Sunday, December 25, 2005

xmas dinna'

merry christmas everyone. i got what i wanted and the transit strike is over, allowing me to make my way around the city. i plan on going to MoMA and to catch Match Point before heading back West. sorry no music as i haven't picked up any this week and i'm traveling barebones. hope everyone is doing well in blog land.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Walking Sucks... pick a brotha up.

ten and out

i'm not really sure what the next few weeks are going to look like as i head out to transit-free new york city for the holidays. given the unpredictability of such things i thought i'd finally toss out my top ten of the year today. in retrospect it wasn't necessary a strong year for music. there were undoubtably some great albums, but not very many discoveries. a lot of bands build some hype only to delay album releases (hello Love is All) while several bands have been kicking their heels over sophmore releases (every band in nyc 03) and a lot of stuff that had a newish sound was already in the consciousness if you were reading say fluxblog or music for robots in 04 (the go! team). i'm certainly not out to make an excuse for my list and it's all too familiar names. there's gonna be people who disagree, but this was an easy list to compile. i've linked tunes from my top 50 songs of the year where applicable.

(1) josh rouse - nashville
"Sad Eyes"

(2) the national - alligator

(3) decemberists - picturesque
"the Engine Driver"

(4) crooked fingers - dignity & shame
"Sleep All Summer"

(5) sufijan stevens - illinois

(6) boy least likely to - best party ever
"I'm Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon to Your Star"

(7) new pornographers - twin cinema

(8) stars - set yourself on fire

(9) robbers on high street - tree city
"the Price & Style"

(10) art brut - bang bang rock n roll
"Emily Kane"

five (mostly) non-music related great things in 2005:
1) World of Warcraft (2-3 three nights a week i'm an undead rogue named Box, pretty much ensuring i will remain single throughout 2006 as well)
2) Veronica Mars (best show on television)
3) flying out to SF to see Gang of Four with my friend andy
4) Batman Begins, Sin City, Wedding Crashers & 40 year Old Virgin
5) Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective @ SF MOMA (other highlight of my trip West)

tricky's performing

both sunday afternoon and again today the place i was eating lunch had Massive Attack playing. while sunday was just their rediscovered breakthrough song "teardrop," today was the full Mezzanine album. a good album for sure, but i would offer up another Massive Attack album as not only their best, but one of my all time favorite albums...1991's debut Blue Lines. i remember picking this album up at a shabby record shop in rhode island that would sell promo copies of cds for a dollar or two. i had seen a video of theirs on 120 Minutes that intrigued me. before i delved into indierock i was really into hip hop. i still remember seeing that video and being perplexed because here were these people who were essentially rapping and playing dance music, but they were just chilling in a room and where i recognized american hip hop about being a certain lifestyle, i was left wondering what exactly this was about. back then trip-hop hadn't entered the music lexicon and most will point to this record as the first qualifier. it's coming up on a fifteen year anniversary and it still sounds as hyptnotic to me as the first day i picked it up. despite being meticulously crafted it still manages to sound organic, something i think Mezzanine lacks. i have to admit i'm surprised that this isn't the record of theirs resurfacing because i think someone craftier than me could draw allusions between this album and which direction some of todays better popular music has landed.

Massive Attack "Daydreaming"

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Jones for Comedy

Today I recommend heading over to The Hammer Blog to see a very funny video allegedly directed by Spike Jones regarding The Gap Store. He also has a lot of other funny videos posted but this one is particularly great for anyone experiencing some holiday shopping stress.

"on herschel! on shlomo!"

todays tracks are pulled from the 1999 shirley beans compiled "i made it out of clay" hanukkah pop compilation. the first is a completely unexpected envisioning of Elvis Costello's "veronica." after that you have some Oval-Teen, one of my favorite "no ones ever heard of this group and they're quite good" bands from the pre-my space days where you'd bump into musciaians on aim and they'd mail you tapes. lastly...well i think the song title speaks for itself. enjoy and sorry for the late post. i'm been trying to pack and prep for my trip back east for the holidays. i will be in brooklyn, webster, ma and rhode island over the course of several days. i gather i will spend an entire days worth of hours en route on a plane, train or bus.

Kisswhistle "Verhanukka"
Oval-Teen "Eight Great Days"
Rosenbergs "Puff Daddy Isn't Kosher"

Sunday, December 18, 2005

eleven fingers

at one point when i was driving home from the Crooked Fingers show i wrote about, i thought to myself, "i hope Largehearted Boy tracks down a torrent of the show that i can link. he did afterall link the last two CF shows in denver." well it took a few days but it showed up. how is that for dependability? i knew there was a reason LHB replaced cnn as the companion to my morning coffee (it's true...i go to the office early, get some coffee or juice and read LHB before i start to work).

here is the link to a torrent to the show i reviewed that includes many songs to appear on the next album: Crooked Fingers 12/14/05 Denver

Friday, December 16, 2005

Get to Know Your Heros

In case anyone missed the news posted by "a long-handled fork that has two or three long somewhat curved prongs and is used especially in pitching hay"-Media, Daniel Johnston was admitted to a hospital in late November and remains in critical care.

