Saturday, August 31, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Ellie Goulding

Today is the true first full day of college football.  The college football is the ultimate single elimination tournament.  The entire season is the playoffs.  Whether it's fair to the teams that slip up on the first week of the season has been the hotly debated controversy for years.  Teams that may have a slow start and lose a couple of tight early games to strong competition are all but eliminated from the championship even if by the end of the season they're playing as strong or as skillful as the best teams in the country.  College football is one of the only places where people aren't rewarded for improvement.  You have to be perfect from the first step.  Imagine if music believed the same thing.  Anyone who ever started on an indie label would all but be forgotten.  Nirvana, Green Day, The Arcade Fire, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Skrillex, N.W.A., and thousand mores would be footnotes rather than trailblazers.  Ellie Goulding wouldn't have had second life with "Lights."  She would be second string, hoping for a spot at some second tier festival like Joe's Backyard BBQ opening for the likes of Missing Persons and Candlebox.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Ellie Goulding:
  1. Lights (Bright Lights)
  2. Every Time You Go (Lights)
  3. Ritual (Halcyon Deluxe Edition)
  4. Only You (Halcyon)
  5. Little Dreams (Bright Lights)
  6. Under The Sheets (Lights)
  7. Your Song (Bright Lights)
  8. Anything Could Happen (Halcyon)
  9. Believe Me (Bright Lights)
  10. Guns and Horses (Lights)
  11. Starry Eyed (Lights)
Buy Ellie Goulding's new expanded album, Halcyon!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The 11 Best Bob Dylan Songs (1969-1971)

I think we need Bob Dylan now more than ever.  The US is on the brink of war and instead of centering our social debate around this event, we're obsessed with an ex-Disney porn star who can't carry a note.  Dylan has never been known for his vocal range and he's always had a knack for thumbing his nose at the establishment.  But Dylan never wanted to be the voice of his generation, he became the voice out of the purity of his lyrics and emotions.  He questioned societal restraints and fought for the rights of the lower classes, the persecuted races, and the underprivileged.  He didn't do it for fame and fortune, he did it because he believed in it. During the height of the Vietnam War, Dylan's voice was a beacon of hope.  As if saying that change could come if we demanded more of ourselves.  Dylan never promised the answers but only opened the door by saying..."what if..."  Mylie Cyrus covered a Bob Dylan song a couple years back (You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go).  Though she did a competent version there's something missing.  The human element.  It was too clinical.  Too perfect.  And that's not what Dylan was about.  He wasn't about a crazy stage show.  He wasn't about elaborate costumes (except for may the Rolling Thunder Revue).  Dylan played for the music.  And his music has changed the world. The world is becoming a more radical place.  We need less drugged out teddy bears and a little more tambourine, man.

The 10th edition of the Bootleg Series is out now.  Another Self Portrait focuses on demos, outtakes, and unreleased material from three Dylan albums (Nahsville Skyline, New Morning, and Self Portrait) between 1969-1971.

Here are the 11 Best Bob Dylan Songs (1969-1971):
  1. Lay Lady Lay (Nashville Skyline)
  2. Early Mornin' Rain (Self Portrait)
  3. Tell Me That It Isn't True (Nashville Skyline)
  4. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You (Nashville Skyline)
  5. If Not For You (New Morning)
  6. I Threw It All Away (Nashville Skyline)
  7. Days of '49 (Self Portrait)
  8. Girl From The North Country (Nashville Skyline)
  9. Alberta #1 (Self Portrait)
  10. New Morning (New Morning)
  11. The Man In Me (New Morning)
Buy Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series Volume 10, Another Self!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Franz Ferdinand

Sexuality is a gift not a right.  Just because you wear something skimpy and get a stage all to yourself, doesn't mean that you can do anything you want and still win over a crowd.  Sexuality is about subtle confidence.  It's about teasing your audience with just enough ammunition that their imaginations run wild.  There's grace to being sexual.  There's charisma.  There's even brains.  What Mylie Cyrus did at the VMAs was not sexual, it was shock and awful.  I'm sure this is what happened, Mylie and her friends were sitting around dropping E or Mollie and they came up with some brilliant idea to have her she's dress up like a gross little rat (lame Disney reference) while surrounded by teddy bears (Hannah Montana reference).  The problem is that idea is only brilliant when you're fucking high.  It was like watching someone else's bad drug trip while being sober.  And what do high people look like to sober people? That's right:  fucking idiots.  This will be a lesson to Mylie.  Watch a Madonna video...see how it's done.  Elvis wore a suit when he gyrated on stage and he had millions of screaming women wanting him.  Mylie had millions of people screaming...for her to go away.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Franz Ferdinand:

