Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Top 10 for 2007

Each year it is harder and harder to pick the Top 10 records of the year. It actually becomes harder and harder to find ten releases that actually kick my ass. My first inclination was to include the new Wilco and Radiohead and Robert Pollard releases. But despite liking these releases, none of them really kicked my ass the way the new M.I.A. or Spoon or Jamie T did.

But I am compelled to compile such a list in memory of the late, great Greg Dwinell, founder of eggBert Records, who passed away in 2003. He got me to start compiling a best-of list when he approached me to contribute to his Circle of Friends year-end wrap up in the early 1990s. Don’t remember when, and don’t have copies now. But they probably contained a lot of “grunge” at that point.

Greg is missed.

Also, since it is the time of year to think of others. Visit the West Memphis 3 website and do what you can to help these three guys get the justice that has been denied them. And support Capistrano Valley High School instructor James Corbett who is being persecuted by a student for simply encouraging young adults to question the answers and think for themselves.

So, without further ado, here is my Top 10 for 2007.

1. M.I.A. – Kala
2. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
3. Bright Eyes – Cassadega
4. White Stripes – Icky Thump
5. Lightning Dust
6. The Grindermen
7. Jamie T – Panic Prevention
8. The Shins – Wincing the Night Away
9. Steve Earle – Washington Square Serenade
10. The New Pornographers – Challengers

Monday, October 01, 2007

Radiohead to Release In Rainbows Oct. 10

Just in case you missed the big announcement, Radiohead is releasing their seventh album, In Rainbows, as a digital download on October 10. The physical version will be released by December 3. The kicker is that the digital download is available for whatever you feel like paying, while the physical “discbox” is about $80. The discbox is a two disc set, with two 12” vinyl LPs, and all the bells and whistles you would expect for $80.

Visit to order your preferred version.

UPDATE: As noted on Pitchfork, In Rainbows will be available in 2008 as a traditional CD release.

I’ve been listening to Sparklehorse all morning, so here are the last 10 songs:

1. “Mountains”
2. “Homecoming Queen”
3. “Dreamt For Light Years In”
4. “My Yoke Is Heavy”
5. “More Yellow Birds”
6. “Sick of Goodbyes”
7. “Sunshine”
8. “Cruel Sun”
9. “See the Light”
10. “Happy Man (Memphis Version)”

Friday, September 28, 2007

2008 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

Okay, it’s time again to see which camels fit through the needle’s eye. The nominees for this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction are:

The Ventures
Donna Summer
Afrika Bambaataa
Beastie Boys
The Dave Clark Five
Leonard Cohen
John Mellencamp

But the voters only get to pick five. I like the Afrika Bambaataa, Leonard Cohen, Donna Summer, the Ventures and John Mellencamp. I think it is too easy to pick Madonna and the Beastie Boys, plus shouldn’t Donna Summer and Afrika Bambaataa make in it first?

Ultimately, the whole thing seems so, well, un-rock and roll. At the end of the day, it seems so dumb because fans don’t get a vote and, while rock stars are all about self-aggrandizement, it seems a bit stodgy for current and relevant artists like Madonna and Beastie Boys. Wait until they retire.

In the end, I just have to say, "Who cares?"

Here are the last 10 songs my iPod nominated this morning:

1. “The Land of the Clear Blue Radio” by the Soviettes
2. “Tristessa” by Smashing Pumpkins
3. “Love Comes Tumbling” by U2
4. “Green Fields” by the Good, the Bad & the Queen
5. “Company Calls” by Death Cab For Cutie
6. “Hold On” by Pearl Jam
7. “Village Idiot” by Soul Asylum
8. “A Minute Before the Evil Street” by Guided by Voices
9. “Reason 36” by the Alarm
10. “We Destroy the Family” by Fear

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Up and At 'Em

A couple of good notes, the two upcoming Robert Pollard releases are streaming at the Merge Records site. Click on the links below to enjoy either Coast to Coast Carpet of Love or Standard Gargoyle Decisions. Both sound really good from what I’ve been able to hear. I don’t spend too much time listening to music on my computer so I’ve only listened to the first five minutes or so of each release.

Also, Captain’s Dead has the Guided By Voices Power of Suck demos available. Get ‘em while they are available.

Now onto business, I listened to the new Foo Fighter’s this morning on my drive into work. Initial reaction is that they have crafted a very nice, non-obtrusive album. It has its moments and nothing is wrong with the album. It’s just kind of mediocre. Of course, the band has been on a steady decline since the high water mark of The Colour & the Shape. But Echos, Silence, Patience and Grace is a better album than In Your Honor simply because it is more concise and less bloaty. That being said, standout cuts include “Long Road to Ruin,” “Cheer Up Boys (Your Make-Up Is Running)” and “But, Honestly.” The first single, “The Pretender” is a serviceable Foo Fighter’s song but nothing exemplary. And “Statues” begs the question, what if Dave Grohl sang for Lynyrd Skynyrd? Overall, it is a good album for those needing a Foo fix but not an essential album for the casual fan.

