Tuesday, May 29, 2007

THE UNKNOWN: The Strokes: Live in London (Alexandra Palace 2003)

Today begins a new series here at GBU. Most of the time, I have been focusing in on lists. Best of...worst of... and mostly fun stuff. But what I have been completely ignoring is the "unknown" section of the site. So now, over the next few weeks, I am going to begin the "Unknown album" series. This will be a series that will be primarily focusing in on famous unreleased albums from some of our favorite artists. I will also be inventing new fictional albums from your favorite artists, filled with new songs. Confused...you'll get it when I post The White Stripes' "Giraffe" and Soundgarden's "Black Weather."

Today, I want to begin with The Strokes Live album "Live in London" that was supposed to be released on October 11, 2004. What happened? Well, it didn't get released. No one is really sure why the plug was pulled. All we know is instead of mastering the final album, the band went back into the studio to complete First Impressions. Unmastered and sitting on the shelf it remained...until today.

Recorded at London's Alexandra Palace in December 03, the show is a smash 'em volley of the Strokes at their finest. Though most live albums lack a little something...this one definitely is worth the listen. Don't believe me? Check NME's review of the live show (http://www.nme.com/reviews/the-strokes/7238)

Here is The Strokes - Live In London:

1. Reptilia
2. Under Control
3. Whatever Happened To...
4. Alone, Together
5. The Modern Age
6. 12:51
7. NYC Cops
8. You Talk Too Much
9. Someday
10. Hard To Explain
11. The End Has No End
12. Automatic Stop
13. Soma
14. Take or Leave It
15. I Can't Win

Buy the Strokes albums here.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The 11 Best Elliott Smith Songs

There are few greater tragedies to our world than losing a voice. While movie-making and story-telling changes as the generations evolve, songs remain eternal. Think of all the nursery songs that we sing our children. Most of them have been around for over a hundred years. It's amazing to think that music being made today may survive long into the next century or even the next millenium. So when we lose a great singer/songwriter before it's their time, we lose their entire catalogue of music that they will never make. Imagine if Bob Dylan died at the age Elliot Smith died. The world would never hear Blood on the Tracks, Desire, not to mention his collasal later work Time Out of Mind and Modern Times. There is no doubt when peopledust off Dylan's work a hundred years from now, songs like "Hurricane," "Idiot Wind," "Tangled Up In Blue," and "Not Dark Yet" will be among the giants. Now close your eyes and imagine that those songs not only no longer exist...they never did. World's seems a little more empty, doesn't it?

After hearing Elliott Smith's fantastic new album, it only saddens you to know what his career might have been capable of had he carried on. Would he become the next Dylan? Probably not. But that is a question that will now remain forever unanswered.

Here are the 11 Best Elliott Smith Songs:

1. Waltz #2 (X/O)
2. Angeles (Either/Or)
3. Happiness (Figure 8)
4. Miss Misery (Good Will Hunting)
5. A Fond Farewell (From A Basement)
6. Pictures of Me (Either/Or)
7. Twilight (From A Basement)
8. Say Yes (Either/Or)
9. Everything Reminds Me of Her (Figure 8)
10. Ballad of Big Nothing (Either/Or)
11. Single File (Elliott Smith)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The 11 Best Elliott Smith Songs You've Never Heard

I've been asked a few times now why I don't post all the songs that I list on the site. So, I figured it's about time I address the question. On most sites, the site is dedicated to the actual songs that are being posted. Someone may get a cool B-Side or a live cover, then they post something about the band addressing the MP3. Other times, the blog is about a specific band and the blogger posts songs specific to the band at the center of the article. My goal on this site is to not only talk about cool bands or to share music from cool bands but to let my readers know about all the other great music out there. The point of the blog is to give you a sample of what is out there, in hopes, that it will motivate you to head out and find more of the music. Obviously, no one wants to leave the safety and security of their computer...no one wants to spend hours scrounging the net for that last obscure track. And hell if anyone wants to pony up $12 on Amazon for the CD single to get one song. But sometimes in life, if you want something bad enough, you have to earn it. And if by me not posting every song means that you have to go on iTunes and pay .99 cents for a track...well, then at least that artist earned something for the great work they shared with the world.