Anyone who saw "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" on the festival circuit this year knows not only how amazing Daniel and his body of work are but also how great a music documentary can be. The film was even one of fifteen documentaries selected from a list of 82 to be considered for Oscar nomination. It will receive a limited theatrical release in March of next year...around the same time as another documentary that I can't wait to see: "WHO IS HARRY NILSSON (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?)". That doc will feature interviews with Yoko Ono, Randy Newman, Brian Wilson, Micky Dolenz and several others. The film is directed by John Scheinfeld. His LSL Prods banner was responsible for "Beautiful Dreamer", another music doc, about Brian Wilson and his Smile album (which is sitting on my DVR box).

Nilsson is most likely recalled by non-fans for his popular cover of Badfinger's "Without You" as well as his 1969 hit "Everybody's Talkin'," the theme song for the film "Midnight Cowboy". He was also responsible for the head-burying novelty "Coconut" and wrote Three Dog Night's "One". Nilsson Schmilsson, the remastered Harry Nilsson album was a treasure find for me last year. The unabashed poppiness of that album hasn't aged a lick well over thirty years after it original release. It inspired me to go out and pick up the equally enjoyable Son of Schmilsson album as well as Harry & Nilsson Sings Newman. Nilsson was nicknamed 'the American Beatle' and was actually a hard-partying friend of John Lennon. Check him out-he remains one of the most underappreciated singer-songwriters in American music.

Back to Daniel for a moment, In 2004, Gammon Records released a tribute album "Discovered Covered - the Late Great Daniel Johnston", which had nineteen of Johnston's songs packaged with eighteen prominent artists covering the same songs on a second disc, including Tom Waits, Death Cab, Bright Eyes and The Eels. It was a brilliant idea and perfectly excuted.

Here are the requisite samples:

Daniel Johnston: True Love Will Find You in the End
Beck: True Love Will Find You in the End
Harry Nilsson: Let the Good Times Roll

PS: A totally random note: several years ago I saw on the MTV footage of Titanic (which I still haven't actually seen) set to Fountains of Wayne's "Sink to the Bottom". It was absolute genius. If that same person is still kicking around they'd be smart to set Tom Waits cover of Daniel's Johnston's "King Kong" to Peter Jackson's new film in some capacity.

and more holiday cheer

just in case your musical preferences leave you saddened by a lack of sci-fi surf rock noels or drag hazed space rock christmas tunes...remember Audio for Drinking has your musical egg nog this season.

Man...or Astroman? "Frosty the Snowman"
Spectrum "Santa Claus"

Thursday, December 15, 2005

crooked fingers @ the larimer lounge 12/14

earlier this year i found myself quite disappointed when Crooked Fingers came to town only to play at a larger venue, offering up an abbreviated set serving as opener to locals DeVotchKa. it was the first night of the tour for Dignity & Shame and the band stuck to the new album. the disappointment came as a result of my liking of Bachman's usual routine. he tends to play denver twice a year which certainly suits me given that i'm a big fan. and he often plays smaller venues that lead to some great crowd interaction. thankfully Crooked Fingers swung through denver for their second jaunt of the year and a return to normalcy was welcomed. CF played the larimer lounge weds. night (this time with the frontman of the aforementioned Devotchka opening). Bachman had recently flown in from guatemala, where his mother lives and where he's been working on material for a soon to be recorded fifth album.

a nearly two hour long set ensued with seven new songs, some even without titles yet, previewed. while a few recalled his earlier efforts, a few were livelier than what we've heard from Crooked Fingers thusfar. the rest of the evening was open to requests, which in turn led to a lively crowd that in appreciation adorned the stage with a pitcher, a bottle of bud, a pint, two cocktails and a shot for Bachman.

to the best of my recollection, the familiar tunes were as follows:

New Drink for the Old Drunk /Juliette / Black Black Ocean / Don't Say A Word / the Rotting Strip / Andalucia / Theres a Blue Light / You Can Never Leave / Red Devil Dawn / You Must Build A Fire / A Little Bleeding

Bachman claimed to hate Red Devil Dawn, but was playing it for the first time in two years because "a cute girl requested it." all in all a fun night and i'm already looking forward to his next visit.

*also, listen to some DeVotchKa as they are one of the city's finest bands.

...and i want a toy rocket

so quite a few years back, garage-rock centric label Sympathy for the Record Industry released 10-inch collections of christmas music and such is the source of today (and tommorrows) music. i'm actually writing this in the wee hours of the night after an evening of live music so i apologize that you're only getting one tune for now, but i promise more quality christmas tunes after i get at least five hours of sleep before heading to work. about a month ago Throwaway Style did a wonderful piece on attending the final Rocket From the Crypt show and such is the inspiration for my artist selection here.

Rocket From the Crypt "Cancel Christmas"

Top 5: Josh's 2005 Edition

I've been wanting to get back to our Thursday Top 5 lists since we had to rebuild the site last month. Today I will declare these to be the last of my end-of-year summaries. These are all my opinions (although I think Jay may agree on a few). Feel free to pitch in in the comments sections. That's what this is all about folks! Bring on 2006!


