Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The 11 Best Bob Dylan Songs of 00s

It's always a good day when a new Bob Dylan album gets released. But narrowing Dylan's career down to a small sampling of 11 songs is practically impossible. A few months back I did Dylan's 111 best songs...and that was a vast and difficult undertaking. Dylan's worn so many different musical hats, comparing his early work to his current work is like comparing apples to automobiles. It's almost like comparing two completely different artists. This decade has proven to be a very productive one for Dylan, churning out more music than many artists 40 years his junior. The music he made this decade deserves its own recognition.

Here are the 11 Best Bob Dylan Songs of 00s:
1. Things Have Changed (Wonder Boys Sdtk)
2. Mississippi (Love and Theft)
3. Ain't Talkin' (Modern Times)
4. 'Cross The Green Mountain (Gods and Generals Sdtk)
5. Spirit on the Water (Modern Times)
6. Tell Ol Bill (North Country Sdtk)
7. Po' Boy (Love and Theft)
8. Workingman's Blues (Modern Times)
9. I Can't Get You Off Of My Mind (Timeless - Tribute to Hank Williams)
10. Huck's Tune (Lucky You Sdtk)
11. Thunder on the Mountain (Modern Times)
Buy Bob's newest musical tapestry, Together Through Life.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Unknown: Jane's Addiction - 11-29-88

Depeche Mode wasn't the only 80s giant to make a return splash this week. Jane's Addiciton, another massively influential 80s band, released a box set of outtakes, b-sides, demos, and live tracks. Though most of these tracks have floated around on bootlegs and blogs, they finally get the proper mastering treatment with this release. I've never been a fan of tracks pulled from concerts...always prefered the full concert...but this is a good start. I think of this like the Nirvana box set from a few years ago. It's really for fans only...but if you're a fan, it's something you have to have.

Hopefully, the full reunion this summer, will offer some more broken punk that they so brilliantly fostered in their early days. Probably not...but one can hope.

Here is the concert where one of the box set tracks (Bobhaus) was taken from:

Trip Away 11-29-88

3. Whores (mistitled Romeo)

Buy the box set, Cabinet of Curiosities now!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The 11 Best Depeche Mode Remixes

No band has had as much influence on the club scene as Depeche Mode. Back in the 80s...a remix meant either a longer version of a song or a slight mix of the levels with a cowbell thrown-in for fun. But DM turned remixing on its head by taking it to another level. They reinvented songs by changing the beats, the structures, even the lyrics. The Quad Mix of ETS is the breaking point of remixing in my opinion. They turned a 3-minute pop song into an orchestral number. That's a height all remixers should aim for.

In picking through the 200+ remixes of Depeche songs, I stuck to remixes rather than alternate versions of songs like the ETS Harmonium, the acoustic PJ, or the lounge version of Love in Itself. Though most of the best remixes have come in the later part of their career, without some of the brillant mixes from the early years...the newer remixes would have never been possible.

Here are the 11 Best Depeche Mode Remixes:
1. Enjoy the Silence (The Quad Final Mix)
2. World in My Eyes (Cicada Mix)
3. Photographic (Dub Mix) by Rex the Dog
4. Useless (Escape From Wherever: Parts 1 & 2)
5. Enjoy The Silence (Reinterpreted) by Mike Shinoda ft. Linkin Park
6. Policy of Truth (Capitol Mix)
7. Halo (Remix) by goldfrapp
8. Lilian (Robag Wruhme Slomochen Kikker)
9. Suffer Well (M83 Remix)
10. Get The Balance Right! (Combination Mix)
11. Nothing (Rock Mix) by Headcleaner

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The 11 Best Depeche Mode Songs of the 00s:

Okay, so it wasn't their best decade. But there are a couple of gems that hold up with some of their best material. No, not all of them...just a couple.

