Saturday, December 31, 2011

The 11 Best Songs of 2011

I usually don't like doing Top song lists of the year (ironic...huh?) but I wanted to give everyone a last chance to get your votes in for the top album of the year.

Just list your favorite albums of 2011 in the comment section below.  Monday is the final day to vote.

Here are the 11 Best Songs of 2011:

1.  Midnight City - M83 (Hurry Up We're Dreaming)
2.  Holocene - Bon Iver (Bon Iver)
3.  The Birds Part 1 - The Weeknd (Thursday)
4.  Shell Games - Bright Eyes (People's Key)
5.  Pumped Up Kicks - Foster The People (Torches)
6.  Under Cover of Darkness - The Strokes (Angles)
7.  First of the Year Equinox - Skrillex (also the best video)
8.  Get Away - Yuck (Yuck)
9.  Gold on the Ceiling - Black Keys (El Camino)
10.  No Church - Jay-Z & Kanye West (Watch the Throne)
11.  Hasa Diga Eebowaii  (The Book of Mormon)

Buy these songs and their albums now!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By Skrillex

Back in the 90s...the last couple weeks before Christmas were always a mad dash to the CD shelves.  Bands would throw out "best of" collections...etc.  Now all that stuff comes out in November...sometimes you see Christmas stuff way back in October...right Zooey?  After Christmas, we'd be hit with a dry spell for a few weeks...but things have changed in the digital era.  An album being released is no longer an event unto the date of the release can sometimes be bigger news than the release.  Last year, multiple bands put out album on New Year's Eve (MIA, Klaxons, JJ, Gorillaz) because it made the release more interesting.  This year, the rumors of more midnight New Year's Eve releases are already buzzing. A couple of artists have jumped the gun.  Last week, The Weeknd dropped his 3rd free album of the year. (how can you not like a guy who gives away three albums a year?)  Also, out this week is dubstep's hottest commodity, Skrillex.  Is he getting too big too fast?  Probably.  Not sure I've ever seen this much hype over an artist who still has yet to release a full length album.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Skrillex:

  1. Kill Everybody  (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites)
  2. Weekends!!! (My Name Is Skrillex)
  3. First of the Year Equinox (More Monsters and Sprites)
  4. Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites)
  5. Rock N Roll Will Take You To The Mountain (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites)
  6. With You, Friends (My Name Is Skrillex)  
  7. My Name Is Skrillex (My Name Is Skrillex)
  8. Scatta (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites)
  9. The Disco Rangers Bus (YouTube Exclusive)
  10. Ruffneck Full Flex (More Monsters and Sprites)
  11. DnB Ting (Single)
Buy Skrillex's new EP, Bangarang now!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The 55 Best Albums of 2011 (1-11)

So here it top 11.  My choices.  My opinion.  So, shut up.

SEND ME YOUR LISTS!  I'm still collecting your top 20 lists for a massive 111 Best albums of 2011.  It doesn't have to be 20...just all your favorites albums you can think of.

Here are the 11 Best Albums of 2011:

1.       Yuck - Yuck (Holing Out)
2.       M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
3.       The Strokes - Angles
4.       The Weeknd - House of Balloons/Thursday/Echoes of Silence (get all 3 for free!)
5.       Bon Iver - Bon Iver
6.       Wilco - The Whole Love
7.       Rural Alberta Advantage - Departing
8.       Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
9.       Wild Flag - Wild Flag
10.   Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
11.   The Black Keys - El Camino

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The 55 Best Albums of 2011 (12-22)

No song was more infectious this year than Foster the People's Pumped up Kids.  What started as a catchy indie rock diddy took off and became an international hit rocketing up the Billboard charts and propelling rock album sales.  Most people still don't know the song is about a school shooting.  Maybe that why despite its popular success, it's still retained its indie cred.  Hopefully this is a sign that there's still a place for rock music on the charts...or maybe it's opening the floodgates for a rock music revival.  One can only hope.

Send in your BEST OF LISTS!!!  I want your top 20 albums of the year...or as many as you would like to send.  Just stick them in the comment section or email them to me.  I will compile a list by New Year's and share it with you all.

