Wednesday, July 31, 2013

All Time Hot 100 (Part 8)

We're getting into the REALLY big hits here, folks. The song I thought would be at number 1, was in the 30's, so I have no idea what to expect. It could be anything!

30. Irene Cara - Flashdance...What a Feeling! (1983)

29. Gotye featuring Kimbra - Somebody That I Used to Know (2012)

28. The Police - Every Breath You Take (1983)

27. Next - Too Close (1998)

26. Andy Gibb - I Just Want to Be Your Everything (1977)

25. Flo Rida featuring T-Pain - Low (2008)

24. Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris - We Found Love (2011)

23. Survivor - Eye of the Tiger (1982)

22. The Bee Gees - How Deep Is Your Love (1977)

21. Chic - Le Freak (1978)

One Year, 100 Albums: #96 Jack Johnson - Brushfire Fairytales

Jack Johnson Brushfire Fairytales, 2001

When we were dating, my wife gave this album to me. I hadn't really heard of Jack Johnson at that point. It can be very intimidating to buy music for me and it was a big leap she took to give me an album that she loved, but had no idea whether I would like it or not.

Well, it turns out I liked it very much.

I find that, often, context helps me appreciate an album deeper and faster. So it was very very helpful that she included notes about her favorite songs and lines on the album.

The album is very mellow. Almost as mellow as Iron and Wine's Our Endless Numbered Days, but with a little more flourish. It's not surprising that Johnson's first career was as a professional surfer. His voice is calming like the white noise of a crashing wave, but then he'll do quirky little time changes or interesting rhymes and you can imagine that he enjoys showing off a little when he's riding the waves.

It may very well be that I enjoy this album more than Johnson's other albums because of the context and memories that my (eventual) wife adorned it with, but I feel like it catches Johnson at a period of time after he'd discovered that he could make enjoyable, interesting music, but before he was all over the radio with songs from (admittedly, very enjoyable) kids movie soundtracks.

Here's a semi-recent video of a performance of one of the albums "hits":

And here's my favorite song from the album. I still have my wife's note, but it is somewhat buried in papers in my memory box. I believe she, like me, enjoyed the time changes, but she also said that the image of "Bubbly Toes" is kind of gross...she's not wrong about that.

Jack Johnson - Bubble Toes

You can buy Brushfire Fairytales at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

All Time Hot 100 (Part 7)

Ok, back on track with today's posting from Billboard as they countdown the All Time Hot 100 from 55 years of Billboard. It's Top 40 time. Someone call Casey!

40. Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson - Say Say Say (1983)

39. Queen - Another One Bites the Dust (1980)

38. The Bee Gees - Night Fever (1978)

37. Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On (1973)

36. Wings - Silly Love Songs (1976)

35. Savage Garden - Truly, Madly, Deeply (1998)

34. Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men - One Sweet Day (1995)

33. Johnny Horton - The Battle of New Orleans (1959)

32. Bobby Lewis - Tossin' and Turnin' (1961)

31. Adele - Rolling in the Deep (2011)

All Time Hot 100 (Part 6)

Oh no! I'm a day late on this one! It's the beginning of the top half of Billboard's All Time Hot 100 in celebration of their 55th birthday. So check this out and then check out the next one in a little bit!

50. Boyz II Men - End of the Road (1992)

49. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You (1992)

48. Alicia Keys - No One (2007)

47. Elton John - Candle in the Wind 1997/Something About The Way You Look Tonight (1997)

46. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe (2012)

45. Andy Gibb - Shadow Dancing (1978)

44. The Beatles - I Want To Hold Your Hand (1964)

43. Tommy Edwards - It's All in the Game (1958)

42. Dawn featuring Tony Orlando - Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree (1973)

41. Nickleback - How You Remind Me (2001)

Top Ten Tuesday: Anna Kendrick "Cups (Pitch Perfect's When I'm Gone)"

So I was blown away by the movie Pitch Perfect last year. I went in with zero expectations and I left thinking about the movie a LOT for the next week and then off and on for the next year or so. I got the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack from my wife for my birthday and watched it for a second time when I was in the hospital after she had our son. It definitely holds up.

