• Truly The Concert of a Lifetime

    Set 19 2010, 22h18

    Sat 18 Sep – Pavement, Jenny and Johnny

    The title might be a hyperbole, but seeing Pavement, the band that defined high school for me (along with the Replacements), but broke up before I even know who they were, was the day I've waited for all year. And it did not disappoint at all, with Pavement delivering an epic, high energy 28 song set that touched on the vast majority of their albums, except for their final Terror Twilight which was barely represented. Their trendsetting debut Slanted & Enchanted was most represented, but the shaky lo fi of that album was replaced with the sound of masters of live music, polished but far from slick, and truly exhilarating. The band had great stage presence, SM's voice was great, and seeing such songs as Stop Breathin', We Dance and Shoot the Singer live were simply unforgettable moments. By the time the band ended their second encore with Here, with the song's chorus of "Everything is ending here" finally turned into the power ballad it was always poised to be, my heart was nearly in my throat.

    The opening act, Jenny & Johnny, were top notch too. If Pavement defined high school for me, Jenny Lewis defined college, and seeing her and the also quite good Johnathan Rice put on quite a show, that perfectly set up the evening to remember, was priceless. Not to mention the fact that I got to meet Jenny & Johnny, who complimented my Replacements shirt. Now if only The Replacements reunite, and Rilo Kiley open, then I'll be complete. But this amazing concert is still transcendent and nearly life affirming.
  • The Best Cult Bands Ever

    Mar 28 2010, 0h04

    Some bands and artists sell many records and have critical acclaim. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and U2 are all examples, among many others. Some have little critical acclaim but sell many records. Matchbox Twenty, Phil Collins, and Nickelback are all examples.
    Some bands have critical acclaim and a devoted following, but little sales. Here are the three best in my opinion:

    3). Big Star The recent, tragic death of lead singer/songwriter Alex Chilton at 59 made me appreciate this brilliant band even more. Started by Chilton in the early 70s after a brief spell as a hitmaker with The Box Tops, this Memphis-based band combined jangly guitars, haunting melodies, and honest, emotional lyrics into a stunning sound. The band's three albums barely sold, but bands such as R.E.M., Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Teenage Fanclub, and The Replacements (who recorded the tribute Alex Chilton, were deeply influenced by them.
    2). The Replacements Just like their influence Big Star, The Replacements were a fantastic band who never developed a mass audience. The raw singing and honest lyrics of Paul Westerberg and a sound which ranged from harsh and raw to quiet and pretty, would influence Goo Goo Dolls, The Hold Steady, Nirvana, and Wilco.

    Finally, the best cult band ever is..

    1). The Velvet Underground Arguably the most influential cult band of all time, as Brian Eno once said, nobody bought their records, but everyone who did started a band. The band would eventually birth entire musical subgenres like punk, glam, grunge, shoegaze, dreampop, and more. Bands from The Stooges, The New York Dolls, The Modern Lovers and Roxy Music, to Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo Jesus and Mary Chain, and Dinosaur Jr., among many others.

    Any cult bands you believe should really be in the top three? Comment away.
  • Worst Wedding Songs

    Mar 2 2009, 16h07

    If you ever decide to pick songs to play at your wedding, these are not the best choices...
    1). Under My Thumb This Stones classic is about a controlling woman who gets a taste of her own medicine when the man in the relationship controls her; she is now "a squirming dog who's just had her day". It's a telling (and creepy) song for either the bride (and especially) the groom to pick and is likely to cause wedding attenders to want to leave.
    2). Every Breath You Take This song, seemingly about a guy stalking his ex-girlfriend "you belong to me, every smile you fake, I'll be watching you" is one of the worst possible choices for a wedding song, yet it's said to be used often
    3).Divorce Song Obviously a song about a broken relationship with the f bomb present is awkward and laughably out of place at a wedding; but some cynical snarky indie kid probably have snuck it in at a wedding anyway, I'd imagine
    4). Push Just like Under My Thumb, this song appears to be about an abusive boyfriend... hmm, is that your future if that song is chosen?
    5.) Love Will Tear Us Apart A gloomy song about the falling apart of love, complete with deep, droning lead vocals by a man who later killed himself, is not the ideal song to have a newly wed couple dance to.
    6). What's Love Got to Do With It A bitter song most likely dedicated to infamously abusive ex-hubby Ike Turner, this song also may put a sour mood on the occasion
    7).Casimir Pulaski Day A heartbreaking song about the death of a teenage girlfriend to cancer and the questioning of faith because of it, this song kills two birds with one stone; poisoning love and the religious institution symbolizing it
    8). Via Chicago Any song that starts off with "I dreamed of killing you again last night and it felt alright to me" is automatically on here
    9).Invisible A creepy stalker song about unrequited love and possibly rape "(If I was invisible I'd make you mine tonight")?, this lone major hit for the idol also ran is uber sketchy

