December 26, 2009
Runners up, Novel of the Decade:
Harry Potter Series, By J.K Rowling
The Da Vinci Code, By Dan Brown
Thud!, By Terry Pratchett
Novel of the Decade:
Angles and Demons, By Dan Brown
Runners up, TV Series of the Decade, Drama:
TV Series of the Decade, Drama:
Runners up, TV Series of the Decade, Comedy:
Flight Of The Conchords
TV Series of the Decade, Comedy:
The Mighty Boosh
Runner up, Best Animated Series Of the Decade:
The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
Best Animated Series Of the Decade:
Runner up, Best Movie of the Decade:
The Lord Of The Rings
Best Movie of the Decade:
Runner Up, Best Artist of the Decade:
Best Artist of the Decade:
Runner up, Best Song of the Decade:
At The Bottom - Brand New
Farewell To The Fairground - White Lies
Nothing Ever Happens - Deerhunter
Best Song of the Decade:
Stockholm Syndrome - Muse
Runner up, Best Album of the Decade:
Origin Of Symmetry - Muse
Sawdust - The Killers
X & Y - Coldplay
Best Album of the Decade:
The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me - Brand New
This year marks a special occasion, as we have an abundance of 'Best of the '00s' Music lists as well. Creating a definitive list of either this years or this decades albums by myself seems redundant and time consuming, and the end result would be a hodge-splodge of my favourite albums and missing many decent albums (as well as rap and R&B, two genres, try as might, I cannot get into) that I've heard are great, but are currently still in my extremely large 'too check out' list. So I've devised a more practical and impersonal approach: I'm simply going to observe a varying range of 'Best-Of' lists and, using a very inaccurate polling system, present the 'consensus' of best albums.
So today is my 'Best of '09' list, restricted to a puny 15, but I'll tack on some sort of 'Honourable Mention' type-thing within the next couple of days.
So, without further ado, here are the best albums of two-thousand-and-nine.
Gosh, who didn't this one coming, huh? No, it takes a special sort of album to be presciently labelled as the 'Best Album of the Year' only two weeks in. Talked at length for the entire year, this is one hell of an album. Lush layering of a seemingly endless supply sounds, this album finds the rare and happy middle ground between experimentation and pop sensibilities, maintaining enough obscurity to regain 'hipster' cred, whilst being accessible enough to earn Animal Collective a scourge of new fans who arrived late (like me). Really, what is there left to be said about this album?
December 07, 2009
Despite being released in January, Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavillion is still being talked about, and will easily top almost every single one of the upcoming "Best of '09" lists tentatively due out next month. And for good reason. MPP defied expectations, and simultaneously defined and expanded the sound of a band that appears to wear the metaphorical crown of Indie.
So to follow up such a masterpiece with a five song EP where the first track transforms into a full-on Hobbit dance-fest? Madness? Ingeniousness? In Animal Collective's case, I'm going to have to go with both. This is a band who tries out every idea the conceive without ever looking back. And time and time again these ideas that sound so failure prone on paper just seem to work. Can you imagine a band deciding to suddenly switch a song that has been swirling away in its psychedelic tapestry and spaced out vocals to an upbeat, PanFlute jig? No, neither can I.
This first track 'Graze', despite shocking at first, turns into such a wonderfully bizarre yet uplifting track and is an unexpected EP highlight. But it pales in comparison to the second track, 'What Would I Want? Sky.' Beginning with that trademark Collective washed-out sound of electronic scrapings and rolling looped vocals chanting 'Believe", then transforms into the warmest and most likable song of the album, and is one of my favourite Animal Collective tracks.
The rest of the five tracks don't quite match this peak but that is not to say they are terrible. 'Bleed' feels more foggy and intermission-like than a song, while 'On A Highway' is a slowed down lamentation on touring. The closer 'I Think I Can' is a long one (just over seven minutes) and it brings back the bouncing warmness of the second track, to its success.
