Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Kanye West

Kanye drops his new album the same week he gives birth to a nameless baby.  Sadly, there's more press about the name of his baby than his new beautiful dark twisted release.

All that was trumped today when we lost a legend.  James Gandolfini passed away at the very young age of 51.  His irreplaceable presence will leave a big vacancy.  Tony Soprano is one of the best TV characters ever created. Reflecting on Tony's life, I can't help but see the similarities between him and Kanye.  Tony Soprano always questioned his place in his life facing the perils of his mortality.  Kanye questions mortality while facing the perils of his life.  Both speak out about injustice in very controversial ways.  Both believe in family (those related by blood...and those related by love).  And both dominate(d) in their medium.  The Sopranos set the standard for the new era of television.  Kanye has set the standard for hip-hop for the next decade.  Maybe Kanye should name his daughter Meadow, too.

RIP James.

Here are the 11 Best Kanye West Songs:

  1. Diamonds From Sierra Leone Remix (Late Registration)
  2. Stronger (Graduation)
  3. All Of The Lights (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)
  4. Runaway (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)
  5. Hey Mama (Late Registration)
  6. Monster (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)
  7. Jesus Walks (The College Dropout) 
  8. Power (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)
  9. Flashing Lights (Graduation)
  10. Through The Wire (The College Dropout)
  11. Homecoming (Graduation)
Buy Kanye West's new album,!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By The Sleepy Jackson

This NBA Finals (and Playoffs for that matter) haven't been as compelling as originally billed...until tonight.  Game 6 was the game every NBA fan has been waiting for, getting better and better every minute as it unfolded before our eyes in spectacular fashion.  It had big comebacks, last second shots, prime-time dunks, overtime thrills, and "too many to count" clutch fade-away three pointers (shoes optional).  Ray Allen was huge but LeBron having to overcome his own roadblocks may have been bigger.  Miami is LeBron's team.  Though at one time, he was Cleveland's great hope...history will view him as a Heat.  I know a lot Cleveland fans still feel burned...that he should have stayed...but had he stayed, would he ever evolved?  Miami struggled the first couple years with LeBron.  It seemed the great experiment had failed.  But it was that humility that made him mature.  Sometimes we need to let go of our past to enter our future.

Luke Steele left behind cult darling The Sleepy Jackson for the poptastic Empire of the Sun.  Was it the right move?  Only the future knows.

The 11 Best Songs By The Sleepy Jackson:
  1. Rain Falls For Wind (Lovers)
  2. I Understand What You Want But I Just Don't Agree (Personality)
  3. Don't Stay (Personality)
  4. Acid In My Heart (Lovers)
  5. Come To This (Lovers)
  6. Devil Was In My Yard (Personality)
  7. Tell The Girls That I'm Not Hanging Out (Lovers)
  8. This Day (Lovers) 
  9. Play A Little Bit For Love (Personality)
  10. Good Dancers (The Sleepy Jackson)
  11. Sunglass Man (Miniskirt EP)
Buy Empire of the Sun's new album, Ice On The!!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Unknown: Jimmy Eat World - Coverted

The Man of Steel hits theaters today in an epic fanfare of fanboy love.  He's the biggest, the baddest, the most powerful and the most popular of all the superheros.  What gives Superman this honor is that he is the notion of perfection.  He is that ideal perfection that we all hope to achieve.  He is noble, true...and he can fly.  He is indestructible and incapable of evil.  Maybe that's why it is so hard to make a good Superman movie.  I have not seen the new movie the reviews have been average at best.  It's like our expectation of perfection gets in our way of our enjoyment.  When we expect too much there's no hope for any movie, album, or TV show to match that we're naturally disappointed.  This is the main reason I do not include new songs in my lists.  To truly appreciate a song, it needs to be listened to and absorbed.  If I expect "Stairway To Heaven" at every outing...I'll always be disappointed.  I've found if I don't expect anything all...I'm more often surprised.  Man of Steel is already a box office smash.  Audiences love it and only time will tell if it survives or fizzles.