  1. Take Me Out (Franz Ferdinand)
  2. Well That Was Easy (You Could Have It So Much Better)
  3. No You Girls (Tonight)
  4. Dark of the Matinee (Franz Ferdinand)
  5. You're The Reason I'm Leaving (You Could Have It So Much Better)
  6. Live Alone (Tonight)
  7. 40' (Franz Ferdinand)
  8. You Could Have It So Much Better (You Could Have It So Much Better)
  9. Twilight Omens (Tonight)
  10. This Fire (Franz Ferdinand)
  11. All My Friends (All My Friends EP)
Buy Franz Ferdinand's new album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By The Crocodiles

Today I went to Barnes & Noble.  I still prefer reading books over digital.  There's something more fulfilling with a book.  On digital, I find myself getting bored and giving up more readily.  With a book...there's a goal that you can physically see.  A challenge to accomplish.  There's no question that books are a dying business...pretty much holding by a thread, which was evident by some of the ridiculous prices on hand.  Probably the most absurd thing, which makes me want to stop buying books altogether (or at least stop shopping at B&N) is that when I was checking out, they asked me if I want to buy a bag for 10 cents.  They wanted to charge me for the bag to carrying my books in.  Not a nice bag...a plastic bag. Seriously...a plastic bag.  Is there a bigger fuck you then asking the customer to buy a plastic bag?  Is the ten cents really that crucial that the company would rather risk the insult to the customer for it?  For a dime?  Are they that cheap or really that cash poor?  I honestly felt embarrassed for the girl at the counter for having to ask the question.  I wanted to make a jackass comment but knew she was only doing what she was instructed to do.  Barnes & Noble is doing everything in its power to stay in business.  Adding music CDs, Blu-Rays, board games, puzzles, toys, and a coffee shop to keep people coming in.  But the one thing they should really be doing is treating their customers with respect and not trying to gouge every last "dime" out of them.

What I needed was some brass, crass, kick you in the ass Crocodiles style rock to back me up.  Thankfully, there's a new album to enjoy.

Here are 11 Best Songs By The Crocodiles:
  1. I Wanna Kill (Summer of Hate)
  2. Mirrors (Sleep Forever)
  3. Soft Skull (Summer of Hate)
  4. Sunday Psychic Conversation #9 (Endless Flowers)
  5. Refuse Angels (Summer of Hate)
  6. My Surfing Lucifer (Endless Flowers)
  7. Hearts of Love (Sleep Forever)
  8. Dark Alleys (Endless Flowers)
  9. Neon Jesus (Neon Jesus)
  10. All My Hate And My Hexes Are For You (Sleep Forever)
  11. Endless Flowers (Endless Flowers)
Buy The Crocodiles new album, Crimes of!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By White Lies