Here are the 55 Best Songs of 2011 (12-22):

12.       War on Drugs - Slave Ambient (Baby Missiles)
13.       Bright Eyes - The People's Key
14.       Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
15.       Middle Brother - Middle Brother (Portland)
16.       Wye Oak - Civilian
17.       Jeff the Brotherhood - We Are Champions
18.       Foster The People - Torches
19.       Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch The Throne
20.       Jason Isbell - Here We Rest
21.    VHS or Beta - Diamonds and Death
22.    Dawes - Nothing Is Wrong

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 55 Best Albums of 2011 (23-33)

It was the year of the reunion/comeback.  So many big artists came back together to put out one more album.  Maybe I'm just getting older and there are more bands under my belt who have the potential to reunite...but this honestly has to be the most reunions I can remember in awhile.  The strongest outing by far was by The Cars...and they seemed to have the most stacked against them.  Missing their key bassist/songwriter/singer, Benjamin Orr, no one thought they could really regenerate the magic the group possessed in the 80s.  But of all the reunions, The Cars seemed to embody the most honest energy of all the bands.  It's like they acknowledge off the bat that they couldn't do it properly without they did everything in their power to do as good and respectable of a job as possible.  And it worked.  There were some good reunions this year...but The Cars came in the most low key and finished by far on top.

ATTENTION: I'm still collecting your TOP 20 LISTS.  If you don't have 20 albums...that's okay.  You can send as many as you want.  If it's just 5 or even 1 that's fine, too.  Send them in now and I'll compile an uber monster list to kick off 2012.

Here are the 55 Best Songs of 2011 (23-33):

23.       Deer Tick - Divine Province
24.       Washed Out - Within and Without
25.       Acrylics - Lives and Treasures (Nightwatch)
26.       Radical Dads - Radical Dads (Walking Wires)
27.       Death Cab For Cutie - Codes and Keys
28.       Feist - Metals
29.       The Decemberists - The King Is Dead
30.       Neon Indian - Era Extrana
31.       Justice - Audio, Video, Disco
32.   The Roots - undun
33.   The Cars - Move Like This

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The 55 Best Albums of 2011 (34-44)

Just the other night, I informed a rather astute music person that the Book of Mormon was written by Matt & Trey from South Park.  Even after I told them, they still didn't believe me.  It took a web search on a cell phone to confirm my piece of incredulous information.  It wasn't that it was impossible to think that Matt & Trey had the musical chops to write a was insane to think they had won best play...especially for a play whose signature song is "Fuck You God."  Another piece of this story is how much smaller our worlds became in 2011.  With music libraries popping up available on everyone's phone, we really saw the beginning of the future of how we will listen to music.  Apple had started it with the iphone...but the Android platform doubled the market overnight.  How far away are we from best playlists instead of best albums?  Sooner than we think...'s time for your lists!  Send me your list of your favorite albums of 2011.  I WANT YOUR TOP TWENTY.  I will compile all your votes into a master list.  Send it via emaill...or just post it in the comment box below.

Here are the Best Albums of 2011 (34-44):

34.       Fucked Up - David Comes To Life
35.       Mastodon - The Hunter
36.       The Cool Kids - When Fish Rides Bicycles
37.       Magnetic Man - Magnetic Man
38.       James Blake - James Blake (Unluck)
39.       sbtrkt - sbtrkt
40.       Cults - Cults
41.       St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
42.       Mr. Dream - Trash Hit
43.   Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
44.   The Book of Mormon - Soundtrack

Buy these albums and!!!  (all albums under $5 for a limited time)

Monday, December 19, 2011

The 55 Best Albums of 2011 (45-55)

For the week I will count down my favorite albums of 2011.  Like a holiday advent calendar I will only give you a little taste of the good stuff one day at a time.  There's no denying that this year dubstep broke through to the mainstream like a ADD little boy hopped up on food coloring.  For those of us listening to Burial years ago, this was an overwhelming "duh" moment.  But for the rest of the world, it was like a 100-yard dash to the marketing finish line.  Within a matter of weeks of Skrillex's creative video (and it was a great video) every marketing campaign chucked their pop songs hoping they could be the first to latch onto this hip young trend.  There was a dubstep version of the White Stripes in the new Battleship trailer.  Verzion has a little kid tweaking out to dubstep on his cellphone with his grandma.  What's next?...will Tim Tebow pray to a dubstep beat?  I wouldn't doubt it.