So the main character in the movie is played by Anna Kendrick and, after everyone else has auditioned for the acapella groups with renditions of Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone", she comes in late and auditions with this:

So I guess that little ditty was pretty popular because they had her re-record it and turned it into a proper pop song. Which is cool, I guess. But also a little strange. It's in the Top Ten this week, so here's the video for the re-recorded song:

Anna Kendrick "Cups" Music Video by FanReviews

Sunday, July 28, 2013

NEW COUNTDOWN: Looks Like We Made It!

The Neighbourhood

This show has everything: volume problems (and volume solutions), dance lyrics that don't translate to spoken word very well, pop-unders. Just everything! But I promise you it all works out in the end! :)

Oh I also have a very special co-host for the first half. He's the strong, silent type.

Countdown #160

Atlas Genius
Capital Cities
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams
Fitz & the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
The Neighbourhood
New Politics
Nine Inch Nails

Friday, July 26, 2013

All Time Hot 100 (Part 5)

Here we are at the last of the lower half of this All Time Hot 100 that Billboard is releasing. I feel like we've had VERY few misses. And I would imagine it can only get better, right?

60. Ace of Base - The Sign (1994) (yay!!!!)

59. Timbaland featuring OneRepublic - Apologize (2007)

58. Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx - Gold Digger (2005)

57. The Monkees - I'm a Believer (1966)

56. Ke$ha - Tik Tok (2010)

55. Kenny Rogers - Lady (1980)

54. Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive (1978)

53. Mario - Let Me Love You (2005)

52. Blondie - Call Me (1980)

51. Black Eyed Peas - Boom Boom Pow (2009)

One Year, 100 Albums: #97 System of a Down - Toxicity

System of a Down Toxicity, 2001

I'm not really sure how I came to own and love this album. My cousin Brady had played some songs from their self-titled debut (specifically "Sugar") and I really liked what I heard.

Then, if I'm following the right string of memories, freshman year of college (Fall 2001) I heard and liked "Chop Suey!" and then downloaded the album, track by track from some sort of web sharing site (probably Limewire).

And then, at some point, I bought the album proper. It can't have been much later than Fall 2001. So it was probably over Thanksgiving break. My most vivid memory is of my suitemate (and future Best Man) Riley hearing me play this album. He stopped in his tracks, looked at my quizzically and said, "James, you like metal?"

Of course this album is not REALLY "metal", per se. It's not really categorizable, if you ask me. There's punk, there's thrash (or what I think of as thrash), but there's also something else. Maybe it's the Armenian heritage or maybe they're just a bunch of weird dudes, but there is something wild about Toxicity. The emotions and tempos and volumes are all over the place. And it's something that I love. A theme that you're going to see in this series is that it's very comforting to me to KNOW an album inside and out. I will forgive a lack of proficiency or even originality if it's an album that I am very very familiar with.

I'm going to splurge on the videos today. Here are the videos for two of the singles (THE two singles, if you ask me. "Aerials" is good on the album, but it's kind of weird to hear on the radio)

And we'll close today with the first and last tracks on the album. Just to give you an idea of the range of this thing (Spoiler: It's a big range!)

System of a Down - Prison Song
System of a Down - Aerials/Arto

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

Thursday, July 25, 2013

All Time Hot 100 (Part 4)

We're almost halfway through the All Time Hot 100, which Billboard has been releasing every day. I basically just go to the Main Site and that day's list is on the side-scrolly, featured articles thing right there.

70. Paula Abdul - Rush, Rush (1991)

69. Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder - Ebony and Ivory (1982)

68. Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera - Moves Like Jagger (2011)

67. Tag Team - Whoomp! (There It Is) (1993)

66. The 5th Dimension - Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In (1969)

65. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - I Love Rock 'n' Roll (1982)

64. Stevie B - Because I Love You (The Postman Song) (1990)

63. Brandy & Monica - The Boy is Mine (1998)

62. John Lennon - (Just Like) Starting Over (1980)

(No music video for this one, not very surprisingly)

61. J. Geils Band - Centerfold (1982)

Dessa Fall Tour Announcement


So this showed up on Doomtree's homepage today. 

I've got my tickets purchased for the 9/23 date. I highly suggest you purchase tickets for a date near you. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

All Time Hot 100 (Part 3)

Day 3 of me finding videos for each of the songs that Billboard has calculated as the highest charting songs of their 55 year history. Let's see how many times Lionel Richie shows up today!