I don't think I've heard as much ire and disappointment as I've heard in Ben Affleck being chosen as the new Batman since Heath Ledger was chosen to be the Joker.  And we all know how badly that turned out.  I know fanboys love getting their feathers ruffled when a casting choice doesn't go perfectly in their mind but no matter who they chose to play Bruce Wayne, some fanboy somewhere would be lying on the ground flailing his legs with a complete meltdown like he was a six-year-old eating the last piece of chocolate in the house.  It's not just fanboys who get derailed by casting, wardrobe, screenplays, movie posters, or haircuts that they feel did not honor their impossible's everyone.  From disappointment in how the President drank a soda to outright frustration in how our teachers teach our children about shapes...we always think we could do it better than them.  But if anyone tells us how to do our jobs better, then they're idiots who don't know what the hell they're talking about.  The irony is the choices that people publicly dispute the most sometimes end up being the best choices.  I remember people hated the idea of Heath Ledger as The Joker.  That's role is now the standard that all villains are held to.  JJ Abrams' Star Trek was scoffed by many because he was not a Star Trek fan.  Star Trek Into Darkness was one of the best reviewed movies and favorite among audiences of the summer.  And let's not even get into how many studios turned down Sharknado.  Maybe we just need to realize that nothing will ever match the perfection that we conjure up in our minds.  Maybe we need leave our expectations behind and be more open to being entertained without pre-determining the result.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By White Lies:
  1. Farewell To The Fairground (To Lose My Life...)
  2. Strangers (Ritual)
  3. A Place To Hide (To Lose My Life...)
  4. Turn The Bells (Ritual)
  5. Bigger Than Us (Ritual)
  6. From The Stars (To Lose My Life...)
  7. To Lose My Life (To Lose My Life...)
  8. Is Love (Ritual)
  9. E.S.T. (To Lose My Life...)
  10. You Still Love Him (Unfinished Business)
  11. Streetlights (Ritual)
Buy White Lies new album, Big!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Travis

It's been five years since the last Travis album.  I originally wanted to do one of my mega 111 best song lists...and this band deserves it, but who has the time?  This will be my 10th post about Travis and though a mega list would be a nice way to's really only fitting that I wait until the 11th post.  I was surprised through-out all my posts I had never done the basic 11 best songs.  I've done the best of the '00s, the best b-sides, unknown b-sides albums...but never a simple "best of."  The time is now.  For the band who could just cold play before there was a Coldplay...welcome back.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Travis:

  1. Turn (The Man Who)
  2. Sing (The Invisible Band)
  3. Big Chair (The Boy With No Name)
  4. Side (The Invisible Band)
  5. Quite Free (Ode to J. Smith)
  6. Writing To Reach You (The Man Who)
  7. 3 Times And You Lose (The Boy With No Name)
  8. Re-Offender (12 Memories)
  9. Flowers in the Window (The Invisible Band)
  10. Why Does It Always Rain On Me? (The Man Who)
  11. I Love You Anyways (Good Feeling)
Buy Travis' new album, Where You!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Washed Out

I think there should be a requirement list for people to leave comments in the comment section of any web page.  It's bad enough that there's no restraint when people make postings on Facebook.  At least on Facebook you have to use your real name and are forced to stand behind your words.  But on random web pages you can be virtually anyone and say practically anything.  Barack Obama could be on his computer at home visit the Taylor Swift web page and leave a comment about how Swift's new song is a gun-toting America hate-filled anthem about wanting to kill all the minorities and eat their spleens (I'm referring to the song "22").  All he has to do is leave a random user name like "Rahmeatsafatone6" and no one will know it is him.  And he can say anything he wants.  I was reading the comment section today about the box office for the weekend at the movies.  The comment section went from bashing the movie because Oprah is a racist to arguing that American school teach alternative history to our children and it's the reason the terrorists are winning because we voted for a Muslim in the presidency.  This was the discussion about a movie.  Seriously.  WTF.  I wanted to know what people thought about the movie The Butler...and instead I got a history lesson about how Oprah was a tool for the white-hating left.  As a liberal...I didn't know I hated white people.  And as college graduate with a major in history...thanks to all the well-informed people on the internet for keeping things in perspective.

Here are The 11 Best Songs By Washed Out:
  1. Amor Fati (Within And Without)
  2. Call It Off (Amor Fati)
  3. Feel It All Around (Life of Leisure)
  4. Echoes (Within And Without)
  5. Belong (Kitsune Maison Comp 9)
  6. Straight Back (Just Tell Me That You Want Me)
  7. Soft (Within And Without)
  8. You And I (Within And Without)
  9. Lately (Life of Leisure) 
  10. Eyes Be Closed (Within And Without)
  11. New Theory (Life of Leisure)
Buy Washed Out's new album,!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The 11 Best Song By Tripping Daisy

