Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Pitbull featuring Ke$ha "Timber"

I will readily admit that this song is on here today because it's the only song on the Top Ten that I haven't already featured.

I'm not a huge fan of either artist but I'll concede that the song is pretty catchy. I heard a statistic that this song is like 80% chorus, 15% instrumental, and 5% verses. Which is interesting. It means that the song is catchy because it's basically a chant of the catchy Ke$ha chorus over and over, spiced up with a couple of short verses by Pitbull. And yet she's only a featured artist. Interesting.

This isn't the worst song I've ever heard. I wonder how close to the release and popularity of Avicii's "Wake Me Up" this song was conceived. It could be a coincidence, but I think it's interesting to see another example of the dancification/hiphoptimization of the culture of country music.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Year-End Countdown!

Fitz and the Tantrums
Well here we are again at the Year End Countdown. It feels like we were just doing this last year. Not a lot of surprises here, but it's a very enjoyable show! Happy New Year everyone!

2013 Year End Countdown

Cage the Elephant
Capital Cities
Fitz & the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
The Neighbourhood
Of Monsters and Men

Friday, December 27, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #53 Blood, Sweat, and Tears - Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Blood, Sweat & Tears Blood, Sweat & Tears, 1968

Fitting for this week, this album was a gift from my Dad for Christmas, I believe, if I'm not mistaken. It took me a little while to get into it, but by the time I was graduating from High School, this album was a classic in my mind.

The parts that initially appealed to me were the more rockin' parts like "More and More" and "Spinning Wheel" and the end of "Blues -- Part 2" but now I really appreciate the sheer instrumental skill of this band. They're equal parts jazz band and rock band I just love it.

This album is comfort food to me. It also introduced me to the works of Erik Satie (or, well, one work)

I'm really happy that YouTube had this video on it. Dig those retro video production values!

This song always reminds me of the credits to the Mary Tyler Moore show. I've never been quite sure why.

Blood, Sweat & Tears - Sometimes in Winter

You can buy Blood, Sweat & Tears at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Throwback Thursday: 1992

10. Mary J. Blige - Real Love
9. The Heights - How Do You Talk to an Angel
8. Shanice - Saving Forever For You
7. Bobby Brown - Good Enough
6. Snap - Rhythm is a Dancer
5. PM Dawn - I'd Die Without You
4. Boyz II Men - In the Still of the Nite
3. Shai - If I Ever Fall In Love
2. Wreckx-N-Effect - Rump Shaker

On Thanksgiving, I posted a Throwback Thursday from 1996 for a song by BLACKstreet featuring Dr. Dre called "No Diggity". It starts with Dre's verse wherein he refers to "BLACKstreet and Teddy, the original Rump Shakers". And that's because Teddy Riley, the driving force behind BLACKstreet was also in Wreckx-N-Effect, whose biggest hit was the above video: "Rump Shaker".

You may ALSO remember the chorus from the song I played for Throwback Thursday 2008 (9/5/13), M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" where the "Boom Boom Boom"s were replaced with gunshots and the "Zoom Zoom"s were replaced with cash register sounds.

Just to hit the song truly out of the park, the verse that Teddy raps (I believe he comes second. He says his name in the first line) was written by a young Pharrell Williams who was on Throwback Thursday 2003 (10/10/13) for his song featuring Jay-Z called "Frontin'"

So this song is like the Rosetta Stone for Throwback Thursday on this blog. Click the Throwback Thursday tag at the bottom of this post to see ALL of the songs featured so far!

1. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #54 Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

Bright Eyes I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, 2005

I was introduced to Bright Eyes by the girl that appears in a lot of these posts. She was very influential on my music education because she was not shy about telling me what was great and what sucked. And her taste was pretty fantastic. I can't even count all the times when she would tell me about a band that would be HUGE 6 months later. It was very impressive.

The album she played me was Lifted, or The Story's in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (which is just the kind of title that ropes me in. It's actually astounding that I'm not a bigger Fiona Apple fan) and specifically the song "Waste of Paint" which I still love and which my friend Andy, who was my roommate at the time time, almost certainly still hates (we played it a lot).

That girl graduated college and I started dating the girl that would become my wife and then Bright Eyes released their/his follow-up album. Actually, they/he released TWO follow-up albums. One, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, had some interesting stuff on it, some really good songs, and one FANTASTIC song ("Arc of Time (Time Code)").

And then there was the other album. It was called I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and it was eye-opening. This was Conor Oberst showing that everything you thought he'd mastered about making music, was only the beginning. He went for more of an alt-country sound (which he would continue to develop on subsequent albums) and it was amazing. It seemed almost..happy?

Of course there was still a lot of sad, and a lot of angry there, but it was filtered through a really beautiful screen and all the emotions were strengthened by it.

On the one end of the album's spectrum, you have the song I featured for the video. On the other end, you have the song I posted as a sample track from the album. And in between you have songs with and without Emmylou Harris. It all adds up to 10 tracks of a glorious rebirth for Bright Eyes. This album never fails to put a smile on my face.

Bright Eyes - Road to Joy

You can buy I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning at Saddle Creek Records, Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: One Direction "Story of My Life"

Ok, before you leave the blog forever, give me a chance to speak my case. 

I think that this song is pretty good, for starters, but I certainly recognize that it might not connect with a lot of my readers. 

So, maybe the follow-up point will: I think this is a cool music video. I love "Past/Present" pictures where people recreate old photos with the same participants and locations. And this does that in a very sweet way. I've included the Making Of video because some of the techniques were really interesting to me.

And, really, if you're going to leave the blog forever because of something I play on Top Ten Tuesday, then you really don't understand why I do Top Ten Tuesday.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

New Countdown: Jingle Bell Alternative Rock

Cage the Elephant (Christmas Edition)
I don't think it's possible to convey to you how excited I was to be able to find a picture of the band on the blog post's "cover" (which, as always, was randomly selected) with a Christmas tree on it. I guess miracle really do happen.

This was a fun one. What am I saying? They're all fun!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you get everything you wanted. And I'm not just saying that with regards to Christmas.

Countdown #179

Arctic Monkeys
Barenaked Ladies featuring Michael Buble
Cage the Elephant
Fitz & the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
Linkin Park x Steve Aoki
The Neighbourhood
Panic! at the Disco featuring LOLO
Pearl Jam

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Favorite 6 Albums of 2013 Told in 6 Videos.

I'm going to keep this very simple this year. Here is a video from a song each from my Top 6 albums of the Year. I couldn't quite come up with 10. Not that I didn't enjoy 10 albums this year. I just couldn't pick a 7-10. Make sense? Awesome.

6. Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse

5. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

4. Chance the Rapper - Acid Rap

3. Fall Out Boy - Save Rock and Roll

2. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels

1. Dessa - Parts of Speech

Friday, December 20, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #55 NOFX - The War on Errorism

NOFX The War on Errorism, 2003

This is an album I bought during the period leading up to my final exams in my Spring Semester of SYoC. I remember because I listened to it a number of times in the study hall in the basement of the dorm I lived in that year. I did not get a lot of studying done. But I guess it turned out for the best.

The Fat Wreck Chords website informed me that this was the first NOFX album to be put out by them. Just to fill you in, Fat Mike is the singer and bass player for NOFX. And he runs Fat Wreck Chords. NOFX had, up until this album, been on Epitaph. Which is something that, if I was aware of it, I was not actively aware of it.

I like this album because of the way it blends pretty honed political criticism with the trademark NOFX subject matter (drinking, sex, punk rock, hating NOFX).

By now you should know the refrain of most of these posts so join in if you'd care to:

It has a varied sound and I can sing along to every song!

For the breakdown of songs that I'm featuring, the video is one of the political songs, the MP3's are two of the NOFXical songs.

I still think "We Got Two Jealous Agains" is a fantastic metaphor for the merging of two lives that comes with moving in with someone/getting married. Sadly (I guess? I don't know the full backstory on it) the most recent NOFX album had a song called "I've Got One Jealous Again, Again" which is funny and self-referential and devastating.

NOFX - Anarchy Camp
NOFX - We Got Two Jealous Agains

You can buy The War on Errorism from Fat Wreck Chords, Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Thursday, December 19, 2013

6 Years Later.

Exactly 6 years ago, I hit "Publish" on the first post of this blog.

It was a very very wordy post and I kind of like that. Sometimes I'm wordy. :)

Things have drastically changed not only around this blog, but also around blogs in general. Only a handful of the Contrast Podcast music bloggers whose ranks I joined in '07 are still posting. And now there are a lot more collaborative blogs where teams of bloggers publish to one site, sometimes a dozen posts in a day, sometimes more.

I'm not going to puff up my chest and talk about how I was here before all that. Actually, funny story. Before this blog, I had a LiveJournal account (like a certain sliver of my generation did at the time), but before that, I tried to see if I could use Blogger. And I did NOT like it. Haha. I recently found my old LJ and scrolled all the way back to the beginning (something like 2003? 2004?) only to find myself ridiculing the blogging tool I later would decide was MUCH more to my liking. Oh, my fickle nature.

Anyways, thank you for coming by my blog if you have over the past 6 years. I have no intention of going anywhere. So I'll leave you with the song I posted on that very first post and a song that I loved from 2013.

Smashing Pumpkins - Mayonaise
Chance the Rapper - Cocoa Butter Kisses

Throwback Thursday: 1993

In the Summer of 1993, my family moved from Nebraska to the East Coast (Annapolis, MD)

10. Michael Bolton - Said I Loved You...But I Lied
9. Bryan Adams - Please Forgive Me
8. Toni Braxton - Breathe Again
7. Bryan Adams/Rod Stewart/Sting - All For Love
6. DRS - Gangsta Lean
5. Salt-n-Pepa - Shoop
4. Meat Loaf - I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)
3. Mariah Carey - Hero
2. Ace of Base - All That She Wants

Well, since "The Sign" was a hit in 1994 (and so it's not going to feature in this series), I suppose I can play another song I like by Ace of Base. Mind you, I LOVE "The Sign" and only LIKE this, but this song is still really great and also really great at taking me back to the time when it was big. Which is kinda the point of this series, you know?

1. Janet Jackson - Again

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #56 The Suicide Machines - A Match and Some Gasoline

The Suicide Machines A Match and Some Gasoline, 2003

I bought this album in a Best Buy in Springfield, Virginia while visiting my ex-girlfriend (it was complicated) and I don't really know why. As far as I know I hadn't heard any of the singles or previous albums.

But there I was, in possession of this album and loving it more with every listen. The funny thing about The Suicide Machines is that, where most bands would try to blend their ska and punk influences, they make absolutely no attempt to. On the albums I've heard, at least, if the song you're listening to is ska, the next one is punk, and vice versa. But for them, it works.

Over the years this album has become something of a classic in my mind. From the rage of the opener, "Burning in the Aftermath" to the acoustic secret song at the end (where I learned that the first nuclear weapon was tested on the date of my birth, 1945), this album nestles somewhere deep in your mind and doesn't leave. I can't wait to put this one on for my grandkids, just for shock value :) 

The Suicide Machines - High Anxiety
The Suicide Machines - Seized Up

You can buy A Match and Some Gasoline at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball"

So I decided to feature this song this week instead of the Pitbull/Ke$ha collab (that'll be next week if nothing new enters the Top 10) because I enjoy this one slightly more.

But I made an executive decision to play the SNL rendition as opposed to the controversial Official Music Video. I watched both and it just feels like the song gets more attention in this video and the nude wrecking ball straddling and sledgehammer licking get a little more attention in the Official one.

Though I will say that the Official Video wasn't was incendiary or shocking as everyone was claiming a couple of months ago. It seems to me that it was just a pretty typical music video. Maybe on the racy side, but those are the times we live in.

And I also don't think her claim of a Sinead O'Connor influence is that far-fetched either. The straight-on confessional aspect of the shot that opens the video and recurs throughout the video is almost a direct tribute to "Nothing Compares 2 U"

You know what? I'm going to post both. What the hell?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

New Countdown! Powering Through!

Fitz & the Tantrums
Well, I really thought this one wouldn't make it up on time. Not that it's a big deal, but I always am a little out of sorts when I don't get the podcast up on time. Tonight was a typical case of distracted procrastination, so I guess I only have myself to blame.

It's a fun countdown this week! And it's the penultimate countdown based on the weekly charts of the year! How did the year already evaporate?!

I hope you enjoy this one!

Countdown #178

Arctic Monkeys
Cage the Elephant
DJ Earworm
Fitz & the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
Linkin Park x Steve Aoki
The Neighbourhood
Panic! at the Disco featuring LOLO
Pearl Jam

Friday, December 13, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #57 Rancid - ...And Out Come the Wolves

Rancid ...And Out Come the Wolves, 1995

Let's start with the cover. This is probably my favorite album cover of all time. A close, close 2nd place goes to this one, but the title and the way it's written at the bottom, in addition to the mohawk and tattoos, complete this picture of despair that you don't often see on album covers. I always imagine this young punk with the tats and the piercings and the hair done just right leaving out the back of a loud club, walking down the stairs, and sitting at the bottom. He rests his head on his arms and tries to block out the world. Maybe this is as good a place as any to sleep for the night. Maybe he's just sad and scared and fed up with his lot in life. If I could have a big print of this album art on my wall, I think I would.

