Saturday, January 14, 2006

Best of the Best (Part 3)

Alright, it has been a while but here is part three of my riveting series of musical recommendations. Check here for Part 1 and Part 2.

So, let's get to it.

The New Pornographers - You cannot go wrong with any release by this Canadian super group. However, Mass Romantic, their first release, holds a special place in my heart. Good place to start and you will not be disappointed.

Primus - Everyone knows Primus Sucks, but they also released a couple of really good records. Suck on This and Frizzle Fry are two great albums of undescribable weirdness. Sailing The Seas of Cheese is a pretty good third release. After that they sort of became a really weird jam band and I don't have much need for extended instrumental work outs and complicated song structures. Call me a Philistine if you must. And I did really try hard to like Pork Soda, it was in my collection for years, but I just couldn't really get into it and that is where I gave up.

Tom Waits - If you haven't enjoyed Tom Waits, then I don't know what your problem is. First thing you need to know is that his career can be divided into two distinct parts: the Asylum years and the Island/Anti years. Personally, I prefer the later. Initially, Waits was a damn good piano-ballad, L.A. song writer a la Randy Newman. He penned such tunes as "Jersey Girl," made popular by a Mr. Bruce Springsteen, and "Downtown Train," butchered by Rod Steward. He recorded quite a few records for Asylum and some of them are priceless. My personal recommendations include The Heart of Saturday Night, Heart Attack & Vine, and Small Change. But for the prime Tom Waits, the Island/Anti years presented an artist that had thrown out all the rules and created a genre of music that could only be compared to a calliope on acid, but with heart. The music sounded as if it was recorded on trash cans, broken guitars and out of tune pianos. And it is amazing. The best examples include Swordfishtrombones and Bone Machine. If you want more, pick up Rain Dogs and Frank's Wild Years. And then you could check out The Black Rider, Alice, Mule Variations and Blood Money. It is all so good you will wonder why you never listed before. If you need something to really convince you check out "Johnsburg, Illinois" from Swordfishtrombones and "Goin' Out West" from Bone Machine. You've gone without for too long. Enjoy.

Ryan Adams - Whatever happened to the next big thing? After breaking up Whiskeytown, Adams released his first solo album Heartbreaker. This album is so good, so catching, so heartbreaking, I have been disappointed by all of his other releases since, hoping he can recapture the magic of this one release. Even Gold, which was apparently his commerical peak, feels flat and lifeless compared to his debut release. Do yourself a favor, check out Heartbreaker and see what the hype was really about.

That's all I have time for right now. But before I go, here are the recommendations as presented by my iPod.

1. "Paintbox" by Pink Floyd
2. "Where the Heart Is" by Soft Cell
3. "Floaty" by Foo Fighters
4. "My Descent Into Madness" by the Eels
5. "Applebite" by Soundgarden
6. "We're Just Friends" by Wilco
7. "Kiss the Children" by Gram Parsons
8. "Stupid Girl" by Garbage
9. "Emulsified" by Yo La Tengo
10. "June Salutes You!" by Guided By Voices


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