Saturday, November 24, 2012

The 11 Best Songs By Crystal Castles

For years Black Friday has been the day for Christmas shopping.  I never get everything I want or need on that day but I usually end up getting a good start on where I need to be.  Oddly, I usually buy more things for myself on Black Friday than I do for others.  When it comes to buying things for myself, I'm actually really good at it.  For the past couple of years, another event has compounded Black Friday into an uber event that only further rips my wallet and bank account to shreds:  Record Store Day.  Combining the two events for me is like relocating Disneyland to the strip in Las Vegas while handing out free ecstasy tabs and buckets of $50 gambling chips.  Too many choices.  BluRay players for $50 or Velvet Underground Acetate?  $3 jackets or White Stripes 45-inches?  It's not fair.

I picked up 11 releases.  Three of them...I didn't even go into the store having any interest in...but when I was there in the moment, I bought a Wanda Jackson rarities disc...and I freaking love it.  I want to take Wanda Jackson out to a nice dinner with wine and tiramisu.  It was an impulse buy.  I feel in love with the album cover and the smile on Jackson's face.  That kind of love of music doesn't exist anymore.  It's more important to be popular than to be good.  No longer can you just be a fan of the art form and take a chance on a 6-song EP of demos and outtakes for $16 and be absolutely infatuated.  This is what makes me a fan.  Standing in line for hours to buy something I didn't even know I wanted...that makes me a fan.  Sitting in front of a record player flipping over records after one song...that makes me a fan.  Sitting by the TV waiting to see what new outfit Justin Bieber wore to PF Chang's...makes me want to shoot my eyes out.

Record Store Day continues on.  The lines keep getting longer.  The releases keep getting better.  And the record industry keeps blaming internet downloading for ruining their industry.  Weird.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Crystal Castles:
  1. Not In Love w/ Robert Smith (II - Big Day Out Deluxe Version)
  2. Vanished (Crystal Castles)
  3. Celestica (II)
  4. Crimewave (Crystal Castles)
  5. Lovers Who Uncover w/ the Little Ones (Lovers Who Come Over)
  6. Suffocation (II)
  7. Untrust Us (Crystal Castles)
  8. Year of Silence (II)
  9. Pap Smear (II)
  10. Knights (Crystal Castles)
  11. Violent Dreams (II)
Buy Crystal Castles new album,!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The 11 Best Songs By Green Day of the 90s

Green Day came out at a time when rock ruled the planet.  Decades ago.  The fact that they've hung around despite the pop and schlock is comforting...but it's not the same.  If music is cyclical, then we're right around the time of the early 80s.  The Guettas, Harrises, and Skrillexes are the Human League, Soft Cell, and Kajagoogoo of this decade.  Loosely speaking.  Rock still exists...only in the garages of your best friend's crystal meth dealer.  You can only discover it if you're in the right place at the right time.  Or if you have unlimited time to surf the internet.  Like the mainstream music in the 80s, everything had to have a keyboard or sax solo.'s not much different.  Right, M83?

Rock will return.  And soon.  The music cycle changes about every four years. People get bored and burnt out on what's popular and demand something new.  They want something that will smash what's popular.  Pop, hip-hop, emo, and EDM have all had their's fairly obvious that rock is next line.  And when it does return...and it dominates, yet again...everyone who had ditched it for day-glo bracelets will pretend like they had been fans all along.  All we need is someone to kill the DJ.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Green Day of the 90s:
  1. Basket Case (Dookie)
  2. Scattered (Nimrod)
  3. One of My Lies (Kerplunk!)
  4. Hitchin A Ride (Nimrod)
  5. She (Dookie)
  6. Burnout (Dookie)
  7. Uptight (Nimrod)
  8. Going To Pasalacqua (39/Smooth)
  9. Who wrote Holden Caulfield? (Kerplunk!)
  10. Christie Road (Kerplunk!)
  11. Welcome to Paradise (Kerplunk!/Dookie)
Buy Green Day's new album, Dos! now!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The 11 Best Songs By Soundgarden

What the hell is wrong with Comcast?  I tried to sign up for their internet package.  It was listed as $44.95 online.  I took pictures of it to verify that this was the truth and there'd be no funny business later on.  In the picture, it says "$44.95 total price modem included."  Clear as day.  To complete the order, I had to get on the phone with a dispatcher.  They called me and put me on hold for fifteen minutes.  Fifteen minutes!!  I'm a new customer who wants to give them money for their service...and they make me wait to do it.  It's like they think they're Pearl Jam and I'm waiting all night to get concert tickets?  No.  You're not even Creed.  If you want me as a customer you should be doing everything in your power, including massaging my feet to get me on board...not exhibiting what terrible customer service you have.  If this is how you treat new customers that you're trying to lure in...imagine how bad your customer service must be once I am a customer locked into a contract and you no longer give a crap about me.