Now, the album. It almost feels like you're ripping the band off, listening to this amazing visceral music. It's 19 tracks and there's not a dud among them. You get your punk, your ska, and your rock in a nice little 19-track cocktail that leaves you wanting more.

There are TWO fantastic bass solos on this album and I gave you the one that I always forget until right before it's happening ("Lock, Step, and Gone").

The one speed bump that you might encounter with this one is Tim Armstrong's voice. It takes a LITTLE getting used to, since it often sounds like he grabbed a handful of marbles, shoved them into his mouth, filled in the gaps with whiskey and bit down hard, and now he's singing through the blood and teeth and marbles and booze. But you not only get used to it, you come to love it. It completely fits with the picture he's painting of these kids trying to find some sliver of happiness in a world that hates them and wants to make their lives as hard as possible. Put it this way, if you're ok with Mick Jones's voice from The Clash, you'll be just fine with Tim's.

This is a classic album that you should hear as soon as possible.

Here's the video for one of the two career-making singles for the band (both of which are from this album! (The other is "Time Bomb"! (see below))). Try to get used to Tim's possibly (read: probably) intentionally bad lip synching and think about the music video illusions that we have grown accustomed to over the last 32 years.

Rancid - Time Bomb
Rancid - Lock, Step, and Gone
Rancid - Avenues and Alleyways

You can buy ...And Out Come the Wolves at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday: 1994

This was the year my sister was born!!

10. Janet Jackson - You Want This/70's Love Groove
9. Brandy - I Wanna Be Down
8. Sheryl Crow - All I Wanna Do
7. Madonna - Secret
6. TLC - Creep
5. Boyz II Men - I'll Make Love to You
4. Bon Jovi - Always
3. Real McCoy - Another Night

A bunch of great options for this week in 1994, but I decided to go with a song that really takes me back there. And maybe one you haven't thought of in a while. It's also a great education into how radio stations work!

2. Ini Kamoze - Here Comes the Hotstepper
1. Boyz II Men - On Bended Knee

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #58 Allister - Last Stop Suburbia

Allister Last Stop Suburbia, 2002

The way it must have happened is: We moved from Northern Virginia (where I spent 7th through 12th grades, made all my friends, and became the person I am today) to Virginia Beach in the Summer of 2002. The first night down there, we stayed in a hotel. I went and watched Halloween: Resurrection by myself in a nearly empty theater that I'd never been to before (and thus was terrified to go to the bathroom for fear of my inevitable murder), and I bought Allister's Dead Ends & Girlfriends and Strung Out's Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues. I listened to them both on the scratchy hotel bed while the summer sun blazed away outside. The Strung Out album was amazing. And the Allister album? It had a couple of good songs on it, too.

I drove myself back to school that Fall. The drive was longer and lonelier, but the arrival was much more satisfying. Finally, I was back in a place that was familiar with people that knew me that I could visit, instead of sitting alone in my room, checking my Buddy List for someone to talk to.

I'd purchased the first Something Corporate EP Audioboxer pretty much solely based on the fact that it came with a Drive-Thru Records sampler that had the new New Found Glory song on it (Sticks and Stones came out that summer. More on that later.). It also had a song from the new Allister album, "Somewhere on Fullerton", on it. Enjoying that song and most of their first album led me to buy Last Stop Suburbia which came out in October (see? we got there eventually!) and, you guys. This album is basically pop-punk perfection. The songs are fast and catchy and fantastic.

It's exactly the kind of album you want to discover and explore as your life starts to come into focus and all the pieces start to fall into place.

Allister - The One That Got Away
Allister - Westbound

You can buy Last Stop Suburbia at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera "Say Something"

The least of 4 evils ("Evils" is pretty harsh here. None of these songs/artists are "evil" or even "bad") finds us looking at another "...featuring Christina Aguilera" song (ok, so technically, this is an "...& Christina Aguilera" song, but you understand what I mean). From what I gather, she heard this song as part of her responsibilities on The Voice and asked to collaborate. If you watch the video, you begin to see that she basically just took the other guy's harmony part. I kept watching him expecting him to come in with a verse, but he did not. Not a bad song, though. Cool video, too.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

New Countdown: Who Will Get the Grammy??

Arctic Monkeys

The Holiday Season is upon us and I think we're definitely feeling it around my house. The Christmas shopping is done, I believe, and so all that's left is assembly. I hope that you're all having lovely Decembers as well.

New music continues to roll in to the countdown and it was definitely a breeze to introduce these songs! So much to discuss! Enjoy the episode!

Countdown #177

Arctic Monkeys
Cage the Elephant
Fitz & the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
Linkin Park x Steve Aoki
Panic! at the Disco featuring Lolo
Pearl Jam

Friday, December 6, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #59 The Weakerthans - Reconstruction Site

The Weakerthans Reconstruction Site, 2003

I'm not entirely sure how I came to own this album, honestly. I remember asking for it for Christmas? I remember listening to it in Virginia Beach during the Christmas season. It came out in August of that year, so that would have been Christmas of Junior Year of College. Weird. I would have bet money that this was another SYoC find.

This whole album feels like a fantastic book of short stories. The songs are individually wonderful and diverse and eclectic, but you feel like there's a theme or an explanation lying right underneath the surface. Repeated musical themes and things like that give hints but never end up offering any answers. Despite that, you feel satisfied when it's over. Like you do after a filling, subtle meal prepared by a master chef.
Here's a video for the first song on the album that was my favorite.

And here are two songs that I would eventually realize the genius of, but really I could have picked any two songs from this album. It's a strong album. Maybe it's the 1:15 AM talking, but this maybe should have been higher on the list. It's such a fantastic album.

The Weakerthans - Plea From a Cat Named Virtue
The Weakerthans - (Hosptial Vespers) (This should have probably made my recent "Most Favorites" mix. It's so simple, but so beautiful and heartbreaking.)

You can buy Reconstruction Site at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

OR You could get a copy from me! For whatever reason, I have an extra CD of this album. If you would like me to send it to you, free of charge! Just write me an email at aodblog@gmail.com with the subject "AOD Giveaway" and your address enclosed and I'll send it right out to you. First person to get an email to me, wins

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Throwback Thursday: 1995

In the Summer of 1995, we moved to Virginia from Annapolis and I started 7th grade that Fall.