Being the second outstanding release this year by the band, we have evidently found them at a creative and artistic peak, and us hardcore and casual Animal Collective fans alike are more than happy to enjoy the view and snapshots taken with them.
Standouts: Graze, What Would I Want? Sky, I Think I Can
November 14, 2009
An album that as recently caught my attention is The Foo Fighter's new Greatest Hits, recently mauled by Brad, who apparently judges records solely their its artwork. Being a huge Foos fan, I quickly snatched this album up, played it over and over again and finally got sick of it and dropped it for my new Tom Petty Greatest Hits. This was not due to my short attention span as much as swiftness with which I realized how sick I was of their over played now almost generic hits. This isnt a reflection of Dave Grohl's musical skill, but, quite frankly, theres only so many times you can listen to "Best Of You" before you get really bored with it.
Whille still worth the money, the album isnt really anything special.
Highlights: New track "Word Forward", Acoustic "Everlong", DVD of music videos
November 09, 2009
Coming up to one month ago a nice guy by the name of Kevin posted a video featuring all the Wikipedia vandalism of Nickelback’s page on CollegeHumor.com, which you can view here (WARNING: Video contains foul language, homophobia, racial slurs, and Nickelback music). Well, at about 17 seconds into the video there is a list of ‘Nickelback Trivia’, which the video says goes on for a while. While, the first few proved entertaining enough to inspire me to put on my investigative reporter hat and drudge my way through the Wikipedia page history for Nickelback. This actually proved to be a relatively easy task as the video shows the date (June 16, 2006) that the page was vandalised. Having found it and read it, I think that there a good handful of decent ‘facts’ and since it is obvious that the author put a fair amount of time and effort into writing this list, it should not be lost forever.This list actually reminds me a lot of the Chuck Norris meme, but not quite as funny. So below is the full list of facts. All 42 of them.
- Historians used to agree the Crusades were the most prolonged suffering in human history, until Nickel back released a second single.
- The vacuum created by Nickleback's sucking has more force than a black hole.
- The war in Iraq is the result of Nickelback
- Nickelback is so bad they retroactively caused the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and JFK
- Chad and Mike Kroeger's parents had no children who lived
- In order to make Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle seem to suck less they included Nickelback on the soundtrack
- Nickleback has only ever written the music to one song, they keep changing the lyrics to it
- Prolonged exposure to Nickelback's music has been known to cause unintentional mullet growth
- Though God promised never to end the world with a flood again if he were to solely because of the existence of Nickleback could you blame him?
- In the southern hemisphere Nickleback's suck rotates counter clockwise
- The popularity of Nickelback is a conspiracy by the Bush administration in order to have someone worse than themselves in the spotlight
- Congress has recently passed legislation that the word Nickelback will now replace the word atrocity in the English language
- The United Nations has now adopted the universal word for toilet to be Nickleback, in other words if you visit a foreign country and need a bathroom you will be able to ask, regardless of the native language, where is a Nickelback.
- Nickelback, and everyone thought Limp Bizkit was as bad as it got.
