• Re-issue Round Up (installments 5&6)

    17. Apr. 2007, 17:03

    I wrote snippets of this at various times over the past few weeks and
    haven't bothered to proof it...excuse my disjointedness.

    Patti Smith - Horses/Easter Reissues

    Let me preface all of this by saying that I am not a big Patti Smith
    fan. I like some of her stuff, can live without most of it, and
    outright hate some more of it.

    That said, Patti Smith's Horses hit me like a ton of bricks when I
    first heard it. When I was a kid, I remember Gilda Radner doing Patti
    Smith more than I remember Patti Smith. My dad listened to her, but I
    don't remember hi playing her around the house all that much. When I
    was in high school, going through a very cool, cigarette-smoking,
    folk-rock loving, very sensitive male kinda phase, I got Horses and it
    blew me away from the opening strains of her take on Gloria.

    The reissue sounds great...it had been so long since I had listened to
    the other version that I can't really comment on any sonic upgrades
    (plus as I have already y admitted, I am one of those louder = better
    kind of listeners) but the package is great. The reissue has a
    generally rewarding concert on disc 2 featuring Lenny Kaye and Tom
    Verlaine...and a massive Land/Land of 1000 dancers/La Mer medley. Her
    revisionist take on the now-ridiculous "My Generation" is pretty
    great...one reviews called it an indictment and he/she was right on.
    "Snarling" comes to mind as the new boss reveals himself to be the
    same as the old boos (how's that for mixing Towshend imagery?) You
    gotta love the lyric: "My generation, we had dreams, we had dreams man
    and we fucking created George Bush!"

    For those unfamiliar with the album...it truly is a landmark, even if
    (for me) it loses its impact upon re-listens...and I always skip
    Birdland...and redondo beach makes Sublime sound like Peter
    Tosh...with Patti Smith, I love some of the music, and some of the
    songs, but it's the "art" I can live without...I am quite positive
    that made no sense whatsoever.

    The more I listen to Patti Smith, the more I realize that all I really
    need to listen to are a few songs...Gloria, Free Money...that is to
    say that I really like her songs that I like and I really don't like
    her songs that I don't like. She is to vocals & lyrics what Trey
    Anastasio is to guitar...obviously talented, but give it a rest, okay?

    Aside from "Because the Night" and a song that I like to call "Rock
    and Roll N Word" I had not heard any of Easter's songs before
    purchasing. Due to the fact that the two songs I just mentioned are
    my two favorite Smith performances, I thought I might be all over this
    album...and generally speaking, I am.

    It is definitely a more "rock" record than Horses...with Jimmy Iovine
    helping to make it more palatable to the masses, I am sure, and I dare
    say it is a better album than Horses...for a meat and potatoes guy
    like me, anyway. It sounds more like a band putting out a record,
    rather than a street-poet surrounding herself by some drunks & junkies
    and doing their thing. The album definitely has an "anthemic" feel to
    it...and it mostly works...anthems separated by truly great
    songs...mixed in with some serious crap...like Ghost Dance - ugh....I
    imagine it is songs like this that provide fodder to those who like to
    make fun of a pretty easy target...a really dreadful song....plodding
    chanting crap...anyway...but there is enough good on the album to
    balance it out....the only bonus track is Godspeed...which I
    like....sounds like Trent Reznor meets Fleetwood Mac.
  • Re-issue Round Up (installment 4)

    2. Feb. 2007, 2:35

    I'm keeping the preamble.

    As y'all know, I am a sucker for re-issues (although you gotta be
    kidding me with Sun Kil Moon already) and I thought I'd provide a
    little review of a few that have found their way into my collection
    recently. Let me state this first: each of these album flies in Ben
    Salmon's face. I'm sorry...call me nostalgic or an old fogey or
    whatever you want, but these albums are simply better than whatever
    flash-in-the-pan and here-today-gone-tomorrow band is currently
    getting all the hipsters and indie kids in a tizzy. In fact, I can't
    be charged with the crime of nostalgia, given that I had not heard
    some of these albums before the re-issue...so there.

    Most of these area available through BMG/Yourmusic, which is where I
    got them....I'll probably go after that Lucinda next, even though
    there is nothing at all wrong with the one I have.

    previously reviewed:
    Dwight Yoakam - Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc.
    The Cure - Head on the Door
    The Cure - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

    this edition: The Waterboys - Fisherman's Blues
    What can you say about an album that starts off with an all-time
    classic like the title track? Even though this is Frizz's favorite
    song of all time, it is still a great song and sets the tone for a
    great album that got a seriously well-deserved spit shine and new
    presentation.

    This album showcased a talented band getting away from "The Big Sound"
    and settling into a cozy chair by a fire on a cold rainy day with a
    pint of Guinness...how's that for throwing in some stereotype with my
    cliche? The album is perfect with equal parts Van Morrison and, Woody
    Guthrie WB Yeats (hell....they're responsible for some of the credit
    at least on three of the songs) fiddle and mandolin, faith, hope and
    love....oh man is this thing good.

    It was a perfect album for a guy like me who really could care less
    about most of the music that came from the 1980s. Yeah, I know that's
    an unpopular opinion around here since most of you guys and girls are
    older than me and the music that I am referring to is the soundtrack
    to your life, but that doesn't mean that much to me, and neither does
    a lot of the music. All that aside, this album is timeless...it could
    have been made a decade or two before or a decade or two since.
    Every song is an epic. Every song is important.

    It's been a while since I puled out the original Fisherman's Blues for
    a complete listen (it really benefits from listening to it as an
    album, not songs on the ipod) but some obvious differences appear from
    that one to this one. For one: Bang on the Ear is almost ten minutes
    long and could go on longer for all I care...it's such a great listen.
    It would be too easy to compare this album to Astral Weeks (given the
    fact that a cover of Sweet thing is on this album) but it's also hard
    not to lump them together....they are my go-to rainy fall day records.

