Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The 11 Best Songs By The Polyphonic Spree

This is a crazy release week...and if I wasn't far enough behind already, this week has and will definitely set me back too many months to count.  I'm going to be blogging about 2012 releases deep into 2013.  That will set me back into 2014 than 2015...I might as well skip 2016 just catch up.  Of course, 2016 is the year Dr. Dre's Detox is going to finally come out.

There are at least 11 releases (get it) coming out today that are all blog worthy.  From long-awaited comebacks from PiL and Ultravox to some highly anticipated releases from Sigur Ros and Regina Spector.  Sigur Ros was the obvious kickoff choice but since I just did their "best of" back in the November there's no reason not to let someone else grab a piece of the GBU limelight.

For this week, I'm kicking off with a celebration of the new band by Tim DeLaughter...Preteen Zenith.  I love what this guy is doing.  This is his third band in so many decades.  It's hard enough to launch band with any sort of success.  But Tim's trying to do it three times.  It's like he knows when one band has run it's course and it's time to re-invent the wheel.  I have to respect that.

But before we move onto the decade of the Zenith...let's say goodbye to the Spree.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By the Polyphonic Spree:

  1. Mental Caberet - Section 27 (The Fragile Army)
  2. Hold Me Now - Section 12 (Together We're Heavy)
  3. Light and Day / Reach For The Sun - Section 9 (The Beginning Stages Of...)  
  4. Running Away - Section 22 (The Fragile Army)
  5. We Crawl - Section 26  (The Fragile Army)
  6. Love My Way (Wait EP)
  7. Soldier Girl UK Version - Section 8 (The Beginning Stages Of...)
  8. Get Up and Go - Section 23 (The Fragile Army)  
  9. When A Fool Becomes A King - Section 19 (Together We're Heavy)
  10. It's The Sun - Section 2 (The Beginning Stages Of...)
  11. Sonic Bloom (Wait EP)
Buy Preteen Zenith's debut album, Rubble Guts and BB Eye...now!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The 11 Best Songs By The Silversun Pickups

Here's the deal about this post which kind of indicative of my life right now.  I ranked the songs on Tuesday.  I put it together on Wednesday.  And I'm finally addressing the post tonight (Friday).  I had every intention of doing a post each night this week, but then craziness happened at work being a hands-on parent is sometimes important...plus things like sleep and eating, and not necessarily in that order.  I guess it's fitting with the Silversun Pickups that I address this.  I've had this band pushed on me for a long time and have never given them a fair listen until recently.  It wasn't because I didn't like them...it was that I just never had the time to fully listen to them.  I always thought they were just some jangly indie rock band with a loose obsession for Billy Corgan.  But with the lack of strong music coming out this year...I've finally had the time to go back and explore those bands who have fallen through the cracks.  The Pickups are my favorite so far.  The Smashing Pumpkins influence is there...Jimmy Chamberlain's ghost might as well be sitting behind the drum kit.  But aside from a few stray melodies here and there, that's where the SP influence ends.  I hear more Sunny Day Real Estate and Triple Fast Action in their music than 90s grunge.  Honestly, I hear more 80s song structures in their music than anything from the 90s. Regardless of who influenced them, they are one of the most interesting rock bands out there.  They manage to weave together complex rock into short blasts of audio pleasure.  The only negative thing I have to say about them is that I wish I more time to listen to them sooner.

And here's what's even more disturbing, I finished this post Friday night...forgot to post it and am finally getting to it Saturday morning.  

Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Silversun Pickups:
  1. The Royal We (Swoon)
  2. Panic Switch (Swoon)
  3. Well Thought Out Twinkles (Canvas)
  4. Sort Of (Swoon)
  5. Broken Bottles (Seasick)
  6. Kissing Families (Pikul)
  7. Seasick (Seasick)
  8. Lazy Eye (Canvas)
  9. There's No Secrets This Year (Swoon)  
  10. Comeback Kid (Pikul)
  11. Growing Old Is Getting Old (Swoon)
Buy Silversun Pickups new album, Neck of the Woods...only $4.99 now!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The 11 Best Songs By Garbage

The hiatus is over.  If Garbage can come back after a seven year break...I can come back after a couple month layover for them.

The biggest challenge in creating a list for this band isn't just listening to the songs and deciding what sounds the best...it's more about sifting through their dozens of B-sides to decide which can lay side-by-side with their album tracks...when most of their B-sides are on par with the album tracks making it that much harder to distinguish between them all.

I have probably spent more time at music stores over the years looking for rare Garbage releases.  I once made a taxi in London stop outside an HMV in hopes to find an elusive double CD for their second album, Version 2.0...and they had it!  For the first three album I have all the CD singles, promo singles, and imports.  One might think they were my favorite band...but they're not.  They just happened to be the most fun to collect.  I liked the music more because of the effort I went through to get it.  I didn't take for granted the chase.  And sometimes...the chase is the best part.