- Korn will now be putting a disclaimer label on all of their CD's, it will read: "At least we are not Nickelback" The rest of the record industry is thinking about doing the same, in order to stimulate the Nickelback induced slump of CD sales
- Downloading a Nickelback song is considered downloading a computer virus
- Downloading Nickelback songs takes twice as long as regular ones because you are fighting against the suck
- Doctors are considering changing the name of haemorrhoids to Nickelback
- Chad Kroger once did a duet with the fat guy from Saliva, proving that he could suck on his own as well as with the band
- Should Nickelback perish in a plane crash, choke on their own vomit, experience a drug overdose of one or all members the collective music press has decided that it should be treated as a reason to celebrate, Don McLean has a comeback song on deck for just such an event the chorus will go "The day the suck died"
- Broken vacuums can be fixed simply by playing Nickelback to them
- Evolution is now being debated by our culture because Nickleback has actually caused it to De-evolve
- Nickelback tried out to be the soundtrack for hell, but even the Devil felt it caused to much suffering
- A Harvard Study showed after 5 minutes of exposure to Nickelback an average person loses 5 IQ points and feels compelled to move into a mobile home
- Nickelback's songs are so generic that when played backwards they sound exactly the same
- When Chad sings "Oh God I. . .I" it is not written in the music, it is because he is in pain from making his own music
- When questioned whether or not they would rather have their their sentences commuted yet be forced to listen to one Nickleback song per day 95% of death row inmates chose the needle (The other 5% had been executed before the question was asked)
- Republicans and Democrats, the right and the left, now finally have an issue they can come together on, Nickelback sucks
- The Iraqi insurgency doesn't necessarily want America out of Iraq, they just don't want us to make it safe for Nickelback to play there
- A prosecutor once suggested Nickelback music as a punishment for murder, the judge called it cruel and unusual and threw the case out
- A disclaimer was sent out by Nickelback's record label urging radio to avoid playing more than one song by Nickelback per hour, saying prolonged exposure did nothing to a person physically but made listeners wish it did so that the music would end sooner
- America wants to close the border with Canada, only to keep Nickelback out
- Canada, by comparison, is always given as an example of how good America could be, they created Nickleback. I think we will stick with poor healthcare and a hyperactive media, just for the prevention of another Nickelback
- Is it just me or does Nickelback's fifteen minutes of fame seem to be dragging on and on and on. . .
- When their fifteen minutes are up and they are playing the grandstand at the local fair won't it be a new low in carnival entertainment?
- Nickleback's "Behind the Music" will be studied for ages by physicists and astronomers to see how such an incredible vacuum was created
- Nickelback makes people miss the cold war, the threat of looming Armageddon seems necessary in a world where their music gets airplay
- If Nickelback is ever rushed to the emergency room the doctor treating will have an ethical dilemma like no other, does one treat someone who's life will continue to cause the suffering of countless others?
-The Chinese still practice communism only to control the free speech of Nickelback
- Nickelback must be segregated from the other CD's in the sales bins, any CD stored close to a Nickelback CD will immediately begin to suck
- A recent survey showed that even the deaf know that Nickelback sucks
- Chad Kroger is considered mentally challenged in 6 countries based solely on appearance
To help show your hatred of Nickelback then you can join this group here.
Or if, conversely, you love Nickelback, you can join this group here, and help them reach their goal. Only 68,931 people to go. Good luck!
November 06, 2009
No, this is not about Brand New or their 2003 album that shares this post’s name. It is about Owl City (aka Adam Young) and the awful feeling of déjà entendu (French for already heard) felt while listening to his surprise No.1 hit, ‘Fireflies’. I came across this guy a wee while ago, but the negative press revolving around him and his second album Ocean Eyes quickly repelled me. However, recently I have overheard people talking about how good Owl City is at school, (although someone was referring to it as “Owl Town”) so I thought I may as well check out his song ‘Fireflies’, which was the crux of all the conversations being held, and, I presume, is the catalyst for this sudden explosion in his popularity.
So, curious, I Googled my way to his MySpace page and played the top song - ‘Fireflies’. I instantly received the same I feeling I still get whenever I hear Ke$ha’s awful new song ‘Tik Tok’ (whose opening 30-something seconds sound almost exactly the same as Uffie’s contribution to my least favourite Justice song ever - ‘Ttthhheee Pppaaarrrtttyy’), the feeling of déjà entendu.
The Postal Service’s Give Up, which to this date remains the only album from Ben Gibbard’s highly successful team-up with Jimmy Tamborello. It is a perfect piece of synthpop, and is a testament to both Gibbard’s wispy vocals and Tamborello’s musical production skills. But of course, you already knew that. Hell, anyone with even the slightest inclination towards music knew that. So why does Mr. Young think that it is acceptable to plagiarise their sound so blatantly it puts Hone Harawira to shame. This isn’t influenced by The Postal Service. This is Postal Service on a really bad day. Yet, sadly, this song is Number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, which can probably be attributed to ignorance or apathy, or both.