Here are The 11 Best Depeche Mode Songs of the 00s:

1. Precious (Playing the Angel)
2. Suffer Well (Playing the Angel)
3. Martyr (Best Of)
4. Free (Playing the Angel B-side)
5. Freelove (Exciter)
6. Lilian (Playing the Angel)
7. Shine (Exciter)
8. A Pain That I'm Used To (Playing the Angel)
9. When The Body Speaks (Exciter)
10. John The Revelator (Playing the Angel)
11. Goodnight Lovers (Exciter)

Last chance to buy the new Depeche album Sounds of the Universe for only $3.99.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The 11 Best Depeche Mode Songs of the 90s:

Though the new Depeche Mode came out this week...all anyone seems to be talking about is "torture." No one is upset that America engaged in torture tactics...they're angry that the government released paperwork that we used certain torture techniques. Now our enemies know our tactics and can prepare for it. Honestly, if anyone actually thinks that...you're an idiot. Even at our worst...our torture techniques pale in comparison to the terrorist techniques. If anything, they're not preparing for our torture...they're laughing at it. We may use "water boarding" which simulates drowning...but in the terrorist version instead of water, they use battery acid. We use sleep deprivation...they pour motor oil down your throat. We engage in something called "walling" where we throw suspects at a wall....they do something called "balling" where they cut off your balls. Face it, our tactics sucked. They wouldn't even make into the first draft of a "24" script. They wouldn't even convince a high school student to give up the name of a classmate who started a rumor...let alone break down a terrorist cell. Please...get some better tactics...then you can be offended.

Here are The 11 Best Depeche Mode Songs of the 90s:

1. Enjoy the Silence (Violator)
2. It's No Good (Ultra)
3. Policy of Truth (Violator)
4. Useless (Ultra)
5. Halo (Violator)
6. Sea of Sin (Violator B-Side)
7. Barrel of a Gun (Ultra)
8. Mercy In You (Songs of Faith and Devotion)
9. World In My Eyes (Violator)
10. Personal Jesus (Violator)
11. Walking in My Shoes (Songs of Faith and Devotion)

Buy Depeche Mode Sounds of the Universe now!! (only $3.99 to download from Amazon)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The 11 Best Depeche Mode Songs of the 80s:

After watching the Hall Of Fame ceremonies last week, it's left me wondering whose next? There are some obvious choices, which I listed a few days ago...but there are others who are less easy to tell. To me, Depeche Mode is a no-brainer. But whenever I bring them up in conversation, my friends give me smirks and pats on the head, like when you congratulate your kid for trying really hard. Is DM really an outrageous thought to make the Hall of Fame? Today's release is their 12th album. They've been selling out stadiums now for over 28 years. Countless big time artists cite them as a major influence. And not just bands who play $2 beer night at the local pub. I'm talking about the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Linkin Park, and The Killers.

As with most big time bands...hall of famers...I can't break down their entire career into one best of list. Great bands re-invent themselves decade-to-decade. As with Depeche Mode...their career has had many ups and down...I can't even remember how many times I've read they're breaking up and then re-uniting. But I think that's what the greats do. And if over the neext three days...with the countless amount of incredible songs...that doesn't convince you that this band should be invited to Cleveland...well then...you don't deserve to listen to music anymore.

Here are the 11 Best Depeche Mode Songs of the 80s:

1. But Not Tonight (Black Celebration)
2. Never Let Me Down (Music For The Masses)
3. Photographic (Speak and Spell)
4. Everything Counts (Construction Time Again)
5. Blasphemous Rumors (Some Great Reward)
6. Strangelove (Music For The Masses)
7. Somebody (Some Great Reward)
8. Stripped (Black Celebration)
9. Lie To Me (Some Great Reward)
10. Shake The Disease (Catching Up With DM)
11. Sacred (Music For The Masses)

Buy the new Depeche Mode album, Sounds of the Universe now!! (only $3.99)

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Unknown: Depeche Mode - Cheating The Devil