The career of Tripping Daisy can be summed up in two words:  Polyphonic Spree.  During Daisy's '90s career, it was difficult to gauge their musical style because I'm not even sure the band knew what their sound was supposed to be.  They changed their style more frequently than Lady Gaga in a supermarket. Their first couple albums sounded like a combination of the summertime rolls of Jane's Addiction's psychedelic ripple and the metallic transmissions from whatever planet The Flaming Lips were living on.  Their one radio hit "I Got A Girl" sounded like it was made in a lab in the basement of a record label's A&R department where bands like Sponge, Eve 6, and Local H were created.  Tripping Daisy fought back.  On their third album, Jesus Hits Like an Atom Bomb, they dove head first into the sonic boom of what would later define the pop sugaryness of lead singer Tim Delaughter's '00s band, The Polyphonic Spree.  It was a trippy journey with the band embracing their inner Coyne.  The problem was the album was unmarketable.  How unmarketable?  The album is currently unavailable...anywhere.  The label buried it, even though it's considered to be the band's creative peak.  Then on the final album, when they aimed to expand on their newly invented sound...the lead guitarist died.  Probably from exhaustion of having to play "I Got a Girl" a billion times.

Thus, the Polyphonic Spree was born.  It wasn't Tripping Daisy re-invented.  It was a whole new level of tripping out.

The 11 Best Song By Tripping Daisy:
  1. Blown Away (Bill)
  2. Your Socks Have No Name (Jesus Hits Like An Atom Bomb)
  3. Sonic Bloom (Jesus Hits Like An Atom Bomb)
  4. Drama Day Weekend (Tripping Daisy)
  5. One Through Four (Bill)
  6. Kids Are Calling (Tripping Daisy)
  7. Raindrop (I Am An Elastic Firecracker)
  8. My Umbrella (Bill)
  9. Field Day Jitters (Jesus Hits Like An Atom Bomb)
  10. Piranha (I Am An Elastic Firecracker) 
  11. The Sudden Shift Worried Him (Tripping Daisy)
Buy The Polyphonic Spree's new album, Yes, It's!!!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By The Civil Wars

Great music comes out of great discontent.  Infighting between bands members is never good for the longevity of a band...but some of the best albums are made during these times of turmoil:  Fleetwood Mac Rumors, Van Halen 1984, and Pink Floyd The Wall.  Band members have that Internal rivalry to be the best among each other and push themselves to produce the best music they've ever down.  The Civil Wars now face a similar situation.  Since recording their sophomore album in September of 2012, the two members of the band Joy Williams and John Paul White (whose name is technically also Jack White) have not spoken with each other at all.  And the future of the band...more albums, touring, is in complete jeopardy.  The new album drips with darkness and a whirlwind of personal calamity.  It a murky wagon ride through a Tim Burton-esque portrait of a gothic prairie from 1813.  They've purged their inner struggles and thrown them down like a white glove as if to say, "this is all I've got."  They've saved the anger and the punches they had for each other and delivered that animosity as a musical one-two smack down.  How the album will fare in the future will weigh as heavily on the music as the timing...but hating each other has them off to the right start.

Here are The 11 Best Songs By The Civil Wars:
  1. My Father's Father (Barton Hollow)
  2. I've Got A Friend (Barton Hollow)
  3. Tip of My Tongue (Poison & Wine EP)
  4. Poison & Wine (Barton Hollow)
  5. Finding North (A Place At the Table)
  6. Barton Hollow (Barton Hollow)
  7. Pressing Flowers (Poison & Wine EP)
  8. Dance Me to The End of Love  (Barton Hollow Bonus Track)
  9. Long Time Gone (A Place At the Table)
  10. Tracks in the Snow (Tracks In The Snow)
  11. Falling (Barton Hollow)

Sunday, August 04, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Wolfmother

Somewhere between the misty mountains of Led Zeppelin and the dirty ground of the White Stripes, a little three-piece clawed their way out from down under using only their six-strings and their mushroom cloud hair, howling and shredding the whole way.  Their brief two album career amount to a stellar debut album and a fierce sophomore double album that suffered from being too much too fast.  Not only was it two full albums worth of also came with an third album's worth of b-sides, covers and live tracks.  The Smashing Pumpkins waited until album number 4 to drop an entire library of new material on us.  Guns N Roses even waited until their third release to hit with the double LP.  Wolfmother may not have been on the same level but they aspired to be.  And like Icarus, their demise could have been trying to fly to the sun too fast.  The band never made it to their third album.  With only lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Andrew Stockdale left in the band...even he quickly realized he was making a solo album and not another Wolfmother album.  That said...his new solo album deserves a place next to the rest of the band's catalog.