    The bonus material includes a sweet disc 2 with alternate versions of
    some of the songs from the album, including a very cool singalong
    version of When Will I Be Married and a choice cover of Dylan's Nobody
    Cept You and Girl From the North Country...as well as some of the
    stuff from the legendary Fisherman Blues sessions...not having heard
    any of that before, I was immediately smitten with "You in the Sky" an
    absolutely arresting track. "Rattle My Bones" is out of place...but
    shows the band off as they are just letting loose in the studio...it's
    a nice barroom brawler type tune.

    In the coming e-mails, I may get into the following (or may not...it's
    my choice)

    Patti Smith - Horses
    Patti Smith - Easter
    T. Rex - Tanx
    The Pretenders - self-titled
    The Pretenders - II
    Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
    Willie Nelson - Atlantic Sessions
    Gram Parsons - Reprise Sessions
    or
    whatever other re-issues I have gotten lately
  • Re-issue Round Up (installments 2&3)

    2. Feb. 2007, 2:34

    As might y'all know, I am a sucker for re-issues (although you gotta be
    kidding me with Sun Kil Moon already) and I thought I'd provide a
    little review of a few that have found their way into my collection
    recently. Let me state this first: each of these album flies in Ben
    Salmon's face. I'm sorry...call me nostalgic or an old fogey or
    whatever you want, but these albums are simply better than whatever
    flash-in-the-pan and here-today-gone-tomorrow band is currently
    getting all the hipsters and indie kids in a tizzy. In fact, I can't
    be charged with the crime of nostalgia, given that I had not heard
    some of these albums before the re-issue...so there.

    Most of these are available through BMG/Yourmusic, which is where I
    got them....I'll probably go after that Lucinda next, even though
    there is nothing at all wrong with the one I have.

    previoulsy reviewed:
    Dwight Yoakam - Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc, Etc (rapidly becoming my
    favorite listen of the past few months)

    this review:

    The Cure - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me & Head on the Door
    I'll do Kiss Me.... first, since it is the one of the two albums that
    I was familiar with before getting the double-disc re-issues....while
    it was not my favorite Cure album, it's one that I have always liked
    as I enjoy their mid-years to the earlier fey version of punk or the
    latter mailing-it-in years....it also preceded one of those albums
    that I like to say "changed my life." This was also the first Cure
    album I ever heard. (Thanks to Tammy Miller in the eighth
    grade....nostalgia is right....that girl would convince any lanky
    junior high metal head to like The Cure and Depeche Mode...) Anyway,
    as for the album and its trappings...I replaced my old CD with this
    one and was able to play them side by side and do appreciate the sonic
    difference...even if it is true that it is only made louder by
    remastering...I'm not sure it's necessary for me to discuss the merit
    of the album as a whole (it still sounds like a bunch of songs thrown
    together, rather than an album...but does have "Why Can't I Be You"
    and "Just Like Heaven" and clunkers like "Like Cockatoos") but don't
    mind talking up the fact that the bonus material (disc 2) is pretty
    cool...demos and live material that I assume is on the Join the Dots
    box set. Most of the demos are instrumentals, which I find very cool,
    though most of them can be left on the disc before transferring to the
    ipod. The Cure's music is often overlooked because of the sometimes
    goofy, sometimes over-the-top lyrics, so it's a nice change of pace to
    hear the music speak for itself...and it is also cool to hear the
    progression from demo to finished product...although...to hear synths
    where guitars should be sounds very Lloyd Webbery at times. It's
    definitely a band looking to change its sound...and maybe not exactly
    sure how...but a great listen...plus it has Hey You! on it, which I
    had honestly forgotten about until I heard it. In all, one could
    probably get by with just buying the remastered version of the album,
    unless they really need disc 2 (I don't, but I'm glad to hear it) BUT
    Rhino (as always) did a great job with the packaging, so you may as
    well get the two-fer.

    Head on the Door - This was, by definition, an impulse buy. I'm not a
    huge Cure fan or anything, but saw it on BMG one day, had a coupon,
    and took a chance. As mentioned above, I'm not crazy about early Cure
    records, and I am told that this is the album that bridges their early
    sound for the swirling guitar sound that I prefer. That said, I had
    never actually heard this album before deciding that I needed it in
    all of its double disc, bonus tracks and all glory. To say I'm still
    not crazy about would be admitting defeat (to Rebecca anyway) so I
    won't say that. I will say that I still prefer later Cure to the
    sparse sounds on this album, which is not to say that I don't enjoy
    the album...I do...it's just not one that I am crazy about....probably
    has something to do with being a couple decades late to the party.
    Oddly enough (or not) I think I prefer some of the homemade and
    instrumental demos on disc 2 to their finished versions...the studio
    demos are for fans of a greater appreciation than me.

    If Dwight Yoakam (last review) was an A+ (and it is) and if I had a
    similarly packaged version of Fascination Street, I Imagine I might
    give it a B+/A-, then these are a B- and a solid C
    respectively.....all subject to change, of course....and I tend to
    inflate grades...but not on the Dwight Yoakam...that thing is a stone
    cold killer.

    reviews to come (maybe)
    Patti Smith - Horses
    Patti Smith - Easter
    T. Rex - Tanx
    The Pretenders - self-titled
    The Pretenders - II
    The Waterboys - Fisherman's Blues
    Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
    Willie Nelson - Atlantic Sessions
    Gram Parsons - Reprise Sessions
  • Re-issue Round Up (installment 1)

    2. Feb. 2007, 2:32

    As y'all might know, I am a sucker for re-issues (although you gotta be
    kidding me with Sun Kil Moon already) and I thought I'd provide a
    little review of a few that have found their way into my collection
    recently. Let me state this first: each of these album flies in Ben
    Salmon's face. I'm sorry...call me nostalgic or an old fogey or
    whatever you want, but these albums are simply better than whatever
    flash-in-the-pan and here-today-gone-tomorrow band is currently
    getting all the hipsters and indie kids in a tizzy. In fact, I can't
    be charged with the crime of nostalgia, given that I had not heard
    some of these albums before the re-issue...so there.

