Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Best of 2014: Albums

So much for having a top 10 this year, I was so close but there were a few duds. This years top 5 is definitely stronger than last years though. Also, this year ends the 6 year streak of female artists having my favorite album. Spoiler alert?

5. Sharon Van Etten- Are We There
Favorite songs: Your Love is Killing Me, Break Me

4. Kimbra- The Golden Echo
Favorite songs: Everlovin' Ya, Love in High Places

3. St. Vincent- St. Vincent
Favorite songs: Huey Newton, Psychopath

2. Spoon- They Want My Soul
Favorite songs: Victory, Ghetto Woman

1. Sondre Lerche- Please
Favorite songs: Legends, At Times We Live Alone

Dishonorable mention:

The New Pornographers- Brill Bruisers. Together was an underrated more subdued album, this is them trying to recreate Twin Cinema and falling short. Also, you have Neko freaking Case in your band, why do you need a female guest vocalist?

Looking forward to in 2015:

The Church, Twin Shadow

Best of 2013: Albums

This was a lazy year for me. I didn't spend as much time as I would've liked listening to new music. I'm honestly surprised I even listened to 10 albums this year. Even so there were some albums I really enjoyed (although not 10 of them). I think 2014 is going to be really good, so I'm hoping for a top 10 again.

5. Neko Case- The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You...
Favorite songs: Ragtime, Local Girl

4. David Bowie- The Next Day
Favorite songs: I'd Rather Be High, Heat

3. The National- Trouble Will Find Me
Favorite songs: Fireproof, Humiliation

2. Janelle Monae- The Electric Lady
Favorite songs: Victory, Ghetto Woman

1. Jessie Ware- Devotion
Favorite songs: Running, Taking In Water

Dishonorable mention:

Tegan & Sara- Heartthrob. I get that they've always leaned towards pop and that this is their full on pop album, but it's just not that great of an album. The pop songs were better when they weren't trying so hard to be pop.

Looking forward to in 2014:

EMA, St. Vincent, Emm Gryner

That's My Bowie!

2 years. 24 Albums. The David Bowie journey is finally over. I really enjoyed going through his catalogue and trying to figure out what "my Bowie" is. It really is an impressive body of work. The albums at the bottom of the list aren't even bad, just mediocre in comparison to the great albums. The top is really divided by a matter of degrees (like being lukewarm on one song). What I've learned is that "my Bowie" really depends on my mood. Although the top album is really my go-to Bowie.

24. David Bowie (1967)

23. Black Tie White Noise (1993)

22. Never Let Me Down (1987)

21. Outside (1995)

20. Space Oddity (1969)

19. The Man Who Sold the World (1970)

18. Tonight (1984)

17. Let's Dance (1983)

16. Hours... (1999)

15. Pin Ups (1973)

14. Earthling (1997)

13. The Next Day (2013)

12. Lodger (1979)
Favorite songs: Boys Keep Swinging, Fantastic Voyage

11. Low (1977)
Favorite songs: Speed of Life, Sound and Vision

10. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980)
Favorite songs: Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), It's No Game

9. Reality (2003)
Favorite songs: New Killer Star, Bring Me the Disco King

8. Heathen (2001)
Favorite songs: Sunday, I Would Be Your Slave

7. Station To Station (1976)
Favorite songs: TVC15, Golden Years

6. Aladdin Sane (1973)
Favorite songs: Lady Grinning Soul, Let's Spend the Night Together

5. "Heroes" (1977)
Favorite songs: Secret Life of Arabia, Beauty and the Beast

4. Young Americans (1975)
Favorite songs: Fascination, Right

3. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972)
Favorite songs: Starman, Rock 'n' Roll Suicide

2. Hunky Dory (1971)
Favorite songs: Andy Warhol, Life on Mars?

1. Diamond Dogs (1974)
Favorite songs: We Are the Dead, 1984

Best of 2012: Albums

This was a stinker of a year musically. There were some albums that I really enjoyed but definitely not enough of them. Plus, albums that I was looking forward to turned out to be disappointing (I'm looking at you, Beach House). So here's my pathetic list of albums I actually really liked this year.

5. Kimbra- Vows
Favorite songs: Settle Down, Plain Gold Ring

4. David Byrne & St. Vincent- Love This Giant
Favorite songs: Who, The One Who Broke Your Heart

3. Twin Shadow- Confess
Favorite songs: Run My Heart, The One

2. Divine Fits- A Thing Called Divine Fits
Favorite songs: Baby Get Worse, Shivers

1. Sharon Van Etten- Tramp
Favorite songs: Give Out, Leonard

Dishonorable mention:

2012: seriously, it was that bad of a year.

2011 album that should've made last year's list:

Raphael Saadiq- Stone Rollin'

Looking forward to in 2013:

Atoms for Peace, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Neko Case

Concert: Sondre Lerche

I was lucky enough to finally have a concert to go to on my birthday. Even better was that it didn't involve driving to either San Diego or LA. It was a great show, lots of entertaing banter and talk about "Arrested Development Land". The set list was interesting, definitely leaned more towards the his first 2 albums rather than his most recent 2. Heard some songs I hadn't heard before which is always fun.

Setlist (not in order):

Dead Passengers
You Know So Well
Modern Nature
Sleep on Needles
Virtue and Wine
Track You Down
Two Way Monologue
On the Tower
Counter Spark
My Hands Are Shaking
Hell No
Airport Taxi Reception
Phantom Punch (yay!)
John, Let Me Go
After All
Domino
Boxing Day

Friday Five

A Very Special Friday Five...Top 5 favorite Howard Jones songs
  1. No One is to Blame
  2. Like to Get to Know You Well
  3. New Song
  4. Things Can Only Get Better
  5. What is Love?

Friday Five

I already covered books, so here are 5 albums I'm looking forward to this summer (and fall):

1. Twin Shadow- Confess (July 10th)

2. David Byrne/St. Vincent- Love This Giant (Sept. 11th)

3. David Usher- TBD (September)

4. Soundgarden- TBD (October)

5. Trent Severn (Emm Gryner's new band)- 45 Locks (November)

Friday Five

Been listening to 70s soul records lately. Typically I've been choosing one album to listen to on Sundays just as a way to relax before the start of the week. Here are some of my favorites.

  1. Super Fly- Curtis Mayfield
  2. Greatest Hits- Al Green
  3. What's Going On- Marvin Gaye
  4. Innervisions- Stevie Wonder
  5. Back Stabbers- The O'Jays

Friday Five

Finally made it through the next 5 Bowie albums after much slacking off. Seriously, it's gotten ridiculous.

That's My Bowie!: Part 3

  1. Lodger
  2. "Heroes"
  3. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
  4. Low
  5. Let's Dance

Part 1 | Part 2

Friday Five

The temperature has been heating up, so here are a few albums I like to listen to while enjoying the nice weather.

  1. London Calling- The Clash
  2. INXS- INXS
  3. Body Talk- Robyn
  4. On- Imperial Teen
  5. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga- Spoon

Friday Five

Long time no list! Working on being more on the ball with the posts.

So here's 5 of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs, just because I had a discussion about it recently.
  1. Heartbreaker
  2. Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)
  3. Immigrant Song
  4. Dazed and Confused
  5. Since I've Been Loving You

Crafty Birthday



For Steve's 33rd birthday yesterday, I went with a very specific, one time only theme. One of his all time favorite bands is the Smashing Pumpkins, who happen to have a song called "Thirty-Three". It also happens to be one of my favorite songs of theirs, which is good because I've had it stuck in my head a lot in the last month.

The Goal:

Create custom wrapping paper (inspiration) with the lyrics from the song as well as the sheet music, and do it on the cheap.

The Supplies:
Kraft paper
Packing paper (I don't know what to call this, it came from a Sephora box)
Gift bags
Alphabet stamps
Ink pad
Gray paper (optional)
Sheet music
Scissors
Rotary cutter & mat (or paper cutter)
Glue stick
Tape
Pencil

The Process:

Wrapping paper:
  • I made sure I had the lyrics for the song and divided them up based on the number of gifts (it worked out to be about 2 lines per gift).
  • I precut the kraft paper to the sizes I would need for all the gifts.
  • For each piece I drew some rough guidelines to try to keep the spacing consistent.
  • I stamped each letter separately (to get them closer together). Each piece took about 30-45 minutes (I have plenty of time on my hands so this wasn't a big deal). I wanted each piece to have a handmade feel so no agonizing over making perfect lines.
33-inprog

Tissue paper:
Rather than stamping the plain bags I bought, I decided to stamp the tissue paper instread. I figured normal tissue paper might be too thin to stamp on, but luckily I had some paper from a Sephora box lying around that was thicker. Upcycling!

33-tissue

Sheet music:
I scanned a couple of the pages of the sheet music, worked some Photoshop magic on them to clean up the scans before printing them out. And then...

The Make It Work Moment:
I didn't realize you can't wrap a cd using a single sheet of paper until after I'd spent time scanning the sheet music (which was fairly time consuming). So instead, I found a tutorial on creating bows from magazine pages from How About Orange. I followed the tutorial except I used a glue stick rather than stapling all the parts.

33-bow

The Results:
In the end, I spent less than $10 out of pocket on this project, thanks to using supplies I already had on hand, getting things for free (my mom very happily gave me the alphabet stamp sets cause she didn't want them), and shopping at the dollar store.

33-gifts

Friday Five

Despite all the blog neglect, I swear I'm (mostly) alive.

5 songs I've been obsessed with lately:
  1. "Antenna"- The Church
  2. "We are the Dead"- David Bowie
  3. "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around- Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  4. "What's Going On"- Marvin Gaye
  5. "Stone Rollin'"- Raphael Saadiq

This list pretty accurately represents the ratio of old to new music I've been listening to recently.

Friday Five

Right now I'm reading I Want My MTV, which is an oral history of MTV from 1981-1992. This book is so relevant to my interests it's insane. In some of the chapters they talk about specific videos, and despite my ridiculous memory for videos, I find myself wanting to watch them anyway. So here's a few that are mentioned in the book, from the parts I've read so far (I'm only to 1985):

Eurythmics- Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)



Eurthymics- Love is a Stranger (I'd never seen this one before but it's one of my favorite Eurhymics songs)



Tears For Fears- Pale Shelter



Duran Duran- Hungry Like the Wolf



Billy Squier- Rock Me Tonight (I hate Billy Squier, but there's a whole chapter on this one because it's so special)

2012: Music Resolutions

Typically at the beginning of the year I'm so burnt out on albums from the previous year from all my list making activities, I take a break from all those albums and listen to older stuff. Last year, I made a list of albums I wanted to spend more time with, which ended up being pretty nice (I never did get around to listening to the Bright Eyes ones though). So here's what I'm planning to listen to more in 2012.

R.E.M.: once the Bowie journey is over, the plan is to listen to all the R.E.M. albums from the beginning.

Destroyer- Trouble in Dreams: never got into this album when it first came out

Okkervil River- Black Sheep Boy

Pearl Jam- Vitalogy

Sonic Youth

Best of 2011: Albums

This year, I listened to more new-to-me music than I probably have in a decade. Between new releases, going through David Bowie’s discography and discovering the awesomeness that is The Church, my ears have been busy. Not to mention starting the year by listening to every song on my mp3 player.

For new releases, this was the year of the grower for me. Out of all the albums I heard, only two I actually liked the first time I listened to them (21 and Kaputt). There were a number of albums I was ready to write off before giving them one final listen and having the songs click for me. I think overall this was a good but not great (or particularly deep) year for music. My top album is hands down the best album of the year for me, although I really love all the albums in my top 5

10. Bright Eyes: The People's Key
Favorite songs: Haile Salassie, Shell Games

9. Okkervil River- I Am Very Far

Favorite songs: The Valley, Show Yourself

8. Emm Gryner- Northern Gospel
Favorite songs: Heartsleeves, Fast Exit

7. Sondre Lerche: Sondre Lerche

Favorite songs: Ricochet, Domino

6. Adele- 21
Favorite songs: Rumour Has It, I'll Be Waiting

5. Destroyer- Kaputt
Favorite songs: A Savage Night at the Opera, Kaputt

4. St. Vincent- Strange Mercy

Favorite songs: Dilettante, Chloe in the Afternoon

3. Beirut- The Rip Tide

Favorite songs: Port of Call, The Rip Tide

2. EMA- Past Life Martyred Saints

Favorite songs: Red Star, Butterfly Knife

1. PJ Harvey- Let England Shake

Favorite songs: The Colour of the Earth, In the Dark Places


Dishonorable mention:

Tune-yards: First, the alternating capitalization is just stupid, second, they're just a worse version of Vampire Weekend with a female singer.

James Blake: Boring with borderline awful singing


2010 album that should've made last year's list:

Twin Shadow- Forget


Looking forward to in 2012:

Isidore, Janelle Monae, Twin Shadow, David Usher

Friday Five

I'll be posting my favorite albums list next week. PJ Harvey released an album that may or may not be my favorite of the year. In honor of that uncertainty, here's 5 of my favorite PJ Harvey songs.

  1. Shame
  2. Dry
  3. Cat on the Wall
  4. Catherine
  5. The Piano

Happy Holidays!

Friday Five

I'll be posting my favorite albums list in a couple of weeks. Sondre Lerche released an album that may or may not be my favorite of the year. In honor of that uncertainty, here's 5 of my favorite Sondre Lerche songs.

  1. Sleep On Needles
  2. Easy To Persuade
  3. No One's Gonna Come
  4. She's Fantastic
  5. (I Wanna) Call It Love

Friday Five

Made it through the next 5 Bowie albums and have started on the Berlin trilogy.

That's My Bowie!: Part 2
  1. Diamond Dogs
  2. Young Americans
  3. Station to Station
  4. Aladdin Sane
  5. Pinups
When this is all over, I'll post a full list with what was and what definitely wasn't "My Bowie".

