- It's Only Divine Right (Electric Version)
- The New Face Of Zero and One (The Electric Version)
- The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism (Mass Romantic)
- All The Things That Go To Make Heaven And Earth (Challengers)
- Adventures In Solitude (Challengers)
- Hey, Snow White (Dark Was The Night)
- Your Hands (Together)
- The Body Says No (Mass Romantic)
- The Fake Headlines (Mass Romantic)
- High Art Local News (Twin Cinema)
- The End Of Medicine (The Electric Version)
Sunday, August 31, 2014
I've been doing these lists for years. My site has lasted longer than most sites who have tried to follow suit. Making a good list with quality choices is difficult...and I get my fair share of hate mail. More people probably tell me I suck then tell me I know what I'm doing. It's a very unrewarding past time, but I persevere...and now I have my own book...so I guess I win?
Moving on, I have noticed in the past few months the upswing in music-based "click bait" lists. These are lists made to purposely drive traffic to your site. Here's the details on a "click bait" list. A news site or blog might come up with a topic like "most overrated bands" then they create a list with mostly popular bands. They put the names of the popular bands (which really translates to bands that get searched the most online) onto said list. Then every time someone searches for the band, they get the list. They call the bands on the list overrated because (and this is true) negative lists do better than positive ones. LA Weekly might be the biggest culprit of this sleazy past time. I won't link to any of their lists because I don't want to support them. This may work in the interim and get an upswing in traffic to your site...but all you do is bottom out your credibility. LA Weekly used to be the bomb in LA. They were cooler than the LA Times. But desperation is ugly and you can smell it all over them. My prediction: LA Weekly will crash and burn within two years...and I'll still be here. Because in the end...slow and steady wins the race.
Here are the 11 Best Songs By The New Pornographers:
Buy The New Pornographers new album, Brill Bruisers...now!
Don't forget to check out our blog's awesome new book The 111 Best Lists of the 2000s. Available now! (can you find The New Pornographers in the book?)
With the mixtape becoming a dedicated part of hip-hop today, no rapper worth his ilk hasn't released one. I think even Obama has a mixtape coming out soon, I hear DJ Green Lantern is producing. The mixtape craze has even bled into the rock world and JJ may have put out the best one so far. Their 2010 tongue-in-cheek mixtape embraces everything a good mixtape is supposed to be. Most hip-hop mixtapes borrow tracks from rock bands...while JJ borrows music from hip-hop artists. It's fun, clever, and trailblazing. Even with a serious tone, the band is as playful as their hip-hop influences. With a full album finally hitting, we get to enjoy them in full stride.
Here are the 11 Best Songs By JJ:
- Things Will Never Be The Same Again (JJ No. 2)
- Let Them (let them)
- Still (Kills)
- You Know (jj No 3)
- My Hopes And Dreams (JJ No. 2)
- New Work (Kills)
- 10 (High Summer)
- And Now (jj No 3)
- Big Hearts, Big Dreams (High Summer)
- Ecstacy (JJ No. 2)
- I'm The One / Money On My Mind (let them)
Buy JJ's new album, V...now!!
Monday, August 18, 2014
We're on the verge of the big fall release season for music. Leading up to that, let's take a quick look at some of the new musical entries from this year. For a band to be eligible for one of my usual lists, they need to have at least two full length albums out (or one album and two EPs). So for this list, I've only included bands releasing their first full length album (or EP) this year. This list goes to 12 because the last two bands only released EPs this year. Enjoy! Here are the 11 Best New & Unknown Bands of 2014:
- Antemasque (Antemasque) - This is the greatest album that At the Drive-In never made. With Omar and Cedric from ATDI and Mars Volta on board, it's tight, neat punk that delivers with all the force of their angriest moments. Having Flea as your bassist never hurts either.
- Eagulls (Eagulls) - This band is as punk as they are 80s. It's hard not to listen to the band and not hear Robert Smith's guitar influence supporting the raspy vocal explosion. Ian Curtis would be proud.
- White Sea (In Cold Blood) - Morgan Kibby of M83 branches out with a solo project that is as much M83 sounding as it is her own. The lyrics can be surprisingly vulgar for such an innocent sounding voice.
- Cheetahs (Cheetahs) - While a lot of critics are quick to call this band the second coming of My Bloody Valentine, there's equal parts Jesus and The Mary Chain & Echo and the Bunnymen trickling from under the fuzzy guitars and droning vocals.
- Ought (Ought) - While we patiently wait for Fugazi to release some new material (or old material) we have Ought to fill in the gap.
- The Sunshine Underground (The Sunshine Underground) - Don't call them the Killers part 2, though hints of the Nevada lads may be in there, you can also hear the best parts of other dance rock bands from VHS or Beta, Bloc Party, the Editors to The Bravery.
- Protomartyr (Under Color of Official Right) - Remember the Libertines? Well, the Libertines were never cool enough to sing about Judge Mathis. Protomartyr sings and plays like they grew up in a working class neighborhood in Brixton, UK...that said, they're from Detroit.
