• Hmm...

    27. Jan. 2007, 10:19

    I was in the middle of writing a super-long entry on my best albums of 2006... and it ate my entry... Well, so much for that.
  • My Best of 2005, Belated

    26. Jan. 2006, 4:06

    I saw someone's journal listing related links, and want to see if this is easy to use.
    I've been meaning to write up my Best of 2005 list for a while, but keep getting sidetracked.

    In the last days of December, I compiled one DVD of my "best" albums of the year (where best was just my favorite albums). It was pretty hard to squeeze down to about 70 albums that I really liked.

    It's actually easier to cut down to my top-10-ish - just the ones that I listened the heck out of/absolutely adored (in chronological order of my obsession ;)

    Picaresque - There are so many quirky, addictive songs on this album. Highlights include the sea-chantyish Mariner's Revenge Song, The Sporting Life, and Sixteen Military Wives (which has a great video). I saw them at the Glass House, and it was good theater geek fun.

    Silent Alarm - I spent the beginning of the year unhealthily obsessed with this album. It had been a long while since I had found an album where not only would I listen all the way through, but that would knock my socks off every time. I couldn't find anyone to go with me their show at the Glass House, but I eventually caught them at Coachella, after they had become everyone's "it" band (deservedly so, in this case).

    Gimme Fiction - Being effusive about all these albums is probably going to get old fast... but that almost can't be helped considering the nature of this list. This album is one of Spoon's best, which when you look at some of their previous releases, means that this is *really* *really* good. Over the years, I've never caught Spoon live before, but this year, I was spoiled, seeing Spoon play at Coachella, and then at an Amoeba in-store right after.

    Transistor Radio - I've been a fan of Matt Ward since I saw him opening for Bright Eyes a few years ago. His work has really evolved, and Transistor Radio is aptly named, weaving a sonic landscape that evokes the past. My number one recommendation for night-time driving along desert highways.

    In Case We Die - I had plan on catching them @ the Troubadour, but um, an acquisition intervened. It would have been great to see them, as their multi-instrumental indie pop is some of the most interesting stuff happening (and yes, damn catchy).

    Apologies to the Queen Mary - The best "indie rock" album of the year? Quite possibly. From the opening track, You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son, you know you're in for a blistering ride. I think my favorite track of the album would have to be Dear Sons and Daughters of Hun (although the transition into the I'll Believe in Anything is worth mention, a perfect counterpoint). So good.

    Black Sheep Boy - it wasn't until I had this album for a couple months before I "discovered" midway through the summer, when I realized that this was THE BEST THING EVER. If you get a chance to check them out live, definitely go. I missed had tickets but missed the in LA (our LA going away party), but I was up north the day after and caught them in SF, which was a great decision. Black Sheep Boy Appendix, a followup EP w/ some thematic detours also has some amazing tracks. They're still scraping by, so buy their T-Shirts. (Although, if there's any justice, and if I had to place bets, I'd say they'll be blowing up this year).

    The Sunset Tree - I was one of the people that never "got" The Mountain Goats until I heard one of their songs on a mix (Golden Boy, of all things) that sort of turned me around. While there is some production/additional instrumentation, most of the time it's just John Darnielle's voice, lyrics, and acoustic guitar. And it's mesmerizing.

    Alligator - The National have been around for a while, but I hadn't hear of them until I saw them touring with Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah. While CYHSY were originally opening, because they were blowing up (the post-Arcade Fire need-to-find-the-next-big-thing effect?), they had been switchinf off headlining with fellow Brooklynites The National. I'm glad that I went on the second night when The National headlined. CYHSY were good, but The National were *great*. Alligator I think probably gets my spot for most cathartic album of the year. When they ended the show with Abel, it was practically numinous.

    Raised by Wolves - What's this? An EP taking a Top 10 spot? Well, have you heard this thing? The Voxtrot haven't released an album yet, but their EP is my pick for the catchiest pop album of the year. It's killing me that in between ETECH and SXSW I'll miss them in SF, and I probably won't stick around for SXSW Music...

    Some honorable mentions: I visited and old high school, and he introduced me to L'Altra which I really dug (downtempo-ish electronic pop) but didn't get a chance to really listen to (the CDs just came in recently). As far as post-rock, Johann Johannson's Dis and the 65 Days of Static were both exciting new discoveries for me. I discovered Troubled Hubble and their new album just before they announced their disbandment. I had a lot of fun w/ the Danger Doom / Aqua Teen Hunger Force album, and shortly before the end of the year, I discovered The Spinto Band, whose single, Oh Mandy might have been my catchiest of 2005.

    There are some critically acclaimed albums (The New Pornographers, Sufjan Stevens, to name two) that listened to a fair bit, that didn't quite make it to my list because they just didn't grab me as much as they did everyone else, or that while good just weren't as interesting as their last albums (Franz Ferdinand, Broken Social Scene).

    Also, far and away, my favorite podcast of the year, 75 Minutes. If you have time for only one source of new indie music, this weekly podcast is all you need to follow up on some of the best stuff you'd never have found otherwise.
  • What I really want out of Audioscrobbler

    12. Aug. 2005, 21:45

    This Journal is interesting, although you'd think it'd be more closely tied to your music tracks (IE, saves a daily snapshot of your most played, etc).

    This is related to my primary wishlist items for Audioscrobbler, that it should be more time-based. I don't care about my 'most played ever over 4 years', but rather about say my current top 20, charted across time. (Think of a SEMA or decay curve plotted across time)

    Additionally, percentages of total listening time for time periods could be quite interesting (with an additional plot of listening time to see when you're listening to more music or less).