Saturday, January 29, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By The Dead Weather

I have to dedicate tonight's post to Jack White and his outstanding Third Man Records.  Jack White may not only be one of the greatest musicians out there today...he also gets. He gets music.  He doesn't use autotune.  He doesn't blast the levels out of his productions.  He lets the music speak for itself rather than letting the engineer make it into whatever pop schlock than can conjure.  His record label Third Man Records isn't just a record label.  It's also a record store.  Which isn't just a record store.  It's also a recording studio...and a performance hall.  It's one of the only places you can see a show performed, engineered, packaged and sold all at the same time.  And best of all, it's all overseen and produced by Jack White, so you know it's not going to be watered down by some tone deaf A&R douche just trying to impress his ex-girlfriend by getting back stage passes to the Script's upcoming concert.  But wait...there's more.  Third Man Records also releases exclusive editions of their albums.  Colored vinyl, limited pressing, triple decker records.  You know what a triple decker record is?  It's a record inside a record.  I don't know how practical it is...but I sure as hell want one.

Check out Third Man Records and help support someone trying to make our music world just a bit better.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Dead Weather:

1.  The Difference Between Us (Sea of Cowards)
2.  Treat Me Like Your Mother (Horehound)
3.  No Hassle Night  (Horehound)
4.  Hang You From The Heavens  (Horehound)
5.  Outside (Horehound B-Side)
6.  You Just Can't Win (Treat Me Like Your Mother)
7.  I'm Mad (Sea of Cowards)
8.  I Cut Like A Buffalo  (Horehound)
9.  Forever My Queen (From the Vault)
10.  Gasoline  (Sea of Cowards)
11.  Blue Blood Blues (Sea of Cowards)

Buy Wanda Jackson's new album, The Party Ain't Over, now (produced by Jack White).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By The Cold War Kids

You know how a picture says a thousand words?  I think this picture of the CD racks at a local Target speaks volumes to the problems within the music industry.  I went to pick up the new Cold War Kids CD at Target.  They didn't have it.  "Out of stock" was the answer I was given.  In fact, they were out of stock of many hot artists.  In the top 20 slots they were out of stock on 14 titles.  The music labels keep complaining that illegal downloading is killing them.  No one is buying CDs anymore.  Maybe the reason no one is buying CDs anymore is because you're not selling any of them!  How are we supposed to buy CDs if you won't even stock them?  This rack was specifically set up for certain artists.  Target obviously had these titles at one time.   Which means people obviously bought them. Am I the only one perplexed by this?

On a side note, they had dozens of copies of Snooki's new book.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By the Cold War Kids:

1.  Something Is Not Right With Me (Loyalty To Loyalty)
2.  Audience (Behave Yourself)
3.  Mexican Dogs (Loyalty to Loyalty)
4.  We Used To Vacation (Robbers & Cowards)
5.  Hang Me Up To Dry (Robbers & Cowards)
6.  I've Seen Enough (Loyalty To Loyalty)
7.  Welcome to The Occupation (Loyalty To Loyalty)
8.  Hospital Beds (Robbers & Cowards)
9.  Coffee Spoon (Behave Yourself)
10.  God Make Up Your Mind (Robbers & Cowards)
11.  Dreams Old Men Dream (Loyalty To Loyalty)

Buy the new Cold War Kids - Mine Is Yours

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By Iron & Wine

The big news in the music world yesterday was that Trent Reznor (the voice and force behind Nine Inch Nails) was nominated for an Oscar.  A freaking Oscar.  I was surprised when Eminem and Three 6 Mafia were nominated and won...but this is even stranger for some reason.  Eminem and Three-6 were nominated for song, and although this is a category usually reserved for Celine Dion and the Alan Menken mafia, their songs were pivotal to the story-telling.  Trent didn't do a song...he did the whole freaking score.  The music, mood, and atmosphere is one hundred percent being controlled by the paranoid delusion of a man who once bought Sharon Tate mansion, where the Charles Manson murders occurred, because it was musically inspiring.  Is this a sign that the mainstream media is becoming more excepting of eclectic artists or am I just getting old?

