15 December 2010

My Top 10 Albums For 2010.

It's years end and time for the ever-present top 10 lists to begin. So without further ado, here are my top 10 albums for 2010 (in reverse order):


10. 'A WAVE IS ROLLING' - Nafa

Yes, OK, a bit of self promotion with this one, but I'm putting my DIY second proper album of original pop songs at the end of the list. These things get better as they come out and I'm feeling a bit chuffed at a few of the tracks. A solid effort.



09. 'PINK FRIDAY' - Nicki Minaj

Only a few weeks ago my friend Mark turned me on to Nikki Minaj via 'Roman's Revenge'. I explored more of her work and fell in love with her collaboration with Lil Wayne on his pop/punk song 'Knockout'. She has totally kicked my ass.



08. 'PATAGONIAN RATS' - Tera Melos

The first of two of Richard's bands on the list and one that I had found sort of difficult to get into at first. However, this album (and thanks to R for leaked updates as the album was being recorded) has really grown on me and it's solid.



07. 'GO' - Jónsi

This really should be at number 10, but on his Sigur Rós merits alone, Jónsi gets a 3-space pass. Don't get me wrong, the album is very good, ethereal and beautiful, though no Sigur Rós--but it's a good start, and perhaps a way-point on the way back to the band and a shortening of their 'hiatus'.



06. 'CONTRA' - Vampire Weekend

Strong debut, almost equally as strong follow up. 'Contra' starts great and doesn't wain. Instantly likable and infectious (as attested to by the number of commercials you hear 'Holiday' in). Who knew you could drag out Paul Simon's 'Graceland' so long?



05. 'MARNIE STERN' - Marnie Stern

Every. Single. Track. On. This. Rocks. The second Richard-influenced album. Every song here sounds like a mini-hurricane. Every song here sounds like life sped up to a couple minutes, birth to death and all the love and heart break in between. Just listen.



04. 'THE FAME MONSTER' - Lady Gaga

An album where every song could have been a single. It was inescapable and rightfully so. 'Bad Romance' is one of the best pop singles ever, and Ms. Bowie...erm...Gaga showed of her musical prowess and over the top theatrics on a grander stage. Love her or hate her, she's got skills.



03. 'INTRIGUER' - Crowded House

I must admit I've not listened to this album since I bought it. In fact, I've not watched the DVD that came with it either. I did listen to it when it was posted on the Crowdies website, and then finally got to see them live after a quarter of a century (where I bought said CD/DVD combo). There on my shelf still sits the set, unopened but basking in the glow of the show still that still rings off the cellophane wrapper. The album is fantastic, a bit more mature, but still distinctly Neil Finn and company. It's fair to say that it was a better album than their 2007 return disc, 'Time On Earth'. I don't know if I'll ever open it--but then again, I don't know if I'll ever need to.



02. 'CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF' - Sarge & The Aeromen

A long time coming for all Sarge & The Aeromen fans, and mark (Warren) my words it was worth the wait. They (Ryan) are(-senault) the best reason to see live music in Florida. This album captures every nuance and reason we love this band and (Chris) packs it into a convenient package. I listen to it (Mike) daily.



01. 'CHANT DARLING' - Lawrence Arabia

OK, hands down the album of the year. The man/band got exposure opening for Crowded House on the Intriguer tour, and it's about time. Just as infectious as Vampire Weekend or even Nikki Minaj but channels The Kinks and The Beach Boys. He/They has/have taken the ball that is New Zealand music and run with it. And scored.

-N.

The Road To Math Rock: Disharmonic Orchestra

I listen to a lot of weird crap these days. And I don't mean like Beefheart weird, I mean like math rock weird. I was just talking with Nafa about what I listened to during my metal years (ages 11-15). The thing that I loved about metal was the in-between parts. I didn't care how fast the drummer could play or how low the singer could growl and I didn't give a flying fuck about those endless (though occasionally cool) guitar solos. What I wanted from metal were those "mosh parts", the breakdowns, and the moments where everything just seemed to groove to some insane rhythm that I couldn't even come close to understanding. And oh how I loved those noodly bits where everything became treble.

