Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The 11 Best Bruce Springsteen Songs

Lately, everyone is talking stimulus. Some people think that all this "free" money should go to the average Joe who is hurting. But should we really be giving money back to the people who couldn't handle their finances in the first place? That's like hiring an ex-drug addict to manage a pharmacy. Others say that securing the banks and stabilizing the corporations is the solution. But isn't that the same philosphy as trickle down economics? And look how well that worked.

You can't kick start the economy by fixing broken entities...the only way to do it is with new businesses...new fields of enterprise...just like the internet industry boosted the 90s...we need something similar today. And it's right in front of our noses...

Legalize marijuana...then tax the hell out it.

Currently, there are 30 billion packs of cigarettes sold in the US....that's right...30 billion. Since taxes are assessed state-to-state...the us average is $1.00 per pack. Many cigarette smokers smoke a pack a day...but the average cigarette smoker is closer to 1 pack a week. The typical marijuana smoker would likely smoke a 6-joint pack once a week. Impose a $5.00 per pack tax on it...and you sell even 1/5 of what cigarettes sell...you're looking at an annual intake of around 30 billion dollars in taxes alone. That may not be a total solution...but it's one helluva start.

Here are the 11 Best Bruce Springsteen Songs:

1. Born To Run (Born To Run)
2. Dancing In the Dark (Born in the USA)
3. Thunder Road (Born To Run)
4. Cover Me (Born in the USA)
5. My Love Will Not Let You Down (Tracks)
6. Lost In The Flood (Greetings From Astbury)
7. The Streets of Philadelphia (Sdtk)
8. My City of Ruins (The Rising)
9. Atlantic City (Nebraska)
10. Rosalita (The E Street Shuffle)
11. The River (The River)

Buy the Bruce Springsteen album (Working on a Dream) right now!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The 11 Best Songs by Franz Ferdinand

I've been hearing polarizing reviews of the new FF album. Some people love it...and think it's a bold new direction for the band. Others think it's almost a joke...a pale bail-out for a band who had hit a creative wall. That said, I have yet to hear the album. But when it comes to creativity, doing something new is never a bad thing. Sometimes the results are in fact bad...terrible and practically unlistenable but the fact that the band chooses to challenge their nature, their existence in the musical landscape is the only thing that can make a good band great. Don't forget Dylan was slammed for merely using an electric guitar. R.E.M. was shunned for signing with a major label. GNR was mocked for spending 15 years to make an album. But in the end, the critics have to sit on their hands because of the brilliant music that came out of those endeavours. Of course you do at times get confusing packages like Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music...but even that...despite all its flaws...is more appreciated and respected than some of his more musical offerings.

Here are The 11 Best Songs by Franz Ferdinand:

1. Take Me Out (Franz Ferdinand)
2. You're The Reason I'm Leaving (You Could Have It Better)
3. Well, That Was Easy (You Could Have It Better)
4. 40' (Franz Ferdinand)
5. This Fire (Franz Ferdinand)
6. All My Friends (All My Friends E.P.)
7. Walk Away (You Could Have It Better)
8. Dark of The Matinee (Franz Ferdinand)
9. Your Diary (Bonus Track)
10. Do You Want To (You Could Have It Better)
11. Wine In the Afternoon (Eleanor)

Buy Franz Ferdinand's new album, Tonight.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Unknown: Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Hot Tulips

Okay, I partially lied. I'm stopping back in to do one more post before I take a little break. With the news of the Ryan Adams & the Cardinals split...this may be the last time I can do this post.

It's hard to get a specific read on the Cardinals. They were a terrible away team. But had a solid home record. That is until the playoffs and they went into Carolina...who was perfect at home...and completely dismantled them. Now the Cards return home, to a play where they have performed strong all season. But they must face an experienced and streaking Philly team...who has been here before...and has come away victorious. Two months ago, Philly beat the Cards by 28 points...granted that was at Philly. The week before the Cards lost to Carolina by 4 on the road. They avenged the Carolina loss...but that was a closer game. Can the Cards overcome that blow-out to make this a game?

Cardinals win!!!!!!

Here is Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Hot Tulips:

Thanks to MUSIC FOR HUMANS for the last four songs.
I don't have a So Hot, So Cold. If anyone can shoot those over to me...I would appreciate it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

the 11 Best Albums of 1959

This will be my last post for a couple of weeks. I'll be back in time for the return of Franz Ferdinand and Bruce Springsteen.

1959 was 50 years ago...but music was as influential as it ever was. While the radio was being dominated by pop teen idols (what else has changed?) musical giants like Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Elvis and Johnny Cash were laying the foundations for the music that we hear today.

