Sunday, August 28, 2011

Guest Review of Countdown Tracks! (Episode 2)

I asked one of my best friends in the entire world to listen to all the tracks we'd had on our countdown (at the time I sent it to her) that Andy didn't review a couple months ago and she came back with this. She also asked her friend Betsy to review them, too, and I will post that as soon as I get it! And now....Here's Erin!

PS. Erin has a blog where she talks about life with her new baby. Her baby is adorable and I think you'll find Erin is a very comfortable writer. You can find her blog HERE.

PPS. You can find the tracks she talks about on my Podcasts starting on Episode 40. And there are still some songs on the countdown I'll record this week! If you try to download an old episode and it's no longer available, let me know and I'll re-link it.

Erin's Guest Review
A disclaimer: It could be said that I am … not overly into music. My taste runs toward pop and ‘80s hair bands (my iPod contains a crap-ton of Bon Jovi and Backstreet Boys), and I may or may not have the entire Newsies soundtrack on repeat. My husband finds it utterly hilarious that I am doing a music review for James. In fact, when I told him about it, he said, “I want to be there when you listen to these songs, just so I can laugh at your reactions.” (He’s not here, though. If I waited for a time when he was here and the baby was asleep so I could actually do this, I would be missing out on precious hours of my own sleep. The joys of parenthood!)

A few things before I get going:

1)      I’m listening blind. James gave me the list of songs names and artists, but I have a tendency to decide I hate a band based on one song, so to avoid allowing myself to go into this with any sort of bias, I am not looking at the song titles or artists until I’m done. And since I’m terrible at recognizing bands based on sound, it’s unlikely that I’ll recognize the band without knowing ahead of time who it is, unless it’s a band I really like. If it’s one I’ve only heard one or two songs by, I won’t recognize it. At any rate, if I have more to add after I find out who the band is, I’ll put that in brackets after the initial review. {And I, James, will comment on anything that I find comment-able in these squiggly brackets, and I'll italicize it like this too}
2)      James told me I’m only allowed to say, “Ick” to one song, so I must choose wisely. He knows me well.