    Most of these area vailable through BMG/Yourmusic, which is where I
    got them....I'll probably go after that Lucinda next, even though
    there is nothing at all wrong with the one I have.

    Dwight Yoakam - Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc, Etc
    Until I got this in my hot little hands, the only Yoakam albums I had
    were This Time and a greatest hits...I think I am going to have to
    remedy that...not only is this album a killer (and it is) but the
    bonus disc, which is a 1986 concert from the Roxy is smoking hot. In
    the two disc package, you get the original album (remastered I
    suppose) and the 1981 demos (not necessarily the same songs that
    wound up on the album...and they don't sound like demos to me) and the
    stellar live show. I was listening to it last night and Rebecca
    perked up to ask what I was listening to (this is a big deal, as she
    rarely asks anymore.) When I told her and then told her it was a show
    from 86, her only response was "That's ND." Indeed it is. I wish
    more country (and rock) stations sounded like this. Rarely do I think
    to myself upon hearing an album that my life was some incomplete
    minutes before hearing that album. In this case, I did. When I was
    in school, I had a friend who said that Yoakam was "The World's
    Greatest Entertainer." If he was at this show, I can imagine why he
    might have said that. (He wasn't.)

    In the coming e-mails, I may get into the following (or may not...it's
    my choice)

    Patti Smith - Horses
    Patti Smith - Easter
    T. Rex - Tanx
    The Pretenders - self-titled
    The Pretenders - II
    The Waterboys - Fisherman's Blues
    The Cure - head on the Door
    The Cure - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
    Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
    Willie Nelson - Atlantic Sessions
    Gram Parsons - Repreise Sessions
    or
    whatever other re-issues I have gotten lately
  • my Top Ten...a month late

    1. Feb. 2007, 1:17

    I am sure that my cut and paste will leave this thing looking a mess....I'll come back later and fix it.


    I'm always unsure if my top ten should be my "favorite" albums of the
    past year, or the albums that I consider to be "the best" albums of
    the past year. Subjective v. Objective, if that is possible. For
    instance, neither Sgt. Pepper nor Pet Sounds would be on my top twenty
    list of "Favorite albums" but they might get on the top twenty albums
    of all time list. All that being said, I decided to go with my
    "favorite" albums of the year. You can find a list of "best"
    anywhere.

    1. The Raconteurs- Broken Boy Soldiers
    I love it. I don't get the bad rap this album is getting for not
    having any staying power or lacking that certain "it" quality. I
    guess my tastes run simple. I prefer albums with guitars over albums
    without guitars. I prefer a drum to a drum machine. I like to
    pretend that I can tell the difference between analog and digital
    recordings, and I like to say that I prefer analog. This album sounds
    analog. Maybe not. Doesn't matter. I like the way it sounds. It
    sounds warm. It sounds old. It sounds like Orange and Fender amps.
    "Steady as She Goes" is as good a single as I have heard in years. I
    really think Jack White and Brendan Benson have captured lightning in
    a bottle together and feed off of each other...Benson's innate ability
    to craft pop songs and White's guitar and snarl...it's a perfect
    marriage, and the Greenhorne's fill the whole album with a nice cup of
    "hey we're a real band!" The second track, "Hands" is almost as good
    as it's lead-in. For two minutes it is a great seventies-styles
    anthemic ode to a girl...you know...one of those songs that reminds
    you that the best rock and roll is songs about girls...and then with
    just over a minute left, the song veers into a crashing headbanging
    that the listener is unable to listen to "loud enough." I'm getting
    into very dangerous territory. I do not plan to give a track-by-track
    review for my top ten albums of the year, and I won't do it. The rest
    of the album is not "more of the same" but it is...it is more pop
    music played with loud guitars. It is more of two guys who really
    love listening to records late at night and then plugging in. It is
    more power pop, more psychedelia, more guitar workouts, more Jeff
    Lynne-style knob twisting, more color, more great 2-4 minute
    masterpieces. Needless to say, I hope this is not the last Raconteurs
    album.

    2. Ladyhawk - self-titled
    This could have easily been my #1 album of the year. While I am
    listening to it, which is a lot of the time, it is my favorite album
    of the year. All the right influences are there...Neil Young, Jason
    Molina, Bob Mould, Nirvana, probably some Screaming Trees...and all
    the right comparisons are made...My Morning Jacket, Black
    Mountain...they also happen to be on one of the best new labels
    around...Jagjaguar with Black Mountain, the Pink Mountaintops and
    Okkervil River. Lots of loud crashing guitars and
    drums...quiet-LOUD-quiet songs with a couple buckets of mud and sludge
    layered on...it's a recipe I like a lot. I'm sure that there is
    plenty to deride and maybe the lyrics aren't Dylan or Springsteen or
    even Cafferty and the whole album sounds the same and whatnot...but
    it's my top ten and it's one of my favorite albums of the year. The
    songs are about girls, the songs are about getting wasted, the songs
    are about loneliness. These are rock and roll songs and executed just
    as the should be. J. Mascis has got to smile when he hears something
    like Ladyhawk. When "Dugout" comes on, I can't help but try to sing
    along. The centerpiece (well, the fourth song of ten) is "Long Til
    the Morning" which I subjected the listeners of my most-recent mix CD
    to. At over seven minutes long, it's not for the faint of heart.
    Kicking off with a little Concrete Blonde style drum and bass and then
    Axxess and Ace era crooning vocals take their place before the
    guitars..the song builds and plods and builds and plods for five
    minutes until the bands decides to wake the kids of from their bowls
    and start shredding the song to pieces...if you listen to it loud
    enough, it turns into a beautiful piece of white noise before
    returning to an acapella outro and then you (I mean "I") want seven
    more minutes...I don't know what is leaking into the water up there in
    Vancouver, but they should bottle it.