To some artists, B-sides are an art form. Some musicians put out B-sides like it was a second career. Take Morrissey, when this guy sneezes at least 3 b-sides come shooting out with all the mucus. Ryan Adams has been known to record b-side albums in his sleep. And Travis? Do these guy release regular albums anymore...or just b-sides? Other bands are more sparing with their material and fans may be lucky enough to be graced with one exclusive track per decade. There's a reason AC/DC skipped the "B" in their name.
Depeche Mode falls in the middle. On their best albums, DM has given fans upwards of 6 b-sides...but always mixing in instrumentals with their vocal tracks. They've always been a bigger "remix" band. And it's no suprise we saw a Depeche Mode remix album before a b-side album. So collecting all the b-sides together wasn't the hurdle it would be with most bands. There were enough tracks to split the Bees into two albums. Instead of going in order, I've opted to start with second album, which features some tracks you may not be familiar with.

That said...if you guys want more DM synth pop goodness...then you need to go out and buy the new album (Sounds of the Universe). Right now if you go through my Amazon store, you can buy it for $3.99. I mean seriously, how are you ever going to beat that price? If enough people download it...then I'll have no choice but to treat you to some more rare stuff.

Depeche Mode - Cheating the Devil

8. Dirt
9. Free
12. Martyr

Buy Depeche Mode's new album, Sounds of the Universe...now! (only $3.99 at my digital store)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Unknown: Record Store Day April 18th

On April 18th, Record Stores across the country will be celebrating the greatness that is the Record store. I always felt that part of loving music...was loving to shop for music. Getting to sift through music online and listening to snippets is fun in its own way but nothing beats cruising through wooden crates of discarded music and discovering a lost treasure. Some of my favorite albums were unearthed after sifting through a mountain of CDs in a $1.00 bin. Soon gone are the days of taking a chance on an album just because it had a cool looking cover or the band name sounded cool. Soon gone are the days of standing at a listening station and getting to puruse an album at your own pace and not being forced to listen to a pre-determined 30-second chunk. Do you know how many times I've listened to a song on itunes and heard nothing but intro? Great...that helped me a lot. Soon gone will be the days when you're looking at an album and you can turn to the person next to you and ask their advice. Not that it's always good...but it was nice to have the option at hand. Soon gone are the days of ordering a hard to find album. Instant gratification has its advantages...but the anticipation of waiting for the album was always the best part.

In honor of the record store, many bands are putting out exclusive items to buyers that will only be available at the record store on that day. From exclusive 7 inches, to full length CDs, and t-shirts. There's a massive list on the Record Store Day Website...so I hope you all go take a look, find a record store near you, and re-experience a lost piece of what made music so great.

Here are the 11 Best Record Store Day Exclusives:

1. Pavement - Live in Germany 1988 - full unreleased concert (LP)
2. My Morning Jacket - La Celebracion De La Cuidad Natal - Live concert from Louisville (LP)
3. CSNY - Live Deja Vu - double LP
4. Rivers Cuomo - Live at Fingerprints
5. Iron & Wine - Norfolk 6-20-05 - Live 18 track CD
6. Queen - Queen's First Ep (first time ever on CD)
7. Wilco - Ashes of American Flags - Pre-release DVD - if you buy on RSD you get a free full length concert as a bonus.
8. Oasis - Falling Down - Remix LP
9. Bad Religion - 1981 EP - Re-issue
10. Original 7-inch re-issues from MC5, Stooges, The Smiths, Jane's Addiction, Radiohead
11. Exclusive 7-inches galore featured unreleased tracks from Modest Mouse, Sonic Youth, Beck, Whiskeytown, New Order, Magnolia Electric Co., Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan

Go visit a record store on Record Store Day! On April 18th.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The 11 Best Songs By Royksopp

It's tax day. The last chance for all us procrastinators to wrap up our business from last year...or our last chance to finalize an extension in order to procrastinate a bit more. Luckily my wife's an accountant and don't have to worry about any of that stuff.