It has always been baffling to me that Iron & Wine never joined the ranks of rock stars turned Oscar-nominations.  With two extremely pivotal tracks in the movies Garden State and In Good Company, they should have been backstage with Celine, snacking on organic vegetable platters.  Maybe their new poppy turn will get them the cinematic recognition they deserve.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Iron & Wine:

1. Jezebel (Woman King EP)
2. Cinder and Smoke (Our Endless Numbered Days)
3. The Trapeze Swinger (In Good Company)
4. Woman King (Woman King EP)
5. Resurrection Fern (The Shepard's Dog)
6. Upward Over the Mountain (The Creek Drank The Cradle)
7. Such Great Heights (Garden State)
8. Bird Stealing Bread (The Creek Drank The Cradle)
9. Love Vigilantes (Around The Well)
10. Boy With A Coin (The Shepard's Dog)
11. Free Until They Cut Me Down (Our Endless Numbered Days)

Buy the new album now...Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By The Get-Up Kids

This weekend I took the long drive up the California 5.  A dreary drive that was immensely improved by two unhappy children in the backseat who made it their obligation to inform us of their unhappiness every 5 seconds in case we had already forgotten.  One of them even used the kid-version of backseat wolf-crying by alerting us to a coming waterfall of vomit...causing us to pull over to a 7-11...only to find out it was a false alarm and more like a false warning as our child then somehow convinced us only a Slurpee would quiet their complaints.  It worked but only for about 15 minutes.  But after 4 hours of screaming...that 15 minutes was gold.  We made this 14-hour trip all for the 2-hour reunion of old friends, which was cut short because everyone had to get home to their babysitters.

This week sees not one but two big reunion releases.  (Also see:  Gang of Four - Content)  But the Get-Up Kids was one just waiting to happen.  They never seemed really happy being on their own. It's only been 7 years since their last proper release...but it's a welcome return.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Get-Up Kids:

1.  Mass Pike (Red Letter Day)
2.  Overdue (On A Wire)
3.  Is There A Way Out (Guilt Show)
4.  Out Of Reach (Something To Write Home About)
5.  Action and Action (Something To Write Home About)
6.  Walking On A Wire (On A Wire)
7.  Shorty (Four Minute Mile)
8.  Dark Night of the Soul (Guilt Show)
9.  Holiday (Something To Write Home About)
10.  Let The Reigns Go Loose (On A Wire)
11.  Up On the Roof (Eudora)

Buy the new album by The Get-Up Kids - There Are!!  (only $3.99 for a limited time)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Free Music Fridays: M.I.A. - ViCKi LEEKX

The Coachella line-up was released this week, which I'm sure everyone and their mother has poured over by now.  Even my mom's seen it and she was bitching about Animal Collective and Mumford & Sons getting top billing over Bright Eyes.  And she doesn't even like Bright Eyes.

In case you're living on Mars, here it is:

My issue is that I always seem more excited about the bands on the bottom of the playbill than I am about the bands on the top.  Arcade Fire, Kings Of Leon, and Kayne West get the three headliner spots.  I like all three artists but for something as big as Coachella...I'm expecting more.  Where's the big reunion headliner?  Death From Above 1979?  Honestly, I'm more excited about that than any of the others.  With some huge releases by big alternative rock names (Decemberists, REM, Get-Up Kids, Rival Schools, U2) coming out in the next couple months...and very few if any of the bands featured on the's just a disappointing.

Coachella is like New Year's Eve.  You know you'll always have a good time...but it's always a let down.

Get M.I.A.'s free mix tape now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By The Decemberists

Combining two great musical forces from different generations can have disastrous results.  David Byrne & Fatboy Slim.  Billy Corgan & Ric Ocasek.  Or it can be a welcome surprise:  Them Crooked Vultures.  The new Decemberists falls into the latter category.  The album is produced by Peter Buck of REM, which is a perfect match.  Buck's signature restrained twang is an effective compliment to Colin Meloy's tendency to wander with his lofty melodies.  Buck's influence is subtle and not overwhelming.  It's still a Decemberists album. It's also one of their best.

