December 2009 Archives

Best of the Decade: Part 2

Moving along to the next group....

50. Girl Versions--Emm Gryner [2001]
Highlights: Straight To You, For What Reason

49. Furnace Room Lullaby--Neko Case and Her Boyfriends [2000]

Highlights: Whip the Blankets, Furnace Room Lullaby

48. Hallucinations--David Usher [2003]

Highlights: In This Light, Hallucinations

47. Boxer--The National [2007]

Highlights: Squalor Victoria, Racing Like a Pro

46. Veckatimest--Grizzly Bear [2009]

Highlights: Ready, Able; Cheerleader

45. So Jealous--Tegan and Sara [2004]

Highlights: I Won't Be Left, Walking With a Ghost

44. Songs of Love and Death--Emm Gryner [2005]

Highlights: Running Back, Dearg Doom

43. Happy Hollow--Cursive [2006]

Highlights: Hymns for the Heathen, Big Bang

42. Actor--St. Vincent [2009]

Highlights: The Bed, Save Me From What I Want

41. Danse Macabre--The Faint [2001]

Highlights: The Conductor, Glass Danse

40. It's Blitz--Yeah Yeah Yeahs [2009]

Highlights: Zero, Dragon Queen

39. Emerald City--John Vanderslice [2007]

Highlights: White Dove, The Parade

38. Heartbeat Radio--Sondre Lerche [2009]

Highlights: Easy to Persuade, If Only

37. Aha Shake Heartbreak--Kings of Leon [2005]

Highlights: Four Kicks, Day Old Blues

36. The Worst You Can Do Is Harm--The Long Winters [2002]

Highlights: Give Me a Moment, Medicine Cabinet Pirate

35. Domestica--Cursive [2000]

Highlights: Making Friends and Acquaintances, The Radiator Hums

34. We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes--Death Cab for Cutie [2000]

Highlights: For What Reason, Scientist Studies

33. Phantom Punch--Sondre Lerche and the Faces Down [2007]

Highlights: She's Fantastic; Airport, Taxi, Reception

32. Fevers and Mirrors--Bright Eyes [2000]

Highlights: Arienette; Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh

31. Black Listed--Neko Case [2002]

Highlights: Deep Red Bells, Things That Scare Me

30. Girls Can Tell--Spoon [2001]

Highlights: Anything You Want, The Fitted Shirt

29. Those Peabodys--Those Peabodys [2001]

Highlights: Hazzard Co., Party at My House

Rockferry--Duffy [2008]
Highlights: Hanging On Too Long, Rockferry

27. Kid A--Radiohead [2000]

Highlights: How To Disappear Completely, Optimistic

26. Kill The Moonlight--Spoon [2002]

Highlights: Paper Tiger, The Way We Get By

Tomorrow (hopefully *crosses fingers*)...the best of the best!

Best of the Decade: Part 1

After a year long trek through the decade in music, it's finally time to post the results. I originally intended for this to be a top 50 list but decided that wasn't enough, and 100 was too many, so 75 it is!

I did use some very loose criteria to create the list, but unlike some other best of the decade lists, there were no limits on the number of albums an artist/band could have. Cause that's stupid, and kinda defeats the purpose of the list. Needless to say, there will be multiples. Suck it up.

And on to the show!