One band that had a lot of what I loved was Disharmonic Orchestra. Their album Not to be Undimensional Conscious blew my fucking mind and I can never thank my good friend Scott for introducing me to these guys.

Skip to 2:03 for some weirdness:



Around 2:05 for some beautiful stuff:



When I listened to metal back in the day, I tried to imagine the perfect band. They had five guitarists, two drummers, one bass player, and no singer. It makes perfect sense that I would be perfectly suited to love Don Caballero, Hella, etc. So of course, I was predestined to love Marnie Stern. Does any of this make sense?

08 December 2010

I Listen to EVERYTHING

You know, 2010 was the year of putting on the blinders and waiting for three albums to come out: the new Marnie Stern, the new Tera Melos, and Zach Hill's new solo album. I spent more time this year reminiscing about old music I used to like and just pining, pining, pining for these three to come out. Since there were only three albums to listen to, it only took me a few weeks to figure out my album of the year.

And the winner is... Marnie Stern! Patagonian Rats, the new Tera Melos, came close to the big win but Miss Stern wins out sonically, cohesively, and emotionally. Tera Melos definitely put out one of the strangest and fastest albums I've ever heard but it just doesn't quite cut my mustard. Plus, there are a couple of tracks that are needlessly long at nearly 10 minutes each.





And what about that new Zach Hill, Face Tat? Well, holy shit. It's fucking amazing. The problem I had with Hill's first solo record, Astrological Straits, is that it had a bunch of very original, very listenable moments surrounded by much less listenable, almost impenetrable um... stuff? On Face Tat, Zach Hill has merged the impenetrable with the listenable and it all pretty much works. Not only do I like nearly every track, the album is loud. Seriously, this is the loudest album I own. It's experimental and it is fun in a scary way. At first it all just sounds like noise but then your brain grows some balls and it's all good.





One band that put out a fantastic EP this year is Planets. This instrumental duo tear shit up on TURBO JAMZ!!!! and I'll never really be the same. Check this shit out. So until The Joggers put out something new, I guess music is dead to me. But at least I was able to pick an album of the year. That's good, right? It's okay that I only heard 4 things released this year, right? I have a bad feeling about this. Don't get me wrong, I love the accomplishments of these musical people but I have a sneaking suspicion that being close-minded musically is bad.

-Richard

25 September 2010

"Take your skin off and dance" - Martin Martini and the Bone Palace Orchestra

It has either been too long coming or I've talked about this before and its been so long that I don't remember. Anyway, we were talking about songs, and "Take your skin off and dance" by Martin Martini and the Bone Palace Orchestra is the kind of song I expect all songs that come out of Australia to sound like. I suppose I am glad that they do not all sound the same, but well...

So, the first song that ever caught my attention and turned it towards all things Martin Martini was actually "Stock Exchange." I found the bleak imagery and the energetic forging ahead if not cheerful force to the story line extremely easy to fall into. "Take your skin off and dance" has these same elements and a little bit more robust vocal belting.

While looking around for a fancy little embeddable player to share the song I found that the band has since broken up, but you can still enjoy some of their scattered online presence on myspace .

I did not actually find a fancy little embeddable player to share "Take your skin off and dance" but if you click on the end of this sentence a new window will let you Play the song with iLike.

Incidentally, "Monkey & Sardine," another song from Martin Martini and the Bone Palace Orchestra got stuck in my head so much I toyed with the idea of creating an animated video to fill the video void for it on the Internet. I am very happy to say that Jim Batt beat me to this and finally delivered a music video for the song. Follow the vimeo links after the video to find the making of the video.


Martin Martini - Monkey & Sardine from Jim Batt on Vimeo.

Cheers. --LeE

02 August 2010

This is the summer of waiting...

Damn, I guess it only feels like I'm waiting forever. Marnie Stern, Tera Melos, and Zach Hill all have albums coming out this fall. Brace yourselves!







19 June 2010

Vuvuzela.