Ranking the first 5

Friday Five

In honor of 11-11-11, here are 11 of my favorite track 11's

  1. If We Can Land a Man on the Moon, Surely I Can Win Your Heart- Beulah (When Your Heartstrings Break)
  2. Keep Together- The Brand New Heavies (Brother Sister)
  3. 89 Days of Alcatraz- Emm Gryner (Public)
  4. Merica- Live (Secret Samadhi)
  5. Daughters of Sorrow- New Pornographers (Together)
  6. Better Man- Pearl Jam (Vitalogy)
  7. Dry- PJ Harvey (Rid of Me)
  8. A Punchup at a Wedding- Radiohead (Hail to the Thief)
  9. U Should Know Better- Robyn (Body Talk)
  10. Nobody Gets Me But You- Spoon (Transference)
  11. Forget- Twin Shadow (Forget)

Friday Five

Right now I'm reading Are We Not New Wave?, which is all about new wave in the late 70s to mid 80s. It's a pretty interesting read for someone like me who is a big fan of music from that time. The author goes pretty in depth in analyzing certain songs, which creates a sort of playlist to go along with the book. Some of the songs covered:

  • Just What I Needed- The Cars
  • Rock Lobster- The B-52s (a song I really hate)
  • Planet Claire- The B-52s
  • Uncontrollable Urge- Devo
  • Cars- Gary Numan

Friday Five

In honor of Thom Yorke's birthday today, here are 5 of my favorite Radiohead songs.

  1. Street Spirit
  2. No Surprises
  3. How to Disappear Completely
  4. Myxomatosis
  5. Nude

Friday Five

Been listening to and enjoying The Hurting, Tears For Fears' debut album, which got me thinking about other debut albums I love. I have a soft spot for debut albums, and not just because they might be the first album I heard from a band. A lot of the time debut albums are very different from what comes after. And there's something about that that I enjoy. So here are 5 debut albums that are better than everything that came after.

  1. Little Songs- David Usher
  2. Placebo- Placebo
  3. Definitely Maybe- Oasis
  4. Something About Airplanes- Death Cab for Cutie
  5. Songs for Polarbears- Snow Patrol

Friday Five

In this weeks' musical rotation:
  1. Northern Gospel- Emm Gryner
  2. The Hurting- Tears for Fears
  3. Strange Mercy- St. Vincent
  4. The Rip Tide- Beirut
  5. Pinups- David Bowie (almost time for Diamond Dogs)

Concert: The National & Neko Case

First up, a correction- The last show I saw was Grizzly Bear and Beach House, which was a few weeks after the Thom Yorke show. I forgot about that show because I was sick and almost didn't go.

The view from our seats:
 
Hollywood Bowl

Apparently The National is a wine and cheese event. Did not get that memo. So much wine. Shame they didn't play "All the Wine", would've been perfect. I'll spare you from my griping about the people there cause, screw them, it's about the music.

Neko Case was awesome as I expected and pretty amusing with her banter, which I didn't really expect. I got to hear 4 of the songs from my wishlist, including 2 of my favorites ("That Teenage Feeling" and "Maybe Sparrow") at the very beginning. She didn't play anything from before Fox Confessor, but it wasn't a full set. She played a few new songs which were pretty good. Here's hoping for a new album next year.

Setlist (approximate order):

That Teenage Feeling
Maybe Sparrow
Margaret vs. Pauline
New Song
Magpie to the Morning
New Song
Song I Didn't Know
Vengeance is Sleeping
Hold On, Hold On
Don't Forget Me
Star Witness

The National are freaking amazing. When Matt started singing "Runaway", I was just amazed at how fantastic his voice sounded. Not that any of this is a surprise to me, since I've seen them before, but I think at this show I was more dialed in compared to the last one. They played 5 of the 6 songs from my wishlist with a "Cardinal Song" teaser at the end of "Avaliable" (god, I love that song). Not to mention that St. Vincent (!!!) played with them on "Afraid of Everyone", "Sorrow", "Thirsty" (yay old songs!), and "Terrible Love".

Setlist:

Runaway
Anyone's Ghost
Bloodbuzz Ohio
Slow Show
Squalor Victoria
Afraid of Everyone
Conversation 16
Available/Cardinal Song
Sorrow
Abel
England
Thirsty
Fake Empire
Think You Can Wait
Mr. November
Terrible Love
About Today

Setlist Wishlist: The National & Neko Case

Shockingly, this will be the first show I've been to since Thom Yorke at the end of 2009. I'll blame a lack of good shows and money for that. And really, at this point I've seen almost every band I've really wanted to see at least once. So it takes a lot for me to get excited about a show.

Anywho, I saw The National back in 09, but I didn't make a wishlist for that show. So here goes..

  • Available (I've heard this one, but now I love the song even more)
  • Conversation 16
  • Afraid of Everyone
  • Runaway
  • Sorrow
  • Baby We'll Be Fine (heard this one too, but it's one of my favorites)

And songs I know I won't hear (a girl can hope):

  • Karen
  • 90 Mile Water Wall (there would be some serious freaking out if they played this)
  • Slipping Husband

Then there's Neko Case. I've never seen her live, so my wishlist is long.

  • Maybe Sparrow
  • That Teenage Feeling
  • The Needle Has Landed
  • Runnin' Out of Fools
  • Things That Scare Me
  • Pretty Girls
  • Deep Red Bells
  • This Tornado Loves You
  • Magpie to the Morning
  • Vengeance is Sleeping
  • I'm an Animal
  • Whip the Blankets
  • Twist the Knife

Should be a fun night.

Friday Five

Like the Police, the boyfriend and I have also been going through and listening to all the Bowie albums chronologically. He's a pretty big Bowie fan, but most of his albums I haven't heard. So basically the opposite of the Police. We just moved on to Aladdin Sane this week which means, 5 down, many more to go.

Ranking the first 5 Bowie albums

  1. Hunky Dory
  2. Ziggy Stardust
  3. The Man Who Sold the World
  4. Space Oddity
  5. David Bowie

Friday Five

5 Favorite Psychedelic Furs songs
  1. The Ghost in You
  2. Sister Europe
  3. No Easy Street
  4. Love My Way
  5. Only You and I

Friday Five

Ranking the Police albums

1. Regatta de Blanc: Even after listening to all the albums, Regatta de Blanc is still my favorite. This is mainly because 2 of my top 3 favorite Police songs are on this album ("Does Everyone Stare" and "The Bed's Too Big Without You").

2. Synchronicity: Before this, I didn't quite understand why people loved this album so much. I get it now. There are some excellent songs on it. How come no one talks about how creepy "Tea in the Sahara" is?* I'd rather have Mr. Every Breath You Take Stalker watching me than being left in the middle of the desert TO DIE. Just saying.

3. Outlandos d'Amour: Overall, what I like best about this album is the raw quality to it. However, that's also its biggest downside. The songwriting (and production) improves so much after this. The band is not quite at their peak yet, but off to a great start.

4. Zenyatta Mondatta: I had the hardest time with this album, even though it's one of the ones I've listened to the most. I just couldn't get into it. I like all the songs but, compared to the other albums, there aren't as many really great songs.

5. Ghost in the Machine: Once my least favorite, always my least favorite. Now I've spent more time with it, I don't hate it anymore, but it's still the weakest of the 5 albums. They're clearly experimenting with a different sound and it's hit or miss here. On Synchronicity they get it right.


Side note: What do I have to do to get a copy of Regatta de Blanc on vinyl? I need to make this happen. Also, my copy of Synchronicity was one of my best finds, it's in good condition and only cost me 19 cents.


*Because it's not 1983, that's why

Friday Five

For the past month or so, the bf and I have been listening to all the Police albums in order. I got really into them a few years back but he doesn't know all that much about them. So he's learning to appreciate their greatness and I'm learning how to not hate Ghost in the Machine.

Favorite Police songs (in no order):

  1. Wrapped Around Your Finger
  2. Does Everyone Stare
  3. The Bed's Too Big Without You
  4. Don't Stand So Close To Me
  5. Walking on the Moon
Next week I rank the albums.

Friday Five

I'm currently working on some of my pages for the new site, including the collection page. Sometimes I forget what records I have. So here's 5 things I had no idea I had.

  1. Tears for Fears- The Hurting
  2. Depeche Mode- "People are People" 7"
  3. Cornershop- "Brimful of Asha" 7"
  4. Eurhythmics- "Here Comes the Rain Again" 7"
  5. The Police- Outlandos d' Amour (which is why I now have 2 copies)

Friday Five

I feel like it's been awhile since I did a music list for Friday. Since day happens to be Canada Day, I'll put 2 and 2 together and make a 5 (see what I did there?). So here's a list of awesome songs by Canadians.

  1. Killing Spree- Emm Gryner
  2. Safety Dance- Men Without Hats
  3. Everyday Things- David Usher
  4. I Won't Be Left- Tegan and Sara
  5. Myriad Harbour- The New Pornographers

Friday Five

Back in January I decided to listen to every song currently on my mp3 player in alphabetical order. You know, just cause. Today after ~3000 songs (my mp3 player isn't close to being full and I'm lazy about adding things to it), I finally finished. Here's the last 5 songs.

  1. Yuko & Hiro- Blur
  2. Zebra- Beach House
  3. Zero- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  4. Zero Chance- Soundgarden
  5. Zombie- The Cranberries
I'll never do that again.

Lyric Series #6

For this one, I decided to be less ambitious than on the previous lyric stitch and something a bit more basic with just a border around the words. For the border and colors I wanted to go with something that was a bit darker than usual.

Lyric #6- The Good Life

The lyric is from "Entertainer" by The Good Life. It's actually the very first line of the song.

Update!: you can buy this pattern in my Etsy store!

Friday Five

5 albums I plan to spend more time with this year

  1. Rid of Me- PJ Harvey
  2. Dry- PJ Harvey
  3. I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning- Bright Eyes
  4. Screaming for Vengeance- Judas Priest
  5. Forget- Twin Shadow

Lyric Series #5

The theme for the latest Phat Quarter swap was music, which is probably the best and most troubling theme ever since there are so many different ways you can go. Because of that, I used half of my 3 week stitch time just deciding what to do. Then it took me another 3-4 days to create the pattern, leaving me with less than a week to get the piece stitched and in the mail. It took long days of stitching to get it done but it gave me some purpose for a week, which is something you definitely lose when unemployed, so that was nice.

Anyway, here's the piece:

Lyric #5- Neko Case

The lyric is from the Neko Case song, "That Teenage Feeling". The idea was to create something that looks like a teenage girl's doodles, using bright colors (my partner's favorites) and random doodle-y elements. When I doodle, I always draw arrows for some reason, so I included those.

I drew the original design by hand, then converted it into an Illustrator image (using my lousy Illustrator skills) and then imported into PC Stitch. That's why it took so long to make the pattern.

Overall, I'm happy with the way it turned out. I also got out of my 5x5 frame rut. This one's in an 8x8!

Friday Five

The 5 songs I've had in my head in the 2 hours I've been awake today.

  1. Here Comes the Hotstepper- Ini Kamoze
  2. Ask- The Smiths
  3. Any Time You Like- Robyn
  4. ...Til the Cops Come Knockin- Maxwell
  5. Informer- Snow
Clearly my brain is all over the place.

Friday Five

Still in music mode because of my current WIP.

5 Favorite Neko Case songs

  1. Maybe Sparrow
  2. That Teenage Feeling
  3. Magpie to the Morning
  4. Whip the Blankets
  5. This Tornado Loves You

Friday Five + Five

I forgot to do a Friday five last week because I forgot it was Friday. So this week is a double list. Here's 10 of my favorite songs. In no particular order.

  1. St. Lawrence River- David Usher
  2. Half Sorry- Emm Gryner
  3. Never Tear Us Apart- INXS
  4. Nude- Radiohead
  5. Anything You Want- Spoon
  6. Streets of Fire- The New Pornographers
  7. Radiant WIth Terror- John Vanderslice
  8. Maybe Sparrow- Neko Case
  9. Wrapped Around Your Finger- The Police
  10. 90-Mile Water Wall- The National

Top 10 Albums of 2010

Very promising start to the decade: 2010 had a group of solid albums (with the exceptions mentioned later on) and was overall far better than 2009. Lots of first timers this year.

Bit of housekeeping: 2009 only had 9 albums, and I said I'd add a 10th at some point. Well, I got lazy and never got around to adding that last album until now. I'm not going to get into revisionist history and reorder the list to add this album, but if I were to completely redo the list, it definitely wouldn't be 10th. 2009 updated!


10. LCD Soundsystem- This Is Happening: I never know what to say about electronic music, so I'll leave it at that.

Favorite songs: One Touch, I Can Change, Dance Yrself Clean


9. The New Pornographers- Together: I had to listen to this album a lot before deciding that it wasn't Challengers Part II. I'm not really sure where the band is going musically and I feel like they're on the verge of jumping the shark altogether. But this album is pretty solid, with the exception of tracks 4-6. Listen to the album while skipping those songs and tell me it isn't better. Really what I think I want to hear is a Dan Bejar/Neko Case album.

Favorite songs: Daughters of Sorrow, We End Up Together, Up in the Dark


8. Broken Bells- Broken Bells: I was never a fan of The Shins. I thought they were overrated for what they were. So I was surprised by how much I've enjoyed this album. 
Does Danger Mouse make everything better (with the exception of The Black Keys)? Maybe I'll have to go back and listen to The Shins again.

Favorite songs: The High Road, The Mall and Misery, The Ghost Inside


7. David Usher- The Mile End Sessions:  I've always thought that David Usher was at his best doing primarily acoustic stuff. By far his 2 weakest albums are more pop-rock leaning with questionable production choices. The bulk of the songs on The Mile End Sessions come from those albums. Take away the crap production and slow things down and the songs are vastly better. The best songs, "Everyday Things" and "Kill the Lights", both from his last album, are almost unlistenable in their original versions.  The one new song, "Fall to Pieces", is another highlight, and hopefully a glimpse into what his next album will be like.