    3. National Grain - self-titled
    Just when I thought that there was not a band making music in 2006
    that had any twang left to offer, I get blindsided by Atlanta's
    finest. For the past couple of years, I have been getting into more
    and more old school country. Hank, Hag, Possum, Porter,
    Skeeter....home of the twang stuff, and then I hear this album and my
    faith in modern day alt.country/southern rock/country music is
    revived...and not just twang, but seriously rocking honky tonk with
    killer steel guitar licks. The album kicks off with "Pretty Women
    Won't Give Me the Time of Day" and that songs sets the tone for a
    great country album full of telecasters, hard luck, pitchers of beer
    and a few broken hearts. I am a sucker for steel guitar. I don't
    know the first thing about them (steel guitars that is) except that I
    love the way they sound. "City Lights" has a great steel solo and
    "Some Kind of Devil" is a freaking masterpiece with guitars
    everywhere, pounding drums and just the right amount of cowbell. This
    album was the perfect summer album, because as many of you know, I
    lead a double life as a redneck...riding around in my truck, going to
    the creek, taking my dogs out to the woods, shooting guns for no good
    reason, and basically enjoying the fact that I live in the South and
    sweating my ass off, and even though summer is long gone, I'm still
    listening. While I realize that Postcard has gotten away from the
    twang, I think most everybody who has been on this list since the
    glory days of alt.country will find that they love this album. It's
    got teles, it's got pedal stel, it's got banjo, it's got heartache and
    sweat. I read a review of this album that said something along the
    lines of, "Crying in your beer never felt so goddamn good." I'll
    drink to that.

    4. Neko Case- Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
    I have no idea what the title means, but I love the album, just as I
    love all of her other albums. Much has been made about the musicians
    on this album, and you cannot talk about its greatness without
    mentioning the Sadies, Calexico, Kelly Hogan, Garth Hudson and Howe
    Gelb, but the centerpiece of the album, as with all of her albums, is
    her amazing voice. Neko is one of those artists that people feel
    compelled to play "My favorite of hers is ________" and when I play
    that game, I usually fill in the blank with whichever was the last
    albums of hers that I listened to. From the honky tonk of the first
    few albums to the noir flourishes of the last couple, I love them all
    and rarely, if ever, do I skip a track on any of them. She is truly
    one of the most talented singers around and becoming a helluva
    songwriter, too. I still think that my favorite part of this album is
    the sloppy drums on "Teenage Feeling" which I have written about
    before. I know that a lot has been discussed regarding some sort of
    Neko v. Jenny Lewis thing...because apparently it is impossible to
    like them both...I think one of the distinctions between the two
    reverb-drenched chanteuses is that Neko's lyrics are great on this
    album, while I think Jenny's are merely fine, and in spots, rather
    embarrassing. While Rabbit Fur Coat is a great album, it is no Fox
    Confessor. Like Blacklisted before it, this is a timeless album by
    one of modern music's greatest singers.

    5. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls of America
    I'll be honest...I've never read Kerouac. I had no idea that the
    album title was an homage to the author until I read it somewhere.
    That being said, the idea that this album is an ode to, or at least a
    reference to, the line that the "boys and girls in America have such a
    sad time together" gives me a bit of the chill as I listen to the
    album. That line sums it up perfectly. More than any album this
    year...more than any album in a few years, this album got me excited
    about lyrics again. I can't even think of the last time I sat and
    listened, and re-listened and read and re-read lyrics. On one hand,
    the album is a party, on the other it's a slow funeral march. It's
    songs about drinking, drugs, sex, parties, adolescence, and all of the
    other trials and tribulations facing the boys and girls of America
    (and everywhere else, one would assume.) In that respect, I can
    listen to this album as a themed or concept album, intended or not.
    As far as the songs go, I love them. The things that some people hate
    about this album, like the "woah-oah-oah" backing vocals, the
    arena-rock sound and arrangement, the...let's call it "quirky" vocal
    delivery and the constant singing about drinking, losering, or
    otherwise "kicking it" are the same things that I love about this
    album. "Chips Ahoy!" is the most fun I have had in a long while.
    There is absolutely no pretense when listening to this song....while
    the lyrics are dark as hell, the song gives me a thrill the way that
    hearing a forbidden guilty pleasure gives me a thrill. I'm glad to
    hear that Charlemagne and the kids are still around, albeit not
    necessarily "all right." "Chillout Tent" is a great tune...I said
    earlier that it makes me think of bubble gum and roller rinks, and it
    still does...it's kids playing adult. It's the movie, "Kids." It's
    dangerous and fun and scary as hell....and it features Dave "Lee Roth"
    Pirner for cryin out loud, and he sounds great. That's the thing
    though...I see some of these songs being written from the viewpoint of
    a sober outsider, lamenting wasted lives, and other songs written from
    the dead center of the party pit. I also have no problem reconcilng
    that duality. Who hasn't been there? It's Born to Run and Alien
    Lanes and Toto/Loverboy/Journey/Huey Lewis and Jack Kerouac and your
    life and my life in one messy package, and yet it, works.