The 11 Best Songs By Wolfmother:

  1. Violence of the Sun (Cosmic Egg)
  2. Joker & The Thief (Wolfmother)
  3. New Moon Rising (Cosmic Egg)
  4. Woman (Wolfmother)
  5. Cosmic Egg (Cosmic Egg)
  6. Back Round (Cosmic Egg)
  7. Where Eagles Have Been (Wolfmother)
  8. Please To Meet You (Spiderman 3)
  9. Colossal (Wolfmother) 
  10. Sundial (Cosmic Egg)
  11. Pyramid (Wolfmother)
Buy Andrew Stockdale's new solo album, Keep!

Friday, August 02, 2013

The 11 Best Smashing Pumpkins Reissues Rare Tracks

In the '90s, the Pumpkins were one of the most prolific bands.  To follow up a double album, the band put out a 5-disc b-side collection.  That's pretty hardcore in a pre-Ryan Adams era of music.  Though the Pumpkins took a hiatus through most of the '00s, they made a big comeback in the teens re-releasing of all things...their '90s of material.  While other bands may take years in between reissues (I'm looking at you Pavement).  The Pumpkins have been turning out reissues quicker than Fast and the Furious sequels.  This past week saw the release of the Pumpkin fan favorite Aeroplane Flies High.  A 5-CD EP set of b-sides, covers, and who the hell know what the "Pistachio Medley" was.  Expanded from 33 to 104 tracks, the Pumpkins don't shy away from giving their fans their money's worth like some bands that will re-issue an album with one bonus demo or live track.  This is the fifth album in the Pumpkins re-issue series and though the packaging may be the strongest of the series, it's probably one of the weakest when it comes to content.  That's saying something when their release with 70 extra tracks is the weakest of the re-releases.  So far Pisces Iscariot has set the bar for the re-releases.  With a spot-on second disc of rare unreleased tracks, where every song was winner, it's by far the package that encourages the most re-listens.  Also, it bares the best DVD show of any of the releases, featuring a live show with an entire slate of unreleased songs.  Gish and Siamese Dream hold up as strong contenders both with solid discs or rare tracks and DVDs with stellar live shows.  Gish's DVD is slightly better because Corgan has yet to begin evolving into Jesus-mode.  Mellon Collie seemed like it would be the best of the bunch but was the biggest let down so far.  Though it is packed with 3-discs of alternate takes (most which sound a lot like the originals) and rare tracks (most are instrumentals), there are very few true gems in the package.  This makes it increasing frustrating due to the re-issue's hefty $130 price tag.  That's a lot of money for some alternate takes and instrumentals, especially when the package comes in a cumbersome vinyl-sized box set that doesn't include any vinyl!  I mean honestly, where the heck am I supposed to store this?  Also, they included b-sides that would be included on the Aeroplane box.  What's the point of that?  The Aeroplane box set is much bigger and much more concise and structured with the instrumentals on one CD, the alternate tracks on another, and the live tracks on their own. It's also $40 less for 6 CDs versus 5.  That's still a lot but at least I feel like I'm getting my money's worth.

Here's a look back at the best new tracks we've heard on the expanded editions.

Here are the 11 Best Smashing Pumpkins Reissues Rare Tracks:

  1. Siamese Dream (Siamese Dream Bonus)
  2. There It Goes (Pisces Iscariot Bonus)
  3. Speed (Mellon Collie Bonus)
  4. My Dahlia (Pisces Iscariot Bonus)
  5. Methusela (Mellon Collie Bonus)
  6. STP (Siamese Dream Bonus)
  7. Crawl (Pisces Iscariot Bonus)
  8. Jesus Loves His Babies (Pisces Iscariot Bonus)
  9. Moleasskiss (Siamese Dream Bonus)
  10. One and Two (Mellon Collie Bonus)
  11. Translucent (Pisces Iscariot Bonus)

Buy The Smashing Pumpkins Deluxe Edition of Aeroplane Flies!