75. Rubber Factory--The Black Keys [2004]
Highlights: Stack Shot Billy, When the Lights Go Out

74. Meds--Placebo [2006]

Highlights: Broken Promise, Follow the Cops Back Home

73. Where Have My Countrymen Gone--The Sheila Divine [2001]

Highlights: Wanting is Wasted, Some Kind of Home

72. Mama, I'm Swollen--Cursive [2009]

Highlights: Cliquot, The Penalty

71. Romanian Names--John Vanderslice [2009]

Highlights: Romanian Names, Carina Constellation

70. Here Be Monsters--Ed Harcourt [2000]

Highlights: Something In My Eye, Wind Through the Trees

69. Duper Sessions--Sondre Lerche and the Faces Down Quartet [2006]

Highlights: (I Wanna) Call It Love, The Curse of Being in Love

68. Songs for the Deaf--Queens of the Stone Age [2002]

Highlights: No One Knows, Gonna Leave You

67. Sleeping With Ghosts--Placebo [2003]

Highlights: Special Needs, Sleeping With Ghosts

66. Can'tneverdidnothin'--Nikka Costa [2005]

Highlights: Swing It Around, On & On

65. The Ugly Organ--Cursive [2003]

Highlights: A Gentlemen Caller, Staying Alive

64. Murray Street--Sonic Youth [2002]

Highlights: The Empty Page, Plastic Sun

63. BLACKsummers'night--Maxwell [2009]
Highlights: Cold, Love You

62. St. Elsewhere--Gnarls Barkley [2006]

Highlights: Go-Go Gadget Gospel, Feng Shui

61. Youth and Young Manhood--Kings of Leon [2003]

Highlights: California Waiting, Wasted Time

60. Two Way Monologue--Sondre Lerche [2004]

Highlights: Track You Down, Two Way Monologue

59. Asianblue--Emm Gryner [2003]

Highlights: Symphonic, Young Rebel

58. White Chalk--PJ Harvey [2007]

Highlights: The Piano, Silence

57. Get Used To It--The Brand New Heavies [2006]

Highlights: Right On, I Just Realized

56. Unite Tonight--Those Peabodys [2003]

Highlights: Denim and Diamonds Forever; River Deep, Mountain High

55. Franz Ferdinand--Franz Ferdinand [2004]

Highlights: Michael, Cheating on You

54. Faces Down--Sondre Lerche [2002]

Highlights: Sleep on Needles, No One's Gonna Come

53. Addicted to Company Pt. 1--Paddy Casey [2008]

Highlights: Refugee, U'll Get By

52. Pixel Revolt--John Vanderslice [2005]

Highlights: Radiant With Terror, Continuation

51. Lifted, or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground--Bright Eyes [2002]

Highlights: Nothing Gets Crossed Out, You Will? You? Will. You? Will. You? Will.

Tomorrow...the next 25!

Best of the Decade: Songs

Time to look back on some of my favorite songs of the decade. I think trying to rank songs is a hundred times more difficult than albums, so I've put them in appropriate groups. To keep things from getting out of control, no more than 2 songs from a single album made the list.

MTV Division

"B.O.B."- Outkast (2000)
"Cry Me a River"- Justin Timberlake (2002)
"99 Problems"- Jay-Z (2003)
"My Love"- Justin Timberlake (2006)
"S.O.S."- Rihanna (2006)
"Umbrella"- Rihanna (2007)

Even Better Than the Real Thing Division (Covers)

"For What Reason"- Emm Gryner (2001)
"Straight to You"- Emm Gryner (2001)
"Runnin' Out of Fools"- Neko Case (2002)
"Number of the Beast"- Zwan (2002)
"Mad World"- Gary Jules (2003)
"River Deep, Mountain High"- Those Peabodys (2003)
"Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter"- Nikka Costa (2005)
"Running Back"- Emm Gryner (2005)
"Dearg Doom"- Emm Gryner (2005)
"He Hit Me"- Grizzly Bear (2007)
"Running Up That Hill"- Placebo (2007)
"Let My Love Open the Door"- Sondre Lerche (2007)
"Too Little Too Late"- Department of Eagles (2008)

One Trick Pony Division (Quality songs on otherwise sub-par albums)

"Smile"- Remy Zero (2001)
"Amitriptyline"- John Vanderslice (2002)
"Notes In His Pockets"- The Good Life (2004)
"Myriad Harbour"- The New Pornographers (2007)
"Arizona"- Kings of Leon (2007)
"All You Ever Wanted"- The Black Keys (2008)
"Neighbors"- Gnarls Barkley (2008)
"A Little Better"- Gnarls Barkley (2008)
"Permanent Scar"- O+S (2009)