    6. The Gourds - Heavy Ornamentals
    The Gourds have put out ANOTHER great album. These guys can do no
    wrong in my book. This album, like their others, is full of hooks,
    great instrumentation (guitars, drums, mandolins and
    accordions...nobody does it better) and quirky poetry disguised as
    lyrics. One difference is that this album is a bit more "electric"
    than the others. That neither makes the album any better or any worse
    than what it might sound like without the extra amperage. The album
    has a great "live" sound to it and pays off listen after listen. Just
    as Blood of the Ram featured homages to Al Green and Waylon Jennings,
    and Cow, Fish, Fowl or Pig had a very Stonesy Ceiling's Leaking, this
    one has a nice Doug Sahm-esque ditty ("Shake the Chandelier") and is
    at times reminiscent of early Neil Young ("Weather Woman" sure sounds
    a lot like "Down by the River" for a second there.) Don't get me
    wrong, they are not aping their influences, but celebrating them. My
    favorite track is "Burn the Honeysuckle" which starts off as a nice
    little march featuring drums and vocals before the rest of the band
    joins in to complete a perfect front porch sittin, sweet tea drinkin
    song. To be honest, there is not a song on the album that I don't
    like. The only knock on the album is that there are no Max Johnston
    songs. As an aside, I also think that "The Education Song" is my
    daughter's first official favorite song. It's the first non-kid tune
    I have ever heard her sing and I couldn't be more proud.

    7. Built to Spill - You in Reverse
    The album kicks off with drums...could be Stephen Morris, but it's
    not. The first track, "Goin Against Your Mind" is one of my favorites
    of the year. This one, too, was forced upon listeners of my last
    mixer...all (almost) nine minutes of it, including the "Dark Side of
    the Moon" mid-section and "Whales Screwing" ending. In my humble
    opinion, it is the high mark of the album, and the rest of the album
    never reaches that mark again...though it is rewarding to listen to
    them try. For obvious reasons (loud guitars, Neil Young fetish, from
    Idaho) Built to Spill has been one of my favorite bands from the
    moment I heard them and this album was probably the most anticipated
    release of the year at my house. Unfortunately, I probably have not
    listened to it as much as I should have...if I had it might be ranked
    higher. Oh yeah, Doug Marstch is a guitar god.

    8. Arctic Monkeys- Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I Am Not.
    Yeah, I know...they were overly-hyped before anybody actually heard
    them and by the time anybody had actually heard them, the backlash was
    in full swing. If you ever hear of another band that reminds you at
    all of The Jam, Stiff Little Fingers, The Clash and The Libertines,
    please let me know, because I will be a sucker for it. While I was
    blown away by Dogs and Brakes last year, this is the only album from
    the motherland to make my top ten this year. A lot of people are
    going to prejudge this album based on the hype or the backlash, and
    that's really a shame, because I find it to be a pretty great little
    album. Are they inventing anything new with this album? Hardly, but
    that does not take anything away from the fact that it is enjoyable as
    hell...even if only on a superficial level. I can't tell you a thing
    about what they might be singing about, but I sure do love to sing
    along with the choruses and shake my groove thing when I hear them.
    This album makes me wish I could dance. I see myself listening to
    this album for years to come and I also see others re-discovering it
    years down the road and realizing that they were quick to judge and
    missed out on something great.

    9. Pearl Jam- self-titled
    10. The Lemonheads - sefl-titled
    Is this 1992? What the hell is going on here? Why am I listening to
    the Lemonheads and Pearl Jam so much these days? Two reasons, I
    suppose: A.) In 1992, they were two of my favorite bands ever, and as
    I get older, now not even able to claim that I am "only 30," I am
    reaching outward and inward for that part of me that was walking
    around, bleary-eyed, messing up the downtown in my teens, thinking
    that music was the most important thing in the world, scraping my Doc
    Martens in the gutters, smoking cigarettes and pulling my hair back to
    see what was in front of me, my headphones blaring as I listened to
    these two bands (and a host of other artists that I "discovered" in
    that same year/time of my life that would forever change my life and
    listening habits like Nirvana, Matthew Sweet, the Jayhawks, the
    Posies, the Pixies, the Dead Kennedys and too many more to mention in
    the running along sentence) and realizing now, almost fifteen years
    later, that I was having a blast and I will never again feel the way
    about music the way I felt about it then, and that the outlook that I
    had on life in general then has been so perverted and changed over the
    course of the past decade and half that I feel like I am owed some of
    my innocence back, my idealism and my youthfulness, or B.) They are
    great records with loud guitars and if they were debuts by oddly-named
    up-and-coming bands, I wouldn't feel so old praising them. The Pearl
    jam album is serious and rocking and great for the long haul. The
    Lemonheads is good candy and too much of it will give you a bellyache,
    until then, it's good for a thirty minute blast of fun. As long and
    rambling as reason A was, it doesn't come close to manifesting in
    writing everything that I thought about as I listened to the
    Lemonheads album twice on the way to work the other day. I loved the
    guy that I was fifteen years ago. It was, as they say, "good times."

    That's it...that's ten. If I had listened to Midlake enough, It would
    have cracked the top ten. It's a great listen, and if this is what
    the kids are listening to these days, my old man has some Blue Oyster
    Cult and Fleetwood Mac he'd like to share with them. Frank Black
    would have made it had he consolidated Fast Man, Raider Man into one
    great disc.

    Honorable Mention: The Sadies - Live Vol. 1 - Everything that needs to
    be said about this double disc, all-star banquet of rock has been said
    and it still doesn't do it justice, but I couldn't throw a live album
    into my top ten.