So you can hear for yourself that I am not kidding when this song completely steals the Postal Service’s style, below it is featured next to Postal Service’s most famous song, ‘Such Great Heights’. Enjoy:
October 31, 2009
Somebody please tell me this album cover SUCKS ASS. It’s cheesy and it seems like something Nickelback or Hinder would think is cool. Sorry to rant but……really?! Crap metal texture? Lame bolt font? Is this really what the Foo Fighters want to represent their above-average catalogue of rawk music? God, even Fall Out Boy’s upcoming greatest hits compilation has a better cover. And it’s NOT good.
Anyways, I’m only slamming it now because my iLike account kindly informed me that there is a listening party for this album on the 2nd November, which again seems silly as I can already listen to all these songs in my iTunes library right now anyway.
Deerhunter front man Bradford Cox is a dedicated blogger who is well-known for relishing his fans with tonnes of free music released under the moniker Atlas Sound on his blog. He releases so much that only a dedicated fan would bother to wade through the vast amounts of half-baked ideas to find the best ones. So it would be easy for Cox to have his commercial releases be just some sort of ‘best-of’ blog releases. But we all know that he simply does not work that way. Through his blog, media interaction and, most importantly, his music, we see that Cox feels music very deeply and takes it very seriously. So Logos, the second full length released as Atlas Sound moves on from the first, combining the musical skills and friends he has made since releasing Deerhunter’s critically adored Microcastle.
When Microcastle was released critics duly noted the shift from the extended song lengths on Cryptograms to the use of shorter songs with more pop-sensibilities. These sensibilities are carried on to Logos. There is less focus on highly layered, looping tracks carrying an innumerable amount of differing sounds on them to the use of bouncing acoustic guitar layered in reverb. It is more simplistic, but not boring.
This album also contains two guest spots. The first is Noah Lennox aka. Panda Bear on ‘Walkabout’, and this track combines the best of what each party is good at, creating a song that loops and bounces, riding on a sparkling keyboard tune. It is a magnificent pop tune, and is undoubtedly one of the best tracks Cox has released as Atlas Sound. The second guest spot is the eight-and-a-half-minute long track, ironically titled ‘Quick Canal’, starring Lætitia Sadier of Stereolab. It is another high point of the album, more laid back and dreamlike than ‘Walkabout’, it grows with with sifting organ-like sounds before introducing a drumbeat that propels us through the song. Sadier’s vocals are perfectly layered and echoed to create the sound of a seraph that slowly gets lost in a foggy pillow of shoegazing by the song’s finish. It never feels too long or melodramatically epic at its length; it is perfectly ambient.
October 28, 2009
San Francisco indie band Girls have released a third video for their single Lust For Life. And this one is dubbed the “Hardcore XXX Version”. (Un)fortunately, I couldn’t find a copy online (although I didn’t look very hard or for very long), but I did read that it includes a lot of boobs and a dick being used as a microphone. =/
Below is the second version of the Lust for Life video – sigh – and a link to download their debut album, called Album. Is worth checking out.
October 27, 2009
We’ve already heard two fabulous tracks – The Sea Is a Good Place to Think About the Future and There are Listed Buildings – from the upcoming Los Campesinos! album, and now we have the rest of the track names, alongside an album title, and a release date to slowly countdown to.
The upcoming album is to be called Romance is Boring and is to be released in the US on Jan. 26 next year via Arts&Crafts, and worldwide on Feb 1 via Wichita.