So keeping the procrastination theme going, I'm going to do a post I should have done a couple weeks back. I rarely take much stalk in artists doing club music, outside of the old school greats like Moby, Orbital, Orbital, FSOL, and so on, most of the bands of this genre are lucky to exist in one-hit wonder status. But somehow, Royksopp has now kept my attention for three albums. Either they're just really good at what they do...or they're more talented than I gave them credit for. Either way...they've stacked up a decent setlist and after listening to the new album, I don't think the good songs are going to let up anytime soon.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Royksopp:

1. What Else Is There (The Understanding)
2. Circuit Breaker (The Understanding)
3. Remind Me (Melody A.M.)
4. Only This Moment (The Understanding)
5. Eple (Melody A.M.)
6. Beautiful Day Without You (The Understanding)
7. Someone Like Me (The Understanding)
8. Poor Leno (Melody A.M.)
9. Royksopp's Night Out (Melody A.M.)
10. Triumphant (The Understanding)
11. Dead To The World (The Understanding)

Buy Royksopp's new album, Junior, now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The 11 Best Bands Who Are Not In The RNR Hall of Fame

After watching Fuse TV's butchering of the RNR Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, I felt cheated. I can understand them cutting down the Anthony and the Imperials performance...I don't agree with it...but I understand it. As well as Bobby Womack. But Metallica's performance gets chopped up? They were the freaking main event! Why would you give them the B-list treatment? And did Run-DMC even perform? Joe Perry was there...so I figured Walk This Way was probably on the bill...but who knows? No mention of it whatsoever. It was great to see Wanda Jackson finally get here due...she really is a pivotal female voice in the foundations of rock n roll. Don't believe me? Go hunt down her version (Elvis borrowed it) of "Hard Headed Woman" and you will be completely blown away by how intense her performances were. This is a woman who had to share the stage with the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Elvis. For her to survive...she had to hold her own against the best. But Wanda brought a thought...how many other greats are still missing from the RNR Hall...well, here's my list.

The 11 Best Bands Who Are Not In The RNR Hall of Fame:

1. Iggy and the Stooges
2. Rush (Red Barchetta)
3. Kiss
4. Barry White
5. Deep Purple
6. Jackie Wilson
7. Thin Lizzy
8. The Cure
9. Hall & Oates
10. The Jam (In The City)
11. Jounrey

Friday, April 10, 2009

The 11 Best Songs By Alice in Chains

In the shadow of Nirvana, lived one of Seattle's most underappreciated...Alice in Chains. Both Cobain and Staley died on the same day (April 5th). But now, when that day comes around, it's really only Cobain that's remembered. So even in death, AIC still lives underfoot. Although...I think that's how they like it.

I saw AIC play an acoustic show in 92. They were headlining the bill with 12 other bands, which included no names (at the time) like Tool, Rage Against the Machine, and Blind Melon. After 8 hours of opening acts (including a one of a kind performance by Tool where Henry Rollins played a flaming trash can and Maynard shot blanks from a shotgun at the audience), AIC finally graced the stage at 2 AM. Layne's voice brought an eerie hush to the crowd. If you've ever seen a show in LA, then you'll know that no one ever shuts up. So to accomplish silencing crowd...that's pretty much amazing. They only played 2 songs...but that's all they needed to play. In the years that followed, I saw them many more times...and albeit short, this was the best performance I ever saw them play.

The 11 Best Songs By Alice in Chains

1. Would? (Dirt)
2. Right Turn (Sap)
3. Brother (Sap)
4. Man in the Box (Facelift)
5. A Little Bitter (Last Action Hero)
6. Junkhead (Dirt)
7. Nutshell (Jar of Flies)
8. Heaven Beside You (AIC)
9. Sea of Sorrow (Facelift)
10. Them Bones (Dirt)
11. Social Parasite (Music Bank)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Unknown: Nirvana - The Live B-Sides

It was 15 years ago today...

