Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By The Dum Dum Girls

I was told this week that I wasn't a very good music fan because I didn't watch the Grammys.  Though the Grammys will occasionally have a good live performance, they are pretty far off base on what albums and songs are truly deserving of recognition.  Every once in awhile Grammy gets it right, this year being one of the few exceptions...Daft Punk winning Album of the Year is about as accurate as Grammy ever gets.  But for every thing that Grammy does right they equal it out by doing something ridiculous.  This year after the high of Daft Punk winning, they snubbed the big rock jam finale featuring Trent Reznor, Lindsey Buckingham, and Dave Grohl.  Why go through all the effort to put together this supergroup only to cut them off?
 The problem comes down to the fact the Grammy is struggling to find its place in the music scene.  They're trying to honor their legacies (like Paul McCartney) while appealing to the youth audience (Hunter Hayes).  That's the problem at the end of the day.  They are trying too hard to cater to their audience's tastes instead demanding the audience cater to theirs.  MTV's VMAs used set the trends.  Kids didn't know what to listen to unless MTV told them.  Grammy needs to recapture that spirit of being a leader and not a follower.  They need to be daring.  They need to take chances.  They need to nominate the unknown artist that deserves the exposure over the likes of Paul McCartney (I like Paul...but the guy's has more exposure than Obama).
Imagine how much cooler Grammy would be if artists like Foals, Arctic Monkeys, and The Dum Dum Girls were nominated up alongside the Beyonce's and Katy Perrys.
Here are the 11 Best Songs By the Dum Dum Girls:
  1. Bedroom Eyes (Only In Dreams)
  2. It Only Takes One Night (I Will Be)
  3. Trees and Flowers (End of Daze)
  4. Yours Alone (I Will Be) 
  5. Always Looking (Only In Dreams)
  6. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (He Gets Me High)
  7. Coming Down (Only In Dreams)
  8. I Got Nothing (End of Daze)
  9. Just A Creep (Only In Dreams)
  10. Bhang, Bhang, I'm A Burnout (I Will Be)
  11. Take Care Of My Baby (He Gets Me High)
 Buy The Dum Dum Girls new album, Too True...now!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Unknown: Warpaint

Though the city is never given enough credit for its contributions, Los Angeles has given birth to an array of legendary bands.  There are the bands that are really a collection of artists from other places:  Guns N Roses, The Doors, and Jane's Addiction. And there are also those bands that have been born and raised here:  Van Halen, Rage Against the Machine, and the Beach Boys.  The list is endless.  From punk pioneers like Bad Religion and Fear to rap's west coast roots with N.W.A. and Snoop Dogg.  There are leaders of the 90s alternative angst with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, and The Offspring.  And of course the hair metal giants of the 80s with Motley Crue, Quiet Riot and Warrant. With a resume like this, any band with the guts to admit their from the Hollywood strip or anywhere adjacent (I'm looking at you Orange County), they must have elephant-sized confidence that their creative vision will add something to the legendary tapestry.
Warpaint is one of two LA-based bands releasing their sophomore albums this week.  (Haven't forgotten about Young The Giant)  Warpaint's debut arrived with muted fanfare and a subtle punch that crept in while we were sleeping and slowly infected us with its allure.  Their new release lands with a mighty punch that is every bit seedy as is it illustrious.  If any new band is brave enough to admit their from LA and has the music that embodies the essence of the Hollywood strip and its resume, Warpaint is leading the crusade.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By Against Me!

Against Me! has never shied away from being controversial.  They have always belted out rebellious punk anthems with a military swagger and a thumping musical heartbeat.  They played with such ferocity that there was no doubt there was an inner turmoil propelling the band's emotional energy.  Since the last album (White Crosses), the band has made a bold, yet, once again controversial decision.  This is a decision that has tipped their fan base upside-down with confusion and anger.  Just as many fans have embraced this change as those who have turned their backs on them.  It's as if the fan's connection with the music would be tarnished because of the the band's personal choices.  As if the music would have less meaning because it was made under different circumstances.  Some believe their choice leaves them lacking credibility while others have praised their bold statement.
I'm of course talking about the band's choice to leave Sire records and self-produce their new album.  It's a big shift for a band with such a heavy legacy.  But the same intense criticism was hurled their way when the band originally signed with a record label.  Their fans at the time accused them of being sell-outs.  But the band persevered, which they will absolutely do again. They accomplish this by authentic at all costs, because nothing makes you a better artist than being your "true" self. 
Here are the 11 Best Songs By Against Me!:
  1. I Was A Teenage Anarchist (White Crosses)
  2. Cliche Guevara (As The Eternal Cowboy)
  3. New Wave (New Wave)
  4. Unprotected Sex With Multiple Partners (Searching For A Former Clarity)
  5. White Crosses (White Crosses)
  6. Thrash Unreal (New Wave)
  7. White People for Peace (New Wave)
  8. Mutiny On The Electric Bay (As The Eternal Cowboy)
  9. Stop! (New Wave)
  10. Justin (Searching For A Former Clarity)
  11. Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart (New Wave)
Buy Against Me!'s new album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues...now!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By Bruce Springsteen of the 00s