    Favorite Songs of the Year:
    Some Kind of Devil - National Grain (one of my all-time favorites now)
    World Wide Suicide - Pearl Jam
    Crazy - Gnarls Barkley (although I think was one of my songs of the
    year in 2005, too)
    Memphis, Egpyt (live) - The Sadies & Jon Langford
    Steady as She Goes - The Raconteurs
    Chips Ahoy! - The Hold Steady
    Luckiest Man - The Good Brothers (reminds me of me)
    Fast man - Frank Black (sounds great following Luckiest man)
    Roscoe - Midlake
    All Systems Red - Calexico
    a whole lot more but I am ready to send this list out
  • The Greatest Songs of All Time (So Says I)

    29. Aug. 2006, 2:29

    in no particular order whatsoever, and one song per artist:

    The Isley Brothers - Shout (Parts 1&2)
    The Who - A Quick One While He's Away
    The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
    The Kinks - You Really Got Me
    Mudhoney - Touch Me, I'm Sick
    The Creation - Making Time
    Wilco - At Least That's What You Said
    Ray Charles - What'd I'd Say
    Drivin N' Cryin - Scarred But Smarter
    The Beatles - Any Time At All (it is impossible to pick from the Beatles)
    Waylon Jennings - Honky Tonk Heroes
    Sam & Dave - Soul Man
    Mission of Burma - That's When I Reach for My Revolver
    Sonic Youth - Dirty Boots
    Neil Young - Everybody Knows This is Nowhere
    National Grain - Some Kind of Devil
    The Kingsmen - Louie, Louie
    Fugazi - Waiting Room
    The Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen in Love
    Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers - American Girl
    Crazy Horse - Downtown
    Otis Redding - Try a Little Tenderness
    Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
    The Clash - London Calling
    Motorhead - Ace of Spades
    The Rolling Stones - Tumblin Dice
    The Smiths - How Soon is Now?
    Jane's Addiction - Three Days
    ? and the Mysterians - 96 Tears
    Big Star - September Gurls
    N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton
    Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
    The Faces - Ooh La La
    Songs: Ohia - Captain Badass
    Guided by Voices - Over the Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox
    Fishbone - Party at Ground Zero
    U2 - I Will Follow
    J.B. Lenoir - Down in Mississippi
    A Tribe Called Quest - Scenario
    The La's - There She Goes
    Al Green - Here I Am
    Teenage Fanclub - The Concept
    Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
    The Waterboys - Fisherman's Blues
    Townes Van Zandt - Pancho & Lefty
    Bill Withers - Lovely Day
    Merle Haggard - Sing Me Back Home
    Public Enemy - Bring the Noize
    Adam and the Ants - Beat My Guest
    The Misfits - Skulls
    Led Zeppelin - Tangerine
    Joe Jackson - Is She Really Going Out With Him?
    Talking Heads - Road to Nowhere
    South San Gabriel - Smelling Medicinal
    The Gourds - Dying of the Pines
    Gillian Welch - The Revelator
    Jackie De Shannon - Needles and Pins
    Hank Williams - Lost Highway
    Van Halen - Unchained
    Blue Mountain - Generic America
    Modest Mouse - Doin' the Cockroach
    Thin Lizzy - Cowboy Song
    The Bar-Kays - Soul Finger
    Brian Ledford - Palestine
    Dead Kennedys - California Uber Alles
    Calexico - System and Repair
    Bo Diddley - Pills
    Billy Bragg - A New England
    Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone
    Bruce Springsteen - Badlands
    Johnny Cash - Tenesse Flat-Top Box
    DJ Shadow - Building Steam with a Grain of Salt
    Marah - Formula, Cola, Dollar, Draft
    Husker Du - Hardly Getting Over It
    Iggy Pop and the Stooges - The Passenger
    Tears for Fears - Head Over Heels
    Elliott Smith - Miss Misery
    Varnaline - Hammer Goes Down
    The Spinners - I'll Be Around
    The Ronettes - Be My Baby
    Dinosaur Jr. - Puke + Cry
    Oasis - Don't Look Back in Anger
    Dios - You Got Me All Wrong
    The Star Spangles - Which One of the the Two of Us is Gonna Burn This House Down?
    Love - 7 and 7 Is
    The Sonics - Psycho
    Junior Kimbrough - Meet Me in the City
    Three Dog Night - Never Been to Spain
    Stevie Wonder - I Believe (When I Fall In Love)
    Richard & Linda Thompson - I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
    Magnolia Electric Company - Old Black Hen
    Reigning Sound - Funny Thing
    Midnight Oil - Forgotten Years
    Big Country - Big Country
    Wall of Voodoo - Mexican Radio
    Stand By Me - Ben E. King
    Patty Loveless - You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive
    Outkast - B.O.B.
    Gorillaz - Dirty Harry
    izzy stradlin and the juju hounds - Shuffle It All
  • My favorite albums of all time (an ever-expanding list)

    24. Aug. 2006, 2:53

    Obviously, these are in no particluar order, thought I am going to try and limit the number of albums from my favorite artists to but a few...check back, as I'll add to the lsit whenever I feel like it.

