I used to have this thing called a blog where I would write about music, sports and web analytics. It’s a new year, so let’s try to get back on track shall we?
Here are the albums I enjoyed in 2012:
1) Frank Ocean – “Channel Orange” I find myself listening to songs from this album everyday. I think Frank has an interesting talent for making mundane everyday kind of things sound extraordinary. Almost like an album made from ramblings from Twitter. Plus the dude can sing.
2) Passion Pit – “Gossamer” – Their style has changed from their last album and I think for the better. I think some of their songs are written a little heavy handed but still a damn good album and sounds unique.
3) Andrew Bird – “Hands of Glory” – I love the sound of the album, the rustic nature of it. It isn’t his finest work by any stretch of the imagination but I like the sound. I listen to “Three White Horses” constantly.
4) The xx – “Coexist” – not as good as their debut but still decent
5) The Walkmen – “Heaven” – growing old gracefully.
6) The Avett Brothers – “The Carpenter” – sound nothing like they did 4 years ago but you have to keep moving. Also, I had to have an NC band on the list.
7) The Weeknd – “Trilogy” – technically this stuff had all been out there before but was re-released as a cohesive package in 2012. For some reason in 2012 I was really into dark R&B.
The jury is still out on as I haven’t listened to them enough to properly evaluate them:
Kendrick Lamar – “good kid, m.A.A.d city”
Grizzly Bear – “Shields”
Well, I don’t really have my pulse on the music scene these days, too busy of sorts, but I still listen to a crapload of music on a daily basis, so here is what I thought was relatively decent in 2009.
1 – Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (I almost listen to this album everyday)
2 – Passion Pit – Manners
3 – Handsome Furs – Face Control
4 – The xx – xx
5 – Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
6 – Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Pains of Being Pure at Heart
7 – Bon Iver – Blood Bank
8 – Grizzly Bear – Vecaktimest
9 – Franz Ferdinand – Tonight:Franz Ferdinand
10 – Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures
11 – Dinosaur Jr – Farm
12 – Megafaun – Gather, Form & Fly
13 – Flaming Lips – Embryonic
14 – The Antlers – Hospice
15 – Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion
Such is the time of the year for Best of lists…here is my music mix of 2008.
1 – Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (it took the whole year to grow on me, now I love it)
2 – The Black Keys – Attack & Release
3 – TV on the Radio – Dear Science
4 – Shearwater – Rook
5 – Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
6 – Deerhunter – Microcastle
7 – Decemberists – Always the Bridesmaid Singles
8 – Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8
9 – Kanye West – 808s and Heartbreak
10 – Beck – Modern Guilt
11 – My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
12 – Ryan Adams – Cardinology
13 – The Rosebuds – Life Like
14 – The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely
15 – Kings of Leon – Only by the Night
16 – Helio Sequence – Keep Your Eyes Ahead
17 – Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight
18 – The Dodos – Visiter
19 – T.I. – Paper Trail
20 – Okkervil River – The Stand Ins
My buddy Josh sent me the link to this and now its become one of my favorite music sites. Now I am sharing with you guys. The site is Aquarium Drunkard. Enjoy.
2 weeks ago brought us the latest from one of my favorite bands, My Morning Jacket. I think their last album Z is one of the best albums of the last 10 years. The show they put on at the Cat’s Cradle in 2004 was one of the all-time greatest shows that I’ve witnessed in person (here’s proof). Needless to say, I was jacked about them having a new offering called Evil Urges.
So…how does it stack up?
The first 3 songs are jarring in a very odd way and just don’t sound at all like My Morning Jacket. First of all, Jim James’ vocals are very different than MMJ’s previous albums, singing in a R & Bish falsetto. You’ll read in other reviews ,like Rolling Stone, that its Prince-esque in a way but I don’t hear any “When Doves Cry”, its just missing the normal reverb. “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt 1” sounds like a Flaming Lips song. The 3rd song ‘Highly Suspicious’ is a disaster and even more so when you consider how amazing MMJ usually is. The chanting chorus, the laughing, the whole thing is a mess. I can’t tell if its a joke or what, but one thing is for sure, MMJ is trying to tell you that what you think of them from their past efforts can essentially be thrown out the door. 3 songs in and I’m like this is going to be a bad record. Some of the other early songs on the record are reminiscent of 80’s ballads, and not in a good way (is there a good way?).
Its not until the 4th song “I’m Amazed” does the sound of previous albums’ start to take shape. In fact, the rest of the album plays out like a normal My Morning Jacket affair with James’ voice back into the normal reverb-soaked wailing and fantastic guitar playing. The second half of the album is excellent and almost makes me forget some of the experimentalness of the first half. Almost. I think the one thing that still bothers me about the record is that it seems like they wanted to experiment in the name of experimenting, not because it actually sounds good or is interesting. Instead, its solely because they wanted to do something different than what they’d done in the past. Its cool not to want to be pigeon-holed as a band that sounds like this or does that, just as bands in the past have done such as Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ or Wilco’s “Yankee Foxtrot Hotel” which worked well. This one just didn’t work as well.
And my criticism doesn’t mean there aren’t good songs here, there are. “Look at You”, “Smokin from Shootin”, and “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt 2” are all outstanding. And in fact, I’ve grown to like the first song ‘Evil Urges’ which at first I couldn’t get into at the initial listen. Same to a lesser degree for “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt 1”. So this appears to be an album that will grow on you over time, though “Highly Suspicious” will never grow on me. Never.
Overall I’d give it a B –
If you are wondering about the rest of their discography:
Z – A+ fantastic album
It Still Moves – A
At Dawn – A
Okonokos – B+
Tennessee Fire – B
As is tradition, here is my take on the best albums of 2007…
- Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
- Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog
- LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
- Radiohead – In Rainbows
- Kanye West – Graduation
- Queens of the Stone Age – Era Vulgaris
- Band of Horses – Cease to Begin
- Okkervil River – The Stage Names
- Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
- Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond
- Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
- Peter Bjorn and John – Writer’s Block
- Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger
- Yeasayer – All Hour Cymbals
- Black Kids – Wizard of Ahhhs
File this under bizzare marketing.
Radiohead’s new album is available only as a digital download for the next 2 months before showing up in the tangible world in December. Many bands actually employ this strategy these days, so what’s the catch?
Well, the catch is you can pay whatever you want for the album. Seriously, you could pay 5 cents, 100 bucks, or anything you want. This is an interesting social experiment if nothing else. I gave Radiohead 10 bucks, maybe I’m crazy…or maybe its guilt. Or maybe they figure fans will pay a fair rate for the music. In any case, this has to be one of the weirdest ways to sell an album.
To pre-order the new album its at: http://www.inrainbows.com
It can be downloaded on Oct 10th.
Here is my ranking of the previous radiohead albums…
1) Ok computer – A plus. Probably in my top 5 albums. It exemplifies modern paranoia. Man vs machine,etc. Basically a masterpiece and still ahead of its time 10 years later.
2) the bends – A plus. Great guitar rock
3) kid a – A plus. I actually listen to this one more than any of them, and has gotten me interested in electronic music over the years
4) amnesiac – B plus…not quite as jarring as Kid A, but still has some impressive songs like Pyramid Song. Close your eyes and listen to that song, its amazing.
5) hail to the thief – B minus – Some slow songs and some filler, but also some great tunes like 2+2=5 and Drunken Punchout at a Wedding
6) pablo honey – C I don’t own it, but my brother did. Couple of decent songs, strong debut, but ultimately not songs i would keep coming back to.