In the AFC playoffs, it's Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady.  Whether you love them or hate them, they are two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.  And the winner of the game, will go to the Super Bowl, which will take place in New Jersey...the home town of none other than Bruce Springsteen...they greatest of his game.
There are good artists and there are great artists. And then there are legends.  There are artists who define genres and there are artists who make up their own.  This list is from our book, The 111 Best Music Lists of the 2000s.  In the 2000s, Bruce created The Rising, an album that might have even been bigger than him.
There are certain albums in a band's career that are above comparison.  For me, these include The Cure's Disintegration, Michael Jackson's Thriller, and Pearl Jam's Ten.  Each of these artists put out plenty of great music over their careers but these specific albums are their zeniths of perfection.  Bruce Springsteen's The Rising also belongs in this category.  That may be surprising considering the monumental albums that the Boss has delivered in his career: Born To Run, Born in the USA, and Darkness on the Edge of Town.  Each great.  But, The Rising was something else.  The Rising was a moment in time.  America was reeling from post-traumatic 9/11 confusion.  We did not know how we felt and we did not know how to feel.  We needed Bruce.  So, Bruce Springsteen put out an album of catharsis that expressed America’s emotional turmoil.  Everything that we had bottled up, he let out.  He did not shy away from hurt, from pain, or from anger.  Musically, it soared.  Lyrically, it was grounded.  There has never been any other rock album that captured a moment in American history so perfectly.  How can you compare his other music to this?  You can't.  Bruce has made some of the best rock songs of all time.  He has made some of the best rock albums of all time.  The Rising was bigger than all of it.  It was the heart and soul of America set to music.  Because of this, I did not include any songs from the The Rising in this list... if I had, it would not have been fair. 
The 11 Best Songs By Bruce Springsteen of the 200s (not including songs from The Rising): 
  1. 41 Shots (Live in New York City)
  2. The Hitter (Devils + Dust)
  3. Eyes on the Prize (We Shall Overcome)
  4. Magic (Magic)
  5. Outlaw Pete (Working on A Dream)
  6. Radio Nowhere (Magic)
  7. Devils + Dust (Devils + Dust)
  8. Last To Die (Magic)
  9. The Wrestler (Working on A Dream)
  10. All The Way Home (Devils + Dust)
  11. Life Itself (Working on A Dream
Fun Fact: Initially, Bruce hated being called "The Boss."

Buy Bruce's new album, High Hopes...now!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The 11 Best Songs By The Crystal Method

Justin Bieber is now at the center of a illegal drug raid.  In three short year's, he's gone from Ellen's squeaky clean best friend to Vanilla Ice's bitch.  It's not surprising.  It's the same path that almost all child stars take, yet every single one of them thinks it won't happen to them.  Even when they're given warnings by people with the best intentions (Miley Cyrus and Sinead O'Conner), they ignore them with a turned up nose.  And as much as we cringe at the thought of musicians using drugs, as Bill Hicks says, every great rock n roll album that we love...the musicians were real fucking high making them. But I guess the difference between artists who use the drugs to open their minds and Justin Bieber's probably usage, is that the the classic artists used drugs to achieve greatness and Bieber uses because he perceives greatness.  Maybe to prevent this from happening again and again...our music artists should be trained how to use drugs properly.  If we can't stop them from taking them...we might as well help them do it right.
Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Crystal Method:
  1. Glass Breaker (London)
  2. Comin' Back (Vegas)
  3. Slipstream (Divided By Night)
  4. Black Rainbows (Divided By Night)
  5. Kling To The Wreckage (Divided By Night)
  6. Jaded (Vegas)
  7. Falling Hard (Divided By Night)
  8. Drown In The Now (Divided By Night)
  9. Starting Over (Legion of Boom)
  10. Don't Stop (Drive: Nike + Original Run)
  11. I Know It's You (Legion of Boom)