1. Iron & Wine & Calexico w. Sufjan Stevens, Salvador Duran & Ebony Hillbillies at Webster Hall
2. The Decemberists with Sons & Daughters at Webster Hall
3. The National with Palomar at The Mercury Lounge
4. SLINT at Irving Plaza
5. Alaska and Ash at the Bowery Ballroom

MUSIC BLOGS (the most informative, readable and unpretentious)
1. Aquarium Drunkard
2. Muzzle of Bees
3. Chromewaves
4. So Much Silence
5. Copy, Right


1. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
2. Sin City
3. (tie) The 40 Year Old Virgin/ Wedding Crashers
4. The Squid & the Whale
5. Walk the Line


1. Battlestar Galactica
2. Arrested Deveopment
3. Deadwood
4. Lost
5. Entourage


1. Leaving my job at Steeplechase Films and travelling around the country seeing many of my friends
2. Purchasing a HDTV and enjoying it every minute possible
3. The death of my laptop and consequentially the first 5 months of Audio For Drinking
4. Seeing over a half-dozen ballgames around the country where the Astros were seemingly always the visiting team
5. (I'm reserving this spot for the next two weeks...just in case)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

sprinkled covered cookie trees

contrary to popular belief christmas cookies are not the unwanted tracking files you get from doing you christmas shopping onlines. they are something i ate way too many of today. anyway, here's tracks from the second christmas album from the once grand, now defunct indiepop label that was Kindercore, simply titled Christmas Two. this one had a lot of great tracks, but i pulled out the bands i figured people would most want to hear from as well as the bratty JV track that i always loved.

Dressy Bessy "All the Right Reasons"
Kings of Convienence "Deilig Er Jorden"
Junior Varsity "Don't Believe in Christmas"
Of Montreal "Christmas Isn't Safe for Animals"
the Mendoza Line "Fox in the Snow (live B&S cover)"
(no idea how that constitutes a xmas song actually)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

christmas lights

i broke out the christmas music yesterday for work. today is our quasi xmas party, aka the day my office wraps christmas gifts we bought for charity and i'm left feeling cheap by those few rightious types because i don't have a hundred dollars to buy gifts like they do. i was being badgered to buy a bike for the cause this year. mind you i don't even own a bike myself. furthermore, i'm one of those people that believes that ones time is the most charitable donation and that buying gifts is a cop out for people who don't want to face the ugly things in the world and that it's kinda crazy to believe in order for everyone to celebrate christmas, they must all have bikes and dvd players. anyway. i caved in and bought gift certificates for a bunch of kids to buy cds. i have some music for all of you too and we'll trust that you're also putting aside crazy beliefs and politics and making someone elses holiday better in turn.

today i have selections from the first Kindercore Records christmas album entitled Christmas in Stereo. tommorrow i'll have some tracks from their follow-up holiday collection and bunch more of my favorite christmas music in the days thereafter.

Aden "Silent Night"
Bunnygrunt "I Am Gonna Be Warm this Winter"
the Summer Hymns "Santa Couldn't Fit You Under My Christmas Tree"

Monday, December 12, 2005

richard pryor (1940-2005)

Comedy legend Richard Pryor died of a heart attack on Saturday, nine days after celebrating his 65th birthday. The funnyman's wife, Jennifer, has confirmed his passing, revealing she tried to resuscitate him at their home in Encino, California. Pryor had been fighting degenerative nervous system disease multiple sclerosis for the past 20 years. Fans began gathering at his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles soon after hearing the sad news yesterday. Pryor starred in a number of hit comedy movies like Stir Crazy, Brewster's Millions and Car Wash, but he really shone as a standup comedian, often poking fun at race issues and his own well-publicized drug problems. Pryor, who was married seven times and fathered seven children, grew up in a brothel in Illinois, run by his grandmother. He started his comedy career as a touring stand-up in the 1960s and quickly became a cult act. He won several Grammy Awards for his comedy albums and went on to influence many of today's top comedians. As well as his most obvious movie hits, listed above, Pryor also appeared in Superman III in 1983 and The Muppet Movie in 1979. He also starred in innovative musical documentary Wattstax. In paying tribute to Pryor yesterday, movie-maker Spike Lee said, "He was an innovator and a trailblazer. It's a great loss.

i'll also add that The Toy is one of my all-time favorite movies.

Richard Pryor - "Black Funeral"
Joe Henry- "Richard Pryor Addresses A Tearful Nation"

Friday, December 09, 2005

jasons fine fifty pt. 5

the top 10 is somewhat personal buisness, but like all things i'll wear it on my sleeve. there's something defining about ones favorite songs. a lot of the songs posted this week are simply great songs and you've heard as much from more than A4D. then there's the top ten, which are my top songs because the lyrics meant something to me this year and that's why they were the songs that were on repeat in my car, on my stereo, and on my laptop. it was a year where i saw another girl make promises that she couldn't keep, a year where i saw the last person i loved have the family that was once alluded to for my own life and it was a year i mostly spent alone with just my cat while thinking too much about about nearing thirty and wondering if my best chances at life are behind me. basically the things they make pop songs for. these were just the best ones at making sense of it. some are surprisingly fun and some are meloncholic and all are worth a listen.