So here I go. Reviewing music, and stuff. Whee!
1)      The Airborne Toxic Event: Changing. I like this one! I don’t really have anything intelligent to say on it, but I could listen to it again. Which is, for me, high praise. I feel like I may have heard it before, or at least maybe I’ve heard the band before.
2)      AWOLNATION: Sail. Ick. That’s right, I’m using my “ick” early, but I can’t help it. This song reminds me of both high school open mic nights (and not in a good way) and empty Army bunkers. (I don’t know what that means either, but that’s the mental image I got while I was forcing myself to listen to this whole song.)
3)      Beastie Boys: Make Some Noise. This totally sounds like the Beastie Boys. I dig it. [OMG, this actually IS the Beastie Boys. I thought they broke up or something. I totally did not think this was actually them.] {They are still going strong, even though one of them, Adam Yauch, was recently diagnosed with cancer. He's in remission, I believe was the last news. The album that this track comes from, Hot Sauce Committee, Part Two, has been hailed as their best since Hello Nasty}
4)      The Black Keys: Howlin’ For You. Was this song on an episode of “So You Think You Can Dance”? I think it was. I just tried to Google it but I couldn’t find anything, so maybe I’m making that up. Anyway, I like this one too. I got a little bored by the end, but I tend to have a short attention span.
5)      Coldplay: Every Teardrop is a Waterfall. Why does this seem reminiscent to me of the Ataris’ cover of “The Boys of Summer”? Not that it sounds like that song, but it’s got the same feel to it, for me. I would listen to this with the windows down, head-bobbing and not even feeling like I should turn the volume down at stoplights (which I usually do, out of embarrassment and respect for my fellow drivers – the rest of the world doesn’t need to hear my circa-2001 Britney and the soundtrack to Wicked). [Okay, Coldplay? Really? Would not have guessed that.]
6)      Death Cab for Cutie: You Are A Tourist. Crap, what is the name of this band? I recognize this band, I like this band, they did “Birdhouse in Your Soul” … They Might Be Giants! Gah, that would have made me crazy. Thank goodness for Google. Although this doesn’t sound like them except for the singer. Maybe I’m wrong. Either way, I like this. Again, with the head-bobbing. [Surprise! It’s not They Might Be Giants. Is Death Cab a side project of the singer for TMBG? This right here shows you what I know about music. Half the people reading this right now want to slap me, and the other half are probably too busy crying to want to slap me.] {I never saw the similarities between Ben Gibbard (lead singer of Death Cab)'s voice and John Linnell (lead singer of TMBG)'s voice until now.}
7)      Foo Fighters: Rope. I like this one. So does the baby. She’s been singing along. She should be napping, but whatever. If she’s going to be in a good mood and let me do this, I’m okay with her being awake.
8)      Foo Fighters: Walk. I’ve heard this before! I don’t know who it is or where I’ve heard it, though. My guess is that it’s been on Alt Nation and I’ve heard it in my husband’s car. More head-bobbing, on my part and my daughter’s. Though hers might be because she’s only five months old and her neck doesn’t work super-well yet.
9)      Foster the People: Pumped Up Kicks. I am bored with the first 45 seconds of this song. Perhaps it will pick up? … Yes. Yes, it picked up, but it’s still pretty repetitive. I am not revoking the “ick” from song #2, though, because this one is just boring, it doesn’t make me want to stab my eyeballs out. Lorelai seems to like it, she’s singing along again.
10)   Incubus: Adolescents. This one reminds me of Incubus. I don’t think it’s Incubus, I think Incubus might be too mainstream for this list, but it’s got some of the same … I don’t know what they’re called. Sound things. Not the instruments themselves, but some of the same types of sounds that the instruments make. James, aren’t you glad you asked me to review music for you? [Wow, I called another one! I am awesome!] {That's what they call them in the industry: "Sound Things" ;-)}
11)   Middle Class Rut: New Low. I don’t have anything clever to say about this one. I didn’t like or dislike it. It just was. {Frequent listeners to the podcast will remember that this song got overwhelmingly average reviews. And here's another one}
12)  Mumford & Sons: The Cave. I recognize this group too, but can’t identify it. I’m enjoying the Irish-sounding riffs. [This right here is why I didn’t look at the artists before I listened. Mumford & Sons has another song that annoys the crap out of me and I’d have disliked this one without giving it a chance if I had seen it was them before I heard it.]
13)   Rise Against: Help is On the Way. This one’s okay. I don’t love it, but it’s fine. If it came on the radio, I would listen to it – but only after making sure my other presets didn’t have something better (but I do that even if a song I love comes on). Oh, wait. I just got to the screamy part. I don’t like the screamy part. Why do singers feel the need to do that? They take a perfectly nice song and go and add in the screamy parts that make my throat hurt just listening to them. [Rise Against did another song back when my husband and I first started dating that he put on a mix CD for me, and I actually rather liked it. I don’t remember what it was called and I don’t know that I’ve heard anything by them since, but I do like them. And I probably like this song even more now that I know it’s theirs, because that’s how I roll.] {I will wager 1000 no-bucks that he put "Swing Life Away" on the mix CD.}
14)   Seether: Country Song. This is another one that I don’t love but I could listen to if it came on the radio. I like the harder parts, the verses in between kind of bore me a little though.
15)   Social Distortion: Machine Gun Blues. Oooh, I like this. This sounds like something you’d hear in a movie in a scene where the main characters are at some underground music club seeing an obscure band that seems like a no-big-deal scene but then turns out to come around full circle when at the end the guy sends her tickets to see the band as a peace offering after their fight, and then he shows up there and they make up to the sounds of the same song they were hearing in the first scene. (Why yes, I did just watch a movie where this happened. My taste in movies is about as deep as my taste in music. You should see my DVR, the amount of reality TV would gag you.) {We just watched "Going the Distance", too!}
16)   Sublime with Rome: Panic. This sounds like an angry version of Save Ferris. Although I think Save Ferris is a ska band (yes?) and the thing that defines ska is the horns, which I don’t hear in this song. But they might be there and I just don’t hear them. That happens a lot. Oh, no, wait, there is a horn. I think. Maybe. Anyway, angry Save Ferris. [Sublime with Rome? Like, those are two groups joining forces? Sublime, like “Caress Me Down” Sublime? I thought that guy died.] {Sublime with Rome is the two surviving members of Sublime playing with new lead singer Rome Ramirez. Save Ferris was indeed a ska band (they broke up a few years back) and Sublime (and Sublime with Rome, I would imagine) had ska elements to the music, but I wouldn't call them a ska band in the same way I would call Save Ferris a ska band. And yeah, the horns are there, they're just a little bit down in the mix.}
17)   Young the Giant: My Body. I could dance to this. Not well, because I’m a crappy dancer, but this could easily be in one of my dance-party-in-the-living-room-to-make-the-baby-stop-fussing playlists.
18)  Naked and Famous: Young Blood. I’m not loving this one. I mean, it’s okay, but it’s not really doing anything for me. Let’s go back to the Beastie Boys one

End of Review
Thanks so much, Erin. It's actually kind of REALLY refreshing to have someone not immersed in this music (ok...random indentation...) giving it a listen.

If you are interested in doing a guest review of countdown songs, shoot me an email at and we'll hook it up.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Doubling Up on the Rise Against!