Here are the Live Nirvana B-Sides:

1. Drain You (Live in Seattle, 10-31-91) - Come As You Are
2. School (Live in Seattle, 10-31-91) - Come As You Are
3. Polly (Live in Del Mar, 10-28-91) - In Bloom
4. Sliver (Live in Del Mar, 10-28-91) - In Bloom
5. About a Girl (Live, 2-9-90) - Sliver
6. Spank Thru (Live, 2-9-90) - Sliver
7. Been A Son (Live) - Lithium

Missing some Nirvana...complete your collection here.

Friday, April 03, 2009

The 11 Best Stevie Nicks Solo Songs

Yesterday, I went to a comic book exhibit and saw a copy of Action Comics #1. (the first comic to feature Superman) Though I don't really read comics anymore, I was an avid fan as a kid. At 11-years-old I would have flipped to see that. It would have been the highlight of my life. But now, it doesn't have the same effect. It's still a cool thing for the sole reason that it brings back such fond memories of being a kid and collecting comics. And I guess in some way...I've just accomplished one of my life long dreams.

Here are the 11 Best Stevie Nicks Songs:

1. Edge of Seventeen (Bella Donna)
2. Stand Back (The Wild Heart)
3. Leather & Lace (Bella Donna)
4. I Can't Wait (Rock a Little)
5. If I Were You (Rock a Little)
6. Sable on Blond (The Wild Heart)
7. Long Way To Go (The Other Side of the Mirror)
8. Planets of the Universe (Trouble in Shangri-La)
9. No Spoken Word (Rock a Little)
10. Nothing Ever Changes (The Wild Heart)
11. Talk to Me (The Wild Heart)

Buy Stevie Nicks new live Sessions now.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The 111 Best Indie Albums of All-Time

The blogger world is abuzz with Amazon's list of the 100 best Indie albums of all time. Have to say there are some quality choices in there...but the "exclusion" of punk music doesn't make a lot of sense since indie music would likely not exist without it. And excluding some band who started as indie rockers but became mammoth rock stars also feels wrong. Part of the reason bands like REM, Jane's, and Green Day made the leap was because their "indie" release was so good. And they included Death Cab For Cutie which negates their own rule. I'd have to say I agree with Blender's list from a couple years back much more...and I usually hate every list they've ever done. (thank god they're gone).

Anyway, lots of people love to complain when they don't like something...then do nothing about it. So I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and make my own list. But as you know...I always do lists one better and I go to 11. In this case, 111. My rules are such:

A. One album per band.
B. No compilations
C. If an album "originally" was indie distributed (Jack Johnson) then it was included...but if it parterned with a major label distribution company, it was excluded. I may have screwed up on a couple...
D. No rap. I love rap...but there were too many great indie rap albums to include. (DJ Shadow and Danger Mouse sneak in because they are cross-genre)

* Why Elliott? I'll tell you why I choose Elliott. It was a tough call...any of the albums in the 10 could be number one...but in my opinion, Elliott's album was slightly more important. Most people forget that many of the songs from this album went onto be the soundtrack for Good Will Hunting and Elliott's track Miss Misery was nominated for an Oscar. Though MM was not on the album, that moment in time is a very symbolic moment. On the very stage in front of 100 million people, Celine Dion performs her song which was one of the most popular songs of the decade, only to be followed moments later by elliott's hushed tone. I think that moment on stage is the moment indie rock changed forever. That was the moment that indie rock became legit. And it was Elliott's "either/or" that made that moment possible. *

Here are the 111 Best Indie Albums of All-Time:

  1. Elliott Smith - either/or
  2. Jane's Addiction - Jane's Addiction
  3. Pixies - Doolittle
  4. Pavement - Slanted & Enchanted
  5. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
  6. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
  7. R.E.M. - Life's Rich Pageant
  8. Fugazi - Repeater
  9. Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
  10. Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over The Sea
  11. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
  12. Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out
  13. Husker Du - Zen Arcade
  14. The Replacements - Let It Be
  15. Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun
  16. Bright Eyes - Lifted or The Story is in The Soil
  17. Zero 7 - Simple Things
  18. The Damned - Damned Damned Damned
  19. Sebadoh - Bakesale
  20. Interpol - Antics
  21. Bad Religion - No Control
  22. Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville
  23. Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
  24. Built To Spill - There's Nothing Wrong With Love
  25. Modest Mouse - Lonesome Crowded West
  26. Black Flag - Damaged
  27. Morphine - Cure For Pain
  28. The Chemical Brothers - Exit Planet Dust
  29. Superchunk - On the Mouth
  30. Beck - One Foot In the Grave
  31. Mogwai - Young Team
  32. Camper Van Beethoven - Camper Van Beethoven
  33. Cat Power - You Are Free
  34. Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand
  35. The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace
  36. Bauhaus - In The Flat Field
  37. The Orb - Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
  38. Arcade Fire - Funeral
  39. Slint - Spiderland
  40. Green Day - Kerplunk!
  41. Archers of Loaf - Icky Metal
  42. Unrest - Imperial f.f.r.r.
  43. DJ Shadow - Entroducing...
  44. Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime
  45. The National - Boxer
  46. Stephen Malkmus - Stephen Malkmus
  47. Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker
  48. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Orange
  49. Nirvana - Bleach
  50. Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
  51. Bad Brains - I Against I
  52. Ride - Nowhere
  53. Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
  54. The Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am
  55. My Morning Jacket - At Dawn
  56. Happy Mondays - Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches
  57. Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary
  58. Cocteau Twins - Blue Bell Knoll
  59. Feist - Let It Die
  60. Spoon - Gimme Fiction
  61. Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
  62. Smog - Wild Love
  63. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
  64. Dinosaur Jr. - You're Living All Over Me
  65. Moby - Moby
  66. The Cult - Love
  67. The Descendents - Milo Goes To College
  68. Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream of a Teenage Heaven
  69. The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs
  70. Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge Therapy
  71. At The Drive In - In/Casino/Out
  72. Cold War Kids - Robbers & Cowards
  73. Big Black - Songs About Fucking
  74. Saint Etienne - Good Humor
  75. The Go-Betweens - 16 Lovers Lane
  76. The Beat Happening - The Beat Happening
  77. Tortoise - TNT
  78. Shins - Oh, Inverted World
  79. Danger Mouse - The Grey Album
  80. The Get Up Kids - Something To Write Home About
  81. The New Pornographers - Electric Version
  82. Death Cab For Cutie - We Have The Facts and We Are Voting Yes
  83. Flipper - Generic Flipper
  84. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
  85. Television Personalities - And Don't The Kids Just Know
  86. Calexico/Iron & Wine - In the Reigns
  87. Bonnie "Prince" Billy - I See A Darkness
  88. The Sea and Cake - The Sea and Cake
  89. Whiskeytown - Faithless Street
  90. Soundgarden - Ultramega OK
  91. Low - Secret Name
  92. Tapes N Tapes - The Loon
  93. M. Ward - Post War
  94. The Anniversary - Your Majesty
  95. The White Stripes - De Stijl
  96. The Flaming Lips - In A Priest Driven Ambulance
  97. Mastodon - Levithan
  98. Meat Puppets - Meat Puppets II
  99. Orbital - Snivilisation
  100. Bikini Kill - Pussy-Whipped
  101. Drive-By Truckers - The Dirty South
  102. Mudhoney - Mudhoney
  103. Rilo Kiley - The Execution of All Things
  104. godspeed you black emperor - lift your skinny fists...
  105. Stereolab - Peng!
  106. TV on the Radio - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
  107. Afghan Whigs - Up In It
  108. Cursive - The Ugly Organ
  109. The Jesus Lizard - Liar
  110. Jack Johnson - Brushfire Fairytales
  111. The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Her Satanic Majesty's Second Request

Visit my Amazon store for none of these.