10) "Various Stages" - Great Lake Swimmers i have seen you in the eyes of a hundred thousand other stranger faces. i have seen you in unlikely, unfamilar places. i have seen you be wreckless in matters of love

9) "Karen" - the National karen, put me in a chair, fuck me and make me a drink. i've lost direction, and i'm past my peak

8)"the Matter of Our Discussion" - Boom Bip w/ Nina Nastasia i don't believe in the power of love

7) "I'm Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon to Your Star" - Boy Least Likely To the little things that used to make us happy made us sad

6) "Since You Been Gone vs Hard to Find (AAS)" - Kelly Clarkson and all you'd ever hear me say is how i pictured me with you

5) "Reunion" - Stars all i want is one more chance to show you you were right for me

4) "Sad Eyes" - Josh Rouse you're watching all the speeding cars moving like you wish you could

3) "the Engine Driver" - the Decemberists i'm a writer, writer of fictions. i am the heart that you call home and i've written pages upon pages trying to rid you from my bones

2) "X" - Unbunny i wish i was different. i wish i was good. but no one can save me and no one should. afraid of decision, afraid of love, afraid of the future...all of the above

1) "Sleep All Summer" - Crooked Fingers cold waves kill cool lovers. strange ways we used each other. why won't you fall back in love with me?

TBWHTO #'s 1-10

So we've finally reached the Top Ten and to tell you the truth I think all these songs should speak for themselves and so I'm offering them all up along with wishes for a relaxing weekend. I'm sure we'll be back next week with some more fun end-of-the-year news, notes and musings.

Oh, one thing I will add regarding # 5, The original LCD Soundsystem was very good. This version is better because "I got the Mothership over at my house" so kicks ass over "a tour bus and van at my house. I mean it's the MOTHERSHIP!" Also, I can't offer up #4 because I bought it on the iTunes and really, haven't you by now? Sea shantys are the shit! My other car is a fucking whale.

10. "Call to Love" Crooked Fingers
"Love is a fine thing to take a chance on."

09. "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead" Stars
"God that was strange to see you again."

08. "Dilaudid" The Mountain Goats
"... so do it with your mouth open and take your foot off of the brake for Christ’s sake!"

07. "Paul Simon" Russian Futurists
"You're my first pint, on the worst nights."

06. "Iron Woman" Devin Davis
"Three whole weeks spent throwing matchsticks at the sun."

05. "P-Funk Is Playing at My House" DJ Riko feat. Gerald A & Katie Enlow
"More Cowbell!", "Bootsy's girlfriend is workin' the door."

04. "The Mariner's Revenge Song" The Decemberists
"I guess we have some time to kill."

03. "Walter Reed" Michael Penn
"There's nothing here worth saving"

02. "The Trapeze Swinger" Iron & Wine
"I heard from somone that you're still pretty."

01. "All the Wine" The National
"I'm so sorry but the motorcade will have to go around me this time"

Thursday, December 08, 2005

jasons fine fifty pt. 4

well we're nearing the end of this thing aren't we. you'll start to notice the same artists making multiple appearances at the top of this list. unavoidable i guess given the caliber of some of this years releases. let's press on shall we...

20) "Miss You" - the Concretes an interesting cover song pulled from a collection of b-sides and older singles. it sort of has the swagger of older Stones, which is amusing if you recall this was actually one of the Rolling Stones tackier songs.

19) "the Price & Style" - Robbers on High Street as Spoon have become increasingly polished, Robbers sound like the Spoon of old. the eeewww'ing of frontman ben trokan on this track over the declaration of not being able to have want he wants so bad made this a standout.

18) "Doing Something Wrong" - Magnolia Electric Co. as a twenty-something year old i gotta love songs about self-doubt and contemplative musings of your place in the world. added bonus, jason molina making poetry out of cussing. he really does sound more and more like cheep beer and harley tee shirts with each new album and i never thought i'd love it this much.

17) "the Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth" - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah i wasn't one of those people completely blown over by this band. despite the comparisons i read, david byrnes remains a far superior vocalist voiding that suggestion. regardless, really dug this tune.

16) "Paul Simon" - the Russian Futurists already raved earlier this year on A4D about this bedroom orchestrated fusion of pop, horns and laptop beats.

15) "the Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine" - Spoon at times this reminds me of a Tom Petty tune.

14) "the Mariner's Revenge Song" - the Decemberists more like a short story. not a wholly original one, but an enjoyable one nonetheless. revenge might come right after love and heartbreak in regards to what song topics people can easily relate to.

13) "It's the Nighttime" - Josh Rouse struck me an accurate theme to another year of letting another love get away

12) "Chicago" - Sufjan Stevens just wonderfully written, "i made a lot of mistakes in my mind"

11) "Call to Love" - Crooked Fingers Eric Bachman is probably my most favorite musician to go see live these days. he'll be back in denver next weds. this song really stuck out from his previous post-Archers work (i.e. upbeat even if it's about missing the mark on love) and yet strangely it more than works.

TBWHTO #'s 11-20

10 more songs and 10 more stupid superlatives...

20. "Dead Man's Will" Iron & Wine & Calexico [I hope that they can play this one at my funeral.]

19. "Engine Driver" The Decemberists ["If you don't love me let me go." 'Nuff said.]

