Thursday, March 29, 2012

The 11 Best Songs By The Mars Volta

As some bands age, they get more radio-friendly and less daring.  Their one-time attempt to re-invent their genre is replaced with the need to conform to the masses.  Not the Mars Volta.  As they get older they actually get weirder and more chaotic. It's like they're a marathon runner who veers off the smooth path to the finish line in order to take a rocky unmarked path to the middle of nowhere where the end is only vague a suggestion.  A place where Syd Barrett and Jerry Garcia are jamming while Kurt Cobain bar-b-ques hot dogs.  Yeah, the Mars Volta's music makes that little sense.  As distance and as inaccessible as it at times, it's always refreshing to hear that some band is still concerned about tearing down the future rather than being content on settling into the past.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Mars Volta:

  1. Ouroborous (Bedlam in Goliath)  
  2. Ilyena (Bedlam in Goliath)
  3. Intertiatic E.S.P. (De-Loused in the Comatorium)
  4. Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt (De-Loused in the Comatorium)
  5. L'Via L'Viaquez (Frances The Mute)
  6. Viscera Eyes (Amputechture)
  7. Metatron (Bedlam in Goliath)
  8. Roulette Dares (De-Loused in the Comatorium)
  9. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore (Frances The Mute)
  10. Cotopaxi (Octahedron)
  11. Wax Simulacra (Bedlam in Goliath)
Buy The Mars Volta's new album, Nocturniquet

Monday, March 26, 2012

The 11 Best Songs By Paul Van Dyk

The Final Four is set. And though the tournament was ripe with some huge upsets, in the end, it was the traditional powerhouses that made it to the promised land.  Even though every other year you have the Butlers and the VCUs sneak in...for the most part there's only a handful of schools that ever do anything.  I think this is the difference between being lucky and being good.  Those who are at the top of the game are there because they've  spent years practicing and refining what it takes to be successful.  That's why they continue to have success. And that's why those who come out of the blue and have momentary fame, fizzle out fast, and become nothing more than a piece of bar trivia.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Paul Van Dyk:

  1. Another Way (Out There And Back)
  2. Talking In Grey  (In Between)  
  3. Face to Face (Out There And Back)
  4. For An Angel (45 RPM)
  5. Home (Seven Ways)
  6. White Lies  (In Between)
  7. Crush (Reflections)
  8. Together We Conquer (Out There And Back)  
  9. My World (Global)
  10. That's Life (Reflections)
  11. Complicated (In Between)
Buy Paul Van Dyk's new album, Evolution!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The 11 Best Songs By The Shins

Record Store Day is upon...just 30 days away until the greatest music day of the year.  For some reason, they're dicking around with the U.S. release list.  They've already announced all the releases for the U.K., which you can check out here.  I'm not sure what the delay is...basically the releases for the U.K. and the U.S. are practically identical.  And they add new titles every couple days leading up to the date.  Not sure what they're waiting on.  Part of the excitement of Record Store Day is the anticipation. Getting to pick through the list and check out every new available title is almost as exciting as getting home and listening to the music.  The longer they wait to announce the releases...the less time we have to do our research.  And every one knows, audiophiles having nothing else to do with our lives except sit around and do useless research.  The U.K. list is interesting.  Not as exciting as last years...but still a few nuggets in there.  Maybe the big hitters are yet to come.  April 21, we come!!!

Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Shins:

  1. New Slang (Oh, Inverted World)
  2. Spilt Needles (Wincing The Night Way) 
  3. So Says I (Chutes Too Narrow)
  4. Phantom Limb (Wincing The Night Way)
  5. Turns A Square (Chutes Too Narrow) 
  6. Nothing At All (Wincing The Night Way)
  7. Caring Is Creepy (Oh, Inverted World)
  8. Plenty Is Never Enough (SCORE! Merge Records)
  9. Turn On Me (Wincing The Night Way)
  10. Fighting In A Sack (Chutes Too Narrow)
  11. The Celibate Life (Oh, Inverted World)

Buy The Shins new album, Port of!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The 11 Best Songs By Martin L. Gore