The 11 Best Albums of 1959

1. Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
2. Ray Charles - The Genius of Ray Charles
3. Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Sings the George and Ira Gerswhin Songbook
4. Frank Sinatra - Come Dance With Me
5. Dave Brubeck - Time Out
6. Johnny Cash - The Fabulous Johnny Cash
7. Elvis Presley - 50,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong
8. Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um (GG Train)
9. Ornette Coleman - The Shape of Jazz To Come
10. Bill Evans Trio - Portrait in Jazz
11. Ritchie Valens - Ritchie Valens

Buy many of these albums at my store.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The 11 Best Albums of 1969

1969 might be the best year for music...ever. The albums that didn't make the list are better than most albums that top the list for other years. Debuts from Crosby Stills Nash, Blood Sweat & Tears, Mott The Hoople, Santana, and Moby Grape all didn't make the list. Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline is sitting on the sideline. Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left is left out. Stevie Wonder's My Cheri Amour found no love and the Beatles' Yellow Submarine is sunk.

Here are the 11 Best Albums of 1969:

1. The Beatles - Abbey Road
2. Led Zeppelin - II
3. The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed
4. Led Zeppelin - I
5. Velvet Underground - V.U.
6. The Who - Tommy
7. The Band - The Band
8. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Willy & the Poor Boys
9. The Grateful Dead - Aoxomoxoa (Cosmic Charlie)
10. Blind Faith - Blind Faith
11. Merle Haggard - Okie From Muskogee

I didn't forget Johnny Cash's Live From San Quentin...one of the most memorable albums of this year...but it's a live album and a compilation...which is why it didn't make the list. Same for Ummagumma.

You can buy most of these albums here at my store!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The 11 Best Albums of 1979

I had a friend Anthony who was obsessed with Pink Floyd. One day he spent the entire afternoon a dual cassette deck trying to line up the last song on the Wall so it would transition smoothly back into the first song. He was so proud of the 3-second splice that he made a mixed tape with that intertwined between every song. As strange (and super obsessive) as this was, there were something about his actions that embodied the mojo of his actions. That seemingly meaningless minutia was of the utmost importance. Maybe that's because everyone was smoking so much pot or that after the mayhem of the 60s...it was time to chill out.

Here are the 11 Best Albums of 1979:

1. Pink Floyd - The Wall
2. Michael Jackson - Off the Wall
3. AC/DC - Highway To Hell
4. Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door
5. The Police - Regatta de Blanc
6. Van Halen - Van Halen 2
7. Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures (Disorder)
8. The Ramones - End of the Century
9. Prince - Prince
10. Split Enz - Frenzy

Friday, January 09, 2009

The 11 Best Albums of 1989

In 1989, the first recordable CDs were announced for the public. Though, they wouldn't go on sale until 1990, what most people didn't know is what kind of music revolution that would follow a short decade later because of this simple invention.
Here are the 11 Best Albums of 1989:
1. The Cure - Disinitegration (Last Dance)
2. Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
3. Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever
4. Pixies - Doolittle
5. Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine (Sin)
6. De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising
7. Nirvana - Bleach
8. Fugazi - 13 Songs
9. Bad Religion - No Control
11. Fine Young Cannibals - The Raw and the Cooked
Buy these albums here.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The 11 Best Albums of 1999

It was the year Napster broke into the music industry and changed it forever. Why? Because the record labels were forcing crap like Britney, Nsync, and Backstreet Boys upon the masses. Music fans wanted more...they wanted better...and they fought to find it.
Here are the 11 Best Albums of 1999:
2. Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrun
3. Built To Spill - Keep It Like A Secret
4. Black Star - Black Star
6. Dr. Dre - 2001
7. Rage Against The Macine - The Battle for Los Angeles
8. Moby - Play
9. The Roots - Things Fall Apart
10. Travis - The Man Who
11. The Get-Up Kids - Something To Write Home About
Buy these albums here!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The UNKNOWN Albums of the 90s (#1)

1. Heatmiser - Mic City Sons (1996)

Everyone has one album they guarantee. One album they recommend to all their friends. One album they swear that you will like. But what people don't realize is that that "guarantee" is a definitive statement about their musical prowess. Using a mediocre album as a "guarantee" can permentally damage their musical opinion in the eyes of others. In college, I had a friend whose "guarantee" was Beastie Boys' "Paul's Boutique." It's a safe choice...but it tells everyone he had very mainstream tastes. I dated a girl whose "guarantee" was Madonna's "Erotica." Being in the car with her was close to being in hell. We broke up. I had a roommate whose guarantee Creed's "My Own Prison." It proved that you should never take his advice on anything.