If only the World Cup stadiums could unify and play a tune like this:

25 May 2010

Terrible Shit I Bought: The Rolling Stones

Okay, this is totally baffling to me. When I was 13 years old, I was clearly the stupidest (and most bored musically) idiot ever born. The Rolling Stones had done "Satisfaction" and Mick Jagger had directed that movie with Whoopi Goldberg but that's all I knew about them. I mean, I knew they were an old band. So why would a 13 year old listen to music made by anyone over the age of 13? I don't fucking know. For some reason, I bought the Steel Wheels album. This is probably the worst album ever recorded. The Rolling Stones are even worse than Vanilla Ice. Why? Because I still like "Stop That Train". I have this crystal clear memory of sitting in my friend Sam's attic and listening to Steel Wheels on my little tape recorder and thinking, "Wow, why did I spend my allowance on this crap?" I started fast-forwarding, looking for a song, any song, that I liked and I couldn't find a single one. This wave of depression washed over me and I gave the tape to Sam. He probably hated it too.

18 May 2010

Terrible Shit I Bought: Snap! & Technotronic



I should change this to "Terrible Shit I Bought And Enjoyed The Shit Out Of". Sometime in 1990, I had both World Power by Snap! and Pump Up the Jam by Technotronic. These albums were immensely important to my 14-year-old brain for some reason. I was already listening to metal so who knows what I was thinking when I was into this junk. The best thing about these two albums? They both fit on a 90 minute tape! I would dig on Snap! for 45 minutes and then flip it over to groove to Technotronic. My brain must have been turned off that year. I remember playing videogames and watching sunsets to this awful and brainless stuff. I think I was a weird kid but I would have been even weirder knowing that the techno music I was listening to for 500 hours at a time wasn't even American. This shit was totally Belgian and German. The following year, when The KLF hit it big with "3 a.m. Eternal", I was already out of my techno phase. Thank God. Hmm, this post is only moderately embarrassing. I'll do better next time.



27 April 2010

Terrible Shit I Bought: The Black Crowes

There are things I have done that I am not too proud of. Some of them are crimes against humanity and some of them are crimes against music. Sometime in 1990, I was going on a road trip with my aunt, her boyfriend, and his kids. The trip involved the fairgrounds and a hotel with a pool. While I was packing for this impromptu voyage, I made a fatal mistake: I left my stack of tapes on my dresser! So I had a walkman, batteries, and no friggin' music. We made a pitstop at K-Mart before we headed out so I got my money together and all I had was a about $11 for the whole weekend. This was not good. Then I made a horrible mistake: I purchased The Black Crowes Shake Your Money Maker. I thought that "BABY I'M TOO HARD TO HANDLE NOW YES AROUND" (that's what I thought he was saying) song was good so I fucking bought it.

I have a vague memory of a Run DMC cassette that was very tempting but OHHH NOOO, I fucking passed on that for The Black Fucking Crowes! This is why I hate myself. This is why I am a worthless piece of shit. So for the entire weekend, I had ONE TAPE. ONE! TAPE! So for the car ride to our destination, the boring night at the hotel, and the endless ride home, I had nothing but these dirtball hippie scumbag shitheads singing stupid crap to my brain. I could have been memorizing Run DMC's raps all weekend. That's a skill that would have come in very handy later in life, let me tell ya. I could have maybe been like at least a little cool for a few seconds in my useless, miserable life. Okay, I'm done.

-Richard

19 April 2010

FINN: Prologue

(The following was written after a sleepless week and heavy NyQuil inducement...just like this sentence was. And it's the third attempt.)

28 July, 2010, one of the main players in one of my all-time favorite bands will be playing a concert locally. Of course I am talking about Neil Finn of Crowded House, and the band I'm referring to is Split Enz. I've never seen Crowded House live despite being a huge fan since I was 15 and having at least two prior opportunities. Nor have I ever seen any member of the Finn family or musical incarnation live, apart from owning several live DVDs, VHS tapes, and audio recordings, but that really doesn't count. I'm not much of a concert goer, actually, which some find odd for an active musician. (I passed up an opportunity this past Friday to see another musical god, Colin Hay.) I debated about getting tickets to the Crowded House show and passed up 4th and 7th row seats in lieu of 12th row. Don't ask.