Elliott Smith's New Moon (get it free here) is an excellent collection of many of Elliott's lesser and better known outtakes and demos. But Elliott was far more prolific than the set reveals. There is easily enough unreleased material out there to have another two or three more 2-disc sets. Here's a sampling...

The 11 Best Elliott Smith Songs You've Never Heard:

1. Division Day (X/O B-Side)
2. Enemy Is You (X/O B-Side)
3. A Living Will (Figure 8 B-Side)
4. Amanda Cecilia (Jackpot Demos)
5. I Can't Answer You Anymore (Jackpot Demos)
6. How To Take A Fall (Figure 8 B-Side)
7. Taking A Fall (Outtake)
8. I Don't Think I'm Ever Going To Figure It Out (Speed Trials EP)
9. Some Rock Song (A Taste of Lemon)
10. No Name #6 (Speed Trials EP)
11. No Confidence Man (Pete Krebs single)

Monday, May 21, 2007

The 11 Worst Linkin Park Songs

You know what the difference between good and cheap wine is? Good wine gets better with age. The longer you hold onto it, the fuller the flavor. The cheap wine may be drinkable the day you bring it home from the market but usually by the weekend, it becomes as sour as a glass of lemonade. Some thinks are not meant to endure.

I want to begin this article with a very embarrassing statement. I like Linkin Park. I grew up in the 80s. I listened to hair metal. I enjoyed Depeche Mode. I liked Faith No More. I liked rap. I even own a Phunk Junkeez CD. Well, I got it for free. I swear. So I have to tell you how excited I was to get the new Linkin Park CD Minutes to Midnight. And yes, I'm being very serious about this. Sadly, the new Linkin Park CD is terrible. It's not a hard rock CD. It's a pop CD. And it's not even a good pop CD. Most of the songs are so piss-poor they would have landed on the cutting room floor of a *Nsync album. What the hell happened to these guys? Who told them singing like vaginas was in this season? I never thought I would say this...but I miss the rap/rock.

Here's a key quote..."But the heartless wind kept blowing..." Even the writers on Lifetime are better than that.

How do I get my money back?

The 11 Worst Linkin Park Songs:

1. Shadow of the Day
2. Leave Out All The Rest
3. Valentine's Day
4. In Pieces
5. The Little Things That Give You Away
6. What I've Done
7. In Between
8. No More Sorrow
9. Hands Held High
10. Bleed It Out
11. Given Up

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The 11 Best B-Sides From 12 Memories

Last night I saw Spiderman 3, despite the 100s and I mean 100s of flaws, I still found myself really enjoying the film. Maybe I'm just a sucker for over-produced action sequences or it's my life long love for Sam Raimi...but regardless, it was a good time at the movies.

I will say, watching the film reminded me a lot of a great band's later career. As bands get older, they tend to surround themselves with people who are basically just "yes" men and tell them every song they make is great...that's why music from great bands begins to suck. I think Spiderman 3 is beginning to suffer. I feel the like the filmmakers were beginning to believe in their own hype. And just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. Kirsten Dunst isn't a bad singer...but two songs? Come on.

At least Raimi isn't in Lucas territory yet. Though I want more Spiderman films, maybe it's better to quit while you're ahead.

Here are the 11 Best Travis B-Sides From 12 Memories:

12 More Memories:

1. Distraction
2. 12th Memory
3. Definition of Wrong
4. Life and Soul of the Party
5. Sea
6. Know Nothing
7. Don't Be Shy
8. The Score
9. Good For Nothing
10. I Forget My Name
11. I Don't Mean To Get High

Sorry...my uploading is screwed...will try to get tracks up tonight.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The 11 Best Travis B-Sides From The Invisible Band

In the first chunk of Travis B-Sides, Bad Feelings,"the songs were actually stronger than their album counterparts. It showed the band was progressing, their music writing capabilities were evolving. On The Woman Who, they left it all on the floor. Since most of the strong tracks found themselves on the parent album, there was very little leftover for those $10 CD singles. The B-Sides were only so-so, with a couple of bright spots. But as in life, the third time is the charm. The Highly Visible Band (the 3rd B-side Album) prospered from a sorta EP/exclusive CD single called Coming Around. Partnered with 4 extra tracks, it might be the strongest non-album release of the band's career.