1. The Island (The Crane Wife)
2. Los Angeles, I'm Yours (Her Majesty The Decemberists)
3. O Valencia! (The Crane Wife)
4. We Both Go Down Together (Picaresque)
5. Cocoon (Castaways and Cutouts)
6. Perfect Crime #2 (The Crane Wife)
7. July, July! (Castaways and Cutouts)
8. The Crane Wife #3 (The Crane Wife)
9. Pt. I/Pt. II/Pt. III/Pt. IV/Pt. V (The Tain EP)
10. The Rake Song (Hazards of Love)
11. Valerie Plame (Always the Bridesmaid EP)

Buy The Decemberists new album, The King Is!!!  (only $3.99 for a limited time)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Free Music Fridays: Wax Unwound Compilation

Yesterday, one of my favorite used record stores had a huge sale. 20%-50% off all used merchandise.  I thought I would stop in for a few minutes, maybe pick up an item or two.  I was wrong.  I was blown away by the throngs of people.  There were dozens of audiophiles packed in the aisles.  You could barely move from the King Crimson section to the John Lennon section without shoving at least three people out of the way.  My quick browse turned into a stretched out hour of of music spelunking...and trust me, if I had a little metal miner's hat with a light on top, it would have been incredibly helpful.  After finally finding the music, I spent another 15 minutes in line.  There were at least 30 people in line.  What was going on?  People buying music?  This is unheard of.  Or not.  Yet, just more proof that the music industry isn't just thinks it is.

Here is a free compilation compliments of Exploding in Sound called Wax Unwound.  It features some great tracks by Pulled Apart By Horses, Black Mountain, Grandfather, Ty Segall, and the Twilight Singers.  And it's free!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Unknown: Cage The Elephant Daytrotter Session

Yesterday I promised proof that rock music is not dead.  It's alive and it's still kicking ass.

This is a break down of the top 200 best-selling albums of 2010 according to Billboard.  I have broken them down by genre.

1.  Rock - 57 albums (28.5%)
2.  Country - 35 albums (17.5%)
3.  Pop - 26 albums (13%)
4.  Rap - 23 albums (11.5%)
5.  R&B/Hip-Hop - 20 albums (10%)
6.  Soundtracks/Compilations - 20 albums (10%)
7.  Adult Contemporary - 14 albums (7%)
8.  Holiday - 5 albums (2.5%)

I knew that rock was popular...but this even surprised me.  Rock music is getting almost zero exposure for the record industry.  It's getting no promotion.  No one talks about it.  No one raves about it.'s still dominating.  This isn't even a buzzer beater.  This is a blow-out.  Pop music which is supposedly king...sells less than half of what rock sells.  Less than half!

Imagine if the music industry actually started promoting rock music again.  

Here is the Daytrotter Session for Cage The Elephant:
(all tracks free - compliments of

1.  Tiny Little Robots
2.  Judas
3.  Lotus
4.  Ain't No Rest For The Wicked

Buy Cage The Elephant's new album, Thank You Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The 11 Best Songs By Cake

I watched Social Network last night.  A great film and an excellent script even though Aaron Sorkin is a bit of an asshole.  One issue that struck me the most is how the character of Sean Parker kept bragging about bringing down the music industry.  That Napster ruined the music industry.  Is this how history is going to be written?  Is this now the forgone conclusion?  Did Napster and illegal downloading ruin the music industry or is this concept a old wives tale?

If you have been reading this blog for the past few will know how I completely disagree that the MP3s have brought down the music industry.  If anything, the music industry brought itself down...and they just needed a scapegoat.  They been pushing mediocre pop music...and complained that no one buys it because it's being illegally downloaded. Not ever thinking that maybe no one likes the music.   They stopped marketing rock music...then complain that no buys it.  Maybe no one buys it because no one knows it's out there.  Everyone keeps saying it's a pop world now.  Rock is dead.  They are wrong.  Rock is still king.  Rock still outsells pop.

Tomorrow I will unveil a shocking statistic that will undeniably prove that pop has not taken over...and that rock is not fact...rock is still number one.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Cake:

1.  Take It All Away (Pressure Chief)
2.  I Will Survive (Fashion Nugget)
3.  Commissioning a Symphony in C (Comfort Eagle)
4.  Never There (Prolonging The Magic)
5.  Frank Sinatra (Fashion Nugget)
6.  Friend is a Four Letter World (Fashion Nugget)
7.  Let Me Go (Prolonging the Magic)
8.  Rock N Roll Lifestyle (Motorcade of Generosity)
9.  Never Gonna Give You Up (Friend is a Four Letter Word)
10.  Short Skirt Long Jacket (Comfort Eagle)
11.  The Distance (Fashion Nugget)

Buy Cake's new album, Showroom of Compassion, now!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Unknown: Tapes 'N Tapes Daytrotter Session

According to the BBC, 2010 was the worst year for rock since 1960.  That's a very depressing statement...especially if it's true.  But is it?  According to the BBC, the reason they arrived at this damnation proclamation is that there were only 3 rock singles to chart in the top 100 singles of the year.  They must be looking at the British charts because for my own assessment I came up with at least 8 rock songs in the top 100 billboard.  That's not much better...but that's not a bad thing.

