Thursday, December 28, 2006

dysfunction junction

Just for sake of full disclosure I thought that I shoudl mention that I am probably a Henry Rollins fanatic owning pretty much everyhting he has released music, spoken word, and books. Have watched a number of his films just because he was in them. So everytime I get an email newsletter that mentions something new I immediately order it and thus received the new spoken word DVD and book "A Dull Roar" a little over a week before Christmas.

Well I just finished A Dull Roar and kind of have some mixed feelings. As opposed to Roomanitarian and some other recent books, this one goes back to the journal format and is about the recent Rollins Band tour and the events leading up to it. Now typically his journal books have all been my favorites, beginning with "Smile, You're Traveling," and of course "Get in the Van."

ADR just has a different feel though. It's feels more self-conscious, maybe because he planned to release these jouirnals from the beginning as opposed to how the others feel. Though I can't remember if he planned to publish "Broken Summers," his journal for the making of and touring for the West Memphis Three album, from the beginning. ADR also is a little more reminiscent of his earlier writings in which he appears a little more damaged as a person. IT seems as if the past few years where he seemed to becoming a little more comfortable with who he was and his relations with other human beings have taken a setback and he has gone back in time a little.

I don't mean to sound as if I didn't like the book though because I still like it and I know that I will go back to it like I have done with all his books, but if you are unfamiliar with his writings I probably wouldn't suggets beginning here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Check This Out Pt. 2

All right, here is the second part of my year-end music wrap up--my top albums. Not necessarily in any order and I am sure there are many deserving albums missing, but these are the albums that I bought and couldn't stop listening to. It might skew a little more towards the second half of the year, but that's mainly due to my increased spending budget in the latter half of the year.

I would like to give a shout out to Datarock which unfortunately did not come out this year and thus could not be included.

and now the main event:

Wolfmother - Wolfmother
Just try to ignore the power of the Wolfmother. You can't. Period. Led Zep meets Rush in a Black Sabbath blender. All you other rock bands should bow down.

Juana Molina - Son
I find Juana Molina completely fascinating. At first her story isn't overly original, a TV actress decides to start releasing albums of original songs. You probably have an opinion just from hearing that, but this Argentinean former sitcom actress is producing some of the most original and breathtaking music around today. Singing in her native Spanish, she accompanies herself with acoustic guitar and electronic loops and samples. The end result can be ethereal and otherworldly.

Goldfrapp - Supernature
Do you own a TV? You've heard these songs from the beginning of the year through Target's holiday campaign practically every song has been licensed for a commercial, but even without that you would be tapping your toes to this incredible group of songs.

Thom Yorke - The Eraser
He won't call it a solo album, but this release from Thom Yorke shows a few things. First that he is an excellent songwriter and that Nigel Godrich's production is top notch and you can see the influence he has on the end result of the Radiohead releases. Second, even though he is an accomplished songwriter, this gives a sense of the collaboration that happens within Radiohead and the magic that results. Finally, that he is a master at creating a dark, paranoid atmosphere that keeps pulling you back for more.

Working For A Nuclear Free City - Working For A Nuclear Free City Read my previous post if you want to know more, but this album continues to transport me back to my post high school years and the whole Madchester scene and all it's related extensions.

TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
No one sounds like this. Period. After 3 years, TVOTR are still one of the freshest sounding bands around. They rock, they groove, they harmonize better than practically any band than I can remember. Buy this record

Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass is Always Greener
Again I have talked about this album previously, but Barbara Morgenstern continues to improve and become a more accomplished songwriter and producer as her discography grows.

Fujiya and Miyagi - Transparent Things
is it white boy funk? is it a neu revival? maybe it's both. a nice hybrid of influences that ends up sounding like more than the sum of its parts. A great album for the bus. It's just upbeat enough to keep me going but mellow enough to zone out and forget my day.

The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
Say what you will about Craig Finn's voice, but the Hold Steady are one of the most relevant bands out there. Stories of love, loss, and drug use that are as honest as you can get. Forget the after school specials and MADD, just make all the junior high kids listen to The Hold Steady.

Cat Power - The Greatest
what is it about memphis that brings our the best in so many musicians? after half a century the memphis sound is still a force to be reckoned with and combine that with Chan Marshall's real life issues's this past year and you have a classic album in the making.