Favorite songs: Everyday Things, Kill the Lights, Sparkle and Shine


6. Spoon- Transference: I'm surprised by how few lists this album is showing up on. I think that it's not getting the credit it deserves because unlike Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the band isn't doing as many new things (like using horns). But this album is great from top to bottom, just like the last 4 Spoon albums. They never have or will be the flashiest band out there, but no one does minimalist groove driven indie rock better.

Favorite songs: Nobody Gets Me But You, Trouble Comes Running, Out Go the Lights
 

5. Janelle Monae- The ArchAndroid: It takes some serious talent and ambition to pull off as many different genres and styles as Janelle Monae does on this album.You listen to this album and you can hear the showmanship that she is bringing to the table. Old school showmanship that involves not oversinging, using real instruments and quality songwriting.

Favorite songs: Locked Inside, Cold War, Tightrope


4. Emm Gryner- Gem and I: I've been waiting for this album for 3 years. In that time it went from being a "normal" Emm Gryner album to a duets album. I was a little reluctant at first because the pre-duet versions I'd heard were so good, but there was no reason to be. The collaborations are all solid and bring a wide variety of voices into the mix.

Favorite songs: Boy With an Affliction, Top Speed, Troublesome


3. The National- High Violet: At a loss for what to say about this album. It seems darker and almost more ominous than Boxer, which may be why I like it more.

Favorite songs: Conversation 16, Afraid of Everyone, Runaway


2. Beach House- Teen Dream: When I first heard Beach House, their music seemed good but the songs were almost indistinguishable from one other. On Teen Dream, they found variety and lightened the mood enough to keep me from falling asleep while listening. It still sounds like Beach House, just a better version of Beach House. "Norway" was easily my favorite song the first half of the year, partly because it reminds me of a kind of awful Fleetwood Mac song that's a guilty pleasure of mine.

Favorite songs: Norway, Silver Soul, Zebra 


1. Robyn- Body Talk: This year, Body Talk was my go-to album when I couldn't decide what to listen to. Full of well-crafted pop/dance songs from top to bottom, it seemed that I had a different song stuck in my head every day. If the general listening public had any sense, this album would be a massive hit. Even the songs from the 2 mini albums that didn't make it to the full length are some of my favorites from this year. The acoustic versions of "Hang With Me" and "Indestructible" prove once again that a well written pop song will still sound great even when it's stripped down.

Favorite songs: Indestructible, U Should Know Better, None of Dem


Dishonorable Mention:

The Black Keys- Brothers: Of course they've become more popular than they've ever been after releasing one of their worst albums. It's all downhill from here.

Vampire Weekend and any company using their music in their commercials: DIE

Looking Forward to in 2011: Adele (loving the first single), John Vanderslice, PJ Harvey, Sondre Lerche

Friday Five

I'll be posting my favorite albums list in a couple of weeks. The National released an album that may or may not be my favorite of the year. In honor of that uncertainty, here's 5 of my favorite National songs.

  1. Karen
  2. 90 Mile Water Wall
  3. Available
  4. Baby, We'll Be Fine
  5. All The Wine

Friday Five-Xmas Style

Getting into the holiday spirit, here's my favorite Christmas songs.

  1. Last Christmas- Wham!
  2. Christmas Wrapping- The Waitresses
  3. Blue Christmas
  4. Christmastime- The Smashing Pumpkins
  5. Santa's Super Sleigh (not really but I needed a 5th)

Friday Five

Friday always comes so fast! I should really plan these posts ahead of time. Anywho, since it's the end of the year, I'll be posting my favorite albums list soon. David Usher released an album that may or may not be my favorite of the year (you can listen to it here). In honor of that uncertainty, here's 5 of my favorite David Usher songs.

  1. St. Lawrence River
  2. Souring
  3. Long Goodbye
  4. In This Light
  5. Unholy, Dirty and Beautiful

Stitch Story: Poetry!

**This piece is NSFW, you've been warned**

The idea for this piece has been floating around for about a year ago when I signed up to do a NSFW swap and was looking for inspiration. I thought it would be a great piece if I had a male partner in the swap, but I didn't, so the idea went on the backburner. A few months ago, the idea was resurrected when I found a pattern I could use for the basis of the piece (it was a pattern for a Joy to the World Christmas stocking).

The phrase is a line from a Jim Morrison poem titled, "Lament for the Death of my Cock". The full poem is at the bottom. My brother was a big Doors fan and had a book of Morrison's writing that I took from him in high school. I also took his awesome Doors shirt that said "People are Strange". I wore that thing to death. Got so many WTF looks while wearing it (which was kinda the point). High school me was awesome. </sarcasm> I generally hate poetry, too much flowery crap and beating around the bush for me, but some of Morrison's stuff is entertaining.

Ode

Detail shot:

Ode Detail

So for the piece I used the music for "Hello, I Love You", which is my favorite Doors song. Specifically, it's the "Hello, I love you, won't you tell me your name" part of the song, which I thought was fitting for the sentiment. For the colors, I kept it simple and used turquoise for the notes which was Jim Morrison's favorite color supposedly. So it's that and a lot of freaking backstitch, which is not my favorite, especially now. And with all the straight lines, I was constantly tying to make it look as perfect as possible. The OCD tendencies were definitely flaring up. Overall, I'm really happy with how it came out, especially since it's so different from what I normally do.



Lament for the Death of my Cock (Jim Morrison)

Lament for my cock
Sore & crucified
I seek to know you
acquiring soulful wisdom
you can open walls of
mystery
strip-show

How to get death
One the morninaye
show

TV death
which the child
absorbs

death-well
mystery
which makes
me write

Slow train
The death of my cock
gives life

Guitar player
Ancient wise satyr
Sing your ode
to my cock
caress its lament
stiffen & guide
us

Lost cells
The knowledge of cancer
To speak to the heart
& give the great gift
words

power

trance

This stable friend
& the beasts of his zoo
wild, haired chicks
each color connects
to creat the boat
which rocks the race

could any hell be more
horrible than now
& real

"I pressed her thigh
& death smiled"

death, old friend
death & my cock
are the world

I can forgive
my injuries
in the name of
wisdom

luxury

romance

Sentence upon sentence
Words are healing.

Words got me the wound
& will get me well

If you believe it.

All join now in lament
for the death of my cock
a tongue of knowledge
in the feathered night

boys get crazy in the head
& suffer
I sacrifice my cock
on the altar
of silence

Lyric Series #4

I had the idea to do this stitch over a year ago but struggled to come up with an idea for the pattern (what else is new). While I was in Seattle I picked up some new pattern books and was inspired....

Lyric #4- Hole

I took the original pattern and changed the girls to give them more of a 60s feel- inspired by Mad Men. The green dresses are an ode to Joan. The blue/pink I took from the cover of the Doll Parts single. I left the shoes as is and imagine them being Doc Martens as a reference to the 90s. Overall, I wanted them to be doll-like but not in the obvious blonde/Barbie/Betty Draper type of way.

Note that the one with the scissors is left handed. Haven't decided who or what she's cutting.

I chose the song because I enjoy changing the lyrics...

I am...doll parts...big boobs...small heart

Update!: you can buy this pattern in my Etsy store!

Lyric Series #3

It's been awhile since my last lyric stitch, mainly because I haven't been able to finish the patterns. I probably wouldn't have stitched another National lyric, but I thought this would be a good one. The design is partially inspired by the ever-popular Keep Calm and Carry On posters.

Lyric #3- The National (again)

Best of the Decade: Full List

Just as a final look...my complete best of the decade list all in one place.

inrainbowsbear.jpg
  1. Radiohead- In Rainbows (2007)
  2. Spoon- Gimme Fiction (2005)
  3. Radiohead- Hail to the Thief (2003)
  4. Neko Case- Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006)
  5. The National- Alligator (2005)
  6. Emm Gryner- Goddess (2009)
  7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Fever To Tell (2003)
  8. The New Pornographers- Mass Romantic (2000)
  9. John Vanderslice- Time Travel is Lonely (2001)
  10. The Good Life- Black Out (2002)
  11. The New Pornographers- Twin Cinema (2005)
  12. Neko Case- Middle Cyclone (2009)
  13. Spoon- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007)
  14. Thom Yorke- The Eraser (2006)
  15. Nikka Costa- Pebble to a Pearl (2008)
  16. Adele- 19 (2008)
  17. The Good Life- Help Wanted Nights (2007)
  18. Tegan and Sara- The Con (2007)
  19. PJ Harvey- Uh Huh Her (2004)
  20. Radiohead- Amnesiac (2001)
  21. Imperial Teen- On (2002)
  22. Death Cab For Cutie- The Photo Album (2001)
  23. David Usher- If God Had Curves (2005)
  24. PJ Harvey- Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea (2000)
  25. Interpol- Turn On the Bright Lights (2002)
  26. Spoon- Kill the Moonlight (2002)
  27. Radiohead- Kid A (2000)
  28. Duffy- Rockferry (2008)
  29. Those Peabodys- Those Peabodys (2001)
  30. Spoon- Girls Can Tell (2001)
  31. Neko Case- Black Listed (2002)
  32. Bright Eyes- Fevers and Mirrors (2000)
  33. Sondre Lerche and the Faces Down- Phantom Punch (2007)
  34. Death Cab For Cutie- We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes (2000)
  35. Cursive- Domestica (2000)
  36. The Long Winters- The Worst You Can Do is Harm (2002)
  37. Kings of Leon- Aha Shake Heartbreak (2005)
  38. Sondre Lerche- Heartbeat Radio (2009)
  39. John Vanderslice- Emerald City (2007)
  40. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- It's Blitz! (2009)
  41. The Faint- Danse Macabre (2001)
  42. St. Vincent- Actor (2009)
  43. Cursive- Happy Hollow (2006)
  44. Emm Gryner- Songs of Love and Death (2005)
  45. Tegan and Sara- So Jealous (2004)
  46. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest (2009)
  47. The National- Boxer (2007)
  48. David Usher- Hallucinations (2003)
  49. Neko Case and Her Boyfriends- Furnace Room Lullaby (2000)
  50. Emm Gryner- Girl Versions (2001)
  51. Bright Eyes- Lifted, or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (2002)
  52. John Vanderslice- Pixel Revolt (2005)
  53. Paddy Casey- Addicted to Company Pt. 1 (2008)
  54. Sondre Lerche- Faces Down (2002)
  55. Franz Ferdinand--Franz Ferdinand (2004)
  56. Those Peabodys- Unite Tonight (2003)
  57. The Brand New Heavies- Get Used To It (2006)
  58. PJ Harvey- White Chalk (2007)
  59. Emm Gryner- Asianblue (2002)
  60. Sondre Lerche- Two Way Monologue (2004)
  61. Kings of Leon- Youth and Young Manhood (2003)
  62. Gnarls Barkley- St. Elsewhere (2006)
  63. Maxwell- BLACKsummers'night (2009)
  64. Sonic Youth- Murray Street (2002)
  65. Cursive- The Ugly Organ (2003)
  66. Nikka Costa- Can'tneverdidnothin' (2005)
  67. Placebo- Sleeping With Ghosts (2003)
  68. Queens of the Stone Age- Songs for the Deaf (2002)
  69. Sondre Lerche and the Faces Down Quartet- Duper Sessions (2006)
  70. Ed Harcourt- Here Be Monsters (2000)
  71. John Vanderslice- Romanian Names (2009)
  72. Cursive- Mama, I'm Swollen (2009)
  73. The Sheila Divine- Where Have My Countrymen Gone (2001)
  74. Placebo- Meds (2006)
  75. The Black Keys- Rubber Factory (2004)

Best of the Decade: Part 3

It's the final countdown!


25. Turn On the Bright Lights--Interpol [2002]

Interpol is one of the most difficult bands for me to judge. I always like their music more than I think I do, so they're prone to be over or underrated. But I think it's safe to say this is their best album.

Highlights: Obstacle 2, Say Hello to the Angels, Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down

24. Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea--PJ Harvey [2000]


PJ Harvey's sleekest, most produced album showed another side of the singer and the versatility of her talent.

Highlights: We Float, Kamikaze, The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore

23. If God Had Curves--David Usher [2005]


David Usher has had the daunting task this decade of trying to recapture the magic of a superb debut album. If God Had Curves is the closest he's come so far. More acoustic than his other albums, this album captures some of the raw qualities of Little Songs.

Highlights: Souring, See You Fall, Long Goodbye

22. The Photo Album--Death Cab For Cutie [2001]


I didn't know it at the time, but this was the beginning of the end of Death Cab as a quality band. Back in 2001 though, I loved this album because of it's wintry feel and everyday-ness of songs.

Highlights: Blacking Out the Friction, Debate Exposes Doubt, I Was a Kaleidoscope

21. On--Imperial Teen [2002]


A very solid indie pop album full of catchy songs and boy-girl vocals. A favorite of mine during the summer.

Highlights: Our Time, Ivanka, Baby

20. Amnesiac--Radiohead [2001]


Kid B for the win! That's right, I put Amnesiac higher than Kid A. I am a Radiohead blasphemer. In putting this list together, I realized that I actually like Amnesiac more than Kid A. Obviously they are very similar in sound, and while Kid A has some amazing songs, as a whole I enjoy Amnesiac more.

Highlights: Dollars & Cents, Pyramid Song, Knives Out

19. Uh Huh Her--PJ Harvey [2004]


Opposite in many ways from her previous album, Uh Huh Her is much more raw. I enjoy the rockier, edgier tone that the songs take on the album.

Highlights: Shame, Cat on the Wall, The Darker Days of Me & Him

18. The Con--Tegan and Sara [2007]


Diverse in sound, yet cohesive, The Con is full of catchy indie pop songs that easily get stuck in my head.

Highlights: Knife Going In, The Con, Back in Your Head

17. Help Wanted Nights--The Good Life [2007]


Storytelling is Tim Kasher's greatest ability, and on this album he weaves together the lives of bar patrons who I imagine live in a town where everyone has a story to tell.

