Thursday, January 31, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Ben Harper and...Someone Else

While most artists start off in a band and end up going solo as their career progresses, Ben Harper started out solo and is now creating new collaborations as his career evolves.  Each new partnership is different than the last and adds unique new layers to an already rich musical career.  As great as it to push the boundaries of music, it's appreciated to see an artist like Harper embrace the past.  I'm not a fan of gospel but loved his collaboration with the Blind Boys of Alabama.  And if that album turned a Jewish boy onto songs about Jesus...then he's doing something right.  This newest creative endeavor is with legendary blues harmonica player, Charlie Musselwhite.  Who was the last popular artist to include a harmonica solo on their record?  Exactly.

The 11 Best Songs By Ben Harper and...Someone Else:

  1. Burn to Shine (Burn To Shine w/ the Innocent Criminals)
  2. Up To You Now (White Lies For Dark Times w/ The Relentless7)
  3. Alone (Burn To Shine w/ the Innocent Criminals)
  4. Simmer and Shine (White Lies For Dark Times w/ The Relentless7)
  5. Fight Outta You (Lifeline w/ the Innocent Criminals)
  6. There Will Be A Light (There Will Be a Light w/ the Blind Boys of Alabama)
  7. Lay There And Hate Me (White Lies For Dark Times w/ The Relentless7)
  8. Take My Hand (There Will Be a Light w/ the Blind Boys of Alabama)
  9. Show Me A Little Shame (Burn To Shine w/ the Innocent Criminals)
  10. Church House Steps (There Will Be a Light w/ the Blind Boys of Alabama)
  11. Put It On Me (Lifeline w/ the Innocent Criminals)
Buy Ben Harper and Charlie Musslewhite's new album, Get Up!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Tomahawk

This weekend saw one of the most horrific tragedies to ever occur during a live music event.  Over 200 people killed and over 100 more injured because of another pyrotechnic display gone awry.  There are really very little words that can describe the devastating event in any sort of light other than misery.  Apparently the incident occurred because the lead singer of the performing band lit a flare onstage. Stupid doesn't even describe it.  But calling names and pointing blame is practically useless now.  I hate when artists try to compensate for lackluster performances with elaborate stage shows.  It convinces everyone that in order to enjoy a live show...there has to be something more to it.  So every band thinks it's imperative to outdo the other.  It's not.  Live shows are about live music.  It's hard to get too deep into this subject without feeling upset for the families.  And that's all we should be concerned about.

Mike Patton was known for years for being one of the most bizarre live performers of all time.  His band Tomahawk (one of his 50 different musical projects) returns this week.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Tomahawk:
  1. Rape This Day (Mit Gas)
  2. Captain Midnight (Mit Gas)
  3. Sweet Smell of Success (Tomahawk)
  4. God Hates A Coward (Tomahawk)
  5. Mayday (Mit Gas)
  6. Sun Dance (Anonymous)
  7. Laredo (Tomahawk)
  8. Flashback (Tomahawk)
  9. 101 North (Tomahawk)
  10. Totem (Anonymous)
  11. Omaha Dance (Anonymous)
Buy Tomahawk's new album,!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Tegan & Sara

I read the magazine The Week.  There's a small section in it called "It Wasn't All Bad."  It's a very small section but always has some very positive news articles.  Recently I read a great story online about a rapper which reminded me of these articles.  I'm sure you've all heard the song "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  And if you think you haven't heard have.  Here's the video for a refresher.  During the chorus, there's a Nate Doggish rapper named Wanz singing the hook.  Turns out Wanz is a 51-year-old singer from Seattle who up until this song broke was working as a computer technician who had all but given up on his career in music.  He was singer for hire working for about $25 a song/hook and was rarely lucky enough to even hear the final product of the songs he sang on.  Now he has the number one song in the country, he quit his job to go on tour, and is final living out his greatest dreams.  And what's best about this story is he's still incredibly humble.  He said even if he's only known as that guy from the "Thrift Shop" song...he gets to be that guy from the "Thrift Shop" song.