    Songs That Could Go Either Way
    1). Family Tree/Lover's Day At first, both songs seem perfect. What with "Tree" swooning "married we'll be"; although, the lyrics allude to lynching as well, "We're hanging on the shadow of your family tree...pumping blood to the roots of evil to keep it young". "Lover's Day" is a passionate ode to making love; which also includes lyrics like "I hunger for you like a cannibal, but I'm not gonna let you run, I'm gonna shake you, I'm gonna take you, I'm gonna make you cum! I swear to God it'll get so hot it will melt our faces off" and "I'm gonna love you all the way off, I'm gonna break your back"...
    2). Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands It's a stunningly beautiful ode to Dylan's first wife; but it's also 11 minutes long and include lyrics about his wife's mother's drugs, her "Spanish manners, cowboy mouth and childhood flames"; and a lot of people still don't like Dylan's nasal drawl

    So, this is my list. Sound off on what you all think below...
  • A Thrilling Concert by a Thrilling Band

    Dez 31 2008, 3h47

    Sat 11 Oct – TV on the Radio, The Dirtbombs

    I cannot believe that I am writing the first review for this nearly three month old concert, as it was truly amazing. The Dirtbombs started right at 7:00. They were a bit too loud (but what do you expect with two drummers and two bassists) but they put on a raucous, raw rock and roll show that was a perfect way to start the evening. After finishing by 7:50, 40 or so minutes passed before TVOR came on stage, starting with an exquisite rendition of the slow building, melancholy soaked "Love Dog" from their latest, critically acclaimed cd "Dear Science". The slow build then kicked into fantastic, transcendent versions of the uber funky, horn laced "The Wrong Way" and "Dancing Choose", making it seem hard for TVOR to live up to that amazing back to back dose of nirvana. However, as soon as the extremely catchy "Golden Age" began, it was clear these guys were aces at live music. Their most well known song "Wolf Like Me' was the show stopper, boasting a raw, punkish sound different from the densely produced album version. Multiple highlights comprised the rest of the night, from the haunting, intense version of "Dreams " and the equally forceful "Blues From Down Here", to the enthusiastic, powerful "Young Liars" to the sing along doo wop of "A Method", each one a treasure. By the time TVOR ended the night with the fan favorite "Staring At The Sun" (and true to form, an excellent rendition) the whole crowd most likely were riveted to see a truly progressive band excelling in their prime. The show may have lasted a sadly brief 80 minutes, but the memories of this fantastic concert will linger for a long time.
  • Best of The Year

    Out 5 2008, 2h22

    Here's a brief list of my favorites of the year, styled after the Grammys.
    Best Song of the Year: Ghost Under Rocks
    Best Record of the Year:Lover's Day
    Best Rock Song by a Duo or Band: Slapped Actress
    Best R&B/Soul Song: Golden Age
    Best Acoustic/Folk Song: Librarian
    Best New(ish) Artist: Ra Ra Riot
    Best Pop Song: Pork and Beans
    Best Rock Album:
    Stay Positive
    Album of The Year: Dear Science
  • Songs That Remind Me of Past Autumns

    Ago 28 2008, 0h57

    Here Comes A Regular[track
    I Want To Know Your Plans
    Macy's Day Parade
    Only In Dreams
    Blues From Down Here
    Two Headed Boy Part 2
    Shoot the Singer
    Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye
    Kiss Me on the Bus
    No One Else
    Casimir Pulaski Day
    Gravity Talks

    So, this is a personal list; does anyone else have songs that remind them of autumn, either because they listened to them in the fall or the songs' mood/lyrics etc. evoke that time of year? I'd like to hear them
  • Five Best Albums That Sum Up Teen Years

    Mai 18 2008, 12h51

    There are some albums that just sum up all the feeling that adolescents face. They could be silly and juvenile, frantic and haunting, nostalgic and longing, or depressing and confused. Here are the five best albums that for whatever reason bring to mind the teenage years, in my humble opinion of course.