18. "Kiss You" Alaska [Alaska just kicks tons of ass with their music and more people need to start listening to them.]

17. "So Begins Our Alabee" Of Montreal [Not to totally exploit Jay's past as a radio promoter put one of the first bands he turned me on to after he had started that line of work was Of Montreal. I can't believe they've been around that long. I remember one year trying to go see them and someone mistook me for Jay and when I said I was his twin brother she accused me of being just another music industry dick. This happened every year during CMJ.]

16. "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left" Andrew Bird [What a trip. It starts off with very little, a voice and a guitar, and then just blows up into an orchestra of details.]

15. "Circles" Bob Mould [The man behind my cardigan collection, totally back in form.]

14. "Back to Me" Kathleen Edwards [This may be the only track in the top 20 that many of you haven't heard. Kathleen's a young country-rocker from the Great North who has played with Dylan and the Stones and deservedly so.]

13. "Monkey" Low [The first great song in 2005. Who knew they could rock like this? ]

12. "Since U Been Gone" Ted Leo [This is a great song no matter who sings it but when Ted seamlessly busts out with some Yeah Yeah Yeahs halfway in...genius.]

11. "Baby C'mon" Stephen Malkmus [I really didn't like any of the post-Pavement Malkmus until I heard this killer track. He keeps it simple and catchy.]

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Your NYC Concert Calendar on the Ones

Just a quick note for anyone looking to see a fun show in NYC in the coming days. The Mercury Lounge has Snowden on Thursday, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's on Saturday and Laura Viers on Sunday. Explosions In the Sky sold out all three shows at Bowery next week! Also, The Damnwells are going to be at Rothko on the 16th, probably previewing their new record.

jasons fine fifty pt. 3

30) "Ooh La La" - Goldfrapp may be the most recent best ode to Electric Warrior that i can think of. it's so trashy and drips of Allison Goldfrapp's suggestive vocal intonations.

29) "Ageless Beauty" - Stars the best band in canada does not carry the initials a.f. or even b.s.s. i'll often single out songs that sound like the culmination of several great moments in music history and this is such a song. i hear a bit of Lush-like shoegaze, a hint of sarahesque twee pop and eighties synthpop all going on here and i love it.

28) "It's For You" - Out Hud on what will most likely be the most underlooked album to be released this year, the group took their "danceable indierock" reputation in more electronic direction that had the group poised for stardom giving the years LCD-led club sound explosion and this is the song that should have been playing everywhere

27) "Walking With A Ghost in Paris" - Party Ben (Tegan & Sara vs. Mylo) the only kitsch pick on the list. Mylo had one of my top albums last year and so it was hard to avoid this Mylo-infused mash-up.

26) "Ladyflash (Hot Chip Mix)" - the Go! Team technically this made my list last year, but it saw a domestic release this year and i played it well into the spring. the Hot Chip mix from the single is particularly crucial.

25) "For Real" - Okkervil River this is a catchy, powerful sounding song. it is also a very dark song. all this talk of wanting "real blood" and i honestly don't know if he's looking for a deep connection or out for murder.

24) "Sucker" - Damien Jurado personal indulgence here as this song seem really to speak to the endgame that was my history of lovers.

23) "Banquet" - Bloc Party you'd think as a huge Gang of Four fan i'd have to be fed up with this, but in all honesty i dropped like twenty bucks on this import single before the album made it overseas and that single was on repeat in my car and in my office for months.

22) "Use It" - the New Pornographers on an album full of so many great songs it hard to single out just a few. aside from being one of the first songs to leak, this one best showcased what this canadian "supergroup" had to offer in pure power pop.

21) "Be Gentle With Me" - Boy Least Likely To... as my brother pointed out, it's the song that kicked off A4D (and to think it wasn't even my favorite song on the album...

TBWHTO #'s 21-30

As we get closer to the top, my choices sort of become self-explanatory: they're just great: catchy, well-written & inspiring.

30. "Recurring Motifs In Historical Flirtings" Say Hi to Your Mom [Does anyone wonder like me if Eric Elbogen's bedroom is decorated like a NASA spaceship with that space-print wallpaper? You know he says he's already making a follow-up with the goal of getting it on The O.C. before it gets cancelled? This particular track is also my favorite song title of the year. Many of his titles are as awesome as the songs themselves. Why Say Hi To Your Mom is not over the moon famous by now is beyond me.]

29. "What Is Your Secret" Nada Surf [Nada Surf took Say Hi to Your Mom on tour this year. Do you like how I arbitrarily pair some of these tracks together? Well anyway, Nada Surf finally went out and made a song better than "Popular". Actually they made a couple and this is just my favorite one.]

28. "This Is The Night" Jarvis Cocker [When I read that Pulp'’s Jarvis Cocker and Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway had been tapped to write and play a few songs for the new Harry Potter film (after Franz Ferdinand passed on the opportunity) I laughed. But you know what? Their three tracks are a lot of fun and a perfect fit for the movie. I can only pray for an Oscar nomination/performance.]

27. "Let Love Not Weigh Me Down" Ed Harcourt [Some may say this track is over-the-top and maudlin. But then again isn't that one of the many great formulas for a enjoyable pop song?]