The first weekend of March Madness is over.  For an avid fan like myself, this consumed my week.  That would explain the lack of updates because Sunday night is the first moment I have to breathe in the week.  There are many things to talk about that happened this week, in all things madness, but the one that still sticks out the most, is the play-in games.  There is nothing more completely unnecessary than these ridiculous play-in games that are more of a nuisance than an enhancement.  Nobody cares who is playing in them.  Nobody (outside of the teams playing) cares who wins.  They only thing anyone does care about is how quickly the games can be over so we know how to fill out our brackets.  These games are a perfect example of how sometimes people at the top misunderstand what the fans actually want.  Just because we want our teams to make the tournament...doesn't mean the tournament should widen its boundaries to include everybody.  If you do makes the tournament less special...and people care less about making it in the first place.  Sometimes, just because we wish for it...doesn't mean we actually want it.  The fantasy is always better than the reality.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Martin L. Gore:

  1. Compulsion (Counterfeit)
  2. Gone (Counterfeit)
  3. I Cast A Lonely Shadow (Counterfeit 2)
  4. Life Is Strange (Stardust)
  5. In My Other World (Counterfeit 2)
  6. Candy Says (Counterfeit 2)
  7. Left Hand Luke (Stardust)
  8. Coming Back to You (Tower of Song)
  9. In A Manner of Speaking (Counterfeit)
  10. Loverman (Counterfeit 2)
  11. Stardust (Counterfeit 2)
Buy Martin L. Gore and Vince Clarke new album, VCMG -!!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The 11 Best Songs By The White Rabbits

With the White Rabbits being so well known for their energetic live show, it's so surprising how subdued their albums are.  It's like their albums are the rough draft and the live show is the final product.  It just sucks for all of us who don't get to see them in their live shows and are stuck with their albums...which are still pretty amazing.  It is nice to hear that a band today doesn't just play their recorded album when they play live...and just lip sync their way through the night...then talk about how draining playing live is.  The White Rabbits leave it all on the floor when they play live.  It's like they actually care that people are paying their hard earned money to see them perform.  How novel.

Here are the 11 Best Song By the White Rabbits:
  1. They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong (It's Frightening)
  2. Percussion Drum (It's Frightening)
  3. While We Go Dancing (Fort Nightly)
  4. Midnight And I (It's Frightening)
  5. The Plot (Fort Nightly)
  6. The Company I Keep (It's Frightening)
  7. Foxhunting (Daytrotter 09)
  8. Tourist Trap (Fort Nightly)
  9. Beehive State (Giant Single Series)
  10. I Used To Complain Now I Don't (Fort Nightly)
  11. Sea & Rum (Daytrotter 07)
Buy The White Rabbits new album...Milk Famous now!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Unknown: Bruce Springsteen - Angels + Sky

There are American legends...then there is Bruce Springsteen.  He is the rock and roll icon that legends aspire to be.  Where most artists speak to the people, Bruce has always spoken for the people.  It's like his music and his lyrics are what would would come out of America's mouth if the population stood up and sang out as a whole.  Many believe that Bruce has become more political as he's grown older...and that he should stay neutral as he did in his early years.  Those are just detractors who never knew Bruce to begin with.  Bruce has never had a political "agenda," but at the same time, he always fought for what he believed in.  On his debut album, Bruce spoke out against the treatment of Vietnam vets.  Bruce didn't wait until his elder years to take jabs at the powers that be...he came out of the blocks swinging.  Bruce has never slowed down.  He has never sold out.  He has never backed down.  His resilience is what makes his journey so powerful.

Here is Bruce Springsteen's Angel + Sky:

  1. Once Upon A Time In The West
  2. Streets of Philadelphia
  3. Missing
  4. Dead Man Walking
  5. Secret Garden
  6. Dream Baby Dream
  7. Plane Wreck At Los Gatos
  8. Gypsy Woman
  9. My Ride's Here
  10. Give My Love to Rose
Buy Bruce Springsteen's new album, Wrecking Ball now!!!

Monday, March 05, 2012

The 11 Best Songs By Kid CuDi

Kid CuDi is daring to go where no rapper has ever gone before (successfully)...into the world of rock.  Many have tried.  Most have failed.  Ice-T tried to do it with Body Count.  If not for the song Cop Killer...they would have been forgotten.  Lil Wayne tried it.  Rebirth was still born.  Everlast came the closest but it's arguable whether he was even a real rapper in the first place.  Even the over-hyped soundtrack to the film Judgement Night was no more than a novelty.  For all of you who just piped to say "hey, I liked that album," I call bullshit.  You hated it...that's why you haven't listened to it in 18 years.