“It is a record about the death and decay of the human body, sex, lost love, mental breakdown, football and, ultimately, that there probably isn't a light at the end of the tunnel.”
from official website
Here is the track listing, followed by the music video for my favourite new track off the album, The Sea…
01 In Medias Res
02 There Are Listed Buildings
03 Romance Is Boring
04 We've Got Your Back (Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #2)
05 Plan A
07 Straight in at 101
08 Who Fell Asleep In
09 I Warned You: Do Not Make an Enemy of Me
10 Heart Swells/100-1
11 I Just Sighed. I Just Sighed, Just So You Know
12 A Heat Rash in the Shape of the Show Me State; or, Letters From Me to Charlotte
13 The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future
14 This Is a Flag. There Is No Wind.
15 Coda: A Burn Scar in the Shape of the Sooner State
October 26, 2009
It’s that time of week when we get a small preview of the brand new South Park episode.
Episode 1311 is titled Whale Whores and is about the Japanese hunting and killing of whales and dolphins.
“Stan and his family are spending his birthday at the Denver Aquarium where they will get to swim with the dolphins. Things turn bloody when the Japanese attack, kill all the dolphins and ruin Stan’s big day. There seems to be no end to the senseless killing. Stan takes on the cause to save the dolphins from the Japanese.”
Like last weeks episode, which spoofed professional wrestling, this topic has been covered tonnes before, and this storyline sounds very similar to the season 9 episode Free Wilzyx, which had Stan convincing everyone to save a ‘talking’ orca whale from the water park and sending it back to the moon, resulting in one of the funniest freeze frames ever. However, I don’t want to prejudge, I’m just not expecting to be blown away by this one.
October 25, 2009
The Blood Brothers are going to release their fourth-album Crimes this November in a deluxe edition, which features five tracks from the Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck EP as well as six tracks from the album being played live at the Reading Festival in 2005.
Whilst it doesn’t contain much to entice fans who already own the album, it may be just enough to help sway fans who don’t already own it to pick it up.
October 23, 2009
Yay! Brand new South Park aired a couple of days ago in the US. In it the boys see a wrestling show and decide that it is the greatest sport ever. I will post a link to an uncensored, logo-free, HD torrent as soon as it comes up (It usually takes few days).
Meanwhile here are the links to the two previous episodes from the second half of season thirteen in the aforementioned format.
October 22, 2009
“Brand New and Kevin Devine play "Jesus Christ" in a way that is completely different from the album version. This track was recorded during the Daisy Sessions where Brand New revisited some old and new songs with an accompanying interview. Recorded in Brooklyn, NY - Summer 2009, by The APK Production Collective”
A nice version of one of my favourite Brand New songs. While on topic, am currently listening to their latest album, Daisy. It’s growing on me, albeit very slowly.
"Surf Solar" - 10:34
"Rough Steez" - 4:44
"The Lisbon Maru" - 9:19
"Olympians" - 10:54
"Phantom Limb" - 4:49
"Space Mountain" - 8:44
"Flight of the Feathered Serpent" - 9:31
Anyone familiar with Fuck Buttons debut Street Horrrsing [sic] will be wholly familiar with the game this duo (Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power) from Bristol play. They take the ambiguous genre of noise, with its feedback, sawing sound waves, and long drones and give them an orchestral momentum, giving it the emotional intensity and compulsion of post-rock bands such as Mogwai (whose guitarist John Cummings produced their debut) and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. One quote that I largely associate with that album, and one that I can’t recall who said, is “If we’re still around at the end of the universe, I’d bet all my money that Fuck Buttons will be heard in the background.” That summed it up perfectly. The album was harsh, jagged, intense, and sounded like it was coming from the universe itself, as opposed to our stereos. Last year, Fuck Buttons debut made noise more well-known (mostly thanks to Pitchfork, who ranked it 20th on their end-of-year album list), more accessible, and ultimately, more cool.
Since releasing a three minute “condensed” single version of Tarot Sport’s opener Surf Solar, alongside a verrry [sic] trippy video, I, with presumably many others, have been pissing myself with anticipation for the latest offering from this band, and now that it has arrived in my lap, I can safely say it was well worth the wait (including the excruciating temptation to download the leak that appeared a month before its scheduled release).
