Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Unknown: Coldplay - A&B

I was turned onto an article by the AV Club referring to something called the five-album test.  It's actually an old music cliche that was originally coined by Sting decades ago.  I guess some writer thought he could pass it off as his own, hoping his audience wouldn't know about or have forgotten a 30-year-old theory.  Basically the five-album test proves true greatness.  It basically poses the theory that very few bands can have five great albums in a row, and those who do are truly worthy of legendary status.  Now the AV Club article is not only poorly written but the writer seems to have an extremely limited knowledge of music...not to mention that he contradicts himself by stating that the only criteria of establishing whether an album is great or not is whether he deems it so.  I say that Bob Dylan's early works are passable, Radiohead's Amnesiac is half a good album and Pablo Honey doesn't exist, while Speakerboxx/Love Below is spotty work and he neglects to mention the Police, considering he stole his theory from them. Doing this sketchy musical critique, you're pretty much shooting yourself in the credibility foot.  That said, the five-album test is a very interesting one.  Despite how you decide an album should be considered great or'll be surprised to discover that even your favorite bands struggle to release five great albums in a row.

This week Coldplay releases their fifth album.  Most detractors will argue that the third Coldplay album, X&Y, would definitely be the low point of the band's career, it's hard not to concur that they have been a musical force for all of them.

Here is Coldplay - A&B:

1.  The One I Love
2.  I Bloom Blaum
3.  136
4.  I Ran Away
5.  Crest of Waves
6.  Animals
7.  Murder
8.  Things I Don't Understand 
9.  Proof
10.  Sleeping Sun
11.  Gravity
12.  The World Turned Upside Down
13.  How You See The World
14.  Lips Like Sugar

Buy Coldplay's new album, Mylo!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Unknown: She & Him - Volume II and 1/2

Recently Zooey put up some videos of herself singing covers of Patsy Cline and other various traditional songs by herself to a webcam...although one featured a cameo by Parks & Rec's Jean Ralphio, check them out here and here.  How many singers could do this?  Could Lady Gaga in her undershirt, lack of make-up and a guest spot by a supporting cast from Community not only generate some viral buzz but actually be good?  Zooey not only pulls it off, she's so good unaided by production equipment, she may actually sound better and more authentic than she does when she's been produced by the biggest and best mixing equipment on the planet.  To me that's talent.  That's talent you can't train with a panel of celebrity judges. It's unfair that she may never be taken seriously as a real rock star because of her actress status but if you put her toe-to-toe with the other female singers of today...she's as good as the best of them...and better than most.  It just goes to show, to music labels it's more important to sell their product than to promote a product that may actually be good.  Can we start a movement like Occupy Sony...or Occupy Universal?

Here is She & Him - Volume II and 1/2

1.  Fools Rush In
2.  Oh Boy!
3.  So Long
4.  Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
5.  When I Get To The Border
6.  Lotta Love
7.  I Knew It Would Happen This Way
8.  I Can Hear Music
9.  I Put A Spell On You
10.  Earth
11.  Winnie the Pooh
12.  Shape I'm In

Buy She & Him's new album, A Very She And Him Christmas. (only $5.00)

Monday, October 24, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By My Brightest Diamond

My Brightest Diamond fans always seem to look exactly the same.  They're usually all woman.  They're tall but not tall enough to play basketball.  Skinny.  They like wearing felt trench coats and scarfs even when it's still rather warm out.  They usually have black hair or black hair with a red streak down the side.  And they always wear that stupid little hat that is a cross between a beret and top hat which looks obnoxiously alternative with no sense of its overt hipsterness. And she's always drinking some sort of latte that wasn't served up to her exact specification, so she's got this pissed look on her face.  So she sits in her chair at work and puts on her headphones and blasts MBD because no else understands.

This isn't a direct assault on MBD, if I didn't like her I wouldn't be doing a list.  But it's just a strange observance how fans can actually taint a singer.  MBD takes elements of classical and opera and makes strongly crafted indie rock songs that would be much more enjoyable if I didn't think I was being non-conformist every time I listened.  Maybe I just need a hipster hat to feel more comfortable.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By My Brightest Diamond:

1.  To Pluto's Moon (A Thousand Shark's Teeth)
2.  Inside A Boy (A Thousand Shark's Teeth)
3.  The Robin's Jar (Bring Me The Workhorse)
4.  Golden Star (Bring Me The Workhorse)
5.  Tainted Love (Gimme Indie Rock Prom)
6.  Something Of An End (Bring Me The Workhorse)
7.  Ice and The Storm (A Thousand Shark's Teeth)
8.  Lucky (OKX: A Tribute to OK Computer)
9.  Magic Rabbit (Bring Me The Workhorse)
10.  From The Top of the World (A Thousand Shark's Teeth)
11.  Disappear (Bring Me The Workhorse)