10. Groove Theory - Tell Me
9. Goo Goo Dolls - Name
8. TLC - Diggin' on You
7. Janet Jackson - Runaway
6. R. Kelly - You Remind Me of Something
5. Coolio featuring L.V. - Gangsta's Paradise
4. Mariah Carey - Fantasy

Gonna be a double Mariah Carey post this week. Because TWO of my favorite songs of hers were on the Top Ten this week in 1995. I mean, there's no denying how fantastic this song is. So catchy. So effortless. So wonderful.

3. LL Cool J - Hey Lover
2. Whitney Houston - Exhale (Shoop Shoop)
1. Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men - One Sweet Day

And then there's this. Goodness gracious I love this song. I heard it on the radio and went right out and bought the cassingle and played that thing over and over and over. I will put this song on to this day and be completely blissed out.

It's no surprise that this song holds the record for most weeks at number 1 (16 weeks).

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #60 Lit - A Place in the Sun


Lit A Place in the Sun, 1999

In 1999, I won tickets to the HFStival. It was a big deal. The show sold out very quickly back then and the line up that year was incredible. Many of the bands that I loved listening to on the radio (DC101, mind you. WHFS didn't have very reliable reception for me) were going to be there. My friend Ryan and I went to the Hecht's at the mall at 3 or 4 AM and waited in line. When they opened the doors to start selling tickets we slowly wound our way through the store to the Ticketmaster counter.

Fun side note: A young, unknown Annapolis band played an acoustic set in the middle of the store. A couple of years later, that band was huge and all over MTV. They were called Good Charlotte.

But before we got up to the counter, they pulled both of our names out of the raffle to win tickets. We both won 2 tickets and it was great.

If memory serves, Lit was the 2nd band to play the Festival. I want to say that Jimmie's Chicken Shack opened, but that would be conjecture. Lit was fantastic and fun and just wonderful.

Then, later that summer, my Aunt and Uncle worked in the medical tent of Woodstock '99 (which took place in the town where one of my sets of Grandparents lived) so I got to go for free. It was pretty fantastic, though I wished at the time that I would have more control over what bands I got to see. (I basically wanted them to leave me to watch Everclear, but they didn't want to leave a 16 year old alone at a HUGE music festival. Which was good thinking on their part, in hindsight)

After waiting all morning for them to pick me up from my Grandparents' house and missing most of the first day, and then getting set up but then having to help a girl try to find her family's tent in the OCEAN of tents that all looked the same, I finally got to go watch a band perform. The band was, of course, Lit. And they were fantastic and fun and wonderful then, too.

So then school started and my final Lit memory of 1999 is listening to this album on my Walkman (having recorded it to a tape, because I didn't have a CD player) on the bus to the Renaissance Festival with the Drama Department. It was fun to have such high energy, melodic music to soundtrack a trip with a group of people that were still pretty much strangers to me, but who, by the end of the year, would be some of my closest friends.

Lit pretty much soundtracked 1999 for me and I'm pleased to say that the album DEFINITELY holds up. Check out the video for the song you definitely know by them. And then below that, check out some non-singles from the album that are just as good, if not better!

Lit - No Big Thing
Lit - Quicksand

You can buy A Place in the Sun at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Passenger "Let Her Go"

It's so cool to see Passenger make the Top Ten. My friend Andy got into them in something like 2006 and quickly got me hooked, as well. We went and saw "them" (Passenger is one of those bands that is more of a singer with a backing band, so it almost feels like you should say "him") in Annapolis all those years ago when he played to a house of maybe MAYBE 30 people. And he was fantastic. The first album Wicked Man's Rest is so so so good.

I really like this song too. It's everything that I love about Passenger. I like seeing the band preparing to perform and performing and having just performed. I like that they used actual footage of him singing the song, but dubbed the studio version of the track. It adds a level that I really enjoy.

Now let's see him get to #1!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

New Countdown! Thanksgiving! December! Oh My!

The Neighbourhood
Well, I'm typing this on Tuesday night because I don't want to be fussing with recording and posting and all of that hooey (which I love!) down at my folks' place this week/weekend. So it feels REALLY early, but I kind of like it.

I just want to thank you for coming to listen to my podcast. If you're reading this, then I'm thankful for you and all the steps that led you to my little corner of the Internet. I hope that you're happy you came when you leave and that you'll eagerly come back soon!

Countdown #176

Arctic Monkeys
Cage the Elephant
Fitz & the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
The Neighbourhood
Panic! at the Disco featuring LOLO
Pearl Jam
The White Stripes

Friday, November 29, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #61 Coheed and Cambria - In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3

Coheed and Cambria In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, 2003

Of all the albums that I'm going to write about in this series, this may be the weirdest. It's the second part of a four part sci-fi/fantasy epic (but it's actually the 3rd episode (hence the "3") kinda like the first Star Wars movie was actually Episode 4). Coheed and Cambria (which refers to characters that are both the center of the action and also killed in the previous album) is a prog-punk band from New Jersey featuring lead singer Claudio Sanchez (confusingly, Claudio is also the name of Coheed and Cambria's youngest son, the hero of the whole thing (and especially the hero/focus of this album)) whose vocals are one of the most polarizing things in post-2000 music.

For me, this album marks the soaring apex of what this band is capable of. The first album, Second-Stage Turbine Blade, is very very good, but feels slightly unpolished. The five albums that have followed In Keeping Secrets have been almost TOO polished, losing some of the wild abandon that made the band fun to listen to. But In Keeping Secrets is the best of both worlds. It had incredibly honed pop hooks, but also a feeling of "anything could happen".

As for the plot of this particular episode of the epic, you get a general idea after repeated listens, but fortunately, Claudio worked with author Peter David and illustrators Chris Burnham and Aaron Kuder on a comic book series that sheds a little more light on the subject:

         Ten years after the "Second-Stage Turbine Blade", son Claudio Kilgannon emerges from the depths of Shylos Ten, the Fence's "quiet" planet where the Red Army performs its brutal interrogations and imprisonments. In finding out that his entire family has been murdered, Claudio begins his quest for vendetta. His foes, Supreme Tri Mage Wilhelm Ryan and General Mayo Deftinwolf sense that he is still alive and holds special powers. They know they must stop him before he defeats them. Meanwhile, Inferno (Jesse Kilgannon) takes up arms against the Red Army ("Man your Battlestations") in an effort to seek the same kind of vengeance on him. In Claudio’s re-emergence he teams up with Ambellina, the Prise who is cast out by her peers and forced to be his guide. The pair along with Sizer, a disassembled IRO-bot, seek out Inferno to find answers as to why his family were killed, but their plans take an unexpected turn in a ship called the Camper Velourium, and a freighter pilot named Al the Killer. (from here)

So, I mean, that's what we're working with in terms of plot, but don't let that throw you. This is a fantastic album from start to finish.