I also picked up the new Steve Earle release Washington Square Serenade, and I have to say Mr. Earle has produced another wonderful album continuing his post-prison streak of winners. Standout cuts include “Tennessee Blues,” “Satellite Radio,” and “Oxycontin Blues.” Earle’s cover of Tom Wait’s “Way Down In The Hole” is a pleasant conclusion to a strong release.

So, after listening to the new Foo Fighters, Steve Earle and the Power of Suck demos, these were the 10 last songs played on my iPod:

1. “A Beginning” by the Beatles
2. “I Don’t Need Two Reasons” by Sarah Silverman
3. “You’re Welcome” by the Beach Boys (Smile sessions)
4. “Beautiful Girl” by George Harrison (Beware of ABKCO version)
5. “Two Sevens Clash” by Culture
6. “Freedom of Choice” by Devo
7. “The Drawback” by Warsaw (Joy Division)
8. “No Backbone” by Lemonheads
9. “The Prisoner” by Iron Maiden
10. “The Way We Get By” by Spoon

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Foo For Thought

I don't know what I am doing with this blog, but I figured I should say something since I posted a comment on the OC Register's site about Desert Jeff's contention that Dave Grohl "has become arguably as big a cultural icon as his former band mate Kurt Cobain."

This was my response.

While I am a big fan of Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl going back to the days when he scrawled Chaka on his drums, it is a bit silly to claim he "has become arguably as big a cultural icon as his former band mate Kurt Cobain." He might be as big of a star and might even become a bigger star, but "cultural icons" have to be a bit harder to come by or such a designation would lose all meaning. Nobody is going to look back upon the release of any Foo Fighters' album as a revolutionary or revelatory breakthrough similar to the release of "Nevermind." You can argue that Nirvana was simply in the right place at the right time, but their second album upset a whole industry destroying careers and forging a cultural path that Dave Grohl is simply enjoying. Once again, I love Foo Fighters and Dave Grohl so I'm not trying to diminish his contributions to popular culture, but Foo Fighters is just one of many bands that have walked through the door Nirvana kicked down.

Anyway, since I crawled out from under a rock to say something somewhere else I figured I might as well post a post.

And here are the last ten songs from my iPod:

1. "Via Chicago" by Wilco
2. "Vastopol" by fIREHOSE
3. "Yesterday's News" by Whiskeytown
4. "Cherries" by Brendan Benson
5. "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" by the Monkees
6. "Girl U Want" by Soundgarden
7. "Old Devil Moon" by Frank Sinatra
8. "How Low Can A Punk Get" by Bad Brains
9. "The Loved Ones" by Elvis Costello
10. "I'm Always In Love" by Jeff Tweedy (solo at "Letters for Santa Benefit"

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Chris Cornell Puts His Head Back In His Ass

Alright, I was going to purchase the new Chris Cornell today, but didn’t. I have to admit, I have enjoyed, to varying degrees, some of the live recordings floating around out there such as the Unplugged in Sweden show. As I said before, these recordings gave me hope for a nice comeback by Mr. Cornell, but sadly, I guess this isn’t the case.

After the horrible reviews the record has received and the phone call from a good friend warning me to avoid this release at all costs, I am probably going to pass on putting down the $10.

Kind of sad. I mean, “Seasons” from Singles was a good song, right? And his solo version of “Like Suicide” was haunting. I’m not just being nostalgic. I have these songs on my iPod so I have heard them recently. Chris Cornell, at one time, was amazing, but maybe he needs a great band such as Soundgarden or Temple of the Dog. Maybe without a great band, he is just great hair, a piercing stare, and a distinctive heavy metal yelp.

Who would have thought that Down On The Upside, the worst Soundgarden album, would be the last good thing to come out of the Cornell throat? Not me.

I’m not going to tell you not to buy the disc since I haven’t actually heard it, but for me and my family, we will abstain.

Anyway, I am on a Cure kick today.

Here are the last 10 songs my iPod has played from these lovable mop-tops.

1. “Object”
2. “Faith”
3. “Breathe”
4. “Ariel”
5. “More Than This”
6. “Boys Don’t Cry”
7. “A Short Term Effect”
8. “The Lovecats”
9. “The Walk”
10. “Descent”

Friday, June 01, 2007

It Was 40 Years Ago Today...

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released forty years ago today, and that is reason enough for me to come out of my seclusion. I know I have been remiss and if anyone missed me, I apologize. Priorties sometimes get in the way of fun.
Strangely, I have been listening to the Rolling Stones today.

Here are the last 10 songs from my iPod:

1. "It's Only Rock 'N Roll (But I Like It)"
2. "Sweet Virginia"
3. "Hide Your Love"
4. "Little By Little"
5. "Not Fade Away"
6. "Middle of the Sea"
7. "Salt of the Earth"
8. "Dancing With Mr. D."
9. "Ruby Tuesday"
10. "Paint It Black"

Talk to you soon.