Now...I WANT YOUR HELP.  Send me your lists of your favorite albums of 2011.  Top twenty.  I will compile all your votes into one master list.  So send it via email...or just post it in the comment box.  Will post on Dec. 31st the final result.

Here are the 44-55 Best Albums of 2011:

45.       Cage The Elephant - Thank You Happy Birthday
46.       R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now
47.       Shabazz Palaces - Black Up
48.       Skrillex - More Monsters and Sprites EP
49.       Stevie Nicks - In Your Dreams
50.       Drake - Take Care
51.       Duran Duran - All You Need Is Now
52.       David Lowery - The Palace Guards
53.       Rival Sons - Pressure & Time 
54.     Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist (End To the Lies)
55.     Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You

Buy these albums and!!!  (all albums under $5 for a limited time)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Free Music Fridays (The Saturday Edition): The 11 Best Free Albums of the Year

It's that time of the year...the best of the year lists.  As every year...I ask for your help.  Starting next week, I'll reveal my favorites of the year.  But I want your help to make a master 111 Best Album of the year list.

Send me your favorite albums of the year.  Give me your top 20...if you can't think of the 20...then just 10, 5, or 1 is fine...whatever you liked.  I'll compile the list and make a master list just after Christmas.  It's very easy to do...either email me...or just put your list in the comment section below.

Until next's a primer list...

The 11 Best Free Albums of 2011:

1.  The Weeknd - House of Balloons
2.  Wugazi - 13 Chambers
3.  Frank Ocean - Nostalgia
4.  Danny Brown - XXX 
5.  Stroked - A Tribute To The Strokes
6.  Tokyo Police Club - The Polaroid Album
7.  The Weeknd - Thursday
8.  Ondadrops Vol. 4 - One Way Ticket To Nowhere
9.  Gayngs - Remix EP
10.  True Blue - A Tribute to Madonna
11.  Newermind - A Tribute to Nirvana

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The 111 Best Songs By the Cure

Since I did this about a year and a half ago...I figured I would just re-post instead of re-thinking something new.  I have been listening to the Cure's Bestival album.  It's their new live album with an insanely good track list   Musically it sounds solid and Smith's voice sound stellar...although I'm sure it's just pro-tools track at this point (I'm trying not to think about it too much).  But the most alarming thing about the album isn't the possible lip syncing...but the butchering of one of their most famous tracks.  Killing An Arab has been changed.  It's now called Killing Another.  And it's not just the title...Smith actually sings alternate lyrics!  This is PC gone too far.  First of all, this isn't a racial's a a reference to a philosophical novel by Albert Camus.  It's recalling the events that occurred in the book.  You can't change the lyrics because the events in the book are still the same.  If he sings about something else...then the song is referring to some other metaphysical book altogether.  Killing another?  What the hell does that mean?  That has no impact.  I know in the political climate that the song could have other implications...but it doesn't.  It has nothing to do with racism toward Arabs.  It's a literal analogy.  Literature is supposed to be challenging.  It's supposed to question pre-disposed views.  You can't question anything if your remove the question mark.  I'm disappointed in the Cure for this one.  I know you're trying to be politically correct...but you're better off not singing the song than altering it into some vanilla version.  Hey...31 out of 32 songs ain't bad.