The Rest of the Best

"How to Disappear Completely"- Radiohead (2000)
"Half Sorry"- Emm Gryner (2000)
"For What Reason"- Death Cab for Cutie (2000)
"Whip the Blankets"- Neko Case (2000)
"Haligh, Haligh, a Lie, Haligh"- Bright Eyes (2000)
"Jackie"- The New Pornographers (2000)
"We Float"- PJ Harvey (2000)

"You Were My Fiji"- John Vanderslice (2001)
"My Old Flame"- John Vanderslice (2001)
"Anything You Want"- Spoon (2001)
"The Fitted Shirt"- Spoon (2001)
"Blacking Out the Friction"- Death Cab for Cutie (2001)
"Party At My House"- Those Peabodys (2001)
"Hazzard Co."- Those Peabodys (2001)
"Glass Danse"- The Faint (2001)

"I Am An Island"- The Good Life (2002)
"Paper Tiger"- Spoon (2002)
"You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will."- Bright Eyes (2002)
"Lover I Don't Have to Love"- Bright Eyes (2002)
"Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down"- Interpol (2002)
"Harder Better Faster Stronger"- Daft Punk (2002)
"Sleep On Needles"- Sondre Lerche (2002)
"No One's Gonna Come- Sondre Lerche (2002)
"Our Time"- Imperial Teen (2002)

"Special Needs"- Placebo (2003)
"Myxamatosis"- Radiohead (2003)
"A Punchup At A Wedding"- Radiohead (2003)
"In This Light"- David Usher (2003)
"Maps"- Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003)
"Y Control"- Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003)

"White Plains"- John Vanderslice (2004)
"Walking With a Ghost"- Tegan and Sara (2004)
"I Won't Be Left"- Tegan and Sara (2004)
"Cat on the Wall"- PJ Harvey (2004)
"Shame"- PJ Harvey (2004)

"Radiant With Terror"- John Vanderslice (2005)
"Jackie, Dressed in Cobras"- The New Pornographers (2005)
"Falling Through Your Clothes"- The New Pornographers (2005)
"All the Wine"- The National (2005)
"Karen"- The National (2005)
"Swing it Around"- Nikka Costa (2005)
"Four Kicks"- Kings of Leon (2005)
"Souring"- David Usher (2005)
"See You Fall"- David Usher (2005)
"I Summon You"- Spoon (2005)
"I Turn My Camera On"- Spoon (2005)

"Maybe Sparrow"- Neko Case (2006)
"That Teenage Feeling"- Neko Case (2006)
"Queen of the Boys"- Emm Gryner (2006)
"(I Wanna) Call It Love"- Sondre Lerche (2006)
"Hymns for the Heathen"- Cursive (2006)
"The Clock"- Thom Yorke (2006)
"Harrowdown Hill"- Thom Yorke (2006)
"Crazy"- Gnarls Barkley (2006)
"Feng Shui"- Gnarls Barkley (2006)

"Nude"- Radiohead (2007)
"The Piano"- PJ Harvey (2007)
"The Penalty"- Beirut (2007)
"A Little Bit More"- The Good Life (2007)
'Your Share of Men"- The Good Life (2007)
"Eddie's Ragga"- Spoon (2007)
"Now, Now"- St. Vincent (2007)
"Knife Going In"- Tegan and Sara (2007)
"Konichiwa Bitches"- Robyn (2007)
"Phantom Punch"- Sondre Lerche (2007)
"She's Fantastic"- Sondre Lerche (2007)

"Melt My Heart to Stone"- Adele (2008)
"Cold Shoulder"- Adele (2008)
"Bangers & Mash"- Radiohead (2008)
"Hanging On Too Long"- Duffy (2008)
"Rockferry"- Duffy (2008)
"Keep Pushin"- Nikka Costa (2008)

"Killing Spree"- Emm Gryner (2009)
"Match"- Emm Gryner (2009)
"Zero"- Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2009)
"Ready, Able"- Grizzly Bear (2009)
"Magpie to the Morning"- Neko Case (2009)
"This Tornado Loves You"- Neko Case (2009)
"Donkeys"- Cursive (2009)
"Save Me From What I Want"- St. Vincent (2009)
"Easy to Persuade"- Sondre Lerche (2009)


Best of the Decade: Concerts

To get this best of the decade party started, here's a list of some of my favorite shows. I have crazy amounts of crap from the early part of the decade, when I went to the most shows. Although most of it is stored away, if possible, I've tried to include "memorabilia" from the shows.

