Goddess
  11. The Beatles - Vinyl Mono Masters
Along with new releases from classic legends: Loudon Wainwright III, Pere Ubu, The Grateful Dead, Gladys Knight, Sergio Mendes, and Chick Corea

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By The New Pornographers

I've been doing these lists for years.  My site has lasted longer than most sites who have tried to follow suit.  Making a good list with quality choices is difficult...and I get my fair share of hate mail.  More people probably tell me I suck then tell me I know what I'm doing.  It's a very unrewarding past time, but I persevere...and now I have my own book...so I guess I win?
Moving on, I have noticed in the past few months the upswing in music-based "click bait" lists.  These are lists made to purposely drive traffic to your site. Here's the details on a "click bait" list. A news site or blog might come up with a topic like "most overrated bands" then they create a list with mostly popular bands.  They put the names of the popular bands (which really translates to bands that get searched the most online) onto said list.  Then every time someone searches for the band, they get the list.  They call the bands on the list overrated because (and this is true) negative lists do better than positive ones.  LA Weekly might be the biggest culprit of this sleazy past time.  I won't link to any of their lists because I don't want to support them.  This may work in the interim and get an upswing in traffic to your site...but all you do is bottom out your credibility.  LA Weekly used to be the bomb in LA.  They were cooler than the LA Times.  But desperation is ugly and you can smell it all over them.  My prediction:  LA Weekly will crash and burn within two years...and I'll still be here.  Because in the end...slow and steady wins the race.
Here are the 11 Best Songs By The New Pornographers:
  1. It's Only Divine Right (Electric Version)
  2. The New Face Of Zero and One (The Electric Version)
  3. The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism (Mass Romantic)
  4. All The Things That Go To Make Heaven And Earth (Challengers)
  5. Adventures In Solitude (Challengers)
  6. Hey, Snow White (Dark Was The Night)
  7. Your Hands (Together)
  8. The Body Says No (Mass Romantic)
  9. The Fake Headlines (Mass Romantic)
  10. High Art Local News (Twin Cinema)
  11. The End Of Medicine (The Electric Version)
Buy The New Pornographers new album, Brill Bruisers...now!
Don't forget to check out our blog's awesome new book The 111 Best Lists of the 2000s.  Available now!  (can you find The New Pornographers in the book?)
Buy this book or everyone you know will die.


The 11 Best Songs By JJ

With the mixtape becoming a dedicated part of hip-hop today, no rapper worth his ilk hasn't released one.  I think even Obama has a mixtape coming out soon, I hear DJ Green Lantern is producing.  The mixtape craze has even bled into the rock world and JJ may have put out the best one so far.   Their 2010 tongue-in-cheek mixtape embraces everything a good mixtape is supposed to be.  Most hip-hop mixtapes borrow tracks from rock bands...while JJ borrows music from hip-hop artists.  It's fun, clever, and trailblazing.  Even with a serious tone, the band is as playful as their hip-hop influences. With a full album finally hitting, we get to enjoy them in full stride.
Here are the 11 Best Songs By JJ:
  1. Things Will Never Be The Same Again (JJ No. 2)
  2. Let Them (let them)
  3. Still (Kills)
  4. You Know (jj No 3)
  5. My Hopes And Dreams (JJ No. 2)
  6. New Work (Kills)
  7. 10 (High Summer)
  8. And Now (jj No 3)
  9. Big Hearts, Big Dreams (High Summer)
  10. Ecstacy (JJ No. 2)
  11. I'm The One / Money On My Mind (let them)
Buy JJ's new album, V...now!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The 11 Best New & Unknown Bands of 2014