- CLAIRE (The Great of the Escape) - With no M83 album this year, the softening of the Naked and Famous, and Ellie Goulding shedding her indie skin for the pop chanteuse crown, an alt EDM void has formed; CLAIRE is here to fill that void.
- Oh My! (Slow Moves) - Sometimes it's okay to be a generic rock back. You don't have to be emo, grunge, punk, nu metal, or brit pop. You can just bust out a guitar and dominate with good old fashion riffs and fist pumping songs. Just ask U2 how it worked out for them.
- Temples (Sun Structures) - What is most compelling about Temples new album is how much fun they sound like they're having. They draw on influences from almost every decade, creating music so layered with melodies, you can't help but be drawn in to their festive atmosphere.
- Wolf Alice (Creature Songs EP) - If Tegan & Sara were angry, angst-filled rockers they may sound something like this. It's also the closest thing we may hear that sounds like the band lush for awhile.
- Movement (Movement EP)- This band is so overtly sexual, you feel like you need a cigarette after each song. Taking the sensuality of the xx and combining it with R. Kelly at his dirtiest, you begin to crack the surface of what Movement brings to the dance.
- Garden & Villa (Dunes) - Their song Colony Glen is blowing up the scene but their entire album has just as many great songs sprinkled through-out. The music is so 80s, I have to double check check if I'm listening to G&V or Talk Talk.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Last time the Gaslight Anthem released an album it was a couple days after the Dark Knight tragedy in Colorado. This time, their new album comes on the heels of another tragedy, just of a different nature. Yesterday, we lost a comedy giant. The greatest of all time could be an understatement. I remember a story Bruce Springsteen told that inspired him. It was a couple of months after 9/11, when Bruce and his family were at church. A fellow church-goer shouted to him in passing, "We need you, Bruce." That sentiment helped push Bruce to make "The Rising"...one of the best albums of the past twenty years. We needed Bruce's music to help us through the malaise. He delivered. Not everyone can be Bruce Springsteen. But music can soothe our savage beasts. In times of need, it's music that can keep us centered. The Gaslight Anthem is one of those bands rooted in the veins of what it is to be an average person in America. What it means to bust your ass just to make rent, what it means to know happiness comes from a backyard bbq with friends rather than bottle service at a club, and what it means to endure extreme hardship and have to power on. We all lost Robin Williams. The world is less funny today without him in it. Bands like The Gaslight Anthem remind us that we're not alone, we all share this loss together. Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Gaslight Anthem:
- American Slang (American Slang)
- 45 (Handwritten)
- I Coul'da Been A Contender (Sink Or Swim)
- Handwritten (Handwritten)
- The Patient Ferris Wheel (The '59 Sound)
- Howl (Handwritten)
- Stay Lucky (American Slang)
- The '59 Sound (The '59 Sound)
- We're Getting A Divorce, You Keep The Diner (Sink Or Swim)
- 1930 (Sink Or Swim)
- Orphans (American Slang)
Monday, August 11, 2014
For anyone who followed the career of The Civil Wars, it came as no surprise when they announced last week that they were breaking up. The band hasn't played live in 18 months. They never toured for their sophomore album, let alone do much publicity for it. And from many rumors, it seems that Joy Williams and John White have almost no contact with each other. And we thought Guns N Roses had problems. If I had to guess, there was too much pressure for super stardom allotted on this modest band. Fame demolishes even the best of them...not even The Beatles could survive it. From Michael Jackson and Smashing Pumpkins covers to heartfelt folky bluegrass anthems, the Civil Wars had something unique to offer. It's sad to seem them go...but I'm sure there will be more to hear from them in the future. Here are the 11 Best Songs By The Civil Wars:
- Eavesdrop (The Civil Wars)
- I've Got A Friend (Barton Hallow)
- My Father's Father (Barton Hallow)
- The One That Got Away (The Civil Wars)
- Birds of A Feather (Barton Hallow)
- Poison & Wine (Barton Hallow)
- Barton Hollow (Barton Hallow)
- Pressing Flowers (Poison & Wine)
- Billie Jean (Between The Bars)
- Dust To Dust (The Civil Wars)
- Finding North (A Place At The Table)
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Fun Fact: Britt Daniel made his acting debut in an episode of Veronica Mars. In the episode, he sang a karaoke version of Elvis Costello's "Veronica." Here are the 11 Best Songs By Spoon:
- The Two Sides Of Monsieur Valentine (Gimme Fiction)
- You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga)
- Me And The Bean (Girls Can Tell)
- Rhthm & Soul (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga)
- The Way We Get By (Kill The Moonlight)
- Out Go The Lights (Transference)
- Sister Jack (Gimme Fiction)
- I Summon You (Gimme Fiction)
- Everything Hits At Once (Girls Can Tell)
- Laffitte Don't Fail Me Now (Series of Sneaks)
- The Book I Write (Stranger Than Fiction Soundtrack)