In chronological order...

Austin Music Hall...Austin, TX...January 25, 2000

Second show of the decade for me, this was the first show of Beck's tour for Midnite Vultures. This show is mostly memorable because it's where I met one of my best friends who was with me at almost every other show on this list, and many many others that aren't.


Death Cab for Cutie

Emo's...Austin, TX...February 13, 2001

First time seeing Death Cab, so that was super exciting at the time. Even though it was in February, it was crazy hot during the show. The band looked like they were going to pass out, but they still put on a great show.



The New Pornographers 
La Zona Rosa...Austin, TX...March 2001 (SXSW)

First time at SXSW, had heard and liked one New Pornographers song, which was enough to get me to the showcase they were performing at. The schedule at SXSW is super tight, you get 30 mins and that's it. The band was pushing their time but Neko Case begged to do one last song, which happened to be with Ray Davies (who was the keynote speaker that year). They performed the Kinks' "Starstruck", which had never been performed live before. Shame I'd never heard the song.

The setlist is Mass Romantic minus "Jackie", omitted because Dan Bejar wasn't there.


John Vanderslice
Emo's...Austin, TX...September 5, 2001

First show I was ever on the guest list for, this was the first of many many JV shows. Found out later that this was his first tour, which makes it even more special. Also, it's probably the only time I ever heard "Everything Changed", one of my favorite JV songs.



The Faint
Emo's...Austin, TX...June 24, 2001

Interrupted my oh-so-exciting summer vacation to visit Austin for this show. Awesome awesome show, lots of fun and dancing. Turned my aforementioned friend into a Faint fan. This was the beginning of really feeling at home in Austin.


John Vanderslice
Stubbs...Austin, TX...February 24, 2002

Second time seeing JV. Britt Daniel opened, JV was awesome and before and after the show we ended up chatting with him and his band.



Death Cab for Cutie & The Dismemberment Plan
(Death & Dismemberment Tour)

Emo's...Austin, TX...March 5, 2002

One of my most anticipated shows, it lived up to the expectations. It was one of those perfect shows with 2 bands I really liked on the bill. It was the first time I saw The Dismemberment Plan. Sadly, I only got to see them one more time before they broke up.

Death Cab's Setlist:



Austin City Limits Taping...Austin, TX...December 3, 2002

Even though this was a taping, the band played a normal set and were really on fire that night. Somewhere I have a crappy tape of the show when it aired (ahh, the days before YouTube). I can be seen in a few of the crowd shots. 



The Good Life

The Glass House...Pomona, CA...October 28, 2007

Hollywood Bowl...Hollywood...August 24, 2008

Emm Gryner
Hotel Cafe...Hollywood...November 18, 2008

Tomorrow....favorite tunes!

Top 9 Albums of 2009

Starting today there's going to be a week of music related posts, starting with my favorite albums of the year. It's earlier than usual to make time for all the other fun stuff in the days to come.

2009 was better than 2008, but not as good as 2007. I think the year was really front-loaded. Hardly anything came out after June, making for a pretty sad second half of the year. Maybe bands wanted to be nice and give people plenty of free time to work on their best of the decade lists:) I opted for a top 9 instead of 10 because I really couldn't come up with a worthy 10th album I wouldn't regret 2 months later. Maybe down the road I'll add a 10th album. Edit: 10th album added!

10. Maxwell- BLACKsummers'night: This album has a stupid title, but that's the worst thing about it.  Well executed contemporary soul music, back on par with his debut album.