We're on the verge of the big fall release season for music.  Leading up to that, let's take a quick look at some of the new musical entries from this year.  For a band to be eligible for one of my usual lists, they need to have at least two full length albums out (or one album and two EPs).  So for this list, I've only included bands releasing their first full length album (or EP) this year.  This list goes to 12 because the last two bands only released EPs this year. Enjoy! Here are the 11 Best New & Unknown Bands of 2014:
  1. Antemasque (Antemasque) - This is the greatest album that At the Drive-In never made.  With Omar and Cedric from ATDI and Mars Volta on board, it's tight, neat punk that delivers with all the force of their angriest moments.  Having Flea as your bassist never hurts either.
  2. Eagulls (Eagulls) - This band is as punk as they are 80s. It's hard not to listen to the band and not hear Robert Smith's guitar influence supporting the raspy vocal explosion.  Ian Curtis would be proud.
  3. White Sea (In Cold Blood) - Morgan Kibby of M83 branches out with a solo project that is as much M83 sounding as it is her own.  The lyrics can be surprisingly vulgar for such an innocent sounding voice.
  4. Cheetahs (Cheetahs) - While a lot of critics are quick to call this band the second coming of My Bloody Valentine, there's equal parts Jesus and The Mary Chain & Echo and the Bunnymen trickling from under the fuzzy guitars and droning vocals.
  5. Ought (Ought) - While we patiently wait for Fugazi to release some new material (or old material) we have Ought to fill in the gap.
  6. The Sunshine Underground (The Sunshine Underground) - Don't call them the Killers part 2, though hints of the Nevada lads may be in there, you can also hear the best parts of other dance rock bands from VHS or Beta, Bloc Party, the Editors to The Bravery.
  7. Protomartyr (Under Color of Official Right) - Remember the Libertines?  Well, the Libertines were never cool enough to sing about Judge Mathis.  Protomartyr sings and plays like they grew up in a working class neighborhood in Brixton, UK...that said, they're from Detroit.
  8. CLAIRE (The Great of the Escape) - With no M83 album this year, the softening of the Naked and Famous, and Ellie Goulding shedding her indie skin for the pop chanteuse crown, an alt EDM void has formed; CLAIRE is here to fill that void.
  9. Oh My! (Slow Moves) - Sometimes it's okay to be a generic rock back.  You don't have to be emo, grunge, punk, nu metal, or brit pop.  You can just bust out a guitar and dominate with good old fashion riffs and fist pumping songs.  Just ask U2 how it worked out for them.
  10. Temples (Sun Structures) - What is most compelling about Temples new album is how much fun they sound like they're having.  They draw on influences from almost every decade, creating music so layered with melodies, you can't help but be drawn in to their festive atmosphere.
  11. Wolf Alice (Creature Songs EP) - If Tegan & Sara were angry, angst-filled rockers they may sound something like this.  It's also the closest thing we may hear that sounds like the band lush for awhile.
  12. Movement (Movement EP)- This band is so overtly sexual, you feel like you need a cigarette after each song.  Taking the sensuality of the xx and combining it with R. Kelly at his dirtiest, you begin to crack the surface of what Movement brings to the dance.
Honorable Mention: This is one of the best new bands out there, but this being their second album, I didn't want to include them in the above list.
  1. Garden & Villa (Dunes) - Their song Colony Glen is blowing up the scene but their entire album has just as many great songs sprinkled through-out.  The music is so 80s, I have to double check check if I'm listening to G&V or Talk Talk.
  Don't forget to check out our blog's awesome new book The 111 Best Lists of the 2000s.  Available now! Buy this book or everyone you know will die.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By The Gaslight Anthem

  Last time the Gaslight Anthem released an album it was a couple days after the Dark Knight tragedy in Colorado.  This time, their new album comes on the heels of another tragedy, just of a different nature.  Yesterday, we lost a comedy giant.  The greatest of all time could be an understatement.  I remember a story Bruce Springsteen told that inspired him.  It was a couple of months after 9/11, when Bruce and his family were at church.  A fellow church-goer shouted to him in passing, "We need you, Bruce."  That sentiment helped push Bruce to make "The Rising"...one of the best albums of the past twenty years.  We needed Bruce's music to help us through the malaise.  He delivered.  Not everyone can be Bruce Springsteen.  But music can soothe our savage beasts.  In times of need, it's music that can keep us centered. The Gaslight Anthem is one of those bands rooted in the veins of what it is to be an average person in America.  What it means to bust your ass just to make rent, what it means to know happiness comes from a backyard bbq with friends rather than bottle service at a club, and what it means to endure extreme hardship and have to power on.  We all lost Robin Williams.  The world is less funny today without him in it.  Bands like The Gaslight Anthem remind us that we're not alone, we all share this loss together. Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Gaslight Anthem:
  1. American Slang (American Slang)
  2. 45 (Handwritten)
  3. I Coul'da Been A Contender (Sink Or Swim)
  4. Handwritten (Handwritten)
  5. The Patient Ferris Wheel (The '59 Sound)
  6. Howl (Handwritten)
  7. Stay Lucky (American Slang)
  8. The '59 Sound (The '59 Sound)
  9. We're Getting A Divorce, You Keep The Diner (Sink Or Swim)
  10. 1930 (Sink Or Swim)
  11. Orphans (American Slang)
Buy The Gaslight Anthem's new album, Get Hurt...now!!   Don't forget to check out our blog's awesome new book The 111 Best Lists of the 2000s.  Available now! Buy this book or everyone you know will die.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By The Civil Wars