Here are the 111 Best Cure Songs:

  1. Lovesong (Disintegration)
  2. Disintegration (Disintegration)
  3. Just Like Heaven (Kiss Me)
  4. A Night Like This (Head on the Door)
  5. A Forest (Seventeen Seconds)
  6. Pictures of You (Disintegration)
  7. Primary (Faith)
  8. Like Cockatoos (Kiss Me)
  9. Homesick (Disintegration)
  10. 10:15 Saturday Night (Three Imaginery Boys)
  11. Kyoto Song (Head on the Door)
  12. How Beautiful You Are (Kiss Me)
  13. The Figurehead (Pornography)
  14. In Your House (Seventeen Seconds)
  15. Cut (Wish)
  16. Last Dance (Disintegration)
  17. Push (Head on the Door)
  18. Same Deep Water As You (Disintegration) 
  19. Jumping Someone Else's Train (Boys Don't Cry)
  20. Prayers For Rain (Disintegration)
  21. Trust (Wish)
  22. Harold and Joe (Never Enough B-Side)
  23. Charlotte Sometimes (Single)
  24. From The Edge Of A Deep Green Sea (Wish)
  25. Close To Me (Head on the Door)
  26. A Strange Day (Pornography)
  27. A Short Term Effect (Pornography)
  28. Play For Today (Seventeen Seconds)
  29. Plainsong (Disintegration)
  30. Watching Me Fall (Bloodflowers)
  31. A Chain of Flowers (Kiss Me B-Side)
  32. Closedown (Disintegration)
  33. The Walk (Japanese Whispers)
  34. Let's Go To Bed (Japanese Whispers)
  35. All I Want (Kiss Me)
  36. Apart (Wish)
  37. Siamese Twins (Pornography)
  38. Fascination Street (Disintegration)
  39. Babble (Disintegration B-Side)
  40. All Cats Are Grey (Faith)
  41. If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (Kiss Me)
  42. Object (Three Imaginery Boys)
  43. Plastic Passion (Boys Don't Cry)
  44. Bloodflowers (Bloodflowers)
  45. Scared As You (Wish B-side)
  46. One Hundred Years (Pornography)
  47. Doing the Unstuck (Wish)
  48. Numb (Wild Mood Swings)
  49. Killing An Arab (Boys Don't Cry) 
  50. 39 (Bloodflowers)
  51. Anniversary (The Cure)
  52. Lullaby (Disintegration)
  53. In Between Dreams (Head on the Door)
  54. The Hanging Garden (Pornography)
  55. A Japanese Dream (Kiss Me B-Side)
  56. I'm Cold (Three Imaginery Boys B-Side)
  57. Faded Smiles (Three Imaginery Boys Reissue)
  58. Open (Wish)
  59. Want (Wild Mood Swings)
  60. Underneath The Stars (4:13 Dream)
  61. Cold (Pornography)
  62. The Baby Screams (Head on the Door)
  63. Fear of Ghosts (Disintegration B-Side)
  64. A Foolish Arrangement (Wish B-Side)
  65. All Kinds of Stuff (Digital Single)
  66. Doubt (Faith)
  67. Fire in Cairo (Three Imaginery Boys)
  68. Untitled (Disintegration)
  69. It's Not You (Three Imaginery Boys)
  70. The Empty World (The Top)
  71. End (Wish)
  72. Treasure (Wild Mood Swings)
  73. Torture (Kiss Me)
  74. Three Imaginary Boys (Three Imaginery Boys)
  75. It Used To Be Me (Wild Mood Swings B-Side)
  76. Play (Wish B-Side)
  77. Snow In the Summer (Kiss Me B-Side)
  78. Icing Sugar (Kiss Me)
  79. Temptation Two (Pornography reissue)
  80. Birdmad Girl (The Top)
  81. Twilight Garden (Wish B-Side)
  82. This Morning (The Cure B-Side)
  83. Just One Kiss (Let's Go To Be B-Side)
  84. Shiver And Shake (Kiss Me)
  85. One More Time (Kiss Me)
  86. Out of Mind (Disintegration B-Side)
  87. The Exploding Boy (Head on the Door B-Side)
  88. Shake Dog Shake (The Top)
  89. Play With Me (Three Imaginery Boys Reissue)
  90. Burn (The Crow)
  91. The Promise (The Cure)
  92. The Upstairs Room (The Walk B-Side)
  93. Man Inside My Mouth (Head on the Door B-Side)
  94. 2 Late (Disintegration B-Side)
  95. The Big Hand (Wish B-Side)
  96. Fight (Kiss Me)
  97. Ocean (Wild Mood Swings B-Side)
  98. Maybe Someday  (Bloodflowers)
  99. Switch (4:13 Dream)
  100. Taking Off (The Cure)
  101. The Catepillar (The Top)
  102. It's Over (4:13 Dream)
  103. Last Day of Summer (Bloodflowers)
  104. Why Can't I Be You? (Kiss Me)
  105. M (Seventeen Seconds)
  106. Your God Is Fear (The Cure - B-side)
  107. Labyrinth (The Cure)
  108. Six Different Ways (Head on the Door)
  109. Freakshow (4:13 Dream)
  110. Us or Them (The Cure)
  111. Carnage Visors (The Soundtrack)
Buy the Cure's new live album, Bestival now!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The 11 Best Song By The Roots of the 90s