Here are the 11 Best Travis B-Sides From The Invisible Band era:

The Highly Visible Band

1. Central Station
2. Rock 'N' Salad Roll
3. The Weight (The Band)
4. The Connection
5. Just The Faces Change
6. You're A Big Girl Now (Bob Dylan)
7. Beautiful
8. Killer Queen (Queen)
9. All The Young Dudes (Mott The Hoople)
10. Ancient Train
11. A Little Bit Of Soul

Monday, May 14, 2007

The 11 Best Travis B-Sides From The Man Who

Continuing on with yesterday's post...

The Man Who was Travis' breakout album in the states. They had a huge radio hit with "Why Does it Always Rain on Me?" And one of their B-Sides in particular, the cover of Britney Spears' "Baby, One More Time," found a common spot on the radio as well. This may be Travis' only era where their album tracks out number the B-sides...14 to 12.

Here are The 11 Best Travis B-Sides From The Man Who:

The Woman Who

1. River (Joni Mitchel cover)
2. Village Man
3. Be My Baby (cover)
4. Baby, One More Time (Britney Spears cover)
5. Where Is The Love?
6. Green Behind The Ears
7. Days of Our Lives
8. We Are Monkeys
9. Urge For Going
10. Only Molly Knows
11. Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

Buy Travis new album here.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The 11 Best Travis B-Sides From Good Feelings

No one considers the art of the B-Side a bigger asset than the band Travis. Here's a band that not only turns out some of the most collectable B-sides in the music industry (they cover everyone from The Band to Queen to Britney Spears) they are probably one of the few bands who has released more B-Sides than A-sides. Before the release of their recent album "The Boy With No Name" they had put out a total of 49 songs through official albums. On the flip side (pun intended), they've released 54 B-Sides. Either they're a band working too much overtime, or they're in desperate need of a better record contract.

I've split the next couple of days into a few posts. For fun I've split the 4 eras into their own albums (Bad Feelings, The Woman Who, The Highly Visible Band, and 12 More Memories)

Here's Part One - The 11 Best B-Sides From The Good Feelings Era:

Bad Feelings

1. City in the Rain
2. Standing On My Own
3. Everyday Faces
4. Gimme Some Truth
5. Coming My Hair
6. Unbelievers
7. Hazy Shades of Gold
8. Blue on a Black
9. Reason
10. When I'm Feeling Blue
11. Me Beside You

But Travis' new album here. Please...it's very good!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The 11 Best Things To Do In Nashville

When I told everyone that my family was taking a vacation to Nashville, everyone thought I was a loon. Nashville? How was I supposed to relax in a sleezy dirty city like Nashville? Are you kidding, for any of us audiophiles, Nashville is like the L'ouvre of music history. In fact if you throw in Memphis, the state of Tennesee may be the most significant musical state in the country. The number of pivotal rock albums that were recorded in Nashville number in the 1000s. Everyone from Bob Dylan to the White Stripes has recorded in Nashville at one time or another. It's not just about country music, although there's a lot of that going on. If anyone's looking for an off centre vacation with a musical theme then here are:

The 11 Best Things To Do In Nashville:

1. Country Music Hall of Fame - one of the best music museums I've ever been in
2. Grand Ole Opry - if you can see a show, do so at all costs
3. Musicians Hall of Fame - a museum dedicated to the great session musicians like the Funk Brothers, A-Team, and the Wrecking Crew. Absolutely fantastic.
4. The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's Home - sure he wasn't in a band but when he was in the White House, he used to party like a rock star.
5. Grand Ole Opry Museum - right off to the side of the Opry, highlights many of the legendary performers of the past and present.
6. Wildhorse Saloon - it's a super touristy honky tonk bar, but it's still a great time.
7. Nashville Palace - this honky tonk bar is off the beaten path but the entertainment is quite excellent. Worth stopping in for a beer. And it's next door to the Willie Nelson and Dukes of Hazzard museums.
8. The General Jackson Showboat - Ride an old-fashioned paddle boat while listening to great southern music. It doesn't get much better than this.
9. Downtown - Honky Tonk Bars coming out your ears. It'll be hard NOT find a good.
10. Willie Nelson Museum - It's not great. But it's a lot like Willie. Rough, unique, and off the beaten path.
11. The Loveless Cafe - It's a bit of a drive from downtown Nashville but the place has a lot of history worth seeing and some great food to boot.