80. The Steve Miller Band - Abracadabra (1982)

79. Coolio featuring LV - Gangsta's Paradise (1995)

78. Donna Summer - Hot Stuff (1979)

77. Shania Twain - You're Still the One (1998)

76. Marvin Gaye - I Heard It Through the Grapevine (1968)

75. Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland - Dilemma (2002)

74. Bruno Mars - Just the Way You Are (2010)

73. The Archies - Sugar, Sugar (1969)

72. Diana Ross - Upside Down (1980)

71. Dionne and Friends - That's What Friends Are For (1986)

One Year, 100 Albums: #98 Everclear - Sparkle and Fade

Everclear Sparkle and Fade, 1995

This was not the first Everclear album I ever heard. Not by a long shot. I was a huge fan of 1997's So Much For the Afterglow, but when it came down to picking between that one and this one, the album with the less polished sound won out.

Everclear was one of the first bands that I heard on the radio, liked what I heard and bought all I could by them. Sparkle and Fade has a song called "Heartspark Dollarsign" that I was very familiar with because it was the only Everclear CD single available at the Virgin Megastore in New York City when I was there, probably sometime in Spring 1998.

The band really made its mark with this album, particularly with the smash single "Santa Monica" (which is still probably my favorite place name to say).

What I especially enjoy about this one is that you can hear the band having fun, but you also get the harsh reality of Art Alexakis's lyrics, which, as they would on the albums to follow, dealt with his own rocky upbringing and how that has informed the parenting of his daughter. Sparkle and Fade is an album about what  it's like when you're in your late 20's/early 30's trying to live the life you've dreamed of, how the world often seems dead-set against you, and how you can shake free of all your troubles if you play your guitar loud enough.

This is the video for "Santa Monica" which I actually had never seen until I hunted it down for this post. Pretty standard video. Great song.

These songs happen later in the album and they happen back to back. I included both of them because of the whiplash-change in the sound/emotion from the first song to the second and because they give a good idea of the range that this album contains.

Everclear - Pale Green Stars
Everclear - Chemical Smile

You can get Sparkle and Fade at Amazon, Amazon MP3, and iTunes

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

All Time Hot 100 (Part 2)

Continuing tracking down the music videos for the 100 highest charting songs of all of Billboard's history and we are going to do 90-81 right....NOW!

90. Foreigner - Waiting for a Girl Like You (1981)

89. Mary J. Blige - Family Affair (2001)

88. All-4-One - I Swear (1994)

87. Sinéad O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U (1990)

86. Lionel Richie - All Night Long (All Night) (1983)

85. The Knack - My Sharona (1979)

84. Lionel Richie - Say You, Say Me (1985)

83. Wild Cherry - Play That Funky Music (1976)

82. Carly Simon - You're So Vain (1973)

81. Michael Jackson - Billie Jean (1983)

What an interesting list this is so far! Especially this segment! TWO Lionel Richie songs in one 10 song span? Crazy!

And now I believe I'll go listen to Thriller. What an album.

Monday, July 22, 2013

All Time Hot 100 (Part 1)

To celebrate its 55th anniversary, Billboard is rolling out a countdown of the top 100 charting songs in its history. So, since that's kind of what I'm doing on an upcoming bonus episode, I thought I'd try to track down videos for each set of ten as they are rolled out.

Here's the first 10. And apparently, they're doing 10 a day for 10 days.

100. Usher - You Make Me Wanna... (1997)

99. Fun feat. Janelle Monae - We Are Young (2012)

98. Emotions - Best of My Love (1977)

97. Maroon 5 - One More Night (2012)

96. Phil Collins - Another Day in Paradise (1989)

95. B.J. Thomas - Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head (1970)

94. Puff Daddy and Faith Evans feat. 112 - I'll Be Missing You (1997)

93. John Cougar - Hurts So Good (1982)

92. Roberta Flack - Killing Me Softly With His Song (1973)

(15 years later than when it charted, but c'mon, the 70's weren't about music videos, people)

91. Elvis Presley - Are You Lonesome Tonight? (1960)

(Of course this is only 8 years later than when it charted. Good lookin' out, Elvis)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

BONUS EPISODE: The Ten Lowest Charting Songs (2010-2012)

There's something interesting about these 10 songs. They were all popular enough to MAKE the podcast, but not popular enough to STICK AROUND on the podcast.

