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  • Survey Thing Stolen from SFR

    22. Apr. 2006, 21:28

    Go to the music player of your choice and put it on shuffle. Say the following questions aloud and press play. Use the song titles as your answers. NO CHEATING!

    1 - How does the world see me?
    Song: God Pt II
    Artist: U2
    Comments: That is pretty awesome I must say.

    2 - Will I have a happy life?
    Song: Episode III - Wedding
    Artist: Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant and Karl Pilkington
    Comments: Well I guess a marriage is in my future. A Happy one at that?

    3 - What do my friends really think of me?
    Song: Long Way to Go
    Artist: Gwen Stefani
    Comments: This is... not good?

    4 - Do people secretly lust after me?
    Song: Up Ninth and Fairchild
    Artist: The Boo Radleys
    Comments: I'll take that as a yes.

    5 - How can I make myself happy?
    Song: St. John the Divine
    Artist: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
    Comments: I will also take this as a yes.

    6 - What should I do with my life?
    Song: Young Flower
    Artist: Carlos Aquize
    Comments: I'll keep that in mind.

    7 - Why should life be full of so much pain?
    Song: The Saturday Boy
    Artist: Billy Bragg
    Comments: hmm.

    8 - How can I maximize my pleasure during sex?
    Song: Is This It
    Artist: The Strokes
    Comments: I think I just re-asked the question.

    9 - Will I ever have children?
    Song: Rubber Ring/What She Said
    Artist: The Smiths
    Comments: yes/no?

    10 - Will I die happy?
    Song: Just Can't Get Enough
    Artist: Depeche Mode
    Comments: alright

    11 - What is some good advice for me?
    Song: Luck of Lucien
    Artist: A Tribe Called Quest
    Comments: alright

    12 - What is happiness?
    Song: Sleeping Pills
    Artist: The (International) Noise Conspiracy
    Comments: alright then!

    13 - What is my favorite fetish?
    Song: If You Had My Love
    Artist: Jennifer Lopez
    Comments: good song.

    14 - How will I be remembered?
    Song: Climbing Up the Walls
    Artist: Radiohead
    Comments: The Edmund Hillary of indoor rock climbing?
  • Live Acts of 2005

    29. Dez. 2005, 17:53

    Here's a list of the bands I saw in 2005, at least the ones I can remember. Not counting local bands because none of you have heard of them. Some of these were not by choice, opening bands and all. Guess which.

    Tegan and Sara
    Xiu Xiu
    Franz Ferdinand
    The Killers
    This Song Is a Mess But So Am I
    Echo And The Bunnymen
    TV on the Radio

    and the best one by far, The Decemberists. I've seen more but I can never remember the names of opening acts.
  • Best Albums of 2004, pt. II

    29. Dez. 2005, 16:19

    Alright I'm not going to bother writing out details because no one reads these things anyway. As an aside, I'm leaving in an hour and won't be near a computer until the new year. With that in mind, here we go. Top five albums
    of 2004, one year later.

    5. Franz Ferdinand
    4. Has Been
    3. Fabulous Muscles
    2. Album of the Year
    (not quite)

    1. The College Dropout

    How gloriously anti-climactic.
  • Best Albums of 2004, pt. I

    24. Dez. 2005, 4:17

    No, the title does not contain a typographical error. Instead, I've decided to approach the ubiquitous "end of the year" album chart from a different angle as this solar year comes to a close. Now that the 2004 releases have had at minimum a year to sink in, I've decided to see which ones stuck, which ones stood the test of the brief amount of time that has passed between now and then. So here we go.

    10. You Are The Quarry
    It's no The Queen Is Dead, but it's no Maladjusted either. Too many torch songs, sure. Many of his songs lack the lyrical bite that made him tolerable in the first place, yes. But [track]Irish Blood, English Heart[/track] and [track]First of the Gang to Die[/track] are as triumphant as anything he's released since 1988. Leave the Smiths comparisons out of it, and it's a decent album and an even better comeback attempt.
    Between its release in May of 2004 and now, my love for the Smiths has only grown, and (to a much, much, much lesser degree) my love of Morrissey likewise. The initial fascination of a brand new Morrissey album has worn off completely, but the fact remains that there are a couple of classic songs contained on this album.

    9. Love Is Hell
    Officially this should qualify as a 2003 release, but no one will notice. This is likely Adams' most accessible album to date, since it's not as country as Jacksonville City Nights or as bad as Rock N Roll. I still prefer Heartbreaker over anything he's put to record, but he plays his singer/songwriter card well. As for the Wonderwall cover, at least it's not Liam singing it.
    Since 2004, I've let this album go unlistened, at least compared to the other Adams' albums I own (every one). But goddamnit it's better than [album artist=]Rock n Roll[/album].