Favorite songs: Cold, Love You

9. PJ Harvey & John Parish- A Man A Woman Walked By: This album is almost like a collection of outtakes from PJ Harvey's solo albums, but you do get to hear PJ Harvey at her weirdest (this decade at least), so that's something.

Favorite songs: Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen, Black Hearted Love

8. Cursive- Mama, I'm Swollen: I enjoy this album, but I can't help feeling slightly disappointed with it because it feels like a step backward (sound wise) for the band. That being said, there are some very good songs, I was just hoping for something more.

Favorite songs: Donkeys, From the Hips

7. John Vanderslice- Romanian Names: I'm running out of things to say about JV. I like the direction the music is taking. That's all I got.

Favorite songs: Romanian Names, Carina Constellation

6. Grizzly Bear- Veckimest: This album is so rich and full with sound that it makes other albums sound bare (bear?) in comparison. The only other album I can think of that compares is In Rainbows. I personally prefer the Ed Droste songs on the album, particularly "Ready, Able", one of my favorite songs of the year.

Favorite songs: Ready Able, Cheerleader

5. St. Vincent- Actor: After the first few listens, I liked the album but I thought it might be too whimsical and weird for me to listen to on a regular basis. I was wrong. The more I listen, the less weird it got (and less whimsical). In some ways, St. Vincent reminds me of a female John Vanderslice, but mostly I just like hearing someone with a girly voice sing about things that are a bit twisted and not so "girly".

Favorite songs:
The Bed, Save Me From What I Want

4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- It's Blitz: I love well done throwback-type music. You can hear the Siouxsie Sioux and Terry Nunn influences in Karen O's singing, but she always maintains her own unique voice (unlike many others). Mostly it reminds me of what female singers used to sound like before Lilith Fair turned everyone into Michelle Fucking Branch. 

Favorite songs: Zero, Dragon Queen

3. Sondre Lerche- Heartbeat Radio: Where Phantom Punch was instantly enjoyable, this one took a few listens to really get into. But well done pop songs will always prevail. I really enjoy the 70s/80s pop feel going on (think Squeeze).

Favorite songs: Easy to Persaude, If Only

2. Neko Case- Middle Cyclone: Another high quality album, still an amazing voice, hard to pick favorite songs. There's not much left to say.

Favorite songs: Magpie to the Morning, This Tornado Loves You

1. Emm Gryner- Goddess: One of the few albums I can listen to start to finish without even considering skipping a song, it made an easy choice for number one. The three song swing of "Skating Rink", "Match", and "Killing Spree", is hands down the best I've heard in a long time. The slow build of "Killing Spree" is just amazing, and has made it probably my favorite song of the year. For an album that was completely unexpected (this isn't the album I've been waiting for the last 2 years), it was certainly a welcome surprise. 

Favorite songs: Killing Spree, Match 

Dishonorable Mention:

Placebo- Battle for the Sun: This album is just bad. There's not one even mildly decent song. They have screwed the pooch.

Girls- Album: If I wanted to listen to Elvis Costello, I'd listen to Elvis Costello.

Looking Forward to in 2010: Emm Gryner (finally!), David Usher, Spoon, The National

Tomorrow, it's time to get the decade party started!

Stitch Story: Bitch Pill

Busy times at the pony farm*, so I haven't finished too many things as of late. Plus I had a raging case of stitchers' block and haven't been able to finish any patterns. But that's where this piece comes in. I like the challenge of making something for someone else, so I tweeted asking if anyone wanted me to make them something. The awesome Beefranck (of Mr X Stitch and Emergency Pants fame) responded, and this is what I stitched up for her....


This lovely sentiment comes from a story about a female driver with road rage (as told by my bf). It was one of those things I heard and thought "that would be great to stitch". The design is art deco inspired. There's also a face in the design, with the eyes and nose at the top and mustache at the bottom. That wasn't intentional, but as I was working on the pattern it occured to me that the top looked like a face, so I went with it. I like putting random hidden things in my stitches.

*Even I don't know what this means