Here's the video for one of the catchiest songs on the whole album. Confusingly, the video doesn't have  anything to do with the aforementioned plot but it's still the one I prefer when compared to the video for my favorite song from the album (see below) which is a weird, comedic look at the band trying to pick up girls at a bar.

Coheed and Cambria - The Crowing
Coheed and Cambria - A Favor House Atlantic (this is probably my favorite Coheed and Cambria song. I included it on a recent "All-Time Favorite Songs" mix

You can buy In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Throwback Thursday: 1996

Happy Thanksgiving!

10. New Edition - I'm Still In Love With You
9. Donna Lewis - I Love You Always Forever
8. No Mercy - Where Do You Go
7. En Vogue - Don't Let Go (Love) (From "Set It Off")
6. Ginuwine - Pony
5. Keith Sweat featuring Athena Cage - Nobody
4. Merril Bainbridge - Mouth
3. Celine Dion - It's All Coming Back to Me Now
2. Toni Braxton - Un-Break My Heart
1. BLACKstreet featuring Dr. Dre - No Diggity

There are a number of great songs on this Top 10, but really, how could I NOT play BLACKstreet? What a fantastic song.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #62 Sublime - 40 Oz. To Freedom

Punk Rock Changed Our Lives

Sublime 40 oz. to Freedom, 1992

Part 2 of "Man the Early 90's Were Filthy, Huh?" is the debut album from polygenre band Sublime. There are some truly explicit things going on on this album and I will now confess that I was listening to it for almost the entirety of a family trip in roughly 2000 or 2001 and reveling in the taboo content. My mom would have COLLAPSED if she'd heard what was going into my ears. And sometimes that's the best way to forge a lifelong love for an album :)

I think of my favorite things about 40 oz to Freedom is that it feels like it was loosely and casually put together by EXPERTS. There's a lot of playing around and silliness, but you can tell that, at the end of the day, these guys know what they're doing and they'll take the song and album exactly where they need to be.

From "Waiting for My Ruca" all the way through "Rivers of Babylon" (I don't always listen to the Thank You track. I'll admit it) you're on a roller coaster of genre shifting and partying and drugs and fun times. The album has (let me count) 6 covers. The Toyes (a little known Portland (I think) reggae band), Bad Religion, Toots and the Maytals, the Grateful Dead, Descendents, and the Melodians are all on the covers list. You could almost count the Specials, too, since "Message to You Rudie" is heavily represented on "D.J.s"

And they do it all with ease. This is what I would want to be able to do if I ever started a band: Be incredibly knowledgable about a wide range of music and be able to incorporate it all into the music that my band made.

Sure, Sublime made catchier songs/albums, but, for me, it never gets better than their first album when they were just hopping from sound to sound to sound and having a great time.

I'm going to try to cover as much of the range of sounds that are on this album with the video and featured tracks, so here we go.

I actually had found another sample video for this album like the one I had for Paul's Boutique, but, in my opinion, it wasn't as strong or comprehensive, so I nixed it. 

Sublime - Don't Push
Sublime - New Thrash
Sublime - KRS-One

You can buy 40 oz. to Freedom at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Eminem featuring Rihanna "The Monster"

Well, the choices really came down to which collaboration I wanted to write about. And if I have to pick between Eminem/Rihanna and Pitbull/Ke$ha, well, the choice is pretty straightforward.

I just wish there was an actual video to go with this song. But I REALLY don't like Pitbull, so here you go. Close your eyes and imagine your own music video! And then write the treatment in the comments section!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Countdown: Surprise!!!

Fitz & the Tantrums

A great episode that had some surprises that even surprised me!...as they were happening! Stay Tuned to see what I mean!

...remember that movie Stay Tuned? John Ritter and....Shelley Long? vs the Devil who has them trapped in a TV and is trying to kill them and get their souls? Pretty decent, if I recall.

Countdown #175

Cage the Elephant
Capital Cities
Fitz & the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
The Neighbourhood
Pearl Jam
The White Stripes

Friday, November 22, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #63 Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik

Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik, 1991

This album is the first part of our Two Part Series (to be concluded on Wednesday) entitled "Man, the early 90's Were Pretty Filthy, Huh?"

It's a famous piece of James Trivia that "Under the Bridge" was the first music video I ever saw. My mom and I laughed at Anthony Kiedis's long hair and shirtlessness, which, though it may have been coming from a rather close-minded place, IS pretty funny if you look at it 22 years later.

I am in no way saying that it's not a fantastic song and an enjoyable video. It's just that they were SO Red Hot Chili Peppers back then. And I suppose they still are now, but AK wears at least, like, a furry vest or a hat in more recent videos.

I like this album because it has so many different tones and emotions all bundled together into one cohesive package. It's the kind of album where (this happened to me the other night) you're listening and really getting into it and it feels like the album must be at least half over and then you realize that you're only nearing the end of Track 3. Out of 17.  Then you get to "Give It Away" and you think, MAN what a great closer to the album. But no. That's only the halfway point.

It's certainly an over-the-top album, but it works so so so well. There was a documentary filmed about the making of the album and it has interviews and studio footage and it's just really in-depth and weird and good. It's called "Funky Monks" so track it down if you can. Oh, what the hell. Here it is in it's entirety. :) (I was gonna give it to you the whole time. I just wanted to build suspense)

So, I mean, yeah. If you watched the whole hour of that as I did, then I would say you should probably pick up this album if you don't own it already. But if you're still on the fence, here are a couple of tracks that bookend the spectrum of what's on this bad boy.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - I Could Have Lied
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Naked in the Rain

You can buy Blood Sugar Sex Magik at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday: 1997

This is the year I graduated from Middle School and started High School!

10. Mase - Feel So Good
9. Aaliyah - The One I Gave My Heart To
8. Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
7. Boyz II Men - 4 Seasons of Loneliness
6. Somethin' For the People featuring Trina and Tamara - My Love it the Shhh!
5. LSG - My Body
4. Allure featuring 112 - All Cried Out
3. LeAnn Rimes - How Do I Live
2. Usher - You Make Me Wanna....

It's crazy to think that Usher was already established in 1997. He was 19 when this video was made and man, this is a great song, I don't care WHO you are. It definitely has that "1997-1998" feel to it, doesn't it?