    8. Set Yourself on Fire
    This is a 2004 release in Canada, so it counts. While there is nothing exceptional about this album, Stars manage to effectively display suburban twentysomething life in an accurate light. The storytelling makes this album, for me. Some nice arrangements accentuate the songs, but overall it's the words that make this album worthwhile.
    I actually purchased this album in 2005, so I can't so much compare my experience with it now to my experience with it a year ago. Perhaps this will come again at the end of 06. B-)

    7. No Cities Left
    I purchased this album in late 04, after seeing them open for Morrissey in concert. Lost in the Plot is such a moving and powerful song, and earns this album's position on this chart alone. And that's just one track. Since 2004, my appreciation and understanding for this album has only grown, and after I discovered Serge Gainsbourg everything became clear. The Dears' influences are heavily noticeable, but they draw on them so uniquely that they truly are an act all their own. The orchestral pop sound isn't unique per se, but when combined with Murray Lightburn's emotional delivery, [album]No Cities Left[/album] shines.

    6. SMiLE
    This feels like a cheat too, since the songs, production, mentality &c. of this album are not rooted in 2004. Still, it's a triumphant return to form for Wilson, a brilliant display of what could have been - what should have been. You can't go back in time and fix past blunders, but this is as close as we've gotten to time travel. Wilson's voice has aged surprisingly well considering the many ways in which he's tried to ruin it - but it has aged, and while it would be unfair to say the record suffers because of it, there's one minor flaw if you're looking to find it. Weak attempts at finding flaws in the album aside, Wilson's arranging skills are quite frankly untouchable and worth the price of purchase alone.
    Between 2004 and now, my love for the Beach Boys has blossomed. They truly are an underappreciated group, and Brian Wilson stands head and shoulders above any arranger, in my mind. This album serves as perfect proof.


    To be continued with 5-1 in the coming days.
  • Criminally Overlooked Artist #1

    13. Dez. 2005, 23:23

    One of the irksome qualities of the combination of music industry trend and the fickle nature of music listeners is the massive number of artists who slip between the cracks, unnoticed and criminally underloved because of it. I'm going to try to highlight some of these acts who deserve some loving.

    First up is Billy Bragg. Bragg's genre is most commonly described as anti-folk. Now I'm not exactly well-versed in this, but as far as I know its sort of a union between punk and folk music - at least of the mentalities of the two. Similar artists to Bragg... Woody Guthrie is a huge influence (obviously), The Smiths, The Pogues, Kirsty MacColl and such are all very closely related to Bragg in some way or another. That should give a general idea, but you really have to hear him for yourself.

    Best album is likely Back to Basics, which is his first three EPs combined in one record. It's a very raw record. He's one of the very few artists I'm come across that can do two opposite subjects so convincingly: politics/social issues and romance/personal issues. Some artists come across as completely contrived or lame when they try to do one or the other, but Bragg marries them seamlessly. He could sing about cows and it would be romantic; he could write about union issues (he plenty does), and he could instantly convince you of his viewpoint. One of a kind.

    Starting with Workers Playtime he started to expand his compositions and arrangments beyond the lone guitar and voice, the songs are still fantastic but they lack the rawness which made the first songs so powerful. This is evident on Talking With the Taxman About Poetry... his compositions have improved and he easily incorporates trumpet, piano etc. into his sound. I still prefer his early days but that doesn't lessen the greatness of his middle work.

    As an added bonus, here's another few paragraph I wrote trying to sell Back to Basics and Talking With the Taxman About Poetry to the users.

    The two Billy Bragg records I would recommend to anyone. In case you haven't heard me mention him before, Billy Bragg is an 80s anti-folk artist who combines the musical stylings of folk music with punk ideology. He is very leftwing, and while you may not agree with his criticisms of the Thatcher administration or his vocal support of industrial unions, he is evidently very passionate about his causes and it comes through in his songs. But aside from his lyrical strengths, on Back to Basics Bragg assembles a series of raw and power folk songs with undeniable melody and message. As it is a compilation of his first three EPs, the songs show progression in every facet from the music to the lyrics to Bragg's vocals. An essential for every music collection, a true marker of 80s and proof that the decade, contrary to popular belief, did not suck.

    1986's Talking With the Taxman About Poetry is much less raw, and much more sophisticated in arrangements and styling. While you may prefer the rawness of his early records and EPs, Bragg presents a strong set of songs which are actually augmented by the incorporation of other instruments. Instead of just being useless requisite instruments like they often are in so much of today's music (think of unvarying straight 8th basslines), Bragg notably adds trumpet and piano to a few of the tracks which bring them to a whole new level of musicality. It isn't complicated, but considering Bragg was such a sparse performer throughout the first 5 years or so of his career, it is comparatively like having your average 3-piece band incorporate an 80-person orchestra into every track.

    Please buy these records.

    For fans of: political music, old country, the Smiths, Ani DiFranco, The Pogues, Kirsty MacColl.

    Recommended tracks: A New England, Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards, Levi Stubb's Tears.