For anyone who followed the career of The Civil Wars, it came as no surprise when they announced last week that they were breaking up.  The band hasn't played live in 18 months.  They never toured for their sophomore album, let alone do much publicity for it.  And from many rumors, it seems that Joy Williams and John White have almost no contact with each other.  And we thought Guns N Roses had problems.  If I had to guess, there was too much pressure for super stardom allotted on this modest band.  Fame demolishes even the best of them...not even The Beatles could survive it.  From Michael Jackson and Smashing Pumpkins covers to heartfelt folky bluegrass anthems, the Civil Wars had something unique to offer.  It's sad to seem them go...but I'm sure there will be more to hear from them in the future. Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Civil Wars:
  1. Eavesdrop (The Civil Wars)
  2. I've Got A Friend (Barton Hallow)
  3. My Father's Father (Barton Hallow)
  4. The One That Got Away (The Civil Wars)
  5. Birds of A Feather (Barton Hallow)
  6. Poison & Wine (Barton Hallow)
  7. Barton Hollow (Barton Hallow)
  8. Pressing Flowers (Poison & Wine)
  9. Billie Jean (Between The Bars)
  10. Dust To Dust (The Civil Wars)
  11. Finding North (A Place At The Table)
Buy The Civil Wars music now!!   Don't forget to check out our blog's awesome new book The 111 Best Lists of the 2000s.  Available now! Buy this book or everyone you know will die.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By Spoon

Fun Fact:  Britt Daniel made his acting debut in an episode of Veronica Mars.  In the episode, he sang a karaoke version of Elvis Costello's "Veronica." Here are the 11 Best Songs By Spoon:
  1. The Two Sides Of Monsieur Valentine (Gimme Fiction)
  2. You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga)
  3. Me And The Bean (Girls Can Tell)
  4. Rhthm & Soul (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga)
  5. The Way We Get By (Kill The Moonlight)
  6. Out Go The Lights (Transference)
  7. Sister Jack (Gimme Fiction)
  8. I Summon You (Gimme Fiction)
  9. Everything Hits At Once (Girls Can Tell)
  10. Laffitte Don't Fail Me Now (Series of Sneaks)
  11. The Book I Write (Stranger Than Fiction Soundtrack)
Buy Spoon's new album, They Want My Soul...now!   Don't forget to check out our blog's awesome new book The 111 Best Lists of the 2000s.  Available now!  (featuring Spoon) Buy this book or everyone you know will die.  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By Jenny Lewis

Coming up with a "best of" list for Jenny Lewis is more complicated than it seems.  Jenny has had such a rich, complex musical career, it's challenging to narrow it down to one specific aspect.  First you have her stint with Rilo Kiley, an amazing noughties band, which only cracked the surface for exposure.  You have her solo career, which is really only one album, since Rabbit Fur Coat is more of a collaboration album with the Watson Twins and Jenny and Johnny is a duet album with Jonathan Rice.  Then there are all her guest appearance for bands like Postal Service, Bright Eyes, and Elvis Costello. So where do I start?  Should I do an exhaustive list of all the best songs of Rilo Kiley or just a slice of her solo section?  What about her movies and TV shows?  I couldn't decide...so let's just do them all. The 11 Best Songs By Jenny Lewis:
  1. More Adventurous (More Adventurous)
  2. Love and War 11/11/46 (More Adventurous)
  3. The Execution of All Things (The Execution of All Things)
  4. Under The Blacklight (Under The Blacklight)\
  5. My Slumbering Heart (The Execution of All Things)
  6. Melt Your Heart (Rabbit Fur Coat)
  7. Portions For Foxes (More Adventurous)
  8. You Are What You Love (Rabbit Fur Coat)
  9. With Arms Outstretched (The Execution of All Things)
  10. Sing A Song For Them (Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue)
  11. Straight Edge Of The Blade (Jenny and Johnny - I'm Having Fun Now)
Buy Jenny Lewis' new album, The Voyager...now!!!   Don't forget to check out our blog's awesome new book The 111 Best Lists of the 2000s.  Available now!  (featuring Rilo Kiley) Buy this book or everyone you know will die.