This is something I've been railing about for years.  This is one of the big problems with the music industry.  Pop music sells singles.  Rock music sells albums.  When the music industry decided to go "pop" and push a relentless typhoon of pop music down our throats...single sales will go up...but album sales will go down.

People buy what they know.  If you're only playing pop music for people...they're only going to buy pop music.  If you ignore rock music...then not only will album sales go'll leave all the rock fans with nothing to buy!  You're basically alienating 50% of your audience!!

Despite only 8 rock singles making the top 100 songs of the year...23 rock albums made the top 100 album sales.  50 made the Top 200.  That's actually not bad...that's 25%.  The rest of the album charts are not all pop. That's a misnomer.  It's pop, rap, r&b, country, and adult alternative.  Rock may be down...but it's not out.

Here is Tapes 'N Tapes Daytrotter Session:

1.  Hang Them All
2.  Conquest
3.  Demon Apple
4.  George Michael

Buy Tapes 'N Tapes new album,!!  (only $3.99 for a limited time)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The 111 Best Albums of 2010

Alright...without further it is.  The final grand tally.  The 111 Best albums of the voted on by you.  Don't send your complaints to me.  Send them to your own inbox.

  1. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
  2. Kanye West – My Dark Twisted Fantasy
  3. The National – High Violet
  4. The Black Keys – Brothers
  5.  LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
  6. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
  7. Vampire Weekend – Contra
  8. Spoon – Transference
  9. Cee-Lo Green – Lady Killer (only $5.00)
  10. Beach House – Teen Dream (only $5.00)
  11. Band of Horses – Infinite Arms (only $5.00)
  12. Eminem – Recovery
  13. Superchunk – Majesty Shredding (only $5.00)
  14. Tokyo Police Club – Champ
  15. Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
  16. Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz
  17. Broken Bells – Broken Bells
  18. Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon II
  19. The Walkmen – Lisbon
  20. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks
  21. The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt
  22. Deftones – Diamond Eyes
  23. Foals – Total Life Forever
  24. Robyn – Body Talk
  25. Jonsi – Go
  26. MGMT – Congratulations (only $5.00)
  27. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot
  28. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
  29. White Denim – Last Days of Summer
  30. How To Destroy Angles – How To Destroy Angels
  31. Sleigh Bells – Treats
  32. Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me
  33. Lost in the Trees – All Alone in An Empty House
  34. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles II
  35. Klaxons – Surfing The Void
  36. Against Me! – White Crosses
  37. Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid
  38. Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards
  39. She & Him – Volume II
  40. Bruce Springsteen – The Promise
  41. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
  42. Best Coast – Crazy for You
  43. The Roots - How I Got Over
  44. The Hold Steady – Heaven is Whenever
  45. Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
  46. Ty Segall – Melted
  47. Nada Surf – if I had a hi-fi
  48. Black Angels – Phosphene Dream
  49. War on Drugs – Further Weather
  50. Secret and Whisper – Teenage Fantasy
  51. Walter Schreifels – An Open Letter To The Scene
  52. The Naked and Famous – Passive Me, Aggressive You
  53. Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart
  54. Das Racist – Shut Up, Dude/Sit Down, Man
  55. Devo – Something For Everybody
  56. Surfer Blood – Astro Coast (only $5.00)
  57. Four Tet – There Is Love In You
  58. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
  59. Maximum Balloon - Maximum Balloon (only $5.00)
  60. Matt & Kim - Sidewalks
  61. OK Go – Of The Blue Colour of the Sky
  62. Toadies – Feeler
  63. Pete Yorn – Pete Yorn (only $5.00)
  64. Horse Feathers – Thistled Spring
  65. Massive Attack – Heliogoland
  66. Minus The Bear – Omni
  67. Black Eyed Peas – The Beginning
  68. Shout Out Louds – Work
  69. Esperanza Spalding - Chamber Music Society
  70. Morcheeba – Blood Like Lemonade
  71. Alkaline Trio – This Addiciton
  72. Houses – All Night
  73. Ray LaMontagne – God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise
  74. Harlem – Hippies
  75. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World – Soundtrack
  76. Local Natives - Gorilla Manor (only $5.00)
  77. Deer Tick - The Black Dirt Sessions (only $5.00)
  78. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
  79. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
  80. Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
  81. Phil Selway – Familial
  82. Ratatat – LP4
  83. Old 97s – The Grand Theatre
  84. Warpaint – The Fool
  85. The White Stripes – Under The Great Northern Lights
  86. Crocodiles – Sleep Forever
  87. Far – At Night We Live
  88. Buke And Gass – Riposte
  89. Anberlin – Dark Is The Way
  90. Royal Baths – After Death
  91. Delphic – Acolyte
  92. Ryan Adams - III/IV
  93.  The Knife – Tomorrow, In A Year
  94. O. Children – O. Children
  95. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - I Learned The Hard Way
  96. Die Antwoord - $0$
  97. Wale - More About Nothing
  98. The Drums – The Drums
  99. Bad Religion – The Dissent of Man
  100. Pantha Du Prince – Black Noise
  101. Interpol – Interpol
  102. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Grace Potter
  103. Small Black – New Chain
  104. Wolf Parade - EXPO 86
  105. Perfume Genius – Learning
  106. Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here?
  107. Bonobo – Black Sands
  108. Hot Panda – How Come I’m Dead
  109. Josh Ritter – So Runs The World Away
  110. Menomena – Mines (only $5.00)
  111. Jenny & Johnny - I'm Having Fun Now