Highlights: A Little Bit More, Heartbroke, Your Share of Men

16. 19--Adele [2008]


The biggest omission from my 2008 list (rendering it obsolete), I spent most of 2009 listening to this album on repeat. The contemporary soul/jazz sound of the album is well executed and Adele's voice is mature beyond her years .

Highlights: Cold Shoulder, Melt My Heart to Stone, Best for Last

15. Pebble to a Pearl--Nikka Costa [2008]


One of those albums with great variety and depth. What I enjoyed most about this album were the variety of styles throughout. You get 70s funk, acid jazz, 90s R&B, blues, 60s soul...a little bit of everything, and it's all done well.

Highlights: Keep Wanting More, Pebble to a Pearl, Keep Pushin'

14. The Eraser--Thom Yorke [2006]


Thom Yorke is a treasure.

Highlights: The Clock, Harrowdown Hill, And It Rained All Night

13. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga--Spoon [2007]


What I love about this album is that it mixes "classic" sounding Spoon songs with songs that incorporate elements from soul and R&B. You can hear where the band is going but you also hear where they've been.

Highlights: Eddie's Ragga, Black Like Me, You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb

12. Middle Cyclone--Neko Case [2009]


Repeating what I said on my 2009 list...Another high quality album, still an amazing voice, hard to pick favorite songs. There's not much left to say.

Highlights: Magpie to the Morning, This Tornado Loves You, Vengeance is Sleeping

11. Twin Cinema--The New Pornographers [2005]


Polishing their sound from previous albums, Twin Cinema is The New Pornographers at their best. Excellent contributions from all the players. Well crafted quirky pop songs at their finest.

Highlights: Jackie, Dressed in Cobras; Falling Through Your Clothes, Streets of Fire

10. Black Out--The Good Life [2002]


Black Out is the story of someone who is dealing with a failed relationship and not coping with it particularly well. The relationship is the catalyst but not the whole story. The emotions throughout the album are complex and never cease to feel authentic.  As Bright Eyes sings in "Nothing Gets Crossed Out", "Tim I heard your album and it's better than good."

Highlights: Drinking With the Girls, I am an Island, The Beaten Path

09. Time Travel is Lonely--John Vanderslice [2001]


For me, this is the classic JV album. It has most of my favorite songs on it, and really set the tone for his following albums. While his sound evolved over the rest of the decade, it's great songs like "Keep the Dream Alive" and "You Were My Fiji" that provided the foundation for what was to come.

Highlights: My Old Flame, Time Travel is Lonely, You Were My Fiji

08. Mass Romantic--The New Pornographers [2000]


The upbeat poppiness of this album is infectious from the moment it starts. You feel as though you're having as much fun listening to it as the band had while recording it. And while maybe not the most polished album, the potential for great things was clearly there.

Highlights: Jackie, Mass Romantic, The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism

07. Fever To Tell--Yeah Yeah Yeahs [2003]


The right mix of new wave and punk, the attitude of this album is what makes it go.

Highlights: Y Control, Black Tongue, Maps

06. Goddess--Emm Gryner [2009]


A near perfect album that captures winter as it was intended to. Of all the albums she released though the decade, Goddess feels the most natural. I think Goddess is the beginning of a wonderful new phase of Emm Gryner's career and I'm excited to hear what comes next.

Highlights: Killing Spree, Match, Die Evergreen

05. Alligator--The National [2005]


More approachable than Boxer, Alligator has a mix of cockiness and insecurity that makes it instantly engaging. Yet despite that, I really don't know what any of it is actually about.

Highlights: Karen, All the Wine, Baby We'll Be Fine

04. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood--Neko Case [2006]


Fox Confessor has a 40s/50s country (place not music) feel to it, which makes it stand out from her other albums. "Maybe Sparrow" has become one of my all time favorite songs, and solidified my opinion of Neko Case as one of the best voices and talents of the decade.  

Highlights: Maybe Sparrow, That Teenage Feeling, The Needle Has Landed

03. Hail to the Thief--Radiohead [2003]


Most people's least favorite Radiohead album of the decade, is one of my favorites. While not a game changer like Kid A, Hail to the Thief takes that same sound and gives it more of an edge while making it less ominous.  

Highlights: Myxamatosis, A Wolf at the Door, A Punchup at a Wedding

02. Gimme Fiction--Spoon [2005]


Spoon is one of my favorite bands, yet I've found it very difficult to pick a favorite album of theirs. However, the album that I seem to come back to more than the others is Gimme Fiction. Probably because some of my favorite Spoon songs are on this album. The simple bassline groove of "I Turn My Camera On" and the acoustic driven "I Summon You" highlight one of Spoon's most diverse albums.

Highlights: I Summon You, The Delicate Place, I Turn My Camera On

01. In Rainbows--Radiohead [2007]


Before listening to this album I never knew there were albums that made other albums sound almost unlistenable in comparison. The layers of sound create such richness and fullness that when I'd listen to something else it would sound thin and bare. Like the difference between a fully furnished room and an empty one. Luckily this experience was only temporary, since that would pretty much ruin music for me. The best example of this is "Nude", easily my favorite on the album and an amazingly gorgeous song. The understated nature of the album along with the sense of the band's cohesiveness make this their best album of the decade.

Highlights: Nude, 15 Step, House of Cards


Happy New Year!

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

28.
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)


Tomorrow....albums!

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...

beck_ticket.jpg
Beck
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.

dcfc-feb01.jpg

.........................

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.

newp-sxsw.jpg
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.

jv-sep01.jpg

.........................

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.

jv-feb02.jpg

.........................

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:
dcfc-dndtour.jpg

.........................

Spoon

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. 

Ticket:
spoon_acl_ticket.jpg

........................

The Good Life

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

Radiohead
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!

Best of the Decade Update

So, there'll be no more monthly album lists. For the remainder of the year I'll be working on compiling the best of 09 list, albums of the decade and possibly songs of the decade. Haven't decided whether the album list will be 50 or 100, although I'm still leaning towards 50. Still have alot of albums to sift through, been slacking lately.

Concert: Thom Yorke

Last night I saw Thom Yorke and his new nameless band. It was one of those times that it's good to live in the LA area. I would have taken pictures but frankly, I'm lazy. When Thom came out, he got a standing ovation which was cool, and well deserved. They played The Eraser in its entirety and some various new tracks. The whole band was into it, particularly Thom and Flea (who isn't used to playing quality music as of late), There was lots of dancing and percussiony goodness, which made "Skip Divided" awesome, and the highlight of the night for me. I also enjoyed "And It Rained All Night", "Paperbag Writer" (a Radiohead B-side I've never heard because I suck), and "Open The Floodgates".

Setlist:

The Eraser
Analyse
The Clock
Black Swan
Skip Divided
Atoms For Peace
And It Rained All Night
Harrowdown Hill
Cymbal Rush
Lotus Flower/Moon Upon A Stick
Open The Floodgates
Super Collider
Paperbag Writer
Judge, Jury & Executioner
The Hollow Earth
FeelingPulledApartByHorses

Concert: Sondre Lerche

Opting to drive down to San Diego rather than go to LA is always a good move, particularly for smaller shows like this because the crowds are so much more pleasant and not full of themselves. Plus you have the excuse to go to Denny's at 2 am!

So, the show was really good and Sondre Lerche was very entertaining and chatty with the crowd. It was a pretty simple show, just him and his guitars (electric and acoustic). He played mostly songs from the new album which all sounded great and some older stuff, mainly from Faces Down.

Setlist (not in order):

Good Luck
If Only
Heartbeat Radio
I Guess It's Gonna Rain Today
Words & Music
Like Lazenby
Easy To Persuade
My Hands Are Shaking
She's Fantastic
Two Way Monologue
Dead Passengers
Sleep On Needles
No One's Gonna Come
Modern Nature
The Word Girl

And for those playing along at home, he played 4 of the songs from my wishlist, including the 2 I most wanted to hear, She's Fantastic and Sleep on Needles. Was really hoping to hear Phantom Punch as well though.

Setlist Wishlist: Sondre Lerche

Seeing Sondre Lerche tonight. I haven't seen him since his first album was out way back in 2003, so there's lots of songs I've never heard that I'd like to. The new album is growing on me and I'm really interested to hear what some of the songs sound like stripped down.

  • Sleep On Needles
  • No One's Gonna Come
  • Track You Down
  • Two Way Monologue
  • Counter Spark
  • The Curse of Being in Love
  • She's Fantastic
  • Airport Taxi Reception
  • Phantom Punch
  • After All
  • Let My Love Open the Door

Required Listening: September

2006 was a decent enough year. Neko Case and Thom Yorke were highlights. I forgot how much I liked Sondre Lerche's Duper Sessions.

This months' 2007 albums should be pretty easy, since they're so recent. I've listened to most of them in the last few weeks. I really need some new music to listen to.

Beirut- The Flying Club Cup
The Good Life- Help Wanted Nights
PJ Harvey- White Chalk
Interpol- Our Love to Admire
Kings of Leon- Because of the Times
Sondre Lerche- Phantom Punch
The National- Boxer (which is NOT better than Alligator)
The New Pornographers- Challengers
Radiohead- In Rainbows
Silverchair- Young Modern
Spoon- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Tegan and Sara- The Con
David Usher- Strange Birds
John Vanderslice- Emerald City

And for point of reference, my best of 2007 list.

Concert: The National

A little surprised that this is my first show of the year. But it's also the first of three over the next couple months. Everytime I venture into LA, I'm reminded why I don't very often. Particularly for shows, LA crowds are crappy. Although the crowd last night wasn't particularly bad (by LA standards). The National are very very good. They're definitely one of those bands who rock more live than on record, which makes seeing them live even better. They played 3 new songs which were all really good and a whole lot of stuff from Boxer. I think I have a new appreciation for "Squalor Victoria" and "Abel" after hearing them last night. I got to hear "All The Wine" and my other favorites from Alligator, with the exception of "Karen", which is apparently one of those songs they've never really played that much live. It was funny to see Matt Beringer get progressively more drunk as the show went on. At one point he got tangled up with the mic stand and the cord and fell over and almost rolled into the guitar player. It was an entertaining show on all fronts. Hopefully I'll be able to see them again after the album comes out.

Setlist:

Runaway
Start a War
Mistaken for Strangers
Brainy
Secret Meeting
Baby We'll Be Fine
Slow Show
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks
Squalor Victoria
Abel
All the Wine
Available
Ada
Apartment Story
Bloodbuzz Ohio
Fake Empire

Encore:
Green Gloves
Mr November
About Today

Required Listening: August

Between being sick and vacation, I kinda slacked off on my '05 albums and still have a few to listen to. Luckily the list for '06 is fairly short.

Here goes:

Beirut- Gulag Orkestar
Black Keys- Magic Potion
Brand New Heavies- Get Used to It
Neko Case- Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
Cursive- Happy Hollow
Gnarls Barkley- St. Elsewhere
Grizzly Bear- Yellow House
Emm Gryner- Summer of High Hopes
Sondre Lerche- Duper Sessions
Placebo- Meds
Corinne Bailey Rae- Corinne Bailey Rae
Silversun Pickups- Carnavas
Thom Yorke- The Eraser

Been in a Sondre Lerche mood lately. Listening to Two Way Monologue a bunch. It's much better than I originally thought. Nice when albums surprise you like that. Definitely looking forward to the new album and the show in Sept. He's one of the artists I've been wanting to see again.

Lyric Series #2

What I Did on My Summer Vacation-



From the song "Plastic Sun" by Sonic Youth. Flight attendant on my way to Phoenix said it was hysterical. This was my first time using varigated floss and I did the 2 lines of the border separately to try to maximize the color differences and make it look more like water.

Also, I picked up a few cross stitch books which have given me even more things to work on. And went to a cross stitch store which was insane. So much fabric to choose from, I was completely overwhelmed but still managed to pick a few things out. Needless to say I'm going to be busy working on lots of new things.

Update!: you can buy this pattern in my Etsy store!

Required Listening: July

July's albums (another short list):

  • Nikka Costa- can'tneverdidnothin'
  • Emm Gryner- PVT
  • Emm Gryner- Songs of Love and Death
  • Jimmy Chamberlain Complex- Life Begins Again
  • Kings of Leon- Aha Shake Heartbreak
  • The National- Alligator
  • New Pornographers- Twin Cinema
  • QOTSA- Lullabies to Paralyze
  • Spoon- Gimme Fiction
  • David Usher- If God Had Curves
  • John Vanderslice- Pixel Revolt

Now that I've crossed into the second half of the decade, it's time to say goodbye to the albums that were sacrificed to the Smoke Monster.

  • Black Keys- The Big Come Up
  • Coldplay- Parachutes
  • Nelly Furtado- Woah Nelly!
  • Good Life- Novena on a Nocturn
  • David Gray- White Ladder
  • Emm Gryner- Dead Relatives
  • Interpol- Antics
  • Long Winters- When I Pretend to Fall
  • Muse- Origin of Symmetry
  • Muse- Absolution
  • Nada Surf- Let Go
  • The National- The National
  • New Pornographers- Electric Version
  • Orbit- xlr8r
  • Roland Orzabal- Tomcats Screaming Outside
  • Placebo- Black Market Music
  • Remy Zero- The Golden Hum
  • Bic Runga- Beautiful Collision
  • Silver Scooter- The Blue Law
  • Sunset Valley- Icepond
  • Travis- The Man Who
  • David Usher- Morning Orbit
  • John Vanderslice- Mass Suicide Occult Figurines
  • John Vanderslice- Life and Death of an American Fourtracker
  • John Vanderslice- Cellar Door
This is not to say these albums are bad (although a few are borderline), but to create a top 50 list, some things have gotta go.

Thoughts on MJ

I imagine this is what it felt like when Elvis died...weird, surreal. You just kind of expect entertainment giants like that to live forever.

How weird is it that Elizabeth Taylor outlived Michael Jackson?