Various Productions - The World Is Gone
what more can I say, read my previous review, but Various Productions take bits and pieces from multiple sources and create something that is unique and their own. dubstep, post-apocalyptic folk prepare for the masses to copy this in the 07.


I cannot believe that I actually forgot one of my favorite records last year. Most likely because I put it away for a while because I had been listening to it so much that I didn't want to burn out on it as can sometimes happen with an album that you love. What is this fabulous album that I speak of? Oh No! Oh My!'s self-titled release. It's a great album full of poppy indie rock in the vein of CYHSY and some of the older E6 related releases. Similar to CYHSY it was self-released but you should be able to find it now at your local indie music store or on Amazon.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Check this out pt. 1

Oh the end of the year. The time when I discover all the fabulous music that I missed out on the rest of the year and learn where all my Christmas money is going. well that and a nice bottle of scotch.

So this year I decided to make a list, and check it twice, of my favorite singles and favorite records. Since I will in DC for the holidays I figured now would be a great time to get started, so without further ado, here is my list of my favorite singles of the year:

Justin Timberlake - Sexyback

Junior Boys - In The Morning

Barbara Morgenstern - The Operator

Kelis - Bossy

Presets - Girl and the Sea

Well after sitting and stewing about this list for several days, I have decided to give up at 5. I really am more of an album kind of person, and usually if I here a song I like I check out the whole album. However this list is mostly an exception, as I only own the Kelis and Barbara Morgenstern albums. Also say what you will but Sexyback may be the best damn single of the year in my opinion. So here you go

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

a little emo over the lunch hour

I wandered down to the main floor at work today during lunch and found Fall Out Boy performing a short set. I think it's safe to say that I was not a fan before and I am not a fan now. I can say though that they play their form of emo/pop-punk pretty good live, considering how over produced their music seems to be on record.

Interestingly based on customer reviews on Amazon, this puts me in a distinct minority as the reviews there veer from "Fall Out Boy is awesome. Their the best band ever! It brings a new rock type music to everyone. And they don't copy or imitate they are totally original and awesome" to "Why don't you guys try bands like Black Flag, The Sex Pistols, The Misfits, maybe even my personal favorite 90's grunge i.e. Nirvana" ***all real comments***

Though I'm not sure how this next one applies-"Their first succesful move is to make their song titles very unique. You just don't see song titles with ten or more words today. That already seperates Fall Out Boy from rival artists such as Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, etc."

Now I have no idea what size venues they normally play, but it has to be weird to play for a bunch of people in suits in the middle of the day (though granted there must have been between 200-400 people in the hall), especially since their fan's average age seems to be in the teen range. I suppose that when you are on the major label train you have to do what you can to get your record into every store you can.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

circle of sorrow

I don't know about you but a lot of the time that I here a band compared to another band that I really like, I cringe a little. Sometimes it's because the comparisons aren't very accurate, and other times it's because the bar is now set pretty high.

When I first heard about Various Productions, without fail a comparison to Portishead would rear it's ugly head. Essentially all the reviews kind of noted that they took the dubstep style and combined it with a Portishead feel.

Though I like both dubstep and Portishead I kind of figured that there was no way this album could be any good. However, for reasons that I still don't know I decided to pick up The World Is Gone anyway, and boy am I glad that I did. This CD may end up as my favorite album of the year. I think I have listened to it a dozen times at least in the past week.

And I can safely say that the comparisons to Portishead are completely mind-boggling to me. I just don't get it. I think it's obvious that there is a much more direct line to Massive Attack and even Lamb (just to do the exact thing I was complaining about).

The first three songs give you a feel for the variety of the entire album. Album opener-Thunnk-is a solid fairly straight forward dubstep tune, with vocals reminiscent of an Ed Rush/Trace tune. Circle Of Sorrow however is a completely different story more of post-apocalyptic folk in the vein of the most recent Massive Attack album. The massive attack comparisons continue with Don't Ask which sounds like the dub-tinged darkness of Angel.

From there the album proceeds to mix and match these sounds while staying fairly true to the dubstep with vocals template. It may be surprising that despite a review that is a little cold and detached, I really like this album. I have been listening to it pretty much non-stop for the last two weeks. I love it for the same reasons that I love Lamb and Massive Attack, Various Productions take a sound-dubstep-and make it their own. Yes their sound is reminiscent of other groups but it is still updated and fresh and that is what makes it original to me.