Recently, the Roots got in trouble for playing Fishbone's "Lying Ass Bitch" as the entrance song for Michelle Bachman when she appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show.  Was is it a dick move?  Sure.  Did she deserve it?  Probably not.  Was it kinda funny?  Fortunately so.

Politicians have no sense of humor.  Musicians have no sense of politics.  Musicians are successful at what they do because they say what they feel without fear of repercussions or that they're polling numbers will dip.  They say whatever is on their minds no matter who it will offend or hurt.  They have outspoken opinions and utilize their vocal prowess to announce them to the world.  This is one of the reasons we fall in love with the music.  There's something honest about musicians and songs that connects to us on a personal level.  Politicians have no sense of truth.  They run a campaign to get elected...they don't run on their identity.  They tell you what they think we want to hear.  Instead, they don't realize that we'd rather just hear who they are and not the fabricated person they present.  This is why 20 years down the road, the Roots can make a political statement as much and still remain relevant while Bachman will wilt into obscurity.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Roots of the 90s:

1.  What You Want (The Roots Come Alive)
2.  I Remain Calm (Do You Want More)
3.  The Next Movement (Things Fall Apart)
4.  You Got Me (Things Fall Apart)
5.  Mellow My Man (Do You Want More)
6.  Adrenaline (Things Fall Apart)
7.  The Session (Organix)
8.  What They Do (Illadelph Halflife)
9.  Respond/React (Illadelph Halflife)
10.  Do You Want More?!!!??! (Do You Want More)
11.  Dynamite! (Things Fall Apart)

Buy the Roots new album,!!! (only $3.99 for a limited time)

Monday, December 05, 2011

The Unknown: The Black Keys - Surrender & Grab

I have to discuss my epic trip to the mini-Record Store Day last weekend because I wanted to wait to talk about it for a band that had a stronger association with the day and the people.  Nothing against the Smashing Pumpkins...but the Black Keys are one of the few current bands who are still bonding with the record buying audience.

Black Friday was awesome.  I honestly think there were more people at the store than there were for Record Store Day in April.  I was 90 minutes early and was about 15th in line.  I had my sights on 6 records:  the Ryan Adams 7-inch, the Wilco EP, Tom Petty - Kiss My Amps, Pinback 7-inch,  Iron & Wine - Morning Becomes Eclectic, The Byrds - 7-inch.  When I got there, I discovered that the Ryan Adams didn't get I needed a replacement because.  Just because.  So I settled on the Janis Joplin 7-inch box set.  Also because I was caught up in the moment of the day...and was just happy to be buying music again.  Now, twice a year, Record Store Day brings the necessary importance to buying music.  It's brought back the fun.  Part of buying music came with the experience of going to a music store and searching the bins, while talking to other music fans.  It was a community feel that can't be replicated online.  The strongest online music communities online are ones who trade music for free.

I wish the music industry would concentrate more on the reasons why people want to buy music.  People who are coming out in droves to buy music are your target audience.  Why?...because they're actually giving you money!  Teenagers are the ones figuring out how to get around paying for the music.  They're also the ones who don't care as much about the sound or the quality of the artist.  They only like what is popular.  Though it's not their fault for being young and stupid and influenced by their peers, but why plant the musical seeds of mediocrity.  The fans buying records are people who grew up on some of the best music ever made.  That's why they keep coming back!  They like the best stuff.  When you serve vanilla music...people will never be satisfied and will always be looking for what's next instead of embracing the product.