I watched a bit of CNN's coverage yesterday and had to turn it off because it was so sensationalistic, it was like watching Access Hollywood or something. So focused on the tabloid angle and the negative stuff. Practically nothing MJ did the last 10 years is going to be remembered, it's all about the music and entertainment legacy he's left. Nice to see other artists pay tribute to the talent that he was.

Top 5 Michael Jackson Songs (in chronological order)

  1. Rock With You
  2. Don't Stop Til You Get Enough
  3. Billie Jean
  4. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
  5. Smooth Criminal

R.I.P.

Note to self: "borrow" sister's copy of Thriller on vinyl.

Counting Blue Squirrels

Latest project, appropriately called Electric Blue Squirrel. This came about after attempting to watch the squirrels that live by the train tracks where I work. Little bastards blend into the scenery, so I decided they should be electric blue so that I can see them, which is really kind of pointless because my actual office has no windows in it. Electric Blue Squirrel also sounds like the name of a 90s alt rock band along the lines of Dishwalla. Or maybe that's just me.



While stitching this up, I convinced myself that it's too big, especially for its intended recipient, the S.O. And since he's the main recipient of my work (the Kobe piece is now in his "man cave" with the l33t hax0r one), I may just keep this one for myself and take it to work. Then I can squirrel watch all day.

I'm having a bit of stitcher's block right now. I'm planning to make some gifts for friends/family for my trip back home next month, but the ideas just aren't flowing. So at the moment I've got nothing to work on...boo.

On a lighter note...I finally bought something from Etsy...



Presenting...Bun the Jacabunny! Kit Lane's work makes me happy. I pretty much freaked out when I saw him and snapped him up accordingly. Now I just need to clean my dust magnet desk and possibly find a better place for him. Even so, my desk just got much cuter.

Required Listening: June

So 2003 wasn't so bad, although it certainly didn't live up to the hype I manufactured in my head. These next few years (2004-06) should be interesting because I think they are hands down the worst of the decade overall. Not to say there weren't good albums released in those years, but the overall level of quality sunk to its lowest (particularly in '04). But here's the 2004 albums I'll be listening to:

  • Black Keys- Rubber Factory
  • Franz Ferdinand- Franz Ferdinand
  • Interpol- Antics
  • Keane- Hopes and Fears
  • PJ Harvey- Uh Huh Her
  • Sondre Lerche- Two Way Monologue
  • Sonic Youth- Sonic Nurse
  • Tegan and Sara- So Jealous
  • John Vanderslice- Cellar Door
Since I'm at the halfway point of the decade, I'll also be re-listening to some albums from previous years that I think require more attention (see below). And post a list of the albums that have been fed to the Smoke Monster so far.

  • The Black Keys- Thickfreakness
  • BRMC- BRMC
  • Interpol- Turn on the Bright Lights
  • Muse- Origin of Symmetry
  • The National- The National

New Series

Starting a new series of song lyric cross stitch projects. I've got the next 3 lined up but I'm hoping to find something from the 80s to stitch.

This first one is from "All The Wine" by The National, who are known around these parts (my house) as the Best Band Making Music Today Not Named Radiohead.




Tomorrow I hit Michaels for more supplies.

Update!: you can buy this pattern in my Etsy store!

Lost

In honor of tonight's finale, I made sure to finish this in time.


"The Bear" Station

I saw this on the back of a shirt at the Radiohead show I went to last August. I never saw what was on the front, but Lost + Radiohead = win in my book.

Apparently most of the Dharma station names are related to Apollo. His twin sister, Artemis turned one of her nymphs, Callisto, into a bear.

Favorite Lost characters:

  • Desmond
  • Daniel
  • Sawyer
  • Locke
  • Juliet (Because she wants Kate to die almost as much as I do)
Least favorite Lost characters:

  • Kate (I was REALLY hoping the Others shot her in last week's ep)
  • Jack
  • Sun (Living off the island didn't do her any favors)
  • Michael

Lately I've been...

Reading: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, which is basically what it sounds like...the zombie apocalypse in 19th century England. Normally I'm not interested in the bastardization of my favorite book, but most of the original text (thus the plot) is intact, so it was an interesting reimagining of the story. I can't wait until they turn it into a movie.

Listening to: Pearl Jam (who I've come to like in my old age), Live, Soundgarden, Sonic Youth (who I need to spend more time with cause they're pretty awesome), The National (Alligator, which I definitely enjoy more than Boxer).

Watching: Slowly making my way through the Best Picture nominees, so far I've seen Slumdog Millionaire and Frost/Nixon. Also watched Rachel Getting Married, which is like Margot at the Wedding but FAR better.

TV shows...Castle and The Unusuals which are both growing on me and will probably be cancelled. Dollhouse, which is seriously being held back by Eliza Dushku's total inability to be versatile. And of course Lost.

Making: I hurt my hand which has prevented me stitching as much, but I'll post a picture of what I'm currently working on tomorrow.

Required Listening: May

2002 was a pretty damn solid year for music. I enjoyed everything I listened to and all the albums will most likely make the list. I especially enjoyed listening to the Long Winters first album again. It has that debut album magic that is hard to replicate on future albums.

Up next, 2003, the year I've most been looking forward to for some unknown reason.

  • Black Keys- Thickfreakness
  • Cursive- The Ugly Organ
  • Kings of Leon- Youth and Young Manhood
  • Long Winters- When I Pretend To Fall
  • Muse- Absolution
  • Nada Surf- Let Go
  • The National- Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers
  • New Pornographers- Electric Version
  • Placebo- Sleeping With Ghosts
  • Radiohead- Hail to the Thief
  • Those Peabodys- Unite Tonight
  • David Usher- Hallucinations
(Suggestions are always encouraged)

Record Store Day

Got up early yesterday to make the trip to Rhino Records for Record Store Day. Most of the RSD exclusives weren't particularly interesting to me, but you say Cursive 10" picture disc and I'm there. It worked out nicely because I hadn't been in awhile and the BoyCrab's birthday is fast approching. Plus everything was 10% off. I got there right before the store opened and there were actually people waiting outside, which I should have expected. Limited edition + vinyl lovers = heaven. However, there seemed to be a large number of people who were just buying one of everything, no doubt to sell the stuff on ebay. That kind of pisses me off because it goes against what RSD is all about....supporting record stores. And it means that someone who actually wanted that item may not have gotten it because of some wannabe dealer. RSD is a great idea and I hope it continues to get bigger and bigger because record stores can use all the help they can get these days.

Since my purchases may or may not be birthday gifts, I won't say what I bought until next week.

Cellar Door

Finished my latest project....Donnie Darko inspired (and also the name of a John Vanderslice album). It happened to be on tv when I was working on it one day which was fun.




I opted not to change colors when I started over, mainly because I couldn't find anything I liked better. I think the color looks good though. I may do it again using backstitch at some point. I'm currently working on 2 Lost related things.

Country Music Should Be Better

I'm no country afficionado by any stretch of the imagination, despite being from Texas. Most of my experience comes from being exposed (by my sister) to Alan Jackson, Sawyer Brown, Garth Brooks, and various other artists popular in the early to mid 90s. In the late 90s, the genre had mainstream pop success thanks to Shania Twain and Faith Hill. From that point, the genre became more image conscious and hipper, although musically the I-got-a-bbq-stain-on-my-white-t-shirt mentality never really left.

So I've been listening to Neko Case quite a bit over the last few months (227 plays and counting according to last.fm), and while she's typically categorized as "alt country", her early albums have a strong throwback country sound to them (see "Whip The Blankets" from Furnace Room Lullaby). The first time I heard one of her songs ("Twist The Knife"), my initial thought was, "This is country". Her sound is more true to the legends of country than probably anything you'd hear on country radio these days. And while she's moved away from those strong country sounds on her 2 most recent albums, I listen to them and think that this is what country music should have evolved into rather than what is out there now. Maybe I don't know enough about the progression of country music from Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash to Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood, but it just seems like something went wrong along the way. I don't mean to say current country music is bad, it's probably not any worse than anything else these days, I just think the quality level could be much higher. Country music used to be a well respected genre with legendary voices who wrote classic songs. Now that's all but disappeared. In many ways it reminds me of what has happened with rap the last 20 years, going from urban poetry about life in the inner city to all about bitches and bling and no actual substance or quality. So maybe it's just the way that the music industry as a whole has evolved. But as I listen to Neko Case I can't help but think that this is what all country music should've sounded like in 2009.

Required Listening: April

This decade has been pretty lousy for music, which doesn't come as much of a surprise to me, but I really thought that the early years were much better than they actually were. The stupidest realization I've had during this process is that hey, there's a reason you haven't listened to some of these album since they were new....THEY ARE CRAP! Imagine that, some rhyme and reason to my listening habits. 2001 was filled with albums from bands that just went to hell afterwards, and in some cases, on that particular album (I'm looking at you, Remy Zero). I was going to post my original best of list from 2001, but frankly, it's embarrassing. Let's just move on to 2002.

  • Bic Runga- Beautiful Collision
  • The Black Keys- The Big Come Up
  • Bright Eyes- Lifted....
  • Neko Case- Blacklisted
  • Emm Gryner- Asianblue
  • The Good Life- Black Out
  • Imperial Teen- On
  • Interpol- Turn On The Bright Lights
  • Sondre Lerche- Faces Down
  • Long Winters- The Worst You Can Do is Harm
  • Sonic Youth- Murray Street
  • Spoon- Kill the Moonlight
  • Queens of the Stone Age- Songs for the Deaf
Not too much for 2002, luckily there have already been a number of solid albums released this year so far, the Emm Gryner, Neko Case and Cursive albums are current favorites of mine.

Required Listening: March

I thought 2000 had too many boring albums. Too much middle of the road, non-offensive music for my taste, but I think that's all the UK was producing the first few years of the decade. Hopefully 2001 will be better. This is what I'll be listening to.

  • BRMC- BRMC
  • Death Cab for Cutie- The Photo Album
  • The Faint- Danse Macabre
  • Emm Gryner- Girl Versions
  • Ed Harcourt- Here Be Monsters
  • Muse- Origin of Symmetry
  • The National- The National
  • Orbit- XLR8R
  • Roland Orzabal- Tomcats Screaming Outside
  • Radiohead- Amnesiac
  • Remy Zero- The Golden Hum
  • The Sheila Divine- Where Have My Countrymen Gone
  • Silver Scooter- The Blue Law
  • Spoon- Girls Can Tell
  • Sunset Valley- Icepond
  • Those Peabodys- Those Peabodys
  • David Usher- Morning Orbit
  • John Vanderslice- Time Travel is Lonely

Grammy Thoughts

  •  The new U2 song is pretty bad. They sounded like a band trying too hard to make a comeback. Sadly, I don't think Bono can write songs anymore
  • You could definitely tell Whitney Houston has been out of the spotlight for awhile, she didn't know what to do with herself.
  • Simon Baker's intro for U2play was obviously supposed to be for Radiohead, Transcendant? I don't think so.
  • Way to go Chris Martin, you out Bono-ed Bono! Their costumer couldn't have given him a longer shirt? I'm glad they apologized to Paul McCartney. 
  • Kid Rock...don't sing...ever.
  • Is it me, or has Robert Plant lost his accent?
  • Wow, the Jonas Brothers are actually worse than I expected. I'm glad the Grammy people were nice enough to pair them with Stevie Wonder, no one should have to look at those toolboxes.
  • I'm glad I got my Best New Artist pick wrong. I didn't really think people would be stupid enough to pick the Jonas Brothers, but I couldn't see anyone else winning. Good job picking someone with actual talent Grammy voters!
  • The "Rap Pack" was a total mess.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow totally wishes she married Thom Yorke. I wish I was in the USC band. Playing with Radiohead at the Grammys= able to die happy. Nice of U2play to give them a standing ovation. They should also give Radiohead all the Grammys they've won tonight. Just saying.
  • There are WAY too many performances, it should really just be those artists nominated in the major categories with maybe a couple of tributes. Most of the performances aren't even that good, trim the fat people.
  • I went 2 for 4 on my predictions, so not horrible. The Robert Plant- Alison Krauss songs sounded interesting

Grammy Predictions

I'm actually interested in this year's Grammy's. The nominees are actually pretty decent, Radiohead is performing, and MIA might give birth on stage. It might actually be an interesting award show! Here are my crack predictions for the some of the awards

Interesting thing to note, the last 2 years, one artist has won 3 of the 4 major awards.

Record of the year: Viva La Vida because I think it's going to be a Coldplay night, but I wouldn't be surprised if one of the other songs won, except Chasing Pavements.

Song of the year: Viva La Vida, with slim odds to American Boy

Album of the year: In Rainbows should win, but I'll go with Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends or Raising Sand

Best New Artist: this one is a crapshoot, most of the nominees weren't all that successful, and based on recent winners, it's always someone successful, so I'll go with Jonas Brothers (yuck)

Required Listening: Jan/Feb

Recently, it was brought to my attention that 2009 means best of the decade lists. So of course I jumped at the opportunity to anguish over another best of list, only this time, it can be drawn out for the entire year! Luckily I have a partner in music snobbery  who is into this as much as I am. So a very long list was compiled of all albums from 2000-08 that are currently owned (211). Some initial cuts were made, because let's face it, beautifulgarbage should not be on anyone's best of the decade list. So that leaves approximately 90 albums for me to listen to throughout the year, along with whatever comes out this year and the possible addition of other albums I may have missed out on the first time (suggestions very welcome). All to create a top 50 albums of the decade list.

To break things up a bit, I'm taking it one year at a time, of course starting with 2000. So for the rest of Jan until the end of Feb, I'll be listening to the following albums:

  • Bjork- Selmasongs
  • Bright Eyes- Fevers and Mirrors
  • Neko Case- Furnace Room Lullaby
  • Coldplay- Parachutes
  • Cursive- Domestica
  • Death Cab for Cute- We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes
  • Nelly Furtado- Whoa Nelly!
  • Emm Gryner- Dead Relatives
  • The Good Life- Novena on a Nocturn
  • David Gray- White Ladder
  • PJ Harvey- Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
  • New Pornographers- Mass Romantic
  • Placebo- Black Market Music
  • Queens of the Stone Age- Rated R
  • Radiohead- Kid A
  • Travis- The Man Who
  • John Vanderslice- Mass Suicide Occult Figurines
Some of these albums are a lock to make the list, but some I haven't heard in so long I really have no idea.