It just goes to're never too old for your dreams to come true.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Tegan & Sara:
  1. Take Me Anywhere (So Jealous)
  2. On Directing (Sainthood)
  3. Call It Off (The Con)
  4. Hell (Sainthood)
  5. Walking With A Ghost (So Jealous)
  6. Back In Your Head (The Con)
  7. Nineteen (The Con)
  8. Monday Monday Monday (If It Was You)
  9. The Cure (Sainthood)
  10. I Know I Know I Know (So Jealous)
  11. You Wouldn't Like Me (So Jealous)
Buy Tegan & Sara's new album, Heartthrob now!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By The Mars Volta

It's official.  Coachella line-up has been officially released.  The Mars Volta has broken up.  I guess that means we'll have to wait until Coachella 2023 for the reunion.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Mars Volta

  1. Intertiatic E.S.P. (De-Loused in the Comatorium)
  2. Metatron (The Bedlam in Goliath)
  3. Viscera Eyes (Amputechture)
  4. This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed (De-Loused in the Comatorium)
  5. Ouroborous (The Bedlam in Goliath) 
  6. Drunken Ship of Lanterns (De-Loused in the Comatorium)
  7. Teflon (Octahedron)
  8. Concertina (Tremulant)
  9. Ilyena (The Bedlam in Goliath)
  10. Lapochka (Noctourniquet)
  11. Meccamputechture (Amputechture)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The 11 Best Bad Religion Songs of the 90s

Recently there was a fake video posted about why doesn't MTV play videos anymore. (watch it here)  It's a snarky response blaming the audiences for the programming change.  Though it's fake and not really MTV's can't take it too seriously.  But there is some glaring misguided reasoning that may or may not actually be true to why there's no more videos.  First off, the fake CEO blames the generation of kids for stealing music.  And adds that's there's no promotional power behind a music video if kids aren't purchasing the CDs.  Seems's not.  Concerts are the true money makers for artists....and when a video is played...there's also residual money the artist can earn.  Playing videos is very beneficial to the music industry.  That said...why the fuck does MTV care if people buy CDs, MP3s, or not?  MTV makes their money off advertising.  Not CD sales.

The CEO then goes on to blame product placement for making videos cheesy.  Horrible point considering product placement has been around since the dawn of TV...actually since the dawn of radio.  Soap operas were invented to sell soap.  True story.

He adds that they would be forced to play crap like Katy Perry, Bieber, etc...and not Nirvana, Pavement or REM.  And we'd complain.  That's half right.

MTV used to make super stars.  They used to be trendsetters.  They used to break social barriers.  Michael Jackson was the first black artist on MTV at a time when black actors could be cast as leads on any other TV show...but MTV embraced him and changed the national social landscape. People watched MTV because they wanted to see what the future was.  MTV was the soundtrack to our lives.  MTV could call the shots and doesn't need to be forced to play anything.  They chose to start playing pop because they were catering to the youth demographic.  The problem is when the youth demographic grows up...they no longer like what you're playing and they move on. were attractive to everyone...from parents to it's a sliver of an audience that is as fickle as high maintenance prom queen after she gets a hair out of place.  Shows like Jersey Shore are train wrecks...and that works as in instant gratification...but does not hold up to repeat viewing.  No one cares eventually...even the youth demographic.  This happens when a new group comes in and rejects their predecessors.  Before MTV created an arsenal of music they could play...even if the video was 15 years old (like MJ, Madonna, or GNR) people still dug it.  And watched...young or old.  MTV decided to ignore the older demo (the demo who still buys music)'s really their own faults.

In the 80s and 90s, nothing was cooler than everything is.

Here are the 11 Best Bad Religion Songs of the 90s:
  1. American Jesus (Recipe For Hate)
  2. Better Off Dead (Stranger Than Fiction)
  3. A Walk (The Gray Race)
  4. Flat Earth Society (Against The Grain)
  5. Skyscraper (Recipe For Hate)
  6. Stranger Than Fiction (Stranger Than Fiction)
  7. Punk Rock Song (The Gray Race)
  8. Anesthesia (Against The Grain)
  9. Empty Causes (The Gray Race)
  10. Only Entertainment (Generator)
  11. 21st Century Digital Boy (Against the Grain)
Buy Bad Religion's new album...True!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By The Joy Formidable

I had a meeting in a coffee shop today.  When I walked in, I was a little startled to notice that every single table was occupied.  That wasn't the unusual part.  Hip coffee shops in LA are always unrealistically busy, like showing up to one is the only way to keep your hipster cred intact.  What was strange was that there was only one person at each table.  Each person was staring aimlessly at their laptops.  I was the only person in place that was meeting with another physical person (well, besides the person I was meeting with, obviously).  I found this disturbing.  Why did all these people come here just to sit on their computers?  Doesn't that defeat the purpose of getting out of the house?  How can you be social with your nose glued to an artificially lit computer screen?  How are you taking full advantage of having a laptop if your only using it to do something you could pretty much do at your house?  Don't these people have coffee at their houses?  I was perplexed at the point of all this...because honestly, there was no point.  One guy was reading his Facebook.  A girl was watching YouTube videos.  It was like they were using this coffee shop as an offsite room to their house.  As cool as every single one of them thought they were being...I don't think any of them realized how stupid they all looked.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Joy Formidable:

  1. Magnifying Glass (The Big Roar)
  2. Whirring (The Big Roar)
  3. Cradle (A Balloon Called Morning)
  4. Austere (The Big Roar)
  5. Greyhounds in the Slip (It's Just A World Apart)
  6. The Last Drop (A Balloon Called Morning)
  7. Endtapes (Breaking Dawn Part 1)
  8. A Heavy Abacus (The Big Roar)
  9. Popinjay (It's Just A World Apart)
  10. 9669 (A Balloon Called Morning)
  11. The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie (The Big Roar)
Buy Joy Formidable's new album, Wolf's!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Ra Ra Riot

For sports fans, this was quite an up-and-down weekend.  As big as the NFL playoffs and the return of the NHL were, the biggest event came when Lance Armstrong was interviewed by Oprah.  How is it bigger news and treated with more fanfare when someone fucks up and lies to cover their tracks...than it is when someone actually succeeds?  Syracuse upsets #1 Louisville in college basketball, the NHL returns to action after a lockout that almost ended the season, the 49ers and Baltimore win close games to advance to the Superbowl, it's announced that the NBA is returning to Seattle next season, and in the PGA last weekend's tournament ended in a thrilling  3-way playoff.  But somehow, real athletes accomplishing real athletic achievements pales in comparison to an asshole who cheated...then lied about it.

We should treat people like Lance Armstrong like we treat terrorists...we shouldn't give them any publicity.  We should ignore them and pretend (or acknowledge) that they don't exist anymore.  I know we live in a generation where everyone wants to look over the fence into their neighbor's yard to see their neighbor's dirt but that doesn't mean we have to succumb to it.

I could do a blog with the worst songs every single time...and as fun as it would be to see the band you hate the most get a "worst" treatment, it would start getting old, especially when I started bashing your favorite band.  Just like in sports, we watch for the amazing wins...not the abysmal losses.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Ra Ra Riot:

  1. Dying Is Fine (The Rhumb Line)
  2. Valerie (Record Store Day 7")
  3. St. Peter's Day Festival (The Rhumb Line)
  4. Too Dramatic (The Orchard)
  5. Too Too Too Fast (The Rhumb Line)
  6. Ghost Under Rocks (The Rhumb Line)
  7. Boy (The Orchard)
  8. Shadowcasting (The Orchard)
  9. Each Year (The Rhumb Line)
  10. Manner To Act (Daytrotter Session 2)
  11. Do You Remember (The Orchard)
Buy Ra Ra Riot's new album, Beta!!! (only $5.00)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Girls

I recently watched Zero Dark Thirty and was rather blown away with the movie.  It still ranks behind Lincoln and Life of Pi on my list as the best movie of the year.  Yes, I keep movie lists, too.  What interested me most about the movie was the pace.  It was slow build toward the final invasion that played more like a BBC documentary than a Michael Bay shoot em up.  The reward was almost greater because of this.  What I'm finding interesting is how many people are blasting the movie for some factual inaccuracies. Working in film/TV myself, there is a big difference between reality (not reality TV, actual reality) and a film.  And it always bothers me when people critique a film that changes real events or a book's story.  Look, a book tells a story a certain way.  That's why it comes out in book form.  Movies have their own structure and have to be told their own way.  Movies based precisely on books tend to be formulaic and clunky.  That's why they get there's better flow and pacing.  Movie based on real events have to be condensed in many parts because real events take real time and movies take...2 hours!  You can't show ten years of events in two hours, it would suck.  Art imitates doesn't mirror it.