Friday, January 07, 2011

Free Music Fridays: The Klaxons -Landmarks of Lunacy

Next week should be a great start to the 2011 music year.  Though there were many great releases in the latter half of 2010, I struggled to get wood about any of the new releases.  Many times it was like hearing about a great taco place that was opening up next door to the last great taco place.

I'm not sure I understand the method to the music industry's release schedule.  In past, they weighted Oct/Nov for the big end of the year holiday buying spree.  Am a-list band's new release always made for a great stocking stuffer.  Now that no one buys CDs anymore (mainly because there's no where to buy them) there's really no reason to weight the November month with big releases.  If anything, wouldn't that be counter-productive?  With everyone obsessed with buying presents, the last thing on their mind is to run out on a musical scavenger hunt for a big new release that there's only a 50% chance that a soulless big box store decided to order more than 2 copies of.  The best time to get the public excited about a hot new music release would be at the time when nothing else major is going on.

Maybe there is a method to the madness.  Maybe that's the reason the next three months of music releases are more exciting than the previous six months.

Pick up the Klaxons new free EP - The Landmarks of Lunacy

1.  The Pale Blue Dot
2.  The Silver Forest
3.  Ivy Leaves
4.  Wilde Flowers
5. Marble Fields

Buy The Klaxons album, Surfing The!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The 11 Best Albums of 2010 (#1-#11)

I recently picked up a new computer and had to go through (actually still going through) the arduous task of transferring my colossal music library to a new computer.  Maybe it's wrong of me to not let Itunes do the automated filing system.  I prefer my music where I want it.  So when Itunes decided that my choice was wrong and it would just arrange my music how they see basically set me back to 2007 where I originally began my rating and playlisting.  Starting from scratch is not fun...and neither is trying to figure out how entire albums are oddly missing from my digital library.  Way to go itunes.  It still amazes me another company hasn't come along to easily swoop in and put you in your place.

I promise to get the master 111 albums of the year out to you guys soon.  Just as soon as itunes lets me.

Here are the 11 Best Albums of 2010 (according to me):

  1. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
  2. Eminem – Recovery
  3. The Black Keys – Brothers (Ohio)
  4. Superchunk – Majesty Shredding
  5. The Naked and Famous – Passive Me, Aggressive You (Frayed)
  6. Klaxons – Surfing The Void  (Sorcerer City)
  7. MGMT – Congratulations
  8. Massive Attack – Heliogoland (United Snakes)
  9. Morcheeba – Blood Like Lemonade
  10. Cee-Lo Green – Lady Killer
  11. Warpaint – The Fool
Buy these albums and others now!!