Here are some great songs recorded in Nashville:

1. Bob Dylan - The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest (from John Wesley Harding)
2. Frank Black - I Burn Today (From Honeycomb)
3. Ryan Adams - Shakedown on 9th Street (From Heartbreaker)

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Music Blog Awards 2007 (MuBA)

What are the Music Blog Awards?

The Music Blog Awards are the first award event where the music bloggers get to nominate their favorite artists. Over 35 of the best and brightest bloggers on the net selected nominees in 14 different categories from Best Album to Best Song to Best Taco (okay, I made up the last category). Yours truly helped with the nomination process and I can't tell you how thrilled I am with the list of nominees. I think this is the first award show I've been privy to and I didn't cringe when I saw the list of nominees. But here's the best thing about it, the public gets to vote for the winners. Just go here and place your vote with Emusic!

For everyone who votes, you'll get a chance to sign-up for Emusic and download an exclusive MuBA playlist, featuring tracks and artists from the MuBA nominee list. Everyone who signs up for Emusic will get 40 free downloads. And if you try out Emusic for a couple of weeks and don't like it, you can cancel your membership and keep the downloads without having to pay a dime!!

Instead of a typical list today, I've include the nominee list instead. Now Go vote!!

Album of the Year

  1. Camera Obscura – Let's Get Out Of This Country
  2. Hot Chip – The Warning
  3. Joanna Newsom – YS
  4. The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
  5. The Knife – Silent Shout
  6. TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain

Song of the Year

  1. Band of Horses – The Funeral
  2. Beirut – Postcards From Italy
  3. Camera Obscura – Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken
  4. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
  5. Midlake – Roscoe
  6. Peter Bjorn and John – Young Folks

Best Artist

  1. Beck
  2. Joanna Newsom
  3. The Decemberists
  4. The Knife
  5. TV On the Radio

Best Blog

1. An Aquarium Drunkard
2. I Guess I'm Floating
3. Large Hearted Boy
4. My Old Kentucky Blog
5. Stereogum

Best Live Band

1. Cansei Der Se Sexy (CSS)
2. Radiohead
3. Tapes N Tapes
4. The Decemberists
5. TV on the Radio

Best Rock Album

1. The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers
2. The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
3. Thom Yorke – The Eraser
4. TV on the Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain
5. Wolfmother – Wolfmother

Best Rock Song

1. Band of Horses – The Funeral
2. Tapes N Tapes – Insistor
3. The Decemberists – O! Valencia
4. The Raconteurs – Steady As She Goes
5. TV On The Radio – Wolf Like Me

Best Debut Album

  1. Beirut – Gulag Orkestar
  2. Cold War Kids – Robbers & Cowards
  3. Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere
  4. Lily Allen – Alright, Still
  5. Lupe Fiasco – Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor
  6. We Are Scientists – With Love and Squalor

Best Indie Album

  1. Cold War Kids – Robbers & Cowards
  2. The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls In America
  3. Sunset Rubdown – Shup Up I Am Dreaming
  4. Tapes and Tapes – The Loon
  5. The Thermals – The Body, The Blood, The Machine

Best Dance/Electronica Album

  1. Cansei De Ser Sexy – Cansei De Ser Sexy
  2. Girl Talk – Night Ripper
  3. Goldfrapp – Supernature
  4. Hot Chip – The Warning
  5. The Knife – Silent Shout

Best Dance/Electronica Song

  1. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
  2. Hot Chip – And I Was A Boy From School
  3. LCD Soundsystem – 45:33
  4. The Knife – We Share Our Mother's Health
  5. The Rapture – Whoo! Alright, Yeah…Uh Huh

Best Rap Song

  1. Nas – Hip-Hop Is Dead
  2. Outkast – PJ and Rooster
  3. T.I. – What You Know

Best Rap Album

  1. Clipse – Hell Hath No Fury
  2. Ghostface Killah – Fishscale
  3. Lupe Fiasco – Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor
  4. Nas – Hip-Hop Is Dead
  5. Rhymefest – Blue Collar

Best Country/Alt.Country/Country Rock Album

  1. Drive By Truckers – A Blessing And A Curse
  2. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins – Rabbit Fur Coat
  3. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
  4. Old Crow Medicine Show – Big Iron World
  5. The Be Good Tanyas – Hello Love