So it's entirely likely that you won't remember some of these songs. You might think I've just picked 10 random songs, but I assure you. This is the real deal. I have the numbers to back it up.

So sit back and enjoy this bonus episode. I'll be back next week with a new chart!

The Ten Lowest Charting Songs (2010-2012)

Breaking Benjamin
Broken Bells
Mumford & Sons
My Chemical Romance
The Shins
Social Distortion
Them Crooked Vultures
Walk the Moon

Friday, July 19, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #99 Tool - Lateralus

Tool Lateralus, 2001

When "Schism" was playing on DC101, I was sort of taken aback by how intricate the melody/rhythm was. It was like Pink Floyd had teamed up with Marilyn Manson or something. So, when I got my Christmas Gift Certificate to HMV in November that year (I would visit my Dad and Stepmom in Boston for Thanksgiving and we'd do Christmas, too), this was near the top of the list of albums I was interested in getting.

I was nervous about this one though, because I wasn't sure I was ready for something this dark.

But this album isn't nearly that monochromatic. It's more like the album cover at the top of the page (that's not really the real album cover. The real album cover wouldn't look good at all on the computer screen. It was a very "look at it while you hold it in your hands" kind of album cover): there's a lot going on.

This album is good if you want to rock out, but it's also pretty good if you're feeling meditative. The lyrics can take on a kind of mantric (....that's totally a word, right?) quality and even though the world is crashing around you, you don't mind as long as you cling to the fragile voice of Maynard James Keenan.

It would be higher if it weren't for the interstitial tracks at the beginning. Tracks 2 and 4 are more interludes than songs.

It's very hard to listen to a single track from this album, but I thought I'd include the single that piqued my interest in the first place. It also peaked on the Hot 100 chart at number 67, the only song of Tool's to make it onto that chart thus far. In addition to that feat, it made it to #2 on the Alternative Songs chart (then called the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart).

Tool - Schism

And here's a video I found on YouTube of the two songs that come right after Schism. They flow into one another as you'll see and the video will give you some idea of the visuals presented at a Tool concert.

You can buy Lateralus on Amazon.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: #100 Cursive - Domestica

Cursive Domestica, 2000

Starting things off with a loud crash. Like the sound of a dinner plate hitting the wall.

Domestica wasn't the first album I heard by Cursive. It's just the album that I can't stop once I've started. It's raw (probably because it was written right around the time of Tim Kasher's divorce) and loud and sweet and quiet and angry and sad. Oh and it's a concept album with an ambiguous ending!

It's styled as "Cursive's Domestica" on the album cover and on Amazon and all that, but I'm not going to fret about that.

These first two songs start the album and they ended this concert in January 2001:

So I mean yeah. It's chunky and weird and amazing. Definitely check out the whole album if you've never heard it.

I could have picked any song and it would have given you a good idea of what this album is like. I almost picked "A Red So Deep" because I like the drums so much, but then I was listening to the album and this came on and it's a pretty good encapsulation of what's on this album.

Cursive - The Radiator Hums

You can buy the album at Amazon, Amazon MP3, iTunes, or the Saddle Creek webstore

Sunday, July 14, 2013

New Countdown: Last Countdown as a Dad of 1!

Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams

Well, this is it. 3 days after this is published, I will become a father to a little baby boy. And I will have to begin training him to take over the podcast when I'm gone (his sister will no doubt be appearing on his shows with her band. Maybe he can have her on as a guest! There IS a tradition of sisters as guests on this podcast)

So here it is, chock full of bonus songs. And I hope you enjoy it! I'll be back with another new countdown on Sunday 7/28. And next week we'll have a special bonus episode: The Ten Lowest Charting Songs (2010-2012). It's a good one, so come on back!

Countdown #159

Capital Cities
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams
Fall Out Boy
Fitz and the Tantrums
Imagine Dragons
The Neighbourhood
New Politics
Nine Inch Nails
Thirty Seconds to Mars

Friday, July 12, 2013

One Year, 100 Albums: Introduction

So, I'm writing this on April 10th. I'm trying to get a huge head start on this project because it's going to start getting published right around the time my son is born and it would be really nice if the blog could just run itself for a while, you know?