Top 5 albums of 2008

As expected, 2008 wasn't a great year for music. 2007 was just the right mix of established and new acts releasing good music, and 08 was just all the leftovers. So unlike 07 when I had too many albums to choose from, this time I had too few, and even fewer legitimate options. I found many of the albums to be flawed and others just ok. almost all of the new stuff I heard I didn't find all that interesting. Too much bad singing and bad 80s techno ripoffs. But there were some bright spots, and hopefully there will be a whole lot more in 09. 

5. Kings of Leon- Only By the Night: when I heard that Kings of Leon was going to release an album so soon after the last one, I was worried that it wasn't going to be very good. Some bands can release albums in quick succession and keep the quality at a high level, and others can't. I think this album shows some growth from Because of the TImes, but there aren't any really great songs on it like with the previous album (see: "Arizona"). It's more of a consistent sounding record- nothing is great but nothing is bad. I think they're easily the best mainstream American band right now, but Americans are too stupid to realize it.

Favorite Songs: 17, Sex on Fire, Closer

4. Beck- Modern Guilt: better than The Information and Guero, this album is a nice mix of Beck's "crazy" stuff and more mellow "sad bastard" stuff that I have ignored. It feels more mature without losing what makes Beck so interesting. I'll be interested to see where he goes after this.

Favorite Songs: Youthless, Modern Guilt, Gamma Ray

3. Duffy- Rockferry: after hearing a few of the songs from this album, I couldn't quite put my finger on the appropriate comparison until I saw Duffy compared to Dusty Springfield, then it was like a lightbulb went off. The 60s sounds on the album are modernized nicely and work well with Duffy's voice. And it's always nice to see a mainstream album where the hit single isn't the best song on the album.

Favorite Songs: Rockferry, Stepping Stone, Hanging on Too Long


2. Paddy Casey- Addicted to Company Pt. 1: I would call this the surprise album of the year because I really had no idea it was coming out. I was a big fan of Paddy Casey's first album, but when his second album was never released in the US, I kinda forgot about him. The label marketed this album as his debut for some reason, and the first single was actually a song from his real debut album. Label idiocy aside, this album is really good in a quiet kind of way. There aren't any songs that really jump out and grab you instantly, but all the songs are good, and the subtle mix of genres is interesting.

Favorite Songs: Refugee, U'll Get By, City

1b. Nikka Costa- Pebble to a Pearl: easily my most played album of the year, it's one of those albums where your favorite songs change every time you listen to it. What I enjoyed most about this album were the variety of styles throughout. You get 70s funk, acid jazz, 90s r&b, blues, 60s soul...a little bit of everything, and it's all done well. It feels experimental in comparison to her older albums, but at the same time it's very comfortable and natural. An easy pick for #1.

Favorite Songs
: Keep Pushin, Pebble to a Pearl, Keep Wanting More

1a. Radiohead- In Rainbows: last year I said that if 08 sucked, In Rainbows would be on my top 10 5 list. And since it's far better than anything that came out this year, it gets to be #1. I'd also like to note that hearing In Rainbows live has basically ruined almost every other Radiohead album for me. Way to go guys.

Favorite Songs: Nude, House of Cards, Videotape


Partially Honorable Mention:

Gnarls Barkley- The Odd Couple: while the album as a whole is only so-so, "Neighbors", "A Little Better", and "Who's Gonna Save My Soul", are all very very good songs that I enjoyed a lot.

Dishonorable Mention:

David Usher- Wake Up and Say Goodbye: I have to admit, I haven't actually heard the full album, but from what I have heard, it's Morning Orbit 2.0, and since Morning Orbit is hands down his weakest album, this doesn't bode well.

Vampire Weekend- Vampire Weekend: go away, please.

Looking forward to in 2009: Emm Gryner x2, Neko Case, Cursive, David Usher (acoustic album), John Vanderslice, PJ Harvey

December to Remember

Been feeling craptastic the last few days, so I'm behind a bit on updates.

Novemeber recap:

The Autour de Lucie album has held up pretty well over the years. I should listen to it more. The New Radicals album is still not something I would want to listen to very often, but the songs are interesting. as I listened to it more, it seemed that he was going for a subversive pop angle, which given the time period in which the album came out, is interesting. Although I'm not sure that it holds up very well in 2008. Great pop songs always stand the test of time.

December's album:

Remy Zero- Villa Elaine:
This is one of the very few albums I loved from the first time I heard it. Probably because there's a nice bass line starting things off, and I'm a sucker for bass lines. So it was an instant favorite of mine. It's still my favorite RZ album, but it's been some time since I've listened to it. It'll be a nice way to end this crazy little project of mine.

Concert: Emm Gryner

Last night I finally got to see Emm Gryner live and it was fantastic. I enjoyed the new songs and of course the old songs were great. The Hotel Cafe was nice, although I can do without the too-cool LA crowd. I hope that she plays here more often now.

Oh, and Emm is really tiny. She walked past me before her set and I was just like "woah". She was shorter than I expected.

Setlist:

Almighty Love
Blackwinged Bird
Running Back (a capella)
89 Days of Alcatraz
Summerlong
Symphonic
and 4 new songs

Vintage Emm:



New Emm:

The End of The List

As I've mentioned before, I'm a big Emm Gryner fan, and through 10 years of fandom, I've never had the opportunity to see her live. She's the last artist on my (nonexistant) list of artists I have to see live, now that I've seen Radiohead. Well, next week, I am FINALLY going to get to see Emm Gryner live. I knew living in socal would pay off eventually. When I saw the show announcement, my brain shut down for 20 minutes easily. The news was very unexpected since she's not really touring right now. But i'm definitely excited. I have no idea what to expect, I have no frame of reference for what songs she might play. My dream setlist would look something like this....

Half Sorry
Queen of the Boys
Phonecall 45
The Good You Make
Seranade
Your Sort of Human Being
Case of Tornados
Tevenge
This Mad

Covers:
For What Reason
Running Back
Straight to You
Dearg Doom

November

Time changes make me particularly lazy. I find that when you don't know what time it is, it's better just to do nothing.

October recap:

Nothing particularly new or interesting came from listening to This is Hardcore for a month. Before These Crowded Streets on the other hand...some days those songs bugged me and I just couldn't listen to them. Listening to the album as a whole was much better, although I think the song "Halloween" is awful and ruins the momentum of the album. It's one of those songs best left to the end of the album where it can be easily ignored. I still think "Crush" is the best song on the album, and Alanis Morrisette's background vocals I still enjoy as well. but I won't be listening to this album again anytime soon. However, i may listen to Crash sometime.

This month is the last 2 album month, as I will be spending December listening to albums that actually came out this year and trying to compile a best of the year list.

Autour de Lucie- Immobile
This is an album entirely in French. I don't speak French. not even a little bit. But when I first heard the song "Chanson Sans Issue", I instantly loved it and listened to it over and over and over (and over). Despite not knowing what any of the songs are about, I enjoy the album quite a bit. It's really just poppy/mellow music in French. and at the time I was just starting to broaden my musical horizons and listen to bands and artists no one had ever heard of. So I was a sponge to all things new and different.

New Radicals- Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too
On the other side of the coin, you have the New Radicals who were pretty mainstream for the 5 minutes they were around. And while I have been mocked in my own household for owning this album, there are actually a number of good songs on it. Although I will say that overall, it's probably not that great of an album, so it was never something I listened to a lot. But a good pop song is a good pop song. And there are plenty of successful bands who are only good for a few good songs per album (namely, the singles) and the rest is just crap.

Octoberfest

Internet has been spotty today, thus the delay....

September recap:

I enjoyed listening to the Cardigans more than Nada Surf. Not really sure why though. Could be that The Proximity Effect isn't standing up to the test of time. It's supposed to be my favorite Nada Surf album, but listening to it, it didn't feel that way. Listening to Gran Turismo made me briefly consider buying some more Cardigans albums, but then i realized I've been down this road before and decided just to stick with the one album. I think some bands are like that. One album is good enough, any more may be pushing your luck.

This months treats...

Dave Matthews Band- Before These Crowded Streets
This album came out during my brief DMB phase in 97-98. Since then, I probably haven't listened to this album more than 2 times, and certainly not in the last 5 years. I always liked DMB's first two albums (particularly Crash) more than this one. If I remember correctly, there are some more experimental types of things going on I didn't particularly care for. But I do think that "Crush" is very good song and most likely the highlight of the album.

Pulp- This is Hardcore
I bought this album on the one cd shopping trip I ever took with one of my brothers. I liked the title track and its video, but more specifically the song that it is sampled from. That song actually helped me memorize the Hamlet ("to be or not to be") speech. I mostly listened to the album when trying to fall asleep, so it became familiar through osmosis. I knew the album so well that I had no clue that one of my favorite songs from the movie Great Expectations ("Like a Friend") was on the album until after I'd bought the soundtrack. In the past few years I've been listening to both this album and Different Class quite a bit. they're quite different albums, but equally as good I think.

Also been listening to...

Tegan & Sara- So Jealous (enjoying quite a bit)
Destroyer- Trouble in Dreams (jury's still out)
Little Jackie- The Stoop (just got it, too soon to say)
Sondre Lerche- Faces Down (forgot how much I like it)

Avoiding listening to...

David Usher- Wake Up & Say Goodbye (the single worries me)
Nikka Costa- Pebble to a Pearl (I'm trying to avoid listening to anything from the album before it comes out so it's all new to me)

Dancing in September

August recap:

PJ Harvey- well now I have a  better idea of what's on Is This Desire versus To Bring You My Love. Kinda. I can name 4 songs from To Bring You My Love and now have no idea the other songs that populate the album. I'll listen to it at some point though. That being said, I enjoyed listening to Is This Desire and finally getting a feel for it. Apparently it's one of the few albums I enjoy from top to bottom (another list I should make). Not a bad song in the bunch. Although, it only has a couple of my favorite PJ songs on it (Catherine, No Girl So Sweet)

Other PJ favorites

We Float
A Place Called Home
Shame
Cat on the Wall
Send His Love to Me
C'mon Billy
The Darker Days of Me & Him
The Dancer

Jude-as I expected, this album hasn't really withstood the test of time for me. It just reminded me of a time before Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz and John Mayer. I found myself wondering why I loved the album so much when it was current. I think the songs that are good on the album (I Know, Battered Broken, Charlie Says) are ones that are a bit darker and not so much about LA jadedness. I think the latter are a bit of a waste of Jude's talent. I got sick of them after awhile, so I'm glad the month is over and I can move on to something else.

September's albums.....it's one hit wonder month! more specifically, the album after the one hit album.

The Cardigans- Gran Turismo

Like PJ Harvey, I was only mildly into the Cardigans when this album came out. Although I really liked  "Erase/Rewind" and "My Favourite Game"  when they came out and was going to get the album. It's been a couple years since I've listened to it though. I used to listen to it quite a bit on the way to work when I was barely awake. not too peppy, but not slow enough to put me back to sleep. From what I know about the Cardigans pre and post hit, this album was where they changed their sound and got a bit darker. Granted, compared to "Lovefool", almost anything is darker. I'm not too familiar with the albums after Gran Turismo, but I do like the change they made to their sound. I think it fit very nicely.

Nada Surf- The Proximity Effect

Since September is birthday month, I gave myself veto power and switched another album for this one. This album actually reminds me of my birthday because it was around that time I first heard it. I was a pretty big Nada Surf fan when "Popular" was a hit, so I was really excited to have the opportunity to listen to an advance copy of their second album. I instantly loved it and couldn't wait to get my own copy. Then they got dropped by their label and the album never came out. So I paid way too much for a promo copy on ebay and in 2000 the band self-released the album. It's been a year or 2 since I last listened to it, but I still think it's the best Nada Surf album.

Concert: Black Keys

Saw the Black Keys for the second time last night at the House of Blues in Anaheim. Apparently I forgot to recap the show back in April March. (edit: apparently my recap consisted of the following sentence- "Saw the Black Keys last week. good show, but too short. I'm liking the new album."). So this will be a comparison piece. This show was smaller than the first one, and not as good in almost every way possible. The sound was awful. easily the worst sounding venue I've ever been to and it's a freaking House of Blues. It was way too bass heavy, on most songs you could barely hear the guitar, which sounded really muffled when you could hear it and you could barely make out anything Dan was saying. So that really tainted the whole show. The crowd was ok, probably 50% actual Black Keys fans and 50% people who just happened to be at Downtown Disney at that time. After going to a show in Hollywood followed by a show in Orange County, I think the best crowds are in the black hole area where I live. More actual fans who appreciate having shows in the area. The only thing redeeming about the show was that they played some songs from the new album. At the first show (which was right after before the album came out) they didn't play any new songs. Here's some of the songs they played...

Have Love Will Travel
Set You Free
10 am Automatic
Stack Shot Billy
Girl is on My Mind
When the Lights Go Out
Just Couldn't Tie Me Down
Your Touch
Just Got To Be
I Got Mine
Strange Times
Psychotic Girl
Same Old Thing

Concert: Radiohead!

I FINALLY got to see Radiohead and it was awesome. Hands down the best band of the last 2 decades (at least). Started out in the 6th row (although waaaaay off to the side) and ended up switching with some other people to move up to the 4th row (still way to the side). Security was pretty loose so I was able to bring my camera in. Since this is probably the only time I'll ever get to see Radiohead live, I figured I should do it right. The setlist was great, although as a Bends lover, I would've liked to hear a couple more Bends songs, as well as "Bangers and Mash". Damn you Vancouver! Thom wasn't too talkative, other than when he forgot the words to "Street Spirit". The whole band looked like they were enjoying themselves. The crowd was pretty good. although there were plenty of too-cool-for-words LA types which is to be expected. I missed my first celebrity sighting (Ellen Degeneres) because I wasn't paying attention.