The 11 Best Songs By Girls:

  1. Lust for Life (Album)
  2. Alex (Father, Son, Holy Ghost)
  3. Vomit (Father, Son, Holy Ghost)
  4. Heartbreaker (Broken Dreams Club)
  5. The Oh So Protective One (Broken Dreams Club)
  6. Laura (Album)
  7. Alright (Broken Dreams Club)
  8. Honey Bunny (Father, Son, Holy Ghost)
  9. Morning Light (Album)
  10. Saying I Love You (Father, Son, Holy Ghost)
  11. Love Like A River (Father, Son, Holy Ghost)
Buy Christopher Owens new solo album,!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The 11 Best New Order Songs (Post 1990)

Recently Sony issued an 86 song box set of unreleased Bob Dylan recordings.  It was a European only release, limited to only 100 copies, and it was done for one reason only: because the copyrights were about to expire.  Not only is it astonishing that there are 86 unreleased Bob Dylan recordings from the early part of his career that we've yet to hear...but it's even more astonishing that Dylan has been such an iconic recording artist for over 50 years.  In today's industry it's challenging just to stay relevant from breakfast to dinner.-, let alone have people remember you a year from now.  But 50 years.  This box set is in such demand...copies of it are selling on ebay for over a $1,000.  Can you imagine anyone spending that much on Justin Beiber outtakes in 50 years?  Can you imagine anyone spending $10 on his outtakes by December?

New Order puts out their own outtake album today.  Check it out.  Thirty-two years into their career, New Order still knows how to make music worth listening to.

Here are the 11 Best New Order Songs (Post 1990):

  1. Regret (Republic)
  2. Here To Stay (International)
  3. Crystal (Get Ready)
  4. Waiting for The Siren's Call (Waiting For The Siren's Call)
  5. World in Motion (WIM single)
  6. Dracula's Castle (Waiting For The Siren's Call)
  7. Hey Now What You Doing (Waiting For The Siren's Call)
  8. Someone Like You (Get Ready)
  9. Liar (Republic)
  10. World (Republic)
  11. Special (Republic)

Buy New Order's new album of outtakes, Lost!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The 11 Best Rumored Albums of 2013

One of the best things about a new year is a whole set of new speculation about what albums could possibly be coming our way.  I've collected the best of them...let's see how many come true.

Here are the 11 Best Rumored Albums of 2013:

  1. U2 (July) - Mercury Records announced the new album was coming in 2013...but no word yet from the band.
  2. My Bloody Valentine - Album #3 (June) - Twenty-two years in the making, Kevin Shields claims the new album was completed on December 21st.  But will he let us hear it?
  3. Arcade Fire (September) - The band's in the studio now with James Murphy, eyeing a late fourth quarter release.
  4. Pearl Jam (October) - The band keeps saying they're working on a new album but no time line has been solidified.
  5. Modest Mouse (August) - The mouse does everything at a glacial pace but they've been writing and recording for a couple years now.  Along with playing many new songs live...the time seems right.
  6. MGMT - MGMT (June) - The band has been working on the album since 2011 and has said the release was imminent since then.
  7. The National (September) - They've been playing new songs live and have stated they're looking at a 2013 release.
  8. Portishead - Fourth (October) - Barrow claimed to start work on a new album in Sept 2011.  While two years is a normal pace for most bands...this is could mean ten years.  Here's to being optimistic.
  9. Vampire Weekend (May) - They've been playing new songs and are claiming a new release this spring.  Looks promising.
  10. Rilo Kiley (April) - With an obscure Facebook could only mean one of two things.  New album or Coachella appearance.  Okay, three:  both.
  11. Wolfmother - Gatherings (March) - The band claimed that a new album would be coming in March.  But they said this last year, too.
Bonus:  Dr. Dre - Detox (November) - Sometimes wishes are granted.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The 111 Best Albums of 2012

Thanks to all those who voted!

Here are the 111 Best Albums of 2012:

  1. Japandroids - Celebration Rock (Bonus Track)
  2. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange (Bonus Track)
  3. Jack White - Blunderbuss (Bonus Track)
  4. Kendrick Lamar - g.o.o.d. kid, maad city
  5. Grizzly Bear – Shields
  6. The xx - Co-Exist
  7. Alabama Shakes - Boys and Girls
  8. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel
  9. Sharon Von Etten - Tramp
  10. Beach House - Bloom
  11. Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits
  12. The Lumineers – Lumineers
  13. Tame Impala – Lonerism
  14. Bob Mould - Silver Age
  15. Ben Folds Five - The Sound of Life of the Mind
  16. Shins - Port of Morrow
  17. Grimes - Vision
  18. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - The Heist
  19. Silversun Pickups - Neck of the Woods
  20. Of Monsters and Men - My Head Is An Animal
  21. Soundgarden - King Animal
  22. Chromatics - Kill For Love
  23. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die/Paradise
  24. The Walkmen - Heaven
  25. Jimmy Cliff - Rebirth
  26. Father John Misty - Fear Fun
  27. Andy Stott - Luxury Problems
  28. First Aid Kit - Lion’s Roar
  29. Burial - Truant/Kindred EP
  30. Bahamas - Barchords
  31. Swans - The Seer
  32. Pinback - Information Retrieved
  33. Smashing Pumpkins - Oceania
  34. Bloc Party - Four
  35. Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
  36. Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet On Sky
  37. Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams
  38. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light
  39. Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory
  40. Bob Dylan - Tempest
  41. Fun. - Some Nights
  42. Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
  43. TY Segall – Twins
  44. Bobby Womack - Bravest Man in the Universe
  45. Passion Pit - Gossamer
  46. Liars - WIXIW
  47. Gary Clark Jr. - Black and Blu
  48. The Corin Tucker Band - Kill My Blues
  49. Olafur Arnalds - Another Happy Day
  50. Wintersleep - Hello Hum
  51. Matt Skiba and the Sekrets - Babylon
  52. Titus Andronicus - Local Business
  53. Crystal Castles - III
  54. Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
  55. Hot Chip - In Our Heads
  56. Jesse Ware - Devotion
  57. Four Tet - Pink
  58. Glen Hansard - Rhythm & Repose
  59. Sun Kil Moon - Among The Leaves
  60. Avett Brothers - The Carpenter
  61. Band of Horses - Mirage Rock
  62. The Lighthouse and the Whaler - This Is an Adventure
  63. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead - Lost Songs
  64. The Big Pink - Future This
  65. Yellowcard - Southern Air
  66. Harold Budd - Bandits of Stature
  67. Pilot to Gunner - Guilty Guilty
  68. Muse - The 2nd Law
  69. Said The Whale - Little Mountain
  70. P.O.S - We Don't Even Live Here
  71. Fang Island - Major
  72. Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
  73. Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten
  74. Aesop Rock - Skeleton
  75. Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit
  76. Lambchop - Mr. M
  77. Metric - Synthetica
  78. Jon Samuel - First Transmission
  79. Loscil - Sketches From New Brighton
  80. Lostprophets - Weapons
  81. Mumford & Sons - Babel
  82. Lee Fields & the Expressions - Faithful Man
  83. Bad Veins - The Mess We’ve Made
  84. Everclear - Invisible Stars
  85. Forgetters - Forgetters
  86. Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream
  87. Niki & the Dove - Instinct
  88. Classics of Love - Classics of Love
  89. Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
  90. Yukon Blonde - Tiger Talk
  91. Goodnight Lights - As Far As the Moon
  92. Joel Plaskett Emergency - Scrappy Happiness
  93. Vijay Iyer Trio - Accelerando
  94. Marconi Union - Different Colors
  95. Purity Ring - Shrines
  96. Minus The Bear - Infinity Overheard
  97. Chris Robinson Brotherhood - Big Moon Ritual
  98. Field Report - Field Report
  99. Twin Shadow - Confess
  100. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
  101. Two Door Cinema - Beacon
  102. Rhett Miller - The Dream/The Interpreter Live At Largo
  103. Maus Haus - Light Noise
  104. Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music
  105. Battles - Dross Glop
  106. Minilogue - Endlessness EP
  107. Amos The Transparent - Goodnight My Dear
  108. Django Django - Django Django
  109. Animal Collective - Centipede Hz
  110. Jeff The Brotherhood - Hypnotic Nights
  111. My Bloody Valentine - The EPs 1988-1991

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The 11 Most Anticipated Albums of 2013

I'll post the top 111 albums of 2012 on Friday.  So you still have time to get me your lists!!  Just send me your favorite albums of 2012 in the comment section.  Top 20...or whatever number of albums you liked.

With 2013 already .3% over, let's start looking ahead at what our year might look like musically...

This is a list of albums that have official release dates...or have been officially announced.  There might be a new Arcade Fire album, there might be a new Modest Mouse, there might be two new Beck albums...and we all know how long Kevin Shields takes to do anything so I'm not holding my breath about a new MBV album until 2015.  And honestly...why does everyone care so much about a new Cher album?

The 11 Most Anticipated Albums of 2013:

  1. Phoenix (April)
  2. Eminem (June)
  3. Depeche Mode (March)
  4. MGMT - MGMT (May)
  5. Atoms for Peace - Amok (2/18)
  6. Tegan & Sara - Heartthrob (1/29)
  7. Kid Cudi - Indicud (March)
  8. Natalie Maines - Mother (May)
  9. Bad Religion - True North (1/22)
  10. Ra Ra Riot - Beta Love (1/22)
  11. Johnny Marr - The Messenger (1/26)
What albums did I leave off?  What are your most anticipated?