26. "Full of Stars" Portastatic [My turn to pick my favorite Portastatic song. I could make a "here's where the strings come in" comment about this bouncy string-laden charmer but I've decided that Portastatic is now a band and not a side-project and only hope that we keep getting gems like this from Mac.]

25. "Catch My Disease" Ben Lee [Catchy as motherfucking hell.]

24."A Jealous Heart Is a Heavy Heart" Damien Jurado [Devastating.]

23. "Woman King" Iron & Wine [This song is much in the same vein as everything on Our Endless Numbered Days and is the perfect place-setter for the EP as it slowly... (but we're getting ahead of ourselves now, eh?).

22. "Hammer Down" Electric Magnolia Co. [I love ol' Sparky. Filter called Jason Molian a "post-apocalyptic Neil Young" which is funny because I heard he really likes Slayer's "Seasons In the Abyss".]

21. "Eleanor Put Your Boots On" Franz Ferdinand [There was no sophomoricric jinx for these guys. In 2004 I called them "the ideal hipster guilty-pleasure" and hoped they would survive all the buzz which they did finely including this wonderful Beatlesque track. By-the-way, what is a Greentpoint Three Point?]

No Man Is One

There's much love for Islands tonight. It was nearly a sell-out crowd on a cold Tuesday night here in New York City. The band was nothing short of excellent and you should all be excited for them in 2006. The new material isn't so much a departure from Unicorns although it's a much fuller sound musically. They crammed seven guys up there on the Knitting Facory stage including Royal City's Jim Guthrie and a very energetic viola player. After previewing their impending 2006 release the band treated the audience with an inspired encore, a cover of "Going to Graceland". The fanatical crowd demanded a 2nd encore and with the egging of the other members of the band, Nick Diamonds and J'aime Tambeur came back up to play the much leaked "Abominable Snow" which Nick claims he hadn't played since they recorded it. I wish I had some pictures for y'all but I'm still waiting on getting a camera for Christmas.

The new record will be out in Europe on Rough Trade in January with the band still undecided about a North American distributor (although it has been suggested that it might be Rough Trade as well). As soon as I have something, I'll be sure to share it with you.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

jasons fine fifty pt. 2

40) "Do the Whirlwind" - Architecture in Helsinki the one night i dj'ed this year i opened up with this. it should have appeased the pop fans at the club and still exist as something you might want to dance to. well at least i was into it.

39) "This Time It Will" - Jeff Hanson destined to have most record reviews focus on his falsetto, it's shame because beneath that voice is the songwriting and talent you know left kill rocks stars rightfully thinking they had their Elliot Smith successor.

38) "How Can I Love You if You Won't Lie Down" - Silver Jews every Silver Jews record has one song so silly and yet so clever and this tune may have unseated "Honk if You're Lonely Tonight" as Berman's best one yet.

37) "Take My Time" - Junior Senior this really deserves to be higher. it's a another great feel-good song from this duo and i can't believe they couldn't find someone to distribute this domestically.

36) "the Saddest Quo" - Pernice Brothers another one of A4D's earliest posts. the pop shimmers and the lyrics are too smart for their own good.

35) "It's All in My Mind" - Teenage Fanclub one of my all-time favorite bands. naturally it would be the norman blake penned tune that opens the album that would be the most memorable.

34) "Tribulations" - LCD Soundsystem while that other song got all the attention early on, this was the one with the killer video, that sounded cooler live and was the best sound on that album.

33) "Destination Diamonds" - Diamond Nights another tale of "how could this rock band from new york not be huge with a song like this cuz it's ten times better than the Darkness." i could blast this from a trans am and feel really cool.

32) "We Both Go Down Together" - the Decemberists the first Decemberists tune on the list and you'd be silly to think it's the last. allmusic made an astute comparison to Belle and Sebastian. the songwriting is sometimes too charming for it's own good, but people love it and the british folk sounds slyly lives on despite line-up changes. pretty uncanny really.

31) "I Wanna Know Girls" - Portasatatic on par with some of Superchunk's best songs. formulatic...hell all the best pop tunes are. the title sounds machismo, but the song is really about wanting love. indierock lives.

TBWHTO #'s 31-40

Hi everybody! It's me, Dr. Nick!

But seriously, I just got back from the Iron & Wine/Calexico/Sufjan Stevans/Ebony Hillbillies/etc show. Easily one the 5 best shows I've ever attended. Seriously. The other four are The Afghan Whigs, Firewater, Ween and Nina Simone. I'm so happy. It just may have been the best day of the year. Add up the roast beef sandwiches for dinner, getting my glasses fixed, finding out I've gone down a size on my belt, walking home in a very comforting snowfall and seeing one of my favorite bands with my favorite gal and, really, who could ask for anything more? Every song I could have requested played superbly? (The Trapeeze Singer, Woman King, Jezebel, Evening on the Ground, Cinder and Smoke, Naked As We Came, Free Until They Cut Me Down, Sodom South Georgia, History of Lovers, Burn That Broken Bed, covers of All Tomorrows Parties and Ain't No Sunshine and closing with Dead Man's Will!!!). OK, I'll go take a chill-pill. Here are songs 31-40 for the singles countdown.