Will Kid Cudi succeed where the others have failed?  History suggests yes.  But trends are meant to be broken.  Actresses-turned-singers were a joke until we met Zooey Deschanel.  Maybe it's WZRD's turn to reinvent what an artist can do.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Kid CuDi:

  1. Sountrack 2 My Life (Man On The Moon)
  2. Simple As...  (Man On The Moon)
  3. Mr. Rager  (Man On The Moon II)
  4. Scott Mescudi vs. the World (Man On The Moon II)
  5. Up Up & Away (Man On The Moon)
  6. Erase Me (Man On The Moon II)
  7. Cudderisback ft. Vampire Weekend (Mixtape)
  8. CuDi Zone (Man On The Moon)
  9. Enter Galactic (Man On The Moon II)
  10. Day 'N' Nite (Man On The Moon)
  11. Make Her Say (Man On The Moon II)
Buy Kid Cudi's new rock!!

Friday, March 02, 2012

The 11 Best Albums of 2012 So Far

I've never figured out the way critics decide which aging rock stars to skewer and which ones to reward.  There were a lot of big releases last year from bands making comebacks.  There were many of them I was very impressed with...only to read the reviews later and find out I must be sorely mistaken.  I thought the new album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers was their best since Blood Sugar Sex Magic, but when I read the reviews they told me it might be "their worst effort"...and "a sign of the apocalypse of alternative music."  I was pleasantly surprised by the new Janes Addiction.  But the reviewers called it "musical retardation," "F-minus," and "dead baby dumpster drivel."  Meanwhile, I thought the new Bush and Beastie Boys were huge disappointments to only learn that they were some of the best comebacks of the year.  I know music is arbitrary...but sometimes it seems like a band's hip factor has more to say about whether their album will be well-received or not.

This year...I at least seem to be somewhat inline with the critics.  I doubt VH will stay atop the list for the whole year...but it's nice to a familiar face leading the pack out of the gates.

Here are the 11 Best Albums of 2012 so far:

1.       Van Halen - A Different Kind of Truth 
2.       Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, Yim Yames - New Multitudes 
3.       The Big Pink - Future This (Lose Your Mind)
4.       Craig Finn - Clear Heart Full Eyes
5.       Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror
6.       Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory (Stay Useless)
7.       WZRD - WZRD
8.       Anais Mitchell - Young Man in America
9.       Grimes - Visions
10.   Chiddy Bang - Breakfast
11.   Burial - Kindred EP

Thursday, March 01, 2012

The 11 Best Song By School of Seven Bells

Today a friend told me about her good friend's brother who died of a heart attack.  He was only 43.  I could tell by the timber in her voice that she was broken up.  She had grown up with the family and this hit her personally.  A few minutes later, a friend emails me about Andrew Breitbart who had died.  Turns was the same person.  There's no question that Andrew was a polarizing figure.  But as a public figure, in death, there seem to be different rules.  Earlier that morning, I felt bad for my friend who had lost someone.  He was a brother, a father, a son, and a friend.  The loss was tragic.  But once my friend posted it on Facebook, the gloves of sympathy came off and the vitriol drenched the Facebook walls.  People who didn't know the man but merely didn't like his political stance felt they had the right to celebrate his death with disrespect and filth that they would have never in thousands years said about someone they knew in person.  What's worse is they said this to someone who did know him and was personally affected by his life. I don't know why people feel they have the right to say such hateful things about someone who has no power to defend themselves just because they have a soap box to say it.  I think people forget that though our experience with the internet is done in solitude...everything we do is public.  It's like people forget that the internet is written in ink.  It's not always what you say that matters...but sometimes what your don't say.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By The School of Seven Bells:

  1. ILU (Disconnect From Desire)
  2. White Elephant Coat (Alpinisms)
  3. Heart Is Strange (Disconnect From Desire)
  4. Dust Devil (Disconnect From Desire)
  5. Half Asleep (Alpinisms)
  6. Sempiternal/Amaranth (Alpinisms)
  7. Camarilla (Disconnect From Desire)
  8. Bye Bye Bye (Disconnect From Desire)
  9. Face To Face On High Places (Alpinisms)
  10. iamundernodisguise (Alpinisms)
  11. Limb By Limb (Face To Face On High Places)
Buy the School of Seven Bells new album!