    5.) Take off Your Pants and Jacket Blink 182 actually sounded like they were 15, even though they were in their mid 20s on this 2001 release. Tom Delongue's nasally angst ridden vocals mesh with amateurish but universal lyrics about dates, concerts and cynical feelings about Christmas. Key Tracks: First DateThe Rock Show
    4.) #1 Record The great 70s cult band Big Star mixed shimmering Byrds guitars and melodies with gentle, nostalgic songs about growing up. Even though they were indebted to 60s pop, they ended up influencing later bands like R.E.M. and Teenage Fanclub. Key Tracks:In The Street Thirteen
    3.) Quadrophenia Tommy is more famous and has more hits, but Quadrophenia is arguably the better album. The four split personalities is a gimmicky "plot" device, but the story of an alienated youth is far more relate able than a pinball playing deaf, dumb and blind messiah. The sound is haunting, longing and storming. Key Tracks: Cut My Hair The Real Me Sea and Sand Drowned
    2.) Violent Femmes
    While the rest of these albums so far were either silly, nostalgic or haunting, the Femmes' self titled debut was frantic, jittery, paranoid and sex obsessed. The songs resonate years after adolescence, as listening to them again suddenly bring you back. Key Tracks: Add It Up Blister In The Sun Kiss Off
    Good Feeling Gone Daddy Gone

    and the number one album is...
    Let It Be This incredible album sums up all the facets of teenage life, stupid and dirty:Gary's Got a Boner, nervous anticipation: I Will Dare, drunken but real love: Favorite Thing sexual confusion: Androgynous frustration and boredom:Unsatisfied, teen angst in general:Sixteen Blue and the trouble with phones and girlfriends:Answering Machine I honestly think that Let It Be should be required listening for any teenager, and for those who were a teenager.
    So, now, it's your turn! Any other picks? Do you think mine are totally off? Sound off below!
  • Top Ten Artist Survey

    Fev 22 2008, 0h19

    List top ten artists:
    1.) The Replacements
    2.) Pavement
    3.) Bob Dylan
    4.)The Who
    5.) R.E.M.
    6.)Sufjan Stevens
    7.) The Beatles
    8.) Red Hot Chili Peppers
    9.) Radiohead
    10.) Neutral Milk Hotel

    1. What was the first song you ever heard by 6?
    2. What is your favorite album of 2?
    Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
    3. What is your favourite lyric that 5 has sung?
    "I'll take you over, there
    I'll take you over, there
    Aluminum, tastes like fear
    Adrenaline, it pulls us near" complete with great backing vocals by Patti Smith

    4. How many times have you seen 4 live?
    Once, in September 2006

    5. What is your favorite song by 7?
    hmmm... maybe While My Guitar Gently Weeps but there's so many

    6. What is a good memory you have considering the music of 10?
    finding a great site of full of live bootleg mp3s and rarities

    7. Is there a song by 3 that makes you sad?
    The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll Such a haunting, moving song.

    8. What is your favourite lyric that 2 has sung?
    "I was dressed for success, but success it never comes, and I'm the only one who laughs, when your jokes are oh so bad, and your jokes are always bad."

