Monday, January 30, 2006

This week we leave behind the rootsier side of life and take a plunge into some pop stuff. So read on.

Unfortunately, Itunes doesn't carry the Beatles yet. Not sure why but the other 4 can be previewed if interested.

The Police - Zenyatta Mendatta (1980 A&M Records)

Probably My Quintessential Police album. From the haunting "Don't Stand So Close To Me" to the upbeat "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" to the political "Driven To Tears" you find Sting and the boys creating some of their strongest songs that they would ever make.

Standout Tracks: See tracks mentioned above.

Beatles - Revolver (Parlophone 1966)

Here is where they depart to new territory. They didn't totally leave behind the pop sound or songcraft that had gotten them to this point but there was definitely some new sonic ground and lyricl content being explored. From Lennon and Harrison's experimentation to McCartney's more tamer experiments you wonder how did they pull off covering so much ground stylistically and still hold it all together. They do, which makes this record an essential of all time. Though some consider Sgt. Pepper the ultimate album, Revolver stands as the ultimate modern pop album of it's time.

Standout tracks: Taxman, Eleanor Rigby, Here There And Everywhere, Good Day Sunshine, Tomorrow Never Knows.

Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Like Bad News (Epic 2004)

Weird, eccentric and searching pop music. That would best describe Modest Mouse's lead man Isaac Brock. This album is louder and rocks more than previous efforts however loses nothing. There are sharp contrast between the harsh and the beautiful which make this disc a very moving listen. The subjects of mortality and spirituality creep in several times as well but do so without being too pretentious.

Standout tracks include: Float On, The Ocean Breathes Salty, Bury Me With It, The View.

Josh Rouse - 1972 (Rykodisc 2003)

Really all you need to know about this record is if you liked the sound of 1972 pop radio, then this record is for you. This is an extremely fun record with very literate lyrical content and wonderful pop musicianship at work. This record is probably the perfect adult pop record of that year though you probably never heard it.

Standout tracks: 1972, Love Vibration, Comeback (Light Therapy)

Badly Drawn Boy - Hour Of The Bewilderbeast (Twisted Nerve/XL Recordings 2000)

One of the most ambitious and entertaining pop records of the year. Though full of several non-traditional pop elements at work you get a masterpiece of a pop record. Damon Goughs strange sense of humor makes the songs shine as well.

Standout tracks: The Shining, Everybody's Stalking, Once Around The Block

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Classic Albums A Beginning

Hey so where to begin with this project. Each week I hope to give you five more records, cds, albums, 8-tracks that you can add to your collection.

These are in no particular order but here are the first five Gar essential records for your collection.

Also, I will give you reccomendations on tracks that I feel are the best off these records. You can go to your local shop and purchase the album or go to Itunes and download the tracks to see if you like it.

1. Bob Dylan - Time Out Of Mind (Columbia 1997)

So of all the Dylan, why start with this one? I don't know, I just did. This record was an important for his Bobness since he hadn't released anything in terms of new material in the previous 7 years. So he went and teamed up with Daniel Lanois and created this dark atmospheric album. The sound is very ominous which fit the lyrical content pretty well. Bob's vocal performance though is very strong making this one his best collection in years.

Standout tracks include: Love Sick, Not Dark Yet, and Make You Feel My Love

2. Son Volt - Trace (Warner Brothers 1995)

With the demise of Uncle Tupelo, Jay Farrar took his darker musings and created this masterpiece. Throughout this band's debut, you find the group looking into both classic honky tonk and rock and roll making and finding a good balance between the two. If you like your music rootsy then this is as good of anyplace to start.

Standout tracks include: Windfall, Drown, and Catching On.

3. Kasey Chambers - The Captain (Asylum/WB 2000)

When you think of country music and when you hear this album you would think you are listening to someone from rural Appalachians. However, you would be geographically off since Kasey is from Australia. These songs reflect her upbringing in the Nullarbor Plain in South-Central Australia. This records mixes together country, rock, and folk with themes that touch on romantic difficulties as well as celebrations of life. A very worthy effort.

Standout tracks include: Cry Like A Baby, Southern Kind Of Life, and Don't Go.

4. The Blind Boys Of Alabama - Spirit Of The Century (Real World 2001)

So what do you when you have been making gospel records for the better part of a half of century. You go out and do what the Blind Boys did and make a record that defies and sort of category. You take R&B, folk, and blues and mix in songs by Tom Waits, Mick Jagger, and Ben Harper among others and you get this album. There are also a handful of traditional songs here as well, so if you have want to hear some good gospel music, start here.

Standout tracks include: No More, Good Religion, and Motherless Child.

5) Natalie Merchant - Tigerlily (Elektra 1995)

For her first solo record since she left the 10,000 Maniacs, we find Natalie straying from the jangly rock sound that had come to define her sound. She adds different textures which work extremely well taking you from uptempo tracks to more subdued grooves. Natalie had wanted to expand her sound and this album helped stretch her out.

Standout tracks include: Wonder, Carnival, Jealousy

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Top 40 of 2005

I will now give you what most really want the list of lists. My top 40 cds of the year. After listening to 538 cd's this year (this is accurate since I track each one I listen to and buy) I have manged to whittle it down. So without teasing you any longer with the waiting here ya go....