Ok, so this started off as a Desert Island Disc kind of thing. I was reading Cathedrals of Sound and he decided to count down his 125 top Desert Island Discs. And it's an amazing feature that I imagine has wrapped up in the time between my writing this and you reading it. Go back through and see  what I'm talking about though. I love when he puts a new album up. It's always surprising and fun! And I've almost never heard of the album.

That probably won't be the case with this list, but I think you'll enjoy it. I've decided not to keep the Desert Island Disc idea in the title because, as one friend pointed out, 100 albums is a pretty generous haul to have on you in the case of tragic shipwreck.

So it's just a roughly ranked list of 100 albums that I can always put on and listen all the way through, enjoying each song. I ripped off the rules from Cathedrals of Sound and thank God I did! This was hard! (I've been working on my list since he was on like #112 or something. I finished when he was publishing #24. He publishes two albums a week. Or an album every other day. Something like that. That should give you a rough idea of how long it's taken me!)

Here are the rules I used:

1. One album per band. Albums from side/solo projects are permitted. So I could have a White Stripes album, the Jack White solo album, and a Raconteurs album with no problems. I don't . But I COULD.

2. No live or greatest hits albums. This rule wasn't TOO constricting, but I'm glad it was there.

And that's it! I am PLANNING on posting every Wednesday and Friday (because I don't tend to post things on those days!) and so that should have me posting the #1 album right around a year from now. It'll be like a week before the anniversary of the first post. Close enough.

You can look at all of the albums that have published posts in one big group by clicking the "1Y100A" tag at the bottom of any of the posts! :)

So come back on Wednesday to see what #100 is!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Guitar Moves: Annie Clark (St. Vincent)

I just watched this 13 minute video of this guy Matt Sweeney (oh WHOA he was in Zwan!) interviewing Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent). Well, it's less of an interview than you might think.

The show is called Guitar Moves and what I gather from this one episode is that he sits down with his guest and they show him cool/weird things they do with their guitars.

I will readily admit my huge crush on Annie Clark, but this is above and beyond. First, her hair, which she recently dyed blonde (to shocking, wonderful effect, if you ask me) is all over the place and I love it. But then you see her making these noises come out of her guitar and it's just...just fantastic.

Enjoy. And watch more Guitar Moves. I saw he did one with Dan from the Black Keys and Josh from Queens of the Stone Age.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

New Countdown: Ahead of the Game (for once)

Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams (and Nigel Rodgers)
Well, it is 9:37 on Saturday night. I finished this podcast on Thursday night and I'm halfway through the recording of an upcoming bonus episode. So I'm feeling pretty good about the scheduling of it all.

This is a good episode. We're getting into the heat of the summer. These are the episodes we'll look back on come December and be like, "Oh yeah....remember that?" or at least I like to think we will. Does anyone else ever get pre-emptively nostalgic? Is there a term for that kind of nostalgia?

Countdown #158

Capital Cities
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams
Fall Out Boy
Imagine Dragons
The Neighbourhood
New Politics
Thirty Seconds to Mars

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monthly Poll: Beastie Boys - Hello Nasty

So I want to focus a little more on these Alternative Album Grammy Winners that I'm playing for bonus songs on the Countdown. So I think, on the first Monday of every month, I'm going to do a little retrospective poll related to the album from the proceeding month.

May's album was Beastie Boys' Hello Nasty.

Please answer the following questions in the comments section. (If you don't have an answer, feel free to skip the question)

1. What is your favorite track on Hello Nasty?

  • Super Disco Breakin'
  • The Move
  • Remote Control
  • Song For the Man
  • Just a Test
  • Body Movin'
  • Intergalactic
  • Sneakin' Out the Hospital
  • Putting Shame In Your Game
  • Flowin' Prose
  • And Me
  • Three MC's and One DJ
  • The Grasshopper Unit (Keep Movin')
  • Song For Junior
  • I Don't Know
  • The Negotiation Limerick File
  • Electrify
  • Picture This
  • Unite
  • Dedication
  • Dr. Lee, Ph.D.
  • Instant Death

  • 2. What is your favorite Beastie Boys album?

    3. Which do you feel should have won the Grammy, if not Hello Nasty:
    • Tori Amos From the Choirgirl Hotel
    • PJ Harvey Is This Desire?
    • Radiohead Airbag/How Am I Driving?
    • Smashing Pumpkins Adore