But I'm straying from my point, which is Split Enz and the Finns. I had intended to use as little wordage as possible to express my love for them, but that ship has sailed. Granted, Neil wasn't a founding member of my beloved Enz, but his brother Tim was and after joining the band Tim and Neil were able to take the ring to Mordor and fight Xena for the Kiwi football wool sweater bungee. Throw another pimp on the barbie, mate. Fuck it, just listen to the twin Finn awesomeness in some of my favorite situations.

There can be only one.

Or two, since they are brothers.

-N.









17 April 2010

Terribe Shit I Bought: Lenny Kravitz

In 1993, I was a 16 year old fucking idiot who watched MTV all day, every day. I didn't go to school or work. Nor did I eat or sleep or poop. I simply waited for music videos to excite me and then I would run out and buy a CD. One horrible day, I saw this incredible video by a 'new' artist (well, I'd never heard of the fucking guy) named Lenny Kravitz. The song was called "Are You Gonna Go My Way" and it was the first single from the album of the same name. The song and the video rocked my socks off. It was 100% adrenaline delivered with a vibe of utter coolness. (Keep in mind it was the 90s and everything (even AIDS) was possible.)

So I bought the cassette. Yeah, at least I was a little cost conscious. On the way home in the car, I realized my mistake. "Are You Gonna Go My Way" is the only decent song on that terrible, terrible album. I thought Kravitz was emulating the 1970s. I didn't know he was a hippie! I decided to give the album another chance but it was pointless. Lenny Kravitz is a jerk and his music is terrible. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

-Richard

13 April 2010

The X-ecutioners

These dudes came up in conversation this morning.



19 March 2010

Anthrax


Here is me in 1988. Look how metal I was!

When I was 12, Iron Maiden was the gateway drug into metal. Their cover art alone was enough to draw me in. It wasn't long though before my friend Eric introduced me to Anthrax with their classic 1987 album Among the Living. Holy shitballs, I had never heard anything so heavy and so fast before. In an instant, I was a thrash metal convert. Suddenly, Iron Maiden seemed weak and boring. Within a year, I had everything by Anthrax. I listened to every song and read all the lyrics obsessively. My favorite songs were "Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)" and "Now it's Dark" on State of Euphoria (of course I had no idea it was about David Lynch's Blue Velvet).





Many, many hours of my life were spent ruining my hearing with Anthrax pumping through my headphones. I would play them for everyone who had a stereo. Even people who hated metal had to get a speech from me as to why this band was the greatest thing to ever happen to their ears. When Persistence of Time was released in the summer of 1990, I had found the zenith of music as I knew it. That summer, if you wanted to find me, I was either moshing around my room to "In My World" or playing video games (while listening to "In My World"). Now that my teenage years were well underway, pretty much any angry music spoke to me but Anthrax did it with intelligence and nerdy humor. Life was good.



It wasn't until high school that other bands would crush my Anthrax allegiance. Slayer and Sepultura would decimate most thrash bands and other oddities like Prong would steal my attention away. Then of course, Entombed would come along and within just a few weeks, I was all about the death metal. I still had a place in my heart for them. Hell, I even loved it when they changed singers for Sound of White Noise. It was a change that I liked and I still dig that album. But my fascination with the band and metal of any genre had dissipated before Stomp 442 even came out.

Boy was I surprised when I found out that We've Come for You All, released in 2003, is a fucking kickass album. Hopefully, their upcoming album, which went into limbo sometime in the fall of 2009, will see the light of day soon. I have been revisiting my nostalgia for this band and I'm finding that it's just good stuff. Even though I strayed for a bit there, after all these years, Anthrax is still, without a doubt, my favorite metal band.