1. Elton John - Candle In the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #64 Ben Folds - Rockin' the Suburbs

Ben Folds Rockin' the Suburbs, 2001

If I'm being really honest with myself, I was disappointed with this album on my first couple of listens. It was a rainy evening and I'd just gotten back from the mall with my purchase. I put it on the 5 Disc CD changer (which would break and be chucked off of a 5 story parking structure before the school year was out) and pressed play. And something just seemed....off.

It's taken 12 years, but I think I've figured out what the disconnect was.

Ben Folds Five was like those older kids that would come back to visit in High School and still be so cool and rebellious even if you had this feeling in the back of your head that they were kind of total losers, in terms of life achievement. It didn't matter. They were scruffy and raw and didn't give a shit. That was the attitude of BFF.

So I was expecting something in that vein when I played Folds's first solo album, but here's the difference. If Ben Folds Five was the angry teenager reflecting on love decaying into hate, or how you can love a baby so much even as you're driving to the abortion clinic, Rockin' the Suburbs sees Ben Folds as Father. The anger has faded, replaced with a mixture of dark humor and bitter resignation. "And you wonder why your father was so resigned. Now you don't wonder anymore," he sings on "The Ascent of Stan" and you realize that for all the love songs to his son ("Still Fighting It") and wife ("The Luckiest") that bookend this album, there's a darkness that colors everything in between.

So it makes sense why this album didn't really connect with me when I was 18. But over the years, I've had time to live with it. And it has had time for me to catch up to a place close to where Ben Folds might have been in his life when he wrote it. And now it seems so wonderful and perfect and spot on. And I never realized it until now. You reach a point when you're considering the existence of your child(ren) where you realize that they represent both the extension and extinguishing of your life. It's light and dark. And this album is the soundtrack.

Ben Folds - The Ascent of Stan
Ben Folds - Still Fighting It

You can buy Rockin' the Suburbs at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Lady Gaga "Dope"

I know. I know. The day has come to the blog where I post about Lady Gaga. And not just as part of a list of other huge, smash hit artists. As a subject of her own. And I gotta say, I feel pretty good about it. What a song to make the Top 10. Even if you don't like her fashion or her overall style of music, there's not a lot you can deny in this video from her recent ARTRave concert:

And here's the studio track which I was worried wouldn't hold up to that amazing live performance, but it does.

And of course this song really reminds me of her SNL performance where I started realizing that underneath it all, she's a pretty fantastic musician. Just watch the whole thing before you tell me I'm insane.

Lady GaGa Medley (@ Saturday Night Live) BMF by BlakMusicFirst

Actually I think the image of that beautiful girl with all that musical talent peeking out from her weird atomic orbital costume is pretty much the perfect image for Lady Gaga's place in my mind. Her talent perhaps is lost on people who can't see past the costume. And I'm glad that that first video is out there because the weird costume is nowhere to be seen. And I don't miss it :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Countdown: In Under the Wire!

Fitz and the Tantrums
This was one of those episodes where you look at the clock and then you look at how much more recording you have before you can go to bed, and your heart sinks just a little. But I think it turned out ok :) I'm just not going to talk a lot on this post.

All I'm going to do is to link you to the Shortlist Voting that I talk about in the episode. Please vote!!!

Countdown #174

Cage the Elephant
Capital Cities
Fitz & the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
The Neighbourhood
Pearl Jam
The White Stripes

Friday, November 15, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #65 Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend, 2008

This was a band that I'd heard of but never heard. Then I saw the video for "A-Punk" and thought I understood what they were all about. And THEN I saw them play "M79" on SNL and realized that I had been wrong. So I bought the album and finally heard "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" and it all clicked.

The thing is, especially with this album, the comparisons to Graceland are apt. Yet somehow, at least in my opinion, Vampire Weekend has never come off as pretentious or derivative. They do what they do and they do it well. And it shows on this album.

I always feel like all Vampire Weekend music belongs on old cassette tapes. Is that weird?

Vampire Weekend - M79
Vampire Weekend - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

You can buy Vampire Weekend at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Throwback Thursday: 1998

10. Edwin McCain - I'll Be
9. Faith Hill - This Kiss
8. Deborah Cox - Nobody's Supposed to Be Here
7. Jennifer Paige - Crush
6. Dru Hill featuring Redman - How Deep is Your Love
5. 98 Degrees - Because of You
4. Barenaked Ladies - One Week

3. Monica - The First Night
2. Divine - Lately
1. Lauryn Hill - Doo Wop (That Thing)

Well, I was only going to do the Lauryn Hill song because 1) It's a cool video and 2) It's a fantastic song. But then I saw that BNL had a song at #4 and I wanted to do both. So, dammit, I did both. It's cool to think that both of these songs were on the Top 10 at the same time.

Also, I was definitely one of the kids who got into BNL because of "One Week" and that's mildly embarrassing until I realize that there are a LOT of us out there and that it's a silly thing to be even mildly embarrassed about.

Actually, I think I got into Lauryn Hill because of "Doo Wop (That Thing)" so I mean, I guess that's the theme of this post: Songs That Gatewayed Me Into the Band/Singer. Cool.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #66 The Postal Service - Give Up

The Postal Service Give Up, 2003

When I found Give Up, I was alone in the record store and it was raining. I don't know what possessed me to listen to the album on Plan 9's listening station. My ex-girlfriend Jenna put "Clark Gable" on a mix CD she made me, but I feel like that was in the Summer of 2003. Give Up was released in February and wouldn't have been on the endcap of the store if it was several months old. But I'm pretty sure I went back home to our apartment, which we didn't get until Fall 2003. Weeird. Maybe it's a mystery that will never be solved. I liked what I heard from the first track enough to buy the album. Oh, the days of disposable, parent-funded income.

When I got home with it, I'm not sure what happened but I wasn't as into it as I thought I would be and it kind of got placed on a backburner.

But then, as often happened with albums from that era, Riley discovered it too. And he fell hard. And it was hard not to get swept up in his enthusiasm. Especially because it was an album I already had, and so could just fish out and listen to without dropping any more cash.

The thing about this album and this band is that I think both Riley and I knew who they were before we'd heard Note 1 from Death Cab For Cutie. For us, Ben Gibbard was the singer from The Postal Service and Death Cab was his band that he was in when he wasn't in The Postal Service. Which, maybe it bears explaining, is backwards from how most of our peers encountered BG.

The album is exactly what it should be. Ben Gibbard's ultra-descriptive narratives set to Jimmy Tamborello's techno-y, dancey, dare I say Radioheady instrumentals. It works. Of course it works.

Here's a weird video for one of the really amazing songs. They're all amazing. Who am I kidding?

And here's a video that they made for the 10th anniversary release this year!