Buy My Brightest Diamond's new album, All Things Will Unwind.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By Puscifer

Someone sent me a review of the newest Jane's Addiction album from the Onion's AV club.  They slammed it.  They gave it an F.  Now, after giving the album a few listens I can verify it's not their greatest effort but it's no F quality.  Here was my problem with the review.  It sounded like the reviewer listened to the album already expecting to hate it.  So then, he looked for things to hate about it...even though in his own review he mentions songs that he liked.  It was a bias negative review just for the sake of the reviewer having the opportunity to be edgy and hip because he's shitting on an old school band.  One of the main issues this reviewer had with the new Jane's Addiction album was that it wasn't as innovative and groundbreaking as their first three albums.  The current music was static, ordinary, it sounded like everything else out there.  But why does everything else out there get a free pass for being vanilla to begin with...why can't Jane's come down to earth once in awhile?  I guess Jane's basically shot themselves in the foot by being too good out of the gates.  Hopefully the Stone Roses do better in their 2012 reunion.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Puscifer:

1.  The Mission - M is for Milla Mix (C Is For)
2.  Momma Sed (V is For Vagina)
3.  The Undertaker (Underworld)
4.  Polar Bear (C Is For)
5.  Holiday on the Moon (New Takes To Tell)
6.  Rev 22:20 (Underworld Evolution)
7.  Potions - Deliverance Mix (C Is For)
8.  Lighten Up Francis - JLE Dub Mix (Underworld Rise of the Lycans)
9.  Cuntry Boner - Disco Viagra Mix (Cuntry Boner single)
10.  The Humbling River - Nagual del Judith Mix (Sound Into Blood Into Wine)
11.  Queen B (V is For Vagina)

Buy Puscifer's new album, Conditions of My!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By M83

M83 ran into an interesting hurdle with their new epic double-album masterpiece.  It leaked.  Now, most albums leak these days.  There's actually websites out there that keep track of the very instant an album leaks and links to them. When the Jay-Z/Kanye West collaboration didn't leak...that was huge news!  But not only did M83's new album leaked two months early.  A week or two yearly can actually build a buzz.  When it's two months early...who doesn't have the album by that point?  It's kind like going to see a movie in a movie theater when you already own the DVD.  That's the one thing I never understood about the music industry.  Why wait so long to release music when you have the album done?  It's not the same as a movie where you can build a following with a trailer.  Most albums pick up momentum after their out.  M83 had the indie rock song of the late summer with "Midnight City" but the album was months away.  With a song that was that exciting why not have the album ready to buy.  With music, the longer you make people wait to make your albums available the more likely they will move onto the next big thing.  I've been listening to their new album so long, when making this list, I forgot which songs were new and which were old.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By M83:

1.  Kim & Jessie (Saturdays = Youth)
2.  Don't Save Us From The Flames (Before The Dawn Heals Us)
3.  Graveyard Girl (Saturdays = Youth)
4.  Skin of the Night (Saturdays = Youth)
5.  Teen Angst (Before The Dawn Heals Us)
6.  Farewell - Goodbye (Before The Dawn Heals Us)
7.  Bruits De Train (Digital Shades)
8.  A Guitar And a Heart (Before The Dawn Heals Us)
9.  America (Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts)
10. Dark Moves of Love (Saturdays = Youth)
11.  Asterick (Before The Dawn Heals Us)

Buy M83's new album, Hurry Up I'm!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By Jane's Addiction

One of my friends in college, praised Jane's Addiction as the greatest rock band of all time.  He said there has never been a band like them and there will never be another like them.  When Jane's Addiction broke up in 1992, he said he would never see the band reunite or buy another album if they got back together.  To him, Jane's would always be that eclectic spirit that was frozen in time between 1988-1992.  There was something mysterious and magical about that band and trying to recapture it would only be insulting to what the original did.  I didn't really get what he was saying until their album, Strays, came out.  I like the album.  But it's not a Jane's Addiction album.  It's a rock album.  Jane's was something more.  Song structures were just suggestions.  Conforming was for glam metal.  You could maybe compare them to the alternative vision of a Velvet Underground but even that would be forced.  There was something pure about their music.  And it belonged to our generation.  As I grow older and see the world of music evolve around me, I can always look back to the days when Perry Ferrell could do no wrong because you had no expectations about what he would or could do.  Whatever path he chose, you would follow and you were better for it.  I always welcome a new Jane's Addiction album (especially when it's released on my birthday) but I think what I'm most excited about is going back and re-listening to what made them so great in the first place.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Jane's Addiction:

1.  Three Days (Ritual de lo Habitual)
2.  Had A Dad (Nothing's Shocking)
3.  Whores (Jane's Addiction)
4.  Ted, Just Admit It... (Nothing's Shocking)
5.  Standing in the Shower...Thinking (Nothing's Shocking)
6.  Summertime Rolls (Nothing's Shocking)
7.  Been Caught Stealing (Ritual de lo Habitual)
8.  Ain't No Right (Ritual de lo Habitual)
9.  Pigs In Zen (Nothing's Shocking/Jane's Addiction)
10.  Stop (Ritual de lo Habitual)
11.  Jane Says (Nothing's Shocking/Jane's Addiction)

Buy the new Jane's Addiction, The Great Escape!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Free Music Friday: Tokyo Police Club - The Polaroid Album

I know this is a few weeks old but that doesn't change how much fun the music is. As a promotion for Polaroid, Tokyo Police Club covered 10 songs from the past decade.  They covered one pivotal song from each year.  And the choices are all over the place from the alternative smash hit The Sweetness by Jimmy Eat World to the indie darling Kim & Jessie by M83 to the tween pop smash hit Party in the USA by Mylie Cyrus.  I don't know how they did  it, but they made Kelly Clarkson listenable.  There seems to be a growing trend of bands and compilations featuring nothing but covers.  And all of them have been free from the Nevermind cover album by Spin and the Is This It cover album from Stereogum.  It's times like these that I feel like the music industry is finally figuring out ways to use the internet for nothing but positive means.

Here is Tokyo Police Club - The Polaroid Album:

1.  Southside (2001 - Moby)
2.  Sweetness (2002 - Jimmy Eat World)
3.  Under Control (2003 - The Strokes)
4.  Since U Been Gone (2004 - Kelly Clarkson)
5.  Little Sister (2005 - Queens of the Stone Age)
6.  Long Distance Call (2006 - Phoenix)
7.  All My Friends (2007 - LCD Soundsystem)
8.  Kim and Jessie (2008 - M83)
9.  Strictly Game (2009 - Harlem Shakes)
10.  Party in the USA (2010 - Mylie Cyrus)

Get The Polaroid Album here, now!!!  Thanks to Chromewaves....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The 11 Best Ryan Adams Solo

Doing any sort of list for Ryan Adams is a complicated mess.  The guy has so many different albums it's hard to compile them in any sort of comprehensive list.  There's the music he made with the Cardinals, his dozens of B-sides, his unreleased albums and bootleg albums.  Since I've done Cardinals albums and posted many unreleased tracks...I thought I'd go back to his solo work since this is the first solo album in years. long as you don't count Orion.

Here are the 11 Best Solo Songs by Ryan Adams:

1.  La Cienega Just Smiled (Gold)
2.  This Is It (Rock N Roll)
3.  Hotel Chelsea Nights (Love Is Hell)
4.  Call Me on Your Way Back Home (Heartbreaker)
5.  Firecracker (Gold)
6.  New York, New York (Gold)
7.  To Be Young (Heartbreaker)
8.  Strawberry Wine (29)
9.  When the Stars Go Blue (Gold)
10. I See Monsters (Love Is Hell)
11. Nightbirds (29)

Buy Ryan Adams new album, Ashes & Fire, now!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The 11 Best Radiohead B-Sides

I can't believe the Detroit Lions are 5-0.  For too long, they've been the dirt that everyone complained about at the bottom of the NFL barrel.  They were always the fodder on the schedule that gave good teams an extra win to pad their schedule.  B-sides are kind of like the Detroit Lions of sports.  While you always hope for them to be great, you never really expect them to be any good.  But on the rare occasion that they are good, you know you're in for something special.  Radiohead rarely puts out remixes otherwise I would have made a list.  Instead...let's look at the little extras they put out there for their fans.

Here are the 11 Best Radiohead B-Sides:

1.  Lewis (My Iron Lung)
2.  Trickster (My Iron Lung)
3.  Killer Cars (Street Spirit)
4.  Bangers & Mash (In Rainbows)
5.  Bishop's Robes (Street Spirit)
6.  Pearly (Paranoid Android)
7.  Polyethylene (Parts 1 & 2) - (Paranoid Android)
8.  Supercollider (The King of Limbs)
9.  Last Flowers (In Rainbows)
10.  Banana Co (Pop Is Dead)
11.  Inside My Head (Creep)

Buy Radiohead's new Remix album, TKOL RMX now!!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By Feist

At first I wasn't going to do a Feist post today with the new of Steve Jobs passing.  But then, considering how Feist's career is so closely tied to the success of one of Jobs' marketing campaigns, I found it's actually rather fitting.  I have always been a PC guy.  I've never liked working on Macs despite being pressed into using them by all my apple friends.  I have an ipod and there's no denying that even though I prefer PCs, Jobs' influence is still completely present in my house.  Jobs changed the world more than most human beings ever will.  He re-invented communication on a world-wide scale.  He changed how we gathered information.  Most importantly in my world, he changed how I listened to music.  He single-handedly destroyed the compact disc market.  He took out Tower Records.  And through his apple ads, he made more stars than American Idol. His presence will leave a vacancy that will not be filled for a long time...maybe never.