Finally, someone with a heavy Indian accent got on the phone.  She must be from Michigan.  She asked what I was calling for.  I told her that her company called me.  She said she didn't know why.  I explained that I signed up for a package online and her company needed to talk to me to complete the order.  She said I must be signing up for the $99 a month offer with cable, phone, and internet.  I said no.  She said she was confused why I didn't do that.  I said I only wanted internet.  She then asked which package.  I said...I signed up with your should have this info.  She didn't.  She then said..."oh wait, here it is."  You want the $44.95 package with $3.95 for modem rental.  I said the offer online clearly states the modem is included.  She said, then that ad is false because it's not included.  I said then that would be false advertising and that would be illegal.  She said it is not illegal because she is telling me the real price now.  Sorry, it's still illegal.  I asked to speak to a supervisor and she said she didn't have one.  I asked to speak to someone in the United States...she said she'd have to look up that number.  She put me on hold.  After 10 minutes of being on hold...I hung up. 30 seconds later...I signed up with Time Warner.  Way to go to Comcast.  You're shitty customer service just cost you a new customer.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Soundgarden:
  1. Searching With My Good Eye Closed (Badmotorfinger)
  2. Burden in My Hand (Down On The Upside)
  3. Outshined (Badmotorfinger)
  4. Birth Ritual (Singles)
  5. Fell on Black Days (Superunknown)
  6. Hands All Over (Louder Than Love)
  7. The Day I Tried To Live (Superunknown)
  8. No Attention (Down On The Upside)
  9. All Your Lies (Ultramega OK)
  10. Rusty Cage (Badmotorfinger)
  11. Superunknown (Superunknown)
Buy Soundgarden's new album, King Animal now!!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The 11 Best Albums By Pearl Members

It's been three years since our last Pearl Jam album but that hasn't stopped the members from keeping productive.  This year alone...there have been three side projects put out by PJ members.  Earlier this year we had a new Brad album, United We Stand.  And just in the past month, two new side projects were released.  The first album features Jeff Ament and Joseph Arthur, called RNDM.  The second group...which is actually truly random...features Duff McKagan (of Guns N Roses) and Mike McCready, called Walking Papers.  Two decades ago, Duff and Mike represented two different worlds of popular music.  Duff was in one of the most heralded metal group of 80s with Guns N Roses, while McCready and Pearl Jam were on the front lines of the alternative music that pretty much decimated 80s metal from the mainstream.  Now, the two musicians are basically equals.  Both groups raise the question of whether musicians can be great on their own or are they really stronger as the sum of all parts.  RNDM borrows the sound and style of Pearl Jam from the old days as if they're better doing what they do best.  Walking Papers does the opposite.  They toss the styles of their previous bands out the door and try to establish their own sound.  They have more in common with King Crimson or Black Label Society then they do with anything they've done before. It's interesting to be able to hear both strategies side by side.  On one hand it's comforting to hear the familiar sound of a band you love...but it's also an intriguing listen when a band goes out on a limb and tries something new.  Getting two side projects at the same time with both styles is basically the best of both worlds.

Here are the 11 Best Side Project Albums by Pearl Jam Members:
  1. Brad - Shame (1993)
  2. Mad Season - Above (1995)
  3. Brad - Interiors (1997)
  4. Eddie Vedder - Into The Wild (2007)
  5. The Rockfords - The Rockfords (2000)
  6. Jeff Ament - Tone (2008)
  7. Brad - Welcome to Discovery Park (2002)
  8. Eddie Vedder - Ukulele Songs (2011)
  9. Tres Mts. - Three Moutains (2011)
  10. Three Fish - The Quiet Table (1996)
  11. Stone Gossard - Bayleaf (2001)
Buy Jeff Ament's side project RNDM's new album Acts and Mike McCready's new side project Walking Papers.