    Radiohead - OK Computer
    The Pixies - Doolittle
    Otis Redding - Otis Blue
    Jeff Buckley - Grace
    The Lemonheads - It's a Shame About Ray
    Urge Overkill - Saturation
    Mr. Bungle - self-titled
    Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
    Neil Young - Tonight's the Night
    The Beatles - Rubber Soul
    Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
    Son Volt - Trace
    Nirvana - Nevermind
    Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes
    Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde
    The Jayhawks - Hollywood Town Hall
    Violent Femmes - self-titled
    Palace Music - Viva Last Blues
    Widespread Panic - Space Wrangler
    Detroit Cobras - Mink Rat or Rabbit
    The Wrens - The Meadowlands
    Shudder To Think - Pony Express Record
    The Clash - London Calling
    Faith No More - Angel Dust
    Grand Champeen - The One that Brought You
    Dogs - Turn Against This Land
    Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
    My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves
    Scott Miller and the Commonwealth - Thus Always to Tyrants
    V-Roys - Just Add Ice
    Social Distortion - Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell
    Joe Jackson - Look Sharp!
    The Posies - Frosting on the Beater
    Gillian Welch - Time (The Revelator)
    Metallica - Master of Puppets
    Uncle Tupelo - No Depression
    Willie Nelson - Red Headed Stranger
    Black Sabbath - Vol. IV
    Bobby Bare Jr. - Young Criminal Starvation League
    Modest Mouse - The Moon and Antarctica
    Bare Jr. - Boo-Tay
    James Booker - Ressurection of the Bayou Maharajah
    Blondie - Parallel Lines
    Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings - Dap Dippin
    Patty Griffin - Living with Ghosts
    The Deftones - White Pony
    Elliott Smith - XO
    Damien Jurado - I Break Chairs
    Aaron Sprinkle - Lackluster
    The Who - Who's Next
    The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
    Dinosaur Jr. - Green Mind
    Mark Lanegan - Bubblegum
    N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton
    Wilco - Being There
    Marah - Kids in Philly
    Gomez - Bring it On
    Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Murder Ballads
    Richard Buckner - Since
    Tool - Undertow
    Spoon - Girls Can Tell
    The Shins - Oh! Inverted World
    Slobberbone - Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today
    Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
    Scud Mountain Boys - Massachusetts
    Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
  • Best Albums of 2006

    8. Aug. 2006, 1:32

    I like to call this the year of the disappointing follow-up.

    The Sadies - In Concert, Volume 1
    The Raconteurs- Broken Boy Soldiers
    Ladyhawk - self-titled
    National Grain - self-titled
    Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
    The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls of America
    The Gourds- Heavy Ornamentals
    Built to Spill- You In Reverse
    The Decemberists - Crane Wife
    Pearl Jam - self-titled
    Arctic Monkeys- Whatever people Say I Am. That's What I'm Not
    Silversun Pickups - Carnavas
    The Lemonheads - self-titled
    Catfish Haven - Please Come Back
    Centro-matic - Fort Recovery
    Candi Staton - His Hands
    Jason Collett - Idols of Exile
    Califone - Roots & Crowns
    Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist
    Black Keys - Magic Potion
    Blood Meridian - Kick up the Dust
    Band of Horses- Everything All The Time
    Gob Iron - Death Songs for the Living
    Mastodon - Blood Mountain
    Radio Birdman - Zeno Beach
    Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
    golden dogs- Everything in Three Parts
    Frank Black - Fast Man Raider Man
    Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
    Dirty Pretty Things - Waterloo to Anywhere
    Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
    Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
    Gnarls Barkley- St. Elsewhere
    TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
    Solomon Burke - Nashville
    The Dresden Dolls - Yes Virginia
    Fernando - Enter to Exit
    Brakes - The Beatific Visions
    Tim O'Reagan - self-titled
    Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Show Your Bones
    Neil Young - Living with War
    Bob Dylan - Modern Times
    Tool - 10,000 Days
    Bobby Bare Jr's Young Criminal Starvation
    League
    - The Longest Meow
    La Rocca - Truth
    Wolfmother - self-titled
    Margot & The Nuclear So And Sos- The Dust of Retreat
    Persephone's Bees - Notes from the Underworld
    Beth Orton - Comfort of Strangers
    The Drams- Jubilee Drive
    Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands - Snake in the Radio
    Calexico- Garden Ruin
    The Wood Brothers - Ways Not to Lose
    Jay Bennett - Megnificent Defeat
    Golden Smog - Another Fine Day
    Gasoline Heart - You Know Who You Are
    The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine
    Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
    Tate Moore - Punk Poet
    Liz Durrett- The Mezzanine
    Drive By Truckers- A Blessing and a Curse
    The Lylas - Lessons for Lovers
    The Little Willies - self titled
    Matthew Sweet And Susanna Hoffs - Under the Covers Vol.1
    Shapes and Sizes - self-titled
    Jackie Greene - American Myth
    The Elms - Chess Hotel
    Eagles of Death Metal - Death By Sexy
    Ben Harper- Both Sides of the Gun
    We Are Scientists - With Love and Squalor
    The Pink Spiders - Teenage Graffiti
    Nine Black Alps - Everything Is
    Roseanne Cash - Black Cadillac
  • Robert Pollard to Release Three New Albums

    3. Mai. 2006, 22:54

    Robert Pollard to Release Three New Albums

    Kati Llewellyn reports:
    Without magic lassos or Krypton births or (at the very least) skillful hand-to-hand combat, superheroes wouldn't be so super. Similarly, without releasing a trillion albums a year, Guided by Voices (RIP) legend Robert Pollard may not have achieved the indie rock superstar status he now holds. With no plans to relinquish the title, Bobby P. has three albums in store for the month of May, each one the product of a different side project and each due out on the Fading Captain label.

    First off is Psycho and the Birds, a new collaboration with Todd Tobias. If the name Tobias rings a non-"Arrested Development" bell, it's because the producer/engineer/musician worked on From a Compound Eye (Merge), and various Circus Devils/GBV projects. According to his official website, Pollard "records songs boombox style and sends them to Todd to dress them up." So... jean jumpers, prom dresses, and makeovers? Project #1: A+.

    Psycho and the Birds' debut release is the All That Is Holy LP. Track 14, "Hello Forever", is available for download on Pollard's website.