Heatmiser is best known for launching the career of Elliott Smith. But this wasn't the only artist to spring from this group. Sam Coomes, bassist, who went on to form indie-wunderkind Quasi with ex-wife Janet Weiss. Neil Gust, guitarist, formed a Heatmiser clone called, No. 2, which was short-lived before he went onto a design career. But this album may be the best release of their careers...yes, even better than Elliott's solo material. Or at least...on par. It is worth a listen. I guarantee it.

MP3: Pop in G

Buy Mic City Sons here.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The UNKNOWN Albums of the 90s (#2)

2. Triple Fast Action - Cattlemen Don't (1997)

Even though they clock in at number 2, this band is really the most underrated band of the 90s. They are the Nirvana that never was. I know that's a bold statement...but it's true. TFA is the bridge between grunge of the 90s and the emo of the 00s. They are the missing link between Nirvana and The White Stripes. Like the Pixies before them...their greatest deficit was being a victim of bad timing.

TFA's first album Broadcaster was was a major label flop. But in their defense, it came out on Capitol Records, who at the time, were more aggro about building a college rock arsenal than attacking he mainstream. Hit albums have nothing to do with the quality of the music...it's all about the marketing team. Unless you were 3 Jewish rappers from NY or 5 Londoners with a sleepy-eyed singer...Capitol didn't have any idea what they were doing. Their theory was that being on Capitol was the only "cool cred" a band needed...and it ended up being wrong. Dozens of extremely talented artists fell victim to Capitol's "too cool for school" approach to marketing.

TFA should have been bigger than Capitol let them be. The album was angry yet electrifyng. It was compassionate yet unyeilding. It had power yet felt relaxed. It was the 2nd generation Nevermind. And there was nothing else out there that held a candle to it.

The follow-up album landed on an indie label and showed that band was far more talented than the polished attack of their previous release. Using the same magnetic hooks, the sonic attack of the sophomore release proved the band had range...and a future if they could just get that one break. But that break never happened...and within a year...they broke up.

Ten years later, all of the band members have left the performing side of the music industry. But as Kurt Warner has proved...nothing is ever over....

MP3: Heroes

buy Cattlemen Don't Here

Friday, January 02, 2009

The UNKNOWN Albums of the 90s (#3)

3. Jawbreaker - Dear You (1995)

Blake Schwarzenbach may have had the coolest name of any indie rock singer. One half action superstar...one half polo shirt wearing tennis snob. And his music reflected that. Half the songs sounded like Green Day outtakes...while the other half sounded like the band was deserately trying to dissect GD's winning 3-chord formula in a Pixies kind of way. I dated this girl Tracy when this album came out. Tracy was a major Offspring/Green Day fan, along with a little Tori Amos just to seem socially conscious. I scored an advance copy through my radio station gig and was blown away by the anti-pop punk stylings. I immediately played it for Tracy thinking she would be equally impressed...but she wasn't. She curled her lip and raised her eyebrows and then said..."they should try to sound more like Green Day." Hence the reason Jawbreaker broke up shortly after this...

MP3: Sluttering

Buy Dear You here.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The 11 Most Anticipated Albums of 2009

Before I list the top three unknown albums of the 90s...I want to take a quick look forward at the year to come. Because as you know in life, people are obssessed with either reminiscing about the past or talking about things to come...rarely do we ever stop to enjoy the present. I once worked with this guy Ted, who spend hours making massive spread sheets of activities he was planning to do. Trips he was planning to take and groups he was planning to join. He would break down the hours it would take to partake in the activities and the prep each activity needed. And if I'd ask him when he was going to do one of these activities...he's always reply...Soon. In the couple of years I worked with him, he never ever did anything. It was like the planning was his escape from the present. He was looking forward to a ficitional future where he was a different person and lived a different life.

Here are the 11 Most Anticipated Albums of 2009:

1. Dr Dre - Detox (June)
2. U2 - No Line on the Horizon (March)
4. Jay-Z - The Blueprint Part 3 (April)
5. Green Day - 8th Studio Album (September)
6. The Beastie Boys - 7th Studio Album (May)
7. Wilco - 7th Studio Album (May)
8. White Stripes - 7th Studio Album (July)
9. The Strokes - 4th Studio (August)
10. Decemberists - Hazards of Love (March)
11. Depeche Mode - Wrong (April)