Tarot Sport picks up largely where Horrrsing left off, but veers off in a more refined and friendly direction, however, this is by no means an insult; it is this tamer approach that makes the album stronger than it predecessor. The disembodied screams reverberating amongst a backdrop of noise and drone are gone. The feedback is softer and more enjoyable. The sounds are more electronic based than before. And it works.
What results is a sixty-minute ‘epic’ that features richly textured sounds that bubble and flow over and around each other. It symphonises yet remains cacophonous; harsh not grating. It holds itself together with lush melodies and pulsing rhythms that make you want dance and move yet run and repent with its apocalyptic intensity. Sport is a universal affair, and succeeds immensely in taking you to a universe that is forming and pulsing as fast as you can explore it, with Hung and Power happy to let you be thrown around inside of it.
It is the oxymoronic nature of this album that allows it to shine so amazingly well. It is harsh but listenable. It is sprawling yet controlled. It is noise but it is poppy. It is exasperating yet a breath of fresh air. And it is the best new album I have heard in a very long while.
Standouts: Surf Solar, Rough Steez, Flight of the Feathered Serpent
PS. Being my first post and first attempt at an album review (or a review in general) feel free to post comments on what you thought was good, and what could be improved.
Every week we will post two blogs, one on NEW music/albums/artists, by Brad, and the other on CLASSIC music/albums/artists by me, Henry, PLUS, on top of that, an "Album of the week", as voted by Brad and Myself. Got it? OK, lets kick this in the teeth...
Looking for a classic album? something to relax to? You simply cant walk past " The Dark Side of the Moon", the Incredible 1973 album by brilliant prog rockers, Pink Floyd. Easily the most listened to album on my iPod and probably the my favorite, and in my opinion, the greatest of all time, Dark Side of the moon is a masterpiece of modern music. Sitting at fourth best selling position of all time, behind two M.J albums and AC/DC's "Back in Black", Dark Side has sold 45 million copies and spend 14 years in the Billboard 200, longer then any other record in the history of music. These fearsome records are proof that this album is nothing to be sniffed at, But that's sales, time for the technical side of things. The incredible, solid bass rifts and dark, depressing lyrics are thanks to the tyrant of Floyd, Rodger Waters, dear I say it, one of the best song writers of all time. Waters has sculpted this album to perfection, with every drumbeat and every tight guitar solo building and building for 43 minutes, till the album reaches its epic climax in "Eclipse". like most Pink Floyd albums, the themes of Dark Side of the Moon are very dark. Whilst not a developing storyline, like their later work "The Wall", focused on a single, central character, Dark Side follows life in general. The songs build around the ideas of death, insanity, capitalism, pain and old age, ending with a summery of life. These themes, combined with the slow beat of Nick Mason's drums and the rythmic lyrics of Waters, sung by lead guitarist Dave Gilmore gives the whole album a very somber feel, a brilliant example of this is "Time".
The high point of the album, to me at least, is the incredible, unearthly wailing and finely tuned keyboarding of "Great Gig in the Sky", the late keyboardist, Richard Wright's key contribution to the record.
For me, Dark Side of the Moon is the epitome of Pink Floyd, written after the troubles with Syd Barrett and before the the unpleasantness of the Wall, easily the greatest album ever recorded.
Highlights: The whole thing really, but, if I must, are "Time", "Great Gig in the Sky" and "Us and Them" through to"Eclipse"
Sales: 45 Million records world wide
Personnel: Rodger Waters; Song writer, Bass, Vocals
Dave Gilmore; Lead guitar, Vocals
Nick Mason; Drums; Percusion
Richard Wright; Keyboard, Vocals
Key Factors Which Make It Totally Awesome: Mind blowing instrumentals, Intermittent quotes, Tight lyrics
Rating: An easy 11/10
Next Week: Joy Division