04 February 2010

4 Sale

And now for our first commercial message:

Hey kids. My mom acquired some sweet records and music memorabilia and is selling the stuff on eBay. Check it out right here. If you buy stuff, be sure to tell her I sent you so that she won't disown me. Later.

-slizwiz

08 January 2010

The Darkest 80s - Goth Was Never This Pitch Black

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those ... moments will be lost in time, like tears...in rain. Time to die.

And so it began. Or ended.

It occurred to me that Richard missed out on a truly bizarre period of pop music having not listened to radio from 1979 through 1982 (which was also during the conception and birth of MTV and the music video as we know it). During that time music was more focused on the actual music rather than an image. Punk had it's influence a couple years before and New Wave was a novelty. Hip Hop was still very much a sub-genre and Rock was rolled so much it became dull and blunted.

During this period quite a few Country and Country-influenced artists dominated the mainstream, bringing their soft-edged twangless tones to the topper-most of the popper-most. Guys with beards and feathered hair and girls with dowdy floral dresses and Baptist bouffants ruled the day. Also, the novelty song was a popular choice then too, as well as limp, ineffectual Pop (like it always has been). All the songs and artists listed below were popular and would play on the radio one right after the other along with songs like Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)’, Kenny Roger's 'The Gambler', AC-DC's 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap', and Kool And The Gang’s ‘Celebration’.

God bless my blue transistor radio, the Might 690 in Orange County, California, and 96KX and Q-105 in Tampa, Florida.

Some of these are amazing, others are…best forgotten (culminating with the final video, 'I've Never Been To Me', my choice for the cheesiest song ever).

---


Juice Newton - 'Queen Of Hearts'
I love Juice Newton (there, I said it). This song was great and her sense of melody and fun just showed. Yes, this is one of the best songs on the list.


Bertie Higgins - 'Key Largo'
A local boy for us Tampa Bay area people (he was from Tarpon Springs or New Port Richey). The requisite beard is mighty and the collar carefree.


Paul Davis - ''65 Love Affair'
He was truly an enigma to me. He looked like a bear but sang like a muffin. Love this guy.

And just for reference, this is the hunky Paul Davis at that time:


The Oak Ridge Boys - 'Elvira'
Again, on the awesome list. Who didn't love the ORB?


Melissa Manchester - 'You Should Hear How She Talks About You'
Something about this song always struck a cheese chord in me that I couldn't get past. Not hearing it in 20 years it's alright now, but back then forget it.


Chilliwack - 'Gone, Gone, Gone'
Truly confounding. Don't know who they were (except Canadians) or what this song was, but it was something I had heard many times and not heard ever. Or ever again.


Dr. Hook - 'Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk'
I would play this song a lot on the jukebox at Dawg's in Mission Bell. Thankfully, I could play it unashamedly because I didn't listen to lyrics then.


Sylvia - 'Nobody'
The Lesser Charlene. Nothing else to say here.


38 Special - 'Hold On Loosely;
Southern Rock, the South will rise again, Lynnaddrraddd Skhyyhdnfaardard FOREVERRREEREERRR!!! At least they have two drummers and some nice guitars. Can't we get them on a plane too?


Joe Dolce - 'Shaddap You Face'
I was 10 and obsessed with this song. God bless K-Tel records. My poor parents.


Charlene - 'I've Never Been To Me'
13:11 I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon.
13:12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. He makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.
13:13 He performs great signs, even making fire come down out of the sky to the earth in the sight of people.
13:14 He deceives my own people who dwell on the earth because of the signs he was granted to do in front of the beast; saying to those who dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast who had the sword wound and lived.
13:15 It was given to him to give breath to it, to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause as many as wouldn't worship the image of the beast to be killed.
13:16 He causes all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the slave, to be given marks on their right hands, or on their foreheads;
13:17 and that no one would be able to buy or to sell, unless he has that mark, the name of the beast or the number of his name.
13:18 Here is wisdom. He who has understanding, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is six hundred sixty-six.



---


Thank you Prince, Duran Duran, and MTV for coming along and saving us all.

-NF.
08.01.2010