    9. What is your favourite song by 9?
    Fake Plastic Trees

    10. How did you get in to 3?
    I got into the Beatles when I was 10, and soon their contemporaries from the 60's entered my musical taste, Dylan was one of the first
    11. What was the first song you heard by 1?
    I Will Dare

    12. What is your favourite song by 4?
    A Quick One, While He's Away

    13. How many times have you seen 9 live?
    Never (sighs) I hope to when they come to Boston on their upcoming US tour, but so far their tour itinerary is so vague
    14. What is a good memory you have concerning 2?
    Buying Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain at a Newport, RI CD store and listening to it in the picturesque city

    15. Is there a song by 8 that makes you sad?
    I Could Have Lied
    16. What is your favourite album of 5?
    Automatic for the People A little too predictable I know

    17. What is your favourite lyric that 3 has sung?
    Oh my god, asking to choose the best Dylan lyric is next to impossible; but here's a great one: "the nurse, some local loser, is in charge of the cyanide hole, and she also holds the cards that read 'have mercy on his soul'".
    18. What is your favourite song of 1?
    Left of the Dial
    19. What is your favourite song of 10?
    Where You'll Find Me Now
    20. How many times have you seen 8 live?

    21. What is your favourite album of 1?
    Let It Be
    22. What is a great memory you have considering 5?
    Seeing them in concert in 2004.
    23. What was the first song you heard by 8?

    Knock Me down
  • Eleven Most Moving Songs

    Nov 16 2007, 20h18

    There are just some songs that just emotionally resonate with us. Whether it has heartbreaking lyrics, a relatable subject or even just the way the lyrics are sung. Here's a personal list of 11 songs that move me every time I hear them.
    (2nd Draft: Edited 11/16/07 7:41 PM)

    11.)Mother John Lennon is one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters and he could sing "Happy Birthday" and I would be moved. But his first official solo album after the avant garde Two Virgins and The Wedding Album is on a whole other level. The rawness of the vocals and lyrics on the entire album are stunning. The opening song, Mother, starts out with clanging bells, and Lennon singing "Mother you had me, but I didn't have you..." It's an extremely emotional song, which becomes even more urgent with his cries of "Mama don't go! Daddy come home!"
    10.)Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometimes This song has relatively few lyrics, and the subject is simple butBeck's delivery is so amazing that it becomes very moving. The original by a band called Korgis is a pleasant enough 80's ditty, but Beck takes it to the max. Such a beautiful song.
    9.)Celluloid Heroes Possibly the Kinks' best song (in my opinion anyway), Heroes is a tale of Hollywood Boulevard and the stars it makes and spits out in the Los Angeles. "dream factory." "There's a star in every city" Ray Davies declares and goes through a laundry list of Hollywood legends, from Bette Davis to Bela Lugosi to Mickey Rooney, each line as memorable as the last. An incredible song and arguably the best song ever made about the pitfalls of celebrity.
    8.)Two-Headed Boy, Pt. 2 Like most songs written by Jeff Mangum, the song only makes sense in fragments but is no less stunning for that. The most obvious reference is to Anne Frank, who Mangum mentions earlier in Holland, 1945, in which he sings "and in my dreams you're alive and you're crying". Two Headed Boy Pt. 2 is arguably Mangum's most moving lyrical and vocal performance ever.
    7.) Before The Deluge Jackson's apocalyptic closer to the classic Late For The Sky has some of the most incredible lyrics of the 70's. He tells tales of basically every type of person, from foolish young dreamers to those who "were angry at the way the earth was abused,by the men who learned how to forge her beauty into power, and they struggled to protect her from them, only to be confused." "Now let the music keep our spirits high" Jackson pleads, and you can carry on, even after all that has gone wrong in the world.
    6.)Unsatisfied Put this song in the same file next to Beck's no. 10 choice, as songs with simple lyrics and emotional, amazing delivery. Paul Westerberg has always had a tortured, fragile voice, but on this song he almost seems like he's going to lose his vocal chords. His voice is so expressive it's unbelievable.
    5.)Hurt Hurt was an incredible song, but Cash hits it out of the park with his cover. His voice, nearing the end of his tumoultous life, is so cracked, but so brilliant. He can't hit the high notes but it makes for a better song. The haunting video makes it even more moving.
    4.) You Can't Put Your Arms Round a Memory Johnny Thunders was one of those live fast, die young types. A punk pioneer and heroin junkie, his songs were usually loud and snotty. But here comes Memory, with it's acoustic based sound and introspective lyrics. He sings of loneliness and despair, as well as struggling with his heroin addiction. He never recovered, dying of an overdose in 1991, at the age of 38.
    3.)Casimir Pulaski Day When I used to think about songs relating to teenage death, I usually thought of corny early 60's hits like the insufferable "Tell Laura That I Love Her." However, Sufjan removes the sap and injects poignancy in his tale of a girlfriend dying of cancer. In this song, which I'm not positive if it's based on real experiences, the famously religious Sufjan Stevens is starting to question his faith. The most surprisingly moving part of the song is the usually nonsensical "da, da, da"s that close the song. Instead of being filler, these supposedly meaningless lyrics are executed in a bittersweet, haunting way.
    2.) Strange Fruit
    There's not much you can say about this immortal classic. Holliday's tale about lynchings in the Deep South brings out instant waterworks. It's timeless, no matter if those "colored only" signs are gone. The racism of that time still lingers, after all this time.