Here are the 11 Best Songs by Garbage:

  1. Only Happy When It Rains (Garbage)
  2. Vow  (Garbage)  
  3. The Trick Is to Keep Breathing (Version 2.0)
  4. Medication (Version 2.0)
  5. Special (Version 2.0)
  6. I Think I'm Paranoid (Version 2.0)
  7. Run Baby Run (Bleed Like Me)
  8. Soldier Through This (You Look So Fine)
  9. Breaking Up The Girl (Beautiful Garbage)
  10. Queer  (Garbage)
  11. Can't Seem To Make You Mine (The Trick Is To Keep Breathing)
Buy Garbage's new album, Not Your Kind of People...now!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Record Store Day Recap (only a month late)

As I jump back into the world of blogging (I promise, baby, this week I'll be different), I figure I need to address the biggest music event of the past few weeks...Record Store Day.  I've been going every year and when I used to get to the store about 30-minutes prior to opening, I was upset that I was 5th or 6th in line.  But every year the line has been getting longer, forcing me to get there earlier.  This year I arrived earlier than I had ever been there...almost 3-hours prior to opening and I was 20th in line.  As alarming as that was, by the time the store opened, there were over 250 people in line...which made me a little less bitter about my placement.  I got just about everything I wanted.  Of the three items I didn't get (The Civil Wars 7", the Brad 7", and the Flaming Lips - Heady Fwends) only CW and Brad were sold out. I was bummed about the CW...and less about the Brad.  Although I was most upset about the Flaming Lips, which never even got shipped.  Even stranger...in LA, the three stores I checked out didn't get copies.  What's even stranger is that the Flaming Lips was the widest release of any Record Store Day release...over 10,000 were made.  That's close to the actual sales figures of their last album...so why in the world was it so hard to find?

That said...the rest of the day and the following two weeks began a scavenger hunt of about a dozen stores...all in hopes of finding the one gem I overlooked.  And yes, I found a few.  Overall, the 7" dominated this year with the longer album being bigger let downs (Flaming Lips production included).

So here are my 11 favorite releases of the Day...and I've heard quite a few.

My 11 Favorite Releases of Record Store Day 2012:

1. Jeff the Brotherhood - Upstairs 10-inch - Strangely, it's probably one of the few albums that didn't even come close to selling out.  I've seen it at dozens of stores...yet it might be the most enjoyable and best vinyl capture of the day.  It's really just a great underrated band jamming the fuck out...but captured on vinyl it's like being in the room with them.  This is what exclusive releases should be all about...something that would never make it as a usual release because it's so up close and intimate it's unplayable except to the people who actually give a shit.

2.  Chris Robinson and the Brotherhood - Blue Suede Shoes 7" - I bought this two weeks after RSD as an impulse buy because it was half off.  The two new songs (not on the new album) are as rocking and raw as anything Chris has done in decades...a definite find.

3.  Feist & Mastodon 7" - A release that should have never happened.  But it's so weird, raw, unlistenable but unresistable...it's a collector's dream.  Can't listen to this one enough.

4.  Arctic Monkeys - R U Still Mine 7" - Where the fuck did this come from?  Maybe the best release by the Monkeys since their debut.  Hopefully this is a good sign that we should expect other great things by them.

5. The Electric Anthology Project of Dinosaur Jr. LP - It's going to be released normally in the coming weeks...but this has to be the most fun of any of the releases.  It's Dinosaur Jr. meets the Breakfast Club.  It's fucking odd...and great at the same time.

6.  Horrible Crowes - Live At Amoeba 7" - This was another album I bought a couple days after RSD.  I was not a huge fan of the actual HC album...it was tolerable.  But these live couple of songs capture the band ripping it up live that is fantastic and deserves many repeat listens.

7.  Ryan Adams - Heartbreak 7" - After last year's super boring album...Ryan at least shows he still has something still in the tank.

8.  Ra Ra Riot - Valerie 7" - Though their are two covers on this record...the Valerie cover is so exceptionally good...it's worth the price of admission all on it's own.

9.  The Flaming Lips - Heady Fwends LP - I never actual got a physical copy...but I have heard this release.  I can't say I'm blown away...or even that upset that I didn't get a copy.  But it's just that crazy that it's worth seeking out to listen to...just once.

10.  Jay Farrar - New Multitudes 10-inch - A companion to possibly one of the best actual albums of the year.  These four songs feature a couple of demos that rock as hard as anything on the album.

11.  Animal Collective - Traverse Temporal Gyrus LP - I don't know if I liked this...or love this...or hate this.  Again, this is what is great about RSD...they can feature album that should never be released in any other fashion except to hardcore fans.  Sure it's experimental bullshit...but I have a copy and you don't.

The ones that got away...

1.  Flaming Lips - Heady Fwends - I have it digitally...but sure wish I had a physical copy.

2.  Brad - Waters Deep 7" - had no idea this would sell out so fast.  Had no idea anyone knew who they were.

3.  Civil Wars - Covers 45 - I've heard the Billie Jean cover...but have sleepless nights dreaming about hearing that Portishead cover.

4.  Mike McCready/Star Ana - A co-worker got a copy and I have to say I'm quite jealous...heard it's pretty good too.

5.  Atmosphere & Aesop Rock - The album had a freaking C-side!  Yes, it had 3 sides!!  That's just epic.

6.  Shabazz Palaces - Live - Just wish I had it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

I'm Not Dead

I know I have taken a hiatus from the blog.  I'm not dead.  I'm not done blogging.  I've only fallen victim to real life responsibility.  My real job.  I will be through this storm shortly and will return to my chosen profession as a music blogger...because honestly...how would the world know what songs used to be good without me?  I promise to hit the ground running with some very special posts for all the new music coming out and all the past releases I've missed out on writing about:  Silversun Pickups, Jack White, Brad, Diamond Rugs, PIL, Here We Go Magic, and an extra special tribute to MCA.  So stay tuned...and I will be back.