My major score of the night was getting the setlist. The guitar tech was nice enough to throw it to me and I managed to catch it and not look like a fool.




Tonight is the Black Keys and while they're good live, nothing compares to Radiohead.

Agosto

July recap:

David Usher- Little Songs is just fantastic. It's almost sad that his debut is so great because everything after kind of pales in comparison. Not to say that his other albums aren't good. If God Had Curves has a few songs that hint at the rawness of that first album. I'm interested to see the direction he takes his new album...just under 2 months to go.

Emm Gryner- it was great to listen to Public again after so long. Definitely made me want to listen to more, So i've added Science Fair to the mix. I'm also trying to resolve the debate in my head as to which album is better.

August's albums....no random theme this month, unfortunately..

PJ Harvey- Is This Desire?
This album is a wee bit of a cheat since a)it's not mine and 2)I never even heard the album until about 2002. However, I do remember hearing "A Perfect Day Elise" back in 98 and I did like it, I just never got around to listening to more of the album. But I have become a PJ fan since then. My "thing" with this album has been that I've never been able to differentiate it from To Bring You My Love because I heard them at the same time. Which is why I added it to this little experiment of mine. I know I like the album, but i really don't know how much. So I'll be spending the month thinking "This song is on this album? Who knew?" A lot.

Jude- No One is Really Beautiful
Way back when, I was really into this album and probably would've said that Jude was my favorite male artist. Now i'm not so sure I'll even enjoy the album outside of  "I Know", which I still think is a great song. so this should be interesting.

Blame It On July

  • Still working on Atonement, last week I took a break and re-read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which I've really enjoyed both times I've read it. It's a mystery told from the perspective of a 15 yr old with Asperger's syndrome (or high functioning autism)
  • No work today, so I was able to watch quite a bit of Wimbledon finally. Of course they didn't actually show Federer's match, But i got to see both Williams sisters' matches even though I already knew the outcome. One of them has to win, I can't imagine anyone else winning. I find it amusing that the top women's seeds have all lost. I think it just proves how inconsistent they all are. I think there will be lots of different top ranked players for awhile. Oh, and I've been impressed by Andy Murray. He totally crushed Tommy Haas the other day. It was like watching Federer play Roddick (or Hewitt). Total domination. I haven't seen him play all that much cause he normally loses early on, but it seems that he might have gotten his shit together. I hope he beats Nadal. preferably like the way he beat Haas.
  • Got Wii Fit yesterday, I suck at everything except hula hoop. Go figure.
  • Watched the first season of Californication. There are alot of boobs in that show. But David Duchovny is funny. Also saw Be Kind Rewind, pretty good, definitely better than The Science of Sleep.
  • Before i get to this month's albums, a quick recap of June's picks (Something About Airplanes- Death Cab for Cutie & Songs For Polar Bears- Snow Patrol). It was nice to listen to both albums after such a long time. It actually took me a listen to remember all the songs again. Took me another 3 or 4 listens to stop wondering what the hell happened to Death Cab. But now I want to listen to We Have the Facts & We're Voting Yes. Snow Patrol was a little different because they went "downhill" quicker, so I wasn't as into them. So I just enjoyed hearing the songs again. But moving on to this month's albums...
July is Canadian month apparently, fitting that July 1st is Canada day. Both of these albums are mortal locks to be on my personal classics list that I am sloooooowly compling for my own music nerd purposes. I'm also looking forward to new albums from both these artists this year.

Public- Emm Gryner
Back in the summer of 99, I had to stop listening to this album for a week because I was absolutely killing it. That being said, it's probably been a couple years since I've listened to it. someone I hardly knew gave this album to me back in 98 because they thought I would like it. I listened to it once, thought there was something weird about emm's voice and didn't touch it again for months. Inexplicably I pulled it back out around the end of my senior year of hs and fell in love with it. So that's what the album reminds me of.  It's still my favorite Emm album,  really because it was the first I heard and it has a bunch of nostalgia attached to it because I listened to it so much.

Little Songs- David Usher
Since moving to California, one of the best things I've had the opportunity to do was to see David Usher live a couple of years ago. His albums aren't released here so he never plays in the US,  but he played one show in LA at a tiny little club which was awesome. One of the songs he played was "St. Lawrence River", which is one of my all time favorite songs (I'm a big believer in getting to hear your favorite songs live because it's always special), so that made the show perfect. I listen to this album fairly often, although it's probably been close to a year since I last heard it. This is my favorite David Usher album, and I think it's an example of how great and special debut albums can be. Great debut albums capture the rawness of the artist that can never be duplicated. Before there are any expectations, before songs get overproduced, before drugs and booze become legitimate problems, etc. Little Songs is one of those albums- acoustic, recorded in a kitchen, raw. not to say his other albums aren't good too, but there's definitely something special about this one.

Latest Masterpiece



This is bear #4 in my series of Radiohead bears. It's done in the colors from the In Rainbows cover. I may do a glow in the dark one next. Cause everyone wants to see a mutant bear staring at them when they turn off the lights.

June Gloom

  • Finished Rant last night. I enjoyed it, although there was some pretty messed up stuff going on. But from what I know about Chuck Palahniuk that's par for the course. I'll be starting Atonement this week.
  • The best part from the otherwise boring spelling bee



  • Yet again, new month means new albums. I enjoyed listening to both Placebo and Spoon. I had some serious nostalgia going on while listening to A Series of Sneaks. That album reminds me of Austin so much. Without You I'm Nothing, even though I can remember when I bought the album, doesn't remind me of anything else. Nut listening to it for a month reaffirmed that it's not my favorite Placebo album. Since those albums have 2 of my favorite album covers, I thought i'd make a proper list..
In no particular order...

Joe Jackson- Look Sharp!


Placebo- Without You I'm Nothing


Keane- Under The Iron Sea


The Police- Ghost in the Machine


Spoon- A Series of Sneaks


This month's albums are similar because I used to really like these 2 bands and then they started to completely suck and sadly, I've abandoned them to the point that I don't even listen to their good albums anymore. So this month I'll be constantly wondering what went wrong and thinking how good these bands used to be. I've actually been looking forward to these albums.

Death Cab For Cutie- Something About Airplanes
   
I'd guess it's been 6 or so years since I listened to this album. I gave up on death cab around the time Transatlanticism came out and Ben Gibbard did all that horrible electronic crap known as The Postal Service (which in my opinion is what ruined his ability to write good songs). But way back in 98, I was just hearing about Death Cab and for 3 albums they were really fucking good. So it's going to be hard to listen to this album without wanting to curse the music gods for turning Ben Gibbard into a complete toolbox. No doubt I will like it as much as I did back when it was new.

Snow Patrol- Songs For Polar Bears
    Um....I last listened to this album maybe 6 years ago as well. Unlike Death Cab, I think this is Snow Patrol's only good album. Their second album had some good songs on it, but overall kinda sucked. And then after that they decided they wanted to turn into Coldplay (who now wants to be U2, go figure), changed their sound and got successful. For the record, it's not the success that bothers me, it's the turning into Coldplay. Anyway, I think this first album is pretty good, and it's sad they've changed so much from what they used to be.

Random May Thoughts

Lakers-Spurs game 2 is tonight. There's already been some trash talking going on between my house and my mom's. I'm staying out of it because frankly, I'm a traitor, and I would prefer not to be disowned or thrown out of my house.

Pitchfork has an interesting article about favorite albums. "Like a lot of kids I would spend time in my room making lists of favorite this and that but it was always with one mind's eye on the social world: getting my ideas straight before they were tested." That was totally me in high school, although I don't think i've ever had just one favorite album at a time. That requires too much loyality and commitment to one album. But I can fairly easily spit out a list of favorite albums. I don't like to be limited to just one favorite.

The new Gnarls Barkley album has grown on me quite a bit. I think unlike the first album, this one is much more of a grower. Right now my favorite song from it is "Neighbors".

My latest project...



I need to get a better picture, the light was crappy since it's been overcast all day. Oh well....it's still making me hungry.

May Day

I can't believe it's May already.

New month, new albums. but I did enjoy listening to Madonna and Bic Runga. I was surprised at how many of the Ray of Light songs I still like, especially considering how long it's been since I've heard them and how my musical taste has expanded since then. Granted, I still won't be in any rush to listen to the album again any time soon. But it was something different for a month, which is part of the point of this whole flashback thing. Listening to Drive again was nice as well, and I might listen to it again soon, I do really like the album.  But this month I'll be listening to...

Placebo- Without You I'm Nothing
   
I believe it's been about 2 years since I listened to this album last, simply because it sounds crappy in my car. This is the album that got me into Placebo and has one of my favorite album covers. It's probably my 3rd favorite Placebo album (don't ask what the top 2 are). I remember the first time I listened to the album, I started to fall asleep and then the beginning of "Scared of Girls" woke me up and kinda scared the crap out of me. I've listened to Meds and Sleeping with Ghosts fairly often the last few years, so it'll be nice to listen to a different Placebo album for awhile.

Spoon- A Series of Sneaks
    It's been a few years since I've heard this album because it's not compatable with long drives (it's a short album). It's not the first Spoon album I heard but it has some of my favorite Spoon songs on it (The Guestlist/The Execution, Reservations, Car Radio, Metal Detektor) and has my favorite cover of all the Spoon albums. I must own it on vinyl so it can be framed and appropriately admired. Too bad it's hard to find and fucking expensive when you do. This album reminds me of the early days of my Spoon fandom and my time in Austin. before they became critical darlings and when they actually played these songs live all the time. So yeah, it's not going to remind me of 1998.

Also, since I'll be starting summer school next week, I get to catch up on my reading. So here's my reading list for the next 3 months...

(In relative order)

  1. The Time Traveler's Wife- Audrey Niffenegger
  2. Atonement- Ian McEwan
  3. Rant- Chuck Palahniuk
  4. No Country for Old Men- Cormac McCarthy
  5. Girl With a Pearl Earring- Tracy Chevalier

Random Thoughts

  • Thank you Kansas and Memphis for ruining my chances at winning either one of my tournament pools.
  • Saw the Black Keys last week. Good show, but too short. I'm liking the new album.
  • I think XTC is one of those bands I think I should like more than I actually do. I've listened to 'Skylarking' a bunch of times, and I do like some of the songs, but it's just not doing it for me overall. I definitely hear the influence the album had on Blur's 'Great Escape'.
  • It's almost vacation time!
  • Some thoughts after a week of listening to Bic Runga and Madonna (see last entry)...I remember why I liked 'Drive' so much, and how much I like Bic Runga's voice. 'Ray of Light'.....you can definitely tell it's Madonna's "motherhood has changed me" album. There are some songs I still like though. But it got me thinking about my favorite Madonna songs...in chronological order....

    1. Material Girl (this is mostly for sentimental reasons, when this song was out, pink was my favorite color, so the video was like heaven to me)
    2. Into the Groove
    3. Open Your Heart
    4. Like a Prayer
    5. Secret
    6. Human Nature

April Fools

Watched 'Atonement' earlier tonight....what a downer that was.

Listening to Air for the last time before I add April's albums to the mp3 player. Air and Brian Jonestown Massacre made for an interesting combination, since BJM is very 60s sounding and Moon Safari has a mellow 70s feel. Definitely good to listen to as the day is winding down. Or when you want something you can easily ignore if need be. I enjoyed listening to BJM, maybe I'll listen to it again in another 6 months. It's a good album, but not something I'm in the mood for all that often. Anywho...this month's albums...

Bic Runga- Drive
   
Last listened to this album 3+ years ago(???), although I listened to it a whole bunch back when it was current. Probably one of my favorite albums from 98. It'll be interesting to have this in the rotation since right now I'm in a Replacements/Clash mood and Bic Runga is the exact opposite of both those bands' sounds.

Madonna- Ray of Light
   
The one and only Madonna studio album I own (that isn't on vinyl). It's been probably 9 years since I listened to it. For some reason this album reminds me of the spring break I went to Alabama. when I got back home, I was dying to listen to this album. I don't think I like half the songs on it, but it's been so long, who knows anymore. I have no doubt I'll be reminded why it's been so long since I listened.

As a bonus I'm adding Rufus Wainwright- "April Fools".

March Madness

It's been awhile since I've had a "proper" update, so here's some random stuff....

  • Watched "Margot at the Wedding"....uhhhhhhhhh....was the point of the movie to show how well Nicole Kidman plays a nutjob?
  • Bought a bunch more cross stitch supplies, finished my latest project (pictures soon), hope to finish my newest "masterpiece" before Monday
  • I can't believe how much baseball is already starting to dominate sports shows/sites. granted, I can't believe the season is about to start either, since it feels like it ended only a month ago. Give it a week and the daily Yanks/Sawks stories will have arrived
  • It's almost March Madness time, that time of the year when I give a shit about college basketball in hopes of winning some free meals. yay! (seriously.....when did I become such a sports freak?)
  • Lost was goooooooooood this week. The Desmond episodes are always interesting because they pull things out of left field...first he's a precog and now he's a time traveler?
  • Since it's March, that means new 1998 albums. All I have to say is thank god. I was never really in the mood to listen to Massive Attack, and Garbage seemed too fresh in my mind, but not entirely unpleasant. Anyway, this month's albums are Moon Safari (Air) and Strung Out in Heaven (Brian Jonestown Massacre). I haven't listened to Moon Safari in at least 3 years, but I was listening to it practically everyday the first 3 or so years after it came out, so this will be a real walk down memory lane. I'm excited to hear they're releasing a 10th anniversary edition next month. I will definitely pick that up. If I ever made a list of my personal classic albums, Moon Safari would be on it for sure. I last listened to Strung Out in Heaven about a year ago(?) after I saw Dig! It's a good album, it's just never been one of those that really sticks out that I want to listen to frequently.