    1.)The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll It might seem strange to have a song about racism written by a white person over a song about racism sung from an African American perspective. Maybe so. But maybe because this song is about one specific person, in a heartbreaking re-enactment. Bob Dylan's lyrics declaring "Take the rag way from your face, now ain't the time for your tears" to the inevitable conclusion "Bury that rag deep in your face, now is the time for your tears" are arguably some of the most moving lines ever written.
  • The Ten Worst Songs By Good Artists

    Nov 4 2007, 13h45

    No band or solo artist is safe from the occasional bad song. Here's a list of the 10 Worst Songs Ever From a Good Artist (In My Humble Opinion)

    10.)Promises As mean as it is to say, Eric Clapton is one of those musicians who became boring after they gave up drugs. Now, it's great that Clapton kicked his heroin habit, but musically, not so much. He hasn't made a truly classic album since Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. He recorded a series of MOR, tedious songs in the mid to late 70's. This is one of them. With its tired "la, la, las" and phoned in vocal, Promises is one of Eric Clapton's all time worst songs.
    9.)Michelle As much as I love the Beatles, I admit that they have a lot of not very good tracks. This annoyingly sing song-y, almost 40's lounge act song is definitely one of them. And no, lyrics in French don't make it art, Paul.
    8.) Shiny Happy People It's one of those songs that you almost think the band wrote just to annoy the hell out of you. Overly cheery, both in lyrics and sound, this the worst song on the otherwise very good Out of Time. Well, actually, it's tied with Near Wild
    7) Slow Cheetah The Peppers are known for filler, and their 2 disc, 28 song beast Stadium Arcadium has its share. But this maddeningly boring track on the first disc is the worst for sure. RHCP are a lot of things, but they're rarely this mundane.
    6.)Talent Show
    The subject of Talent Show is promising, as it is basically a metaphor for the 'Mats early days. But the production is the complete opposite of the early days of
    The Replacements. Instead of raw and drunken, it's glossy and tame, not to mention repetitive as hell.
    5.)Shattered Pretty much any album since Sticky Fingers has been padded with filler. The so called "return to form" Some Girls is no exception. In this remarkably dumb song, Mick sings about "being splattered all over Manhattan" and listening to this song all the way through makes your brain splatter.
    4.) Wonderful Tonight Although it's cool to learn that this love song was actually written while Eric was rather frustrated (Patti Boyd was taking forever getting ready) it's still sappy as a maple tree, unoriginal as Tom Jones and even with an epic guitar solo it's still boring soft rock.
    3.) Wrong 'Em Boyo London Calling is one of the best albums of all time, but Wrong 'Em Boyo stains it. There are a lot of good ska songs on it, so why Boyo was needed I don't know. It's so annoying I want to pop my eyes out every time I hear it.
    2.) Dream Girl The surprisingly good album Stand Up was pretty consistent, with great songs like the title tune and "American Baby." But Dream Girl is horrible. The title makes sense. It makes me so sleepy when I hear it. It's so boring it makes Promises look like Sister Ray.
    Finally, the worst song by an otherwise good band??
    1.) Mr. Moonlight Ok, so it's a cover. Still, it doesn't matter. It's without a doubt the worst thing the Beatles ever committed to vinyl. You know you got troubles when a Beatles song has sub par melodies. It's very off key, from the stupid verses to the awful chorus. It's truly embarrassing to listen to, for The Beatles' sake. YUCK.

    So, now you can sound off! Are my picks totally wrong? Do you have better ones? Go ahead and comment.