    All That Is Holy tracklist:
    01 The Killers
    02 Suffer the Sun
    03 Alibible
    04 Father Is Good
    05 Blood Witness
    06 Late Night Scamerica
    07 Oh My Chosen One
    08 Alabama Sunrise
    09 Kiss You/Kill You
    10 Jesus the Clockwork
    11 She's Around
    12 Disturbed
    13 Yes an Article
    14 Hello Forever
    15 Break Some Concentration
    16 Nation Gone Dry
    17 Frozen Vegetable Fiction

    Next up are The Takeovers (not to be confused with Takeover, a MySpace collective who claim to be an "extremely hard working metal band, that has allready survived many changes, proving the bands inner strength and dedication to their craft" that want us to "Bring it HARD!!!").
    It's a project with former GBV bassist Chris Slusarenko, Quasi's Sam Coomes, Mudhoney's Dan Peters, and more (Stephen Malkmus is rumored to be working with the group on a future release). Their album, Turn to Red, contains both new material and old Pollard demos, all mixed up together, as if someone put them through that old rock tumbler in your closet. Track seven, "Fairly Blacking Out", can be found on RobertPollard.net.

    Turn to Red tracklist:
    01 Do You Get Your Wish?
    02 Insane/Cool It
    03 First Spill Is Free
    04 Mojo Police
    05 Scuffle With Nature
    06 Sweet Jelly
    07 Fairly Blacking Out
    08 Wig Stomper
    09 The Public Dance
    10 Be It Not for the Serpentine Rain Dodger
    11 Bullfighter's Cut
    12 Jancy

    Finally, there are the Keene Brothers, a poppy project with rocker
    Tommy Keene, who handled the guitar and keyboards on Pollard's solo trek earlier this year. Their record, awesomely titled Blues and
    Boogies Shoes, holds "Death of the Party", the final new tune up for the taking on Pollard's official site.

    Blues and Boogies Shoes tracklist:
    01 Evils Vs. Evil
    02 Death of the Party
    03 Beauty of the Draft
    04 Where Others Fail
    05 Island of Lost Lucies
    06 Lost Upon Us
    07 Heaven's Gate
    08 The Naked Wall
    09 The Camouflaged Friend
    10 Must Engage
    11 This Time Do You Feel It?
    12 Blue Shadow

    Supposedly, the albums will drop every other week this month as additions to the Fading Captain series, starting, uh, yesterday, with all the releases available for mailorder as we speak. Another tidbit
    we can tell you (because we already told you) is that Pollard's supernew record, tentatively titled Normal Happiness, and described by his main Merge man as "a tour de force of perfect 2-3 minute pop songs," is complete and scheduled to come out on Merge in October. So that's... five releases so far this year. Superstar quota met, Pollard is free to change his name to Bobman!

    * Pitchfork Review: Robert Pollard: From a Compound Eye
    * Pitchfork Feature: Guided by Voices Says Goodbye
    * Robert Pollard: http://robertpollard.net/
  • The Sadies to release double-disc live album!!!!!!

    3. Mai. 2006, 22:11

    The Sadies TO RELEASE DOUBLE LIVE ALBUM

    "The Sadies: Volume 1" out August 8, 2006 on Yep Roc Records Guests include Neko Case, Garth Hudson, Gary Louris, Jon Langford, Blue Rodeo, Kelly Hogan, The Good Brothers and more .

    Toronto's cosmic cowboys The Sadies, led by the lanky frontmen Dallas and Travis Good, along with drummer Mike Belitsky and upright bassist Sean Dean, have been quietly building a reputation since their debut release in 1998. The band manages to juggle a heavy tour schedule, side projects and their own studio recordings with equal aplomb, releasing critically acclaimed albums and making believers out of everyone who's witnessed their mind-blowing live shows.

    But for Sadies' fans, there's been nothing that captures the feel of the band's live shows, which can run to 40 songs and encompass everything from psychedelic country rock, surf, bluegrass and Ennio Morricone-esque inspired instrumentals.
    That is, until now.

    Gathering family and friends for a two-night stint at Lee's Palace in Toronto early in Feb. 2006, The Sadies put on two 4-hour evenings of music in front of sold-out crowd. To get the songs on tape, the band called on renowned producer and friend Steve Albini, who engineered the tracks. The Sadies played their own favorites and invited up friends, from Gary Louris, Bob Egan, Kelly Hogan, Jon Langford and Heavy Trash to Canadian faves Blue Rodeo and others. Also featured were the Sadies'
    parents and uncles (The Good Brothers) and frequent collaborator Neko Case. (As well as being the backing band on The Tigers Have Spoken, the Sadies are featured on Neko's latest album, Fox Confessor Brings the
    Flood.)

    Highlights include live versions of songs from Favourite Colours, as well as Garth Hudson joining Travis Good and Case for a rendition of The Band's "Evangeline." Louris contributes "Tailspin" and does vocal duties on Belitsky's "A Good Flying Day." There's also a tripped-out set by Sadies' side project, The Unintended, featuring Elevator's Rick White.

    Faced with the grueling task of sorting through hours of music, the band selected 41 tracks for a 2-disc double album, The Sadies: Volume 1, mixed by the band with "no overdubs or any such nonsense." What you're
    hearing is a Sadies live show, albeit one jam-packed full of talented guests, and the energy and camaraderie is tangible. You can hear that everyone involved was fully into the moment, fully into being a part of these historic live shows.

    For The Sadies, this live album was a chance to get together with friends and make an album; it's also a thank you to their fans. To those of you who aren't fans yet, just give a listen to The Sadies: Volume 1.
    I'll wager you will be soon.

    The Sadies