40. "Don't Save Us From The Flames" M83 [I used to have a personal blog where I occasionally wrote about music and about 99.9% of the visitors I had were looking for the lyrics to M83's "Run Into Flowers" after it appeared in a car commercial. The other .1% suprisingly were looking for lyrics to Say Hi To Your Mom's "Hooplas Involving Circus Tricks". This track also made its way into a car commercial so that the masses might enjoy their faintly psychedelic brand of electronica.]

39. "Be Gentle With Me" The Boy Least Likely To [If memory serves me correctly, this was the subject of our first post. The Boy Least Likely To were recommened to me by the fine fols at the Rough Trade record shop in London about 3 years ago after they had put out a few 7" singled which I'm told sell well on eBay (I'm keeping mine). When I saw that they had finally put together a proper lp I was so excited I shelled out twenty something bucks for the import. Songs like this make the juice worth the squeeze.]

38. "My First Time Volume 3" Spoon [An iTunes exlusive named after a book in which gay men describe their first same-sex experience. Um, ok.]

37. "Things The Grandchildren Should Know" eels [This is everything the last song on a two-disc album should be. Everett's bittersweet portrait is almost a little too familiar. I was wondering when I heard about the album whether its seeming excess would break the long streak of wonderful eels records. I now know that there couldn't ever be a bad eels album because there is nothing else out there like eels.]

36. "Huddle Formation" The Go! Team [The most dancable thing I heard all year. The English underground knows how to have more fun.]

35. "Everyday I Love You Less And Less" Kaiser Chiefs [The Kaiser Chiefs make me nostalgic which ultimately makes me question their staying power. This particular song is a fine companion to the 6th's "Falling Out Of Love (With You)" for those of you feeling trapped in a shabby romance.]

34. "The Widow" The Mars Volta [Yesterday I mentioned something about self-indulgence. This is the only time I can say thank the Lord above for the radio-edit. Anyway, prog-rock doesn't deserve to be this passionate.]

33. "Shine It All Around" Robert Plant & The Strange Sensations [I know that you just love how I followed The Mars Volta with this really excellent track from Robert Plant. The fact is, it was much higher before I thought they'd like to be together.]

32. "Red Receiver" Sons & Daughters [I'm going to use this space to tell you how badly I lust for Sons & Daughter's resident banshee Adele Bethel. When they opened for The Decemberists earlier this year I had one of those creepy this performance is for me alone moments. It's just all very sexy to me.]

31. "Grrr" dios malos [I saw dios a few weeks back and was mistaken for the lead singer (who I guess I'm a a minature version of) by this nice girl whom I spent the rest of the show talking with but who never emailed me (which is too bad 'cause she liked alt-country and seemed pretty darn cool). This song is dedicated to her.]

That's it folks. I'll be checking out Islands (ex-Unicorns) at my former employers The Knitting Factory tonight.

Monday, December 05, 2005

jasons fine fifty pt. 1

the top fifty singles has more than a bit part in the genesis of why audio for drinking exists. several years back i found myself bored with the generic top ten albums of the year lists and so i penned a real music fans opus on my journal...50 defining tunes. last year i noticed many of the top tracks where compiled from music blogs and it was about this time that josh and i decided to start our own blog. i do have a tendency to be singles minded despite the countless albums i buy each year. i think it's a part of me that long for the years i worked as a music director, choosing all the songs that would get played. anyway, here is my list, presented ten a day for you this week. many tracks will be familiar if you've been keeping up with A4D, while i suspect you'll find some new goodies as well.

50) "Bloodline" - Orenda Fink she could sing about anything and sound sexy i think, but it's the "if i catch you breathing" line from this song that makes me just melt.

49) "Venus in Cancer" - Amusement Parks on Fire one of the very first tunes posted on A4D. as much as i love the distortion that reminds me of the nineties, i think the sincerity i sense in the vocals is what won me over.

48) "the Other Shoe" - eels there's a certain predictability to a good eels song. it starts off all quiet and then just sorta explodes towards the end.

47) "Good Weekend" - Art Brut the album is just chock full of great songs. i gather it's the optimism in this one that attracted me.

46) "the Chapter in Your Life Entitled San Francisco" - the Lucksmiths one of the more underlooked great songwriters probably because they're "just an indiepop band"

45) "History of Lovers" - Iron & Wine and Calexico i've actually avoided most of the Iron & Wine hoopla. then someone put this on a mix for me and i found myself going back to this song again and again once the mix had run its course.

44) "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" - Sufjan Stevens i've actually been to metropolis, il and have fond memories of it. i also like comic books. basically the song was stacked in my favor for many reasons.

43) "Island of the Honest Man" - Hot Hot Heat guilty pleasure. i really have no idea what he's singing about, but i still sing along.

42) "Alternative to Love" - Brendan Benson i went to a concert to hear this song and after he played this song, i left. true story.

41) "That's How I Knew This Story Would Break My Heart" - Aimee Mann i had been waiting for a proper album since the magnolia soundtrack and lost in space just wasn't it for me. then i heard this song and it just struck me having all the emotions found in a full length filmatic drama. worth the wait.