Steve Jobs - RIP

Here are the 11 Best Songs by Feist:

1.  My Moon My Man (The Reminder)
2.  I Feel It All (The Reminder)
3.  Inside and Out (Let It Die)
4.  Mushaboom (Let It Die)
5.  1 2 3 4 (The Reminder)
6.  One Evening (Let It Die)
7.  Past In Present (The Reminder)
8.  Islands in the Stream (The Reminder Deluxe Edition)
9.  Flight #303 (Monarch)
10.  So Sorry (The Reminder)
11.  It's Cool to Love Your Family (Monarch)

Buy Feist's new album,!!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By DJ Shadow

There's a new trend going around with rock stars creating their own wines.  I think the Grateful Dead might have the been the first out of pure novelty.  But Tool's Maynard really took it to the next level by quitting the band to focus on his grapevines full time in the Arizona desert.  Once Maynard did it...and did it well, it opened the floodgates.  Primus' Les Claypool has his own wine.  KissMadonna.  Foghat.  But the strangest one has to be the new trend of heavy metal wines.  Ratt and Warrant now have their own wines, too.  Though there is amusement in Warrant's Big Cherry red or Ratt's "out of the cellar" Cab.  If you didn't grow up in the 80s, you won't get that.  When one rock star did it, it was a novelty.  When a handful do it, it becomes a cliche.  Wine isn't like a t-shirt where because you like the band, you buy the product.  Wine has a specific purpose.  It's its own art form.  You can merchandise it and expect for people to take you seriously.  Maynard faced a ton of criticism when he released his own wine.  Now, if you had one mild radio hit, you're suddenly qualified to own a winery.

DJ Shadow is like a wine maker of music.  People think that mixing songs is something that doesn't qualify as a real music.  That DJs aren't real musicians.  It's not true.  DJs are in some respects more talented than your average guitar player.  It's not about playing a riff.  Anyone can do that in a matter of seconds.  But creating a song out parts doesn't just take creative talent, it takes brains.  You have to look at music like a scattered puzzle of a million pieces.  The DJs decode this puzzle and reassemble it into cohesive new songs.  Have you ever done a 1000-piece?  Now imagine it's a 1,000,000-piece puzzle.  That should give you a little clue about how hard it is.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By DJ Shadow:

1.  Blood on the Motorway (The Private Press)
2.  Midnight in a Perfect World (Entroducing...)
3.  The Number Song (Entroducing...)
4.  This Time (The Outsider)
5.  You Can't Go Home Again (The Private Press)
6.  Six Days (The Private Press)
7.  High Noon (Pre-Emptive Strike)
8.  Building Steam With a Grain of Salt (Entroducing...)
9.  Organ Donor (Extended Overhaul) -  (Pre-Emptive Strike)
10.  Giving Up The Ghost (The Private Press)
11.  The Tiger (The Outsider)

Buy DJ Shadow's new album, The Less You Know the!

Monday, October 03, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By blink-182

With the list of nominees up for this year's Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Induction, the irresistible question about a possible Guns N Roses reunion has already sprung up.  I've talked about the GNR reunion in the past and although I was a huge fan of the original band...I'm not one who is expecting a reunion.  People just want a reunion because it's nostalgic of the band they grew up with. But a new album or a new tour will never recapture the magic of the original journey.  Sure a RNR HOF performance would be neat to see...but it will be cool once...not a dozen times.  I just wish when ever it came to GNR news the media didn't always obsess about a possible reunion.  It's like their hypothetical is more important than new music or the new band.

This past week, blink-182 reunited after what seemed like a break-up that would never heal.  Granted it took a freaking plane crash to bring them back together.  I mean, how weird is it that Travis Barker is the sole survivor of a plane crash?  Basically, that's about what would need to happen for a GNR reunion to take place....dozens of people would need to die in a horrific accident just to make the band members realize they still need each other.

Here are the 11 Best Song by blink-182:

1.  Adam's Song (Enema of the State)
2.  Stockholm Syndrome (Blink-182)
3.  What's My Age Again? (Enema of the State)
4.  All Of This (Blink-182)
5.  Going Away To College (Enema of the State)
6.  Dammit (Dude Ranch)
7.  GO (Blink-182)
8.  Reckless Abandon (Take Off Your Pants and Jacket)
9.  All The Small Things (Enema of the State)
10.  Don't Leave Me (Enema of the State)
11.  Anthem Part Two (Take Off Your Pants and Jacket)

Buy blink-182's new album,!!