And here's the song that started it all for me:

The Postal Service - The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

You can buy Give Up at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: OneRepublic "Counting Stars"

I'm actually rather upset that I haven't checked out this song earlier. The hook is good, but the rest of the song is just as good, if not better. The video adds to all of that.

I'm really happy that Billboard made YouTube a contributor to chart statistics. I think (hopefully) that it might usher in a renaissance of quality music videos like this one. And I think that would be a very good thing.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Festive Fifty 2013 Shortlist Vote!

An email I just sent...

Alright everyone! Here's the shortlist. We're 1/3 of the way there and the steps only get easier!

Here's what's next:

1. From the list below, pick your 10 favorite songs
2. Arrange them in order from 1-10 with 1 being your most favorite.
3. If you choose to, you can give a negative vote to any one song.
4. Share the list! Get more people to vote! Facebook! Blog! Twitter! Tumblr!

Please do all of the above by midnight Pacific on 11/24 (3 am 11/25 Eastern, 8 am 25/11 in the UK)

A$AP Rocky - 1Train
Alice Boman - Waiting
Allison Crowe - Words
Arcade Fire - Reflektor
Arcade Fire – It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know
Atoms For Peace - Before Your Very Eyes
Atoms For Peace - Dropped
Bahamas - Please Forgive My Heart
Bastille - Pompeii
Baths - No Eyes
Capital Cities - Safe and Sound
Chance the Rapper - Interlude (That's Love)
Charlotte Church - Glitterbombed
Chrvches - The Mother We Share
Chvrches - Recover
Cuddly Shark - Broken Arm
Daft Punk - Doin' it Right
Daft Punk - Get Lucky
David Bowie - Valentine's Day
David Bowie - Where Are We Now
Dawes - From a Window Seat
Deerhunter - Back to the middle
Dessa - Fighting Fish
Dessa - Skeleton Key
Eels - Kinda Fuzzy
Elvis Costello & The Roots - Walk Us Uptown
Escondido - Black Roses
Fe - She Came
Fitz and the Tantrums - 6AM
Fitz and the Tantrums - Out of My League
Foals - Late Night
Foxygen - San Francisco
Frank Turner - Recovery
Frightened Rabbit - Dead Now
Half Moon Run - Full Circle
Here Is Your Temple - So High
High Highs - Open Season
Hive Bent - The Observer
Internet Forever - Cover The Walls (Dreamtrak Diamond Sound)
James Blake - Retrograde
James Vincent McMorrow - Cavalier
Janelle Monae - Dance Apocalyptic
Janelle Monae - Q.U.E.E.N.
Jason Isbell - Cover Me Up
Jason Isbell - Songs That She Sang in the Shower
John Grant - Black Belt
John Grant - GMF
Johnny Marr - The Messenger
Joseph Arthur - Saint of Impossible Causes
Josh Ritter - Joy To You Baby
Josh Ritter - New lover
Kanye West - Blood on the Leaves
Kanye West - Bound 2
Katie Herzig - Nothing! Shhhhhhhhhhhh
Kopecky Family Band - Wandering Eyes
Kurt Vile - Wakin On a Pretty Day
Lana Del Rey - Ride
Lana Del Rey - Young And Beautiful
Laura Mvula - Make Me Lovely
London Grammar - Strong
Lorde - Royals
Lorde - Tennis Court
Luke Haines - Rock & Roll Animals
Man Man - Head on
Mavis Staples - I like the things about me
Midlake - Antiphon
Moby - Almost Home
MS MR - Hurricane
New Politics - Harlem
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jubilee Street
Nine Inch Nails - Copy of A
Olafur Arnalds - So Close
OMD - Helen of Troy
Phosphorescent - A Song For Zula
Pixies - Bagboy
Pixies - Indie Cindy
Possessed by Paul James - Songs We Used To Sing
Public Service Broadcasting - London Can Take It
Run the Jewels - Get It
Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels
Sam Baker - Isn't Love Great
San Fermin - Sonsick
Savages - Husbands
Sigur Ros - Isjaki
Sigur Ros - Kveikur
Smallpools - Dreaming
Sparrow & The Workshop - Shock Shock
Speedy Ortiz - Tiger Tank
Steve Adamyk Band - Had a Heartattack
Steve Mason - Oh My Lord
Superhuman Happiness - Baby can I hold you tonight
Teleman - Steam Train Girl
The Boxer Rebellion - Diamonds
The Cinematic Orchestra - To Build a Home
The Civil Wars - The One That Got Away
The Head and the Heart - Shake
The Joy Formidable - Silent Treatment
The National - Don't Swallow the Cap
The National - I Should Live in Salt
Tiny Ruins - Cold Comfort
Tom Odell - Another Love
Tricky - Nothing's Changed
Vampire Weekend - Diane Young
Vampire Weekend - Ya Hey
Vanilla - Fancy Clown Re-flip
Vienna Teng - The Hymn of Acxiom
Volcano Choir - Comrade
Youngblood Hawke - We Come Running

Sunday, November 10, 2013

New Countdown: Done Early! Feelin productive!!

Capital Cities
Well, I'm writing this on Saturday morning. It feels very weird to be done with the podcast already. Not bad. Not at all bad, in fact. Just weird.

My son gets baptized tomorrow and we're having family come visit us. Unfortunately not as much family as we thought we would be having before this morning, but still a lot of family and that's a good thing!

Countdown #173

Cage the Elephant
Capital Cities
Fitz & the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
The Neighbourhood
Thirty Seconds to Mars
The White Stripes

Friday, November 8, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #67 Jimmy Eat World - Futures

Jimmy Eat World Futures, 2004

The first album that my friend Riley told me that I should check out and that I would love was Jimmy Eat World's smash breakthrough hit Bleed American. I am almost positive that he was telling me about it before "The Middle" blew up on radio stations, but it was close. And it was definitely pre-9/11 because they rereleased the album as Jimmy Eat World because the first title was too provocative in that hypersensitive world.

But it took me a long time to get into Bleed American. Something didn't quite click for me. It was ALMOST pop-punk. It was ALMOST alternative. But something was off. Of course, I eventually got into it, but it was probably 6 months after Riley first told me that I should check it out (Which is a recurring event in our friendship).

Futures was similar. If I recall correctly, Riley got a copy of it before it was released and was just over the moon about it. Singing along in his room, cranking it in his car. All of the signs of "Riley's in love with an album" that I had grown accustomed to over the years.