40. John Prine - Fair and Square (track: "Glory Of True Love")
39. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (track: "First Day Of My Life")
38. Paul McCartney - Chaos And Creation In The Backyard (track: "Jenny Wren")
37. Portastatic - Bright Ideas (track: "The Soft Rewind")
36. Over The Rhine - Drunkard's Prayer (track: "I Want You To Be My Love")
35. Josh Rouse - Nashville (track: "Winter In The Hamptons")
34. Nickel Creek - Why Should The Fire Die (track: "Doubting Thomas")
33. Neil Young - Prairie Wind (track: "No Wonder")
32. The Deathray Davies - The Kick And The Snare (track: "Clock In Now")
31. Andrew Bird - & The Mysterious Production Of Eggs (track: "Skin Is, My")
30. Coldplay - X&Y (track: "Speed Of Sound"0
29. The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan (track: "My Doorbell")
28. Rosie Thomas - If Songs Could Be Held (track: "Pretty Dress")
27. The Clientele - Strange Geometry (track: "Since K Got Over Me")
26. M. Ward - Transistor Radio (track: "Hi-Fi")
25. Ivy - In The Clear (track: "Thinking About You")
24. Erin McKeown - We Will Become Like Birds (track: "To The Stars")
23. The Blind Boys Of Alabama - Atom Bomb (track: "Atom Bomb")
22. Silver Jews - Tangelwood Numbers (track: "Sometimes A Pony Gets Depressed")
21. Aimee Mann - The Forgotten Arm (track: "Going Through The Motions")
20. Mary Gauthier - Mercy Now (track: "Mercy Now")
19. Son Volt - Okemah And The Melody Of Riot (track: "Bandages And Scars")
18. The Magic Numbers - The Magic Numbers (track: "Forever Lost")
17. Emiliana Torrini - Fisherman's Woman (track: "Heartstopper")
16. Crooked Fingers - Dignity And Shame (track: "Call To Love")
15. Death Cab For Cutie - Plans (track: "Crooked Teeth")
14. A Band Of Bees - Free The Bees (track: "These Are The Ghosts")
13. Switchfoot - Nothing Is Sound (track: "Lonely Nation")
12. Brendan Benson - The Alternative To Love (track: "Cold Hands (Warm Heart)")
11. Damien Jurado - On My Way To Absence (track: "Lion Tamer")
10. Teenage Fanclub - Man-Made (track: "Fallen Leaves")
09. Spoon - Gimme Fiction (track: "I Turn My Camera On")
08. The Decemberists - Picaresque (track: "We Both Go Down Together")
07. My Morning Jacket - Z (track: "Off The Record")
06. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema (track: "Sing Me Spanish Techno")
05. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl (track: "Ain't No Easy Way")
04. matt pond PA - Several Arrows Later (track: "Halloween")
03. The Pernice Brothers - Discover A Lovelier You (track: "There Goes The Sun")
01. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (track: "Decatur, Or, Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother")
01. Arcade Fire - Funeral (track: "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)")

Ok. I know the Arcade Fire was released here last year but it didn't find it's way to the cd player until January of this past year and hasn't left heavy rotation since.

Heck, I even converted one David Dark to the fold......

If you haven't bought a cd in the last year and you want to buy one get Funeral. If you don't like it I will buy it from you and publicly decry your taste in music (just kidding about the decrying)...

So there you have it. No number 2 record this year, just 2 number 1's. Get them both. There is no way on earth you will be bored by either.

Until Next Time---------

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The End Of An Era

Well, as I sit here and think about all the mix cd's I have made over the course of the last several years, I figured I would just make the ultimate mix cd.

I have been asked what are your favorite records and why. Well I will try to answer this question the best I can. Over the course of the next several weeks I will tackle this.

Please realize these aren't in any order. Eventually though I will be putting together my own box set of songs from these albums so get your pre-orders in now (just kidding). As always there is no charge.

So lock in your seatbelts and lets get it going.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Wilco and other thoughts

The new Wilco live album is out this week. It is called "Kicking Television: Live In Chicago". Overall I have been a very interested follower of this band. They had their beginning the alt. country movement with rootsly releases "A.M." and "Being There". They have since explored the more pop side of life on "Summerteeth" and have progressed to more experimental side "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and " A Ghost Is Born".

The past couple of years has been a rather interesting ride for Jeff Tweedy but I am glad to hear, from a recent email conversation with my friend, David Dark, that he is doing well and is a rather cool fellow to talk with.

Looking over the track list this double cd live collection should give you a good overview of their history.

Other new releases worth mentioning include but are not limited to:

Bruce Springsteen : Born To Run (30th Anniversary Edition). Worth it alone for the cd but included are 2 dvd's of a live performance from the "Born To Run" era and a making of this album which you will find in the top 10 of many lists of all time great albums.

Also out is a Townes Van Zandt cd titled "A Private Concert" which was recorded in a hotel room in 1988 in Houston Texas. Some rare stuff on here as well as some of his better known stuff.

Jackson Browne gets the reissue treatment on his album "Running On Empty".
Best of for Dire Straits
Galaxie 500 has the Peel Sessions cd recorded in 1989 and 1990. Some interesting covers as well as their original stuff

Trying to get my best of 2005 together. A lot of good stuff out there. In fact too much for me to even keep up with.

that's it for now.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

New This Week

What's new this week. Over The Rhine, Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket fame), Beck. Reviews to come later....

I do have a radio station streaming at Launchcast. You can access by going to the following link.

Just added and rated a bunch of stuff. Spinning right now is the Doves....

Sit back and enjoy the ride.