1. Pain of Salvation - 28 Plays
One thing that may be fun about this particular summary is that I have much more to reflect on than merely one week's worth of listening. Allow me to demonstrate. Rather than pointlessly telling everyone what I arbitrarily listened to from Pain of Salvation this week, I can point out that my appreciation for them has been more or less in conjunction with the passage of 2006. I'd heard one song, "Beyond the Pale" at the beginning of the year. I steadily grew to warm up to "Remedy Lane" and "One Hour By the Concrete Lake" somewhere in late spring. Now, here I am, PoS firmly planted at the #3 spot on my overall charts behind only Dave Matthews Band and Dream Theater, and catching them would require an act of God himself. Oh, and what I arbitrarily listened to this week was primarily Entropia. I make no assertions of it being anywhere near their best work, but it is something else to listened to after I've played The Perfect Element, Part I into the ground. And a damn good substitute at that. Part of me wishes they'd show flashes of this type of metal in their newer stuff.
Track of the Week: "Winning a War"
2. Tool - 27 Plays
Staying with the heavy proggy theme of the week, Tool comes in at #2. 10,000 Days has established itself as a very respectable effort but on a tier below that of Tool's previous two studio offerings. So those previous studio offerings were what was played. Danny's drumming on "Ticks & Leeches" is still absolutely amazing. Every time I play Tool though I have to play "The Pot" at least once. Not because it's my favorite song, but because I still haven't quite gotten over the vocals going on there.
Track of the Week: "Ticks & Leeches"
3. Dave Matthews Band - 25 Plays
C'mon, you didn't think they'd gone anywhere, did you? Since the last time I've written, one of these two more entries in the DMB Live Tracks series have been released along with The Best of What's Around, Vol. 1. The latest DMB Live Tracks offering is the New Year's Eve show from '96. I like it quite well. If I can register a minor complaint though, can we get a bit more variety in the time period that the Live Tracks releases are coming from? Three of the seven have come from the period between August '95 and December '96, all focusing mostly on Crash. I really would like to see something from more in the 99/2000 era, when the Busted Stuff material was under its rightful monicker of The Lillywhite Sessions. it's DMB though, so these are all petty complaints. And in any event, the versions of "#41" and "Seek Up" on the new DMB Live Tracks Vol. 7 are impressive.
Track of the Week: "#41"
4. Medeski Martin & Wood - 24 Plays
After consulting a good friend of mine, on where to go after my general appreciation of End of the World Party Just In Case I essentially blitzkrieged all available material of MM&W. Most of it really hasn't had time to truly sink in, although I haven't heard anything I don't like. When you get so much of one artist at once though, there's so much of it that you really don't know where to start a real appreciation of it. At least, that's my experience with it, and this seems to be the case here. So while I've spun most of their other stuff a time or two, I find myself still coming back to tunes from End of the World Party constantly. Not that I'm implying this is a bad thing...
Track of the Week "Bloody Oil"
5. The Flower Kings
Every time I tell someone about this band, they chuckle. A name like The Flower Kings, I suppose I can understand why. But the skill on display in Paradox Hotel is no laughing matter. So well put together, and unlike most instrumentally impressive progressive rock, this doesn't come off sounding like months were spent in the studio putting the entire project together with painstaking precision. There's a jazzy element to the lush orchestration of the music, and it's flat out brilliant. I'm definitely interested in tracking down more of this, particularly after finding out that Daniel Gildenlow has collaborated with them in the past (see my above gushing over Pain of Salvation). I'm not sure how that coupling would work out, but I'm eager to find out. Daniel is admittedly a lot darker and more ominous in just about every way than the general warmth of The Flower Kings. One of TFK's vocalists still doesn't quite set well with me, but it's a minor quibble.
Track of the Week: "Monsters & Men"
5. Dream Theater - 23 Plays
The other typical mainstay of the charts on just about a weekly basis. The funny thing about Dream Theater is that I find myself appreciating them only one era at a time. For example, there will be weeks where I it'll have to be Something from the Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence and Train of Thought era. Then that will fade out and be replaced by lots of Images & Words and Awake. This particular week was more of the early 90's era, although a few plays came from the new three disc live release they put out in August.
Track of the Week: "Innocence Faded"
7. Rush - 20 Plays
The heavily progressive albums Rush released in the latter half of the 70's are for my money their best work. But as good as they all are, it should be noted that 2112 is something special. I am prone to falling in love with the first album I hear of a band and never allowing any further work to quite reach that, but I was waist deep in Rush before I snagged 2112 and still find it to be head and shoulders above all of Rush's other work. And, yes, that is a glowing endorsement of 2112 and not meant as a diss on A Farewell To Kings or Hemispheres. It is also a glowing endorsement of Different Stages, namely the performance of 2112's namesake beginning to end.
Track of the Week: "2112"
7. DJ Shadow - 20 Plays
A fellow Last.FM user from all those months ago when I was a frequent contributor to the Last.FM community was a big DJ Shadow fan. His praise definitely sped up my tracking down and consequential appreciation of Shadow's work. One release he gushed over endlessly that I didn't get was In Tune And On Time. That is, until now. My only regret is that I waited this long to find this one. There's still a few pieces of Shadow's material I don't have, so I'm sure getting those would further enhance my enjoyment of the places he takes the originals on this live offering, but that will come in time. And I do wish the whole performance was on the CD. It would have been worth expanding to a double album to see what he did with "Midnight In a Perfect World" amongst others.
Track of the Week: "Fixed Income"
9. Cee-Lo - 16 Plays
I'm still a bit unsure about the staying power of Gnarls Barkley, but one thing's for sure. Both albums of Cee-Lo's solo material are worth having. And playing often. Now that Gnarls has done so well, I'm hoping Cee-Lo can revisit that aspect of his music without too many restrictions from a label. I must say I am quite a big fan of Lo when he's rapping. His singing is pretty good in its own right, but his rhythmic delivery and oftentimes cutting diction is a winner in my book time after time.
Track of the Week: "Big Ole Words (Damn)"
10. Led Zeppelin - 15 Plays
Zeppelin is the official recipient of the "made it into the top ten even though I have little to no recollection of playing them" award. It was just a little here, a little there. A few times popping up when Winamp was hitting me with shuffle goodness, a few times playing some song or other on a whim. Nothing spectacular; the unsung hero of this week's list. And no, that's not just me being lazy and rushing this to completion now that I'm on the tenth slot.
Track of the Week: "Dazed and Confused"
New Find of the Week: Usually I reserve this for someone who didn't make it into the top ten, but exceptions aren't uncommon. And I can't not give this to In Tune and On Time this week. I still want that full performance though, dammat.
So, until next week. Or whenever I feel the urge to write again, whichever comes second.