The 111 Best Albums of 2013

Here it is, the 111 best albums of 2013...as voted on by YOU.  If you don't like the list...change your listening habits.  Have a great 2014.
  1. Arctic Monkeys - AM
  2. The National - Trouble Will Find Me
  3. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
  4. The Arcade Fire - Reflektor
  5. Kanye West - Yeezus
  6. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
  7. Haim - Days Are Gone
  8. David Bowie - The Next Day
  9. Jason Isbell - Southeastern
  10. CHVRCHES - Bones of What You Believe
  11. Foals - Holy Fire
  12. My Bloody Valentine - m b v
  13. Paul McCartney - New
  14. Burial - River Dealer
  15. Phoenix - Bankrupt!
  16. Lorde - Pure Heroine
  17. The Strokes - Comedown Machine
  18. Queens of the Stone Age - Like Clockwork…
  19. Okkervil River - The Silver Gymnasium
  20. Said The Whale - Hawaii
  21. Danny Brown - Old
  22. Phosphorescent - Muchacho
  23. Volcano Choir - Repave
  24. Empire of the Sun - Ice on the Dune
  25. The Field - Cupid’s Head
  26. Foxygen - We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors
  27. White Lies - Big TV
  28. A$AP Rocky - Long Live A$AP
  29. Sky Ferreira - Night Time My Time
  30. Drake - Nothing Was The Same
  31. Savages - Silence Yourself
  32. Olafur Arnalds - For Now I Am Winter
  33. James Blake - Overgrown
  34. Deerhunter - Monomania
  35. Paramore - Paramore
  36. Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2
  37. Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart
  38. Local Natives - Hummingbird
  39. Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks
  40. Peace - In Love
  41. Small Black - Limits of Desire
  42. Superchunk - I Hate Music
  43. Caitlin Rose - The Stand-In
  44. Disclosure - Settle
  45. The Civil Wars - The Civil Wars
  46. Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap
  47. Charli XCX - True Romance
  48. Mikal Cronin - MCII
  49. Fall Out Boy - Save Rock N Roll
  50. Atoms for Peace - Amok
  51. The Naked And Famous - In Rolling Waves
  52. Earl Sweatshirt - Doris
  53. Sleigh Bells - Bitter Rivals
  54. Autre Ne Veut - Anxiety
  55. Skylar Grey - Don’t Look Down
  56. Ra Ra Riot - Beta Love
  57. Nils Frahm - Spaces
  58. Cayucas - Bigfoot
  59. Eels - Wonderful Glorious
  60. Everything Everything - Arc
  61. Front Bottoms - Talon of the Hawk
  62. Kisses - Kids in LA
  63. King Krule - 6 Feet Beneath The Moon
  64. John Moreland - In The Throes
  65. The O’s - Thunderdog
  66. Panthu Du Prince and Bell Laboratory - Elements of Light
  67. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats - S/T
  68. Calexico - Spiritoso
  69. Tedeschi Trucks Band - Made Up Mind
  70. Lonely Forest - Adding Up The Wasted Hours
  71. Streetlight Manifesto - The Hands That Thieve
  72. Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt
  73. Neko Case - The Worse Things Get
  74. Avicii - True
  75. Beyonce - Beyonce
  76. Bill Callahan - Dream River
  77. M.I.A. - Matangi
  78. Hookworms - Pearl Mystics
  79. Franz Ferdinand - Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action
  80. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
  81. The Beatles - On The BBC Volume 2
  82. The Knife - Shaking The Habitual
  83. J. Cole - Born Sinner
  84. Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse
  85. Shearwater - Fellow Travelers
  86. Gov’t Mule - Shout!
  87. The Deer Tracks - The Archer Trilogy Pt 3
  88. Deafheaven - Sunbather
  89. Yo La Tengo - Fade
  90. Tegan & Sara - Heartthrob
  91. New Order - Lost Sirens
  92. Eisley -  Currents
  93. Panic! At The Disco - Too Weird To Live,Too Rare To Die!
  94. Half Moon Run - Dark Eyes
  95. Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe
  96. Jay-Z - Magna Carta Holy Grail
  97. Juliana Barwick - Nepenthe
  98. The Lone Below - The Lone Below
  99. Lanterns on the Lake - Until The Colours Run
  100. Renaissance - Grandine Il Vento
  101. Patty Griffin - American Kid
  102. Bells> - Fundamentals
  103. Anna Calvi - One Breath 
  104. Leagues - You Belong Here 
  105. Night Beds - Country Sleep 
  106. Hiss Golden Messenger - HAW 
  107. Lights - Siberia 
  108. Daughter - If You Leave 
  109. Air Marshal Landing - You Used To Be Me 
  110. Austin Lucas - Stay Reckless 
  111. Tom Morgan - Orange Syringe