Musical Enjoyment

What I've been listening to lately....

Violent Femmes
Stranger Than Fiction soundtrack
The Replacements
The Clash
In Rainbows disc 2

Been in a late 70s/early 80s mood lately.....I'll probably pick up some albums by Thin Lizzy and The Jam soon.

February

The start of a new month means 2 new albums for my 98 flashback, and not a moment too soon. I am definitely sick of Prolonging the Magic. Listening to it one last time was painful, I couldn't wait for it to be over. and yet, I like the album. From the Choirgirl Hotel never got old though, maybe because it had been so long since I last listened to it. Anyway, this month's albums are Version 2.0 (Garbage) and Mezzanine (Massive Attack). Version 2.0 was an instant favorite of mine when it came out and I had a major Garbage phase there for awhile. It's been awhile since I've listened to it though. I'll probably hate it like Prolonging the Magic by the end of the month. Mezzanine is the complete opposite, I've barely listened to it since I bought it. I vaguely remember liking it though. I anticipate wanting to watch a lot of House (yay it's back) this month.

Speaking of tv, Lost was pretty good, although watching last season's finale on Wed was pretty annoying with all the stupid comments popping up. It was like Lost for dummies. If you don't know what's going on, get the dvds! The season premiere though...I kept thinking of the Suicidal Tendencies song "Institutionalized"....I'm not crazy, you're the one who's crazy.

Starting the New Year Off Right

In an effort to (1) get some different stuff on my mp3 player, (2) hopefully rediscover albums/bands and (3) reminisce about the "good old days", I'm going to add 1-2 albums that came out in 1998 to my mp3 player every month. Some I've listened to more recently, others probably not since 1998, so that will be interesting. Also, they'll be randomly selected so I won't be tempted to play favorites.

For the first month I'll be listening to...Tori Amos- From The Choirgirl Hotel and Cake- Prolonging The Magic. I haven't listened to From The Choirgirl Hotel in forever. It's the only Tori Amos album I will touch since she's batshit crazy. It always reminds me of getting ready for school though. Ahh, high school.

Top 10 Albums of 2007

This was the best year for music in a long time. I can't remember the last time I really had to think about what I would put in my top 10 and what I'd leave out. Established acts released albums that were actually good (for the most part), and I got into a lot of new bands for the first time in a while. Sadly, I don't expect 2008 to be nearly as good.

On to the list...

10. David Usher- Strange Birds: This album mixes the low-key feel of If God Had Curves with the subtle electronic touches of Hallucinations, basically taking the best parts from each. It makes for a solid album, although it doesn't have the high points of either one.

Favorite Songs: Science, Ugly is Beautiful

9. PJ Harvey- White Chalk: This is a challenging album for me as a PJ fan because I enjoyed Uh Huh Her so much. this album is so quiet and delicate in comparison. I didn't know what to make of it. plus it's really bad car music. After I took the time to really listen to it and get comfortable with PJ singing in a higher register, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Although I still hope she goes back to the guitars on her next album.

Favorite Songs:  Dear Darkness, The Devil

8. Beirut- The Flying Club Cup: One of the new bands I "discovered" thanks to some friends. I instantly took to the old-world Frenchie style songs that make up this album because the sounds were so different from anything else I'd heard. and Zach Condon's voice fits in perfectly with it all.

Favorite Songs:  The Penalty, Cliquot

7. Silverchair- Young Modern: This is the part of the list where I ruin my "indie coolness" and pick an album by a band that everyone's actually heard of. I've always thought Silverchair had the potential to make good albums once they started to find their own sound. The album is diverse, interesting and unexpected. unexpected in a "this is Silverchair?" and "I think I kinda like this song" kind of way. But it is a good mainstream sounding album that is better than most mainstream modern rock bs you hear today.

Favorite Songs:  Mind Reader, Those Thieving Birds (Part 1)/Strange Behaviour/Those Thieving Birds (Part 2) -yes that is 1 song

6.
John Vanderslice- Emerald City: While I don't think this album is as good as Pixel Revolt, it still has some great songs on it and almost everything you love about JV, the exception being songs about bunnies, corrupt cops, or something equally as random.

Favorite Songs:  White Dove, The Parade

5. Sondre Lerche- Phantom Punch: This album was my hands down best of the year until about July and then it got run over by 4 other albums. Of all the albums this year, this was the one I was most anxious for, especially after hearing the title track. I wanted to hear what a rockier Sondre Lerche album sounded like, and it didn't disappoint. While there are more electric than acoustic guitars on this album compared to his others, all the hooky indie-pop songs are still there, getting stuck in your head.

Favorite Songs:  Phantom Punch, Airport Taxi Reception

4. Tegan and Sara- The Con: Filling the spot desgnated for female Candian artists this year (usually occupied by Emm Gryner), is the album with the most earworms. as i write this, "The Con" is playing in my head, which has been par for the course with this album. So many great songs, so many things to get stuck in your head. such diversity in the sound but still making a cohesive album. It was really tough to pick my 2 favorite songs. I'm known for being pretty anti-female singers because 9.5 times out of 10 they're annoying, whiny and/or trying to rock when they can't. this is the other .5. Viva Canada!

Favorite Songs: Knife Going In, Like O Like H

3. Spoon- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga: What I love about this album is that it mixes "classic" sounding Spoon songs (Don't Make Me a Target, Don't You Evah) with songs that incorporate r&b and Motown horns (You Got Yr Cherry Bomb, The Underdog). and like what I think a great album should be, this album has layers to it. There were songs that I instantly liked the first couple of times I heard them and then as I listened more, there were other songs that would get my attention as well. I really like the direction they seem to be going in. This is probably one of my favorite Spoon albums.

Favorite Songs: Eddie's Ragga, Black Like Me

2. Radiohead- In Rainbows: I wasn't expecting to have a Radiohead album in my top 10 this year, but here it is. and if 2008 sucks, I'll put it on next year's list too since the official release is Jan 1st. For the first time since OK Computer we have a Radiohead album that feels like a Radiohead album. and not just because it's less experimental than their last 3 albums. It feels like it was more of a group effort and there's more emphasis on lyrical content. This is one band I have faith in to not put out an album full of crap.

Favorite Songs: Videotape, House of Cards

1. The Good Life- Help Wanted Nights: I was a little bit apprehensive about this album just because the last one was not very consistent- the good songs were really really good but everything else was blah. So when I first heard this album, I wasn't sure what to do with it. nothing stuck out as being good or bad the first few times I listened. But as I listened more, I went from thinking, "this song isn't bad" to "this song is great". Basically a grower album. And really, I'm a huge fan of Tim Kasher's storytelling, so I couldn't not love this album, and eventually I had every song in my head, much like with the Tegan and Sara album. This album is good from start to finish and the songs are some of my favorites of the year.

Favorite Songs:  A Little Bit More, Your Share of Men


Dishonorable Mention:

Chris Cornell- Carry On: go back to Soundgarden and let the Beast out.
New Pornographers- Challengers: half the songs are decent, the others....bleck. They totally screwed up the female vocals on the album.


Looking forward to in 2008: Emm Gryner, Black Keys, David Usher

Concert: The Good Life

Last night I finally got to see The Good Life. They were nice enough to play at my "local" venue and not just LA. Got there early enough to get a really good spot....off to the side but on a platform so I could see everything. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of the crowd since this is Tim Kasher's side project, but there were almost as many people there as when I saw Cursive last year. Anyway, I completely ignored the first band as they had a female singer and I don't do female singers in rock bands. The second act was better, more country though.

The Good Life was really really good. They played a great set with almost all the songs I wanted to hear. They started off with "Lovers Need Lawyers" so I was definitely happy with that. And they ended the encore with a badass version of  "Notes in his Pockets", which was the #1 song I wanted to hear. And Tim made fun of people dressing up for Halloween. Good times. Got the setlist (see below) and left with a nice concert high. Which is probably why I feel like ass right now- concert hangover..boo.

I love the new album, I definitely like it more than the last one, although I think the best songs from Album of the Year are better than the best songs from Help Wanted Nights. I may change my mind on that though.

Time to lay on the couch and die....


setlist:

Long Overdue SLC Recap

A couple weeks ago I went up to Salt Lake to visit a friend and to see John Vanderslice play in Provo and SLC. I wish I'd taken more pictures, but I generally suck at remembering to take pictures....

Friday:

Arrived in Mormon country, drove down to Provo (hardcore Mormon country), hit thrift store #1, grabbed some food and proceeded to the venue. Had to wait in line awhile because the doors were pushed back cause the opening band was late getting in and needed food. In the meantime, there were plenty of LA-area douchebags around to remind me of home, further reminding me why i don't go to JV's LA shows and opt to go to San Diego instead. Finally get in, find a good seat with a nice view of the stage, good for taking pictures.....if I hadn't left my camera in the car (strike 1). The venue was pretty cool, reminded me of a smaller Mercury (aka the Parish) in Austin. JV was great as always....played a similar set to the San Diego show, including...

Kookabura
White Dove
Time To Go
Tablespoon of Codeine
Numbered Lithograph
Angela
Dear Sarah Shu
Trance Manual
Exodus Damage
The Tower
Up Above the Sea
Pale Horse
Underneath the Leaves

and for the "encore" Keep the Dream Alive unplugged in the crowd.

After almost everyone had left, JV took to the streets outside the venue and played You Were My Fiji by request since the band didn't know it. Yet another opportunity for pictures (strike 2).....THEN he went down the street to a gelato place and played Nikki Oh Nikki. I think the employees were really confused as to what was going on, but JV brought them business. He still had to buy is own gelato though. Oh...and yeah, another chance for pictures (strike 3, I suck).

On the way back to SLC, we picked up some Krispy Kreme doughnuts (which are hard to come by out there)...yummy

Saturday:

More thrift stores....picked up a polo, sweater, 2 belts, and a chain for the bear charm i got the last time I was in town. Jason's Deli for lunch...mmm......COME TO CALIFORNIA. I miss that place. I had greek food for the first time....yummy stuff. Then it was off to the venue for the show. This time I got in free as part of JV's merch crew. Hung out a bit before the show chatting with JV and selling stuff. After the show started I went to try to take some pictures. I had a shit angle, so this was the best i could do....









Another great show....basically identical setlist to the night before, except he played They Won't Let Me Run instead of some other song, and did Keep The Dream Alive and Nikki Oh Nikki as the in crowd "encore". I really wanted to hear The Parade again cause that's one of my favorites from the new album.

Handled the post show merch rush pretty well. Got a tote bag for myself. After, JV and Daniel Hart went to record a Daytrotter session, so I watched that from afar. I'll post a link when it's available.

From the merch table...


Sunday:

Went to the ghetto mall or the San Antonio mall as my friend likes to call it. It was actually really cool. it reminded me of the way malls were when I was younger and didn't despise them. Back before it was all Gap, Aberchrombie, Victoria's Secret and all the other bs. When the food courts were all random places instead of fast food chains. Had some yummy chinese food for cheap. SLC is pretty lousy on sunday because hardly anything is open. Went to Costco and got a churro and drove around for awhile before going to the airport.

It was lots of fun, especially seeing JV 2 nights in a row. reminds me of old times.

Top 13s

Spent the evening making and discussing top 13 favorite songs by various bands.....here's some of mine...

(In no particular order)

INXS

never tear us apart
stay young
need you tonight
to look at you
kiss the dirt
taste it
by my side
everything
disappear
i'm just a man
the stairs
faith in each other
devil inside


Smashing Pumpkins

thirty-three
ava adore
saturnine
tonight tonight
drown
stand inside your love
in the arms of sleep
obscured
muzzle
let me give the world to you
cherry
everlasting gaze
xyu


Radiohead

street spirit
fake plastic trees
the bends
just
black star
how to disappear completely
no surprises
karma police
let down
punchup at a wedding
myxomatosis
there there
sulk


Emm Gryner

this mad
acid
phonecall 45
the good you make
your sort of human being
july
seranade
big day
revenge
half sorry
doomsday
stereochrome
queen of the boys


John Vanderslice

everything changed
my old flame
radiant with terror
continuation
me and my 424
time travel is lonely
you were my fiji
amitriptyline
up above the sea
they won't let me run
trance manual
keep the dream alive
letter to the east coast


PJ Harvey

shame
long snake moan
the dancer
send his love to me
no girl so sweet
the garden
we float
cat on the wall
a place called home
the slow drug
the darker days of me & him
the whores hustle and the hustlers whore
you said something


Spoon

the guestlist/the execution
reservations
anything you want
the fitted shirt
paper tiger
i turn my camera on
the way we get by
the delicate place
the two sides of monsieur valentine
i summon you
my mathematical mind
take a walk
jonathon fisk

Concert: John Vanderslice

From my rough estimation, I've seen JV 6 or 7 times since 2001, but the last time I saw him was 2003 which I regret now since his shows are always good.

I chose to go to the San Diego show instead of the LA show because it was on my day off and I think I like san diego crowds better. Of course the downside is the 2 hour drive each way. The show was at the Casbah, which reminded me a lot of Emos....same type of atmosphere, good crowds, etc. I'm sure if I lived in the area, I'd go there a lot, but of course I don't, so I suck.

Here's some of the songs he played:

Angela
Up Above the Sea
Underneath the Leaves
Keep the Dream Alive
Time Travel is Lonely
Letter to the East Coast (guest singer)
Trance Manual
Exodus Damage
Dear Sarah Shu
White Plains
Nikki Oh Nikki
Do You Remember?
My Old Flame

The JV/ Dave on drums combo was cool, nice to hear the songs a bit stripped down, wish he played "Radiant With Terror" though. someone asked if he was going to play "Speed Lab" (from his 1st album) and he said that they didn't know it, I found that funny because from the first time I saw JV, there's always been a song someone requests that they don't know.

Definitely looking forward to the new album in July and seeing him again in the fall.