Jimmy Eat World - Coverted
  1. Firestarter (Prodigy Cover)
  2. Game of Pricks (Guided By Voices)
  3. You and I (Wilco cover)
  4. Spangle (The Wedding Present)
  5. Take Em As They Come (Bruce Springsteen)
  6. Precision Auto (Superchunk)
  7. The Concept (Teenage Fanclub)
  8. New Religion (Duran Duran)
  9. Last Christmas (Wham!)
  10. Half Right (Heatmiser)
Buy Jimmy Eat World's new album,!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Jason Isbell

Today I made my yearly pilgrimage to the kinetic annual event known as E3.  Every video game that is coming out next year...and then on display for people to play and experience months before the general public.  It's a peep show for the video game community.  The PS4, Xbox One, WiiU, and Steven Spielberg were all on display.  It's a theme park for people with ADD designed by people with ADHD.   It's Vegas on stimulants. There's so much happening all at the same's hard to absorb anything at all.  All the new games are so creative and original, it's hard to get a grasp on them.  I found myself playing games I already knew because they felt comfortable.  Diablo, Lego Marvel, Mario...were the games that I enjoyed the most.  I played a bunch of new games...but honestly, I couldn't remember a single one to save my life.  That said, I can't wait to go back next year.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Jason Isbell:
  1. Go It Alone (Here We Rest)
  2. Stopping By (Here We Rest)
  3. Good (Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit)
  4. However Long (Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit)
  5. Shotgun Wedding (Sirens of the Ditch)
  6. Alabama Pines (Here We Rest)
  7. The Magician (Sirens of the Ditch)
  8. Chicago Promenade (Sirens of the Ditch)
  9. Seven Mile Island (Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit)
  10. Hurricanes and Hand Grenades (Sirens of the Ditch) 
  11. Daisy Mae (Here We Rest)
Buy Jason Isbell's new album, Southeastern, now!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By CSS

Today I met two people who made me feel old.  One person told me she never heard of Fleetwood Mac and was shocked that the were popular since she had never heard of them.  Granted she was sixteen.  The other had never heard of Star Trek...because she doesn't watch old movies.  She was 25.  I get that the younger generation doesn't appreciate what has come before them.  Sometimes I blame it on parenting, other times, I know kids just need to mature to appreciate the finer things in life. Or, these people are just idiots.  I'll give the 16-year-old a free pass for Fleetwood Mac  But not knowing Star Trek?  The reboot is a huge!  Like literally today.  I know people only have the capacity to take in what is current but if you don't have a grasp on what has come before you, you won't be able to evolve when things change...then you'll be a nothing more than an obscure pop culture reference yourself.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By CSS:
  1. Music Is My Hot Hot Sex (Cansei De Ser Sexy)
  2. City Grrrl (La Liberacion)
  3. How I Became Paranoid (Donkey)
  4. I Love You (La Liberacion)
  5. Hits Me Like A Rock (La Liberacion)
  6. Superafim (Donkey)
  7. Rat Is Dead (Donkey)
  8. Fuckoffs Is Not The Only Thing You Have to Show (Cansei De Ser Sexy)
  9. Let's Make Love And Listen To Sex From Above (Cansei De Ser Sexy)
  10. Move (Donkey)
  11. Knife (Friend)
Buy Cansei De Ser Sexy's new album, Planta, now!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Unknown: Capital Cities

If Lollapalooza ruled the 90s, and Coachella owned the 00s, the teens belong to EDC.  The influence of electronic music is everywhere.  If you're a new rock band and you don't know how to dance, you might as well pack it up and move to Alaska (that's because Alaskans are not known for dancing).  Capital Cities smashes 2009 Phoenix together with Foster The People in a tasty sandwich that is as comforting as peanut butter and jelly but exciting because someone brought along a banana.  That banana comes in the form of Andre 3000 who makes his first alt. rock cameo.  The lead single "Safe and Sound" may be the cool hit of the summer but this album will be warming our hearts until winter.

Check out: Origami

Buy Capital Cities new album, In A Tidal Wave Of!!!