But I don't think I truly loved the album until I put it on one day in late 2005 or early 2006. I was working in the lab at a Perdue chicken factory, testing chicken for bacteria and stuff. It was a Saturday and on Saturdays, one person would come in, do a couple of things and then leave, so I was all alone in the lab and I put this on and it clicked. Every song made sense. The loud ones rocked, the quiet ones simmered. It was eye opening. And I can't explain it, but on that day, this became my favorite Jimmy Eat World album.

The things that bugged/bug me about their other albums weren't here. Things like meandering hooks and awkward lyrics. Nothing huge, by the way. They have a solid back catalog. It's just that this album is PERFECT. The hooks hit right when they should, the lyrics are introspective and thoughtful and it's like that on every track. I love listening to this album.

I never saw this video when it was out, but I love the song, so here's the video for "Pain":

And here are two of my all-time favorites by the band, both from this album

Jimmy Eat World - Kill
Jimmy Eat World - The World You Love

You can buy Futures on Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Throwback Thursday: 1999

10. Len - Steal My Sunshine
9. Deborah Cox with R.L. - We Can't Be Friends
8. Brian McKnight - Back At One
7. Whitney Houston - My Love is Your Love
6. Marc Anthony - I Need to Know
5. TLC - Unpretty

When I wrote Tuesday's Top Ten Tuesday, I completely forgot that this was the song I picked for Throwback Thursday. I guess it's just a TLC week, huh?

4. Lou Bega - Mambo No. 5
3. Mariah Carey featuring Jay-Z - Heartbreaker
2. Puff Daddy featuring R. Kelly - Satisfy You
1. Santana featuring Rob Thomas - Smooth

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #68 Linkin Park - Meteora

Linkin Park Meteora, 2003

Yet another album from my SYoC. Actually, to be completely fair, it's from the summer after the SYoc (SAtSYoC) but it's from the same year, so get off my back!


This album was just chock full of hit songs for the band and was somehow even bigger than their first album, Hybrid Theory. 4 of the 5 singles from it went to #1 on our Alternative Songs chart compared to only 1 from HT. 3 of the 5 made the Top 40 of the Hot 100 compared to only 1 from HT. Now, it's absolutely a fact that Meteora  wouldn't have done as well if it wasn't for the foundation that Hybrid Theory laid, but I truly believe that Meteora shows huge growth from the band.

It showed that they could make an album that moved away from the rap-rock label that they had been associated with, while at the same time representing both rap and rock fairly faithfully.

Here are two songs from the middle of the album that weren't released as singles.

Linkin Park - Hit the Floor
Linkin Park - Easier to Run

And here's the FANTASTIC song that closes the album.

You can buy Meteora at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Imagine Dragons "Demons"

I feel like this video is similar to the video for "Unpretty" by TLC. The whole "going into people's eyes and seeing what they're going through thing"? It seems familiar. This video has a cool, classic feel and I'm really glad that this song has finally made the Top Ten.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Mailbox Monday: Captives

Another contender for inclusion in my longlist is "To Forget" by Captives. It just missed the cut, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a great song from a great album. Think about what Brand New would have sounded like if "What Brand New sounds like on Deja Entendu" was a sound that someone else had made. It's dark, and vicseral, and captivating.


I didn't intend to do that, but I did it. And the word choice is apt. So it's staying.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

New Countdown! 500 Posts!!

The White Stripes in 2003
Well, you can definitely feel how tired I am by the end of this one. Sometimes the podcast just takes longer and I get distracted by watching Batdad Vines. Fortunately/Unfortunately, it's Daylight Savings tonight, so it's not actually as late as it feels and maybe this is my way of acclimating? Who knows.

I meant to mention that this post was my 500th on the podcast, but I forgot. So let me do it here.


In about a month and a half, this blog will turn 6. So that means...an average of about 83 a year. Or 7 a month. Or about a post ever 4 or so days. But the thing is that 299 of those 500 have been in the past 2 years. And 392 of them have been in the last 3 years. So you could say I've picked up the pace.

Wait. That's counting my 6th birthday as today, but I still have a month or so to go till then. But it's pretty close. So, the averages aren't exactly right but the 299 and 392 stats still are.

Oh, the podcast? Sure. Here it is. And thanks for coming to my blog. Here's to 500 more posts before we all simultaneously decide to stop using the Internet and go outside for a global kickball tournament.

Countdown #172

Cage the Elephant
Capital Cities
Fitz & the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
The Neighbourhood
Thirty Seconds to Mars
The White Stripes

Friday, November 1, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #69 No Use For a Name - Leche Con Carne!

No Use For a Name Leche Con Carne!, 1995

I came to No Use For a Name all at once, really. They were on the first Fat Wreck Chords comp I ever bought (Volume 4: Life in the Fat Lane. Purchased because I was buying all the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes songs I could find) with "Coming Too Close" which was on More Betterness in 1999.

Quick Fun Fact: I thought that Leche Con Carne! was the album that immediately preceded More Betterness, but I was wrong and I found that out when looking up their discography for this post. Making Friends was released in between them in 1997. So, I guess we're always learning new ways we're wrong.


So, it wasn't like there was a No Use album that was a beacon of truth and hope in a time of darkness or anything. It was more of a "This is a band that's good. They have a bunch of albums" situation.

But I always come back to this one. I think it's because it sits on the sweet spot between their rougher past and their more polished future. There are fast punky songs, sure, but they're songs with pop sensibilities and hooks and messages and just...all of it. It also helps that two of my favorite No Use songs are on this album (see below). And the 80's cover medley secret track at the end certainly doesn't hurt one bit.

If I was a betting man and I wasn't me, I would have put all my chips on my picking Hard Rock Bottom for this list. It's the first "new" No Use album I heard and it was introduced to my by a cute girl and accompanied a couple of us on some road trips and all of that. And it was a close race between these two albums. But in the end, it's the classic feel that won me over this time.

Lead singer Tony Sly died in July 2012 and I was surprised by how saddened I was. When I stop to think about it, his voice and presence WAS a beacon of truth and hope in a time of darkness.

It makes watching a fun, silly video a little bittersweet, seeing him just being goofy with his buds.

And here are the aforementioned favorite tracks. These are two of my favorite tracks out of all of the No Use stuff I've ever heard.

No Use For a Name - Justified Black Eye (my friend Riley (who has come up on these posts before) thought that it was "Justified Black Guy" for a while when he first heard it in high school)

No Use For a Name - Straight From the Jacket (this might be my favorite No Use song of all time)

You can buy Leche Con Carne! at Amazon, Amazon MP3, iTunes, and directly from Fat Wreck Chords

I'll also include the Amazon link for a recently released tribute album with the profits going to The Tony Sly Foundation, which I *believe* helps out his family. But I can't find a lot of info about it.