The Black Keys get it.  Thankfully there are still great bands out there who give a shit.

Here is the Black Keys - Surrender & Grab:

1.  Chop and Change
2.  Ohio
3.  The Wicked Messenger
4.  Evil 
5.  Dearest
6.  Something On Your Mind
7.  Flash of Silver
8.  Here I Am
9.  Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles
10.  Summertime Blues
11.  Can't Find My Mind

Buy the new Black Keys album, El!!!  It's great...btw...

Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Unknown: Smashing Pumpkins - Adore Sessions

Adore came out when I was in college.  No other album in my collegiate career or for that foreseeable future caused more arguments than this album.  With Mellon Collie, the Pumpkins were the unstoppable force who had taken over rock music.  After they kicked out the best working drummer of the day, they turned their sound on its head and did the unthinkable...they rejected rock music and put out an electronic album.  Whether you were a Pumpkin fanatic or a Corgan hater (and there are plenty) no one knew why they chose to do this.  This was a big mystery.  And no matter how many discussions we had about the band, the question of why this choice was made was always left unresolved.  Some people thought Billy did it because he didn't want to become the next Cobain and blow his brains out...therefore he wanted to fail.  Others thought he did because he thought he was the next Cobain and could do anything he wanted and still succeed.  Corgan had also just lost his mother and one theory suggested he wanted to re-invent who he was.  Another theory had to do with ex-drummer Jimmy Chamberlain.  That theory suggested that Billy Corgan was so arrogant that he purposely made an electronic album just to show Jimmy how little they needed him.  Because of this, a rumor floated around that there was a version of Adore that existed with drums instead of a drum machine.  Though that album never actually surfaced (I guess we'll have to wait for the reissue for that), there is a demo session that exists that does have some of the Adore songs featuring drums...along with a couple cuts that didn't make the album.  It's not exactly the Holy Grail we were looking for in college but it's still a very solid listen.

Here are is the Smashing Pumpkins - Adore Sessions:

  1. For Martha (instrumental)
  2. Chewing Gum
  3. The Tale of Dusty and Pistol Pete
  4. Annie-Dog
  5. Once in Awhile
  6. Do You Close Your Eyes
  7. My Mistake
  8. Blissed and Gone
  9. The End Is The Beginning Is the End
  10. The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning
Buy the Smashing Pumpkins reissues for Gish and Siamese!!!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The 11 Best Smashing Pumpkins B-Sides

Here's a little Smashing Pumpkins story for you.  It's not enough that we're celebrating the 20th anniversary of these two albums when their releases really only seem like they happened yesterday.  But I was trying to explain to a co-worker who the Smashing Pumpkins were.  I named songs...which didn't help.  I even tried to hum a few of the bars but I'm a terrible singer and probably did more harm than good.  I tried to explain how popular they were in the 90s...from the epic double album to their electronic experimentation to the being first band to really use the internet to give an album away for free.  I finished giving the person one last point...they even headlined Lollapolooza.  The co-worker looked at me with a blank stare and said..."What's Lollapolooza?"  When do I sign up for social security?

Here are the 11 Best Smashing Pumpkins:

1.  Drown (Singles Soundtrack)
2.  Aeroplane Flies High (Thirty-Three)
3.  Said Sadly (Bullet With Butterfly Wings)
4.  Slunk (Peel Sessions)
5.  You're All I've Got Tonight (Aeroplane Flies High)
6.  Apathy's Last Kiss (Today)
7.  Marquis In Spades (Zero)
8.  A Night Like This (Aeroplane Flies High)
9.  Once In Awhile (Ava Adore)
10.  Dreaming (Aeroplane Flies High)
11.  The End Is The Beginning Is The End (Batman & Robin)

Buy the new Smashing Pumpkins reissues Gish & Siamese!