Saturday, June 08, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Rogue Wave

I got the new Samsung Galaxy S4.  No, this is not an advertisement for the phone. It's more of an observation of how far phones have come so fast.  This phone is so advanced, I don't even have to touch the screen.  Just with a wave of my hand, I can sift through pictures.  If I hover my finger over links, I can see previews.  The phone even detects my eye movement and scrolls automatically or pauses media when I look away.  Yeah, it is a lot of fun.  Just looking at my phone from two years ago, I'm blown away by the advances in such a short period of time.  My kids are about ten years away from owning their own phones.  I can't even imagine what theirs will be like.  Will they even exist in a physical space?  It's hard to comprehend but the phones we're using now will be ancient and archaic to our kids.  My kids already know more about my phone than I do...and are better at using it.  They can't drive a car but they can decipher the computer language that programs it.  The challenge to me won't be to adjust to the ever changing digital landscape but to teach my kids to appreciate the convenience that comes with it.  And the dark times that we had to go through to get there.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Rogue Wave:

  1. Love's Lost Guarantee (Descended Like Vultures) 
  2. Harmonium (At Heaven's Gate)
  3. Eyes (B-Side)
  4. Publish My Love (Descended Like Vultures)
  5. We Will Make A Song Destroy (Permalight)
  6. Chicago x 12 (At Heaven's Gate)
  7. Seconds (Descended Like Vultures Bonus Track)
  8. Fantasies (At Heaven's Gate)
  9. Falcon Settles Me (Out of the Shadow)
  10. Wait For It (10:1)
  11. Kicking the Heart Out (Out of the Shadow)

Buy Rogue Wave's new album, Nightingale!!!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Tricky of the 00s

Tricky's career has been more schizophrenic than Margo Kidder in a Martin Lawrence acid flashback.  After his epic debut solo album, Maxinquaye, he has never returned to that opium den sexuality that he perfected.  And it's not like he's trying and's more like he's purposely trying to do anything but that. You have to admire his creative ambition to shed one skin for another without any knowledge that he could succeed at it.  It's like going into the woods blind, hoping to find the ranger station.  And he has failed.  He has fallen flat on his face with pants down and whipped cream on his face.  But he has also stood right back up and continued forward without flashing a single regret.  His triumph is that he has continued to make good music.  In the fog of experimentation, he has broken through with many tracks filled with that fiery sensuality than no one else can do better.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Tricky of the 00s:

  1. Five Days (Blowback)
  2. What Is Wrong (Vulnerable)
  3. Car Crash (Vulnerable)
  4. Excess (Blowback)
  5. Bacative (Knowle West Boy)
  6. Cross To Bear (Knowle West Boy)
  7. Stay (Vulnerable)
  8. Past Mistake (Knowle West Boy)
  9. The Love Cats (Vulnerable)
  10. Antimatter (Vulnerable)
  11. Evolution Revolution Love (Blowback)
Buy Tricky's new album, False!!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The 11 Best Songs By Alice In Chains

The angst toward the new incarnation of Alice in Chains has reached a fevered pitch on this latest album.  I am not one of those people who believes a band should break up if a lead singer passes away.  AC/DC proved that you can replace a singer and still embody the spirit of the band.  That said, replacing anyone is always a high hurdle to overcome.  No matter who AIC picked there would always be someone out there who booed the choice.  But was their choice of William DuVall as new lead singer a good fit?  There's no doubt DuVall can sing.  That's not my issue with him.  To me, he lacks the chemistry that Staley had.  While Staley's voice fought the drudge of the droning guitars, screaming to be out in front, DuVall's voice seems to be content to fade into the background and get lost in the chorus. But the new version of the band isn't just missing's also missing Cantrell.  What happened to him?  Listen to the guitar on the first minute of the song "Grind."  There's nothing even close to that on either of the two reunion albums.  It's like he's phoning it in, when he should be the visionary of the band.  He has always been the lead song writer in the why has that element faded?  Is it that DuVall doesn't push him?  You can't lay it all at Staley's passing because Cantrell's solo albums are better than the new Alice in Chains albums.  Alice in Chains was truly one of the greatest rock bands of the 90s.  I'll keep listening to them hoping one day they find their way back.

Here are the 11 Best Songs By Alice in Chains:
  1. Would? (Singles Soundtrack)
  2. Down In A Hole (Dirt)
  3. A Little Bitter (Last Action Hero Soundtrack)
  4. Man in the Box (Facelift)
  5. Right Turn (Sap)
  6. Heaven Beside You (Alice In Chains)
  7. Junkhead (Dirt)
  8. Brother (Sap)
  9. Nutshell (Jar of Flies)
  10. Bleed the Freak (Facelift)
  11. No Excuses (Jar Of Flies)
Buy the new Alice in Chains, The Devil Put The Dinosaurs!!