The Best We Have to Offer: MY Favorite Songs from 2005: #41-50

I'm a twentysomething white male who enjoys making lists, especially when it comes to music. You may have seen the movie.

Actually, trying to single out a single is a tough assignment. The prospect of guessing which of these 50 songs will make me nostalgic 10 years from now is nothing short of self-indulgence. Luckily, I'm for indulgence tonight.

This was the first year I used iTunes to compile my favorite songs. I was able to track play count and how many times I had included a particular song on a mix cd as well as move songs up and down the list without the assistance of an eraser. It feels weird. 2005 after-all was the year that I finally digitized most of music collection and moved it all into bins under my bed (too old to show-off I told myself). Now I have a little grey box wired to my computer with over thirteen thousand songs or 30 days worth of music inside. I still miss putting songs on a cassette tape.

The following tracks are arranged in an order that changes on a near daily basis. (I am still the #1 single.)

50. "Without You" Archer Prewitt [The first of many songs from a pile of albums sent to me from Jay this year so many kudos to him. (I guess that's why he does most of the writing.) I couldn't tell you much about most bands. This song is one of the many great tunes on Prewitt's wonderful album Wilderness. It's somber, relaxing and inviting. Perfectly crafted pop.]

49. "California is Waiting" Biirdie [I actually discovered this song while out visting my friend Lisa in Los Angeles and can tell you it's the quintesensial song for someone bumming their way in Los Angeles for a few days.]

48. "Formed a Band" Art Brut [This song was on a freebie comp I received when I ordered The Boy Least Likely Too album from Rough Trade late last year. The rest is history. They recently put on two blistering shows here in New York City

47. "Today Has Been Ok" Emiliana Torrini [The best therapy for a bad day is a good song like this. By now my penchant for personal intimate songs is fully exposed. Someone just told be she was the gal singing the song in the closing credits of The Two Towers film. Pretty cool.]

46. "Blood" Editors[Jay wrote about them earlier this year and I haven't stopped listening since. It's as acidic and bitter sounding as it is dancable.]

45. Angel Mort" Les Breastfeeders [I can't tell you what they're saying but it's incredibly catchy.]

44. "Mornin's Over" Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion [I'm not sure whether to call this country or folk but you can certainly file it under good.]

43. "Bed is For Sleeping" Matt Sweeney and Bonnie Prince Billy [I'll admit I've never listened to Palace and couldn't tell you much about Will Oldham (maybe ask Jay) but the two Bonnie Prince Billy records that have been given to me are both dark and lovely. Everything he sings seems like such a dead reckoning.]

42. "I'll Be Yr Bird" M Ward [You might recall this one from earlier this year when I compiled a faux Cameron Crowe soundtrack.]

41. "I'm Going To Stop Pretending That I Didn't Break Your Heart" eels [It took me longer than I'd have liked to digest the dual disc effort but this one song stood out immediately.]

(#31-40 Tuesday as well as my impression of the Iron & Wine & Calexico show)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

press record

so why a post in the early hours of a snowy morning and on a non-posting day? for the greater good of the music blog community i guess. i had seen several requests floating out there asking for a copy of Jose Gonzalez's cover of Massive Attacks "teardrop" aka the song going through quite a resurgence after being covered by Elbow and for being the opening theme for one of the best shows on tv, aka House.

Jose Gonzalez - "Teardrop" (live)

Friday, December 02, 2005

i think ya better call MMJ

i need to buckle down this weekend and prep next weeks best of the year features. one band i like quite a bit and whose name i've seen tossed around on a few best of lists already out is My Morning Jacket. we previewed the record here a few months back and i admittedly never took to it. the groups previous records remain favorites nonetheless and their live show memorable. several years ago i was such a champion the bands debut record on darla records that they found it mindful enough to send me a cd-r containing a pair of live radio performances. such is the source for todays treat, a rare cover tune that eventually found itself on one of the labels quarterly compilations, but i suspect quite a few people might have missed out on that.

My Morning Jacket - "Tyrone" (Eryka Badu cover)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

little roadies

so my brother and i are both skipping this years ten year high school reunion. no surprise there as it's not exactly like they were even in competition for the best years of my life. nonetheless those were the formative years in shaping a certain love of music. a healthy dose of modern rock radio before discovering the college radio station as well as numerous nights watching or at least recording 120 Minutes did the trick. it certainly helped though that providence had a pretty great scene at the time, with plenty of local bands and just about every other group you'd want to see coming through town. thus is the justification for todays posting of Belly. i remember buying this record and listening to it alot soon after my mtv-ized fandom of stuff like bell biv devoe and kriss kross so i guess it was pretty important. Tanya Donelly had short stints with Throwing Muses and the Breeders before forming Belly in 1992. the next year the group rode the alternative radio explosion with their tune "feed the tree." in retrospective the national stage probably didn't suit the group who would disband after their sophmore album tanked. they maintained a following years afterwards with dreampop fans who welcomed Tanya's solo work that found a more appropriate home at 4AD. like many bands from the area around that time, you'll hear them referred to as a Boston band, but they were in fact Rhode Island royalty. [Jason]

Belly - "Gepetto"