I was so stoked to see our beloved Appetite For Distraction mascot band (that's right. it's official.) back on our charts that I played two songs by them! Enjoy this one, people. I certainly did!

Countdown #68

The Airborne Toxic Event
Foo Fighters
Foster the People
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Rise Against
Sublime with Rome

Russian Roulette (Blog Version) - 6th Round

Well, here we are. On the last "bullet", so to speak. And this one's a doozy. I know I've kept you on the edge of your seats for almost 2 months since the last round and maybe some of you thought that I posted something and it was the round that hit home (aka got taken down because it was on a "hot list" because I'm a dirty dirty pirate)

Well, I'll tell you this. This final round (of this particular game. I'm absolutely going to play again) may be the one. You see, the song is...

Linkin Park - Waiting for the End from A Thousand Suns (buy)

And that flies in the face of all the reasons I've had for low R-cubeds (see Round 4 for a definition of R-cubed). It's still relatively new. It was a #1 hit on the very countdown I publish on this blog. And I can completely see it being on all kinds of lists.

Keep your fingers crossed for me :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hey you! Listen to some music! On my podcast!

Welp, it's time once again for that glorious event we (and by we, I mean me...and by me I mean I) like to call the Countdown!

I'm probably not going to be posting a lot other than podcasts on here for a bit (my computer still registers "podcasts" as a misspelled word...get with the times, computer!) because I just got a gig writing album reviews for Listen Before You Buy! I'm very excited about it. But I'm going to need to focus all my bloggy energy on getting going on that. But I'll get all squared away over there and then we can have some more fun over here! And it's not like the podcasts are going to, quit your complaining. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have gotten all up in your face.


Countdown #67

The Airborne Toxic Event
Death Cab For Cutie
Foo Fighters
Foster the People
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Sublime with Rome
Temple of the Dog

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Get Your Kicks (Pumped Up or otherwise) on Podcast #66

I almost didn't see the opportunity that this week's episode afforded me for the title of the post. But then I did. And I took that opportunity and ran with it. And I feel good about that.

So, I'm back from vacation and ready to hunker in for the fall and winter. This is the episode that will get us started on our hunkering. I hope you enjoy it. There are some real rockers on this one.

Countdown #66

The Airborne Toxic Event
Death Cab For Cutie
Foo Fighters
Foster the People
The Jesse Minute
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Sublime with Rome

Friday, August 5, 2011

Providence can provide. Providence will provide. Providence did provide.

So, I know I come off as this big, tough, Alternative Rock guy. Like "Hey man, Kurt Cobain forever." And in many ways, I am that guy.

But in many other ways, I'm just a big pop-punk kid. I like the beats fast, the melodies sweet, the songs about relationships, and if you can throw in some breaks in the song where we can all jump in the air and land on the beat where the music comes back in, that would be super.

So, I would generally contend that the best pop-punk was made around the turn of the millennium, with New Found Glory, Blink-182, Green Day,  and Drive-Thru Records (which is the label NFG were on, and I already mentioned them. I know. Relax.) having HUGE releases. And that's only the tip of the iceberg.

I recently made my friend Lisa a mix of all the pop-punk bands I could think of. I rounded it off at 50. I'm hoping it fits on 2 discs.

What does all this have to do with Providence? Glad you asked.

Providence, Rhode Island is the birthplace of the most exciting pop-punk band I've heard in years: The Jesse Minute. They have all the qualities that I mentioned before and what's more, they have a female lead singer, so I can ask them to be on the Wayne Foundation comp (which I've already done...they said yes!!!)!

The thing that I keep thinking about The Jesse Minute is that they are what I'm always hoping Paramore will be. Missa, the singer, has a lovely voice, but (and here's where I come off as insensitive) she doesn't feel the need to showcase it in ballads that frankly take away from the rock. And the product is delicious. I want these guys to come to Virginia soon so I can be all nuts at the front of the crowd.

They have two studio albums and a live album available for FREE at their bandcamp page. And then if you go to their website, you can get physical copies of all three albums, some stickers, some pins and a t-shirt for just $25. Which is an insanely good deal, but that's just how Providence, RI rolls.

The Jesse Minute - Rally from Shut Up and Play

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to 1996! (Flashback Countdown #2)

Here we are for another Flashback Countdown and the way it works out is that we're doing 1996 again. Fortunately it was a very good year. So I know you'll simply LOVE the episode this week. It's also over an hour long so, in addition to telling me if there are any linkage problems, you can enjoy my sultry voice extra long while I'm away. I'll be back next week!

Flashback Countdown #2

Butthole Surfers
The Cranberries
No Doubt
Primitive Radio Gods
Screaming Trees
Smashing Pumpkins
Stone Temple Pilots